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Station Crew Completes Preparations for Soyuz Move

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Oct 31, 2013 10:22 pm via: NASA
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On the eve of a vehicle relocation to make way for the arrival of a third Soyuz at the International Space Station, the Expedition 37 crew supported a variety of science experiments, reviewed Soyuz procedures and prepared for the return home of three crew members.

Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Luca Parmitano spent their Thursday morning conducting some on board training to prepare to move their Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft from the Rassvet module to the aft port of the Zvezda service module. Along with Flight Engineer Karen Nyberg, they will undock their spacecraft at 4:34 a.m. EDT Friday for the planned 24-minute hop. NASA Television will provide live coverage of the relocation beginning at 4 a.m.

Yurchikhin, Parmitano and Nyberg also conducted fit checks of the anti-G outfits they will wear underneath their Sokol launch and entry suits while aboard the Soyuz.

The Expedition 37 crew is relocating the Soyuz to make way for the launch and arrival of a trio of new station crew members — NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata and Soyuz commander Mikhail Tyurin of the Russian Federal Space Agency – who will dock their Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft to Rassvet on Nov. 7 about six hours after their launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The three new flight engineers are currently in Baikonur completing their final preparations and training for launch.

Mastracchio, Wakata and Tyurin will deliver an Olympic torch to the station for the longest leg of its relay to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Flight Engineers Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy, who will carry the torch outside the station during a symbolic spacewalk on Nov. 9, worked in the Russian segment of the station Thursday to install U.S. spacesuit lights and helmet cameras on their Russian Orlan spacesuits. The torch will return to Earth along with Yurchikhin, Nyberg and Parmitano on Nov. 10 when they board their Soyuz for the journey home after more than five months in space.

In addition to their spacewalk preparations Thursday, Kotov and Ryazanskiy joined Flight Engineer Mike Hopkins for a training session with the Crew Healthcare System. This training refreshes their memory of the stowage locations for emergency equipment and gives them an opportunity to work as a team in resolving a simulated medical emergency.  The trio practiced CPR techniques and checked out the station’s automated external defibrillator device.

Hopkins also participated in the Reversible Figures study. Research has shown that the way astronauts perceive three-dimensional objects changes when they are up in space, and this experiment helps determine how the crews use linear cues and different perspectives before, during and after the flight.

Nyberg meanwhile spent part of her day Microbiome study, which takes a look at the impact of space travel on the human immune system and an individual’s microbiome — the collective community of microorganisms that are normally present in and on the human body. For this session, Nyberg completed a survey and collected test swabs from the surface of her own body as well as from surfaces throughout the station. In addition to providing data that will keep future crews healthy, findings from this study could benefit people on Earth who work in extreme environments and further research in the detection of diseases, alterations in metabolic function and deficiencies in the immune system.

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