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Station Raises Orbit as Crew Conducts Science, Maintains Systems

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sat May 5, 2012 9:06 am via: NASA
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The International Space Station is orbiting Earth at a higher altitude after Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle-3 fired its engines for 20 minutes Friday morning. The reboost puts the orbiting laboratory at the correct altitude when the next set of Expedition 31 crew members arrives early May 17 aboard the Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft.

Flight Engineer Don Pettit spent the first part of his day measuring his aerobic capacity and oxygen uptake for the VO2max experiment. That study observes crew members’ physical output on an exercise cycle and helps determine their ability to perform strenuous tasks such as spacewalks and emergency procedures.

Pettit later continued preparations for the future visit of the SpaceX Dragon capsule. He checked out the performance of a communications panel that will be used when the first commercial cargo vehicle arrives at the station.

After that checkout, Pettit continued more aerobics work for the Sprint experiment. That research helps scientists determine the best microgravity exercise routines to minimize muscle and bone loss and maintain proper cardiovascular function.

Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers worked on several experiments throughout his day. He worked on downloading data captured for the Integrated Cardiovascular study. Kuipers also performed maintenance on the Kubik facility that stores biological samples in the Columbus laboratory.

Kuipers also spent some time setting up gear for a NanoRacks experiment. NanoRacks is a company that enables other companies and education institutions to conduct microgravity experiments on the space station.

Commander Oleg Kononenko worked in the Russian segment of the station checking cables and photographing their condition. He also checked on an air purification system in the Zvezda service module.

Kononenko copied data recorded for the Identification experiment to a laptop computer. The ongoing experiment measures dynamic loads on the station’s Russian segment during vehicle dockings, orbital reboosts and spacewalks.

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