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Emergency Descent Drill for Station Crew

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:31 am via: NASA
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The International Space Station’s Expedition 32 crew kicked off the workday Tuesday with an emergency descent drill while awaiting the arrival of three additional flight engineers set to launch over the weekend.

Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineers Sergei Revin and Joe Acaba, who have been aboard the orbiting complex since May 17, reviewed their roles and responsibilities for a departure aboard their Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft in the event of an emergency evacuation from the station. The Soyuz, which carries crews to and from the station, serves as a lifeboat throughout each crew’s tour of duty.

Afterward, the commander removed and replaced a ventilation fan in the European Space Agency’s Automated Transfer Vehicle 3, which delivered 7.2 tons of food, fuel and supplies when it docked to the aft end of the Zvezda service module March 28. Padalka also performed routine maintenance on the life-support systems in the Russian segment of the station and tested the vacuum pump on the Vozdukh carbon dioxide removal system.

Revin meanwhile stowed items for disposal aboard the ISS Progress 47 cargo ship, which is set to undock on July 22 and re-dock to the station a day later to test upgrades to the Russian Kurs automated docking system. Progress 47 will perform its final undocking on July 30 for a destructive re-entry in the Earth’s atmosphere. Its final departure clears the Pirs docking compartment for the arrival of ISS Progress 48, set to launch on Aug. 1 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

In the U.S. segment of the station, Acaba performed some troubleshooting on a laptop computer associated with the International Space Station Agricultural Camera, or ISSAC. Remotely operated by students and faculty at the University of North Dakota, ISSAC takes frequent images of vegetated areas in the northern Great Plains region of the United States as well as dynamic processes around the world.

Acaba then turned his attention toward another student-operated photography experiment as he swapped out batteries in the Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students (EarthKAM) camera in the Window Observational Research Facility inside the Destiny laboratory. EarthKAM allows middle school students to program a digital camera aboard the station to photograph a variety of geographical targets for study in the classroom. More than 120 schools have signed up to participate in the experiment this week.

Taking a brief break from his work, Acaba used the station’s ham radio to talk with high school students participating in a summer program called Women in STEM High School Aerospace Scholars, or WISH. The students, selected from across the country, are attending briefings and engaging in competitive hands-on engineering activities related to space exploration and research at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Acaba also gathered exercise equipment for use by three new flight engineers scheduled to arrive next week. NASA astronaut Suni Williams, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, who completed their final unsuited fit check at the Integration Facility at the Baikonur Cosmodrome Tuesday, are set to launch aboard their Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft on July 14 and dock July 17 to begin a four-month tour of duty aboard the orbiting complex.

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