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Spacewalk Preps Move Ahead; Comm Test for SpaceX Capsule

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Feb 9, 2012 10:45 am via: NASA
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Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Oleg Kononenko are moving along with their preparations for a Feb. 16 spacewalk. The cosmonauts checked their spacesuits, hardware and tools. Their main tasks will be the relocation of a cargo crane and the attachment of debris shields to the Zvezda service module.

Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineer Don Pettit tested a communications unit that will assist with the rendezvous and capture of the SpaceX Dragon capsule. This is the first planned commercial cargo vehicle mission to the International Space Station.

Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers joined Burbank collecting blood and urine samples for the SOLO experiment, or Sodium Loading In Microgravity. SOLO observes a crew member’s fluid and salt retention and how it affects body mass.

Kuipers later videotaped himself building a windmill with LEGO Bricks. The videos of the ongoing educational project are downlinked to students to demonstrate scientific concepts.

Burbank also continued work on the Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-6, or BCAT-6. The study observes how microscopic particles interact with liquid crystals. Results can lead to the design of new materials with molecular precision.

Flight Engineer Anatoly Ivanishin conducted work with the Russian Earth observations study called Uragan, or Hurricane. The experiment observes changes on Earth and seeks to predict the effects of both man-made and natural disasters.

The six crew members spent an hour after lunch on Wednesday watching videos for a training session. They reviewed a new respirator purge technique for their emergency masks.

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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