Headlines > News > Station Crew Wraps Up SPHERES Competition, Continues Spacewalk Preps

Station Crew Wraps Up SPHERES Competition, Continues Spacewalk Preps

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:51 pm via: NASA
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Expedition 38 crew mates Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio wrapped up a week of SPHERES-Zero-Robotics activities. The competition uses student written algorithms that operate small bowling ball-sized satellites to demonstrate critical mission tasks such as formation flying and vehicle dockings.

Kotov also joined Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy inside the Pirs docking compartment getting the module ready for a Jan. 27 spacewalk. The duo will exit Pirs at 9:10 a.m. EST to complete the installation of a pair of Earth observation cameras postponed during a Dec. 27 spacewalk.

NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins continued more maintenance work inside the Combustion Integrated Rack, a facility that safely conducts experiments that observe the burning of materials in space. Results could improve fire detection and prevention techniques in space. Hopkins replaced a fuel reservoir and a manifold bottle inside the rack.

Hopkins also spent part of his afternoon gathering equipment for the ENERGY experiment. That study observes the energy requirements for an astronaut working in space and proposes measures such as exercise and diet to increase health and improve performance.

Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata worked on a variety of science experiments Friday. Het set up a microscope then prepared botanical samples for analysis for the Aniso Tubule study. In the afternoon, Wakata deployed unmodified, commercially available hardware for a study that observes physical changes in a crew member’s eye due to living in space.

Cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin worked maintenance inside the station’s Russian segment. The veteran station resident installed diagnostic equipment inside the Zarya cargo module and clean fan screens.

The International Space Station will reboost its orbit when a docked Progress 53 cargo ship fires its engines Friday at 7:09 p.m. EST. The reboost was delayed on Wednesday due to the possibility of the station being placed in the vicinity of an old Delta-1 rocket fragment.

The orbital reboost places the station at the correct altitude to welcome the arrival of a Progress resupply craft Feb. 5 and ready the Soyuz TMA-10M for its undocking March 11. Kotov, Ryazanskiy and Hopkins will return home inside the Soyuz landing in Kazakhstan ending their Expedition 37/38 mission.

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