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ISS Crew Prepares for Return Home, Shuttle Visit


*Crew Prepares for Return Home, Shuttle Visit*

Image above: Expedition 15 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin performs 
in-flight maintenance in the Unity node of the International Space 
Station. Credit: NASA

Preparations continued Wednesday as the clock counts down to a crew 
change aboard the International Space Station and a visit by space 
shuttle Discovery.

The Mobile Transporter and Mobile Base System, a movable platform that 
allows the stationís robotic arm to move back and forth along the truss, 
was commanded from the ground to move to the port side of the station in 
preparation for the STS-120 shuttle mission. The railcar traversed the 
74-foot distance at a rate of about one inch per second.

Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov opened the 
hatches to the Progress cargo craft. The hatches were closed last week 
for the relocation of the Soyuz TMA-10 spacecraft as a contingency 
measure in case the crew was unable to return to the station.

Flight Engineer Clay Anderson collected air samples and surface swabs 
throughout the station. The samples will be incubated and analyzed for 
bacterial and fungal contamination.

The Expedition 15 crew members continue with preparations for their 
departure and the arrival of the next crew. The Expedition 16 crew, 
Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko, will 
launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Oct. 10 and arrive 
at the station on Oct. 12.

Accompanying Expedition 16 is Malaysian spaceflight participant Sheikh 
Muszaphar Shukor, who will return to Earth on Oct. 21 with Yurchikhin 
and Kotov. Anderson will remain on the station with Expedition 16 until 
his replacement, Flight Engineer Dan Tani, arrives on space shuttle 
Discovery later in October.

+ View crew daily timelines 
+ Read more about Expedition 15 
+ Read more about Expedition 16 
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