Three Expedition 48 crew members worked on a variety of science experiments today before this weekend’s cargo ship maneuvers. On the ground in Kazakhstan, another set of crew members is getting ready for a two-day trip to the International Space Station next week.
Commander Jeff Williams worked on the 3-D Printing in Zero-G experiment inside the Destiny lab module’s Microgravity Science Glovebox. Ground controllers also remotely operated the experiment creating a pair of 3-D objects. NASA is demonstrating the ability to manufacture parts in space using a 3-D printer on the International Space Station.
A Russian cargo ship, Progress 62, will back away from the Pirs docking port Friday morning before redocking 34 minutes later. Progress 62 will depart for the final time Saturday evening, re-entering the atmosphere a few hours later for a fiery destruction over the Pacific Ocean.
The redocking maneuver will test an upgraded telerobotically operated rendezvous system (TORU) installed last year inside the Zvezda service module. Cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin will test the new TORU and manually guide the cargo ship back to its port during the test. Normally, a Progress resupply ship performs automated rendezvous and docking maneuvers, but the TORU is used in the event of an emergency.
Three Expedition 48-49 crew members are in the final days before a July 6 launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome to the space station. After launch, veteran cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin and first time astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi will take a two-day ride to the station testing the new systems inside their upgraded Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft.