The six-member Expedition 40 crew spent Monday on science work and spacesuit maintenance on the International Space Station. Meanwhile, on the ground in Kourou, French Guiana, the European Space Agency is counting down to Tuesday’s launch of its fifth and final Automated Transfer Vehicle atop on Ariane 5 rocket.
Commander Steve Swanson began his morning photographing astronauts Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst as they drew their own blood samples. Wiseman stowed those samples inside a science freezer for later analysis.
After his blood draws and sample stowage, Wiseman loaded software for the Human Research Facility-2 rack. The first time space flyer then assisted the commander throughout Monday on spacesuit maintenance. He started the spacesuit work scrubbing cooling loops and collecting a water sample for analysis. Next, he joined the commander for spacesuit inspection work.
Swanson also spent some time after his photography work removing alignment guides in the Combustion Integrated Rack. Afterward, he installed a plant experiment unit inside the Cell Biology Experiment Facility for the Resist Tubule botany experiment.
The commander then spent the rest of the day on maintenance on one of the U.S. spacesuits. For his first task he filled the liquid cooling ventilation garment with water. Next he scrubbed the spacesuit and Quest airlock cooling loops of particulates and microbes. He collected a sample of the cooling loop water to determine the effectiveness of the scrubbing work. Swanson finally inspected the spacesuit’s sublimator and checked for water leaks.
Gerst, a German astronaut from the European Space Agency, spent most of his day on the Burning and Suppression of Solids (BASS-II) combustion experiment. He conducted two flame tests reducing the oxygen partial pressure in the Destiny laboratory’s Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) to create a stable blue flame with a long burn time. Scientists on the ground observed the work with cameras downlinking the video from inside the MSG.
In between the BASS-II work, Gerst headed over to the Kibo laboratory to work inside the Kobairo experiment rack. Gerst then measured the insulation resistance of the racks’ Gradient Heating Furnace which is used to investigate crystal growth on semiconductors.
Veteran cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov started his day with photography work for the Aseptic experiment which studies ways to sterilize space hardware. He then sampled and sterilized surfaces in the station’s Russian segment for the microbiology experiment. Skvortsov later worked on cargo ISS Progress 56 (56P) transfers inside the Pirs docking compartment and updated the inventory management system.
Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev set up and worked throughout the day with the Kaskad experiment. The Russian study investigates the processes of cultivation of different types of cells and the technology to enable those processes. Artemyev also inventoried and stowed exercise clothes.
Upcoming Expedition 41 Commander Max Suraev started his day with 56P cargo transfers. Next he moved on to an experiment that explores using 3-D interactive manuals to train for experiments aboard the space station. Suraev then assisted Artemyev photographing his work for the Kaskad experiment. Finally, he participated in the Kaltsiy experiment, or Calcium, that observes bone demineralization in long-term space station crew members.
ESA’s fifth and final Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-5) will launch Tuesday atop an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana, at 7:47 p.m. EDT. The ATV-5 will take a two week trip to the International Space Station docking to the Zvezda service module on Aug. 12 at 9:43 a.m. with 7 tons of science, food, fuel and supplies.