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Science, Maintenance and Robotics on Station Wednesday

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:38 pm via: NASA
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The Expedition 34 crew members were busy with a variety of science and research activities Wednesday as they worked to maintain the systems aboard the International Space Station. On the exterior of the orbiting complex, flight controllers continued ground-commanded robotics work.

Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn worked in the Japanese Experiment Module using hex nuts and Ziploc bags to study energy absorption as part of the Try Zero-Gravity experiment. Try Zero-Gravity allows the public, especially kids, to vote for and suggest physical tasks for station crew members to demonstrate the difference between 0-G and 1-G for educational purposes.

Marshburn also conducted acoustic measurements throughout the station using a sound level meter to ensure sound levels aboard the orbiting laboratory are within safe and acceptable ranges.

Commander Kevin Ford worked with payload controllers in Huntsville, Ala. to perform some maintenance on the Amine Swingbed, which included a repair to the system’s valve drive. The Amine Swingbed is a technology demonstration of a smaller, more efficient system to scrub carbon dioxide from the atmosphere of a future spacecraft. Experts are analyzing the results of the repair, but early indications were that it had not solved the issue with the system’s valve.

Ford also gathered and stowed trash and other and unneeded items aboard the ISS Progress 49 cargo vehicle. Progress 49 is scheduled to be undocked for a destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere on April 15.

Flight Engineer Chris Hadfield continued his work with the InSPACE-3 experiment, which examines the physical property changes in fluids containing ellipsoid-shaped particles when a magnetic field is applied. These colloidal fluids are classified as smart materials, transitioning to a solid-like state in the presence of a magnetic field, and this technology may lead to the design of bridges and buildings that can better withstand earthquakes.

Later, Hadfield had some time set aside to participate in an in-flight educational event for the Canadian Space Agency, speaking with Canadian Governor General David Johnston and students gathered at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa. He also performed an inspection and some maintenance on the Advanced Colloidal Experiment oil dispenser.

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 worked with a Russian experiment known as Relaxation, which examines chemical luminescent reactions from jet engine exhaust in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Romanenko worked with the Kulonovskiy Kristall experiment which studies plasma dust structures, while Novitskiy conducted ocean photography for the Seiner experiment.

Meanwhile, ground-commanded robotics continued for flight controllers as they commanded Canadarm2, the station’s 57.7-foot robotic arm, and Dextre, the Canadian Space Agency’s twin-armed robotic “handyman,” to transfer and store equipment on the exterior of the orbiting complex. Wednesday’s robotic work included the move of a spare Direct Current Switching Unit from External Stowage Platform-2, next to the Quest airlock, to the External Logistics Carrier-2 on the starboard truss of the complex.

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