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Departure Preps and Robotics Training for Station Crew

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:38 am via: NASA
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The Expedition 30 crew of the International Space Station focused Tuesday on departure preparations for three of the six crew members as well as robotics training for the arrival of a commercial cargo spacecraft.

Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin, who are scheduled to undock in their Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft on Friday at 4:19 a.m. EDT and land in the steppe of Kazakhstan around three hours later, continued packing items for return to Earth. Shkaplerov also installed fan cabling in the Soyuz while Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko, who will become the Expedition 31 commander when the Soyuz undocks, assisted Ivanishin with some adjustments to the seat liners.

To condition their bodies for the return to Earth, Shkaplerov and Ivanishin conducted a session of exercise with the Lower Body Negative Pressure device, which simulates gravity by pulling the body’s fluids toward the feet.

Flight Engineer Don Pettit began his workday in the Japanese Kibo module installing a canister bag for the High Quality Protein Crystal Growth Experiment. Later Pettit unloaded and unpacked cargo from the Automated Transfer Vehicle-3, which docked with the station March 28.

Meanwhile, Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers set up hardware for the VO2Max experiment that he will conduct on Thursday. That experiment allows researchers on Earth to measure changes in the astronauts’ aerobic capacity during long-duration spaceflight and recommend changes to their daily two-hour exercise regimen.

Kuipers took a break from his work to answer questions from students in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom participating in the European Space Agency’s “Spaceship Earth” educational project.

Pettit and Kuipers spent several hours together reviewing procedures and practicing on the robotics workstation to prepare for the grapple and berthing of the station’s first commercial cargo craft, the SpaceX Dragon. The two flight engineers practiced techniques for an offset grapple of Dragon with the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Dragon’s launch, originally planned for April 30, was delayed to May 7 as SpaceX wraps up testing and reviews the data.

At the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, NASA astronaut Joe Acaba and Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin completed their final qualification simulation runs in advance of their final approval for launch to the station. Acaba, Padalka and Revin are scheduled to fly to the launch site at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on May 2 to prepare for their May 14 liftoff in the Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft. The trio will join Kononenko, Pettit and Kuipers aboard the complex to complete the Expedition 31 crew.

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