Station Crew Conducts Combustion Research
The International Space Station’s Expedition 36 crew kicked off its first full workday as a six-person crew Thursday supporting combustion, physics and medical research in the microgravity environment of the orbiting laboratory.
Following the crew’s daily planning conference with flight control teams around the world, Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy of NASA began his day setting up the Microgravity Science Glovebox for another session of an experiment known as the Burning and Suppression of Solids, or BASS. Results from this study, which takes a look at how a variety of solid materials burn and extinguish in microgravity, may lead to lead to improvements in spacecraft materials selection and strategies for putting out accidental fires aboard spacecraft. The research also provides scientists with improved computational models that will aid in the design of fire detection and suppression systems here on Earth.
› Read more about BASS
Cassidy also deployed some dosimeters throughout the station to measure any radiation to which the crew may be exposed.
Throughout the day, Cassidy followed a prescribed diet and logged his meals for the Pro K experiment so nutritionists can evaluate the effectiveness of dietary changes to lessen the bone loss experienced by astronauts in space.
Working in the Japanese Kibo module, Flight Engineer Karen Nyberg conducted a leak check of the nitrogen gas supply line to the Multi-purpose Small Payload Rack’s combustion chamber.
Flight Engineer Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency worked to set up part of the wireless network aboard the station, tying an accelerometer into the network to record data from an exercise session on the newly installed Russian treadmill.
Commander Pavel Vinogradov spent his morning replacing connectors on some of the pumps in the Russian segment of the station. Later he worked with the Kulonovskiy Kristall experiment, gathering data about charged particles in a weightless environment. The results of this study could be used on future spacecraft and advanced photovoltaic cells.
Flight Engineer Alexander Misurkin worked with the Matryoshka experiment. Named after the traditional Russian nesting dolls, Matryoshka analyzes the radiation environment onboard the station. Misurkin also participated in the Relaksatsiya Earth-observation experiment, studying chemical luminescent reactions in the atmosphere.
The third cosmonaut aboard the station, Flight Engineer Fyodor Yurchikhin, focused on transferring cargo out of the Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft that brought him, Nyberg and Parmitano to the station less than six hours after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Tuesday. Yurchikhin rounded out his day drying the Sokol launch and entry suits and gloves he and his crewmates wore aboard the Soyuz.
› Read more about the launch and docking
As the newest crew members just beginning their 5 ½ month stay aboard the station, Yurchikhin, Nyberg and Parmitano also had time set aside for crew orientation to learn the ropes of their new orbital home. Nyberg and Parmitano also discussed their new roles and responsibilities with Cassidy, who along with Vinogradov and Misurkin has been aboard the station since late March.
The station’s residents also had several opportunities throughout the day to photograph dynamic events on the planet below as part of the ongoing Crew Earth Observations program, including Tropical Storm Barbara off the Pacific coast of Mexico. The crew’s photographs are made available online at the Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.
› Visit the Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth
› Read more about Expedition 36