Headlines > News > Departure Preps and Dragon External Cargo Ops for Expedition 39

Departure Preps and Dragon External Cargo Ops for Expedition 39

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue May 6, 2014 9:07 pm via: NASA
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A trio of Expedition 39 crew members is winding down its mission and preparing for next week’s departure. Meanwhile, external SpaceX Dragon cargo transfers have resumed after last week’s pause.

Soyuz Commander Mikhail Tyurin, Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata and Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio will return to Earth May 13 inside a Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft. Tyurin and Mastracchio partnered together Tuesday for Soyuz descent drills and checked gear for stowage in their spacecraft. Tyurin then continued more prepacking activities and departure preparations during the afternoon.

Mastracchio worked the rest of the day on a pair of life science experiments. For the first experiment, he placed a BioCell habitat in the MERLIN incubator for the Micro-7 investigation. That study observes the genetic expression and physical shape of non-dividing cells that comprise the majority of cells in the human body.

At the end of the day, Mastracchio disassembled plant science gear from the Gravi-2 experiment and placed culture chambers in the BioLab. That study researches how plants adapt to microgravity with the potential to provide oxygen, food and water sources on future long-term missions in space.

NASA astronaut Steve Swanson began his work day on the high intensity, low-volume Sprint exercise experiment. He marked and photographed Wakata’s legs who wore thigh and calf guides before the commander began Ultrasound scanning operations. Later in the afternoon, Swanson opened the Fluids Integrated Rack for plant photography work using the Light Microscopy Module.

The commander, with remote guidance from doctors on the ground, scanned his legs during the morning for the Sprint study which seeks to minimize loss of muscle, bone, and cardiovascular function in space. In the afternoon, Wakata performed light plumbing work on a water recycle tank then disconnected and stowed a high definition video camera inside the Japanese Kibo laboratory.

Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev began their workday with maintenance on Russian systems in their segment of the International Space Station. The duo then joined Wakata and Swanson in the afternoon for onboard training to review their roles and responsibilities in the event of an on-orbit emergency.

Robotics transfers have resumed  with the Canadarm2 extracting the OPALS experiment from the trunk of the SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft. OPALS, an experiment that will test using lasers to send data to Earth, will be placed on the External Logistics Carrier-1 later in the week.

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