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Spacesuit Maintenance for Station Crew Wednesday

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Apr 2, 2014 9:39 pm via: NASA
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The International Space Station’s Expedition 39 crew supported scientific research and performed routine spacesuit maintenance Wednesday, while the three newest crew members continued learning the ropes of their new orbital home for the next six months.

Commander Koichi Wakata began the workday troubleshooting an issue with the Waste and Hygiene Compartment – one of the two toilets aboard the station – to track down the noise problem believed to be coming from internal gear wear of the pump separator. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut checked the compartment panels, components and noise abatement equipment to make sure the noise was not being amplified or inadequately suppressed.

Afterward, Flight Engineer Steve Swanson, who arrived aboard the station Thursday along with fellow Soyuz TMA-12M crewmates Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev, removed and replaced the compartment’s pump separator.

Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio spent a good portion of the day working in the Quest airlock as he tested the water within the cooling loops of the U.S. spacesuits. Mastracchio checked for signs of microbial contamination and performed a conductivity test of the water. Wakata later joined his crewmate in Quest to initiate the recharge of a spacesuit battery. Wakata also dumped water from the payload water reservoirs inside the airlock to flush out an umbilical interface assembly. While there are no spacewalks planned for Expedition 39, routine maintenance assures that the equipment remains ready to support a contingency spacewalk.

Wakata later deployed 22 sensors throughout the complex to measure the radiation levels aboard the station.

Mastracchio rounded out his day in the Columbus laboratory relocating a sensor enclosure for the Space Acceleration Measurement System, or SAMS, to support FASTER — the Facility for Absorption and Surface Tension. FASTER investigates the physical principles that determine the stability of different emulsions. Results from FASTER can aid industry in the design of compounds to stabilize, or destabilize, different emulsions depending on their use, and assist in the creation of more environmentally friendly products. SAMS will track any vibrations on the station that could affect FASTER.

On the Russian side of the complex, Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin spent his morning packing trash into the ISS Progress 54 cargo ship attached to the station’s Pirs docking compartment. Progress 54, which arrived at the station back on Feb. 5 with 2.8 tons of cargo, is set to depart the station on at 9:58 a.m. EDT on April 7 for a destructive re-entry over the Pacific Ocean. Its departure will clear the way for ISS Progress 55, which is scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on April 9 at 11:26 a.m. (9:26 p.m., Kazakh time) and dock with Pirs at 5:16 p.m. the same day.

Flight Engineers Skvortsov and Artemyev cleaned ventilation screens in the Russian segment. Proper air flow inside the station’s modules is essential to crew health because in the absence of gravity stagnant air can form dangerous pockets of carbon dioxide.

As the newest crew members aboard the station, Skvortsov, Artemyev and Swanson had time set aside throughout the day for crew orientation to become accustomed to living and working aboard the station during their first two weeks on orbit. Swanson also tagged up with Mastracchio for some one-on-one training on station systems and experiment facilities.

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