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Station Residents Await Launch of Crewmates

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sat May 12, 2012 6:34 am via: NASA
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The three Expedition 31 crew members aboard the International Space Station focused on science experiments and cargo transfers Friday while awaiting Monday’s launch of three additional crew members.

After beginning the day with a routine check of the station’s air quality, Flight Engineer Don Pettit participated in several experiments studying the effects of long-duration spaceflight on the human body.

The next trio of crew members bound for the International Space Station pose in front of the hatchway to their Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft as they completed their final "fit check" inspection of the vehicle. Photo credit: NASA/Victor Zelentsov

The next trio of crew members bound for the International Space Station pose in front of the hatchway to their Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft as they completed their final "fit check" inspection of the vehicle. Photo credit: NASA/Victor Zelentsov

For the Integrated Cardiovascular experiment he downloaded data from a Holter monitor and an Actiwatch that monitored his cardiovascular system for 48 hours earlier in the week. Pettit then moved on to Sprint, an experiment that measures the effectiveness of high-intensity, low-volume exercise training in minimizing the loss of muscle mass and bone density that occurs during long-term exposure to weightlessness.

Pettit spent much of his afternoon with an experiment known as Burning And Suppression of Solids, or BASS, which studies how a variety of solid materials burn and extinguish in microgravity. Results from BASS may lead to improvements in spacecraft materials selection, strategies for extinguishing accidental fires aboard spacecraft and improved computational models used in the design of fire detection and suppression systems here on Earth.

Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers’ day largely centered on cargo operations. He began in the Japanese Kibo module, consolidating stowage bags to make room for additional items that will be arriving aboard the H-II Transfer Vehicle-3 in July. Afterward, with occasional assistance from Pettit, Kuipers unpacked cargo from the European Space Agency’s Automated Transfer Vehicle-3 docked at the aft end of the Zvezda service module. Among the items retrieved and unpacked Friday was some hardware for a water test that Kuipers will perform Monday.

In the Russian segment of the station Commander Oleg Kononenko performed routine maintenance on the life support systems, collected photos and video of life aboard the station and transferred water from a storage tank aboard the ISS Progress 47 cargo craft.

Meanwhile at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, final preparations are under way for the launch of Flight Engineers Joe Acaba, Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin aboard the Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft on Monday at 11:01 p.m. EDT. The three crew members conducted their final “fit check” inspection Friday of the Soyuz vehicle in its assembly building. On Saturday, the Soyuz will be mated to its booster before being rolled out by rail to the launch pad Sunday. The trio will join their Expedition 31 crewmates aboard the station after the Soyuz docks to the Poisk module at 12:38 a.m. Thursday.

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