The International Space Station's six Expedition 38 crew members started their work week with ongoing science and routine maintenance. The orbital laboratory is also preparing to deploy more CubeSats on Tuesday.
NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio contributed his efforts to combustion science Monday working with the long-running Burning and Suppression of Solids-II experiment (BASS-II). That study observes the burning and extinguishing of fuels and solids in space inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox. Researchers have noted fire burns longer and cooler in microgravity. Benefits of combustion research include more efficient combustion engines on Earth and improved fire safety techniques on long-term space missions.
Flight Engineer Mike Hopkins prepared for the next round of the Advanced Colloids Experiment (ACE), which studies microscopic particles suspended in a liquid. He set up the experiment's Light Microscopy Module inside the Fluids Integrated Rack. The materials science experiment looks at the relationship between particle shape, crystal symmetry and structure, which allows the possibility of making three dimensional cubic crystals.
Hopkins also logged his dietary inputs and collected blood and urine samples for the Pro-K experiment, which looks at the balance between nutrition and bone density. The Pro-K study seeks to determine the nutritional requirements necessary to decrease the bone loss that occurs during long-term missions in space.
Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata deactivated and closed out the Aniso Tubule botany experiment. The plant study, which takes place in the Kibo laboratory module, observes a plant's stem thickness and how it grows in microgravity, in relation to how it resists gravity on Earth. Results could lead to better crop production techniques on Earth.
Wakata also cleaned crew quarters throughout the space station. They are personal spaces about the size of a telephone booth, in which a crew member can store personal gear, communicate with family and sleep.
Japanese flight controllers are once again getting the Kibo lab ready to deploy more NanoRacks CubeSats on Tuesday morning. The Japanese robotic arm outside the lab is holding a deployer mechanism, from which the tiny satellites will be released into orbit.
On the Russian side of the space station, the three cosmonauts, including Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineers Sergey Ryazanskiy and Mikhail Tyurin, continued their complement of science and maintenance activities.