Happy Martin Luther King Day Weekend
Sunita Williams' Mission Log
Hope you guys are enjoying a great Martin Luther King Day weekend. We are having a great time up here, as usual.
Life on the ISS
Both Misha and LA got their hair cut this week! Life here is normal enough that making sure we look okay is important. We made sure we got LA’s hair cut before we had our PAO event this week. So, you may be wondering how we do this and not get hair all over the place…Can you figure out how we do this by the picture?
Image to right: Commander Michael E. Lopez-Alegria trims Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin's hair in the Unity node of the International Space Station. Image credit: NASA
Another common thing we do on the ground that we do here is weigh ourselves. Every month we weigh ourselves to make sure we aren’t losing weight. I really have been eating more than I do on Earth to make sure I don’t lose too much weight. I have lost a couple of kilograms already, although I am certainly not trying to. So, you may be asking, how do we do this…
Along with getting weighed, we also measure our calves to see if there are any changes. I have my dad’s calves so I don’t think they could get any smaller. In fact, we do lots of calf raises to stimulate the bones in our feet and around our ankles. This is an area where we will lose bone mass if we don’t work them. So, I am hoping my calves will be a little bigger in 6 months.
Cool places we flew over:
Hints…the Pacific Northwest coast is always cloudy this time of year…should have known that, but clear once over the western range.
• Middle / Eastern Oregon
• Great Salt Lake
• Little Rock, Arkansas
• New Orleans
• Guam - North Marianas
• Boot of Italy
• Nile Delta
• The usual - canned fish, soup - borscht, canned beef, lamb, pork with vegetables.
• Really good Russian juices like apricot/apple and currant/apple.
• A “coffee bubble” occurred one morning when I wasn’t paying attention and forgot to “lock” my straw. Liquids just creep out of the straw. Capillary action is strong without gravity! It is hard to figure out what to do with a golf ball of hot coffee. I blew on it to try and cool it down, and then I was able to suck it up - however, not without creating a billion little coffee bubbles! Sort of a mess, but entirely funny for all of us.
• My new recipe: Apple and peanut butter sandwich on German grainy bread! This was actually really good. I was trying to figure out a way to eat up this “dessert of apples” that we keep getting. None of us asked for it, but it keeps showing up. We have lots of cans of this stuff. It is like apple pie filling, but sort of tasteless, mushy apples. So, I thought I would try and figure out some ways to eat this up, because the sheer quantity of this stuff is clogging up our food compartment. So, I decided everything tastes good with peanut butter, and I was right. I broke out some of that grainy German bread and spread some PB on it and then put the mushy apple slices on it. Not bad - and I am from New England, home of good, crisp apples. Again, need to close the eyes and imagine…
Funny thing about food and ventilation. Ventilation is needed to ensure we get air disbursed throughout the Station. Air stagnates without flow so it is essential to have good ventilation so one doesn't end up in a bubble of CO2
by accident and then not be able to breathe. I put this note here in the food section, because we have been smelling a French fry odor near one of the science racks in the lab. Then LA smelled it again a little stronger near the window. We were wondering what was giving off that odor. Then it occurred to us that we were getting a whiff of the food being prepared by Misha all the way from the Service Module of the Russian segment. It is pretty far away. Well, the ventilation flow is behind the panels from the Service Module all the way to the U.S. lab. Then the air flows back to the Service Module through the central living/working compartment so it is one continuous flow. We were smelling the food in the lab because it got here first before flowing back into the other modules.
• Biathlon training this week. Bike, run, bike, one day
• Running is getting better and better!
• RED (lots of squats, single leg squats and dead lifts).
• Bike 4 x for 35-40 minutes and then walk/run for 15 to 20 minutes each time after the bike
• Run 3 times - 3.6 miles, 2.3 miles, 4.5 miles
Things we did:
• Busy, busy, busy! In the words of the villain magician in Frosty the Snowman…
• Changes in airlock water system. We need to have water available to put in the EMU’s (space suits). The water, along with a sublimator (sublimation process), provides cooling while we are working in the space suit. When you are working it gets pretty warm inside the suit so we wear cooling garments. Cooling garments are hooked up to the space suit and then cool water circulates through tubes in this suit around our bodies and we are cooled. The work we did was to simplify this process and make filling and emptying the suit easier.
• Work on Russian cycle ergometer. Not only do we have U.S. exercise equipment, but we also have Russian versions. All of this equipment gets used every day. Think of it. There are 3 of us and we do some aerobic and some anaerobic exercises every day. The equipment gets a lot of use. Misha and I changed out the Russian bike because it had reached its lifetime. Probably needs to be done at least every 6 months.
• Likewise, changed out the bungees on the RED (resistive exercise device). Like the Russian bike, the cables get used up after about 15,000 repetitions. We record all our workouts, not only for our benefit for the trainers to advise us, but also for the engineers who designed the equipment. They need to know how much exercise we do so they can advise us when to do maintenance. I am thinking about working at a gym after this…
• PAO event with U.S. Embassy in Madrid and U.S. Embassy in New Delhi - India launched its first rocket on this day 10 Jan 2007! It was a great day for India! We talked about why space exploration is the future of our next generation of explorers and how important it is to take care of our planet.
• Set up and operated “ROBoT” (robotics on-board trainer) - to practice upcoming and contingency robotic operations. Did a training session on the robotic arm simulator with trainers on the ground. This was the first time we were able to work through a training session while on orbit. We will use this simulator to prepare us up here for upcoming robotic operations. Maybe you are asking, “Why not just use the real arm?” Well, we can, but we don’t have the new truss segments or modules. This simulator allows us to simulate installing these pieces.
• Filmed a video of the environmental control life support systems (in other words, how we live up here) inside of the Station showing how we get air to breathe, where we sleep, where/how we brush teeth, wash our face, wash our hair, shave, eat.