August 27, 2004
International Space Station Status Report: SS04-028
"Success" is the key word this week aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as maintenance efforts by the Expedition 9 crew paid off on several major equipment items.
NASA ISS Science Officer Mike Fincke performed the most complex spacesuit repair job ever conducted in flight on a U.S. spacesuit. He replaced a water pump in the suit's cooling system. The four-and-a-half-hour replacement job on Monday was followed by several hours of tests on Tuesday. The tests showed the new pump worked perfectly, and engineers on the ground will now determine whether to declare the spacesuit usable in the future. If so, the Station would have a complement of two operational U.S. spacesuits. A third suit also is aboard but has a cooling problem. A second spare water pump also is aboard the Station in the event managers choose to attempt similar maintenance on the third suit.
Flight controllers lauded Fincke's work, relaying to him that such efforts provide not only a better understanding for future Station operations, but also important data for all future long-duration space travels.
Also on Monday, Fincke replaced major components in one of the Station's exercise machines, a resistive exercise device that uses tension to simulate weights during a workout. He installed new canisters in the device that are designed to be twice as durable as the previous canisters used for the machine. He then checked their operation with a workout, finding the device in excellent condition. Exercise is vital for the crew as one method of counteracting the harmful effects of weightlessness on the body. The spare spacesuit pumps and exercise canisters were delivered to the Station aboard the Russian Progress cargo spacecraft that arrived Aug. 14.
As this week progressed, Fincke and Expedition 9 Commander Gennady Padalka turned their attention toward their fourth and final spacewalk, scheduled for next week. During the Sept. 3 spacewalk, they'll use Russian spacesuits and exit the Russian Pirs airlock. Their work outside will include installing three antennas on the exterior of the Zvezda living quarters module that will aid the navigation of a new Station supply spacecraft, called the European Automated Transfer Vehicle, during its maiden flight scheduled for next year.
Other tasks include replacement of a pump panel on the Zarya module that is part of the Russian segment's cooling system, installation of guides for spacesuit tethers on Zarya handrails and the installation of handrail covers near the Pirs hatch.
This week, Fincke and Padalka reviewed timelines for the spacewalk, gathered gear and checked the tools they will use. Next Monday, they'll power up their Orlan spacesuits to check their operation as they continue their preparations. The spacewalk next Friday will begin at 12:50 p.m. EDT and last about six hours. The activities will be broadcast live on NASA Television, beginning at 11:30 a.m. EDT.
Other activities this week included a reboost of the Station Wednesday. Thrusters on the Progress spacecraft increased the altitude of the orbiting laboratory by an average of about two-and-a-half statute miles. The reboost moved the Station closer to the orbital altitude desired for the arrival of a Soyuz spacecraft and new crew in October. Another reboost is planned in September to complete the move. The Station's current orbit has a high point of about 230 miles and a low point of about 218 miles.
On Monday and Tuesday, Station cameras operated by flight controllers recorded video of Typhoon Chaba as it moved quickly across the Philippine Sea with winds of 165 mph. Today, Fincke reported taking a still photo of Hurricane Frances in the Atlantic Ocean as the Station flew above that storm.
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:
NASA Television is available in the continental U.S. on AMC-6, Transponder 9C, C-Band, located at 72 degrees west longitude. The frequency is 3880.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz. In Alaska and Hawaii, NASA Television is available on AMC-7, Transponder 18C, C-Band, located at 137 degrees west longitude. Frequency is 4060.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz.
The spacewalk also will be webcast live on the Internet at:
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