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Japanese Cargo Craft, Soyuz Prepped for Departure

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:51 am via: NASA
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The Expedition 32 crew of the International Space Station prepared Tuesday for the upcoming unberthing of a Japanese cargo craft as well as this weekend’s departure of three crewmates aboard a Soyuz spacecraft.

Flight Engineers Joe Acaba and Aki Hoshide, who will be at the controls of the Canadarm2 robotic arm as it detaches the third H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-3) from the Earth-facing port of the station’s Harmony node Wednesday, spent much of their morning completing closeout work inside the cargo craft.

Hoshide activated i-Ball, a spherical sensor assembly within HTV-3 which will collect position, temperature and imagery data as the cargo craft burns up in the Earth’s atmosphere for disposal. Acaba meanwhile removed lighting assemblies inside HTV. Afterward Acaba and Hoshide closed the hatch to HTV-3 and with the assistance of Flight Engineer Suni Williams removed some electrical jumpers supplying power to the cargo craft and installed thermal blankets.

Hoshide and Acaba rounded out their workday installing a controller panel assembly for the Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM) at the port where HTV-3 is berthed to allow flight controllers to remotely prepare the CBM for demating while the crew sleeps.

HTV-3, launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) July 20, arrived at the orbiting laboratory July 27 with several tons of supplies and experiments. Its departure was delayed six days to accommodate a spacewalk by Williams and Hoshide on Sept. 5. NASA Television coverage of unberthing activities begins at 6:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday and returns at 11:30 a.m. for the release of HTV-3 from Canadarm2.

Flight Engineer Suni Williams shows off a plush toy of her dog, Gorby, during an in-flight interview aboard the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV
Williams also participated in the VO2Max experiment, which allows researchers on Earth to measure changes in the astronauts’ aerobic capacity during long-duration spaceflight and recommend changes to their daily two-hour exercise regimen. She later took a break from her work to talk with SpaceRef.com editor Keith Cowing for an in-flight interview on NASA TV.

Meanwhile Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Sergei Revin stowed additional items inside their Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft as they prepare for departure. Padalka, Revin and Acaba are scheduled to return to Earth Sept. 16 aboard the Soyuz after four months in space. The undocking of the Soyuz will mark the end of Expedition 32 and the start of Expedition 33 under the command of Williams.

Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko, who will remain aboard the station with Williams and Hoshide as a member of the Expedition 33 crew, spent much of his day installing communications equipment in the Russian segment of the station.

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