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Station Crew Completes Preparations for Cargo Craft Docking

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Nov 2, 2011 10:24 am via: NASA
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The Expedition 29 crew of the International Space Station wrapped up preparations Tuesday for the arrival of an unpiloted Russian cargo ship, ISS Progress 45, which remains on track to dock with the orbiting complex Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. EDT. Commander Mike Fossum and his two crewmates also devoted time to supporting a variety of experiments across a wide range of disciplines aboard the station.

Fossum, a NASA astronaut, spent much of his day working with free-flying, bowling-ball sized satellites known as Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES. During this session, Fossum attached a smartphone with a video camera to one of the satellites to assist the experiment’s sponsors with the design of a teleoperation interface.

Working in the station’s Zvezda service module, cosmonaut Sergei Volkov and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Satoshi Furukawa conducted a test of the Kurs automated rendezvous system that will guide the Progress 45 spacecraft to the Pirs docking compartment, its port of call for the next three months, on Wednesday. The two flight engineers also reviewed the configuration for TORU, the Russian telerobotically operated rendezvous system which the crew can use to monitor the docking or take control of the process if difficulties arise.

Later Volkov and Furukawa set up and tested the video camera system that will provide a view of the docking as Progress 45 arrives with 2.8 tons of food, fuel and supplies for the crew. NASA Television coverage of the docking begins at 7:15 a.m. Wednesday.

Volkov also spent time with the Typology experiment, which studies a crew member’s psychophysical state during long-duration spaceflight, as well as the Identification experiment, which examines the station’s dynamic loads during events such as dockings and reboosts.

Furukawa continued a week’s worth of activity collecting data on the station’s environment as he gathered samples of the station’s atmosphere for an air quality test. Furukawa also participated in an educational activity as he assembled a fishing rod with Lego bricks to demonstrate to children and student groups the challenges faced when building things in a weightless environment.

The station’s residents also had several opportunities to observe and photograph the condition of our home planet as they orbit the Earth every 90 minutes. Among the sites suggested for photography Tuesday were Lake Nasser in Egypt and the capital city of Ouagadougou in the landlocked African country of Burkina Faso.

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