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Expedition 38 Prepares Japanese Lab for Cubesat Deployment

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:23 pm via: NASA
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The six-member Expedition 38 crew worked on a variety of research Monday conducting biomedical experiments and maintaining science gear. With a current crew of three cosmonauts, two NASA astronauts and one Japanese astronaut the International Space Station is coming up on 15 years of continual habitation.

Flight Engineer Mike Hopkins, who is on his first mission to space, checked the airlock inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory for pressure leaks. Four nanosatellites, also known as Cubesats, will be deployed from Kibo’s airlock over two days. Three will be released Tuesday at 7:10 a.m. EST; a fourth will be released Wednesday at 2:50 a.m.

A Japanese robotic arm will grapple a deployer mechanism containing the satellites from inside Kibo’s airlock. The device will be unberthed from the airlock and all four satellites will be released at their specified times. The Cubesats were delivered to the space station Aug. 9, 2013, aboard Japan’s fourth H-II Transfer Vehicle, Kounotori-4.

Hopkins also swapped out gear on a variety of devices throughout the station. He replaced a wastewater bag from the Total Organic Carbon Analyzer. He switched nine-volt batteries in all the crew quarters and installed a new manifold bottle inside the Combustion Integrated Rack.

Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata set up a new high definition camera inside the cupola for upcoming Earth observations. Wakata’s home agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), will also use the camera to capture super high resolution views of Comet ISON at its closest approach to Earth in late November and early December.

The JAXA astronaut started off his day using an Ultrasound for the Cardio Ox experiment. Wakata was assisted by Hopkins for the study which observes how long-term space missions affect a crew member’s cardiovascular system.

Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio tested a pistol grip tool for its torque and sent the data back to Earth for analysis by engineers. The pistol grip tool, similar to a cordless drill, has been used by a spacewalkers for Hubble Space Telescope servicing and space station assembly. Afterwards, he deleted old data collected for an Ultrasound 2 device to make room for new patient data.

Commander Oleg Kotov along with fellow cosmonauts Sergey Ryazanskiy and Mikhail Tyurin worked in the station’s Russian segment. They worked maintenance and science in the Russian modules and tested the TORU, or telerobotically operated rendezvous unit, which a crew member can use to manually guide a Russian spacecraft to a docking if necessary.

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