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Station Crew Members Prep for Departure

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:47 am via: NASA
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The Expedition 32 crew living and working aboard the International Space Station continued preparations for the departure of three of its crew members and performed a variety of research and maintenance activities Thursday.

To prepare for their upcoming departure, Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineers Sergei Revin and Joe Acaba participated in a session of Soyuz descent training and gathered and packed items for return to Earth. They are scheduled to undock from the station in their Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft at 7:09 p.m. EDT Sunday, landing a few hours later in the steppe of Kazakhstan at 10:53 p.m.

Expedition 33 will officially begin at undocking with Flight Engineer Suni Williams taking command of the station. Williams and Flight Engineers Aki Hoshide and Yuri Malenchenko are scheduled to continue their stay aboard the station until Nov. 12.

Williams participated in a special in-flight event for the YouTube Space Lab, speaking with Bill Nye the Science Guy about two experiments that were submitted via YouTube and selected for her to perform aboard the station. During the live event, Williams answered questions about the progress of the experiments and about her stay and experiences aboard the orbiting laboratory.

She also performed some maintenance on the Oxygen Generation System, removing and replacing a hydrogen sensor, and later, had a chance to speak with students in Sindelfingen, Germany and Oak Hill, Fla., via ham radio.

Acaba participated in a variety of medical experiments and gathered hardware for Friday’s scheduled maintenance of the Fluids Control Pump Assembly.

Hoshide, with assistance from Williams, worked with the Sprint experiment. Sprint involves taking leg ultrasound scans to measure the effectiveness of high-intensity, low-volume exercise training in minimizing the loss of muscle mass and bone density that occurs during long-term exposure to weightlessness.

Hoshide also took some sound measurements using an acoustic dosimeter, which helps to determine whether sound levels aboard the orbiting laboratory stay within acceptable levels for crew members.

Padalka, Revin and Malenchenko worked throughout the day in the station’s Russian segment performing a variety of maintenance tasks and science experiments.

On Wednesday, Acaba and Hoshide used Canadarm2, the station’s robotic arm, to detach and release the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle-3 from the orbiting laboratory. The Japanese cargo craft, filled with trash and other station discards, is set to descend into the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean for a fiery disposal on Friday.

Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle-3 is set to fire its engines on Thursday at 11:05 p.m. during an 8-minute, 56-second reboost. The orbit adjustment will place the station in a higher orbit to accommodate the undocking of the Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft on Sunday.

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