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Science and Spacewalk Preps for Crew, ATV-4 Headed to Station
iss036e005534 -- Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano

Expedition 36 Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano pose for a photo in the Unity node during some off-duty time. Credit: NASA

The six-person Expedition 36 crew of the International Space Station worked with science experiments, prepared for an upcoming spacewalk and participated in orientation activities Thursday, while the European Space Agency's fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle makes its way to the orbiting laboratory after a successful launch on Wednesday.

Flight Engineers Chris Cassidy, Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano continued their participation in a variety of biomedical experiments, including performing eye scans as part of the Ocular Heath study. The data collected was then downlinked for analysis by medical ground support teams to study the effect of microgravity on sight.

› Read more about astronaut vision
› Watch a Space Station Live interview about astronaut vision

Nyberg and Parmitano also participated in the Pro K experiment as nutritionists evaluate the effectiveness of dietary changes to lessen the bone loss experienced by astronauts in space.

› Read more about Pro K

Cassidy worked with ground controllers to troubleshoot a problem with the Centerline Berthing Camera System video used for the installation of the visiting cargo vehicles. The problem was traced to a bad video cable.

Commander Pavel Vinogradov performed an audit of the lighting systems in the Russian segment of the station, charged satellite phones and worked with a Russian experiment studying plasma crystal formation in microgravity.

› Learn more about Plasma Crystal ATV-4 launches

The European Space Agency's fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle launches atop an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana. Credit: NASA TV

Flight Engineers Alexander Misurkin and Fyodor Yurchikhin reviewed procedures for the next Russian spacewalk set for Monday, June 24. During the excursion, the spacewalkers will venture out of the Pirs docking compartment to replace a fluid flow control valve panel on the Zarya module, install clamps on the Zarya module for the future installation of power cables, remove and install several sets of experiments on the hull of the Zvezda service module and collect samples and acquire imagery of the condition of the thermal insulation on the outside of the Russian segment modules.

Nyberg, Parmitano and Yurchikhin, who arrived aboard the station on May 28, also had some time set aside for orientation and training as they continue to familiarize themselves with their new orbiting home.

› Read more about the Expedition 36 launch and docking

Following its successful launch on Wednesday, the European Space Agency’s “Albert Einstein” Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-4) cargo ship continues its 10-day journey to the station with the first of its engine firings to fine-tune its path scheduled on Monday. The journey to reach the orbiting laboratory will conclude with a scheduled docking to the aft port of the Zvezda service module on June 15 at 9:46 a.m.

To clear the aft port of the Zvezda service module for the arrival of ATV-4, preparations continue for the undocking of the ISS Progress 51 cargo craft on Tuesday at 9:59 a.m. The Progress will be sent into a parking orbit well away from the station for several days of engineering tests to calibrate Russian ground-based radar systems before it is deorbited to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere on June 19.

As Progress 51 departs, the ship's external cameras will focus on navigational sensors on the Zvezda docking port to gather imagery and confirm the sensors were not damaged when it docked to the station with one of its navigational antennas folded against its side on April 26. Those sensors are required for the ATV-4 to dock properly on June 15.

If the undocking reveals any damage to the reflector navigational aids or if any compromise of the integrity of the reflectors results in an abort of the approach of the ATV-4 during its docking, Yurchikhin and Misurkin will revise their June 24 spacewalk plan to include replacing any suspect set of reflectors with a spare launched last week in the Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft.

› Read more about Expedition 36