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Science, Maintenance, Progress Docking Preparations Occupy Station Crew

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Nov 1, 2011 10:23 am via: NASA
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Aboard the International Space Station Monday, Expedition 29 Commander Mike Fossum worked with the Space Dynamically Responding Ultrasonic Matrix System (SpaceDRUMS), a suite of hardware that uses sound waves to allow experiment samples to be processed without ever touching a container wall.

This allows materials to be produced in microgravity with an unparalleled quality of shape and composition. The goal is to develop advanced materials of a commercial quantity and quality, and help improve manufacturing processes on Earth.

He also spent time on the Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students, or EarthKAM, experiment. EarthKAM, an education activity, allows middle school students to program a digital camera aboard the station to photograph a variety of geographical targets for study in the classroom. Photos are made available online for viewing and study by participating schools around the world. Educators use the images for projects involving Earth Science, geography, physics and social science.

Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa collected and analyzed samples from the station’s Potable Water Dispenser using the Total Organic Carbon Analyzer, or TOCA, which is necessary for checking drinking water quality. Total Organic Carbon is naturally present in the environment and by itself has no health effects, but it provides a medium for the formation of byproducts that may be harmful.

Russian Cosmonaut Sergei Volkov, also a flight engineer, updated antivirus software on the laptops in the station’s Russian segment. He also took surface samples to ensure that no bacteria or other harmful materials were forming.

The unpiloted ISS Progress 45 cargo ship is scheduled to dock with the station Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. EDT. It contains 2.8 tons of food, fuel and supplies for the Expedition 29 crew, including 1,653 pounds of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen and air, 926 pounds of water and 3,108 pounds of spare parts, experiment hardware and other supplies.

Progress 45 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 6:11 a.m. Sunday to begin its journey to the International Space Station. Less than nine minutes later, the Progress reached its preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas.

The Pirs docking compartment was vacated for the arrival of the new Progress by Saturday’s undocking and deorbit of the trash-filled ISS Progress 42 cargo ship. The unpiloted Progress 42, which arrived at the station in late April, was deorbited for a destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere a few hours after undocking.

On August 24 the ISS Progress 44 cargo craft experienced a third-stage engine shutdown during its launch due to an anomaly. Given the trajectory and energy, the Progress did not reach orbit and landed in the Altai Region of Russia.

The successful launch of Progress 45 sets the stage for the launch of the station’s next three residents on Nov. 13. NASA’s Dan Burbank and Russia’s Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin will arrive at the station Nov. 16, joining Fossum, Volkov and Furukawa for about six days before the latter trio returns home. Burbank, Shklaperov and Ivanishin flew Monday from their training base at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia to their launch site at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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