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Station Crew Ramps up for Station Vehicle Traffic and June 19 Spacewalk

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Jun 5, 2014 9:00 pm via: NASA
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Expedition 40 is working towards visiting vehicle activities and an upcoming spacewalk before the end of the month. In the meantime, maintenance and ongoing science with benefits for both future space missions and citizens on Earth continues on the orbital laboratory.

The ISS Progress 53 (53P) resupply craft has been filled with trash and discarded gear and is being readied for its undocking Monday morning from the aft end of the Zvezda service module. Flight Engineer Max Suraev installed the 53P’s docking mechanism ahead of hatch closure Friday.

The veteran cosmonaut began his morning transferring cargo from the newly docked Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft. He also worked maintenance on Russian laptop computers.

European astronaut and Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst tested a hardware command panel that will be used to send commands to the Cygnus spacecraft when it arrives on the Orbital-2 mission at the end of June. The Cygnus commercial cargo craft on its second Commercial Resupply Services mission for Orbital Sciences is targeted for a June 20 launch to the International Space Station.

Gerst began Thursday morning conducting more sample collection work for the Microbiome experiment. That investigation observes how microbes that live on and inside a crew member’s body adapt to long-term microgravity and the implications it may have for an astronaut’s immune system.

Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev are moving ahead preparing for a June 19 spacewalk. They spent Thursday morning searching and gathering tools and hardware for a series of installation tasks outside the station’s Russian segment.

Commander Steve Swanson worked throughout the day to return a U.S. spacesuit to service. He checked for water and gas leaks to ensure the successful installation of a fan pump separator on the spacesuit. In the afternoon, the commander recharged batteries on spacewalk gear and tools.

He also spent a few moments photographing lettuce grown for the Veggie experiment. The lettuce will be harvested next week for stowage in a science freezer and later analysis on the ground. Scientists want to ensure vegetables harvested in microgravity are safe for human consumption.

After starting the morning on crew orientation and station familiarization tasks, Flight Engineer Reid Wiseman got to work on in-flight maintenance. He rotated a science freezer rack out of the wall inside the Destiny laboratory module so he could access and replace two faulty power control modules. In the afternoon, Wiseman switched temperature and humidity control from one common cabin air assembly to another inside Destiny.

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