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Station Crew Tackles Science, Maintenance and Housekeeping

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:36 am via: NASA
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The Expedition 28 crew of the International Space Station – Commander Andrey Borisenko and Flight Engineers Ron Garan, Alexander Samokutyaev, Mike Fossum, Satoshi Furukawa and Sergei Volkov – tackled another jam-packed agenda Tuesday, including maintenance activities, science experiments and housekeeping work.

NASA astronauts Garan and Fossum continued the effort to stow U.S. tools used during the two most recent spacewalks aboard the station – a Russian spacewalk performed by Volkov and Samokutyaev last Wednesday and Fossum and Garan’s own spacewalk during the STS-135 shuttle mission in July.

Borisenko, with assistance from Samokutyaev, dismantled the docking mechanism of the ISS Progress 42 cargo craft to reintegrate it with the station following Wednesday’s spacewalk. Borisenko also installed two handles on the external side of the Progress hatch. Samokutyaev later unloaded additional cargo from Progress 42, handing it off to Furukawa for unpacking.

Meanwhile, Volkov transferred unneeded hardware into the ISS Progress 43 craft for disposal when it undocks on Aug. 29 for a destructive re-entry in Earth’s atmosphere.

Fossum also worked with the station’s Waste and Hygiene Compartment as he assembled and began installing hardware for the Urine Monitoring System, which collects and measures samples for later evaluation.

Garan participated in the Passages experiment, a study of the impact of microgravity on the interpretation of visual perception. Researchers want to understand more about how astronauts adjust perceptual strategies in order to efficiently perform tasks. Results from this experiment may lead to improvements in virtual reality training as astronauts prepare for long-duration spaceflight.

Fossum and Garan later took a break from their work to answer questions from Boy Scouts at the Northern Star Council Base Camp in St. Paul, Minn. The two astronauts also spoke with recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman earlier in the day.

In support of the International Space Station Agricultural Camera, or ISSAC, Furukawa adjusted the shutter on the Destiny lab window. Remotely operated by students and faculty at the University of North Dakota, ISSAC takes frequent images principally of vegetated areas in the northern Great Plains region of the United States as well as dynamic processes around the world, such as melting glaciers, seasonal changes and human impacts.

On the Russian side of the station, Borisenko worked with the Relaksatsiya experiment, which observes chemiluminescent reactions in the Xenon plasma fired from two plasma contactor units installed on the station’s truss. Borisenko also assisted Volkov with the Tipologia experiment, which studies a crew member’s psychophysical state and ability to perform and communicate under stress.

The station’s residents also had several opportunities to observe and photograph the condition of our home planet as they orbit the Earth every 90 minutes at an altitude of 240 statute miles. Tuesday’s target list included several opportunities to capture images of the aurora borealis phenomenon, also known as the Northern Lights.

On Monday, Fossum performed a session with the Shear History Extensional Rheology Experiment. Known as SHERE, the experiment investigates the effect of rotation on the stress and strain response of a polymer fluid being stretched in microgravity.

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