Fact sheet number: FS-2001-03-53-MSFC
Release date: 03/01
International Space Station Expedition Two:
Science Operations Overview
Expedition Two - a four-month mission on the International Space Station - begins with the March 8 launch of Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-102) and continues through July with the landing of Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-105). Five assembly and resupply flights are planned during this time.
Although the Space Station is still in the early stages of construction, science operations are already under way.
The capacity for research will be increased during this expedition with the installation of new experiment facilities and hardware on the U.S. Laboratory module, Destiny - the latest major addition to the Space Station. The second expedition is designed to characterize the Space Station environment by measuring effects such as radiation exposure and vibrations that could impact humans and experiments on the Station. Additionally, experiments conducted during Expedition Two are designed to lead to better knowledge and new insight in the fields of human life sciences, space product development, physical sciences and space flight utilization.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, the International Space Station's Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., will begin around-the-clock operations at the start of Expedition Two. Serving as the world's primary science command post for the Space Station, the Payload Operations Center will operate seven days a week, linking Earth-bound researchers around the world with their experiments and astronauts aboard the Space Station.
During this expedition, research facilities to be launched to the Space Station include a Human Research Facility, two EXPRESS (Expedite the Processing of Experiments to the Space Station) Racks, one of which contains the Active Rack Isolation System and the Payload Equipment Restraint System. Over the life of the Space Station, these facilities will support a wide range of experiments that could improve life on Earth and in space.
A major focus will be on gaining a better understanding of how to protect crew members from radiation while working and living in space. Radiation exposure in high doses over long periods of time can damage human cells and cause cancer or injury to the central nervous system.
Three experiments during Expedition Two - the Bonner Ball Neutron Detector, Dosimetric Mapping and the Phantom Torso - will help scientists determine acceptable limits of radiation for humans and which types of radiation are most harmful. Hardware and investigators for this suite of radiation studies are provided by NASA, the Japanese Space Agency, and the European Space Agency in collaboration with the German Aerospace Center. Better materials can then be developed for spacecraft and space suits to shield humans from radiation.
Another human life sciences investigation - H-Reflex - will study changes to the human neurovestibular system that occur during long-duration space flights. Also beginning with Expedition Two - and continuing for more than two years - is the Sub-regional Assessment of Bone Loss in the Axial Skeleton in Long-term Space Flight. The experiment is designed to measure bone loss and recovery experienced by crew members. And an Interactions experiment also is planned to identify and characterize important interpersonal and cultural factors that may impact the performance of the Space Station crew and ground support personnel during missions.
Commercial endeavors are an important part of the International Space Station, and several of those activities will begin during Expedition Two. ADVANCED ASTROCULTURE will grow plants in a complete seed-to-seed cycle and also assess the impact of space flight on gene expression. Another biotechnology experiment - Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus - will grow larger and more perfect crystals of substances that are biologically important. The study of the fermentation process in microgravity in the Commercial Protein Crystal Growth-High Density experiment may one day lead to improvements in pharmaceutical processes.
Research in the physical sciences - investigations taking advantage of the near weightlessness of space - planned during Expedition Two includes experiments in fluids science and microacceleration measurements. The Microgravity Acceleration Measurement System and the Space Acceleration Measurement System II experiments will help scientists understand, track and measure tiny disturbances caused by the aerodynamic drag created as the Space Station moves through space, or when it rotates or vents water. The Physics of Colloids in Space is a fluids science investigation that could help scientists understand physical properties leading to new materials and products.
There are four Space Shuttle and one Soyuz missions scheduled to fly to the ISS during Expedition Two. They are:
For more information on Space Station Science Operations, visit: