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Station Crew Focuses on Science, Cargo Craft Activities

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:14 pm via: NASA
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Expedition 33 Commander Suni Williams and Flight Engineers Aki Hoshide and Yuri Malenchenko, working as a three-person crew aboard the International Space Station since the departure of their Expedition 32 crewmates Sunday, enjoyed a light-duty workday Tuesday.

Working in the station’s Columbus module, Williams checked out the Erasmus Recording Binocular, a video camera that will be used to take 3-D images of the interior of the station.

Williams also participated in a session with the Spaceflight Cognitive Assessment Tool for Windows, or WinSCAT, a test that tracks changes in a crew member’s cognitive abilities during long duration spaceflight. Afterward, she conducted the Reversible Figures experiment, which tracks how the adaptation of an astronaut’s neurovestibular system to weightlessness may alter 3-D visual perception.

Hoshide meanwhile photographed the racks inside the European Space Agency’s Automated Transfer Vehicle-3 (ATV-3), which delivered 7.2 tons of food, fuel and supplies when it docked to the aft port of the Zvezda service module on March 28. ATV-3, now filled with trash and unneeded items, will depart the station on Sept. 25 for a destructive re-entry in Earth’s atmosphere a day later.

Hoshide and Williams teamed up in the afternoon to prepare for the arrival of another cargo craft, the SpaceX Dragon. The two astronauts reviewed the procedures for grappling Dragon with the station’s robotic arm and berthing it to the Earth-facing side of the station’s Harmony node. The reusable cargo craft made history when it became the first commercial spacecraft to dock with the station during its demonstration flight in May 2012. Dragon is scheduled to launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket in early October for its first commercial resupply mission to the orbiting complex.

After completing their proficiency training for the Dragon rendezvous, Williams and Hoshide spoke with flight controllers to review the results and discuss any late changes to the procedures.

On the Russian side of the station, Malenchenko spent most of his morning on weekly housekeeping chores, cleaning ventilation screens and inspecting the air conditioner. Later Malenchenko checked on the Identifikatsia experiment, which measures the loads on the space station’s structure during dynamic events such as dockings, reboosts, spacewalks and exercise sessions.

The station’s residents also had a number of opportunities to observe and photograph our home planet as they orbit nearly 260 miles above the Earth’s surface. Among the targets suggested to the crew for photography Tuesday were Hurricane Lane in the eastern Pacific Ocean and the Mustang Complex fire in Idaho. The station crew’s photographs are uploaded regularly to several NASA image sites. In addition, Williams occasionally posts photos to her Twitter account as part of a geography quiz.

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