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Multitude of Science as Station Preps for Heavy Traffic

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:49 pm via: NASA
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The six-member Expedition 40 crew is steadily moving ahead with a wide variety of international science. Meanwhile, a station trio is getting ready for its homecoming while another is in Star City, Russia, waiting to replace it. SpaceX is also counting down to its fourth commercial cargo launch to the International Space Station.

Commander Steve Swanson and Flight Engineer Reid Wiseman completed work Tuesday replacing a fan pump separator on a U.S. spacesuit. New batteries set for installation on U.S. spacesuits will be delivered on the Dragon commercial cargo craft. The SpaceX 4 mission is targeted to launch no earlier than Sept. 19. Two U.S. spacewalks had been scheduled in August but were postponed until after the SpaceX 4 delivery mission.

This is a night image of Taiwan and part of mainland China with hundreds of fishing vessels clustered in this panorama.

This is a night image of Taiwan and part of mainland China with hundreds of fishing vessels clustered in this panorama.

Swanson started his morning setting up Robonaut 2, its tools and hardware for ground commanded operations. He then moved on to the Columbus lab module performing video installation work on the European Physiology Module before inspecting hatches inside the U.S. segment of the space station.

Wiseman did some plumbing work in the Tranquility node’s Water Recovery System replacing filters, installing a hose and draining a recycle tank. He also traded responsibility with European astronaut Alexander Gerst stowing exercise clothing and assisting with the U.S. hatch inspection work.

Gerst started his morning loading payload software on a pair of research laptop computers. After that work, he installed alignment guides in the Combustion Integrated Rack then moved on to hatch cleaning and inspection work.

During the afternoon, Gerst measured the magnetic field strength inside the European Drawer Rack (EDR) using a teslameter before installing a new experiment. He then installed the Magvector in the EDR to investigate how Earth’s moving magnetic field interacts with an electrical conductor. Observations may lead to insights into how magnetic fields influence electrical conductors and may advance the study of experimental astrophysics.

Flight Engineer Max Suraev continued more surface sampling looking for microbial growth inside the Zvezda service module on Tuesday. In between the sampling work, the future commander audited medical kits and worked maintenance on the Elektron oxygen generator in Zvezda.

A pair of homebound cosmonauts tagged up with ground doctors Tuesday morning in preparation for their departure in two weeks. Flight Engineers Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev donned lower body negative pressure suits so specialists could evaluate their orthostatic tolerance and help the duo adapt quicker to Earth’s gravity upon their return.

Skvortsov also collected his blood and saliva samples for stowage in a science freezer and later analysis. Artemyev continued his photographic inspection of the interior of the space station’s Russian segment.

The duo along with Swanson will enter the Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft and undock from the Poisk docking compartment Sept. 10 ending Expedition 40. Suraev will take command of the station staying behind with his crewmates Wiseman and Gerst officially beginning Expedition 41.

Two veteran space-flyers, NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore, Soyuz Commander Alexander Samoukutyaev and new cosmonaut Elena Serova are in Russia preparing for their Sept. 25 launch aboard a Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft. The new Expedition 41 trio will take a near six-hour, or four-orbit, ride to the space station’s Poisk module. They are scheduled to return to Earth March 2015.

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