Visiting Vehicle Operations Keep Station Crew Busy

Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle
A Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) will be unberthed from the International Space Station on Friday then re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere for destruction over the Pacific Ocean. On Monday, the crew reviewed robotics operations and prepared Russian cargo for stowage inside the HTV. Flight Engineers Robert Thirsk and Nicole Stott will be at the robotics work station to grapple, unberth and release the HTV.

Space shuttle Atlantis is planned for a docking at the orbital laboratory in mid-November on the STS-129 mission. Prior to docking, the shuttle performs a back-flip allowing the station crew members to photograph its heat shield for analysis by ground specialists. Stott and Flight Engineer Jeff Williams practiced their photography techniques using cameras with 400 and 800 mm lenses. Stott also restarted scrubbing the metal oxide canisters that remove carbon dioxide from the U.S. spacesuits in advance of the three spacewalks taking place during STS-129’s stay.

Cosmonauts Roman Romanenko and Maxim Suraev were in the Russian segment of the station transferring hardware, performing routine maintenance and working with science experiments.

Commander Frank De Winne, Williams and Thirsk worked on the new COLBERT exercise system performing tests. De Winne also held a weekly conference with European Space Agency officials and helped with the preparation of the HTV unberthing.