Monday, March 08, 2010

Crew Members Prep for Undocking

Expedition 22 Flight Engineer T.J. Creamer works with flex hoses in the International Space Station’s U.S. Destiny laboratory.

The Expedition 22 crew spent Monday preparing for two of its members to travel home while also keeping busy with daily science and maintenance duties aboard the orbiting International Space Station.

With just over a week left in their half-year mission on the International Space Station, Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Maxim Suraev continued preparing to leave the station aboard the Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft. Their Earthward journey will begin with a scheduled undocking at 4:03 a.m. EDT March 18 and end with a landing about 3.5 hours later.

Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov will take over as expedition commander as he and Flight Engineers T.J. Creamer and Soichi Noguchi remain on the orbital outpost, becoming the Expedition 23 crew. New crew members Alexander Skvortsov, Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Mikhail Kornienko will join them two weeks later. They are slated to launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-18 from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on April 2.

Williams worked with the Integrated Cardiovascular (ICV) experiment in the Columbus laboratory. ICV researches the extent of cardiac atrophy and seeks to identify its mechanisms.

In advance of a depressurization test of the Kibo laboratory’s airlock, Noguchi and Creamer spent time Monday installing equipment in the airlock that is designed to facilitate its depressurization for experiment placement on the Exposed Facility of the Japanese module.