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Dragon Spends Last Day at Station

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu May 31, 2012 3:30 am via: NASA
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The SpaceX Dragon capsule is spending its last day at the International Space Station. Flight Engineers Andre Kuipers and Joe Acaba will unberth the Dragon from the Harmony Node with Canadarm2 Thursday at 4:05 a.m. EDT. Acaba will assist Flight Engineer Don Pettit with Dragon release. NASA TV coverage of unberthing activities begins at 2:30 a.m.

The Canadarm2 will release Dragon about 90 minutes later. After several engine firings to leave the station’s vicinity, Dragon will perform a final deorbit burn to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere for splashdown in the Pacific Ocean at 11:44 a.m. Splashdown will signify the successful completion of a nearly nine-day, eight-hour mission of the first commercial spacecraft to visit the station.

Before preparing the Dragon for its unberthing Acaba and Kuipers collected blood and urine samples for stowage in a science freezer. Pettit performed some plumbing work on the Environmental Control and Life Support System.

Kuipers later monitored the development of microbial biofilms on metallic and textile samples for the VIABLE experiment. Pettit and Acaba then spent their afternoon closing the hatches and sealing the vestibule between the Dragon and Harmony Node.

Commander Oleg Kononenko spent time setting up hardware for the ongoing Russian experiment Relaxation. The study observes the interaction of jet engine exhaust and plasma in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

Flight Engineer Sergei Revin assisted Kononenko on the Relaxation study. Revin later participated in an experiment that studies how crew members of differing cultures and nationalities get along and adapt during long-duration missions.

Flight Engineer Gennady Padalka worked on the Pneumocard experiment. The experiment studies the adaptation of a crew member’s cardiovascular system during long-duration missions. Padalka also replaced fire extinguishers and smoke detectors inside the station’s Russian segment.

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