Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NASA ISS Crew: Living and Working in Orbit

Commander Dan Burbank (right) and Flight Engineer Anton Shkaplerov work in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

The International Space Station’s Expedition 30 crew – Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin – performed science experiments and participated in an emergency drill Tuesday.

Burbank, a NASA astronaut, began his workday almost immediately after the crew’s regular 1 a.m. EST wakeup time as he conducted the Reaction Self Test.

This 5-minute test helps crew members objectively identify any impacts to their performance caused by sleep loss, fatigue and disruptions to circadian rhythms.

Following the crew’s daily planning conference with flight control centers around the world, Burbank spent his morning setting up equipment for the Integrated Cardiovascular experiment and participating as its test subject.

Investigators use the data from these tests to measure the atrophy of the heart muscle that appears to develop during long-duration spaceflight and to develop countermeasures to mitigate those effects.

Experiments like this one are crucial to understanding and maintaining crew health as NASA moves towards space exploration beyond low-Earth orbit.

Meanwhile, Shkaplerov participated in a Russian cardiovascular study known as Pneumocard and later performed routine maintenance on the life-support system in the Russian segment of the orbiting complex.

His fellow cosmonaut, Ivanishin, conducted preventative maintenance on the ventilation system of the Zvezda service module.

After a break for lunch, all three Expedition 30 crew members teamed up for an emergency egress drill to remain familiar with the location of emergency equipment and hatches as well as the evacuation route.

In cooperation with the mission control centers around the world, the crew worked through the response procedures as if there were an actual emergency requiring a rapid departure and tagged up with flight controllers afterward to review the results.

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