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Science, Maintenance and Departure Preps for Station Crew

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Nov 9, 2012 7:35 am via: NASA
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The Expedition 33 crew living and working aboard the International Space Station was busy with a variety of scientific research and experiment work Thursday as maintenance activities and preparations for the upcoming departure of three crew members continue.

Flight Engineer Aki Hoshide collected data and took photos of fish in the Aquatic Habitat for the Medaka Osteoclast experiment, which studies the effects of microgravity on the biological systems of Medaka fish. He also retrieved several fish from two of the aquarium modules and placed them in a fixative solution, and later the Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for International Space Station to preserve them until they can be returned to Earth for analysis by researchers in Japan.

Commander Suni Williams and Flight Engineer Kevin Ford worked with the Integrated Cardiovascular experiment, which observes a crew member while exercising using ultrasound in an effort to measure the weakening of the heart that occurs in microgravity.

Williams and Ford also performed some in-flight maintenance work on the Waste and Hygiene Compartment, working with flight control teams on the ground to troubleshoot the system and get it back in full operation. After replacing the system’s pre-treatment tank, Mission Control verified that the space toilet is now in good working condition and gave the crew approval to resume use. They used a similar toilet in the Zvezda service module while the other was “on the fritz.”

Williams, Hoshide and Ford conducted eye examinations, performing tonometry tests to measure their eyes’ intraocular pressure for analysis by medical ground support teams.

Williams, Hoshide and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko had some time set aside to prepare for their upcoming departure from the station. The trio is currently set to undock from the station’s Rassvet module and return to Earth in their Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft on Nov. 18.

Ford and Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin, had time scheduled for ongoing crew orientation activities to become accustomed to living aboard the orbiting complex. The trio arrived in their Soyuz TMA-06M spacecraft on Oct. 26 beginning a five month stay aboard the station.

Malenchenko, Novitskiy and Tarelkin worked in the Russian segment of the station, monitoring its systems and performing a variety of housekeeping and maintenance duties.

Malenchenko continued his work with the Plasma Crystal experiment, an investigation of the behavior of plasma-dust structures in space.

Novitskiy and Tarelkin spent some time working with a Russian experiment known as Kaskad, which investigates cultivation processes of micro-organism, animal and human cells in microgravity.

During a Wednesday visit to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., Expedition 31/32 Flight Engineer Joe Acaba had a chance to speak with current station crew members Suni Williams, Aki Hoshide and Kevin Ford. The Payload Operations Center at Marshall coordinates all international scientific research aboard the space station.

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