Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Crew Does Science, Maintenance; Prepares for Undocking

Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams
Image above: Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams works over the weekend with the autonomous satellites of the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites experiment in preparation for a robotics competition in which students on Earth will control the satellites. Credit: NASA TV

While performing their regular science and maintenance duties Monday, the Expedition 22 crew members aboard the orbiting International Space Station were set to monitor the undocking and disposal of the propulsion module segment of the Poisk Mini-Research Module 2.

The detachment of Poisk’s propulsion section is scheduled for 7:16 p.m. EST Monday, with a deorbit burn planned for 11:48 p.m. to send it to a destructive entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. The section will burn up after entry interface around 12:32 a.m. Tuesday. Poisk docked to the space-facing port of the Zvezda Service Module on Nov. 12.

Since the propulsion module is no longer needed, the undocking of that section of Poisk will open up a new docking port for Russian vehicles. The first use will come on Jan. 20 with the relocation of the Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft by Flight Engineer Maxim Suraev and Commander Jeff Williams from its current location on the aft end of Zvezda.

Williams worked with the Integrated Cardiovascular (ICV) experiment in the Columbus laboratory. ICV researches the extent of cardiac atrophy and seeks to identify its mechanisms.

He also stored some blood and urine samples in the station’s Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer (MELFI). MELFI supports a wide range of life science experiments by preserving biological samples collected aboard the orbital outpost for later return and analysis on Earth.

Suraev worked with the Russian experiment known as Respiration. The experiment takes physiological measurements to provide a better understanding of the basic mechanisms of respiration in microgravity. Additionally, the flight engineer performed regular maintenance on the life support system in the station’s Russian segment.

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov, NASA’s T.J. Creamer and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are slated to depart the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia Wednesday for their launch site at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They will launch in the Soyuz TMA-17 spacecraft on Dec. 20 and dock to the station on Dec. 22, joining Williams and Suraev as part of the Expedition 22 crew.

› Read more about Expedition 22
› View crew timelines

› Read more about the station's butterfly experiment

2010 International Space Station Calendar

NASA is offering a 2010 calendar that describes the work being done on the International Space Station and gives information about the crews that have lived there. The calendar contains photographs taken from the space station and highlights historic NASA milestones and fun facts about the international construction project of unprecedented complexity that began in 1998. (Note: In order to print the document correctly, please select the two-sided print option in your printer dialog box)

› Download calendar (10.2 Mb PDF)