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Station Raises Orbit for New Cargo Ship and Crew

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Mar 1, 2012 9:02 am via: NASA
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The International Space Station is orbiting at a higher altitude ready for a new cargo vehicle and new crew members. The Zvezda service module fired its engines for 76 seconds early Wednesday morning raising the station’s orbit by two-tenths of a mile at its highest point, or apogee, and 2.3 miles at its lowest point, or perigee.

The ISS Progress 47 resupply ship is targeted for launch April 20 from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. The Soyuz TMA-04M carrying three new Expedition 31 crew members is targeted for launch in May from Baikonur Cosmodrome. Scheduled to dock to the Poisk mini-research module two days after launch, the Soyuz will deliver Flight Engineers Gennady Padalka, Sergei Revin and Joe Acaba.

The third Automated Transfer Vehicle, nicknamed “Edoardo Amaldi” and built by the European Space Agency, is targeted to launch from Kourou, French Guiana, on March 9 delivering food, fuel and supplies.

Meanwhile, the current station residents are concentrating on routine maintenance and gearing up for more science aboard the orbital laboratory. An ongoing computer upgrade will increase the scientific capacity of the station to support more than 25 experiments simultaneously.

Commander Dan Burbank spent most of his afternoon installing EPIC hardware in an Avionics rack inside the Destiny lab. EPIC, or Enhanced Processor and Integrated Communications, the station’s computer upgrade program, not only will increase scientific capacity but also enable communications with upcoming commercial cargo craft.

Flight Engineer Don Pettit worked in the Kibo lab module reconfiguring a combustion chamber inside the Multipurpose Small Payload Rack. He also checked a camera that is taking pictures of samples from the Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-6 experiment. Pettit checked the camera’s batteries, alignment and focus.

Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers set up a small incubator, called Kubik, inside the European Drawer Rack which is a Columbus module science facility. He also performed some plumbing on the Water Recovery System in the Harmony node changing out the recycle filter tank assembly. Kuipers later entered the Joint Airlock and stowed spacewalk gear.

Flight Engineers and cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Anton Shkaplerov transferred cargo from the ISS Progress 46 vehicle while fellow cosmonaut and Flight Engineer Anatoly Ivanishin worked on Russian maintenance. The cosmonauts also worked on ongoing Russian experiments throughout the day such as Typology, Identification and Bar.

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