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ATV-5 Approaching Station While Crew Preps for Spacewalk

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:22 pm via: NASA
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The six-member Expedition 40 crew is conducting its normal suite of international science and maintenance while waiting for Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle-5 (ATV-5) to dock Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. EDT.

A pair of cosmonauts is counting down to next week’s Russian spacewalk to deploy a nanosatellite and retrieve external science gear attached to the Zvezda service module’s hull. Flight Engineers Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev sized their Orlan spacesuits and checked for leaks in advance of the six-hour, 15-minute spacewalk scheduled for Aug. 18.

Astronauts Steve Swanson, Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst started their morning by attaching themselves to a device to measure their body mass. The Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device (SLAMMD) applies a known force to a crew member and uses the resulting acceleration, Newton’s Second Law of Motion, to calculate mass.

Gerst then performed some light plumbing work and reviewed the ATV-5 cargo transfer list. After lunch he and Wiseman joined Commander Swanson for an ATV-5 hardware transfer tag up. The European Space Agency astronaut from Germany then went back to work on more plumbing, draining water from the Water Recycling System in the Harmony node.

Wiseman continued his morning work troubleshooting a lithium-ion battery charger in a U.S. spacesuit. The NASA astronaut then had an interview with WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C. and talked about adjusting to life in space and tweeting from the International Space Station.

He spent the rest of his afternoon working on science gear inside the Combustion Integrated Rack for maintenance. He replaced a fuel reservoir that contains the liquid fuel necessary for the rack’s droplet combustion experiments.

The commander worked on a plant experiment inside the Japanese Kibo laboratory, conducting a run for the Resist Tubule botany study. Swanson then stowed tools gathered for a U.S. spacewalk that was postponed to wait for new Long Life Batteries being delivered to the station aboard the SpaceX-4 commercial resupply services flight.

Swanson spent the first part of the afternoon on mobility upgrades for the Robonaut 2 humanoid robot with an eye to install its legs at a later date. Investigators are exploring the possibility that Robonaut could perform tasks too dangerous or mundane for an astronaut. After that, he started up a SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites) micro-satellite that used an attached smartphone to map the inside of the Kibo lab.

A trio of cosmonauts was also working on its complement of space station science and upkeep on the Russian side of the orbital laboratory.

Future Expedition 41 commander Max Suraev worked during the morning setting up dosimeters for the Matryoshka radiation exposure experiment. He then made preparations inside Zvezda ahead of Tuesday morning’s arrival of the ATV-5.

Skvortsov and Artemyev joined Suraev for a study of their cardiovascular system, exercising on the Velo-ergometer, or exercise bicycle, under a graded physical load.

Meanwhile, ESA’s ATV-5 is closing in for Tuesday morning’s docking to the space station after a two-week trek. During its slow, deliberate approach to the space station, European flight controllers guided the ATV-5 less than four miles underneath the station, then out front and back over the orbital laboratory to test new rendezvous sensors and laser systems. The advanced technology is being tested for its potential to guide future European spacecraft under development.

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