Science Experiments and Orientation Activities for Station Crew
The Expedition 35 crew members living and working aboard the International Space Station were busy with a variety of science and health research experiments Thursday, while the three newest crew members continued orientation activities.
Commander Chris Hadfield and Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn performed ultrasound eye scans and intraocular pressure measurements as part of the station’s Health Maintenance System. The data was then downlinked for analysis by medical ground support teams to study the effect of microgravity on sight.
› Read more about astronaut vision
Marshburn performed some maintenance on the combustion chamber of the Multi-Purpose Small Payload Rack in the Kibo module and continued his participation in the Energy experiment, which measures the changes in a crew member’s energy balance and total energy expenditure following long term space flight.
› Read more about Energy
Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy worked with an experiment known as Burning And Suppression of Solids, or BASS, which studies how a variety of solid materials burn and extinguish in microgravity. Results from BASS may lead to improvements in spacecraft materials selection, strategies for extinguishing accidental fires aboard spacecraft and improved computational models used in the design of fire detection and suppression systems here on Earth.
› Read more about BASS
Later, Hadfield participated in an in-flight interview with Discovery Canada’s “Daily Planet” program, answering some questions about his mission and experiences aboard the orbiting laboratory.
Flight Engineer Alexander Misurkin worked with Constant, a Russian experiment that observes the reaction of enzymes in microgravity, and Cascade, which investigates cultivation processes of micro-organism, animal and human cells in microgravity.
Flight Engineers Pavel Vinogradov and Roman Romanenko reviewed procedures for an upcoming Russian spacewalk set for April 19. During the excursion, the pair will install and retrieve experiment packages on the exterior of the Zvezda service module and replace a reflector device that will facilitate the automated docking of the European Space Agency’s “Albert Einstein” Automated Transfer Vehicle-4 when it arrives at the orbiting complex in June.
As the newest station residents, Vinogradov, Cassidy and Misurkin also had some time set aside for familiarization and orientation activities to help them get used to their new home aboard the orbiting outpost.
› Read more about their launch and docking
Hadfield and Marshburn spent much of the past few days on the installation of the new High Rate Communications System hardware that will increase the number of station downlink video channels from four to six, and the number of space-to-ground audio channels from two to four. The redundant Ku Comm Unit 1 is set to be installed a week from Thursday (April 11).
On Wednesday, the station performed a four minute, 37 second reboost using the ISS Progress 49 cargo craft thrusters. The reboost raised the station’s altitude by about 1.3 statute miles to help set up the proper phasing for the upcoming undocking of the Soyuz 33 (TMA-07M) spacecraft on May 13 and the launch of the Expedition 36/37 crew in the Soyuz 35 (TMA-09M) spacecraft on May 28.
› Read more about Expedition 35