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Station Crew Checks Out Spacesuits, Conducts Research

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Feb 8, 2012 9:41 am via: NASA
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Tuesday marked a busy day for the International Space Station’s Expedition 30 crew as cosmonauts and astronauts worked together to prepare for an upcoming Russian spacewalk.

Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Oleg Kononenko spent most of their day activating and inspecting the Russian Orlan spacesuits they will don for their spacewalk slated for Feb. 16. During the five-and-a-half-hour excursion, the two cosmonauts will move one of the two Strela hand-operated cranes from the Pirs docking compartment to the Poisk module and install five debris shields on the Zvezda service module. If time permits, Kononenko and Shkaplerov will also attach two experiments on the exterior of the station and install support struts on the ladder attached to Pirs.

Commander Dan Burbank lent a hand to the preparation efforts as he configured a pair of cameras for use during the spacewalk. He then transferred the cameras along with a mesh bag he filled earlier with additional spacewalk tools to the Russian segment of the station. Afterward he provided a tutorial to Shkaplerov and Kononenko on the use of the Dynamic Onboard Ubiquitous Graphics software, which is a 3D virtual simulation tool used for robotics and spacewalk planning.

Burbank also stowed the filter tank assembly removed during Monday’s reconfiguration of the Water Recovery System and performed maintenance on the Waste and Hygiene Compartment.

Flight Engineer Don Pettit installed expansion ports on three bowling-ball-sized free-flying satellites known as Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES. Station crews beginning with Expedition 8 have operated these robots to test techniques that could lead to advancements in automated dockings, satellite servicing, spacecraft assembly and emergency repairs.

Pettit later worked with the Capillary Flow Experiment, taking a close look at how fluids move up surfaces in a weightless environment. Results from this experiment will improve computer models used to design fluid transfer systems and fuel tanks on future spacecraft.

Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers conducted several experiments studying how the human body reacts and adapts to microgravity. Kuipers participated in the VO2Max experiment, which measures changes in the astronauts’ aerobic capacity during long-duration spaceflight. He also tested Pulmonary Function System hardware, a set of components developed by NASA and the European Space Agency to monitor the pulmonary health of astronauts aboard the orbiting complex.

Kuipers rounded out his workday unloading cargo from the ISS Progress 46 cargo craft berthed at the Pirs docking compartment.

In the Russian segment of the station, Flight Engineer Anatoly Ivanishin performed routine maintenance on the SOZH life support system as well as the Elektron oxygen generator. He also transferred water from Progress 46 to a storage tank in the Zvezda service module.

On Jan. 31, NASA hosted a media telecon to discuss the status of the International Space Station and the progress toward an updated launch schedule, including international partner and commercial space vehicles. International Space Station Program Manager Michael Suffredini answered reporters’ questions.

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