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Station Crew Wraps Up Final Workweek of 2011

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sun Jan 1, 2011 4:08 pm via: NASA
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The six-person Expedition 30 crew of the International Space Station wrapped up the final workweek of 2011 on Friday with human research experiments and upgrades to the station’s computer architecture.

Following the crew’s daily planning conference with flight control centers around the world, Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineer Don Pettit participated in human research experiments. Burbank conducted a session with the VO2max experiment, which studies changes in the astronauts’ aerobic capacity during long-duration spaceflight. Data from this research may also provide valuable insight into the aerobic capacity of teams in closed environments on Earth, such as arctic bases and submarines.

Pettit, meanwhile, participated in the Integrated Cardiovascular experiment, which measures the atrophy of the heart muscle that appears to develop during long-duration spaceflight. Investigators use the data from these tests to develop countermeasures to keep the crew healthy, which is crucial as NASA moves toward sending humans deeper into space than ever before. The research may also have benefits for people on Earth with heart problems.

Pettit, with some assistance from Burbank, rounded out his day with continued work with the Enhanced Processor and Integrated Communications, or EPIC, circuit card installation and testing for the station’s onboard computer architecture upgrade. The upgrade will provide the station’s computers with faster processors, more memory and an Ethernet interface for data outputs, more than doubling the number of experiments that can be managed at the same time.

Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers worked with an experiment that studies the growth of microbial biofilm on space materials.

On the Russian side of the station, Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko unloaded cargo from the Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft that brought him, Pettit and Kuipers to the station on Dec. 23, while Flight Engineer Anatoly Ivanishin transferred additional cargo from the ISS Progress 45 supply ship.

Flight Engineer Anton Shkaplerov conducted an audit of docking and internal transfer systems accessories and later measured the air flow between the modules in the Russian segment.

The crew members will enjoy some off-duty time over the weekend as they ring in the New Year in space. Because the station orbits the Earth every hour and a half, the crew will have ample opportunity to celebrate the arrival of 2012.

Here’s a quick look at where the station will be as various places mark the new year:

Locale Station position

Tokyo 240 miles above the South Pacific
Moscow East of Hawaii over the Pacific
Munich Northeast of New Guinea
U.S. Eastern South of Madagascar
U.S. Central Pacific approaching Mexico from the Southwest
U.S. Mountain  High above Mongolia
U.S. Pacific Central South Atlantic
Hawaii High above Turkey

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