The six-member Expedition 39 crew has started the week on an array of science and post-spacewalk clean up procedures. Back in Houston, robotics controllers are maneuvering the Canadarm2 and the Dextre to prepare for external cargo transfers from the SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft.
Commander Koichi Wakata and NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio collected saliva and urine samples for storage inside a science freezer. Wakata then worked the rest of the morning replacing gear inside the freezer known as the Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS, or MELFI. During the afternoon, the commander continued collecting and placing more biological samples inside the MELFI.
Mastracchio spent a few minutes during his morning measuring his body mass. He attached himself to a device that applies a known force to a crewmember and uses the resulting acceleration to calculate mass.
He and Flight Engineer Steve Swanson then worked during the afternoon cleaning up after last week’s spacewalk to replace a computer. The duo scrubbed the suits’ cooling loops and stowed their spacewalk tools. They also sampled the water that cools their extra-vehicular mobility units, or spacesuits, while outside the space station.
Swanson also started his morning measuring his body mass. Afterward he performed a vision check and filled out a questionnaire documenting his sight as he works in microgravity. In between his spacesuit work he conducted training, along with cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev, to familiarize himself with the Crew Healthcare System hardware.
Skvortsov worked on several ongoing Russian life science experiments. His first research session was with the Konstanta investigation which seeks to protect a crew member’s enzyme system against the effects of microgravity. For the Immuno experiment he collected a saliva sample to help determine how a long-term spaceflight affect’s a crew member’s immune system. In the afternoon, he worked on the VIRU study which offers science training in a virtual and interactive environment.
Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev primarily worked maintenance in the station’s Russian segment. He also worked throughout the day unloading cargo from the ISS Progress 55 resupply craft and updating the station’s inventory management system.
Veteran cosmonaut and three-time space station resident Mikhail Tyurin sampled the station’s air and also worked maintenance. He also downlinked data collected for the Seismoprognoz which observes earthquakes and their effects on the atmosphere.
The station is set to raise its orbit when the ISS Progress 53 fires its engines early Tuesday morning. The reboost will ready the Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft for its undocking May 13 when Expedition 39 ends and Wakata, Mastracchio and Tyurin return home.