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Station Crew Upgrades Computers; Reboost Wednesday

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:45 am via: NASA
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The six Expedition 30 crew members conducted experiments, transferred cargo and upgraded computers that support the scientific mission of the International Space Station Tuesday. Meanwhile Russian flight controllers geared up for Wednesday’s reboost of the station.

Flight Engineer Don Pettit spent much of his day with the Capillary Flow Experiment (CFE-2), taking a close look at how fluids flow across 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.

Pettit also checked on another physics experiment studying processes that are cloaked by the effects of gravity here on Earth. The Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-6 (BCAT-6) science payload takes a look at how gas and liquid phases separate and come together in microgravity and may lead to the development of cheaper household products, foods and medicines with improved shelf life.

Pettit later set up the combustion chamber in the Multi-Purpose Small Payload Rack in the Japanese Kibo module.

A large portion of Commander Dan Burbank’s day focused on the installation of a set of Enhanced Processor and Integrated Communications (EPIC) cards in one of the station’s primary computers in the Destiny laboratory. The new cards have faster processors, more memory and an Ethernet connection for data output.

Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers meanwhile upgraded laptop computers in the Columbus lab.

On the Russian side of the station, Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Anton Shkaplerov continued unloading cargo from the ISS Progress 46 cargo craft berthed at the Pirs docking compartment. Progress 46 arrived at the station in January delivering 2.9 tons of food, fuel and equipment to the Expedition 30 crew.

Kononenko and Shkaplerov also upgraded the Lower Body Negative Pressure suits with replacement parts. These suits, which are used to test a cosmonaut’s adaptation to prolonged exposure to weightlessness, draw the body’s fluids away from the head and torso by applying suction to the lower portion of the body.

Flight Engineer Anatoly Ivanishin performed routine maintenance on the life support systems in the Zvezda service module.

The station’s residents also had opportunities for Earth observation and photography as they orbited the world every 90 minutes. Tuesday’s orbital path provided chances for the crew to photograph a number of world capitals including Asmara, Eritrea; Tirane, Albania; San Jose, Costa Rica; and Washington, D.C. Over half a million photos of our planet taken from aboard the station are available online at the Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.

The Zvezda service module’s engines will fire Wednesday at 5:12 a.m. EST for a reboost that will raise the station’s altitude in preparation for a flurry of departures and dockings in the months ahead. The 1-minute, 16-second firing will set up the proper phasing for the launch and docking of the ISS Progress 47 cargo craft and the landing of the Expedition 30 crew in the Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft in April, as well as the launch of three Expedition 31 crew members in the Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft crew in May.

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