[image-99]The six-person Expedition 39 crew of the International Space Station kicked into high gear Tuesday with an array of maintenance work, preparations for the arrival of two visiting cargo vehicles and orientation activities for the three newest crew members.
Commander Koichi Wakata and Flight Engineer Steve Swanson began the day swapping out a recycle tank associated with the Waste and Hygiene Compartment -- -- the station’s toilet located in the Tranquility node. Because the replacement tank had been sitting stagnant for the past month, the two astronauts shocked it with a diluted pre-treat solution to kill any microbial contamination. Afterward, Wakata and Swanson hooked up the sample hose of the Total Organic Carbon Analyzer, or TOCA, to the Water Processor Assembly to check the water quality.
Throughout the morning, Swanson performed an additional series of shocks on the recycle tank to condition it for use.
[image-51]Swanson, who arrived aboard the station Thursday along with fellow Soyuz TMA-12M crewmates Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev, also tagged up with Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio for some one-on-one training on station systems and experiment facilities. After a break for lunch, Swanson continued his station orientation with Wakata.
Mastracchio meanwhile focused his afternoon activities on gathering items for disposal aboard Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus cargo commercial craft. Cygnus is currently scheduled to launch to the station on May 6 and spend about a month berthed to the station during the Orbital-2 mission to deliver experiment hardware and crew supplies. Like many of the other vehicles in the station’s unpiloted resupply fleet, Cygnus will be sent to a destructive re-entry in the Earth’s atmosphere for disposal after completing its mission at the station.
[image-67]Mastracchio also spent some time validating the repairs he made last week on the hardware for an experiment known as the Burning and Suppression of Solids, or BASS. The NASA astronaut calibrated the fan and verified that the repairs do not affect the function of the microswitches. Last week Mastracchio repaired the door to BASS, which had become bowed due to overheating and developed a leak. BASS takes a look at how a variety of materials burn and extinguish in microgravity, which will lead to lead to improvements in spacecraft materials selection and strategies for putting out accidental fires aboard spacecraft. The research also provides scientists with improved computational models that will aid in the design of fire detection and suppression systems here on Earth.
Wakata meanwhile rounded out the day completing the installation of the replacement recycle tank.
On the Russian side of the segment, Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin spent his morning packing trash into the ISS Progress 54 cargo ship attached to the station’s Pirs docking compartment. Progress 54, which arrived at the station back on Feb. 5 with 2.8 tons of cargo, is set to depart the station on April 7 for a destructive re-entry over the Pacific Ocean. Its departure will clear Pirs for the launch and docking of the next unpiloted Russian cargo craft, ISS Progress 55, on April 9.
[image-83]Skvortsov and Artemyev meanwhile replaced smoke detectors in the Zvezda service module. Throughout the day, the two Russian flight engineers, along with Swanson, also had an hour set aside for crew orientation to become accustomed to living and working aboard the station during their first two weeks on orbit.
Skvorstov later joined Tyurin for an intermodular test of the Telerobotically Operated Rendezvous Unit, or TORU, with the Progress 54 craft docked to Pirs. Cosmonauts use TORU to monitor the automated docking of Progress cargo ships with the station or to take manual control of the process if difficulties arise.
Tyurin also participated in the Interactions experiment, which studies the impacts of personal, cultural and national differences among crew members.