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Station Crew Preps for Dragon Arrival

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:35 am via: NASA
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The Expedition 33 crew of the International Space Station wrapped up preparations Tuesday for Wednesday morning’s arrival of the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft.

Commander Suni Williams and Flight Engineer Aki Hoshide spent much of their day reviewing procedures for the robotic grappling and berthing of Dragon. Hoshide will use the 57.7-foot Canadarm2 robotic arm to reach out and grapple the Dragon spacecraft at 7:22 a.m. EDT Wednesday and with the help of Williams guide Dragon to the Earth-facing side of the Harmony module. About two hours after it is grappled, Williams and Hoshide will swap places and Williams will install Dragon to Harmony’s Common Berthing Mechanism, enabling it to be bolted in place for its stay at the International Space Station.

NASA Television coverage of the rendezvous and grapple begins at 4 a.m., followed by berthing coverage at 9:15 a.m.

Williams and Hoshide also reviewed Dragon’s cargo list as they get set to unload its 882 pounds of crew supplies, science research and hardware and refill the craft with 1,673 pounds of cargo during its 18 days attached to the station. After its mission at the station is complete, the capsule will splashdown for recovery in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern California.

Dragon launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket at 8:35 p.m. Sunday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, beginning NASA’s first contracted cargo delivery flight, designated SpaceX CRS-1, to the station.

Williams rounded out her workday gathering hardware to outfit the Dragon’s vestibule on Wednesday prior to entering the vehicle on Thursday. She also took some time to answer questions from students in Pavia, Italy, over ham radio.

Hoshide meanwhile collected surface, air and water samples in the Japanese Kibo module to test for any microbial contamination.

In the Russian segment of the station, Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko worked with the Coulomb Crystal experiment, which gathers data about charged particles in a weightless environment, and conducted routine maintenance on life support systems.

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