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Station Crew Conducts Medical Science Before New Supply Ship Arrives

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Apr 8, 2014 9:10 pm via: NASA
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The six-member Expedition 39 crew is working international science and station maintenance while preparing for an express cargo delivery from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday.

Commander Koichi Wakata is the first astronaut to test new exercise procedures to prevent bone and muscle loss while living in space. The Japanese Hybrid Training study explores electrical stimulation in conjunction with muscle contraction as an alternative exercise for future crew members on a mission beyond low-Earth orbit.

The commander, just before lunch time, also assisted NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Steve Swanson with maintenance work on the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA). During the afternoon, Wakata also joined up with Swanson for eye exams checking intraocular eye pressure, a tonometry test, as part of the Ocular Health experiment.

Swanson, flight engineer and future station commander, also worked with the European Space Agency’s Skin-B experiment which observes the accelerated aging of a crew member’s skin in microgravity. Later he conducted a hearing exam, and then participated in another eye exam with Mastracchio who peered inside Swanson’s eyes using a Fundoscope.

Mastracchio and Swanson first joined each other in the morning and worked into the afternoon for the CDRA maintenance work, removing a filter in the device. The duo then gathered inside the Unity node for a live downlink event with students from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

Swanson uploaded the first image from space to Instagram on Monday. He began posting imagery to the social media site during his pre-flight training.

The station’s two newest cosmonauts, Flight Engineers Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev, continue to familiarize themselves with their new home on orbit. This is Skvortsov’s second stint on the space station, his first being in 2010 when he joined Expedition 23 as a flight engineer before becoming commander of Expedition 24. Artemyev, who became a cosmonaut in 2003, is on his first mission to space.

Skvortsov also had time set aside for a couple of Russian experiments. He started his morning on the Virtual study which observes how a crew member’s sensory system adapts to long-term exposure in microgravity. He also spent a couple of hours on the Uragan Earth observation study that documents natural and man-made disasters.

Artemyev checked a tank on a docked Progress resupply ship and worked maintenance on other Russian equipment. He also upgraded software for the NAPOR-mini RSA experiment that tests new technologies for monitoring the Earth’s environment. Later he copied data collected for the Identification experiment, which investigates dynamic loads on the station, to a Russian laptop computer.

Veteran cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin worked on several experiments inside the station’s Russian segment. He started his morning on the Chromatomass study which observes microbes in a crew member’s blood and saliva samples. He then set up thermostats for two more microbial studies, Bioemulsion and Conjugation, which may have benefits for medicinal preparations.

Expedition 39 will sleep in for a couple of extra hours before waking up Wednesday and shifting their schedule for the arrival of the ISS Progress 55 resupply ship. Liftoff is scheduled for 11:26 a.m. EDT Wednesday with a docking to the station’s Pirs docking compartment just six hours, or four orbits, later. The Russian resupply ship is delivering nearly 3 tons of food, fuel and supplies.

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