May 07, 2004
International Space Station Status Report: SS04-008
Members of the new crew of the International Space Station (ISS) are wrapping up their first full week in orbit by themselves. During the week, they concentrated on life science research, spacewalk preparations and settling in to their new home.
Expedition 9 Commander Gennady Padalka and NASA ISS Science Officer Mike Fincke took part in a variety of experiments that focus on learning how the human body responds to extended periods without gravity. The crewmembers completed the first sessions of a series of Russian biomedical experiments measuring body mass and calf volume and drawing blood to measure red blood cell mass. They also performed operations with two European Space Agency experiments, looking into adaptation of the vestibular system to weightlessness. The vestibular system provides the body's sense of balance and sensations of up and down.
Padalka and Fincke also completed their first periodic fitness evaluation and received a briefing on upcoming Station payload operations from ISS Program Scientist Don Thomas, Lead Increment Scientist Janice Voss, and Increment Payload Operations Director Lamar Stacy.
Fincke finished the seventh imaging session of the Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-3 (BCAT-3) experiment. After setting up the slow-growth sample module on the maintenance work area, Fincke photographed the samples sequentially with a digital still camera and then stowed the equipment. The BCAT-3 experiment of the microgravity research program at NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, began on Expedition 8, with astronaut Mike Foale using magnets to mix samples of colloids. Colloids are systems of fine particles suspended in a fluid such as paint, milk or ink. The samples have been photographed over the past few weeks as they began to separate.
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.
Padalka and Fincke launched last month with plans to conduct two spacewalks, but they learned last weekend that a third had officially been put on their schedule. The planned June 10 spacewalk calls for the crewmembers to replace a Remote Power Controller Module (RPCM), a type of remote-controlled circuit breaker, on the Station's S0 truss. The RPCM failed April 21, cutting power to one of the Control Moment Gyroscopes (CMGs), which provide attitude control for ISS. There are still two CMGs operating well and controlling the Station's orientation. As managers continue to evaluate the spacewalk plans, Padalka and Fincke will conduct a fit check of the U.S. spacesuits next week.
This week, Fincke also completed maintenance work with the spacesuit battery chargers and batteries and began a procedure to regenerate canisters, which remove the carbon dioxide spacewalkers exhale from the suits.
The previous Station crew, Expedition 8 Commander Mike Foale and Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri, are at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, this week for post-flight debriefings and checks. Foale is expected to return to Houston this month.
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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:
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