Yesterday Terry and I had one more day (I assume the last one) with a lighter work schedule that included time for orientation and for handover with Butch. Still, I got to do a lot of different activities both on the payload side (that’s a fancy name for science) and on the systems side (that’s another fancy name for maintenance work on the Space Station itself).
On the science side, I performed an ultrasound session for the Italian Space Agency experiment Drain Brain. The specific hardware of this experiment was lost on the Orbital mishap, but a replacement hardware will be on its way soon on the SpX-5 cargo mission. In the meantime, we could get the science started with the standard ultrasound equipment of the Space Station.
Of course, I’m not able to do an ultrasound on my own: a private audio channel was set up with the Principal Investigator on the ground, who provided remote guidance based on real-time data from the ultrasound machine. He could also see a live video downlink of me performing the operations. Things went pretty smoothly, especially thanks to the fact that in the morning I had assisted Butch in performing his ultrasound (a more complex one, requiring two people) for the experiment Cardio-Ox. Butch had introduced me to a great trick of space ultrasound: no need to use a messy gel on the ultrasound probe, you can just use water!
Yesterday I also got to do my first systems maintenance, replacing one of the many components of our Water Recovery System: that’s the equipment that produces our potable water from (already pre-processed) urine and from the condensate (the water recovered from the cabin air, for example from our sweat or from our breath).
I’m also happy to report that I had a chance to work in our European cargo vehicle, the ATV5. Nothing very complex, in truth: I got to introduce some gas from the ATV tanks into the Station atmosphere, increasing our onboard pressure by 7 mm of mercury.
I was also scheduled to do a visual inspection of our T2 treadmill, in particular of the elements that make up its vibration isolation system. As you can imagine, we don’t want to impart big loads on the structure of the Station when we run: on the one hand, to preserve the lifetime of the ISS; on the other hand, it would be hard to make microgravity science if the Station was shaking while we are running! Good news, our vibration isolation system is in great shape! Still, some activities require that there be no running on T2. Just yesterday, we had quite a few hours on “No T2” on the crew constraints band of our electronic schedule. That’s because JAXA was moving the Japanese robotic arm for the deployment of the Spinsat satellite, which happened successfully.
In the picture, you can see part of the SpinSat when it was still on the slide table of the Japanese airlock (looks like a metal sphere). At that time, the Japanese robotic arm was about to move in to grab the satellite with its deployer and we took a peak from the JEM windows.