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Departure Preps, Handover Activities for Station Crew

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:33 am via: NASA
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The Zvezda service module fired its engines Thursday night increasing the International Space Station’s orbit for Expedition 29’s departure. The reboost lasted three minutes, 37 seconds and lifted the station’s apogee, or highest point, by seven miles.

Commander Mike Fossum and Flight Engineers Satoshi Furukawa and Sergei Volkov are handing over station responsibilities to the newly arrived trio of flight engineers. Fossum will ceremonially hand over station command to new Flight Engineer Dan Burbank on Sunday. Expedition 30 officially begins when Fossum, Furukawa and Volkov undock from the station on Monday.

Fossum, Furukawa and Volkov will enter the Soyuz TMA-02M spacecraft, which brought them to the station in June, undock from the Rassvet module and land in Kazakhstan Monday at 9:24 p.m. EST (8:24 a.m. Tuesday Kazakhstan time) in windy and below freezing conditions.

NASA TV coverage of farewells, hatch closing, undocking and landing begins Monday at 2:15 p.m.

Burbank and fellow Expedition 29 Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin are helping their outgoing crewmates prepare for departure and are continuing ongoing science and maintenance.

Fossum assisted Burbank as he unpacked U.S. gear from the Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft that brought the new crew to the station early Tuesday morning. The two NASA astronauts also paired up on the Binary Colloidal Alloy Test (BCAT-6) experiment and worked on the Oxygen Generation System. BCAT-6 studies microscopic particles suspended in another substance and may contribute to the development of newer, more advanced products and materials.

Shkaplerov spent time throughout Friday on Russian science including the Molniya-Gamma and Plazmida experiments. Ivanishin conducted the Bioemulsion, Matreyshka and Cascade experiments. Both cosmonauts also continued station handover and familiarization tasks.

Volkov and Furukawa tagged up with ground specialists in preparation for their return home. The outgoing duo reviewed Soyuz descent procedures.

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