Headlines > News > New Station Crew Set to Launch Wednesday

New Station Crew Set to Launch Wednesday

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:08 am via: NASA
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NASA astronaut Don Pettit, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers are set to launch aboard their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 8:16 a.m. EST Wednesday (7:16 p.m. Baikonur time). NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 7:30 a.m.

The trio will dock to the Rassvet module of the station at 10:22 a.m. Friday and join their Expedition 30 colleagues as new flight engineers when the hatches open about three hours later.

In the meantime, Commander Dan Burbank of NASA and Russian Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin, who have been aboard the orbital laboratory since mid-November, remained busy on Tuesday supporting microgravity research and station housekeeping activities.

Burbank spent most of his day working on the Combustion Integrated Rack, which can safely accommodate experiments that examine droplet, solid fuel and gaseous fuel combustion in a weightless environment. The commander replaced a fuel reservoir and radiometer in the rack in preparation for start of the Flame Extinguishment Experiment-2. Results from this experiment, also known as FLEX-2, will improve fire safety designs for future spacecraft and aid in the control of combustion-generated pollution on Earth.

Working in the Russian segment of the station, Shkaplerov routed cables for an antenna switching controller and installed a space-to-space radio. Meanwhile, Ivanishin conducted troubleshooting on the Ethernet connection of a station support computer to prepare it for downlinking video of the Soyuz docking Friday.

The two cosmonauts rounded out their day replacing light fixtures with new units in the Zarya module and the Zvezda service module.

The station’s residents also had several opportunities for Earth observation and photography as they orbit the world every 90 minutes. Among the sites suggested by researchers for photography Tuesday were the Bosumtwi impact crater in Ghana and the capital city of San Salvador in El Salvador. More than 680,000 photos of Earth taken from the space station since the arrival of the first crew on Nov. 2, 2000, are available online at the Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.

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