Johnson Space Center, Houston
May 5, 2006
International Space Station Status Report: SS06-022
Completing their first month in space, Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer Jeff Williams eased into normal station activities this week.
Most of the week was focused around routine maintenance and inspections. Williams completed checks of the refrigerated centrifuge, updated the inventory system and took samples of potable water for routine testing. He also changed the cooling water used in the U.S. spacesuits to ensure that the pumps work and to prevent microbial growth in the water tanks.
Vinogradov did similar jobs in the station's Russian segment, completing an inspection of the pressure hull in the Zvezda living quarters, performing maintenance of the ventilation system in Zvezda and testing emergency vacuum valves in the atmosphere purification system.
On Wednesday, the crew updated onboard laptop computers. Williams began to install new software on the medical equipment computer, but stopped to allow ground specialists to troubleshoot some difficulties he encountered. The problem was resolved and the task will be rescheduled for Williams. Vinogradov installed and tested new software on a Russian laptop.
Both crew members spent time packing unneeded gear inside the ISS Progress 20. The 20th Progress to visit the station is docked to the Pirs compartment and will be jettisoned from the complex in mid-June to burn up in the atmosphere. Russian flight controllers also fired the newer ISS Progress 21 cargo craft's engines for about six and a half minutes on Thursday to boost the station's altitude by about 1.7 miles. The Progress 21 is docked at the aft docking port of the Zvezda module.
Williams kicked off the first Expedition 13 session of the Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation this week. It is an experiment that studies bubbling that occurs in weightlessness as liquids cool and turn into solids. It provides insight into how materials solidify in space and may benefit similar processes used in industry on Earth. The experiment is performed in the microgravity science glovebox in the Destiny Lab.
The crew took time this week to reach out to more than 1,500 students, teachers and NASA personnel participating in a Space Day educational event at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The event was part of a larger program highlighting NASA Explorer Schools as well as a collaboration between NASA and America Online (AOL).
Williams also spoke to students in the Inuit community of Kuujjuaq, Canada, via HAM radio. More than 340 students attend the school, which is located 900 miles north of Montreal at the base of Ungava Bay.
The next station status report will be issued on Friday, May 12, or earlier if events warrant. For more about the crew's activities and station sighting opportunities, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station
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