August 20, 2004 (Phone: 202/358-4769)
August 20, 2004
International Space Station Status Report: SS04-027
The International Space Station (ISS) crew is focusing this week on the new equipment and supplies that arrived last Saturday aboard a Russian cargo spacecraft.
Expedition 9 Commander Gennady Padalka and NASA ISS Science Officer Mike Fincke unloaded most of the two-and-a-half tons of cargo this week. They then shifted their attention to cataloguing and stowing the material using the Station's computerized, bar code-based Inventory Management System. The ISS Progress (15) docked to the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module at 1:01 a.m. EDT Saturday, bringing fuel, water, oxygen, air, spare parts and other supplies.
Other activities for the crew during the week included a reboost of the Station, moving the Station's robotic arm into position for an upcoming spacewalk and continuing science experiments.
On Tuesday, Padalka and Fincke installed a new system in the Progress craft that allows the crew to command Progress thruster firings from the Zvezda module. The thruster control system was tested and then used in a reboost yesterday that raised the Station's altitude by about three statute miles. The ISS is now in an orbit with a high point of 228.7 miles and a low point of 215.5 miles. Another Station reboost is scheduled next week to prepare for the October arrival of a Soyuz spacecraft that will bring a new crew to the outpost.
Yesterday, the crew spent about an hour moving the Station's Canadarm2 into position for its cameras to view the upcoming spacewalk, scheduled for Sept. 3. During the spacewalk, the crew will use Russian Orlan spacesuits and the Russian airlock to install additional navigation equipment in preparation for next year's maiden flight of the European Automated Transfer Vehicle supply spacecraft.
A press briefing on the spacewalk, the fourth and final outside excursion planned during Expedition 9's stay on the Station, will be held at 2 p.m. EDT Aug. 27 at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston. The briefing will be carried live on NASA Television.
Fincke will spend some time next week continuing to troubleshoot U.S. spacesuit cooling system problems. New U.S. spacesuit cooling system pumps were among the spare parts delivered aboard the new Progress last weekend.
Science activities this week included biomedical crew observations and tests, among them a look at bioelectrical activity of the heart and audiograms and work on a Russian plant growth experiment.
Fincke also conducted another imaging session of the Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-3 (BCAT-3) experiment. He took a total of 157 photos documenting the formation of particle suspensions in homogenized liquids. Possible future applications of the colloidal alloy experiments are photonic crystals for telecommunications and computer applications and extremely low threshold lasers, as well as improved use of supercritical fluids for food extractions, pharmaceuticals, dry cleaning, and rocket propellants.
Both Fincke and Padalka conducted a session with the Educational Payload Operations by demonstrating a musical instrument called a chicken shake. Crewmembers showed how microgravity affects the egg-shaped percussion instrument that is very similar to Cuban Maracas without the handles. In Caribbean or South American orchestras, chicken shakes are used in the percussion section to add to its variety of rhythms, textures and tone colors. The sessions were videotaped and downlinked for later use by the Maryland Science Center in educator workshops designed to educate hearing impaired students about sound and the physics of sound.
For information about NASA and agency missions on the Internet, visit:
Information about crew activities on the Space Station, future launch dates and Station sighting opportunities from Earth, is available on the Internet at:
Details about Station science operations are available on an Internet site administered by the Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., at: http://scipoc.msfc.nasa.gov/
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