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New Trio Launches; Crew Aboard Station Hard at Work

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:17 am via: NASA
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Three new Expedition 30 crew members are on their way to the International Space Station. Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko, Don Pettit and Andre Kuipers launched at 8:16 a.m. EDT aboard the Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. They will dock to the Rassvet module at 10:22 a.m. Friday and join Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin when the hatches open a little over three hours later.

Burbank worked on a laptop computer to convert Russian video signals of Friday’s docking for downlink and streaming using the American Ku-band radar. The commander also spent a good portion of his day scrubbing cooling loops in the U.S. spacesuits. The scrubbing cleans out dust and microorganisms that may accumulate over time in the water cooling loops.

Shkaplerov and Ivanishin worked in the Russian segment of the orbiting laboratory maintaining life support systems and performing microgravity science experiments.

To improve spaceflight safety, the two cosmonauts conducted the BAR experiment which tests and validates methods to detect pressure leaks onboard the station. The duo also studied the cardiac bioelectric activity of a crew member at rest in space. Space life sciences experiments observe how crew members adapt to long term missions and teaches scientists how to keep crews healthy and prepare them for the return to Earth.

Both flight engineers also worked to install and set up a hand controller for the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) inside the Zvezda service module. Two ATVs, Europe’s resupply spaceship, have already visited the station, docking to Zvezda both times and re-entering Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean for a fiery destruction.

After Wednesday morning’s launch, Expedition 29 Commander Mike Fossum talked on NASA TV from Mission Control about his experience aboard a Soyuz spacecraft. Fossum completed his mission after 167 days in space and returned home Nov. 21.

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