The three member Expedition 40 crew was conducting more science work Wednesday to improve life on Earth and in space. The trio comprised of Commander Steve Swanson and Flight Engineers Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev also continued their daily maintenance and exercise activities.
Swanson began Wednesday with a few minutes of spacesuit work inside the U.S. Quest airlock. He completed the regeneration of the metal oxide (METOX) canisters by baking out the carbon dioxide that is absorbed by the METOX during a spacewalk.
After that work, the commander worked on a fluids science experiment and a botany investigation. He then finished his workday with some plumbing and science hardware maintenance.
Swanson spent the majority of his time on the Advanced Colloids Experiment (ACE) exploring the properties of microscopic particles suspended in a liquid such as a gel or a cream. He mixed a sample for the ACE experiment with a magnet being careful to not touch the sample.
Results from the ACE study could improve the shelf life of products here on Earth. The object of ACE is to prevent the coarsening, or the clumping of particles, of certain liquids which can spoil a product.
Swanson also did some light gardening Wednesday attending to lettuce being grown for the Veggie experiment. He checked the water bags that hydrate the lettuce and photographed the growing crop. The lettuce will be harvested but not consumed as scientists want to analyze the crop to determine its suitability for consumption by future crews.
At the end of the day, Swanson conducted some plumbing work filling and depressurizing tanks in the Harmony node’s Waste and Hygiene Compartment. Finally, he inserted ice bricks into a science freezer to keep the device at ultra-cold temperatures to preserve scientific samples.
Cosmonauts Skvortsov and Artemyev worked throughout their day in the orbital laboratory’s Russian segment. The duo primarily worked maintenance checking Russian life support systems and cleaning fans and filters.
Artemyev later worked on ISS Progress 53 cargo transfers preparing the vehicle for its June 9 automated departure. He and Skvortsov also took photographs of the Earth at the end of the day to document the effects of industrialization on the ecology of Russian territories.
Three new Expedition 40/41 crew members are counting down to their May 28 (U.S. time) launch to the orbital laboratory. The trio has been in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, conducting ceremonial flag-raising and tree-planting activities while undergoing launch and entry suit fit checks.
Soyuz Commander and cosmonaut Maxim Suraev, NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman and European astronaut Alexander Gerst will launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft at 3:57 p.m. EDT (1:57 a.m. May 29 Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. They are scheduled to dock to Rassvet after just four orbits at 9:48 p.m. returning the space station to its full complement of six crew members.