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Sunita Williams' Mission Log
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Happy Mother's Day

Life on the ISS:
• The space traffic pattern is getting busy! Progress 25 launched early Saturday morning. It will be here early in the morning on Tuesday with some goodies for us. The Space Shuttle Atlantis should roll out to the launch pad on Wednesday, possibly Tuesday, of this week in preparation for an 8 June launch!

• I've talked about the Progress before, it brings food, experiments, clothes, equipment, parts, fuel, water, etc. In fact this one should have lots of candy in it, I think! I am hoping for some fresh fruit as well. Hopefully an apple or two. It is also carrying more water than normal. We usually get water from the Shuttle. It makes water when it makes electricity in the fuel cell as it combines hydrogen and oxygen. Since Atlantis was delayed for quite some time, we are using up our onboard storage of water. We need to get some so the Progress water will be very welcome. We are able to use the condensate water from the atmosphere, collect it, filter it and even drink it. However, we are losing water thru urine; we have no means to collect and filter that to make it usable. On the Mir space station this was a possibility and allowed them to have "technical" water to be used in other systems on the Station like the Elektron (breaks water down to generate oxygen for breathing). As you probably can see, water is essential for our existence up here.

• So, candy is coming on Progress and Clay is coming on Atlantis. Clay is my relief and will take my place as the American on the ISS for the next 6 months. We have had the pleasure of talking to him these past couple weeks as he prepares for his adventure. Recently we talked to him via videoconferencing. This is the way we talk to our families on the weekends and how we sometimes talk to kids at schools. This is how I know Gorby is getting fat! His little body is taking up the entire screen nowadays!

This is us talking to Clay… Clayton Anderson; from the left (small screen) are Sunita Williams, Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov

Image to right: A computer monitor at Johnson Space Center (JSC) displays a teleconference between the Expedition 15 crewmembers on the International Space Station and astronaut Clayton C. Anderson at JSC. From the left (small screen) are astronaut Sunita L. Williams, flight engineer; cosmonauts Fyodor N. Yurchikhin and Oleg V. Kotov, commander and flight engineer, respectively, representing Russia's Federal Space Agency. Anderson is scheduled to join Expedition 15 as flight engineer after launching to the station on mission STS-117. Image credit: NASA

Cool Places we've flown over:
• U.S. - all over!
• South America- We have been heading south from the U.S. to South America sometimes right over Central America. However, the Panama Canal has not been seen! Neither the folks on Expedition 14 or 15 have been able to get a glimpse of it. There are always clouds in that area! Just have to see it in person one day!
• Black Sea - have swam here!
• India and Bangladesh
• I just love this picture and thought I'd share.

Cape Cod Image to left: A portion of Cape Cod is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 15 crewmember on the International Space Station. Image credit: NASA

Good Food:
• You are what you eat! I think I mentioned that we haven't had any U.S. main courses for quite a while now. We still have a lot of U.S. food, just not any main courses or meat. So, we have been eating a lot more Russian main courses. Those are the meat dishes in a can with kasha, rice, potatoes or vegetables. These dishes are pretty tasty and filling. They are usually pretty greasy and each one has a distinct smell to it. Well, the reason I bring this up is that I feel like I am starting to smell like these dishes. Once before I opened a can of goulash, unbeknownst to me, some squirted out and got in my hair, and I couldn't get away from that smell until I saw that the bits of goulash were lodged in my hair...but that isn't the same thing. Since I have been exclusively eating Russian food for every evening meal for a month now, I actually think my body is starting to smell like these different meats! With the additional grease, I also think my "coat" has become nice and shiny - seriously, my skin feels a little greasy! After coming to this realization, I decided to take a break. For the last 2 nights I have had seasoned tuna steaks from my bonus container and today I had PB&J. We should have some more U.S. food with Progress on Tuesday, so just a couple more days of smelling funny - then I am going to take a hot "shower" and throw these clothes away.
• I will say one of my favorite Russian side dishes is beet salad. It is dehydrated beets chopped very finely with nuts. It is a great side dish. I would like to try to make this when I get home. The nuts make it!

Working out:
• 30 minutes biking, 1.6 miles run/walk
• 40 minutes biking
• 5 miles running
• broke TVIS, 35 minutes biking
• 35 minutes biking, 2 miles run/walk
• 3.2 miles running
• 6.2 miles running
• RED every day! My back is getting used to the increased weights. With increased "weight" or resistance, I had to keep the reps lower to make sure my back is strong enough to support the weight so my legs can get a workout. I am finding these higher resistance exercises are making me pretty tired. When I get on the bike or the treadmill after, I can't do too much.

Things we did:
Science stuff
• EMCH (Elastic Memory Composite Hinge). Composite material hinge.
• LOCAD (Lab on a Chip). Horseshoe crab blood experiment.
• CFE (Capillary Flow Experiment). This is the lava lamp experiment I have done before, usually on the weekend in our spare time.

Maintenance Stuff
• TVIS, found broken wire cables so needed to get a repair in pretty quickly. Thursday afternoon was spent doing this repair. One thing to say about doing maintenance in space - it is difficult because the parts and pieces float away. You end up using a lot of tape and Velcro to make sure things stay put. When any part of the Station is moved from its designated location to do a repair, we really risk losing things. For some reason stuff likes to float into these areas, "behind the panels" when the equipment is removed. Once we replace the piece we are working on, finding the missing stuff is impossible. That is why we always find things when we do maintenance, most likely lost when the maintenance was done last. Keeping track of all the stuff, from tools to parts, to drink bags, food containers, etc., is a large part of the job!
• Surface, Air Samples - checking the atmosphere and surrounding surfaces before Progress gets here for a baseline.
• Fire Drill - practiced what we would do if we smelled burning odor in the Node. Fyodor and I went to find and "put out" the simulated fire while Oleg checked telemetry to see if he could locate the source of the fire, electrically, and shut the power down. We worked with Houston and Moscow Mission Controls for this event.
• PAO events with you already know...the Queen! It was very interesting and I found that we were all a little nervous, why??? From the video we got later, she seemed genuinely interested and pleased.
• Victory Day holiday May 9th! We had half day off in honor of the Russian veterans of WWII. I cleaned all the cameras - again risking losing all the little tiny parts inside a camera. Thank God for duct tape!
• Oleg and Fyodor did medical testing on breathing. I found this very intriguing. The test was to observe the amount of breath taken when breathing from the chest vs. the abdomen. Seems like yoga to me!
• HAM radio pass with Sunset Mesa Schools, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
• HAM radio pass with Escola Secundaria de Esstarreja, Portugal