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Dragon Prepares to Leave, New Trio Prepares to Launch
Chris Cassidy, Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin

(From left) Chris Cassidy, Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin conduct a dress rehearsal for their launch at Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA/Victor Zelentsov

The Expedition 35 trio aboard the International Space Station is counting down to the release of the SpaceX-2 Dragon spacecraft. Commander Chris Hadfield and Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn worked throughout the day packing up gear for stowage aboard the commercial cargo craft.

Ground controllers will send commands to the Canadarm2 to unberth Dragon at 6 a.m. EDT Monday for a release at 7:49 a.m. Dragon will fire its engines for the last time at 12:33 p.m. sending it through the Earth’s atmosphere for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean around 1:35 p.m.

› Read more about the SpaceX-2 mission

NASA TV coverage of the release will begin at 5 a.m. and end after Dragon leaves the vicinity of the space station. SpaceX will then provide updates to its website of reentry and splashdown activities.

While Dragon gets ready to leave the station, science and research activities are moving along aboard the orbiting laboratory. Hadfield continued his work with the Coarsening in Solid Liquid Mixtures (CSLM) experiment. He configured the Microgravity Science Glovebox, which CSLM operates in, checking its valves, temperature and humidity levels. He also reviewed the Amine Swingbed hardware which tests carbon-dioxide scrubbing techniques.

› Watch Dr. Voorhees Interview about CSLM
› Read more about Coarsening of Solids in Liquids Mixtures

Marshburn is back at work on the Marangoni Inside experiment cleaning and changing out gear. The study takes place inside Japan’s Fluid Physics Experiment Facility located in the Kibo lab module. He also began unpacking gear and gathering hardware for upcoming work on the Advanced Colloids Experiment. Later he performed some maintenance on a science freezer and jotted down his thoughts on life in space for the Journals study.

Read more about Marangoni: › Exp, › UVP
› Read more about Fluid Physics Experiment Facility
› Read more about Advanced Colloids Experiment
› Read more about Journals

Flight Engineer Roman Romanenko worked Tuesday in the station’s Russian segment. The veteran cosmonaut started his day rebooting laptop computers and checking antivirus scans. He then replaced and installed new cables with help from Russian Mission Control. Afterwards he repressurized the station with oxygen from a docked Progress cargo capsule. At the end he took some time for Earth observation photography for the Uragan and Ekon studies.

› Read more about Uragan
› Read more about Ekon

A new set of Expedition 35 crew members are at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, for final launch preparations. Soyuz Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineers Chris Cassidy and Alexander Misurkin are targeted to launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft March 28 for a docking to the Poisk module about six hours later.

› Watch Expedition 35 trio departure preparations