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Station Crew Members Prepare for Return Home

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:42 am via: NASA
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Expedition 28 Commander Andrey Borisenko and Flight Engineers Ron Garan and Alexander Samokutyaev began their homecoming week Monday by packing up their Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft, testing Soyuz thrusters and conducting other departure preparations in advance of their return to Earth Friday. They will undock from the International Space Station and return home aboard the Soyuz craft, landing in the steppe of Kazakhstan at 12 a.m. EDT (10 a.m. Kazakhstan time).

Borisenko will hand command of the orbital complex over to fellow crew member Mike Fossum Wednesday in a ceremony planned for 5:40 p.m. that will be televised on NASA Television. Fossum will lead the Expedition 29 crew with Flight Engineers Sergei Volkov and Satoshi Furukawa.

The launch date for the next trio of station residents, NASA’s Dan Burbank and Russia’s Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin, remains under review pending the results of an investigation into the cause of a recent cargo launch vehicle failure.

NASA has been following the investigation of the Progress 44 launch issue by its Russian partners. Roscosmos is sharing data with NASA which NASA also is assessing. This is an ongoing process and finding the cause is the beginning step. NASA looks forward to working with its Russian colleagues to fully understand what happened and take the corrective actions necessary to ensure the safe continuation of flights to the International Space Station.

The station crew continued tracking Tropical Storm Maria as well as photographing wildfires near Houston and Bastrop, Texas. More than 1,600 families have lost their homes in the blaze near Bastrop, and 75 percent of the homes in the Magnolia area north of Houston have been lost.

Furukawa had a conference to discuss the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Marangoni Surface experiments that observe the flow of a fluid driven by surface tension. These experiments are designed to further understanding of Marangoni convection in microgravity.

The flight engineer also relocated cables at one of the Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) locations aboard the complex. SAMS is designed to record accelerations for the lifetime of the Space Station.

Garan replaced a filter in a Microgravity Science Glovebox, and Fossum replaced a card on one of the station’s computers.

Over the weekend, the crew and ground controllers observed a moment of silence for those lost in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

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