The three-person Expedition 37 crew is back to work after an off-duty day Wednesday. Having said goodbye to their Expedition 36 crewmates Tuesday night, they now await three new crew members in Russia counting down to a Sept. 25 launch.
Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin worked throughout the day in the Russian side of the International Space Station. He checked out the Elektron oxygen generation system purging the device after shutting it down for maintenance. In the afternoon, the station commander worked on a radiation exposure experiment named after the traditional set of Russian nested dolls, Matroyshka.
This is Yurchikhin’s third tour of duty aboard the International Space Station. He served as commander of Expedition 15 in 2007 for a six-and-a-half month mission. In 2010 he served as a flight engineer for five-and-a-half months during Expedition 24/25.
Flight Engineer Luca Parmitano worked on science inside the Destiny laboratory’s Microgravity Science Glovebox. The European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut conducted another run of the long-running materials science experiment, InSPACE-3. The experiment observes fluids containing ellipsoid-shaped particles which change form when subjected to a magnetic field. Potential benefits include stronger, smarter materials on Earth.
ESA selected Parmitano as an astronaut in May 2009. He began training for his mission as a space station crew member in February 2011.
Flight Engineer Karen Nyberg worked throughout her morning cleaning the crew quarters in the overhead section of the Harmony node. She partially disassembled the crew quarters and cleaned its panels, exhaust ducts, fans and air sensors.
Nyberg first flew to the space station as an STS-124 mission specialist aboard space shuttle Discovery in 2008. The two week long mission delivered and installed the Kibo laboratory and exchanged two space station crew members.
Parmitano and Nyberg also joined up for pre-packing cargo to be stowed inside Orbital Sciences’ new commercial cargo craft Cygnus after it arrives Sept. 22 for a demonstration mission. Orbital Sciences is planning a Sept. 17 launch of its Cygnus resupply craft for a 5-day trip to the station where it will be captured by the Canadarm2 and berthed to the Harmony node.
Orbital Sciences will be the second company to send a commercial cargo craft to the space station. SpaceX was the first company to send its own cargo ship with two successful commercial resupply missions and two demonstration missions under its belt.
Waiting to join Expedition 37 are two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut who are in Russia counting down to their Sept. 25 launch. Flight Engineers Oleg Kotov, Mike Hopkins and Sergey Ryazanskiy will launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, in a Soyuz TMA-10M spacecraft and dock to the Poisk mini-research module port vacated by Expedition 36.