Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Space Station News: Troubleshooting, Maintenance for Crew Before Visitors Arrive

Expedition 23 Flight Engineer T.J. Creamer

Image above: T.J. Creamer, Expedition 23 flight engineer, works on the Water Processing Assembly. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 23 Flight Engineer T.J. Creamer continues troubleshooting the Water Processing Assembly (WPA) in conjunction with specialists in Mission Control. Last week after he performed leak checks on the WPA, ground specialists decided to take a closer look at a catalytic reactor. They uplinked more troubleshooting procedures to the crew before continuing further work. On Tuesday, Creamer downlinked live close-up video of condensation collecting on the WPA to assist Mission Control.

Expedition 23 Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi were in the Zvezda service module replacing equipment inside the treadmill vibration isolation system (TVIS). They also took detailed photographs of the TVIS and its various parts for analysis on Earth.

Next week two spacecraft carrying eight astronauts and two cosmonauts will dock to the International Space Station.

The Soyuz TMA-18 rolls out to its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome Wednesday morning for an April 2 launch. The Russian spacecraft will carry new Expedition 23 Flight Engineers Alexander Skvortsov, Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Mikhail Kornienko. The new crew members will dock to the station April 4.

On April 7, space shuttle Discovery and the STS-131 crew will arrive at the orbital laboratory. Discovery is delivering new science racks and ammonia tanks. While there, two shuttle astronauts will perform three spacewalks to switch out ammonia tanks on the International Space Station.

In advance of the three STS-131 spacewalks, station crew members Creamer and Noguchi were outfitting the Quest Joint Airlock and setting up U.S. spacesuits. Those spacewalks will be conducted by STS-131 Mission Specialists and veteran spacewalkers Rick Mastracchio and Clay Anderson.

After the Soyuz and shuttle arrive, for over a week there will be 13 people living in space. There will be two Japanese astronauts working together for the first time – Noguchi and STS-131 Mission Specialist Naoko Yamazaki. There also will be four female astronauts in space for the first time – Expedition 23 Flight Engineer Tracy Caldwell Dyson, STS-131 Mission Specialists Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson and Yamazaki.

› Read more about Expedition 23
› View crew timelines

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.