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Station Crew Tackles Biomedical Experiments, Cable Routing

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:26 am via: NASA
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The International Space Station’s Expedition 30 crew wrapped up its workweek Friday with biomedical experiments, a cleanup of one of the station’s stowage modules and cable routing for an improved communication system.

Commander Dan Burbank, with a little assistance from Flight Engineer Don Pettit, spent most of his day working in the U.S. Destiny lab routing High Rate Communications System cable through the forward end of the module.

Additional cable routing work is planned in the weeks ahead along with the installation of an improved Ethernet hub gateway and Ku communications unit later this year to support this upgrade to the station’s Ku band system. When fully installed and operational, it will provide substantially faster uplink and downlink speeds, improved bandwidth, two extra voice communication loops and two additional video downlink channels.

In addition to assisting Burbank, Pettit also participated in several biomedical experiments that measure the impacts of long duration spaceflight on the human body. For the Sprint experiment, Pettit collected ultrasound readings of his leg muscles to see how well high-intensity exercise minimizes the loss of muscle mass and bone density that typically occurs in a weightless environment. Pettit also took part in the Integrated Cardiovascular experiment, which measures the atrophy of the heart muscle. Investigators use the data from these tests to develop countermeasures to keep the crew healthy, and the results from these studies may have benefits for people on Earth as well.

Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers continued relocating items temporarily stored in the corridor of the Leonardo Permanent Multipurpose Module. Essentially serving as the station’s closet with 2,472 cubic feet of storage space, Leonardo was installed on the station by the STS-133 crew of space shuttle Discovery in March 2011.

Kuipers also took time to answer a ham radio call from students in Bree, Belgium, and responded to a variety of questions about living and working in space.

The flight engineers working in the Russian segment of the station – Oleg Kononenko, Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin – performed some preventative maintenance on the ventilation system of the Zvezda service module and recorded video for a Russian television program.

Kononenko also spent some time with the Bar experiment, which looks at methods and instruments for detecting the location of a loss of pressure aboard the station, while Shkaplerov participated in the Seiner ocean observation experiment.

The six crew members will have an opportunity to enjoy some off-duty time over the weekend, talk with family and friends back on Earth, perform some routine housekeeping chores and continue their daily two-hour exercise regimen.

Meanwhile in Kourou, French Guiana, preparations remain on track for the launch of the European Space Agency’s “Edoardo Amaldi” Automated Transfer Vehicle-3 cargo craft on Friday, March 23 at 12:34 a.m. EDT. The vehicle with its seven tons of cargo for the orbital outpost will dock automatically to the aft port of Zvezda five days later.

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