Friday, April 29, 2011

Soyuz Progress Launches as NASA Shuttle Crew Prepares

The ISS Progress 42 resupply craft launched Wednesday morning to replenish the International Space Station. Launch was at 9:05 a.m. EDT (7:05 p.m. Kazakhstan time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The Russian cargo craft will dock to the Pirs docking compartment at 10:29 a.m. Friday.

The new cargo ship will dock to the same port vacated by the ISS Progress 41 cargo craft, which undocked last week and was deorbited Tuesday morning, disposing of station trash, after engineering tests. The new Progress is loaded with 1,940 pounds of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen and air, 926 pounds of water and 2,976 pounds of maintenance hardware, experiment equipment and resupply items.

Space shuttle Endeavour will launch Friday at 3:47 p.m. to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and spare parts to the orbital laboratory. The STS-134 mission is scheduled to last 14 days and will be Endeavour's last flight. The four spacewalks planned while Endeavour is docked at the station also will be the last performed by shuttle astronauts.

While the crew members await the new resupply craft and the shuttle they continue with science. The Expedition 27 crew also is at work maintaining station systems throughout the U.S. and Russian orbital segments.

Flight Engineer Paolo Nespoli measured his blood pressure and collected blood and urine samples for a study that measures heart performance during long-duration space missions. The ongoing investigation seeks to determine if blood pressure and volume can be maintained at the same level in microgravity as on the ground.

Flight Engineer Ron Garan worked in the Japanese Kibo laboratory to replace an ethernet hub and multiplexer in a data management system rack. Garan also took part in CsPINS, a Japanese experiment that observes how cucumber seedlings adapt to microgravity.

Flight Engineer Cady Coleman set up gear to collect microbes and monitored a dosimeter to measure radiation. She also connected a robotics work station display panel in the Destiny lab and tested video downlink for arriving and departing Russian spacecraft.

Commander Dmitry Kondratyev assisted Coleman during the video downlink test. He also monitored the Elektron oxygen generator and performed some plumbing work on a Russian bathroom system.

Flight Engineer Andrey Borisenko set up gear for the Coulomb Crystal experiment. The Russian investigation gathers data about charged particles inside the microgravity environment of the space station. He also conducted a session of the Interaction experiment that observes interactions between station crew members and ground personnel.

Flight Engineer Alexander Samokutyaev worked on maintenance throughout the Russian segment of the station. Samokutyaev also worked on the Typology experiment which studies how a crew member thinks and works in microgravity.

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