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Station Crew Works Transfers and Science, Awaits New Residents

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu May 3, 2012 8:48 am via: NASA
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The three-member Expedition 31 crew aboard the International Space Station is focusing on cargo transfers and science. They also await three new crew members who have arrived at Baikonur Cosmodrome preparing for a May 14 launch to join their orbiting crewmates.

Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers worked to transfer cargo and trash back and forth from the “Edoardo Amaldi” Automated Transfer Vehicle-3. He also packed gear to be stowed and returned to Earth aboard the SpaceX Dragon capsule.

The Falcon 9 rocket that will launch Dragon to space successfully test fired its engines for two seconds at the launch pad Monday afternoon. However, the first commercial cargo craft’s May 7 launch target appears unlikely as SpaceX continues to work through the software assurance process with NASA.

Flight Engineer Don Pettit worked with two different experiments one studying fluids and another observing flames in microgravity. Pettit also set up the Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device to measure a crew member’s mass. The device exerts a known force, based on Newton’s second law of motion, against a crew member and the resulting acceleration is used to calculate his mass.

Commander Oleg Kononenko continued work with an ongoing Russian ocean observations experiment. The study identifies life-producing areas and characteristics of the Earth’s oceans to promote fishing. The commander also conducted routine maintenance and updated the inventory management system.

Meanwhile, Flight Engineers Gennady Padalka, Joseph Acaba and Sergei Revin have left the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City near Moscow. They will join Kononenko, Pettit and Kuipers when they launch and arrive at the station aboard the Soyuz TMA-04 spacecraft in mid-May completing the six-member Expedition 31 crew.

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