Expedition 38 began the week’s first deployment of micro-satellites Tuesday morning. The crew also moved ahead with more life science work and an array of station maintenance.
Flight controllers from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency maneuvered the Kibo laboratory’s robotic arm into position Tuesday. Attached to the arm is the Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform which is carrying the NanoRacks CubeSats. Tuesday’s first deployment took place at noon. More deployments are scheduled through Friday.
Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata had a busy morning with plant science, water sample collection and a periodic fitness evaluation. During the afternoon, he worked on science gear updating software on an EXPRESS rack laptop computer and recharging its batteries. He also loaded payload application software on a science freezer and an incubator.
NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio assisted Wakata during his fitness evaluation, measuring his blood pressure. After the light medical work, Mastracchio switched to science mode and swapped sample cartridges inside the Materials Science Laboratory. He also photographed the facility and checked its temperature constraints. The Materials Science Laboratory is part of the larger Materials Science Research Rack.
Flight Engineer Mike Hopkins conducted maintenance throughout Tuesday replacing Kibo lab canisters and cleaning crew quarters. Hopkins worked in Kibo during the morning replacing canisters that are part of the lab’s Internal Thermal Control System. The canisters had reached their lower limit of a biocide that disinfects part of the station's environment.
During the afternoon, Hopkins cleaned the air ducts and fans on the station’s port-side crew quarters. He also spent a few moments logging his meals for the Pro-K nutrition study, which seeks a dietary countermeasure to bone loss experienced on long-duration space missions.
In the Russian segment of the International Space Station, the three cosmonauts worked on their set of station science experiments and maintenance work.
Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy partnered up for the Splanh experiment, which studies blood circulation in the digestive system of a crew member. Kotov later switched cables from the Zvezda service module to the Poisk mini-research module. Ryazanskiy continued his routine checks of the Caskad bioreactor which facilitates cell cultivation in microgravity.
Veteran cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin checked radiation readings for the Matroyshka experiment and updated the station’s inventory management system.