Saturday, March 13, 2010

Nasa News Today: Robotics and Departure Preparations for Crew

ISS022-E-078339 -- Soichi Noguchi

Image above: Expedition 22 Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi works at a robotic workstation in the Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

The Expedition 22 crew members aboard the International Space Station were busy Thursday with robotics activities and preparations for upcoming spacecraft departures.

Flight Engineers Soichi Noguchi and T.J. Creamer performed a series of checkouts and calibrations on the Kibo laboratory’s newest robotic arm, known as the small fine arm. Once its deployment is complete, the small fine arm will be used on the end of the laboratory’s larger main arm to move small science experiments and pieces of hardware on the Kibo Exposed Facility.

Creamer also had time to work with the 3D Space experiment, which involves distance, writing and illusion exercises designed to test the hypothesis that altered visual perception affects motor control.

Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov packed and transferred unneeded items into ISS Progress 35, which is scheduled to be undocked for a destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere next month. He also had time to conduct a variety of scheduled maintenance activities in the Russian segment of the station.

Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Maxim Suraev packed items and made preparations for their departure from the station next week. They are scheduled to undock in the Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft at 4:03 a.m. EDT March 18, with a landing about 3.5 hours later.

Kotov, Creamer and Noguchi will remain on the station to become the Expedition 23 crew, with Kotov taking over as station commander. New crew members Alexander Skvortsov, Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Mikhail Kornienko will launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-18 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on April 2.

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.)