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More Life Science Work; Crew Practices Emergency Roles

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Jul 1, 2014 8:50 pm via: NASA
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Expedition 40 continued its array of station upkeep and international science work to benefit life on Earth and space. The orbital residents also simulated an onboard emergency to practice their responses in coordination with U.S. and Russian ground controllers.

Commander Steve Swanson was back at work Tuesday morning with more station maintenance work. He was conducting high-flying plumbing as he drained a waste water tank in the Urine Processing Assembly in the Tranquility node. After that work, he rotated a rack to replace a fluids control and pump assembly in the Tranquility’s Water Recovery System.

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman measured the intraocular pressure of his eyes at the start of his day. Doctors on the ground are interested in how microgravity affects an astronaut’s eyesight. Some crew members have reported changes to their vision upon returning to Earth after a long-duration mission.

Wiseman also videotaped the orbital laboratory’s interior configuration beginning with the U.S. segment’s laboratories, airlock, nodes and the Quest airlock through the Zarya cargo module to both docked Soyuz vehicles. The video survey taken every six months allows ground specialists to identify safety issues such as emergency path blocks, ventilation blocks, fire hazards and limited access to safety gear.

German astronaut Alexander Gerst joined Wiseman for the eye pressure checks and later stowed the tonometry gear in the Destiny laboratory. Gerst then floated throughout the U.S. segment inspecting hatch seals, surfaces and handle mechanisms. He photographed the hatches and cleaned those using dry wipes and a wet/dry vacuum cleaner.

Before lunch time both Gerst and Wiseman collected water and air samples, respectively, as part of Environmental Health System checks.

On the Russian side of the International Space Station, cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Max Suraev teamed up again for the Ekon Earth observation study. That experiment utilizes photography to document the ecological effects of industrialization on the Russian territory and surrounding countries. Skvortsov was also back at work on the Splanh experiment studying how a crew member’s gastrointestinal system adapts in microgravity.

Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev began Tuesday morning collecting his blood and saliva samples for the Chromatomass microbiology study. Next he joined Suraev for the Kulonovskiy Kristall experiment that observes the dynamics of a charged particle system in the magnetic field of microgravity.

Veteran station crew member Suraev worked primarily on a variety of science experiments partnering with his fellow cosmonauts throughout the day. He finally participated in the long-running Interactions study that observes the personal, cultural and national differences between crew members and how it affects crew performance.

All six crew members gathered together midday for a simulation to practice their response in the event of an onboard emergency. The crew worked with Houston and Moscow mission control centers coordinating their actions, communications and roles.

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