Headlines > News > Station’s Orbit Raised; Crew Focuses on Science

Station’s Orbit Raised; Crew Focuses on Science

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:37 am via: NASA
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The Zvezda service module’s engines were fired Friday for 1 minute, 22 seconds to raise the altitude of the International Space Station one final time in preparation for the impending arrival of three additional Expedition 30 crew members. The reboost raised the station’s altitude at perigee, or lowest point of the orbit, by 2.8 statute miles and will leave the complex in an orbit of 259.9 by 231.5 statute miles.

The Soyuz TMA-03M carrying Flight Engineers Don Pettit, Oleg Kononenko and Andre Kuipers is set to launch Dec. 21 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and will dock with the station Dec. 23. Its arrival will mark the return of a full six-member crew complement to the orbital complex.

Aboard the station, Commander Dan Burbank worked with the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR), which is housed in the Fluids and Combustion Facility in the Destiny laboratory. The CIR houses hardware for research on combustion in microgravity.

Burbank also spent some time troubleshooting the International Space Station Agricultural Camera, or ISSAC, to determine the cause of a pointing failure. ISSAC takes frequent images in visible and infrared light of vegetated areas. ISSAC is also used to study dynamic Earth processes around the world, such as melting glaciers, ecosystem responses to seasonal changes and human impacts, and rapid-response monitory of natural disasters.

Flight Engineer Anton Shkaplerov worked with the Coulomb Crystal experiment, which studies dynamic and structural characteristics of the Coulomb systems formed by charged dispersed diamagnetic macroparticles in a magnetic trap. Coulomb systems are structures following Coulomb’s Law, a law of physics describing the electrostatic interaction between electrically charged particles. It was essential to the development of the theory of electromagnetism.

Anatoly Ivanishin, also a flight engineer, worked with the radiation payload suite Matryoshka-R. The Russian payload is designed for sophisticated radiation studies and is named after the traditional Russian set of nested dolls. He also performed routine servicing of the Sozh environmental control and life support system in the Zvezda service module.

Students at Westchester Intermediate School in Chesterton, Ind. spoke with Burbank in an educational event.

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