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Orientation, Science and Maintenance for Station Crew; SpaceX Preps for Launch

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sat May 19, 2012 8:30 am via: NASA
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After the arrival of the three newest residents of the International Space Station Thursday, the Expedition 31 crew members focused on familiarization and emergency training Friday, and continued their work with a variety of science experiments and maintenance. Flight Engineers Gennady Padalka, Joe Acaba and Sergei Revin were welcomed aboard the orbiting laboratory on Thursday at 4:10 a.m. EDT after a two-day journey that began with a launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Monday.

Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineers Don Pettit and Andre Kuipers, who have been living aboard the station since Dec. 23, trained the newest crew members on the location and operation of emergency equipment throughout the orbiting complex. Padalka, Acaba and Revin will have time set aside over the next several days for familiarization tasks and orientation activities as they adjust to life aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Pettit checked the power supply on the new Image Processing Unit and transferred an EXPRESS laptop computer from EXPRESS Rack 5 to EXPRESS Rack 7. He also was joined by Acaba to remove and replace the Pre-Treat Tank in the Waste and Hygiene Compartment.

Kuipers worked with the Energy Requirements for Long-Term Space Flight experiment. Also known as Energy, the investigation studies methods for maintaining crew members’ energy balance and for counteracting the effects of long-term exposure to the microgravity environment of space.

Kuipers also inspected the station’s Portable Emergency Provisions, which include the Portable Fire Extinguishers, Portable Breathing Apparatus, and Extension Hose Tee Kits to ensure they are working properly.

Kononenko performed sound level measurements to ensure equipment sound levels are within safe ranges. He also spent some time in the Russian segment of the station, performing maintenance and monitoring its systems.

Padalka and Revin worked with the Plazmida experiment, which examines the effects of microgravity on the rate of transfer and mobilization of bacteria plasmids. Revin also worked with the radiation payload suite Matryoshka-R, which is designed for sophisticated radiation studies and is named after the traditional Russian set of nested dolls.

Meanwhile, at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, SpaceX ground controllers are gearing up for the launch of the Dragon capsule on Saturday. The first commercial cargo craft to travel to the station is scheduled to launch at 4:55 a.m. with the Canadarm2 grappling Dragon Tuesday for a berthing to the Harmony node.

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