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Science Experiments, Hardware Upgrades and Spacewalk Preps for Crew
Chris Hadfield and Tom Marshburn Ku Communications › View hi-res image

Expedition 35 Commander Chris Hadfield and Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn work on the installation of the new High Rate Communications System hardware in the Density laboratory. Credit: NASA TV

The six-member Expedition 35 crew living and working aboard the International Space Station were busy with science experiments, communication hardware upgrades and spacewalk preparations Tuesday while the three newest crew members continued orientation activities.

Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn continued his work with the Energy experiment, which measures the changes in a crew member’s energy balance and total energy expenditure following long term space flight. Knowledge of energy requirements is of great importance to researchers to ensure a crew member’s health and good performance, as well as the overall success of a mission.

› Read more about Energy experiment

Marshburn and Commander Chris Hadfield spent much of their day on the installation of the new High Rate Communications System hardware that will increase the number of station downlink video channels from four to six, and the number of space-to-ground audio channels from two to four. They removed the Video Baseband Processor in the old system with no issues, but struggled for a while to install the new Ku Comm Unit 2 due to tight tolerances and some stripped bolts. A workaround was devised to apply Braycote lubricant on the threads of the bolts and the installation was completed.

The redundant Ku Comm Unit 1 is set to be installed a week from Thursday (April 11). There will be no downlink video on Wednesday due to the checkout of the new equipment.

Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy installed a GLACIER freezer into EXPRESS Rack 2 and had some time set aside to observe Marshburn and Hadfield’s work on Ku Comm installation to become familiarized with the system.

Flight Engineers Pavel Vinogradov and Roman Romanenko reviewed procedures for an upcoming Russian spacewalk set for April 19. During the excursion, the pair will install and retrieve experiment packages on the exterior of the Zvezda service module and to replace a reflector device that will facilitate the automated docking of the European Space Agency’s “Albert Einstein” Automated Transfer Vehicle-4 when it arrives at the orbiting complex in June.

Flight Engineer Alexander Misurkin worked with Cascade, a Russian experiment that investigates cultivation processes of micro-organism, animal and human cells in microgravity. He also performed a variety of maintenance duties in the Russian segment of the station.

Cassidy, Vinogradov, and Misurkin also had some time set aside for to continue their familiarization and orientation activities to help them get used to their new home aboard the orbiting outpost.

› Read more about their launch and docking

› Read more about Expedition 35