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Station Crew Unloading Dragon, Conducting Science

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:39 pm via: NASA
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The International Space Station’s Expedition 33 crew wrapped up the week Friday with science experiments, station maintenance and more cargo transfers from the recently arrived SpaceX Dragon cargo craft.

Commander Suni Williams and Flight Engineer Aki Hoshide, who used the station’s robotic arm to grapple and berth Dragon to the Earth-facing side of the Harmony module Wednesday, continued unloading cargo from the commercial cargo craft. In addition to the 882 pounds of crew supplies, science research and hardware that Dragon delivered to the station, the crew will reload the craft with 1,673 pounds of cargo for return to Earth when the capsule makes its parachute-assisted splashdown Oct. 28 in the Pacific Ocean, 250 miles off the southern California coast.

In addition to her cargo transfers, Williams activated the mixing tubes in the NanoRacks Module 9 payload. NanoRacks provides microgravity research facilities for small standardized payloads aboard the station.

Williams also assisted Hoshide with ultrasound scans as he participated in Sprint, which is an experiment that measures 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.

Williams, who hails from Needham, Mass., took a break from her work to talk with the Boston news media. During the in-flight interviews with WBZ-TV’s David Wade and WCVB-TV’s Jennifer Berryman, Williams discussed life aboard the station, Boston sports and the Dragon spacecraft.

Meanwhile in the Japanese Kibo module, Hoshide collected air samples to test for any microbes. He also repressurized Kibo’s airlock, which was most recently used to pass the Small Satellite Orbital Deployer outside to the Japanese robotic arm for the release of several tiny satellites.

The third Expedition 33 crew member, Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko, worked on the Matryoshka experiment. Named after the traditional Russian set of nested dolls, this experiment helps measure the ionizing radiation exposure that Expedition crews are subjected to during long-duration spaceflights. Malenchenko also performed routine maintenance on the life-support systems in the Russian segment of the station.

Over the weekend, the crew will have some off-duty time to relax, talk with friends and family back on Earth and perform routine station maintenance and housekeeping tasks.

Meanwhile at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, three additional Expedition 33 flight engineers — NASA astronaut Kevin Ford, and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin – reviewed generic ascent procedures at the Cosmonaut Hotel crew quarters. The trio is set to launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-06M spacecraft Oct. 23 for a five-month mission on the station.

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