Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Current Nasa News: Crew Does Science, Prepares for Undocking

ISS022-E-058538 -- Sir Bani Yas Island
Image above: Sir Bani Yas Island is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 22 crew member aboard the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

The Expedition 22 crew aboard the International Space Station conducted scientific research Tuesday while preparing for the departure of two of its members.

Flight Engineer T.J. Creamer worked on the Long Term Microgravity: A Model for Investigating Mechanisms of Heart Disease with New Portable Equipment (Card) experiment that studies blood pressure decreases when the human body is exposed to microgravity. In order to increase the blood pressure to the level it was on Earth, salt is added to the crew members' diet. To monitor this, blood pressure readings are performed at different intervals during the mission.

Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi performed routine maintenance on the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) which he later used to exercise. The ARED uses vacuum cylinders to mimic weightlifting exercises in the microgravity environment of space.

Meanwhile, Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Maxim Suraev continued preparations for their departure Thursday. After undocking from the station aboard the Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft, they will take a three-and-a-half-hour ride that will culminate in a parachute-assisted landing in Kazakhstan early that morning.

Noguchi, Creamer and Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov will continue their stay on the station, becoming the new Expedition 23 crew. Kotov will become the new station commander. A change of command ceremony is scheduled for 8:45 a.m. EDT Wednesday.

On April 4, Expedition 23 will expand to a six-member crew. Arriving in the Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft will be new station crew members Alexander Skvortsov, Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Mikhail Kornienko.

Robotics officers on the ground moved the Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator (Dextre) into place on the exterior of the Destiny laboratory for work during the third spacewalk of the STS-131 mission. Dextre is a two-armed robot mounted outside the station designed to handle delicate assembly tasks.

Space shuttle Discovery is scheduled to arrive at the station on April 7. STS-131 will deliver new science racks inside the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module and will feature three spacewalks.

NASA’s International Space Station Program Wins Collier Trophy

The International Space Station Program has won the 2009 Collier Trophy, which is considered the top award in aviation. The National Aeronautic Association bestows the award annually to recognize the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America.

› Read more about the award

› Read Heads of Agency International Space Station Joint Statement

› MCB Joint Statement Representing Common Views on the Future of the ISS (8 Kb PDF)

› Read more about Expedition 22
› View crew timelines
› View space station photos of Haiti

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. (Please Note: To print this large calendar on 8.5 by 11 paper, printer may need to be set on a "shrink to printable area" option.)