The spacecraft carrying the experiments of three international students successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS) at 10:34 a.m. EDT Friday, July 27. Expedition 32 Flight Engineer Aki Hoshide used the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to install the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) H-II Transfer Vehicle, or HTV-3, to its docking port.
Aboard: science experiments from Dorothy Chen and Sara Ma, both 16, of Troy, Mich. and Amr Mohamed, 18, of Alexandria, Egypt. The trio won a YouTube Space Lab competition, co-sponsored by YouTube, Lenovo, and Space Adventures, that sent their work into low-earth orbit for research. Over 150,000 YouTube users worldwide helped determine winners by voting for their favorite experiment.
Chen and Ma were interested in studying the growth of bacteria in space. Using different nutrients and compounds, the team wants to see if bacterial growth can be blocked, potentially leading to discoveries about inhibiting germ growth back on Earth.
Mohammed decided to use zebra spiders to test potential changes for hunting style in space. The spiders normally jump on prey, a challenging task in microgravity. The young scientist wants to learn if the spiders will adapt their hunting behavior in a new environment.
Astronaut Sunita Williams, under direction from the students, will perform the experiments this fall. The cargo craft also carried food and clothing for the astronauts, an aquatic habitat experiment, a remote-controlled Earth-observation camera for environmental studies, a catalytic reactor for the station’s water regeneration system and a Japanese cooling water recirculation pump.
The vehicle will remain at the station until September 6 when, like its predecessors, it will be detached from the Harmony node by Canadarm2 and released for a fiery re-entry over the Pacific Ocean.