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13 January 2012

International Space Station Status Report

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Expedition 30 Crew

The Zvezda service module fired its engines to perform a debris avoidance maneuver for the International Space Station Friday.

Late Wednesday evening U.S. Space Command informed the space station flight control team that it was tracking a piece of Iridium satellite debris that had a trajectory that would bring it close to the station. Thursday afternoon station ballistics officers informed station Flight Director Emily Nelson that U.S. Space Command had confirmed that the debris had the potential of a collision with the station. As a result, Nelson gave the go-ahead to proceed with the debris avoidance maneuver Friday. The size of the piece of debris was about 10 centimeters in diameter. Without the maneuver, the object would have made two close approaches to the station on consecutive orbits on Friday, passing with an overall miss distance of between one and 24 kilometers.

The maneuver eliminated th011e need for a reboost of the station next week. The reboost had been planned to put the station at the proper altitude for the launch and docking later this month of the ISS Progress 46 cargo ship.

Meanwhile, Expedition 30 Commander Dan Burbank installed the Amine Swingbed prototype hardware, which will be tested for use in future deep space exploration missions. The investigation is designed to determine if a vacuum-regenerated amine system can effectively remove carbon dioxide from the station’s atmosphere using a smaller, more efficient vacuum regeneration system.  

Burbank also removed and replaced a recycle tank in the Water Recovery System’s Urine Processor Assembly, a routine station maintenance task.

Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko, Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin stowed unneeded items on the docked ISS Progress 45 spacecraft and transferred supplies – including water and oxygen – from it to the orbital complex.

Kononenko also spent time with the Russian Molniya-Gamma experiment, which measures gamma splashes and optical radiation during terrestrial lightning and thunder conditions.

Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers worked with the Biomechanical Analysis of Treadmill Exercise on the International Space Station, or Treadmill Kinematics, experiment. Treadmill Kinematics studies the difference between exercising on a treadmill in space and on Earth. It is the first rigorous investigation to determine the most beneficial treadmill exercise conditions to maintain or improve crew health during long-duration spaceflight.

Kuipers also spoke with students at a school in Borgloon, Belgium, via amateur radio and took some microbial air samples.

With Kuipers’ assistance, Flight Engineer Don Pettit performed a session with the Health Maintenance System Eye Exam, known as PanOptic. Pettit also worked on upgrading software on the station’s computers.

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