Johnson Space Center, Houston
May 27, 2005
International Space Station Status Report: SS05-026
The Expedition 11 crew entered its seventh week in space today. The crew wrapped up a week highlighted by research, maintenance and training for photography tasks.
Commander Sergei Krikalev and Flight Engineer John Phillips spent several days conducting examinations of each other. They used an ultrasound device that provides data about the ability of the crew to conduct detailed medical exams in space. The experiment could have future applications for telemedicine or rural healthcare.
Phillips and Krikalev spent part of Tuesday practicing photography with digital cameras in the Zvezda Service Module. They will capture high resolution imagery of Discovery's heat shield, as the Shuttle approaches for docking on the third day of the Return to Flight mission (STS-114). The crew will use 400 and 800 millimeter lenses from two windows in Zvezda to focus on Discovery's thermal protection tiles and Reinforced Carbon-Carbon shield.
Discovery Commander Eileen Collins will fly Discovery through a back flip as it approaches the Station, allowing the crew to document the vehicle. They will shoot as many frames as possible during the 90-second flip. The images will be transmitted to the ground for analysis.
For the second week, the crew activated solid-fuel oxygen-generating canisters in Zvezda to replenish cabin atmosphere. The canisters are one of multiple oxygen supplies available. They are being used following the depletion of the oxygen in the tanks of the Progress cargo spacecraft docked with the Station. The Station's Elektron oxygen-generation system is inoperable. The next Progress to launch to the Station in mid-June will carry new oxygen tanks, solid fuel canisters and electronic components for the Elektron. Oxygen on board and on upcoming cargo vehicles can accommodate the crew into next year.
Earlier today, Krikalev tested the voltage of some of the Elektron's existing components to help Russian specialists in their ongoing troubleshooting efforts.
Krikalev confirmed the electrolyzer unit, part of a system that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen, showed no voltage readings and is presumed to have failed. Krikalev also worked on a procedure to bypass one of the cables in the Russian segment condensate removal system that has developed a blockage.
Phillips began working with the Fluid Merging Viscosity (FMVM) experiment this week. This physical science experiment studies viscosity, a property of fluids that causes them to resist flowing because of the internal friction created as the molecules move against each other. Understanding the viscosity of fluids is important for everything from designing laboratory experiments to industrial production of materials.
One way to determine viscosity is to measure how long it takes two spheres of liquid to merge into a single spherical drop. Phillips used honey with two different viscosities. He released multiple drops of the honey from a syringe onto strings. Digital images of the drops were recorded, as they joined to form one drop.
Researchers hope data from FMVM will provide insight into the behavior of glasses; materials that may be used to fabricate parts or equipment for long-term space missions and improve future materials processing experiments done in space and on Earth.
The Expedition 11 crew is scheduled for a light-duty weekend, including routine housekeeping tasks and family conferences.
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