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Spacewalk Preps, Science and Maintenance for Station Crew

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:11 am
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The Expedition 30 crew members living and working aboard the International Space Station prepared for an upcoming Russian spacewalk and worked with a variety of scientific research from around the world on Thursday. They also continued the upkeep and maintenance of the systems aboard the orbiting laboratory.

To prepare for their upcoming spacewalk, Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Anton Shkaplerov tested the communication systems and biomedical sensor systems on their Russian Orlan spacesuits.

They are scheduled to exit the station’s Pirs docking compartment airlock on Feb. 16 for a six-hour spacewalk to move one of the two Strela hand-operated cranes to the Poisk module and install five debris shields on the Zvezda service module. If time permits, Kononenko and Shkaplerov also will attach two experiments on the exterior of the station and install support struts on the ladder attached to Pirs.

Flight Engineer Anatoly Ivanishin and Shkaplerov installed the hatch mechanism to the ISS Progress 46 cargo ship currently docked to the Pirs docking compartment. The hatch to the cargo ship is scheduled to be closed Friday to accommodate the upcoming spacewalk, which will begin in Pirs.

In the Kibo module, Commander Dan Burbank worked on the removal of the Data Multiplexer from the Inter-Communications System rack that is set for return aboard the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.

Burbank was later joined by Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers for some maintenance work on the Total Organic Carbon Analyzer, which is necessary for checking drinking water quality.

Flight Engineer Don Pettit installed hardware for a combustion experiment in the Microgravity Science Glovebox. The Structure and Liftoff In Combustion Experiment, or SLICE, investigates the nature of flames in microgravity and could lead to improvements in technologies aimed at reducing pollution and improving burning efficiency for a wide variety of industries.

Kuipers worked on a commercial experiment that is part of NASA’s partnership with NanoRacks. He also unloaded cargo from the ISS Progress 46 cargo craft.

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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