June 21, 2004
International Space Station Status Report: SS04-015
Father's Day came early for astronaut Mike Fincke, 225 miles in space aboard the International Space Station, as he received the best present on Earth -- baby daughter Tarali Paulina Fincke. Tarali Paulina was born Friday, June 18.
Although Fincke is among thousands of American fathers whose service to the country has prevented them from attending the birth of a child, he is the first U.S. astronaut to have celebrated the event from space.
Fincke's wife, Renita, gave birth to their second child in Clear Lake, Texas. Fincke spoke to teams of flight controllers Friday in Russia and in Houston during a television downlink, thanking them for their support of his family and offering a celebratory cigar and candy to Expedition 9 Commander Gennady Padalka. Fincke also urged everyone to remember all those in service to their country and support them as they make similar sacrifices away from their families.
Today, Fincke and Padalka are getting ready for this week's planned spacewalk. The crew will venture outside Thursday to fix a device that's essentially a circuit breaker. They'll replace a Remote Power Controller Module (RPCM) that houses the faulty circuit breaker. The modules route power to one of the Control Moment Gyros (CMGs).
The Station has four CMGs. They control the orientation of the ISS in space. CMG 1 failed two years ago and will be replaced during the next Space Shuttle mission. CMG 2 was taken off line by the April 21 failure of the circuit breaker and should be restored by the RPCM's replacement. The two functioning CMGs adequately control the Station's attitude.
NASA Television coverage of the spacewalk begins at 4:30 p.m. EDT Thursday, June 24. Padalka and Fincke are scheduled to leave the Russian Pirs docking compartment at 5:50 p.m. EDT in Russian spacesuits.
The two spacewalkers will move to the worksite, on the S0 truss, covering part of the distance using the Russian Strela crane attached to Pirs. The replacement work should take about 4-1/2 hours. Other tasks may be performed if time allows.
The crew's Russian spacesuits require a line of sight to antennas on the Russian segment of the station, some distance from the worksite, to communicate with the ground and with one another. Communications access points have been identified and four basic hand signals have been developed should Padalka and Fincke need them.
In addition to the spacewalk preparations, the crew's attention last week was devoted to experiment activities. The crew used each other as subjects in mass measurement checks and Fincke worked with three of the Express Racks aboard the U.S. laboratory Destiny to load new software.
The crew conducted the first of three 48-hour in-flight diet-logging sessions for the Effect of Prolonged Space Flight on Human Skeletal Muscle (BIOPSY) experiment. The experiment investigates the reductions in limb muscle size, force and power at the cellular level that are caused by microgravity. Crewmembers are recording their food consumption for the experiment, and biopsies were taken from their calf and foot-flexing muscles before launch. Biopsies will be taken again immediately when they return to Earth in October.
The neuromuscular system is one of the human systems most affected by extended stays in space. Past space missions have shown weightlessness can cause deterioration of muscle fiber and physical strength. This research will determine how long it takes for weightlessness to affect skeletal muscles, so predictions can be made regarding muscle changes that may occur on a roundtrip flight to Mars.
The crew also served as test subjects for the Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in Micro-G experiment. Fincke set up the equipment, after which he and Padalka performed the ultrasound bone scans on each other by taking turns as operator and subject.
This research will be used to determine the accuracy of ultrasound in novel clinical conditions including: orthopedic, thoracic, and ophthalmic injury and dental/sinus infections; and to assess the ultrasound as a feasible option for monitoring in-flight bone alterations.
Information about crew activities on the International Space Station, future launch dates, and Station sighting opportunities from Earth on the Internet, visit:
For Details about Station science operations administered by the Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., on the Internet, visit:
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