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Thread: Astronauts prepare for ISS crew change

  1. #1 Astronauts prepare for ISS crew change 

    Two crews of astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) are hard at work preparing the orbital facility for its next six months of spaceflight.

    ISS Expedition 10 commander Leroy Chiao, flight engineer Salizhan Sharipov and visiting cosmonaut Yuri Shargin are now more than halfway through their eight-day handover period and getting acquainted with their spacebound home.

    "We've been soaking everything up in this week of transition," Chiao said during an October 20 news conference. "The station looks quite a bit different from the last time I was here."

    Chiao, Sharipov and Shargin arrived at the station early October 16, the first human visitors for Expedition 9 crew Gennady Padalka and Michael Fincke since they took over ISS operations in April. For Chiao, the ISS arrival occurred four years after he last visited the station during a construction mission.

    "With the addition of the laboratory and docking compartments [since then], the station is quite a bit bigger," Chiao said.

    Changing the ISS guard
    Padalka and Fincke have spent the last few days bringing the Expedition 10 crew up to speed on the space station's status.

    "I'm focusing on sharing all of the stuff we've learned in the past six months," Fincke said of the handover period. ISS corridors are filling up with cargo slated to be returned to Earth via NASA's space shuttle -- which is not expected to fly during Expedition 10's mission -- but has not reached serious levels, he added.

    While Shargin has been working through a full schedule of science experiments, the joint Expedition 9-Expedition 10 crew performed some final repairs on the space station's oxygen producing Elektron device using spare parts brought up by the Chiao and Sharipov.

    "They made the repairs permanent," Fincke said of the procedures. "We're really confident the Elektron is going to be in great shape."

    The primary oxygen-generating device aboard the ISS, the Russian-built Elektron failed in early September and was later restored to intermittent operation by the Expedition 9 crew.

    In addition to the Elektron work, Chiao and Fincke began repairs on a U.S.-built spacesuit cooling system. The work follows repairs made by Fincke on another U.S. spacesuit in August, when he spent 4.5 hours replacing a cooling system rotor pump.

    Returning to Earth
    After formally handing over control of the ISS to Chiao and Sharipov, the Expedition 9 crew and Shargin will return to Earth on October 23 in their Soyuz TMA-4 spacecraft.

    "I got to see some video of my daughter," Fincke said of his new baby girl Tarali Paulina, who was born in June. "She can turn over now, she's getting really big without me."

    Fincke said he, Padalka and Shargin expect to run through a simulation of undocking and reentry to prepare for their return.

    "The Soyuz is ready to go," he said, adding that he's eager to see his family. "They're going to meet me in Russia."

    In November, Chiao and Sharipov will move their Soyuz TMA-5 spacecraft from its current berth at the Pirs docking compartment to a docking port on the station's Zarya module. The move will free up the Pirs compartment for use during two upcoming spacewalks.

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  3. #2  
    Forum Isotope (In)Sanity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Mesa AZ
    Will be nice when the US is flying the shuttles again.

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