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Station Crew Preparing for Two Spacewalks

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Aug 8, 2012 5:45 am via: NASA
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The Expedition 32 crew of the International Space Station set up science hardware, prepared for a pair of upcoming spacewalks and conducted an emergency drill Tuesday while the flight team on the ground remotely conducted robotics operations outside the orbiting complex.

Flight Engineer Joe Acaba focused his efforts on the Fluids and Combustion Facility’s Combustion Integrated Rack, replacing hardware for the Multi-user Droplet Combustion Apparatus. This rack, which includes an optics bench, combustion chamber, fuel and oxidizer control, and five different cameras, allows a variety of combustion experiments to be performed safely aboard the station.

Flight Engineers Suni Williams and Aki Hoshide spent part of their day preparing for a spacewalk they will perform on Aug. 30. Williams cycled the positive pressure relief valves on the spacesuits she and Hoshide will wear during the excursion out to the station’s truss to replace a failed Main Bus Switching Unit — a distribution hub for the station’s power system – with a spare located on an external stowage platform. Hoshide meanwhile moved unneeded hardware out of the airlock to clean up the work area as spacewalk preparations ramp up.

Williams and Hoshide also teamed up to record an educational video demonstrating how astronauts orient themselves in an environment where there is no gravity to point the way up or down.

Williams rounded out her day installing electro-magnetic interference filters on the Fluid Science Laboratory’s video management unit and setting up equipment for the VO2Max experiment, which allows researchers on Earth to measure changes in the astronauts’ aerobic capacity during long-duration spaceflight.

On the Russian side of the station, Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko studied procedures for a spacewalk they will conduct on Aug. 20 to prepare the Pirs docking compartment for its replacement with a new laboratory and docking module. The spacewalkers will relocate the Strela-2 hand-operated crane from the Pirs docking compartment to the Zarya module. Strela-1 was moved from Pirs to the Poisk Mini-Research Module during an Expedition 30 spacewalk in February.

The third cosmonaut, Flight Engineer Sergei Revin, conducted an audit of spare lights and performed routine maintenance on the life-support systems in the Russian segment.

All six station crew members participated in an emergency drill to review their response to an accidental release of ammonia inside the station. Ammonia circulates through radiators on the exterior of the station as part of the Active Thermal Control System to shed heat from the orbiting complex.

While the crew worked inside the station Tuesday, the ground team remotely commanded the station’s Canadarm2 and its two-arm extension, Dextre, to transfer the Space Communications and Navigation (SCAN) payload from the External Pallet, which was removed Monday from the H-II Transfer Vehicle-3, to the External Logistics Carrier 3. Dextre then performed a video survey of the Space Test Program – Houston 3 payload before being stowed on Mobile Base System 2.

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