October 25, 2012
Credit: Credit: NASA
Two cosmonauts, one U.S. astronaut and 32 fish are settling in for their stay aboard the International Space Station.
Russia’s Soyuz TMA-06M spacecraft successfully docked with the orbiting outpost early Oct. 25, delivering Oleg Novitskiy, the Soyuz TMA-06M commander, Evgeni Tarelkin and NASA’s Kevin Ford. They were greeted by Expedition 33 station commander Sunita Williams of NASA, Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko. Novitskiy, Tarelkin and Ford are scheduled to live and work aboard the orbiting science lab until mid-March.
Also along for the ride were 32 Medaka fish needed for an experiment. The container with the small, transparent fish will be transferred to the station’s new aquatic habitat. The habitat was launched in July aboard Japan’s third H-II Transfer Vehicle resupply craft.
Medaka, which thrive in a natural, neutrally buoyant environment on Earth, will be studied for changes in skeletal and muscle development that can be attributed to weightlessness.
Soyuz 32, the ISS program designation, lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Oct. 23 at 6:51 a.m. EDT. The docking initiates a busy week for the station, which has not had a full complement of six crew since mid-September.
On Oct. 28, the SpaceX Dragon commercial resupply craft departs the station after an 18-day stay, restoring a U.S. down-mass capability lost with the retirement of NASA’s space shuttle in July 2011.
The same-day launch and docking of a Russian Progress resupply craft is set for Oct. 31. One day later, Williams and Hoshide are scheduled for a six- to seven- hour spacewalk to deal with a cooling system leak on the P-6 solar power system segment radiator.