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Dragon Cargo Ops Continue as Station Crew Prepares for Departure

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Mar 5, 2013 9:36 am via: NASA
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After successfully capturing the Dragon cargo capsule Sunday morning, the Canadarm2 is getting ready to ungrapple the vehicle and move to the Harmony node. The International Space Station’s robotic arm will be in position to grapple gear from Dragon’s external trunk on Wednesday.

Dragon delivered numerous science experiments and gear for NASA and its international partners. Dragon’s manifest consisted of 1,268 pounds of cargo. Two GLACIER science freezers were delivered one of which will come back aboard Dragon after being filled with experiments and biological samples for study on Earth.

A total of 2,668 pounds of gear will be returned aboard Dragon, the first commercial cargo vehicle to visit the space station. Dragon will splashdown about 300 miles off the coast of Baja California for recovery by a SpaceX crew.

As Dragon unpacking continues, the six-member crew is simultaneously pursuing science, maintenance and exercise aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn assisted Commander Kevin Ford as he participated in a periodic fitness evaluation to measure his cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health and performance. Flight Engineer Chris Hadfield configured the Microgravity Science Glovebox so he could set up the Coarsening in Solid Mixtures-2 experiment.

While Dragon resides at the station, three Expedition 34 crew members, Commander Kevin Ford and Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin, will be preparing to return to Earth March 14. When they undock in their Soyuz TMA-06M spacecraft Expedition 35 will officially begin. Chris Hadfield will become station commander staying behind with Flight Engineers Tom Marshburn and Roman Romanenko.

Cosmonauts Novitskiy and Tarelkin spent some time Monday preparing for their departure. Earlier, Novitskiy had some time for the Typology experiment which measures crew performance in space. Tarelkin also joined Romanenko as they recorded video for their home space agency, Roscosmos. All three cosmonauts continued their routine maintenance chores in the station’s Russian segment.

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