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Crew Opens Hatch to Cygnus, Begins Unloading Cargo
September 30, 2013

[image-51]The International Space Station’s Expedition 37 crew kicked off its first full workweek as a six-person crew Monday unloading cargo from a newly arrived commercial cargo vehicle and performing a variety of scientific experiments.

In the wake of Sunday’s inaugural arrival of the Orbital Sciences Cygnus resupply ship at the station, Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano opened the hatch to the spacecraft at 4:10 a.m. EDT Monday and began unloading its cache of approximately 1,300 pounds of cargo.  Cygnus, which launched Sept. 18 aboard its Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, was captured by the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm under the control of Parmitano at 7:01 a.m. Sunday and berthed to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony node at 8:44 a.m.

› Read more about the arrival of Cygnus

Over the next several days the Expedition 37 crew will unload Cygnus’ cargo,  which includes student experiments, food and clothing. Future Cygnus flights will ensure a robust national capability to deliver critical science payloads to orbit, significantly increasing NASA's ability to conduct new science investigations to the only laboratory in microgravity.

› Read more about the student experiments on Cygnus

The spacecraft will remain attached to Harmony until a planned unberthing on Oct. 22 sends the spacecraft toward a destructive re-entry in Earth's atmosphere.

[image-78]Parmitano, with assistance from Flight Engineer Mike Hopkins, also spent some time in the Quest airlock replacing a water line vent tube assembly today on the hard upper torso of one of the two U.S. spacesuits. During a July 16 spacewalk, water leaked into the helmet of Parmitano’s spacesuit, and the station’s crew with direction from the specialists on the ground has been troubleshooting this issue.

All six station crew members gathered for the first of two days of reviews of emergency roles and responsibilities, which is standard work whenever new crew members arrive aboard the station.  Flight Engineers Mike Hopkins, Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy, who launched and docked to the station Wednesday aboard their Soyuz TMA-10M spacecraft, also had time set aside for crew orientation to learn the ropes of their new orbital home for the next 5 ½ months.

› Read more about the launch, docking of Soyuz TMA-10M

On the Russian side of the complex, Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin began his workday with the Aseptic experiment, which takes a look at the methods and means of ensuring sterile conditions for biotechnological experiments aboard the station. Ryazanskiy assisted the commander with photography of the experiment results.

Ryazanskiy also performed the Kaskad investigation to help researchers lean how to increase the output of target bioactive substances in the cultivation of cells under microgravity conditions.

Kotov meanwhile focused on the Konstanta experiment, which studies enzyme reactions in a microgravity environment.  Afterward, he unloaded cargo from his Soyuz TMA-10M spacecraft docked to the Poisk module.

Throughout the day, all six crew members also continued their daily two-hour exercise regimen to stay fit and prevent the loss of bone density and muscle mass that occurs during long-duration spaceflight. 

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Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg (left), Mike Hopkins (top) and Luca Parmitano work inside the Cygnus cargo craft shortly after the hatches opened at 4:10 a.m. EDT Monday.
Image Credit: 
NASA TV
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Quest airlock
Flight Engineers Luca Parmitano (background) and Mike Hopkins perform spacesuit maintenance inside the Quest airlock.
Image Credit: 
NASA TV
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Page Last Updated: September 30th, 2013
Page Editor: Jerry Wright