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New Year Brings Computer Upgrades For Station

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Jan 4, 2012 10:54 am via: NASA
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After a light-duty holiday weekend to ring in the New Year in space, the six-person Expedition 30 crew resumed work Tuesday with cargo transfers, computer architecture upgrades and orientation activities for the three newest arrivals aboard the International Space Station.

Commander Dan Burbank spent much of his morning installing an Enhanced Processor and Integrated Communications (EPIC) card into the Guidance, Navigation and Control-2 Multiplexer/De-Multiplexer. For over a week, the crew has focused on the EPIC upgrade of the station’s onboard computer architecture, which will provide the station’s computers with faster processors, more memory and an Ethernet interface for data outputs.

Meanwhile, Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers participated in Neurospat, an ongoing study of the role of gravity on brain function and spatial cognition. With assistance from Flight Engineer Don Pettit, Kuipers donned a cap fitted with sensors to record his brain activity as he worked through a series of tasks for this European Space Agency experiment.

On the Russian side of the station, Flight Engineer Anton Shkaplerov conducted a session with the Uragan experiment. Named for the Russian word for hurricane, Uragan seeks to document and predict the development of natural and man-made disasters on Earth.

Later, Shkaplerov gathered items for disposal in the ISS Progress 45 cargo craft berthed to the Pirs docking compartment. The unpiloted supply ship, which arrived at the station in November 2011, will undock in three weeks for a destructive re-entry in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Anatoly Ivanishin focused on the Plasma Crystal-3 experiment, which studies crystallization dynamics in low-frequency electrical fields at different pressure levels. Kononenko operated the experiment in manual mode while Ivanishin collected still photos and video of the session.

Kononenko later unloaded cargo from the Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft that brought him, Pettit and Kuipers to the station on Dec. 23.

As the station’s newest residents, Pettit, Kononenko and Kuipers each had time set aside on their own for crew orientation to become accustomed to living and working aboard the orbiting complex during their first two weeks on orbit.

Burbank and Kuipers will talk with Space.com’s Clara Moskowitz and Fox News Radio’s Eben Brown during an in-flight interview scheduled to air live on NASA Television at 9:35 a.m. EST Wednesday.

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