International Space Station Commander Gennady Padalka and NASA Science Officer and Flight Engineer Mike Fincke eased into a regular schedule of operations in orbit this week, preparing spacesuits for checkouts next week and loading trash aboard a Progress vehicle that will soon depart.
Early in the week, Fincke conducted the second in a series of battery recharging activities for the U.S. spacesuits. The nickel metal hydride batteries will be used during a spacesuit dry run that is scheduled to be conducted next week. Fincke also worked on the water servicing system of one of the spacesuits’ liquid cooling and ventilation garments. The garments, worn under the spacesuit, are imbedded with a network of tiny tubes that provide cooling. Fincke’s maintenance work ensured no air bubbles will develop in that tubing. The spacesuit work is part of preparations and evaluations for a spacewalk planned for June 10 to replace a Remote Power Control Module and restore power to a Station Control Moment Gyroscope.
Both crewmembers also spent several hours loading trash into the Progress 13 spacecraft, which is scheduled to be undocked from the Station at 4:18 a.m. CDT May 24. The next Russian cargo vehicle, Progress 14, is scheduled to launch May 25 from Kazakhstan at 7:34 a.m. CDT and dock with the Station at 8:57 a.m. CDT May 27. Among fresh food, clothes and other supplies to be brought to the Station aboard Progress 14 are new spacesuit gloves and other equipment that will be used during the June 10 spacewalk.
Also this week, U.S. flight controllers transmitted a software upgrade to several onboard computers. The upgrades are part of an extensive program initiated this year to improve Station software. They were loaded in four separate Station computers this week: two external multiplexer/demultiplexers and two S0 Truss MDMs that operate the systems on the truss.
The crew's scientific work included setting up a camera that will be used by thousands of middle-school students. The Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students (EarthKAM) camera was set up to operate from a window in the Zvezda Service Module. For these EarthKAM observations, more than sixty schools and 3,600 students are expected to participate. The EarthKAM program allows students to research and select photos of sites on Earth to be taken using the equipment aboard the Station.
Each day, crewmembers also had some time reserved for continued Station familiarization and adaptation, as is routine for new Station crewmembers during their first two weeks onboard.
Flight controllers are also preparing for a regularly scheduled reboost of the ISS on Tuesday using the Progress engine for an 11-minute firing that will increase the altitude of the Station by two statute miles at its apogee.
Information on the crew's activities aboard the Space Station, future launch dates, as well as Station sighting opportunities from anywhere on the Earth, is available on the Internet at:
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 May 21 or sooner if events warrant.
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