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Medical Research and Science Inside Station, Robotic Testing Outside

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:43 pm via: NASA
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The Expedition 34 crew members living and working aboard the International Space Station participated in a variety of science and medical research experiments Thursday, while on the exterior of the orbiting complex testing continued for developing techniques to service satellites with robots.

Commander Kevin Ford and Flight Engineers Tom Marshburn and Chris Hadfield performed ultrasound eye scans and downlinked the data for analysis by medical ground support teams to study the effect of microgravity on sight.

Ford powered up the InSPACE-3 hardware inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox. That experiment applies different magnetic fields to vials of colloids, or liquids with microscopic particles, and observes how fluids can behave like a solid. Results may improve the strength and design of materials for stronger buildings and bridges.

Hadfield performed some maintenance and checkouts of the U.S. spacesuits in the Quest airlock. He also had some time scheduled to participate in an in-flight interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, answering some questions about his work and experiences aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Flight Engineers Evgeny Tarelkin, Oleg Novitskiy and Roman Romanenko performed various inspections and maintenance duties in the Russian segment of the station, tagging-up with flight control teams in Russia as needed.

Tarelkin and Romanenko spent some time with the BAR experiment, which looks at methods and instruments for detecting the location of an air leak from one of the station’s modules, while Novitskiy worked with the Russian Kulonovskiy Kristall experiment which studies plasma dust structures.

The three Russian crew members also worked with Typology and Vzaimodeystviye, two similar experiments which study work performance and observe the dynamics working together in space over time.

Meanwhile out on the station’s starboard truss, the ground-commanded Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) kicked off its fifth day of operations. Flight controllers are commanding the Dextre robot, the Canadian Space Agency’s twin-armed “handyman,” to perform simulated satellite servicing tasks. 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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