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Progress Ready to Undock Monday Morning

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Jun 6, 2014 5:09 pm via: NASA
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Expedition 40 is preparing to take out the trash when a resupply craft undocks Monday morning. The crew is also counting down to a Russian spacewalk. In the meantime, science, maintenance and exercise are filling the rest of the crew’s time.

The ISS Progress 53 (53P) cargo craft has been filled with trash and discarded gear. Flight Engineers Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev closed the hatches Friday morning and will monitor for leak checks in the afternoon. It will undock from the aft end of the Zvezda service module Monday at 9:30 a.m. EDT and reenter the Earth’s atmosphere a few hours later for a fiery destruction over the Pacific Ocean.

The pair of cosmonauts started the morning getting the Pirs docking compartment ready for a June 19 spacewalk. They will exit Pirs in their Russian Orlan spacesuits for a series of installation tasks outside the station’s Russian segment.

Commander Steve Swanson performed more botany work with the Resist Tubule and Veggie experiments. He prepared samples for the investigation that is studying gravity resistance in plants. For Veggie, he watered plant pillows to hydrate the lettuce that will be harvested for later analysis on the ground.

In the afternoon, the commander joined European astronaut Alexander Gerst for Cygnus rendezvous training. The commercial cargo craft from Orbital Sciences is scheduled to launch no earlier than mid-June 20 on its second Commercial Resupply Services mission. Later, Swanson began to gather trash to be disposed of on Cygnus when it departs a few weeks later.

Before lunch time, the commander joined the station’s newest trio including Gerst, NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman and cosmonaut Max Suraev for more familiarization tasks. The quartet participated in onboard training to familiarize themselves with emergency hardware inside the International Space Station.

Wiseman first collected blood samples in the morning and stowed them in a science freezer. After that work he stowed the tools, jumper cables and the Remote Power Controller Modules he removed Thursday from a wall in the Destiny lab. In the afternoon, Wiseman relocated crew water containers then collected surface samples from the Unity node for microbial analysis.

Veteran cosmonaut Suraev replaced dust filters and cleaned fan grids Friday morning. After more orientation and familiarization tasks he removed gear from a Soyuz vehicle descent module for return on another Soyuz spacecraft and disposal on the 53P.

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