The Expedition 31 crew living and working aboard the International Space Station made preparations for the departure of three of its crew members, performed a variety of international research activities and downlinked images and video of Colorado wildfires on Thursday.|
Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineers Don Pettit and Andre Kuipers gathered and packed items to prepare for their upcoming departure from the orbiting laboratory. They are scheduled to undock from the station at 12:48 a.m. EDT Sunday, landing a few hours later in the steppe of Kazakhstan at 3:14 a.m. (2:14 p.m. Kazakhstan time).
Expedition 32 will begin at undocking as Flight Engineers Gennady Padalka, Joe Acaba and Sergei Revin continue their stay aboard the orbital laboratory. Kononenko is scheduled to ceremonially hand over command of the station to Padalka on Friday at 7:35 p.m., with live coverage on NASA TV.
Acaba and Pettit performed tests on the cooling pump inside the Kibo Laboratory’s Thermal Control System rack to determine the source of a short circuit in the system. Acaba also worked with Kuipers to set up Robonaut 2 in the Destiny laboratory for more ground supported tests and operations.
Pettit worked with the Burning and Suppression of Solids experiment, known as BASS, which examines the burning and extinction characteristics of a wide variety of fuel samples in microgravity. The BASS experiment will help to develop procedures and methods for extinguishing accidental fires in microgravity, and it will contribute to the design of fire detection and suppression systems in microgravity and on Earth.
Later, Pettit, Acaba and Kuipers participated in a pair of in-flight interviews with the Houston Chronicle and NPR’s “Science Friday” with Ira Flatow.
Kononenko, Padalka and Revin worked in the Russian segment of the station, monitoring its systems and performing a variety of maintenance activities. Kononenko and Padalka charged batteries in satellite phones used in the docked Soyuz spacecraft.
Padalka and Revin worked with the Pneumocard experiment, which studies the adaptation of a crew member’s cardiovascular system during long-duration missions.
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