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Dragon Prepares to Leave

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Dragon Prepares to Leave, New Trio Prepares to Launch

The Expedition 35 trio aboard the International Space Station is counting down to the release of the SpaceX-2 Dragon spacecraft. Commander Chris Hadfield and Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn worked throughout the day packing up gear for stowage aboard the commercial cargo craft.

Ground controllers will send commands to the Canadarm2 to unberth Dragon at 6 a.m. EDT Monday for a release at 7:49 a.m. Dragon will fire its engines for the last time at 12:33 p.m. sending it through the Earth’s atmosphere for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean around 1:35 p.m.

› Read more about the SpaceX-2 mission

NASA TV coverage of the release will begin at 5 a.m. and end after Dragon leaves the vicinity of the space station. SpaceX will then provide updates to its website of reentry and splashdown activities.

While Dragon gets ready to leave the station, science and research activities are moving along aboard the orbiting laboratory. Hadfield continued his work with the Coarsening in Solid Liquid Mixtures (CSLM) experiment. He configured the Microgravity Science Glovebox, which CSLM operates in, checking its valves, temperature and humidity levels. He also reviewed the Amine Swingbed hardware which tests carbon-dioxide scrubbing techniques.

› Watch Dr. Voorhees Interview about CSLM

› Read more about Coarsening of Solids in Liquids Mixtures

Marshburn is back at work on the Marangoni Inside experiment cleaning and changing out gear. The study takes place inside Japan’s Fluid Physics Experiment Facility located in the Kibo lab module. He also began unpacking gear and gathering hardware for upcoming work on the Advanced Colloids Experiment. Later he performed some maintenance on a science freezer and jotted down his thoughts on life in space for the Journals study.

Read more about Marangoni: › Exp, › UVP

› Read more about Fluid Physics Experiment Facility

› Read more about Advanced Colloids Experiment

› Read more about Journals

Flight Engineer Roman Romanenko worked Tuesday in the station’s Russian segment. The veteran cosmonaut started his day rebooting laptop computers and checking antivirus scans. He then replaced and installed new cables with help from Russian Mission Control. Afterwards he repressurized the station with oxygen from a docked Progress cargo capsule. At the end he took some time for Earth observation photography for the Uragan and Ekon studies.

› Read more about Uragan

› Read more about Ekon

A new set of Expedition 35 crew members are at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, for final launch preparations. Soyuz Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineers Chris Cassidy and Alexander Misurkin are targeted to launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft March 28 for a docking to the Poisk module about six hours later.

› Watch Expedition 35 trio departure preparations

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Dragon Prepares to Leave, New Trio Prepares to Launch

The three Expedition 35 crew members aboard the International Space Station continued their focus on materials and fluids physics science this week. The trio also busied themselves with routine station maintenance and prepared for the departure of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and the arrival three new crew members next week.

The multinational station mission management team met today to review plans and preparations for Dragon’s departure and return to Earth, and gave a unanimous “go” for Monday’s release.

Commander Chris Hadfield worked two ongoing experiments this week including the Coarsening in Solid Liquid Mixtures (CSLM) study and the Binary Colloidal Alloy Test (BCAT). He started his morning analyzing water samples from the Total Organic Carbon Analyzer which monitors the station’s environment.

Hadfield removed and replaced a sample processing unit from the CSLM experiment and transferred data collected from the gear. CSLM researchers hope to develop more efficient and economical means of producing higher quality products derived from the casting of molten metals.

› Watch Dr. Voorhees Interview about CSLM

› Read more about Coarsening of Solids in Liquids Mixtures

The Canadian commander also took photographs of experiment gear and samples taken during Thursday morning’s run of the BCAT study. BCAT observes microscopic particles suspended in liquids, or colloids, to learn how to develop smarter, more advanced materials on Earth.

› Read more about Binary Colloidal Alloy Test

Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn has spent all week working on the Marangoni Inside experiment which observes surface tension produced by temperature differences occurring at a liquid/gas interface. He worked in the Fluid Physics Experiment Facility, where the experiment takes place, checking imagery gear and hose and cable connections.

Read more about Marangoni: › Exp, › UVP

› Read more about Fluid Physics Experiment Facility

Marshburn also worked on a botany experiment, Seedling Growth, studying how plants grow in space in response to light and microgravity. The plants aren’t grown in potted soil but in experiment containers inside the European Modular Cultivation System maintained by the crew and monitored by ground controllers.

› Read about the European Modular Cultivation System

Hadfield and Marshburn also partnered up to pack up gear returning to Earth inside the SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo capsule on Monday. NASA TV coverage of the release will begin at 5 a.m. EDT and end after Dragon leaves the vicinity of the space station. SpaceX will then provide updates to its website of reentry and splashdown activities.

› Read more about the SpaceX-2 mission

Ground controllers will send commands to the Canadarm2 to unberth the SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft at 6 a.m. for a release at 7:49 a.m. Dragon will fire its engines for the last time at 12:33 p.m. sending it through the Earth’s atmosphere for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean around 1:35 p.m.

Flight Engineer Roman Romanenko worked during his morning in the station’s Russian segment replacing a Rodnik water tank valve. He also performed some preventive maintenance on the Zvezda service module’s ventilation system. At the end of his day, the veteran station resident and cosmonaut conducted ongoing Earth observation photography for the Uragan and Ekon studies.

› Read more about Uragan

› Read more about Ekon

Wednesday night, the station performed a reboost using the ISS Progress 49 thrusters. The reboost raised the station’s altitude about 3 miles to prepare for the launch of the Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft carrying Flight Engineers Pavel Vinogradov, Chris Cassidy and Alexander Misurkin to dock to the Poisk module next week.

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Ongoing Science as Crew Counts Down to Dragon Departure, New Trio

Science was the main focus aboard the International Space Station while preparations continued for the Dragon spacecraft release, now set for Tuesday, and Thursday’s launch and docking of three new Expedition 35 crew members. After their lunch hour, the current Expedition 35 trio conducted an emergency drill simulating a pressure loss.

More than three weeks after arriving at the station, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft is ready for the trip back to Earth, now scheduled for Tuesday, March 26. Dragon's return date, originally scheduled for March 25, was postponed due to inclement weather developing near its targeted splashdown site in the Pacific Ocean. The additional day spent attached to the orbiting laboratory will not affect science samples scheduled to return aboard the spacecraft. NASA Television will provide coverage of Dragon's departure beginning at 4 a.m. EDT.

The actual removal of Dragon from the space station begins at 4:05 a.m., with release scheduled for 6:56 a.m. Dragon will conduct a series of engine burns to take it away from the space station with the third and final departure burn taking place around 7:06 a.m. NASA TV coverage will conclude once Dragon leaves the vicinity of the space station.

Dragon’s deorbit burn will take place approximately 11:42 a.m. with splashdown scheduled for 12:34 p.m. about 246 miles off the coast of Baja California. Dragon will take about 30 hours to return to port, at which point several critical science samples will be handed over to NASA for a return trip back to Houston that day.

Commander Chris Hadfield worked with the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) for the Coarsening of Solids in Liquid Mixtures experiment. He vented a water line in the MSG and checked the temperature and humidity inside the experiment device.

› Watch an interview with Dr. Jud Ready about his station science experiment

› Read more about Coarsening of Solids in Liquids Mixtures

In advance of Dragon’s departure targeted for Tuesday morning he swapped out research gear inside the EXPRESS Rack 2. A Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA) was removed and replaced inside the rack with the older CGBA to be returned inside the Dragon commercial resupply spacecraft.

› Read more about the CGBA

Hadfield also took part in proficiency training answering questions for a self-assessment test as part of his role as the station’s Crew Medical Officer. He later activated and checked out the functionality of a communications unit to be used from inside the station during Dragon’s release and separation.

Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn worked on the Gradient Heating Furnace (GHF) in the Kibo laboratory’s Kobairo rack. He installed alloy semiconductor sample cartridges then measured the insulation resistance of the heating units inside the GHF which is used for high quality crystal growth experiments.

› Read more about the GHF

He also participated in the Energy experiment that observes the negative energy balance crew members experience in space and explores exercise as a countermeasure. He then set up the Kubik gear, using the European Drawer Rack‘s laptop located in the Columbus laboratory module, for telemetry downloads. The Kubik incubator/cooler uses seeds, cells, and small animals for life science experiments.

› Read more about Kubik

Veteran cosmonaut and flight engineer Roman Romanenko continued his work on an ongoing suite of Russian experiments. He copied data recorded for the Identification experiment which records the physical stress on the space station during dynamic events such as reboosts, spacecraft dockings and spacewalk. He also continued his photography for the Uragan and Ekon Earth observation studies.

› Read more about Identification

› Read more about Uragan

› Read more about Ekon

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Dragon Set for Tuesday Departure, Science and Cargo Transfers for Crew

The Expedition 35 crew members living and working aboard the International Space Station Monday were busy with final preparations for the departure of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft set for Tuesday morning. They also worked with science and transferred cargo.

The departure of Dragon from the space station begins at 4:05 a.m. EDT Tuesday, with release scheduled for 6:56 a.m. Dragon will conduct a series of engine burns to take it away from the space station with the third and final departure burn taking place around 7:06 a.m. NASA TV coverage begins at 4 a.m.

› Watch NASA TV

› Read more about the SpaceX mission

Dragon’s deorbit burn will take place approximately 11:42 a.m. with splashdown scheduled for 12:34 p.m. about 246 miles off the coast of Baja California. Dragon will take about 30 hours to return to port, at which point several critical science samples will be handed over to NASA for a return trip back to Houston that day.

Dragon's return date, originally scheduled for March 25, was postponed due to inclement weather developing near its targeted splashdown site in the Pacific Ocean. The additional day spent attached to the orbiting laboratory will not affect science samples scheduled to return aboard the spacecraft.

Aboard the station Tuesday, Commander Chris Hadfield and Flight Engineers Tom Marshburn and Roman Romanenko closed the hatch between the station and the Dragon capsule and installed a control panel between Dragon and the Harmony node to prepare for the separation of the two spacecraft.

They also finished up some cargo transfer tasks, moving a GLACIER freezer filled with experiments and biological samples from one of the EXPRESS racks inside the station to the Dragon for return to Earth.

› Read more about GLACIER

Later, Romanenko spent some time in the in the Russian segment of the orbiting laboratory, monitoring its systems and performing maintenance tasks. He also transferred cargo between the station and the ISS Progress 50 cargo craft.

Meanwhile at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 35 Flight Engineers Pavel Vinogradov, Chris Cassidy and Alexander Misurkin continued preparations for their launch to the station. The trio is set to launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft at 4:43 p.m. EDT Thursday for a docking to the Poisk module about six hours later.

› Read more about Expedition 35

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