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“Albert Einstein” Closes In On Station
Luca Parmitano and Chris Cassidy

From inside the U.S. Quest Airlock, Luca Parmitano and Chris Cassidy talk to students from Cascade Community School in Shoreline, WA for a Destination Station event. Credit: NASA TV

The European Space Agency’s Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) 4, "Albert Einstein," is on its way to dock with the International Space Station at 10:07 a.m. EDT.

Sitting about 820 feet away from the orbiting outpost, ATV-4 performed several check out tests to ensure its navigation sensors could communicate successfully with the docking reflectors on the aft port of the Zvezda service module on the space station. The system appears to be working, and the European cargo craft is preceding to its rendezvous with the orbiting outpost.

› Read more about the launch of the ATV-4

Flight Engineer Karen Nyberg will photograph and videotape the arrival of the ATV-4. Flight Engineers Luca Parmitano and Alexander Misurkin will monitor its approach ready for rendezvous procedures or abort scenarios. Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy will join Nyberg and Parmitano after the ATV-4 docks to begin cargo transfers.

The next big event scheduled for the Expedition 36 crew is the June 24 spacewalk to ready the station for a new Russian laboratory module. Flight Engineers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Alexander Misurkin are checking their Orlan spacesuits and tools inside the Pirs docking compartment where they will exit for a six hour excursion.

The “Nauka” Multipurpose Laboratory Module is planned for a launch atop a Russian Proton rocket at the end of this year. The “Nauka” will be docked to the Earth-facing port on Zvezda.

The last time a space station module launched on a Proton rocket was in July 2000 when Zvezda, the station’s third module, was placed into orbit. The first module, the Zarya cargo module, was also launched on a Proton rocket in November 1998.

Commander Pavel Vinogradov continued his work for the ongoing Russian experiment Plasma Crystal. The study records plasma crystal forming processes and parameters such as gas pressure, high-frequency radiated power and the size of dust particles.

› Read more about Plasma Crystal

Misurkin worked again with the Matryeshka experiment which measures radiation in the environment of the space station and radiation absorption in crew members.

› Read more about Matryeshka

› Read more about Expedition 36