The Expedition 36 crew members living and working aboard the International Space Station were involved in a variety of science experiments and research opportunities Thursday as they continued preparations for the upcoming launch and arrival of a Japanese cargo ship.
Flight Engineer Karen Nyberg set up and operated the InSPACE-3 experiment, which examines colloidal fluids classified as smart materials, transitioning to a solid-like state in the presence of a magnetic field. The InSPACE-3 team believes the knowledge gleaned from this investigation may contribute to new technologies and new manufacturing processes based on the idea of having these nanoparticles act as self-assembling building blocks for larger structures.
Flight Engineer Luca Parmitano worked on the installation of a microscope and performed some maintenance in the Biological Experiment Laboratory (Biolab) in the Columbus laboratory. Biolab is a multiuser research facility for space biology experiments on microorganisms, cells, tissue cultures, small plants, and small invertebrates. BioLab allows scientists to gain a better understanding of the effects of microgravity and space radiation on biological organisms.
Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy worked with flight control teams to perform a communication hardware check and maintenance on the Multipurpose Small Payload Rack Combustion Chamber located in the Japanese Kibo laboratory.
Nyberg, Cassidy and Parmitano also participated in a robotics simulation training session to prepare for the grapple and berthing of the Japanese “Kounotori” H-II Transfer Vehicle-4 (HTV-4) set for August 9. Nyberg is designated as the prime robotics operator for Canadarm2 grapple operations when HTV-4 arrives at the station, with Cassidy as serving as her backup. Flight Engineer Luca Parmitano will monitor HTV systems during the grapple and berthing operations.
HTV-4 is scheduled to launch on an H-IIB rocket Saturday at 3:48 p.m. EDT (4:48 a.m. Japan time on Sunday, Aug. 4) from the Japanese Space Agency’s Tanegashima Space Center in Southern Japan, beginning a week-long journey to the orbiting outpost.
Commander Pavel Vinogradov worked on the transfer of supplies from the docked ISS Progress 52 resupply ship after opening its hatches for the first time on Sunday. The unpiloted Russian cargo ship docked to the station less than six hours after launch on Saturday with a payload of nearly three tons of supplies for the Expedition 36 crew. Included in the delivered cargo are tools for possible repairs to the U.S. spacesuits.
Flight Engineer Fyodor Yurchikhin worked with the Russian Calcium experiment, which studies the effects of microgravity on the solubility of calcium phosphate in water. He also worked with the Aseptic experiment, which involved collecting air and surface samples in the Russian segment of the station for analysis.
Flight Engineer Alexander Misurkin worked with Cascade, a Russian experiment that investigates cultivation processes of micro-organism, animal and human cells in microgravity. He, along with Yurchikhin and Vinogradov, also performed a variety of maintenance duties throughout the Russian segment of the station.