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Space Station Crew Completes Soyuz Relocation

January 21, 2010

Two members of the International Space Station’s Expedition 22 crew successfully delivered the Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft to its new location Thursday morning.

Soyuz Commander and Flight Engineer Maxim Suraev undocked the spacecraft from the aft port of the Zvezda service module at 5:03 a.m. EST and docked it to the Poisk module at 5:24 a.m., marking the first docking to the new module. Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams accompanied Suraev.

While Suraev and Williams conducted the brief flyover to Poisk, Flight Engineers Oleg Kotov, T.J. Creamer and Soichi Noguchi looked on from inside the orbital outpost and captured the activity through photo-documentation.

On Jan. 14, Suraev and Kotov set up Poisk for the Soyuz relocation and future dockings during the first spacewalk of the Expedition 22 mission, which lasted five hours and 44 minutes.

Once the Soyuz was moved to its new home, the station crew members returned to their regular science and maintenance duties. They also kept up their daily exercise routine, which helps their bodies combat the effects of long-term exposure to the microgravity environment of space.

On Saturday, Flight Engineer T.J. Creamer and Williams will use the Canadarm2 robotic arm to relocate Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 from the port side of the Unity node to the space-facing side of the Harmony node. This will clear the way for the installation of the Italian-built Tranquility node to be delivered by space shuttle Endeavour and the STS-130 crew in February.

Tranquility is a pressurized module that will provide room for many of the space station’s life support systems. Attached to the node is the Cupola, a one-of-a-kind work station with six windows around the sides and one on top.

Amongst the Soyuz relocation preparations Wednesday, the crew had some time scheduled for Earth observation and photography. Wednesday’s selected site for observation was the Haiti disaster area.

Water recycling on the station has been temporarily suspended. Until this week, the station’s Water Recovery System was able to reclaim water from the station’s atmosphere even though the urine recycling system wasn’t working. But this week, the Water Processing Assembly was turned off because of a clog in its plumbing. In the meantime, the crew is using water from storage bags to feed the Oxygen Generation System, the Waste and Hygiene Compartment toilet and the drinking water dispenser. A spare pump and a new filter will be installed during the upcoming shuttle mission, which should put the water processor back in business and protect against future clogs. In addition, a new Distillation Assembly is scheduled for launch on the STS-130 mission and is expected to restore urine recycling.

Image Caption: The Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft moves from the aft port of the International Space Station’s Zvezda service module to the Poisk module. Credit: NASA TV

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