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Spacesuit Checkouts and Robotics Aboard Station

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:03 pm via: NASA
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The six-person Expedition 36 crew of the International Space Station supported a variety of science experiments and technology demonstrations Tuesday while preparing tools and equipment for a Russian spacewalk later this week.

Following the crew’s daily planning conference with flight control teams around the world, Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy of NASA collected water samples from a condensate line in the Tranquility node and packaged the samples for return to Earth and further analysis.

Meanwhile, Flight Engineer Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency spent his morning cleaning crew quarters, which are basically small compartments that serve as sleep stations and personal space for each of the astronauts. Parmitano cleaned the air intake and exhaust ducts as well, as the fan and airflow sensor.

Afterward, Parmitano performed an ultrasound on Cassidy for the Spinal Ultrasound investigation. Medical researchers have observed that astronauts grow up to three percent taller during their long duration missions aboard the station and return to their normal height when back on Earth. The Spinal Ultrasound investigation seeks to understand the mechanism and impact of this change while advancing medical imaging technology by testing a smaller and more-portable ultrasound device aboard the station.

Working inside the Japanese Kibo module, Flight Engineer Karen Nyberg of NASA spent part of her morning replacing the infrared imager of the Fluid Physics Experiment Facility, or FPEF, housed inside the Ryutai rack.

Nyberg rounded out her day with the Surface Telerobotics experiment as she remotely controlled the K10 rover at the Ames Research Center in California. Using a special program on a laptop computer that provided live video from the rover and virtual terrain, Nyberg downlinked task plans to the rover, monitored the execution of those plans and handled contingencies as needed. Surface Telerobotics studies the tools and techniques a crew member in space could use to control a robot on the surface of a moon, planet or asteroid. This technology demonstration also looks at how communication delays over vast distances affect an astronaut’s ability to take supervisory control of an automated rover if it gets into a difficult situation.

On the Russian side of the complex, Flight Engineers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Alexander Misurkin continued their preparations for a spacewalk on Thursday to replace a laser communications experiment with a platform for the installation of a small optical telescope and remove a docking target from the Pirs docking assembly. The two cosmonauts recharged the batteries of their Orlan spacesuits, checked out communication systems and prepared tools to be used during their planned 6 1/2-hour excursion. NASA Television coverage will begin at 7 a.m. prior to the hatch opening at 7:40 a.m. that signifies the start of the spacewalk.

Commander Pavel Vinogradov spent his workday conducting an audit of network and computer hardware and performing routine maintenance on the life support system inside the Zvezda service module.

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