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ISS - First EPIC Upgrade Complete; High-Tech Experiments Continue

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sat Jan 7, 2012 10:02 am via: NASA
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Commander Dan Burbank wrapped up the first part of the EPIC upgrade stowing tools and hardware. EPIC, or Enhanced Processor and Integrated Communications, boosts the power and speed of computers enabling full utilization of the science facilities inside the orbital laboratory. EPIC also will enable station operations with commercial cargo vehicles. Mission Control congratulated the crew for the successful completion of the first stage which matches ground computer capability.

Burbank also worked with Flight Engineer Don Pettit conducting ultrasound scans for the Integrated Cardiovascular experiment. The scans observe cardiac atrophy, or shrinkage of the heart muscle, which occurs in crew members during long-term missions.

Pettit also scanned his thigh and calf for the Sprint study. That experiment, in conjunction with guidance from the ground team, evaluates the use of exercise to minimize muscle and bone loss.

European Space Agency astronaut and Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers experimented with smart phones for a NanoRacks study. Kuipers checked out the photography features and the impact of radiation on the phone’s hardware. The smart phones, with store-bought features intact, a custom app installed and some modifications for space flight certification, could improve science activities and augment crew productivity. NanoRacks is a commercial organization and NASA partner that provides opportunities for research onboard the International Space Station.

Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin continued work with the BAR experiment studying methods and instruments that can be used to detect pressure leaks. They examined microscopic surface areas in the Zvezda service module and sent results to the ground which will help with the development of measures to prevent deterioration and extend the life of station modules.

Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko worked with the ongoing Russian experiments Pneumocard and Rusalka. Pneumocard observes the cardiovascular system with the data helping scientists predict a crew member’s reaction to returning to Earth at the end of a mission. Rusalka observes the role of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere.

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