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Station Crew Upgrades Communications, Observes Storms

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sat Sep 3, 2011 8:31 am via: NASA
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The Expedition 28 crew of the International Space Station wrapped up a busy week Friday by focusing on a communication system upgrade, exercise equipment maintenance and observations of severe weather systems around the world.

NASA astronauts Mike Fossum and Ron Garan, both flight engineers, spent much of their day working on an upgrade of the high-rate communication system that provides data from payloads and scientific experiments aboard the station to the teams back on Earth. Garan rerouted some data and Ethernet cables, while Fossum worked on swapping out two boxes known as Automated Payload Switches.

Meanwhile, Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa performed maintenance on the station’s exercise bike known as the cycle ergometer. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut adjusted the pedals to extend the life of the cycle’s isolators since the replacement isolators were among the cargo lost when the ISS Progress 44 supply ship failed to reach orbit on Aug. 24.

The malfunction of that cargo ship launch and the subsequent mishap investigation by Russian officials also delayed the return home of Garan, Commander Andrey Borisenko and Flight Engineer Alexander Samokutyaev aboard the Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft that brought them to the station in April. The three are now slated to undock from the station Sept. 15 for a landing Sept. 16 in the steppe of Kazakhstan.

In other activities aboard the station Friday, Flight Engineer Sergei Volkov participated in the Pneumocard experiment, a Russian study of the adaptation of the cardiovascular system during long-duration spaceflight.

Volkov’s fellow cosmonauts, Borisenko and Samokutyaev, spent part of their day cleaning ventilation screens in the Russian segment of the station. Ventilation is crucial aboard the station because the absence of gravitational effects can cause dangerous pockets of carbon dioxide to build up.

Robotics work on station continued overnight as the team on the ground remotely operated Dextre, the Canadian Space Agency’s robotic handyman on the exterior of the station, finishing up some tasks related to the replacement of a faulty circuit breaker box by Dextre earlier in the week. Next the team will proceed with commanding Dextre to relocate the Robotic Refueling Mission technology demonstration to its permanent home on the Express Logistics Carrier 4 located on the station’s truss.

Over the weekend, the station’s residents will continue to use their unique vantage point to observe and report on tropical weather systems around the world. Throughout the week, the crew and cameras mounted on the exterior of the station captured images and videos of Hurricane Katia in the Atlantic, a low pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico and Tropical Storm Talas over Japan.

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