Headlines > News > Station Crew Relaxes After Weekend ATV-3 Work

Station Crew Relaxes After Weekend ATV-3 Work

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Apr 3, 2012 6:15 am via: NASA
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Because the Expedition 30 crew members were pressed into action Saturday for an expedited unloading of cargo from the European Space Agency’s “Edoardo Amaldi “ Automated Transfer Vehicle-3 (ATV-3), they were given Monday off.

Working efficiently off of a priority list Saturday, the crew moved bags of vital supplies of clothing, food, spare parts and other crew provisions from the European ship to the International Space Station and began loading trash back into the cargo vehicle.

Working together, flight controllers at NASA’s Mission Control in Houston, the European Space Agency’s ATV Control Center in Toulouse, France, and the Russian Mission Control Center outside Moscow successfully restored power Saturday to the ATV-3. Controllers in Toulouse sent commands to connect a backup power channel in the Russian Equipment Control System, or RECS, that enables electricity to flow from the station to the ATV-3, setting the stage for a reboost of the station Saturday afternoon and avoiding an early undocking of the resupply craft. Controllers at all three centers reported that the backup RECS channel was connected to the proper power bus with all relays closed at 1:03 p.m. EDT Saturday.

The primary channel of the RECS failed late Thursday during air scrubbing of the interior of the cargo ship. The cause of the failure is under investigation. The ATV-3 can receive electricity through the RECS or its solar arrays, but the station entered a timeframe Monday in which the angle of the sun relative to the complex would have made power generation through the supply ship’s solar arrays impossible. Had Saturday’s connection operation been unsuccessful, flight controllers would have begun work for an undocking of the Edoardo Amaldi early this week.

Because the power connection was made successfully, the ATV-3’s primary thrusters fired for six minutes, 51 seconds to raise the perigee of the station’s orbit by about two statute miles, setting up the proper phasing for the ISS Progress 47 docking to the station on April 22. The reboost also prepares the orbital complex for the undocking and landing of Expedition 30 Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin on April 27 and the launch of their replacements, Expedition 31/32 crew members Gennady Padalka, Joe Acaba and Sergei Revin on May 15. A follow up reboost to raise the apogee of the station’s orbit is planned for Thursday.

The electrical failure did not impact scheduled scientific research aboard the station. The crew still spent time on experiments Monday, including the Bar experiment, a Russian investigation that looks at methods and instruments for detecting the location of a loss of pressure aboard the orbital complex.

One of the activities originally planned for this week was the continuing engineering analysis of the Robonaut humanoid robot on board the orbital laboratory. Robonaut activities have been rescheduled for the week of April 9.

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