3 p.m. CST, Friday, Jan. 13, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston
International Space Station Status Report #06-2
The International Space Station crew this week installed an upgrade that will conserve oxygen during spacewalks, moved the station robotic arm to prepare for their next spacewalk, and began an experiment that studies body movements.
Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev had Monday off to observe the end of the Russian Christmas holidays. Completing an important upgrade to the station's spacewalk preparation systems, McArthur and Tokarev installed the Recharge Oxygen Orifice Bypass Assembly (ROOBA) later in the week. The assembly will conserve station oxygen during spacewalk preparations when the space shuttle is docked to the complex. It allows crew members to prebreathe oxygen from the shuttle rather than use oxygen from station tanks as they prepare for a spacewalk. Crew members must prebreathe pure oxygen for an extended period before beginning a spacewalk to prevent decompression sickness. The new system will be used during the next shuttle mission.
Initiating work with the scientific investigation for Expedition 12, McArthur put on customized Lycra cycling tights this week for a session of the Foot/Ground Reaction Forces during Spaceflight, or FOOT experiment. FOOT investigates the differences between use of the body’s lower extremities on Earth and in space. McArthur wore the instrumented garb to measure joint angles, muscle activity and forces on his feet during daily activities.
On Thursday, McArthur maneuvered the station's Canadarm2 robotic arm to provide television views of an Interface Umbilical Assembly (IUA). The assembly houses a contingency cable cutter for a line that provides power, data and video to the station's Mobile Transporter. The Mobile Transporter is a rail car on which the arm may travel along the station's truss. A second, identical assembly on the other side of the transporter inadvertently cut a backup cable for the system last month. The camera views allowed engineers to survey the remaining intact assembly and cable. McArthur and Tokarev will install a safing bolt in the intact system during a Feb. 2 spacewalk.
On Friday, McArthur again maneuvered the arm, positioning cameras to survey the seal on a station port where cargo modules carried aboard the shuttle can be docked. Engineers used the view to inspect the Common Berthing Mechanism on the Unity module for possible debris. Following that, the arm was moved to another position where it will remain to provide views of the upcoming spacewalk.
The Elektron oxygen-generation system was activated this week by Tokarev after being deliberately shut off since mid-December. The Elektron was off to allow oxygen supplies from the unpiloted Progress 19 cargo carrier to be used. Tokarev also worked on a number of Russian science projects throughout the week.
Via ham radio, McArthur answered questions from students at Peterson Elementary School in his hometown of Red Springs, N.C.; and at the St. Albert the Great School in North Royalton, Ohio. He also talked with high school students in Hiroshima, Japan.
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: http://www.nasa.gov/station
The next station status report will be issued on Friday, Jan. 20, or earlier if events warrant.
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