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Lead Increment Scientist's Highlights For Week of Sept. 10, 2012
09.21.12
 
Istanbul, Turkey, at night, as seen from the International Space Station This Crew Earth Observation image shows Istanbul, Turkey. The view depicts the illuminated outline at night of the infrastructure of this famous, cosmopolitan city where Europe meets Asia and the Black and Mediterranean Seas are joined by the Bosporus. (NASA)
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(Highlights: week of Sept. 10, 2012) -- A technology demonstration, called the Reentry Breakup Recorder (REBR), successfully returned recorded data from reentry of the Japanese cargo vehicle, HTV-3. REBR, a cost-effective system, rides a space vehicle reentering Earth's atmosphere, recording data during the reentry and breakup of the vehicle, and returning the data for analysis. Investigators are processing and analyzing this data to characterize the environment experienced aboard HTV-3 and after release of REBR as it fell into the South Pacific Ocean. Understanding how vehicles behave during atmospheric reentry gives future spacecraft developers unique information that can enhance design efficiencies and safety. Also aboard the HTV-3 was the Reentry data acquisition using I Ball Reentry Recorder (I_BALL). This atmospheric reentry monitoring system carries two still cameras, capable of measuring temperatures, acceleration and position.

To date, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer - 02 (AMS-02) has collected data on more than 22 billion particles and continues to collect data from 40 million cosmic rays daily. The AMS-02 uses the unique environment of space to advance knowledge of the universe and lead to the understanding of the universe's origin by searching for antimatter, dark matter and measuring cosmic rays.

Checkouts continue for the Space Communications and Navigation Testbed (SCAN Testbed). For the first time, SCAN Testbed pointed at the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) -- a network of satellites used for space communications -- and received a signal from TDRSS. In addition to checking out the payload, being able to successfully point at and receive a signal from TDRSS validated the SCAN Testbed operational processes for performing experiments. SCAN Testbed consists of reconfigurable software-defined radios with software-based communications and navigation functions that allow mission planners to change the functionality of the radio once on-orbit. The ability to change the operating characteristics of the radio’s software after launch offers the flexibility to adapt to new science opportunities and increased data return.

New activities were conducted for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Multi-mission Consolidated Equipment (MCE) investigation. Two HDTV cameras were installed onto the MCE. Their goal is to evaluate long term durability in the space environment. The five unique missions that share the MCE bus platform are expected to perform experiments and observations on orbit for two years with a possible extra year for extended science gain.

Through Sept. 9, Crew Earth Observations investigation (CEO) has returned 8,822 images to the ground for reviewing and cataloging. Recent images include Zagreb, Croatia; Brussels, Belgium; and Hurricane Leslie. For this investigation, station crew members photograph natural and human-made changes on Earth. These images provide researchers with key data to better understand the planet.

Crew members made successful contact with students in Queensland, Australia and Puerto Rico as part of the International Space Station HAM Radio experiment (ISS HAM Radio). By utilizing ham radios, this experiment sparks student interest in space exploration by allowing them to talk directly with the crews living and working aboard the space station. To date, crew members have made 64 contacts in 2012.

The International Space Station Agricultural Camera (ISSAC) recently took several images of on-going wildfires in the U.S. and other parts of the world. ISSAC is being used to study dynamic Earth processes around the world, such as melting glaciers, ecosystem responses to seasonal changes, and human impacts including rapid-response monitoring of natural disasters. It takes frequent images, in visible and infrared light, principally of vegetated areas -- growing crops, grasslands and forests.

Other human research investigations continued for various crew members including, ALTEA-Shield, SPRINT, Nutrition, VO2max, Space Headaches, Integrated Cardiovascular, and Reaction Self Test.

John Love, Lead Increment Scientist
Expedition 31/32


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