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Station Crew Preparing for Thursday’s Spacewalk

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:52 pm via: NASA
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The Expedition 32 crew living and working aboard the International Space Station focused on robotics, science and spacewalk preparations Tuesday.

Flight Engineer Aki Hoshide updated procedures for a 6.5-hour spacewalk that he and fellow Flight Engineer Suni Williams will conduct on Thursday to swap out a balky main bus switching unit, one of several power relay boxes on the long truss backbone of the station. The two spacewalkers also will route cables for a future Russian laboratory module and replace a failing camera associated with the Canadarm2 robotic arm. NASA Television coverage of the spacewalk begins Thursday at 7 a.m.

Hoshide rounded out his day inspecting hatch seals throughout the U.S. side of the station and collecting dust samples in the Kibo module to test for microbial contamination.

Meanwhile inside the Destiny laboratory, Flight Engineer Joe Acaba powered up Robonaut 2, the first humanoid robot in space, for another round of remote testing as teams on the ground commanded it to clean a handrail. Robonaut was designed with the intention of eventually taking over tasks deemed too dangerous or mundane for astronauts, perhaps even venturing outside the complex to assist spacewalkers with repairs or additions to the station. After Tuesday’s tests were completed, Williams assisted Acaba in stowing Robonaut until the next set of tests in a few weeks.

Later, to prepare for Thursday’s spacewalk, Acaba teamed up with Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko to review the robotic arm activities they will be conducting from inside the station to assist the spacewalkers.

Williams spent part of her day on a couple of educational outreach projects. With the assistance of Hoshide, she recorded an Exploration Design Challenge demonstration, highlighting the radiation research being conducted aboard the complex. Later, during a live in-flight event broadcast on NASA Television, she answered questions from students at Wickliffe Progressive Community School in Upper Arlington, Ohio.

In the Russian segment of the station, Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Sergei Revin donned Lower Body Negative Pressure outfits that simulate gravity’s effect on the body by drawing the body’s fluids to the lower half of the body. Russian researchers collect this data to predict how the cosmonauts’ bodies will react to Earth’s gravity after landing. Along with Acaba, Padalka and Revin will be returning to Earth Sept. 16 aboard their Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft after four months in space.

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