Monday, December 21, 2009

Expedition 22 Keeps Busy While Awaiting Additional Crew Members

Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams

Image above: Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams works in the U.S. Destiny laboratory aboard the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

High above the Earth, the International Space Station’s Expedition 22 crew kept busy with science and maintenance Monday as they awaited Tuesday’s scheduled arrival of additional crew members.

Commander Jeff Williams performed an inspection of an important piece of the crew’s exercise equipment, the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED). Used as part of a daily workout routine, ARED helps the station inhabitants preserve muscle strength during their extended time in microgravity.

Williams also recorded some video of the Advanced Plant EXperiments on Orbit - Cambium (APEX-Cambium) experiment. APEX-Cambium uses willow plants flown on the International Space Station to better understand the fundamental processes by which plants produce cellulose and lignin, the two main structural materials found in plant matter. Understanding the role of gravity in wood formation is expected to enable wiser management of forests for carbon sequestration as well as better utilization of trees for wood products. Later, he harvested some of the plant specimens that will be chemically preserved for post-flight analysis.

Flight Engineer Maxim Suraev worked on a replacement of the condensate separation and pumping unit, part of the water reclamation system in the Russian segment of the orbital outpost. He then spent the majority of his afternoon performing maintenance on the station’s smoke detectors.

Additionally, Suraev completed his periodic fitness evaluation using one of the station’s treadmills.

NASA astronaut T.J. Creamer, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi, all space station flight engineers, launched in their Soyuz TMA-17 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:52 p.m. EST Sunday to begin a two-day journey to the International Space Station.

› View video of Expedition 22 launch

NASA astronaut Williams and Russian cosmonaut Suraev are currently the sole residents on the station, having arrived Oct. 2 aboard their Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft.

Creamer, Kotov and Noguchi will complete the Expedition 22 crew when they dock to the station Tuesday. Docking is scheduled for 5:54 p.m.

› View imagery of Expedition 22 crew preparing for launch

› 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 (8.6 Mb PDF)