The Expedition 22 crew worked with experiments across a variety of fields, including human life sciences, physical sciences and Earth observation, and conducted technology demonstrations. As with prior expeditions, many experiments are designed to gather information about the effects of long-duration space flight on the human body, which will help with planning future exploration missions. They also activated the new Combined Operational Load-Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (COLBERT) treadmill for scientific exercise program development and relocated it to the U.S. Tranquility module after this module arrived on the shuttle Endeavour in February 2010.
There were no U.S.-based spacewalks scheduled for Expedition 22. However, Suraev and Kotov donned Russian Orlan spacesuits in January 2010 for the station’s 24th Russian spacewalk. It was Kotov’s third spacewalk and Suraev’s first. The focus of the spacewalk was the Russian segment’s Mini-Research Module 2 (MRM2), which docked to the station in November and provided an additional docking port and airlock on the station. Kotov and Suraev prepared the module by installing a docking target on its exterior and connecting an antenna that will be used to guide approaching vehicles to the larger antenna system on the Zvezda service module. They also laid cables to connect the module to the station’s Ethernet system and installed handrails on the hatches that will be used for spacewalks.
During three months together as a crew of five, Williams, Suraev, Kotov, Creamer and Noguchi continued station research and outfitting activities, using Canadarm2 to move Pressurized Mating Adapter 3 from the port side of the Harmony module to Harmony’s Earth-facing common berthing mechanism port, and transferred External Stowage Platform 3 to the opposite side of the station’s truss structure. They also completed the unloading of the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) cargo vehicle, loaded it with refuse, and, using Canadarm2, unberthed it from the station and set it adrift so that flight controllers in Japan can command it to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and be destroyed.
Noguchi and Creamer assembled and checked out the new JAXA Small Fine Arm (SFA) and installed the Kibo (Japanese Experiment Module) airlock’s depressurization pump, which allow experiments to be installed and tested on the Kibo “back porch,” also known as the Japanese External Facility (JEF). The SFA is used to manipulate experiments on the JEF. Based on robot arm technologies and operation experience from the Manipulator Flight Demonstration conducted on STS-85 in 1997, the SFA includes a 5-foot-long arm with six joints, a tool mechanism and a camera. It was designed so that it could pass through the Kibo airlock for repair and maintenance inside Kibo.
Shuttle mission STS-130, in February 2010, delivered the final pressurized U.S. module, Tranquility, and its seven-window cupola. Tranquility was installed on the newly vacated port berthing mechanism, and spacewalkers connected its external utilities over the course of three spacewalks. The shuttle and station crews worked together to integrate regenerative life support systems into the new Tranquility module, which became the station’s utility and exercise room. They moved the Air Revitalization System and its carbon dioxide removal equipment, the Waste and Hygiene Compartment toilet system, the Water Recovery System, the Oxygen Generation System, the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device, the COLBERT treadmill, and a crew quarter’s rack into the newly arrived Tranquility module, freeing up much needed research space in the Destiny Laboratory.
All of this work came to an end for Williams and Suraev when they undocked from the ISS in March 2010. Williams handed over command of the station to Kotov, and then he and Suraev departed the station in their Soyuz TMA-17, landing in Kazakhstan on March 18, 2010.