Crew Kicks Off New Week of Research
Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 26 Commander Scott Kelly worked with several experiments Monday, including Sleep-Wake Actigraphy and Light Exposure During Spaceflight-Long. The experiment examines the effects of spaceflight and ambient light exposure on the sleep-wake cycles of the crew members during long-duration stays on the space station. The data collected will aid in understanding the effects of spaceflight on sleep as well as in the development of effective countermeasures for long-duration spaceflight.
Additionally, Kelly worked on the Marangoni experiment, a fluid physics experiment that observes the flow of a fluid driven by surface tension.
Flight Engineers Oleg Skriphochka and Alexander Kaleri installed some hardware to support the Russian Molniya-Gamma experiment, which measures gamma splashes and optical radiation during terrestrial lightning and thunder conditions.
Kelly also realigned the Passive Rack Isolation System on the Combustion Integrated Rack.
Skripochka inspected filters in the Elektron oxygen generation system and unloaded supplies from the ISS Progress 40 cargo craft.
A new trio of Expedition 26 flight engineers, NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman, Russian cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyev and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency, arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Friday to begin their final pre-launch preparations. They spent Monday reviewing their flight plan and rehearsing rendezvous procedures. They will launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft Dec. 15 (Dec. 16, Baikonur time) and join Kelly, Kaleri and Skripochka aboard the station after docking Dec. 17.
NASA managers have targeted the launch of space shuttle Discovery's STS-133 mission to the station for no earlier than Feb. 3. During Discovery's final spaceflight, the STS-133 crew will deliver the Permanent Multipurpose Module, which will be attached to the Earth-facing side of the Unity module. Discovery also will carry critical spare components, the Express Logistics Carrier-4 and Robonaut 2, the first human-like robot in space.