ISS Crew Remaining Busy As They Await Arrival Of Three New Colleagues
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
With a trio of new crew members scheduled to depart for the International Space Station (ISS) in a matter of days, the three Expedition 36 crewmates currently on board the orbiting base spent much of this past week disassembling exercise equipment and working on science-related hardware.
According to NASA officials, Expedition 36 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer Alexander Misurkin took apart a treadmill in the Zvezda service module. The treadmill is being replaced by a newer model transported to the ISS onboard the Progress 51 resupply craft on April 26.
“The Treadmill with Vibration Isolation System (TVIS) helps keep crew members fit and prevents muscle atrophy that occurs in microgravity,” the US space agency explained earlier this week in a statement. “Located in Zvezda the TVIS undergoes regular scheduled maintenance and is equipped with gyroscopes and stabilizers that minimize the dynamic forces on the space station and its systems.”
Meanwhile, the third member of their team, Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy, was in the US segment of the station. On Monday, he opened Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR) inside the Destiny laboratory in order to replace a fuel reservoir and igniter tips. The CIR, NASA said, allows for the safe observation and study of the burning of fuels and materials in space, and is part of a larger system known as the Fluids and Combustion Facility.
Here on Earth, three new soon-to-be residents of the space station — Soyuz Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano — were at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan preparing for a May 28 same-day launch and docking to the facility´s Rassvet module.
The Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft carrying them is expected to launch at 4:31 pm EDT and dock approximately six hours later. While Parmitano, an Italian astronaut for the European Space Agency (ESA), is taking part in his first space mission, this will be Yurchikhin´s third extended stay on the ISS and the second for Nyberg.
Yurchikhin took part in Expedition 15 in 2007 and Expedition 24/25 in 2010, and he also flew aboard space shuttle Atlantis to the station during the 11-day STS-112 mission to install the S1 truss structure in 2002. NASA´s Nyberg last traveled to the space station during the 2008 STS-124 mission, which involved the delivery and installation of the Japanese Kibo laboratory.