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Endeavour crew puts in place urine machine

Astronauts Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper and Shane Kimbrough work in the Unity node of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

WASHINGTON (BNS): The STS-126 crew’s extension in space by a day has paid off. It has helped putting in place the Water Recovery System and maintenance of the Solar Alpha Rotary Joints (SARJ).

"Troubleshooting work on the Water Recovery System and maintenance on the solar alpha rotary joints showed signs of paying off on Tuesday," US space agency NASA said.

According to the agency, the Urine Processor Assembly (UPA) ran three successful cycles after modifications on Sunday and Monday. Based on that success, programme managers have decided to leave the distillation assembly in orbit. They were able to get the samples processed through the UPA and Water Processing Assembly and dispensed through the Potable Water Dispenser.

NASA said the starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joints is back in its abbreviated operations mode after completing two full test orbits tracking the sun earlier Tuesday. Preliminary data shows a reduction in SARJ operating current from .9 to as low as .17 amps, an indication that the SARJ is moving more freely than before.

Engineers plan to continue monitoring the starboard SARJ's performance. They also saw a reduction in the port SARJ current use as well due to preventative lubrication.

Final transfer and packing of the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Leonardo was the main activity of the day for Endeavour crew members Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Eric Boe and mission specialists Don Pettit, Steve Bowen, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Shane Kimbrough and Greg Chamitoff, as well as Expedition 18 Commander Mike Fincke and station flight engineers Yury Lonchakov and Sandra Magnus.

They also completed installation of the Harmony Common Berthing Mechanism controller, one of the final steps to close up the pressurized cargo carrier for its transfer back to Endeavour scheduled for Wednesday.

Ferguson, Pettit, Bowen, Boe, and Piper also participated in media interviews.

Endeavour's crew is scheduled to go to bed at 1055 hrs and be awakened at 0655 hrs (local time) Wednesday.

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