Monday, January 11, 2010

Spacewalk Preps, Science Activities and Conferences for Station Crew

Expedition 22 crew members checked for leaks between three docked spacecraft -- the Progress and two Soyuz vehicles -- and the Russian segment of the International Space Station in advance of the Jan. 14 spacewalk.

During the spacewalk Flight Engineers Maxim Suraev and Oleg Kotov will set up the Poisk Russian Mini-Research Module 2 for the relocation of the Soyuz TMA-16. On Jan. 21 Suraev and Commander Jeff Williams will undock the Soyuz TMA-16 from the aft end of the Zvezda Service Module then dock to Poisk shortly after.

The Expedition 22 crew also was busy setting up science equipment and science experiments throughout the orbiting laboratory. They also spoke to international team members on the ground, conducting routine periodic conferences with ground support teams in the U.S., Russia and Japan.

In the Japanese Kibo module, Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi closed out the assembly of Kibo’s Small Fine Arm and stowed its tools. The Small Fine Arm is attached to the end effector of the Japanese Robotic Arm and is used for the set up of experiments outside the laboratory module.

Flight Engineer T.J. Creamer removed then reinstalled an experiment container inside the BioLab, swapping it from one compartment to another. A facility inside Europe’s Columbus lab, the BioLab provides two sections for the study of life sciences in microgravity. One section works both autonomously and in conjunction with commands from the ground. The other is designed for manual interaction by a station crew member.

As space station and space shuttle teams prepared for February’s launch of Endeavour, a high-pressure ammonia jumper hose assembly failed during a prelaunch test Thursday. Four such hoses, which will be used to connect the new Tranquility module to the station’s cooling system, are to be installed and activated by spacewalkers during the STS-130 mission. The teams are continuing to work toward a target launch of Endeavour on Feb. 7, however engineers are reviewing data from the test and evaluating whether there will be any impact to the shuttle mission. The analysis is expected to continue for several days.

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