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Station Crew Inaugurates New Exercise Device, Prepares for Shuttle Visit

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:47 am
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(NASA) – Science experiments and preparations for the arrival of a space shuttle in February filled the International Space Station Expedition 18 crew’s time Tuesday.

Commander Mike Fincke worked out on the newly installed Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED). He reported it was functioning properly.

Image above: Raven Ridge, Colorado, is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 18 crew member on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

The ARED allows the station’s residents to “pump iron,” though they actually pump nothing at all. The ARED uses vacuum canisters to potentially create as much as 600 pounds of resistive force.

Flight Engineer Sandy Magnus spent much of her day configuring spacewalk tools and preparing spacesuits for use when space shuttle Discovery arrives in February. The STS-119 crew will conduct four spacewalks while Discovery is docked with the station, installing the final set of power-generating solar arrays.

Later, Magnus took a scheduled break from her duties to answer an amateur radio call from patients at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa.

In the Zvezda service module, Flight Engineer Yury Lonchakov set up a plasma crystal experiment. He prepared its vacuum chamber, installed experiment software and did several pressure checks on the hardware throughout the day.

Tuesday also marked the start of a week of ground-controlled checkouts with the Canadian Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator robot that was assembled during the STS-123 mission almost a year ago. Dubbed Dextre by a Canada-wide naming contest, the robot, with its two robotic arms, attaches to the station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2. It could allow astronauts to replace hardware outside the station without doing a spacewalk.

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