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Station Crew Participates in Research, Telemedicine

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:19 pm via: NASA
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The Expedition 34 crew aboard the International Space Station focused on physics and medical experiments Tuesday while flight controllers resumed a ground-commanded robotic demonstration of on-orbit satellite servicing taking place aboard the complex.

Commander Kevin Ford of NASA, who began the morning donning an acoustic dosimeter to measure the noise levels he’s exposed to for a 24-hour period, spent much of his day working with the Capillary Flow Experiment. Results from this experiment, which takes a close look at how fluids flow across surfaces with complex geometries in a weightless environment, will improve computer models used to design fluid transfer systems and fuel tanks on future spacecraft.

Ford also performed an ultrasound scan on fellow NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn, a flight engineer, as part of the Integrated Cardiovascular experiment. Researchers are studying the atrophy of the heart muscle that appears to occur during long-duration spaceflight in order to develop countermeasures to keep the crew healthy. The research may also have benefits for people on Earth with heart problems.

Chris Hadfield, a flight engineer from the Canadian Space Agency, began his day providing blood and urine samples and storing them in the Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS to preserve them at ultra-cold temperatures for later analysis on Earth.

The Canadian astronaut then spent several hours working in the Quest airlock to replace spacesuit heat exchanger hardware.

Hadfield, Marshburn and Ford rounded out their day conducting and participating in eye exams for the PanOptic portion of the station’s Health Maintenance System. Through diagnostic telemedicine, flight surgeons on Earth can use the detailed images and video collected with an ophthalmoscope to measure and assess any changes in the crew’s eyes.

Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin, both cosmonauts, performed maintenance on the treadmill in the Russian segment of the station as they worked to replace a controller in its vibration isolation system.

Fellow cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, also a flight engineer, conducted the Albedo experiment, which studies the feasibility of generating electricity through solar radiation reflected off the Earth’s surface. Romanenko also performed routine maintenance on the life-support systems in the Russian segment of the station and collected data for the Seiner ocean-observation experiment.

The Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) operations resumed Tuesday after a weekend of analysis on loads and software limits for Dextre, the Canadian Space Agency’s two-armed robotic handyman that is performing the simulated satellite servicing tasks outside the station. The RRM team is demonstrating and testing the tools, technologies and techniques needed to robotically service and refuel satellites in space, especially satellites not originally designed to be serviced.

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