Headlines > News > Station Crew Begins Week with Science, Spacewalk Preps

Station Crew Begins Week with Science, Spacewalk Preps

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:19 pm via: NASA
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The Expedition 36 crew kicked off their workweek aboard the International Space Station with science experiments, routine maintenance and preparations for a spacewalk on Thursday, in the wake of a record-setting Russian spacewalk last Friday.

Fresh off their 7-hour, 29-minute spacewalk on Friday – the longest ever conducted by a pair of Russian cosmonauts – Flight Engineers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Alexander Misurkin spent their day reviewing procedures and installing equipment on their Orlan spacesuits to get ready for another excursion scheduled to begin at 7:40 a.m. EDT Thursday. The two spacewalkers will replace a laser communications experiment with a platform for the installation of a small optical telescope and remove a docking target from the Pirs docking assembly.  Thursday’s spacewalk is slated to last about four and a half hours.  NASA Television coverage will begin at 7 a.m.

  In the International Space Station's Kibo laboratory, Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy poses for a photo while conducting a session with a pair of bowling-ball-sized free-flying satellites known as Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES.  Image Credit:    NASA

In the International Space Station's Kibo laboratory, Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy poses for a photo while conducting a session with a pair of bowling-ball-sized free-flying satellites known as Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES. Image Credit: NASA

Yurchikhin and Misurkin also participated in a debriefing with Russian spacewalk specialists to discuss Friday’s spacewalk.  During that excursion, the two cosmonauts routed power and Ethernet cables for the future arrival of the Russian Multipurpose Laboratory Module, which will be launched aboard a Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They also installed on the Poisk module a panel of experiments designed to collect data on the effects of the microgravity environment in low-Earth orbit.

The third cosmonaut aboard the complex, Commander Pavel Vinogradov, focused on maintenance tasks on the Russian side of the station as he cleaned fan screens in the Rassvet module and looked after the life-support system in the Zvezda service module. The commander also conducted a session with the Uragan experiment. Named for the Russian word for hurricane, Uragan seeks to document and predict the development of natural and man-made disasters on Earth.

  An unidentified object floats near the International Space Station. Russian ground controllers later identified it as an antenna cover from the Zvezda service module.  Image Credit:  NASA TV

An unidentified object floats near the International Space Station. Russian ground controllers later identified it as an antenna cover from the Zvezda service module. Image Credit: NASA TV

Flight Engineer Karen Nyberg spent her morning working in the Japanese Kibo laboratory, removing the Nano Step experiment from the Solution Crystallization Observation Facility and replacing it with the Ice Crystal 2 experiment.

Afterward, Nyberg prepared new test samples for the Advanced Colloids Experiment, or ACE, housed inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox of the station’s Destiny laboratory. Results from ACE will help researchers understand how to optimize stabilizers to extend the shelf life of products like laundry detergent, paint, ketchup and even salad dressing.

Flight Engineers Chris Cassidy and Luca Parmitano began their day by weighing themselves with the Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device, or SLAMMD. As a traditional scale will not work in the weightless environment of the station, SLAMMD generates a known force against an astronaut attached to an extension arm and calculates his or her body mass using Newton’s Second Law.

Parmitano then moved on to routine environmental health monitoring work as he measured sound levels throughout the orbiting complex.  He rounded out his day supporting an experiment known as InSpace-3, which examines colloidal fluids, classified as smart materials, that transition to a solid-like state in the presence of a magnetic field.  The InSPACE-3 team believes the knowledge gleaned from this investigation may contribute to new technologies and new manufacturing processes based on the idea of having these nanoparticles act as self-assembling building blocks for larger structures.

Cassidy meanwhile set up a trio of bowling-ball-sized free-flying satellites known as Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES, for another round of tests. Working inside the Kibo lab, Cassidy put the robots through their paces for a checkout of a new graphical user interface to enable human-supervised control of satellites. Since 2003, Expedition crews aboard the station have operated these robots to test techniques that could lead to advancements in automated dockings, satellite servicing, spacecraft assembly and emergency repairs.

Cassidy also observed another free-flying object – this one floating outside the orbiting complex near a docked Progress cargo vehicle. He reported the unidentified item to Mission Control Houston and captured video of it. Russian ground controllers identified it as an antenna cover from the Zvezda service module.

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