Expedition 35 Celebrates Cosmonautics Day
The six-member Expedition 35 crew combined science and maintenance work Friday as they observed Cosmonautics Day, a Russian holiday that celebrates Yuri Gagarin, the first human who launched to space on April 12, 1961.
Commander Chris Hadfield began his morning inspecting and checking out experiment hardware. He inspected the chamber lid of the Materials Science Laboratory (MSL) and its seals inside. The MSL is a European Space Agency payload that enables the experimentation and observation of various materials and their properties and how microgravity affects them.
Hadfield also replaced desiccant packs and cleaned up moisture inside a GLACIER science freezer. The desiccant packs help keep contents dry, similar to silica gel inside an aspirin bottle. He then swapped out two hard drives in a laptop that is part of the Space Acceleration Measurement System-II. The SAMS-II measures the forces on the space station, such as spacecraft dockings, and how they disturb systems and experiments.
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Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn worked on science operations throughout the day. First, he transferred experiment data collected for the NanoRacks payload to a laptop computer. NanoRacks is a commercial payload with specialized facilities for scientists on the ground to monitor various science experiments.
During the afternoon, Marshburn conducted test runs for the ongoing Capillary Flow Experiment-2 (CFE-2). The CFE-2 study observes the physics of fluids and how fluids move across surfaces in microgravity. Benefits include more efficient fluid transfer systems and fluid containers.
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Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy focused on experiment work throughout his day including an education demonstration and combustion science. He videotaped the interaction of static electricity and a water drop on a nylon tube for downlink to young students. Cassidy continued his ongoing operations with the Burning and Suppression of Solids experiment inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox.
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All six crew members including Flight Engineers Pavel Vinogradov, Roman Romanenko and Alexander Misurkin gathered in the Zvezda service module for a congratulatory conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in honor of Cosmonautics Day.
Vinogradov and Romanenko continued their preparations for an April 19 spacewalk checking their Orlan spacesuits. The duo also removed two handles from a hatch and installed a new docking mechanism on the Pirs docking compartment.
Misurkin spent a few moments checking the Russian experiments Bar and Cascade as well as maintaining Russian segment systems. The Bar experiment tests procedures for locating pressure leaks and the Cascade study investigates cultivation processes of micro-organism, animal and human cells in microgravity.
Orbital Sciences Corp. completed roll-out of the first fully integrated Antares rocket to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Saturday, April 6. Orbital has confirmed an April 17 target launch date for the rocket test flight with a planned liftoff of 5 p.m. EDT.
Antares is undergoing testing that will enable the rocket to eventually carry experiments and supplies to the International Space Station aboard a Cygnus cargo spacecraft. This test flight will not launch a Cygnus spacecraft or rendezvous with the space station.
Orbital is testing the Antares rocket under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. NASA initiatives like COTS are helping develop a robust U.S. commercial space transportation industry with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation to and from the space station and low-Earth orbit.
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