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Light-Duty Day for Crew as they Celebrate Russian Christmas
iss034e010476 -- Expedition 34 crew

Expedition 34 crew members assemble in the Unity node of the International Space Station for a brief celebration of the Christmas holiday. Pictured clockwise (from top right) are NASA astronaut Kevin Ford, commander; Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield, Russian cosmonauts Evgeny Tarelkin and Roman Romanenko, NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy, all flight engineers. Credit: NASA

The six Expedition 34 crew members living and working aboard the International Space Station enjoyed some time off Monday in celebration of the Russian Christmas holiday. They also had some time set aside for science experiments, station familiarization activities and their daily exercise regimes.

Commander Kevin Ford worked in the Kibo module on the SAIBO rack’s clean bench, performing maintenance on its chambers and checking out its relief valves. He also participated in a conference call with NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy of the Expedition 35/36 crew, who is scheduled to launch to the orbiting laboratory with Flight Engineers Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin aboard the Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft on March 28.

Flight Engineers Tom Marshburn and Chris Hadfield had time set aside for crew orientation activities to become accustomed to living and working aboard the orbiting complex. Marshburn, Hadfield and Flight Engineer Roman Romanenko arrived in their Soyuz TMA-07M spacecraft on Dec. 21 to begin a five month stay aboard the complex.

Romanenko and Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin, all Russian cosmonauts, had an off-duty day in celebration of the Russian Christmas holiday. Ford, Marshburn and Hadfield joined their colleagues with some time-off of their own, enjoying a half work day.

› Learn more about Christmas aboard the station

Throughout the day, the six crew members had time set aside to perform their daily exercise routines. Station residents are required to exercise for 2.5 hours daily to stave off the effects of long-term exposure to the microgravity environment aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Meanwhile, ground controllers maneuvered the Canadarm2 robotic arm to shade the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on the exterior of the orbiting complex as it flew into a period of high beta angle when the sun presents its harshest thermal conditions on the station’s hardware.