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New Station Crew Members Set For Launch Saturday

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sat Jul 14, 2012 8:42 am via: NASA
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At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Soyuz rocket that will carry Flight Engineers Suni Williams, Yuri Malenchenko and Aki Hoshide into orbit aboard the Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft sat atop the launch pad Friday in preparation for its scheduled launch on Saturday at 10:40 p.m. EDT (8:40 a.m. Kazakhstan time Sunday). The three new crew members will join the Expedition 32 crew aboard the International Space Station when their Soyuz docks to the orbiting complex on Tuesday. NASA Television begins launch coverage at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The launch and docking of the Expedition 32 crew members coincides with the 37th anniversary of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, the first docking of an American spacecraft with a Russian spacecraft. An Apollo spacecraft from Kennedy Space Center and a Soyuz 7K-TM vehicle from Baikonur Cosmodrome launched on July 15, 1975, then docked two days later.

Meanwhile, in orbit high above the Earth, Expedition 32 Flight Engineer Joe Acaba focused on cleaning the exhaust and intake ducts of the Starboard Crew Quarters Friday to prepare them for the arrival of his new crewmates.

Acaba also swapped out batteries on the Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students (EarthKAM) camera in the Window Observational Research Facility inside the Destiny laboratory. EarthKAM is a student-operated photography experiment that allows middle school students to program a digital camera aboard the station to photograph a variety of geographical targets for study in the classroom.

Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Sergei Revin participated in a Russian medical test called SPRUT-2, which investigates the distribution and behavior of human body fluids in zero gravity. They also had some time set aside to monitor and maintain the systems in the Russian segment of the station, including a test of the station’s TV system to prepare for the upcoming docking of the Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft.

Over the weekend, the station residents will continue preparations for the arrival of their crewmates and perform some regular maintenance duties and ongoing scientific research. They also will enjoy some off-duty time and have an opportunity to speak with family members.

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