3 p.m. CDT, Friday, June 17, 2005
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
International Space Station Status Report #05-31
After a busy week of preparations, the Expedition 11 crew on the International Space Station is ready for Saturday's arrival of a Progress cargo craft bearing more than two tons of supplies and equipment.
Commander Sergei Krikalev and NASA Science Officer John Phillips spent the week packing up and disposing of the previous cargo ship and making room for the new ISS Progress 18 spacecraft, scheduled to dock with the Station at 7:44 p.m. CDT on Saturday. It will dock at the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module.
Krikalev and Phillips devoted Monday and Tuesday to filling the departing ISS Progress 17 with unneeded equipment and trash, and closed its hatch Tuesday afternoon. The spacecraft, which had been at the Station since March 2, was undocked at 3:16 p.m. Wednesday. It was commanded to deorbit and burned on re-entry about four hours after undocking. Friday was a light duty day for the crew in preparation for the new cargo ship’s arrival.
Progress 18 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 6:10 p.m. CDT Thursday. The cargo includes food, fuel, air, oxygen, 40 solid fuel oxygen generation (SFOG) cartridges and parts for the Elektron oxygen generation system. The air, oxygen and SFOGs will add to the existing supplies of oxygen aboard the Station. Flight control teams in Houston and Moscow hope the new parts will enable the crew to reactivate the Elektron, which has been out of service for several weeks. A new liquids unit that circulates water to be broken down into oxygen and hydrogen is to be launched later this year.
Crewmembers plan to open the Progress hatches Saturday, but won't begin unloading the cargo until Sunday. Beginning Monday, they plan to use oxygen from the Progress to replenish the Station's atmosphere instead of using the SFOGs.
Krikalev and Phillips also worked this week packing equipment and scientific experiments and samples for return to Earth aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on its STS-114 Return-to-Flight mission. Discovery is scheduled to launch no earlier than July 13.
On Tuesday, Phillips became the first person to testify before Congress from space. He testified via satellite before the House Science Committee's Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, telling Representatives what it is like to live and work in space. Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Mike Fincke, who previously served on the Space Station, testified before the subcommittee in person.
Phillips found time to work with the Fluid Merging Viscosity Measurement experiment, designed to use microgravity to provide insight into behavior of how fluids, including molten materials, flow. Krikalev worked with several Russian experiments.
Information on Station activities and sighting opportunities from anywhere on Earth is available at: http://www.nasa.gov/station
The next Station status report will be issued on Saturday, June 18, after Progress docking, or earlier if events warrant.
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