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Station Crew Focuses on Visiting Vehicle Activities

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:07 pm via: NASA
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Aboard the orbiting International Space Station, Expedition 33 Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko and Aki Hoshide closed the hatches to Europe’s “Edoardo Amaldi” Automated Transfer Vehicle-3 (ATV-3) and began performing leak checks in advance of the cargo craft’s undocking. ATV-3 will depart from the station Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. EDT and enter the Earth’s atmosphere for a fiery destruction over the Pacific Ocean. NASA Television coverage of the undocking will begin at 6:15 p.m.

The next Automated Transfer Vehicle, ATV-4, which is named “Albert Einstein,” is slated to launch in April of next year.

Before closing the hatches, Hoshide activated and installed a device known as the ReEntry Breakup Recorder (REBR) inside the ATV-3. REBR will record data during the re-entry and breakup of the cargo vehicle and will return that data for analysis. Understanding how vehicles behave during atmospheric re-entry gives future spacecraft developers unique information that can enhance design efficiencies and safety.

Hoshide also joined station Commander Suni Williams in training for the upcoming grappling of the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft. Williams and Hoshide will grab the ship with Canadarm2, the station’s robotic arm, and berth it to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module.

Dragon is set to launch on Oct. 7 and arrive at the station on Oct. 10. The supply craft will be carrying about 1,000 pounds of material to the orbital complex. When it leaves about three weeks later, it will be packed with about 700 pounds of science material and 500 pounds of station hardware that will be returned to Earth when Dragon splashes down in the ocean. This will be the first of 12 operational flights for the commercial spacecraft.

Hoshide and Williams also replaced some valves in the station’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly.

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