Monday, September 17, 2012

Catching Up on ISS Stuff

Expedition 32 Change of Command Ceremony.

Yesterday the Expedition 32 mission came to an end. In an official ceremony televised on NASA TV, Suni Williams of NASA became the new commander of the ISS. Cosmonauts Gennady Padalkin, Sergei Revin, and astronaut Joe Acaba boarded the Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft and undocked just after 7 pm. 

Joe Acaba on the ground.

The crew fired the retro rockets just before 10 pm EDT and the capsule came to a safe landing in Kazakhstan. The first section of the Expedition 32 crew had been in space 123 days. The current Expedition 33 crew is now astronaut Suni WIlliams (commanding the mission), Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko. They arrived in the station on July 17. 

Akihiko posing in front of the Japan module.

After the last spacewalk covered here in August, their had been trouble with some bolts which prevented completion of some tasks. Another spacewalk was made (making three for the Expedition) to repair the bolts and complete the spacewalk tasks. To help her out, Suni Williams made a special tool to help her remove debris from the bolts, using her toothbrush (don't worry, she had another).

NASA"s latest hi-tech tool.

Showing the creative mind that astronauts are known for, the tool worked perfectly, the bolts were replaced, and the remaining tasks completed. Can't do that sort of work with a robot.  The current three-person crew now awaits their reinforcements. Part two of Expedition 33 will arrive in October.

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