[image-51]The Expedition 37 crew of the International Space Station wrapped up the workweek Friday with a full slate of robotics, physics and human research experiments.
Following the crew’s daily planning conference with flight control teams around the world, Flight Engineer Luca Parmitano spent much of his morning participating in the BP Reg experiment. This is a Canadian medical study that seeks to understand the causes of fainting and dizziness seen in some astronauts when they return to Earth following a long-duration mission. Results from this experiment will not only help researchers understand dizziness in astronauts, but it also will have direct benefits for people on Earth – particularly those predisposed to falls and resulting injuries, as seen in the elderly.
Flight Engineer Karen Nyberg meanwhile set up the Combustion Integrated Rack for another round of experiments studying the process of combustion in a weightless environment. She replaced a manifold bottle inside the facility, which includes an optics bench, combustion chamber, fuel and oxidizer control and five different cameras.
Afterward, Nyberg turned her attention to a robotics test session with a pair of soccer-ball-sized, free-flying satellites known as Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES. After setting up the two SPHERES robots and their navigational beacons inside the Japanese Kibo laboratory, Nyberg worked with the ground team to test new software tools for controlling multiple satellites from the ground and collecting real-time telemetry data.Station crews beginning with Expedition 8 have operated these robots to test techniques that could lead to advancements in automated dockings, satellite servicing, spacecraft assembly and emergency repairs.
[image-78]Flight Engineer Mike Hopkins, who began his day with a blood draw for the Human Research Facility, completed a proficiency training session for his role as crew medical officer. Later Hopkins collected surface samples throughout the U.S. segment of the station and incubated them to look for signs of microbial contamination.
Hopkins and Nyberg both took a break from their work to update the news media back on Earth about their mission aboard the station. Nyberg spoke with Tim Sherno of St. Paul’s KSTP-TV in her home state of Minnesota. Mike Hopkins then talked with Big Ten Network anchor Rick Pizzo and discussed the journey from the football field to space with former NFL fullback Howard Griffith, who was one of Hopkins’ Fighting Illini teammates at the University of Illinois.
Hopkins and Parmitano teamed up to stow additional trash aboard the European Space Agency’s Automated Transfer Vehicle-4 docked to the aft end of the Zvezda service module. ATV-4, which delivered more than 7 tons of cargo to the orbiting complex, is set to undock from the station on Oct. 28 for a destructive re-entry over the Pacific Ocean.
[image-94]Nyberg and Parmitano wrapped up their workday with a quick checkout of the fundoscope associated with the Ocular Health study. Parmitano used the device to examine the interior of one of Nyberg’s eyes. Vision changes have been observed in some astronauts returning from long-duration spaceflight, and flight surgeons are seeking to learn more about its root causes and develop countermeasures to minimize this risk.
On the Russian side of the complex, Flight Engineers Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy studied spacewalk procedures and reviewed a preliminary timeline for an excursion they will conduct on Nov. 9.
Ryazanskiy also manually mixed samples for the Cascade biotechnology experiment, which investigates cell cultivation in microgravity.
Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin meanwhile performed routine maintenance on the life-support systems in Zvezda and studied chemical luminescent reactions for the Relaxation experiment.