Headlines > News > Station Crew and Ground Experts Team Up for Plumbing Work

Station Crew and Ground Experts Team Up for Plumbing Work

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Oct 3, 2012 6:15 am via: NASA
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Expedition 33 Commander Sunita Williams and Flight Engineer Akihiko Hoshide were able to repair one of the two toilets on the International Space Station today, practiced robotic grapple of Dragon prior to the first SpaceX commercial resupply flight, and conducted research into the weakening of the human heart that occurs in space but could someday help people on Earth with heart problems.

After some troubleshooting of the Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) yesterday, ground experts narrowed down the problem to a malfunctioning dose pump, a device that injects just the right amount of pre-treat chemicals into the waste. Today, the crew successfully replaced the dose pump and got the toilet working normally again.

The two astronauts also worked on a variety of ongoing science experiments inside the orbital laboratory. They teamed up for the Integrated Cardiovascular study which observes a crew member while exercising on a stationary bicycle using ultrasound in an effort to measure the weakening of the heart that occurs in microgravity. The duo also measured their body masses using the Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device (SLAMMD).

Williams gathered items to begin work on replacing the Oxygen Generation System’s activated carbon/ion exchange unit. She also began work to provide alternate power to a control electronics unit that will enable the replacement of a remote power control module inside the robotics workstation.

Hoshide joined Williams later in the day to review robotics procedures and train for the capture and berthing of the SpaceX Dragon capsule next week. Dragon’s launch on the SpaceX-1 mission is scheduled for Oct. 7 at 8:35 p.m. EDT, and the duo will grapple and berth the spacecraft starting at 7:32 a.m. Wednesday.

Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko worked throughout the station’s Russian segment, removing equipment no longer needed after the departure of Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle-3 (ATV-3) resupply craft, performing routine maintenance and supporting several experiments. He copied and downlinked data for the Laser Communication System, checked and tested hardware and set up gear to take blood samples.

ATV-3, named “Edoardo Amaldi,” is orbiting the Earth after undocking Friday evening from the Zvezda service module. The ATV-3 will deorbit tonight for a fiery re-entry over the Pacific Ocean that will destroy the trash-filled spacecraft. Inside the ATV-3 is the ReEntry Breakup Recorder that will record various data such as temperature, pressure and speed as the resupply craft burns up during its return to Earth. Experts will use that data to design safer and more predictable destructive re-entry techniques.

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