11 a.m. CST, Friday, Jan. 6, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston
International Space Station Status Report #06-1
It was back to work this week for the Expedition 12 crewmembers after a long New Year's weekend that marked the halfway point in their six-month stay aboard the space station.
Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev had a relatively quiet New Year's Day, celebrating with a Russian meal. They also took Monday off, talking with family and acquaintances. McArthur conducted ham radio contacts with schools on the ground during the week.
Dec. 31 was the first day of the second half of the crew’s stay aboard the station. McArthur and Tokarev will spend their 100th day in space on Sunday.
Earlier this week the crew worked to unload the cargo of the ISS Progress 20 cargo craft that docked to the Pirs Docking Compartment Dec. 23. Progress 19 remains at the aft docking port of the Zvezda Service Module as the crew continues to use its oxygen to replenish the station's atmosphere. The Elektron system that provides the primary source for oxygen generation on the ISS will be reactivated next week after being deliberately shut off since mid-December.
McArthur engaged in computer training for the FOOT experiment this week. FOOT measures activity and pressure on a crewmembers’ legs and feet in microgravity to help scientists determine how long duration missions contribute to bone and muscle loss. He conducted a dry run to calibrate the experiment on Wednesday. McArthur also reconfigured power supplies to the station’s computers. Thursday, he worked with the Binary Colloidal Alloy (BCAT) experiment, which looks at the behavior in microgravity of fine particles suspended in a liquid. Paint, milk and ink are common examples of colloids.
Tokarev worked much of the week setting up the “Matryoshka” radiation detection experiment. It measures radiation levels to which the crew is exposed. Tokarev set up detectors around the station and spent time with a companion “Phantom" torso experiment, placing about 370 radiation detectors around the horizontally-sliced replica of the upper part of a human body. With that completed, Tokarev mounted the dummy torso in the Pirs Docking Compartment for data collection.
The week drew to a close with additional scientific experiments and the installation of a batteries in the U.S. spacesuits on board. Throughout the week, the crewmembers also exercised and performed station maintenance.
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. 13, or earlier if events warrant.
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