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Crew Deploys Tiny Satellites and Tests Spacesuit Repairs
November 19, 2013

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The six-member Expedition 38 crew tackled numerous tasks Tuesday to improve life both on Earth and in space. The orbiting residents worked with mission controllers around the world on deploying satellites, testing a spacesuit, conducting research and station maintenance.

Three nanosatellites, known as Cubesats, were deployed from Kibo’s airlock Tuesday at 7:10 a.m. EST; a fourth will be released Wednesday at 2:50 a.m. The Japanese robotic arm grappled and unberthed a deployer mechanism containing all four satellites from Kibo’s airlock. Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata monitored the satellite deployment while operating the Japanese robotic arm from inside Kibo.

The Cubesats were delivered to the space station Aug. 9, 2013, aboard Japan’s fourth H-II Transfer Vehicle, Kounotori-4.

› Read more about the Kounotori-4 mission

Later that afternoon, Wakata installed electronics gear inside a Kibo communications rack. Kibo’s Inter-Orbit Communication System enables voice and data transmissions with Japanese ground controllers at the Tsukuba Space Center.

› Read more about Kibo’s Inter-Orbit Communication System
› Read more about the Tsukuba Space Center

Specialists in coordination with Flight Engineer Mike Hopkins have been testing repairs made to a spacesuit that Flight Engineer Luca Parmitano wore during a July 16 spacewalk that ended early. They are checking the U.S. spacesuit's functionality and telemetry. Engineers are taking a close look at the spacesuit's cooling loop and water separator and especially checking for water and gas leaks.

› Read more about the July 16 spacewalk

Hopkins monitored the test as the spacesuit was pressurized beyond what a spacewalker would normally experience. He was inside the U.S. Quest airlock carefully watching the suit’s performance while mission controllers reviewed data that was downlinked in real time. After the test was complete, Hopkins reconfigured a science payload rack compartment for stowage purposes.

Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio worked on biomedical science collecting perspiration samples for stowage inside a science freezer for later analysis. He later swabbed surfaces inside the orbital laboratory as part of a program to check for microbes inside the station. Mastracchio also relocated and reconfigured a laptop computer for wireless troubleshooting.

On the Russian side of the space station, Commander Oleg Kotov worked on two different science experiments. The first experiment, Motocard, studies locomotion in crew members so specialists can design better training systems for future cosmonauts. For the second, Seiner, Kotov photographed parts of the world’s oceans to locate productive habitats for fisheries.

› Read more about Motocard
› Read more about Seiner

Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy ran antivirus scans on Russian laptop computers. He also installed new low-noise fans in the Zvezda service module and measured the noise levels. Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin conducted routine maintenance, performed a hearing check and updated the station’s inventory management system.

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Astronaut Mike Hopkins
Astronaut Mike Hopkins participates on Tuesday's spacesuit test and repairs.
Image Credit: 
NASA TV
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This video interview describes repairing and testing a spacesuit aboard the International Space Station.
Image Credit: 
NASA TV
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Masazumi Miyake, the International Space Station Program Manager for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, talks about the nanosatellites deployed from the Kibo laboratory.
Image Credit: 
NASA TV
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Page Last Updated: November 19th, 2013
Page Editor: Mark Garcia