Headlines > News > Station Crew Readies New ATV-5 for Cargo Transfers and Preps Cygnus for Departure

Station Crew Readies New ATV-5 for Cargo Transfers and Preps Cygnus for Departure

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:30 pm via: NASA
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Europe’s “Georges Lemaître” Automated Transfer Vehicle-5 (ATV-5) hatch was briefly opened Wednesday after the vehicle docked Tuesday morning to the aft docking port of the Zvezda service module. The ATV-5’s addition makes five spaceships currently attached to the International Space Station. The other four at the station are two Soyuz crew carriers, a Progress resupply ship and a Cygnus private cargo craft.

Flight Engineers Alexander Gerst and Alexander Skvortsov opened the ATV-5’s hatches Wednesday morning to clean the space freighter’s atmosphere before beginning cargo transfers. The duo will close the hatches at the end of the day, then reopen the hatches Thursday to start unloading nearly 7 tons of science, supplies, food and fuel to replenish the station. The ATV-5 is due to complete its stay at the station in January 2015.

Reid Wiseman photographed the ATV approaching the space station's Zvezda service module and shared on Twitter. "Awesome work @astro_alex and congrats to @ESA – We have #ATV5 with us!" Image Credit: @Astro_Reid

Reid Wiseman photographed the ATV approaching the space station's Zvezda service module and shared on Twitter. "Awesome work @astro_alex and congrats to @ESA – We have #ATV5 with us!" Image Credit: @Astro_Reid

The new ATV-5 will boost the station to a slightly higher orbit Thursday when it fires its thrusters for seven minutes, 48 seconds at 12:58 p.m. EDT. The new orbit will get the station ready for the Sept. 10 departure of the Soyuz TMA-12 spacecraft for a landing in Kazakhstan.

The Cygnus is finalizing its stay at the station as Gerst and NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman conduct onboard training to prepare for its release Friday morning. Wiseman will back up Gerst at the robotic workstation in the cupola as he controls the Canadarm2 during the grapple, unberthing and release of Cygnus Friday at 6:40 a.m.

Commander Steve Swanson will finish loading trash inside Cygnus on Wednesday, and the hatches between the Earth-facing port of the Harmony node and the Cygnus will be closed Thursday. After its release, Cygnus will spend two days in orbit for flight tests before deorbiting Sunday over the Pacific Ocean.

The six-member Expedition 40 crew was busy with station maintenance and microgravity science Wednesday, despite the busy traffic at the orbital laboratory.

Wiseman and Swanson started their morning with arm, leg, chest, waist and hip measurements for the Body Measures long-term study. The experiment collects a crew member’s body measurements before, during and after a mission to document the changes to body shape to ensure optimal crew performance, fit, and comfort.

Wiseman then set up blood pressure and electrocardiogram hardware for the Sprint VO2 experiment. The life sciences study evaluates the use of high intensity, low volume exercise to minimize loss of muscle, bone, and cardiovascular function during a long term mission.

Swanson was back at work Wednesday afternoon with the SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites) internal micro-satellites, performing a test session for the Zero Robotics middle school student competition scheduled for Friday. The competition gives students an opportunity to write algorithms to control the bowling ball-sized satellites that float inside the space station.

Gerst reviewed the tasks necessary to install a new experiment payload in the Columbus laboratory module’s European Drawer Rack. Later he contacted students in Ontario, Canada, for a ham radio session and talked about life in space.

Cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev started his morning mixing biological samples in a bioreactor for the Caskad microbiology experiment. Then he cleaned gas-liquid heat exchanger fan screens. Later Artemyev sampled the ATV-5’s environment for carbon dioxide.

Flight Engineer and future Expedition 41 Commander Max Suraev worked on life support system maintenance and replaced a water and distribution heating unit in Zvezda.

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