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New Supply Ship Arrives, Departure Preps and Science Under Way

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Nov 3, 2011 9:57 am via: NASA
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A new Russian resupply craft arrived at the International Space Station at 7:41 a.m. EDT Wednesday. The ISS Progress 45 docked to the Pirs docking compartment after a trip to the station that began Sunday from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

The crew opened the Progress hatches to begin the transfer of 1,653 pounds of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen, 926 pounds of water and 3,108 pounds of maintenance gear, spare parts and experiment hardware. Once the station crew members have unloaded the cargo, Progress 45 will be filled with trash and station discards, then undocked from the station in late January. Following its departure, controllers in Mission Control, Moscow, will raise its orbit to 310 miles (500 kilometers) so that they can deploy a microsatellite called Chibis. Once the microsatellite is deployed, Progress 45 will be deorbited for a destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.

The next spaceship to visit the orbital laboratory will be the Soyuz TMA-22 which will deliver three new station crew members. Flight Engineers Dan Burbank, Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin will begin their stay Nov. 16 at 12:37 a.m. EDT when their spacecraft docks to the Poisk mini-research module. They will join Expedition 29 crewmates Commander Mike Fossum and Flight Engineers Satoshi Furukawa and Sergei Volkov.

Five days later Expedition 29 will end and Expedition 30 will begin when Fossum, Furukawa and Volkov return home inside the Soyuz TMA-02M spacecraft. The trio will undock from the Rassvet mini-research module Nov. 21 and land in Kazakhstan at 9:25 p.m. Burbank — who will assume the station command in a ceremony on Nov. 20 — Shkaplerov and Ivanishin will become the Expedition 30 crew and work onboard the station until March of next year.

While Volkov spent the majority of Wednesday on Progress transfer activities, Fossum continued science and exercise activities along with Furukawa. The two astronauts also conducted an eye exam to measure their eye pressure.

Fossum loaded new software and configured a laptop computer on a science rack in the Destiny laboratory. The commander took high-resolution photographs of space-grown crystals as part of the Binary Colloidal Alloy Test experiment. The current version of the ongoing study, called BCAT-6, may help manufacturers design new leading edge materials with molecular precision at the nanoscale.

Furukawa assisted Volkov with docking activities at the start of the day and gathered tools to deploy a router in the future for the station’s computer network. He also will conduct crew departure preparations with Fossum.

The International Space Station has been continuously inhabited for 11 years. Expedition 1 crew members Commander Bill Shepherd and Flight Engineers Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko began their stay of 136 days aboard the station on Nov. 2, 2000.

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