The International Space Station's Expedition 8 crew got back to work today after a day off to welcome the new year. Mike Foale, commander and NASA ISS science officer, and Alexander Kaleri, the flight engineer, worked with station systems and science. Foale also delivered a "status of the Station" message, looking ahead to future ISS activities and more distant space exploration.
Foale worked with the Cellular Biotechnology Operations Support System (CBOSS), a bioreactor apparatus capable of growing cell cultures in three dimensions, an advantage over the two-dimension cultures typically grown on Earth. Meanwhile, Kaleri uploaded software into station computers.
This afternoon Kaleri, helped by experts at Mission Control Moscow, made adjustments to the Elektron oxygen generator in the Zvezda Service module, which has been operating intermittently. He also successfully activated two Solid-fuel Oxygen Generator (SFOG) canisters to enrich the station's atmosphere. On Wednesday two other SFOGs were activated, primarily as a test to set expiration dates for the more than 140 SFOG candles on board. Each SFOG can provide oxygen for one crewmember for one day.
Additional oxygen is available on the Progress unpiloted cargo vehicle docked to Zvezda. Some of it was introduced into the Station atmosphere on Thursday, and more is being added Saturday. More oxygen is stored in two high-pressure tanks attached to the Joint Airlock Quest.
On Monday, Kaleri spent three hours removing no-longer-needed attitude control equipment from the Zarya module. Much of it will be discarded in the Progress, for destruction on re-entry in late January. He also began the 48-hour regeneration of the two beds of the Russian harmful impurities removal system, which helps purify the Station's atmosphere. Foale continued his review of CBOSS experiments.
Both crewmembers took time on Tuesday for a news interview with the Internet site space.com. Foale also worked with the soldering in space experiment and repacked the station's medical kit with fresh medications from the Progress. The following day both crewmembers did the required hour-long emergency medical training, and both performed daily exercise and station maintenance activities.
Thursday, New Year's Day, was a day off. Their only activity was exercise, necessary station maintenance and science activities. Both crewmembers talked with family members on Earth via private video conferences.
People in many U.S. cities will have an opportunity to see the International Space Station as it flies overhead during the next several days. For detailed information on sighting opportunities for hundreds of cities, as well as viewing tips, visit:
Details on Station science operations can be found on an Internet site administered by the Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., at:
The next ISS status report will be issued Jan. 9, or sooner if events warrant.
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