Headlines > News > Station Crew Works Toward Undocking, Controllers Monitor Orbital Debris

Station Crew Works Toward Undocking, Controllers Monitor Orbital Debris

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:58 am via: NASA
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Three members of the Expedition 33 crew are counting down to their Sunday evening return home aboard the Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft. Commander Suni Williams and Flight Engineers Aki Hoshide and Yuri Malenchenko, 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).

Williams and Flight Engineer Kevin Ford, who will become Expedition 34 commander when Williams leaves the station, plan a change of command ceremony Saturday at 2:15 p.m. He will stay behind with Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin.

The homebound trio is packing up gear and getting the Soyuz ready while continuing its normal station upkeep and research.

Malenchenko is leading the Soyuz stowage and landing effort as he will command the spacecraft for its return to Earth. In preparation for adapting to Earth’s gravity he wore gear for the Lower Body Negative Pressure test that simulates gravity on a crew member’s legs.

Williams and Hoshide replaced a faulty remote power controller module inside the Quest airlock. Hoshide worked on a couple of ongoing science experiments. The Try Zero-G experiment encourages input from students as astronauts explore such things as arm wrestling or push-ups on the ceiling in microgravity. Hoshide also worked out for the Sprint experiment which seeks to determine if high intensity, low volume exercise can minimize muscle and bone loss.

Ford checked the water quality of the Aquatic Habitat which houses several Medaka fish. The facility allows the study of changes to bone and muscle, the effects of radiation and the development of living organisms in microgravity. He also installed and deployed radiation monitors for the station’s Environmental Health System.

Williams and Ford participated in an educational event Thursday morning that took place at the National Air and Space Museum. The duo answered questions from students across America in a live video link up with the station.

The station crew and flight controllers are preparing for a possible debris avoidance maneuver Friday at about 10:36 a.m. An unknown object is being monitored from the ground with its closest approach to the station estimated to occur Friday at 12:54 p.m. The planned maneuver to avoid the object, if conducted, will not affect Sunday night’s Expedition 33 undocking.

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