Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Crew Does Science, Prepares for Undocking

The Expedition 22 crew aboard the International Space Station conducted scientific research Tuesday while preparing for the departure of two of its members.

Flight Engineer T.J. Creamer worked on the Long Term Microgravity: A Model for Investigating Mechanisms of Heart Disease with New Portable Equipment (Card) experiment that studies blood pressure decreases when the human body is exposed to microgravity. In order to increase the blood pressure to the level it was on Earth, salt is added to the crew members' diet. To monitor this, blood pressure readings are performed at different intervals during the mission.

Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi performed routine maintenance on the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) which he later used to exercise. The ARED uses vacuum cylinders to mimic weightlifting exercises in the microgravity environment of space.

Meanwhile, Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Maxim Suraev continued preparations for their departure Thursday. After undocking from the station aboard the Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft, they will take a three-and-a-half-hour ride that will culminate in a parachute-assisted landing in Kazakhstan early that morning.

Noguchi, Creamer and Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov will continue their stay on the station, becoming the new Expedition 23 crew. Kotov will become the new station commander. A change of command ceremony is scheduled for 8:45 a.m. EDT Wednesday.

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