July 13, 2012

Astronauts Prepare For New ISS Crew Members

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

The International Space Station crew members began launch preps for the new crew members, as well as other tasks on Thursday.

The Expedition 32 crew members living in the orbiting laboratory focused on a variety of science experiments and maintenance activities, NASA said.

Flight Engineer Joe Acaba worked with the Burning and Suppression of Solids (BASS) experiment, which is an experiment that examines the burning and extinction characteristics of a wide variety of fuel samples in microgravity.

This experiment could one day help develop procedures and methods for extinguishing accidental fires in microgravity, and will contribute to the design of fire detection and suppression systems in microgravity and on Earth.

The flight engineer also worked in the Kibo module on the SAIBO rack's clean bench, NASA said. He performed some maintenance on the module's chambers and checked out its relief valves.

Flight Engineer Sergei Revin began Thursday by collecting blood and saliva samples for the Immuno experiment. This study seeks to determine changes in stress and immune responses in long duration microgravity missions.

He also worked with an experiment known as Relaxation, which examines chemical luminescent reactions from jet engine exhaust in the Earth's atmosphere.

Commander Gennady Padalka worked with both flight engineers throughout the day on the installation of stowage racks in the European Space Agency's Automated Transfer Vehicle-3 cargo craft.

These racks will help to make some additional room for stowage in the vehicle, which will help to accommodate the new cargo being delivered aboard the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's third H-II Transfer Vehicle, which is expected to launch to the station on July 20.

The Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft  that will be bringing more astronauts to join the Expedition 32 crew was rolled out to the launch pad this week.

Flight Engineers Suni Williams, Yuri Malenchenko and Aki Hoshide are scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Saturday.