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Station Crew Unloads Cargo, Prepares for Return Home

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:36 am via: NASA
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With the unloading of cargo from a newly arrived Russian resupply vehicle and preparations for the departure of three crew members under way, the International Space Station’s Expedition 24 crew tackled a heavy workload Tuesday.

Flight Engineer Tracy Caldwell Dyson began her workday early collecting blood and urine samples for the Human Research Facility and Pro K experiment and storing them in the Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS for study later by scientists back on Earth. Caldwell Dyson also logged her diet as part of the Pro K study, in which nutritionists monitor how dietary changes affect the bone loss that occurs during spaceflight.

Meanwhile, Flight Engineers Doug Wheelock and Fyodor Yurchikhin both spent part of their morning unloading cargo from the ISS Progress 39 resupply vehicle, which docked to the aft end of the Zvezda service module Sunday. The Russian cargo craft brought to the orbiting complex 1,918 pounds of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen, 375 pounds of water and 2,645 pounds of spare parts, experiment hardware and other supplies for the station’s six crew members.

Working in the European Columbus laboratory, Flight Engineer Shannon Walker installed experiment hardware in the Microgravity Science Glovebox for a study of colloids — tiny solid particles suspended in a liquid.

Flight Engineer Mikhail Kornienko set up ham radio equipment in the Russian segment of the station to test the possibility of sending photographs back to Earth through slow scan television video.

As the end of Expedition 24 draws near, Commander Alexander Skvortsov conducted preparations for his return to Earth aboard the Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft along with fellow crew members Caldwell Dyson and Kornienko. The trio will depart the station the evening of Sept. 23, U.S. time, signaling the start of Expedition 25 under the command of Wheelock.

To prepare for the departure of the Soyuz TMA-18, as well as the arrival of three additional Expedition 25 crew members aboard the Soyuz TMA-01M in October, flight controllers will conduct a reboost of the station using the thrusters of the Progress 39 vehicle Wednesday at 5:04 a.m. EDT. The 8-minute, 46-second burn will raise the perigee of the station’s orbit by about three statute miles.

The Expedition 24 crew continues to keep a close eye on the storms churning through the Atlantic Ocean, and external video cameras captured additional views of Hurricanes Igor and Julia on Tuesday.

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