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Expedition 33 Winding Down as Science, Maintenance Move On

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:46 am via: NASA
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Expedition 33 Commander Suni Williams and Flight Engineers Aki Hoshide and Yuri Malenchenko are winding down their last week aboard the International Space Station. Mission managers have also completed their Soyuz TMA-05M landing readiness review.

There will be a ceremonial change of command from Williams to Flight Engineer Kevin Ford on Saturday. The home-bound trio will undock at 5:26 p.m. EST Sunday and land in Kazakhstan at 8:53 p.m. (7:53 a.m. Monday Kazakhstan time).

After Expedition 33 undocks Ford will become Expedition 34 commander staying behind with Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin. They will be waiting for a new trio of flight engineers – Chris Hadfield, Tom Marshburn and Roman Romanenko – who are conducting Soyuz simulations in Star City, Russia, and preparing for their Dec. 19 launch to the orbital laboratory.

Ford, while in the midst of crew handover activities, spent some time on Crew Medical Officer computer-based training. He also spent a few hours Wednesday afternoon working on ultrasound background noise equipment. The equipment may help differentiate pressure leak sounds from the background noise of the station’s environment.

Williams spent most of her afternoon preparing hardware to upgrade the wireless access points for the station’s local area network. While preparing for her departure earlier in the day, she also had a ham radio pass with science students from Gujarat, India.

Hoshide spent most of Wednesday prepacking gear and preparing for his Sunday departure. He also spent some time talking with university students who visited Tsukuba Space Center in Japan.

Tarelkin and Novitskiy worked on cargo stowage and transfers from the two docked Progress resupply ships. The duo also worked throughout the Russian segment conducting ongoing science and routine maintenance.

Malenchenko worked on stowing gear inside the Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft he will ride home on Sunday. He also joined his fellow cosmonauts for an interview on a popular Russian television show.

A communications outage at the Russian Mission Control Center in Moscow temporarily interrupted telemetry between Russian flight controllers and Russian segment systems on the International Space Station on Wednesday.

Telemetry, voice and data services are being employed by Russian flight controllers from the U.S. communications system with no impact to station operations. The U.S. communications system on the station is routinely used to augment Russian ground stations.

The outage is not expected to have any impact on Sunday’s scheduled landing of the Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft bringing home cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, Expedition 33 Commander Sunita Williams of NASA and Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency after four months in orbit.

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