May 21, 2004
International Space Station Status Report: SS04-010
Aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the Expedition 9 crew is closing out its first month in space with a busy week of spacewalk preparations that included a spacesuit dress rehearsal.
During the check of U.S. spacesuits on Wednesday, Commander Gennady Padalka and NASA ISS Science Officer Mike Fincke discovered a problem with the cooling system in Padalka's suit. Additional troubleshooting and further checks are planned.
The suit checkout was conducted in preparation for a spacewalk to replace a failed power controller on the Station's truss. The repair is expected to restore power to a Control Moment Gyroscope (CMG), which lost power in April. Two other CMGs on the Station continue to operate well and are controlling the complex's orientation. The spacewalk is expected to take place no earlier than June 16.
The suit checkout was planned to last about seven hours, but it was cut short when Padalka reported no cooling. He reported small bubbles and froth in the water supposed to circulate through lines to provide the cooling. Today, Padalka and Fincke drained and replaced the water in the cooling system of Padalka's suit. Tomorrow, they're scheduled to check Padalka's refilled suit cooling system to verify water will circulate. If needed, they also may test the operation of a check valve in the system.
During the Wednesday dress rehearsal, the cooling system for Fincke's suit also experienced brief problems, but a sticky valve was quickly identified as the likely cause. It's not considered a concern for his suit's operation.
If the troubleshooting is successful on Padalka's suit, several steps remain before spacewalk plans are finalized, including another U.S. spacesuit dress rehearsal. If needed, the spacewalk could be done in Russian Orlan spacesuits.
Also this week, Station ground controllers fired the Progress (13) spacecraft engines for 11 minutes, boosting the Station's altitude by 2.3 statute miles and adjusting its inclination by one one-hundredth of a degree.
Progress (13) is to undock from the Station Monday at 5:19 a.m. EDT, clearing the way for the arrival of a new Progress supply spacecraft. Progress (14) is scheduled to launch at 8:34 a.m. EDT Tuesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The new Progress will dock Thursday at 9:55 a.m. EDT. The maneuver will be carried live on NASA-TV.
In addition to fuel, food and supplies, the new Progress will bring U.S. spacesuit gloves, sized specifically for Padalka and Fincke, as well as other suit components.
The Expedition 9 crew also continued science work this week, conducting body scans using an ultrasound device. This is part of a research program to determine whether minimally trained crewmembers can perform advanced examinations with the assistance of a doctor in Mission Control. After computer-based training last week, the crew spent two sessions this week with body scans including scans of the elbow, knees, abdomen and chest.
The crew also replaced the hard drive in the Space Acceleration Measurement System, a system that provides data for a research program measuring how small vibrations may affect nearby sensitive experiments such as crystal growth studies.
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