[image-81]The International Space Station’s Expedition 38 crew was back at work Tuesday with science and maintenance tasks after a day off to recover from a whirlwind of Soyuz departure and spacewalk activities.
Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy spent their morning removing U.S. helmet cameras and lights from the Orlan spacesuits they wore during a 5-hour, 50-minute spacewalk on Saturday to take the Olympic torch outside for a photo opportunity and configure an optical camera pointing platform. After a conference call with spacewalk specialists at Russian mission control center, the two cosmonauts stowed their spacesuits as well as the tools they used during the excursion.
[image-65]The Olympic torch, which arrived to the station Thursday aboard the Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft along with Expedition 38 Flight Engineers Rick Mastracchio, Mikhail Tyurin and Koichi Wakata, returned to Earth on Sunday aboard a Soyuz carrying three departing Expedition 37 crew members. Expedition 37 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano landed their Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft in the steppe of Kazakhstan at 9:49 p.m. EST Sunday (8:49 a.m. Monday, Kazakh time), wrapping up a 166-day mission aboard the orbiting complex.
Wakata, Mastracchio and Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins began their day changing out a recycle tank inside the Water Recovery System. This system recycles condensation and urine into drinkable water, reducing the amount of fresh water that must be sent to the crew aboard resupply ships.
Mastracchio and Hopkins later checked in on several of the numerous experiments taking place every day aboard the orbiting complex. The two NASA astronauts took a look at the InSpace-3 experiment. This study examines colloidal fluids classified as smart materials, which transition to a solid-like state in the presence of a magnetic field. New manufacturing models based on the idea of having these nanoparticles act as self-assembling building blocks could be used to improve or develop active mechanical systems such as new brake systems, seat suspensions, stress transducers, robotics, rovers, airplane landing gears and vibration damping systems.
Hopkins and Mastracchio also spent some time with the Capillary Flow Experiment. Results from this experiment, which takes a close look at how fluids flow across surfaces with complex geometries in a weightless environment, 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.
[image-51]Taking a break from their work, Hopkins and Mastracchio spoke with Anna Carrera of WCIA-TV in Champaign, Ill, to discuss life aboard the station. Hopkins, who graduated from the University of Illinois in 1991, was a defensive back and team captain on the Fighting Illini football team during his years in Champaign.
All six space station residents tagged up for a discussion of their roles and responsibilities in the event of an emergency aboard the station. As the newest crew members, Wakata, Mastracchio and Tyurin also had an hour set aside to become reacquainted with living and working in space.