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Expedition 30 Readies for New Trio and Focuses on Science

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Dec 8, 2011 10:19 am via: NASA
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Three new Expedition 30 crew members are in Star City, Russia, preparing to leave for the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for their Dec. 21 launch to the International Space Station. Flight Engineers Don Pettit, Andre Kuipers and Oleg Kononenko will dock the Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft to the station’s Rassvet module on Dec. 23.

The current station residents are Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin. They have been working aboard the station since Nov. 16 and are scheduled to return to Earth in March.

Burbank opened up the Combustion Integrated Rack inside the Destiny laboratory and replaced a fuel bottle. The rack allows crew members and scientists on the ground to study the properties and behavior of droplet, solid fuel and gaseous fuel combustion in microgravity.

The commander also set up the Light Microscopy Module (LMM) for work with the PACE-2 experiment. As part of PACE-2, or Preliminary Advanced Colloidal Experiment-2, the LMM will determine the minimum particle size to be resolved on a newer experiment, the Advanced Colloidal Experiment. Colloids are substances consisting of microscopic particles such as milk and paint or even smoke and fog.

On the Russian side of the space station, Shkaplerov and Ivanishin checked for coolant leaks and cleaned vents. The cosmonauts also conducted ongoing science experiments studying crew adaptation in space and plasma physics.

The flight engineers worked with the Typology experiment setting up gear, a camera and tagging up with ground specialists. The study seeks to monitor and improve a crew member’s performance of critical activities during long-duration missions in space.

Shkaplerov worked with the Coulomb Crystal experiment. The study observes the electrostatic interaction between electrically charged particles to learn how to magnetically control materials that do not mix or react.

Burbank spoke with school children in Quebec, Canada via amateur radio on Monday as part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station program. The students have started a space club and have been learning about the space station, so they had plenty of questions ready.

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