Expedition 22 Keeps Busy While Awaiting Additional Crew Members

High above the Earth, the International Space Station’s Expedition 22 crew kept busy with science and maintenance Monday as they awaited Tuesday’s scheduled arrival of additional crew members.

Commander Jeff Williams performed an inspection of an important piece of the crew’s exercise equipment, the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED). Used as part of a daily workout routine, ARED helps the station inhabitants preserve muscle strength during their extended time in microgravity.

Williams also recorded some video of the Advanced Plant EXperiments on Orbit - Cambium (APEX-Cambium) experiment. APEX-Cambium uses willow plants flown on the International Space Station to better understand the fundamental processes by which plants produce cellulose and lignin, the two main structural materials found in plant matter. Understanding the role of gravity in wood formation is expected to enable wiser management of forests for carbon sequestration as well as better utilization of trees for wood products. Later, he harvested some of the plant specimens that will be chemically preserved for post-flight analysis.

Flight Engineer Maxim Suraev worked on a replacement of the condensate separation and pumping unit, part of the water reclamation system in the Russian segment of the orbital outpost. He then spent the majority of his afternoon performing maintenance on the station’s smoke detectors.

Additionally, Suraev completed his periodic fitness evaluation using one of the station’s treadmills.

NASA astronaut T.J. Creamer, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi, all space station flight engineers, launched in their Soyuz TMA-17 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:52 p.m. EST Sunday to begin a two-day journey to the International Space Station.