Headlines > News > Expedition 31 Prepares for Crew Change; Science and Maintenance Continue

Expedition 31 Prepares for Crew Change; Science and Maintenance Continue

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:21 am via: NASA
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While three crew members prepare to end their stay at the International Space Station, another trio is in Russia gearing up for launch. Meanwhile, the orbiting Expedition 31 crew members move along conducting international science and maintaining station systems.

The homebound trio includes Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineers Don Pettit and Andre Kuipers. They conducted leak checks of the Sokol suits they will wear when they re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere inside the Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft for a July 1 landing in Kazakhstan.

Pettit continued assembly of the Amine Swingbed hardware for installation into an EXPRESS Rack. The Amine Swingbed is a technology demonstration of a smaller, more efficient system to scrub carbon dioxide from the atmosphere of a future spacecraft.

Kuipers worked in the Kibo laboratory on the Fluid Physics Experiment Facility. He installed a cassette for the Marangoni Inside experiment working closely with Japanese payload controllers during the delicate task.

Flight Engineer Joe Acaba inspected, cleaned and sampled bacteria filters in the Unity, Harmony and Tranquility modules. Acaba also was inside Kibo installing an Antimicrobial Applicator inside the laboratory’s Internal Thermal Control System.

Flight Engineers Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin worked together in the station’s Russian segment. They both tagged up with ground specialists for a study of veins in the legs of a station crew member. The duo also conducted maintenance on the station’s treadmill in the Zvezda service module.

Padalka also spent time on the Plasma Crystal experiment investigating how space radiation affects plasma dust structures inside the station. Revin copied data for Sonocard, a crew health monitoring experiment, and worked to clean vent screens.

At the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, three Expedition 32 crew members were training inside the Soyuz and Zvezda service module simulators. Flight Engineers Suni Williams, Yuri Malenchenko and Aki Hoshide are scheduled to launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-05M from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, on July 14.

The first of three days of Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) operations came to a successful conclusion with the NASA and Canadian Space Agency ground teams completing all scheduled satellite-servicing tasks using the NASA RRM module and the Canadian Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) robot. Remotely controlled from the ground by mission operators at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, SPDM used the RRM Multifunction Tool (MFT) to remove and stow a T-valve on the RRM module, the first of four main tasks scheduled for this set of operations.

The MFT, developed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, is in position to demonstrate the next two satellite-servicing tasks on the RRM module: removing and stowing an ambient cap, and manipulating a plug located under the ambient cap. RRM operations demonstrate the tools, technologies, and techniques needed to robotically repair and refuel satellites on orbit, especially satellites that were not designed for servicing.

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