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Station Crew Conducts Physics and Biomedical Research

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Mar 7, 2012 7:16 am via: NASA
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The six-person Expedition 30 crew of the International Space Station awoke at 1 a.m. EST Tuesday to begin a day filled with science experiments and maintenance of the orbital complex.

Commander Dan Burbank, a NASA astronaut, spent much of his morning assessing the rack housing the Water Recovery System that supplies the crew with clean, recycled water. The commander confirmed that a partial rotation of the rack will provide enough clearance to perform maintenance on the system’s Water Processor Assembly. Ground teams are developing an in-flight maintenance procedure following last week’s detection of a leak in a catalytic converter component that has temporarily shut down the system. The crew currently is supplying the potable water bus by filling it from Contingency Water Containers stored on the station.

Burbank also performed troubleshooting on a laptop associated with the ISS Agricultural Camera before moving on to another session with the Capillary Flow Experiment. That experiment, which takes a close look at how fluids flow across surfaces in a weightless environment, will improve computer models used to design fluid transfer systems and fuel tanks on future spacecraft.

Burbank’s fellow NASA astronaut aboard the station, Flight Engineer Don Pettit, tackled an extensive cleanup of the intake and exhaust vents in the crew quarters. Later, Pettit collected a test sample from the Water Recovery System.

Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers of the European Space Agency conducted a session with the VO2max experiment, which studies changes in the astronauts’ aerobic capacity during long-duration spaceflight. Data from this research also may provide valuable insight into the aerobic capacity of teams in closed environments on Earth, such as arctic bases and submarines.

Kuipers later took a break from his work to answer a ham radio call from students in Noordwijk, Netherlands. Kuipers, who hails from Amsterdam, answered a variety of questions about living and working in space from the winners of the Spaceship Earth competition.

The cosmonauts on the Russian side of the station, Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov, Anatoly Ivanishin and Oleg Kononenko, also tackled a number of maintenance tasks and experiments studying the effects of long-duration spaceflight on the human body.

Shkaplerov and Kononenko both spent several hours checking the inventory of photo and video equipment and medical kits.

Shkaplerov later joined up with Ivanishin for a study of orthostatic stability during long duration spaceflight, while Kononenko participated in a Russian cardiovascular study known as Pneumocard.

Meanwhile, work is on schedule at the Arianespace launch site in Kourou, French Guiana for the rescheduled launch of the “Edoardo Amadli” ATV-3 cargo ship atop an Ariane 5 rocket. Set to deliver more than 7 tons of supplies to the station, the ATV-3 is now planned to launch at 12:34 a.m. EDT on March 23, with a docking scheduled to the aft port of the Zvezda service module on March 28 at 6:34 p.m.

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