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Expedition 29 Remains Busy in Final Weeks of Mission

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Nov 9, 2011 8:38 am via: NASA
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The three Expedition 29 crew members who have been aboard the International Space Station since June 9 tackled a busy agenda Tuesday that included scientific research, routine housekeeping and preparations for their return home in late November.

Commander Mike Fossum and his Expedition 29 crewmates, Flight Engineers Satoshi Furukawa and Sergei Volkov, each spent some time packing personal items for return to Earth as their Nov. 21 undocking aboard the Soyuz TMA-02M spacecraft draws closer. Volkov, who also serves as the Soyuz commander, gathered up Russian equipment for return aboard that spacecraft.

Remaining aboard the orbital complex when Fossum, Furukawa and Volkov depart will be the Expedition 30 crew of Dan Burbank, Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin, who are currently scheduled to launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-22 on Nov.13, beginning their stay on the station Nov. 16.

In addition to his departure activities Tuesday, Fossum spent much of his morning collecting old radiation monitors for return to Earth and deploying new ones throughout the orbiting complex as part of the Environmental Health System. The commander also gathered water samples from the Water Recovery System in the Destiny and Tranquility modules for further analysis back on Earth.

Fossum took a break from his work to talk to Deputy U.S. Secretary of Education Tony Miller and students in Washington, D.C., during a live event hosted by the U.S. Department of Education. Fossum answered a variety of questions about living and working in space and offered words of encouragement to the students in pursuing their dreams.

Furukawa meanwhile deployed a router for the Orbital Communication Adapter, part of the station’s onboard computer network. The Japanese astronaut also printed and incorporated updates into a warning procedures book.

In the Russian segment of the station, Volkov checked out the electrical circuit resistance of an experimental high-speed laser communication system and tagged up afterward with specialists on the ground for a review of the activity.

The station’s residents had several opportunities to observe and photograph our home planet as they orbited the Earth every 90 minutes. Among the sites suggested to the crew for photography Tuesday were Chisinau, the capital city of Moldova in Eastern Europe, and the 300-million-year-old Middlesboro crater in Kentucky.

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