April 21, 2009

Station Crew Conducts Experiments, Begins Loading Cargo Ship

Mike Barratt, Expedition 19 flight engineer aboard the International Space Station, set up and activated a new camera Monday that will provide timely images that farmers, ranchers and foresters can use to better manage their crops and livestock.

The Agricultural Camera (AgCam) will take visible light and infrared images of the Earth below, principally of growing crops, rangeland, grasslands, forests, and wetlands in the northern Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions of the United States.

The images will be delivered "“ in just one to two days -- to requesting farmers, ranchers, foresters, natural resource managers and tribal officials to help improve their environmental stewardship of the land for which they are responsible. Images will also be shared with educators for classroom use. The Agricultural Camera was built and will be operated primarily by students and faculty at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND.

Additionally, Barratt worked with the Mental Representation of Spatial Cues During Space Flight experiment, also known as 3D-Space, which investigates the effects of microgravity on depth and distance perception. 3D-Space's virtual reality is used for information display and presentation of perceptual stimulus.

Commander Gennady Padalka worked with the Russian experiment known as Relaxation, observing radiation patterns from Earth's ionosphere.

The crew also began loading discarded items into the Progress 32 spacecraft Monday. Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata began packing waste materials into the cargo ship, which is slated to undock from the station early next month. Wakata also used the Total Organic Carbon Analyzer to test water samples from the station's Water Recovery System to ensure that the water is safe for the station crew.

Wakata and Barratt reviewed procedures for the upcoming in-flight maintenance of the station's treadmill, an important piece of exercise equipment aboard the orbital outpost.


Image Caption: Aboard the orbiting International Space Station, Expedition 19 Flight Engineer Michael Barratt, joined by Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata, answers a question from media on Earth. Credit: NASA TV


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