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Progress Re-dock Postponed; Station Crew Conducts Science

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:24 am via: NASA
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Following the postponement of a Russian cargo craft re-docking late Monday, the six-person Expedition 32 crew spent Tuesday conducting science experiments and performing routine maintenance aboard the International Space Station.

The ISS Progress 47 cargo craft, which initially undocked from the station Sunday, was on track to re-dock with the complex Monday night for a test of its new Kurs-NA automated rendezvous system when a systems issue triggered a passive abort. The Progress passed a safe distance below and eventually behind the station to enable Russian space officials to evaluate data in determining the cause.

Pending Russian analysis of the problem, the next re-docking attempt for the Progress will take place no earlier than Saturday, a day after the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle-3 (HTV3) is grappled and berthed to the Earth-facing port on the Harmony module.

A passive abort is a standard automatic procedure that is designed to take the spacecraft to a safe distance away from the station should an anomaly occur.

Progress 47’s cargo mission was already completed and the hatches will not be reopened when the vehicle re-docks.

Flight Engineer Joe Acaba began his workday Tuesday collecting blood and urine samples and storing them in the Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS, or MELFI, for later analysis back on Earth. Flight Engineer Aki Hoshide assisted Acaba with that blood draw.

Acaba also collected environment samples to make sure that the air they breathe and the water they drink aboard station remain safe and clean.

Acaba later assisted Flight Engineer Suni Williams with the Integrated Cardiovascular which measures the atrophy of the heart muscle that appears to develop during long-duration spaceflight. Investigators use the data from these tests to develop countermeasures to keep the crew healthy. The research also may have benefits for people on Earth with heart problems.

Williams spent part of her day setting up a computer for Friday’s grapple and berthing of HTV3, also known as Kounotori3, or “white stork.” The Japanese cargo craft will be commanded to fly within about 40 feet while Acaba and Hoshide use Canadarm2, the station’s Canadian Space Agency-provided robotic arm, to grapple the vehicle and berth it to a docking port on the Earth-facing side of the Harmony node.

Williams also conducted an ultrasound scan on herself to provide data for the Vessel Imaging experiment, which studies changes in blood vessel wall properties during and after long-duration spaceflight.

Hoshide installed a cooling fan in the Japanese Kibo module and later participated in a session with the Integrated Cardiovascular experiment.

Commander Gennady Padalka conducted some tests through the space-to-ground communication system while Flight Engineer Sergei Revin performed routine maintenance on the SOZh life-support system in the Russian segment of the station. The third Russian crew member, Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko, familiarized himself with the onboard computer network and replaced a Russian laptop computer.

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