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Science Experiments and Undocking and Spacewalk Preps for Station Crew

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:45 pm via: NASA
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Commander Chris Hadfield and Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn spent most of their day completing the refurbishment of the International Space Station’s Ku-band communications system. Two communications units were installed in the Destiny lab including a backup unit which is part of the new High Rate Communications System.

Hadfield also took some time logging his meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner for day three of the 10-day nutrition study. The log is part of the ENERGY experiment that measures a crew member’s nutrition and energy balance.

At the end of his day Marshburn conducted a conference with ground controllers. They discussed tasks for the station’s inventory management system and the trash stowed in the ISS Progress 49 cargo craft.

The Progress 49 will undock Monday at 8:10 a.m. EDT and burn up over the Pacific Ocean. A new Progress 51 resupply craft will launch April 24 and dock to the Zvezda service module two days later.

Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy installed several radiation detectors, or dosimeters, for the station’s Environmental Health System. He also worked to clean dust from the intake and exhaust ducts inside crew quarters located on the starboard side of the orbital laboratory.

Flight Engineers Pavel Vinogradov and Roman Romanenko are back at work preparing for an April 19 spacewalk. They are sizing their Russian Orlan spacesuits, conducting leak checks and organizing their spacewalk tools.

The duo will exit the station’s Pirs docking compartment next Friday to set up and retrieve experiments and install a navigational aid. The aid, known as a retro-reflector, will help guide the European Space Agency’s fourth cargo vehicle for an automated docking to the Zvezda service module. The Automated Transfer Vehicle-4, nicknamed “Albert Einstein,” is targeted for launch June 5 from French Guinea.

Flight Engineer Alexander Misurkin worked throughout the day on several Russian experiments. He started his morning on the Khromatomass experiment collecting blood and saliva samples. He later set up a bioreactor for Cascade, which investigates cultivation processes of micro-organism, animal and human cells in microgravity. Misurkin also worked on the Constant experiment which observes the reaction of enzymes in microgravity.

Orbital Sciences Corp. completed roll-out of the first fully integrated Antares rocket to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Saturday, April 6. Orbital has confirmed an April 17 target launch date for the rocket test flight with a planned liftoff of 5 p.m. EDT.

Antares is undergoing testing that will enable the rocket to eventually carry experiments and supplies to the International Space Station aboard a Cygnus cargo spacecraft. This test flight will not launch a Cygnus spacecraft or rendezvous with the space station.

Orbital is testing the Antares rocket under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. NASA initiatives like COTS are helping develop a robust U.S. commercial space transportation industry with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation to and from the space station and low-Earth orbit.

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