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Station Crew Prepares for Progress Undocking

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:24 am
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(NASA) – The Expedition 20 crew aboard the orbiting International Space Station wrapped up preparations Monday for Tuesday’s undocking of the ISS Progress 33 cargo craft. Crew members also conducted a variety of biomedical experiments.

Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Roman Romanenko closed the hatches between the station and the Progress, after which Padalka conducted leak checks prior to the undocking that is slated for 2:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday.

Expedition 20 Flight Engineer Frank De Winne works with the Bodies In the Space Environment experiment, which studies how humans first adapt to microgravity and then re-adapt to normal gravity conditions upon return to Earth. This experiment involves comparisons of preflight, flight and postflight perceptions and mental imagery. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 20 Flight Engineer Frank De Winne works with the Bodies In the Space Environment experiment, which studies how humans first adapt to microgravity and then re-adapt to normal gravity conditions upon return to Earth. This experiment involves comparisons of preflight, flight and postflight perceptions and mental imagery. Credit: NASA TV

Before deorbiting, the Progress will be commanded into a parking orbit until its final rendezvous with the station on July 12. The cargo ship will approach to within 10 to 15 meters of the Zvezda service module to test new automated rendezvous equipment mounted on Zvezda during a pair of spacewalks earlier this month by Padalka and Flight Engineer Mike Barratt. This equipment will be used to guide the new Mini-Research Module-2 (MRM2) to an unpiloted docking to the zenith port of Zvezda later this year. MRM2 will serve as a new docking port for Russian spacecraft and an additional airlock for spacewalks conducted out of the Russian segment.

Barratt set up the Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device, or SLAMMD, and he – as well as fellow flight engineers Koichi Wakata, Robert Thirsk and Frank De Winne – used it to perform a body mass measurement. SLAMMD measures the on-orbit mass of crew members by applying Newton’s Second Law of Motion (force is equal to mass times acceleration) using the known force generated by two springs against a crew member mounted on an extension arm. The resultant acceleration of the crew member is measured and the mass then calculated.

Padalka worked with the Russian experiment known as Respiration. The experiment takes physiological measurements to provide a better understanding of the basic mechanisms of respiration in microgravity.

The crew also spent time preparing for Thursday’s relocation of the Soyuz TMA-14 spacecraft by Padalka, Barratt and Wakata from the Zvezda aft docking port to Pirs to clear the path for the arrival of the new Progress 34 cargo craft in late July.

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