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Ocular Health Exams for Station Crew; Chilly Forecast Postpones Cygnus Launch
January 3, 2014

[image-51]The Expedition 38 crew of the International Space Station wrapped up the first week of 2014 Friday with physics and biomedical research. Meanwhile, the launch of the newest commercial cargo vehicle to join the station’s resupply fleet has been rescheduled.

The International Space Station Program and Orbital Sciences Corporation have decided to postpone the launch of the Antares rocket and its Cygnus cargo craft on the first Orbital commercial resupply mission to the space station to no earlier than Wednesday, Jan. 8 due to the forecast of cold temperatures for Tuesday, Jan. 7 at the launch site at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The forecast for Wednesday also calls for cold temperatures, but the station program and Orbital plan to revisit the weather forecast at the beginning of the week. The main concern with the weather is the cold temperatures coupled with likely precipitation. Orbital says the Antares rocket has a lower limit temperature constraint of 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

› Read more about Orbital's Cygnus

Aboard the station Friday, Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata 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 Rick Mastracchio assisted Wakata throughout the experiment session, setting up the calibration tape, collecting data and taking photographs.

› Read more about Body Measures

Afterward, Wakata teamed up with Flight Engineer Mike Hopkins for another round of Ocular Health examinations. Vision changes have been observed in some astronauts returning from long-duration spaceflight, and researchers want to learn more about its root causes and develop countermeasures to minimize this risk. With assistance from the Ocular Health team on the ground, the two astronauts conducted ultrasound scans of each other’s eyes, monitored blood pressure and collected echocardiogram data.

› Read more about Ocular Health

Mastracchio rounded out his day with the Capillary Flow Experiment, which takes a close look at how fluids flow across surfaces with complex geometries in a weightless environment. Results from this experiment will improve computer models used to design fluid transfer systems and fuel tanks on future spacecraft. These systems are crucial as NASA develops technologies that will take astronauts deeper into space than ever before.

› Read more about the Capillary Flow Experiment

On the Russian side of the complex, Commander Oleg Kotov performed the Bar experiment, studying methods and instruments for detecting the location of an air leak from one of the station’s modules.

› Read more about the Bar experiment

[image-78]Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin inspected and photographed the windows in the Russian segment to document the condition of their seals and the locations of any scratches.

Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy conducted another session of the Coulomb Crystal experiment, gathering data about charged particles in a weightless environment.

As the station’s crew wrapped up its workday Friday, ground controllers at Houston’s Mission Control Center began the process of remotely performing a “walkoff” of the Canadarm2 robotic arm. With Thursday’s robotic inspection of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer completed, the ground team will command Canadarm2 to reach out and latch on to a Power and Data Grapple Fixture on the Harmony module and release the other end of the 57-foot robotic arm from the station’s railcar, the Mobile Base System.

The relocation of Canadarm2 sets the stage for the arrival of Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Cygnus cargo craft, now scheduled to launch on its first operational resupply mission to the station no earlier than Wednesday, Jan. 8, at 1:32 p.m. EST. When Cygnus arrives at the station Jan. 12, Hopkins and Wakata will be standing by to capture the capsule with the station’s robotic arm and install it on the Earth-facing port of Harmony.

The Antares rocket, which will carry Cygnus and its 2,780 pounds of cargo into orbit, is set to roll out to launch pad 0A at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia Saturday night.

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In the International Space Station’s Harmony node, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata, Expedition 38 flight engineer, performs an eye exam for the Ocular Health experiment which observes and seeks to understand vision changes during long-term space missions.
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The Canadarm2 and its end effector are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 38 crew member from a window in the Cupola of the International Space Station.
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Page Last Updated: January 3rd, 2014
Page Editor: Jerry Wright