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Endeavour Undocks From Station

Image above: The International Space Station is viewed from space shuttle Endeavour after undocking. The newly attached Japanese pressurized logistics module rests atop the Harmony Node. Credit: NASA TV

Space shuttle Endeavour undocked from the International Space Station at 8:25 p.m. EDT Monday, ending its 12-day stay at the orbital outpost. After the STS-123 and Expedition 16 crews bid one another farewell, the hatches between the two spacecraft closed at 5:49 p.m.

STS-123 arrived at the station March 12, delivering the Japanese Logistics Module - Pressurized Section, the first pressurized component of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kibo laboratory, to the station. The crew of Endeavour also delivered the final element of the station’s Mobile Servicing System, the Canadian-built Dextre, also known as the Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator.
 

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Station Prepares For New Arrival

Image above: Al Wadj Bank, Saudi Arabia is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 16 crew member on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

The Expedition 16 crew aboard the International Space Station focused on preparations to receive Europe’s new unpiloted resupply ship, The “Jules Verne” Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), Thursday.

At 2 a.m. EDT, the ATV fired it engines, bringing it out of a parking orbit and putting it into position to make its first demonstration approach to the station. The demonstration approach, which is scheduled for Saturday, will bring the ATV within three kilometers of the station.

The ATV is scheduled to make its final approach and dock to the International Space Station on April 3.

To prepare for the ATV, the crew completed rendezvous and docking training exercises, simulating the craft’s final approach in case they may be called upon to override the ATV’s automatic docking controls and abort the approach.

In addition to regular station maintenance, crew members completed their daily physical exercise routines and completed a “space weigh-in” to help measure and counteract the effects of long-term exposure to weightlessness in space.
 

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Crew Makes Preparations For Automated Transfer Vehicle

Image above: Astronaut Peggy Whitson, Expedition 16 commander, exercises on the Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation System (CEVIS) in the Destiny Laboratory. Credit: NASA

The Expedition 16 crew members aboard the International Space Station continued their preparations to receive Europe’s new unpiloted resupply ship, the Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV).

At 2 a.m. EDT, Thursday, the ATV fired it engines, bringing it out of a parking orbit and putting it into position to make its first demonstration approach to the station. During its first approach, which is scheduled for Saturday, the ATV will fire its engines several times to bring it approximately two miles from the station. Once in position, the ATV will conduct thruster firings and other systems tests before it pulls back into a phasing orbit.

The ATV is scheduled to make its final approach and dock to the International Space Station on April 3.

To prepare for the ATV, the crew members completed rendezvous and docking training exercises, simulating the craft’s final approach in case they may be called upon to override the ATV’s automatic docking controls and abort the approach.

In addition to regular station maintenance, crew members conducted hearing tests and completed their daily physical exercise routines to help counteract the effects of long-term exposure to weightlessness in space.
 

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Crew Conducts Science, Preps for Jules Verne Docking

Image above: Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko and Commander Peggy Whitson monitor the approach of the Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle on Monday. Credit: NASA TV

The Expedition 16 crew of the International Space Station returned to science and station maintenance activities Tuesday after Monday’s successful test approach of the Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV).

Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman worked together to set up equipment for a periodic physical fitness evaluation. Reisman exercised on the station’s cycle ergometer while wearing a heart rate monitor. Whitson collected data from this session, which exercise physiologists and flight surgeons will use to assess Reisman’s health and make adjustments to exercise regimes if needed.

Later, Reisman worked in the Quest airlock, performing maintenance on the cooling loops of the U.S. spacesuits.

In preparation for the ATV docking on Thursday, Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko checked the hardware needed to perform leak checks in the event of a failure in the power unit of the cargo carrier’s depress valve.

The Jules Verne approached the station on Monday for its "Demo Day 2" practice maneuvers. It moved to within 36 feet of the Zvezda Service Module in a rehearsal for docking on Thursday.

The ATV reached its closest point to the station at 12:38 p.m. EDT, at which time it was commanded by the crew to retreat to a point 62 feet away. From there it executed an "escape" command to depart the station for its three-day phasing prior to final approach and docking around 10:41 a.m. Thursday
 

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ATV Jules Verne Docks with Station

Image above: The Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle prepares to dock to the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

The Jules Verne, the first European Space Agency Automated Transfer Vehicle, docked to the aft port of the International Space Station's Zvezda Service Module at 10:45 a.m. EDT Thursday.

The unpiloted cargo spacecraft carries more than 7,500 pounds of equipment, supplies, water, fuel and gases for the station.

It also carries hopes and aspirations of the European Space Agency. The ATV and its advanced rendezvous system could play an important role in future space exploration.

The Jules Verne docked smoothly using its automated, laser guided rendezvous system. It was in many respects a repeat of the dry run on Monday. That practice approach brought the ATV to within 36 feet of the docking port.

The Jules Verne launched from Kourou, French Guiana, on an Ariane 5 rocket on March 9.

Solar arrays deployed as planned after two engine firings more than an hour and a half after launch. That placed the ATV in a parking orbit about 1,200 miles from the station.

It was, at almost 22 tons, the largest payload ever launched by the Ariane 5.

The Jules Verne is named after the acclaimed French science-fiction author. It is the first of perhaps seven such spacecraft to be built.

The ATV can carry about three times the cargo weight carried by the Progress, the reliable Russian unpiloted cargo carrier.

The Jules Verne initially was placed in an orbit a safe distance from the station, where a series of tests were performed. Among the last of the tests were two approaches to the station.

Those approaches ended in "escape" maneuvers, to verify a collision avoidance system. It would be used if the ATV automated docking system should fail.

The spacecraft is scheduled to remain at the station until August, for unloading and to reboost the orbiting laboratory. Subsequently it will be filled with station garbage and discards. Then it will be deorbited for destruction on re-entry over the Pacific.
 

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Station Crew Welcomes the Jules Verne Vehicle

Image above: The Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle docks to the aft port of the International Space Station's Zvezda Service Module on Thursday. Credit: NASA TV

The Expedition 16 crew wrapped up a busy week that saw the arrival and docking of the newest European Space Agency cargo ship, the Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle, to the International Space Station on Thursday.

The station’s residents got their first look inside the Jules Verne after hatches were opened around 6:15 a.m. EDT Friday. The crew installed air scrubbers in the space freighter and will begin unloading cargo over the weekend.

The unpiloted cargo spacecraft carries more than 7,500 pounds of equipment, supplies, water, fuel and gases for the station.

The Jules Verne docked to the aft port of the International Space Station's Zvezda Service Module at 10:45 a.m. Thursday.

The Jules Verne docked smoothly using its automated, laser guided rendezvous system. It was in many respects a repeat of the dry run on March 31. That practice approach brought the ATV to within 36 feet of the docking port.

After the successful docking, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin responded, "I am incredibly proud of and pleased for our European partners with this demonstration of a successful automated docking of the ATV cargo vehicle with the ISS. Only Russia has previously achieved a successful automated docking in space. This accomplishment showcases yet again the progress which has been made by the international partnership in bringing this incredible program to fruition. Together with the arrival of the Columbus Module at the ISS earlier this year, the success of the ATV marks the arrival of Europe as a full-fledged space power. I applaud their achievement."

+ Read more about the ATV docking

Meanwhile, the Expedition 17 crew, Commander Sergei Volkov and Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko, and spaceflight participant So-yeon Yi are preparing for Tuesday’s launch aboard a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They will dock with the station on Thursday.

+ Read more about Expedition 17

Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman, currently aboard the station as an Expedition 16 crew member, will join Expedition 17. Expedition 16 Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko will return to Earth aboard their Soyuz spacecraft with Yi on April 19.
 

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New Station Crew Prepares For Launch Tuesday

Image above: A view of the Progress 28 cargo ship as it undocked from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

The Progress 28 cargo ship undocked from the International Space Station at 4:50 a.m. EDT Monday and headed into its deorbit and destructive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. The Progress, which has been attached to the station since February, had been loaded with trash and discards before its departure. The Pirs docking compartment is now open for the arrival Thursday of the Soyuz TMA-12 spacecraft carrying the Expedition 17 crew and a South Korean spaceflight participant.

The Expedition 17 crew continued to make last-minute preparations before Tuesday’s launch to the station. Commander Sergei Volkov, Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko and spaceflight participant So-yeon Yi are scheduled to launch at 7:16 a.m. EDT Tuesday aboard a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

+ Read more about Expedition 17

Aboard the station, the Expedition 16 crew members unloaded cargo from the Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle, which arrived last week. In addition to performing regular exercise and maintenance duties, Expedition 16 Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko reviewed descent procedures for their return to Earth. Whitson, Malenchenko and spaceflight participant So-yeon Yi are scheduled to leave the station April 19th in Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft. Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman, now an Expedition 16 crew member, will join Expedition 17.
 

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Expedition 17 Crew Headed To Station

Image above: Expedition 17 launches aboard a Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA TV

After Tuesday’s successful launch, the Expedition 17 crew members are headed to their new home aboard the International Space Station. Commander Sergei Volkov, Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko and spaceflight participant So-yeon Yi launched at 7:16 a.m. EDT in a Soyuz TMA-12 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Less than ten minutes later, the spacecraft reached orbit and its antennas and solar arrays were deployed. Expedition 17 will be welcomed by the Expedition 16 crew after docking to the orbiting laboratory, scheduled for Thursday.

+ Read more about the launch of Expedition 17

Expedition 17 crew members Volkov and Kononenko will begin a six-month stay in space. Spaceflight participant Yi will return to Earth with Expedition 16 crew members Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko on April 19.

Whitson and Malenchenko launched to the station Oct. 10. Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman launched to the station on the STS-123 mission of Endeavour March 11. He joined Expedition 16 in progress and will continue his tour with the Expedition 17 crew.

Aboard the station, Whitson, Malenchenko and Reisman took a break from their daily activities to watch the launch of Expedition 17. They also reviewed the flight plan for spaceflight participant So-yeon Yi, familiarizing themselves with the experiments and Earth photography she will be conducting during her nine-day visit on the complex.
 

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Work Begins For New Station Crew

Image above: The Semien Mountains, Gonder, northern Ethiopia are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 16 crew member on the International Space Station. Image credit: NASA

After Thursday’s successful docking, the Expedition 17 crew members spent their first full day aboard the International Space Station familiarizing themselves with their new home and working on a variety of experiments.

The Expedition 16 and 17 crews began work on Bioemulsion, a Russian microorganism project, and ELITE-S2, an Italian Space Agency project that studies connections between the brain, motion and visualization in the absence of gravity.

Expedition 17 Commander Sergei Volkov and Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko installed a temperature sensor switching unit as well as other hardware into the newly arrived Soyuz. Volkov also performed a Soyuz communications link check with Expedition 17 Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko.

Expedition 16 Commander Peggy Whitson and Expedition 17 Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman participated in interviews with a New York radio program and a television station in Iowa. Whitson also performed some maintenance work on the U.S. spacesuits.

Whitson, Malenchenko and spaceflight participant So-yeon Yi are scheduled to return to Earth in the Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft on April 19.
 

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Station Crews Conduct Experiments and Interviews

Image above: The Expedition 16 and Expedition 17 crew members along with their South Korean guest talk to reporters from the United States and Russia. Image credit: NASA TV

The incoming and outgoing station crews continue science experiments onboard the International Space Station. Investigations include studying the coarsening of particles suspended in a liquid comprised of a molten tin/lead alloy. Results could be used to improve the manufacturing processes of materials on Earth.

Another study seeks to understand changes in the human body during and after a long term stay in space. Fluid samples taken from astronauts will help scientists understand these processes, possibly allowing the development of countermeasures.

The Expedition 16 and 17 crew members along with their South Korean guest took part in a crew news conference. The station residents answered questions from both the United States and Russia. American astronauts Peggy Whitson and Garrett Reisman later participated in an interview with U.S. journalists.

Wednesday, Expedition 16 Commander Peggy Whitson will break Mike Foale’s record for cumulative time in space for a U.S. astronaut of 374 days in space. She will land Saturday with 377 days in space on two flights, 20th all-time. Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko will log 515 days in space on four flights when he lands, 9th all-time. They will have spent 192 days in space on this flight, 190 on the station.

Whitson performed five spacewalks during Expedition 16 for a total of six career spacewalks totaling 39 hours, 46 minutes, putting her 16th on the all-time list, more than any other woman.

Whitson and Malenchenko will return home with spaceflight participant So-yeon Yi. They will leave the station Saturday at 1:06 a.m. EDT in their Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft and land in the steppes of Kazakhstan a few hours later.

Reisman will continue his stay onboard the orbiting laboratory with Expedition 17 Commander Sergei Volkov and Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko.
 

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Expedition 16 Lands Safely; New Crew Performs Reboost Test

Image above: Expedition 16 Commander Peggy Whitson waves to a crowd of well wishers from the top of the airplane steps as she arrives at Chkalovsky airport, Star City along with Flight Engineer and Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko and South Korean So-yeon Yi. Whitson, Malechenko and Yi landed their Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft on April 19, 2008 in central Kazakhstan to complete 192 days in space for Whitson and Malenchenko and 11 days in orbit for Yi. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
+ View high-res

The Expedition 16 crew members are in good spirits after they safely landed their Soyuz spacecraft Saturday in the steppes of Kazakhstan at approximately 4:30 a.m. EDT. Spaceflight participant So-yeon Yi also returned to Earth aboard the Soyuz. The landing was about 295 miles from the expected landing site, delaying the recovery forces' arrival to the spacecraft by approximately 45 minutes.

Now at Star City, Russia, Astronaut Peggy Whitson and cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko launched to the International Space Station on Oct. 10, 2007, and spent 192 days in space.

+ Read more about the Expedition 16 landing

On Monday, Expedition 17 crew members conducted a test of the Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle's reboost engines. Those engines can be used to lift the orbit of the station to a higher altitude while the cargo craft is docked to the orbiting complex. Another test will be conducted on Thursday, setting the station in the proper configuration for the arrival of space shuttle Discovery on the STS-124 mission in June.

Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman also conducted a ham radio session with patients of the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, Fla.
 

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Will Peggy go in space again you think, on a Space Shuttle, becuase she does still work for NASA. Will going up in the ISS be work or holidays for them?
 

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Crew Conducts Science; Station Set for Reboost

Image above: The Expedition 17 crew members, astronaut Garrett Reisman (left), cosmonauts Sergei Volkov (center) and Oleg Kononenko, pose for a portrait in the Harmony node. Photo Credit: NASA

The Expedition 17 crew members are busy with science and preparations for the arrival of future spacecraft at the International Space Station.

Commander Sergei Volkov spent Thursday morning photographing the docking cone on the Zarya module in preparation for the Soyuz TMA-12 spacecraft relocation May 6.

Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman continued working with Coarsening in Solid Liquid Mixtures-2, an experiment which examines the kinetics of competitive particle growth within a liquid metal matrix.

Early Friday, the Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle's main engines will fire for 12 minutes, 15 seconds to complete the two-part reboost of the station. Ignition is scheduled for 12:22 a.m. EDT.

This will place the orbiting complex at the correct altitude for docking of the Progress 29 resupply ship on May 16, two days after its launch. The reboost will also place station in the proper configuration for the arrival of space shuttle Discovery on the STS-124 mission, to launch May 31.

The Expedition 16 crew members are in Star City, Russia, for debriefs and rehabilitation. Astronaut Peggy Whitson and cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko landed in the steppes of Kazakhstan on April 19 after 192 days in space.

The Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, and Energia representatives have established a commission to investigate the cause of Expedition 16's ballistic re-entry. This was the second consecutive ballistic re-entry for a Soyuz spacecraft and the third Soyuz ballistic re-entry in the history of the International Space Station.
 

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Expedition 17 Crew Begins New Week of Science

Image above: Expedition 17 Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko works in the International Space Station’s Zvezda Service Module. Photo Credit: NASA

The Expedition 17 crew began a busy week aboard the International Space Station Monday with science and maintenance.

Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman continued his work with Coarsening in Solid Liquid Mixtures-2, an experiment which examines the kinetics of competitive particle growth within a liquid metal matrix. This work has direct applications to the production of metal alloys on Earth, including materials such as aluminum that are critical for aerospace applications.

Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko worked on moving containers from the Automated Transfer Vehicle to the station’s Zarya module. A replaceable pump panel in the orbital outpost’s internal thermal loop was the focus of much of Commander Sergei Volkov’s time.

All three crew members performed their regular exercise activities.

The Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, and Energia representatives have established a commission to investigate the cause of the Expedition 16 crew's ballistic re-entry on April 19. This was the second consecutive ballistic re-entry for a Soyuz spacecraft and the third Soyuz ballistic re-entry in the history of the International Space Station.
 

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Expedition 17 Enjoys Quiet Day

Image above: The Expedition 17 crew works in the International Space Station’s Destiny laboratory. Photo Credit: NASA TV

The Expedition 17 crew enjoyed a relatively quiet day Friday, conducting routine maintenance work and exercise.

Commander Sergei Volkov audited and restocked the International Space Station’s Docking and Internal Transfer System accessory kits in the Soyuz TMA-12. He also worked with the Russian experiment Diatomea, an ocean observations program.

Along with Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko, Volkov conducted an audit of available stowage space in the Pirs docking compartment, as well as the Zarya and Zvezda modules.

Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman worked with the Coarsening in Solid Liquid Mixtures-2 experiment, which examines the growth, or coarsening, of tin particles suspended in a liquid tin-lead matrix. Coarsening impacts the strength of metal alloys such as aluminum and other materials critical for aerospace applications. He also packed items for return to Earth when space shuttle Discovery visits during the STS-124 mission.

Reisman also was interviewed by New York City's WABC-TV.

Officials have decided to delay the relocation of the Soyuz TMA-12 spacecraft from the Pirs docking compartment to the Zarya module's nadir port until later in Expedition 17. The move, which was slated for May 6, will be postponed until late August or early September, enabling investigators to press ahead with their inquiry into the Expedition 16 crew’s ballistic re-entry. It also will allow for the delivery of a new Sokol launch and entry suit for Volkov on a future Progress cargo ship launch. The suit Volkov wore for launch and docking April 8 and 10 has a broken zipper.
 

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Crew Begins New Week Aboard Orbital Outpost

Image above: Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman works with spacewalk equipment in the Quest airlock of the International Space Station. Photo Credit: NASA TV

The Expedition 17 crew of the International Space Station kicked off a new week Monday with science, routine maintenance and preparations for the upcoming shuttle mission.

Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman changed out containers in the European Modular Cultivation System, a facility that uses a centrifuge to grow small organisms in variable gravity conditions. Next he worked with the Fluid Science Laboratory in the Columbus module to restore data connectivity.

Reisman later participated in a private conference with astronaut Greg Chamitoff, who will arrive at the station in early June aboard space shuttle Discovery on the STS-124 mission and join the Expedition 17 crew. Reisman will return to Earth on Discovery.

Reisman also configured tools that will be used during the three spacewalks planned for STS-124. The crew will install the Japanese Pressurized Module of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory and its robotic arm. They will also replace a failed nitrogen tank assembly on the station’s truss.

In the Russian segment of the orbital outpost, Commander Sergei Volkov and Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko conducted an audit of equipment, including Russian spacewalk tools and lighting hardware.

Russian flight controllers are completing a series of tests on the Kurs automated rendezvous system before next week's launch and docking of the ISS Progress 29 unpiloted cargo ship.
 

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Crew Checks Out Health Care System

Image above: Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman works with the Crew Health Care System rack in the Destiny lab of the International Space Station. Photo Credit: NASA TV

Science, maintenance and preparations for the arrival of space shuttle Discovery occupied the Expedition 17 crew’s time Wednesday on the International Space Station.

Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman performed routine maintenance on the Crew Health Care System rack in the station’s Destiny lab. The system includes hardware that provides the medical and environmental capabilities necessary to ensure the health and safety of crew members during long-duration missions.

Reisman also gathered items for transfer to Discovery, set to arrive at the station in early June on the STS-124 mission. Reisman will return home on the shuttle as astronaut Greg Chamitoff takes his place as an Expedition 17 crew member.

Commander Sergei Volkov installed additional stowage enclosures in the Zarya module. The enclosures, which were among the cargo delivered by the Automated Transfer Vehicle in April, provide more efficient stowage and improve air circulation.

Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko conducted another session with a Russian experiment aimed at improving air leak detection in station modules.
 

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Station Crew Enjoys Holiday After Busy Week

Image above: Commander Sergei Volkov (left) and Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko (center) and Garrett Reisman dine together in the Zvezda Service Module of the International Space Station. Photo Credit: NASA TV

The Expedition 17 crew of the International Space Station enjoyed an off-duty day after a busy week filled with robotics, science and preparations for the arrival of space shuttle Discovery.

In observance of Victory Day, a Russian holiday commemorating the end of World War II in Europe, the three station crew members took a breather from their usual busy schedule Friday. During the light-duty day, the crew attended to several routine station maintenance tasks as well as the daily 2-hour exercise regimen to maintain physical fitness during long-duration spaceflight.

On Thursday, Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman worked with the station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2. He maneuvered the arm to grapple Dextre, the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, for a test of Dextre’s latching end effector systems.

Reisman took a break from his tasks on Thursday for a chat with Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.”

Earlier in the week, Reisman gathered items for transfer to Discovery, set to arrive at the station in early June on the STS-124 mission. Reisman will return home on the shuttle as astronaut Greg Chamitoff takes his place as an Expedition 17 crew member.

Reisman also configured tools that will be used during the three spacewalks planned for STS-124. The crew will install the Japanese Pressurized Module of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory and its robotic arm. They will also replace a depleted nitrogen tank assembly on the station’s truss.

Commander Sergei Volkov and Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko installed stowage enclosures in the Zarya module. The enclosures, which were among the cargo delivered by the Automated Transfer Vehicle in April, provide more efficient stowage and improve air circulation.

Throughout the week, Volkov and Kononenko also conducted several sessions with a Russian experiment aimed at improving air leak detection in station modules.

Meanwhile, Russian flight controllers conducted a series of tests on the Kurs automated rendezvous system before the upcoming launch and docking of the ISS Progress 29 unpiloted cargo ship. Loaded with more than two tons of food, fuel and supplies for the orbital outpost, Progress 29 is set to launch May 14 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and dock with the station May 16.

+ Read more about Expedition 17
 

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Progress Docks to Space Station

Image above: A view of the Progress 29 cargo carrier as it approaches the International Space Station for docking. Photo Credit: NASA TV

A new Progress cargo carrier docked to the Earth-facing port of the International Space Station's Zarya module at 5:39 p.m. EDT Friday with more than 2.3 tons of fuel, oxygen, air, water, propellant and other supplies and equipment aboard.

The station's 29th Progress unpiloted spacecraft brings to the orbiting laboratory more than 770 pounds of propellant, more than 100 pounds of oxygen and air, about 925 pounds of water and 2,850 pounds of dry cargo. Total cargo weight is 4,657 pounds.

P29 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, May 14, at 4:22 p.m. It replaces the trash-filled P28 which was undocked from Pirs on April 7 and destroyed on re-entry.

P29 used the automated Kurs system to dock to the station. Expedition 17 Commander Sergi Volkov was at the manual TORU docking system controls, should his intervention have become necessary.

Once Expedition 17 crew members have unloaded the cargo, P29 will be filled with trash and station discards. It will be undocked from the station and like its predecessors deorbited to burn in the Earth's atmosphere.

The Progress is similar in appearance and some design elements to the Soyuz spacecraft, which brings crew members to the station, serves as a lifeboat while they are there and returns them to Earth. The aft module, the instrumentation and propulsion module, is nearly identical.

But the second of the three Progress sections is a refueling module, and the third, uppermost as the Progress sits on the launch pad, is a cargo module. On the Soyuz, the descent module, where the crew is seated on launch and which returns them to Earth, is the middle module and the third is called the orbital module.
 
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