[image-78]The six-person Expedition 37 crew aboard the orbiting International Space Station supported a variety of research activities Wednesday, reviewed plans for an upcoming spacewalk and prepared for Thursday’s express arrival of three new Expedition 38 colleagues.
Flight Engineer Mike Hopkins spent much of his morning participating in the Body Measures experiment, which collects anthropometric data to help researchers understand the magnitude and variability of the changes to body measurements during spaceflight. Predicting these changes will maximize crew performance, prevent injury and reduce time spent altering or adjusting suits and workstations to accommodate anthropometrics. Flight Engineer Karen Nyberg assisted Hopkins throughout the experiment session, setting up the calibration tape, collecting data and taking photographs.
[image-94]Meanwhile, Flight Engineer Luca Parmitano completed his session with Biological Rhythms 48hrs, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency study of the circadian variation of astronauts’ cardiac function during spaceflight using a small digital electrocardiograph. Parmitano downloaded data from the medical monitors he wore for the past 48 hours as well as data recorded last week from Nyberg’s session with the experiment.
Afterward, Parmitano and Nyberg joined Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin for a Soyuz descent drill as they prepare for their departure Sunday aboard the Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft. The trio is scheduled to land on the steppe of Kazakhstan at 9:50 p.m. EST Sunday (8:50 a.m. Monday, Kazakh time), wrapping up a 166-day mission.
Yurchikhin, along with Flight Engineers Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy, also reviewed hatch opening procedures as the crew of Expedition 37 gets ready to welcome three new crew members aboard the orbiting complex on Thursday.
[image-51]NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata and Soyuz Commander Mikhail Tyurin of Roscosmos are scheduled to launch aboard their Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 11:14 p.m. Wednesday (10:14 a.m. Thursday, Kazakh time). After an expedited four-orbit journey to the station, Tyurin will dock the Soyuz to the station’s Rassvet module at 5:31 a.m. Thursday.
NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 10:15 p.m. Wednesday and returns at 4:45 a.m. for the docking. Hatches are scheduled to open at 7:40 a.m., with NASA TV coverage starting at 7:15 a.m.
The arrival of Mastracchio, Wakata and Tyurin will mark the first time since October 2009 that nine people have served together aboard the station without the presence of a space shuttle.
Also arriving to the station on the Soyuz TMA-11M will be the Olympic torch that will light the flame at the opening of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Kotov and Ryazanskiy, who will take the Olympic torch outside the station during a spacewalk Saturday, spent part of their Wednesday studying plans for that excursion. They also took a look through the station’s windows to familiarize themselves with the worksites. During the spacewalk slated to begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Kotov and Ryazanskiy also will continue preparations for the installation of a new Russian research module.
The Olympic torch will return to Earth along with Yurchikhin, Nyberg and Parmitano aboard their Soyuz spacecraft on Sunday.