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Spacesuit Checks, Visiting Vehicle Preps for Station Crew

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:12 pm via: NASA
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The International Space Station’s Expedition 36 crew wrapped up an eventful week Friday with spacesuit maintenance, an emergency drill to maintain readiness for the return home and preparations for the departure of a Russian cargo ship and the arrival of its replacement.

Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano kicked off their workday shortly after the crew’s standard 2 a.m. wakeup time with the Reaction experiment, a short reaction time task that allows the crew and researchers to track the effects of fatigue on performance.

Flight Engineers Luca Parmitano (left) and Karen Nyberg work with U.S. spacesuits in the equipment lock of the International Space Station's Quest airlock.  Image Credit: NASA TV

Flight Engineers Luca Parmitano (left) and Karen Nyberg work with U.S. spacesuits in the equipment lock of the International Space Station's Quest airlock. Image Credit: NASA TV

Following the crew’s daily planning conference with the flight control teams around the world, Parmitano spent much of his day in the equipment lock of the Quest airlock conducting a pre-planned and regularly scheduled scrub of the cooling loops in the U.S. spacesuits. In the wake of a problem encountered with Parmitano’s spacesuit during Tuesday’s spacewalk, the European Space Agency astronaut worked with Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy’s spacesuit and a spare. The suit Parmitano wore Tuesday is currently not cleared for spacewalk activity pending a resolution of a problem that caused water to seep into his helmet during that excursion.

Parmitano took a break from his work to talk with Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta and discussed the recent spacewalk and Italy’s contributions to the space station.  Many of the station’s modules, including the Columbus laboratory, the Harmony and Tranquility connecting nodes and the cupola observation deck, were built in Italy.

With an eye toward maintaining readiness for their return home Sept. 11, Cassidy, Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer Alexander Misurkin began their workday with an emergency decent drill. The three crewmates reviewed roles and responsibilities for departure and for an emergency descent aboard the Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft that brought them to the station on March 28.

Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy watches a water bubble float freely between him and the camera, showing his image refracted, in the Unity node of the International Space Station.  Image Credit: NASA

Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy watches a water bubble float freely between him and the camera, showing his image refracted, in the Unity node of the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA

Afterward, Cassidy reconfigured power cables in the Destiny laboratory to support upcoming activities with Robonaut, the first humanoid robot in space, and cleaned smoke detectors in the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kibo laboratory.

Nyberg meanwhile performed some maintenance on the Oxygen Generation System as she worked to replace a hydrogen sensor, clean and inspect an inlet for the Sabatier system to extract more water from the station’s atmosphere.

In the afternoon, Commander Vinogradov turned his attention to stowing trash aboard the ISS Progress 50 cargo ship berthed at the Pirs docking compartment.  Progress 50 is scheduled to undock from the station Thursday at 4:43 p.m. for a destructive reentry over the Pacific Ocean. Its departure will clear the way for the arrival of ISS Progress 52, which is scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on July 27 at 4:45 p.m. and dock with the station at 10:26 p.m. NASA Television will provide live coverage of these events.

Misurkin collected data from the Matryoshka experiment. Named after the traditional Russian nesting dolls, Matryoshka analyzes the radiation environment onboard the station. He also performed routine maintenance on the life-support systems of the Russian segment of the station.

Flight Engineer Fyodor Yurchikhin spent part of his day conducting an inventory of items stowed inside the Zarya module, which was the first section of the space station launched back in November 1998. He later cleaned air ducts inside the Rassvet and Poisk Mini-Research Modules.

Over the weekend, the crew will have some free time to relax, speak with family members back on Earth and take care of weekly housekeeping chores. The six astronauts and cosmonauts also will continue their daily exercise regimen to prevent the loss of muscle mass and bone density that occurs during long-duration spaceflight.

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