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Fact sheet number: FS-2002-10-162-MSFC
Release date: 09/02


International Space Station Expedition Six:
Science Operations Overview


Photo description: International Space Station, shortly after undocking from the Space Shuttle Endeavour on June 15, 2002
International Space Station, shortly after undocking from the Space Shuttle Endeavour on June 15, 2002 (NASA/JSC)

New laboratory equipment, as well as new experiments, will arrive onboard the International Space Station during Expedition Six.

The Station's sixth crew will be launched to the Station aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-113) in November 2002. Their four-month mission will end in March 2003 when Atlantis (STS-114) flies to the Station with the Expedition Seven crew and returns the Expedition Six crew to Earth. Expedition Six will include two Russian Progress cargo flights.

Several new experiments will be ferried to the orbiting outpost during Expedition Six. The research complement will include 20 new or continuing investigations. The new experiments are expected to lead to new insights in the fields of medicine, materials, plant science, commercial biotechnology, and manufacturing. Several experiments begun on earlier Expeditions will return to Earth, while several others will continue operating during Expedition Six.

The three Expedition Six crewmembers are scheduled to devote more than 240 hours to research while continuing to build the orbiting research complex. Station science also will be conducted by its ever-present "fourth crewmember" - the team of controllers and scientists on the ground who will continue to plan, monitor and operate experiments from control centers around the country. In addition, the autonomous payloads will accrue several thousand hours of operational time.

Photo shows the Payload Operations Center at Marshall Space Flight Center.
The Payload Operations Center at the Marshall Center (NASA/MSFC)

Expedition Six crewmembers are astronaut Ken Bowersox, the commander; astronaut Donald Pettit, flight engineer; and cosmonaut Nikolai Budarin, also a flight engineer. They will continue maintaining the Space Station, adding to its capabilities, and working with science teams on the ground to operate experiments and collect data.

On Earth, a new cadre of controllers for Expedition Six will replace their Expedition Five colleagues in the International Space Station's Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Controllers work in three shifts around the clock, seven days a week in the Payload Operations Center, the world's primary science command post for the Space Station. Its mission is to link Earth-bound researchers around the world with their experiments and crew aboard the Space Station.

New experiments

Expedition Six will include four experiments that are new or making a repeat flight. These are:

Microgravity Science Glovebox-Coarsening in Solid Liquid Mixture (CSLM), an experiment to investigate the interaction of small and large particles in a mixture that can have an effect on the strength of materials ranging from turbine blades to dental fillings and porcelain.

Microgravity Science Glovebox-InSPACE, an experiment to obtain basic data on magnetorheological fluids - a new class of "smart materials" that can be used to improve or develop new brake systems, seat suspensions, robotics, clutches, airplane landing gear, and vibration damper systems.

Foot/Ground Reaction Forces During Space Flight, an experiment to characterize the load on the lower body and muscle activity in crewmembers while working on the Station.

Protein Crystal Growth Single-locker Thermal Enclosure System (PCG-STES): Following flights on Expeditions Two, Four and Five, this facility will again provide a temperature-controlled environment for growing high-quality protein crystals of selected proteins - different from those on earlier mission - in microgravity for later analyses on the ground to determine the proteins' molecular structure. Research may contribute to advances in medicine, agriculture and more.

Continuing experiments

Many experiments from earlier Expeditions remain aboard the Space Station and will continue to benefit from the long-term research platform provided by the orbiting laboratory:

Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) and Microgravity Acceleration Measurement System (MAMS), sensors designed to measure vibrations caused by crew, equipment and other sources that could disturb microgravity experiments.

This image of Niagra Falls was acquired by Space Station Expedition Two crew members from an orbit of 207 nautical miles (383 kilometers) above the Falls.
This image of Niagra Falls was acquired by Space Station Expedition Two crew members from an orbit of 207 nautical miles (383 kilometers) above the Falls. (NASA)

Crew Earth Observations (CEO), an experiment to photograph natural and manmade changes on Earth;

Renal Stone, research into a possible preventive pill for kidney stone formation;

Pulmonary Function in Flight (PuFF), an experiment, examining long-term lung function in microgravity;

Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE), a suit-case-sized experiment attached to the outside of the Space Station to expose hundreds of potential space construction materials to the environment, leading to stronger, more durable spacecraft construction.

Zeolite Crystal Growth Furnace (ZCG), a commercial experiment attempting to grow larger crystals in microgravity, with possible applications in chemical processes, electronic device manufacturing and other applications on Earth.

Extra Vehicular Activity Radiation Monitoring (EVARM), sets of three sensors worn in pockets in U.S. EVA suits that will help determine the levels of radiation received to the skin, eyes, and blood-forming organs of crewmembers, and ways to mitigate exposure.

Photo description: Dr. Richard Grugel, a materials scientist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight in Huntsville, Ala., examines the furnace used to conduct his Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation — one of the first two materials science experiments to be conducted on the International Space Station.
Dr. Richard Grugel, a materials scientist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight in Huntsville, Ala., examines the furnace used to conduct his Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation — one of the first two materials science experiments to be conducted on the International Space Station. (NASA/MSFC)

Microgravity Science Glovebox - Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation (PFMI): This Glovebox experiment will melt samples of transparent modeling material to study how bubbles can be trapped in metal or crystal samples during space processing. Eliminating these bubbles could contribute to development of stronger materials.

Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students (EarthKAM), an education experiment that allows students to program a digital camera aboard the Station to take pictures of a variety of geographical targets for study in the classroom.

Human physiology: Several continuing experiments will use pre- and post-flight measurements of Expedition Five crewmembers to study changes in the body caused by exposure to the microgravity environment. They are:

Promoting Sensorimotor Response to Generalizability: A Countermeasure to Mitigate Locomotor Dysfunction after Long-duration spaceflight (Mobility); a pre- and post-flight investigation studying changes in posture and gait after long-duration space flight;

Effect of Prolonged Spaceflight on Human Skeletal Muscle (Biopsy): Pre- and post-expedition tests on crew members will help determine the progression and extent of functional and structural change in limb skeletal muscle in prolonged space flight.

Space Flight-Induced Reactivation of Latent Epstein-Barr Virus (Epstein-Barr): a pre- and post-fight investigation studying changes in human immune function;

Subregional Bone, a pre- and post-flight experiment studying changes in bone density caused by long-duration space flight.

Returning experiments

Liver cells like these will be the subject of new research conducted aboard the International Space Station as part of Expedition Five.
Liver cells like these will be the subject of new research conducted aboard the International Space Station as part of Expedition Six. (StelSys, LLC.)

Eight completed Expedition Five payloads are returning to Earth. They are:

Advanced Astroculture (returned on STS-112); Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus, Plant Growth Bioprocessing Apparatus; Education Payload Operations-5: StelSys (returned on STS-112); and Microencapsulation Eletrostatic Processing System (returned on STS-112).

Destiny Laboratory Facilities

Several research facilities will be in place during Expedition Six to support science investigations.

The Human Research Facility is designed to house and support a wide variety of life sciences experiments.

The lab also contains five EXPRESS Racks. EXPRESS, or Expedite the Processing of Experiments to the Space Station, racks are standard payload racks designed to provide experiments with a variety of utilities such as power, data, cooling, fluids and gasses. The racks support payloads in a several disciplines, including biology, chemistry, physics, ecology and medicines. The racks stay in orbit, while experiments are changed in and out as needed. EXPRESS Racks 2 and 3 are equipped with the Active Rack Isolation System (ARIS) for countering minute vibrations from crew movement or operating equipment that could disturb delicate experiments.

The Microgravity Science Glovebox has a large front window and built-in gloves to provide a sealed environment for conducting small science and technology experiments. The Glovebox is particularly suited for handling hazardous materials in a manned environment.

The lab also contains two ARCTIC freezers. They will support experiments requiring low temperature preservation of biological materials, reagents and perishable items.

On the Internet

For fact sheets, imagery and more on Expedition Six experiments and payload operations, visit the Science Operations Web site at:

http://www.scipoc.msfc.nasa.gov/


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