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Busy Science Day for Expedition 40 Before July 4th Holiday

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Jul 3, 2014 5:50 pm via: NASA
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The six-member Expedition 40 crew aboard the International Space Station conducted more science Thursday covering a wide variety of disciplines to benefit life on Earth and in space. The space residents, ahead of their off-day to celebrate the U.S. Independence Day, continued more eye checks, inspected Russian module windows and maintained the operations of the orbital laboratory.

Commander Steve Swanson worked on fluid physics most of the day. He set up the Capillary Flow Experiment hardware for an afternoon run to observe how liquids with bubbles flow in containers of different geometries. Results from the long-running experiment may help investigators design more advanced and more efficient fuel and water delivery systems on future spacecraft.

Swanson also assisted German astronaut Alexander Gerst with the Ocular Health study. The commander set up the Ultrasound 2 and performed an echocardiogram on Gerst’s chest with guidance from doctors on the ground.

At the end of his day, Swanson got back to basics with more plumbing work as he removed and replaced pumps and pipes inside the Tranquility node’s toilet, or Waste and Hygiene Compartment.

NASA Flight Engineer Reid Wiseman was back at work on more combustion science inside the Destiny laboratory’s Microgravity Science Glovebox. He conducted two flame tests for the Burning and Suppression of Solids (BASS) study with inputs from the primary investigator who was communicating from the ground and watching live downlink video.

BASS observes the geometry of flames burning on various materials in microgravity and explores ways of suppressing the flames. Results may provide scientists with better solutions to detect and put out fires on Earth and in spacecraft as well as provide better models for combustion processes.

Gerst, a European Space Agency astronaut, spent his morning on life science work swapping eye imaging tasks with Wiseman. The duo scanned each other’s eyes with the Ultrasound 2 medical gear. After that he joined Swanson for the Ocular Health tasks which included eye pressure and blood pressure checks.

Gerst then spent the better part of his afternoon deploying an alternate station computer inside Tranquility. The computer work and hardware set up was done in support of the Force Shoes study. The exercise experiment will quantify the dynamic loads a crew member experiences on the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device.

In the Russian segment of the space station, the three cosmonauts worked on their set of station science and maintenance tasks.

Veteran Flight Engineer Alexander Skvortsov worked on the Zvezda service module’s ventilation system during his morning. He also tested a digital video downlink from Zvezda. In the afternoon, he stowed gear inside the Pirs docking compartment and updated the station’s inventory management system.

Cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev took his turn Thursday morning on the Motocard crew mobility experiment. Skvortsov assisted the first time space flyer with that work for a few minutes. Later in the day, Artemyev was conducting routine maintenance work and copied data collected for the Identification dynamic loads experiment to a laptop computer.

Max Suraev, current Expedition 40 Flight Engineer and upcoming Expedition 41 Commander, conducted more window inspection and photography work inside the orbital lab’s Russian segment for downlink and analysis on the ground.

Later, Suraev set up the Rassvet mini-research module for more work on the Kulonovskiy Kristall physics experiment. The long-running study observes charged particles trapped in a magnetic field of the microgravity environment.

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