Departure Preps, Science and Maintenance for Station Crew
The Expedition 34 crew was busy with departure preparations for three of its crew members and performed a variety of science experiments and maintenance duties aboard the International Space Station Monday after enjoying some time off over the weekend.
Commander Kevin Ford and Flight Engineers Evgeny Tarelkin and Oleg Novitskiy worked with flight control teams to conduct a Soyuz descent drill to prepare for their upcoming return to Earth. Ford, Tarelkin and Novitskiy are set to journey back to Earth aboard their Soyuz TMA-06M spacecraft on Thursday night after spending 143 days in space.
They are scheduled to undock from the station’s Poisk Mini-Research Module 2 at about 8:30 p.m. EDT, landing in the steppe of Kazakhstan northeast of the remote town of Arkalyk about 3 ½ hours later.
› View schedule for NASA TV's Soyuz landing coverage
Flight Engineers Chris Hadfield, Tom Marshburn and Roman Romanenko reviewed emergency roles and responsibilities to prepare for the departure of their crewmates. They will remain aboard the orbiting complex as a three-person crew until the March 28 launch and docking of three new flight engineers, Chris Cassidy, Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin.
Ford is scheduled to hand command of the station over to Hadfield during a change of command ceremony set for Wednesday at 5:10 p.m. Expedition 35 will officially begin with the undocking of the Soyuz TMA-06M spacecraft on Thursday.
Ford charged batteries in the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) and reviewed experiment procedures to prepare for a test session of the ground-commanded SPHERES VERTIGO experiment. The objective of the experiment is to demonstrate the ability to create a three-dimensional model of an object in space using the free-flying SPHERES robots.
Marshburn performed some maintenance work on a Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) in the Destiny Laboratory, removing and replacing a desiccant bed and other components. Marshburn and Ford have spent the last few days performing an overhaul on both of the CDRA units aboard the station after receiving some spare parts that arrived aboard the SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo ship.
Hadfield set up the Microflow technology demonstration hardware and tested biological samples with its miniaturized flow cytometer.
› Read about Microflow 1
Hadfield also had some time set aside to participate in an in-flight educational event with students in Airdrie, Alberta, answering some questions about his experiment work and life aboard the station.
Tarelkin, Novitskiy and Romanenko performed various science experiments, inspections and maintenance duties in the Russian segment of the station, tagging-up with flight control teams in Russia as needed.
Meanwhile at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, Cassidy, Vinogradov and Misurkin and their backups began a week of rest and administrative work in advance of their departure on Saturday for their launch site at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
› Read more about Expedition 35