Aboard the International Space Station, the Expedition 9 crew concentrated on a host of scientific experiments and routine systems maintenance work in its 13th week in orbit.
Commander Gennady Padalka and NASA ISS Science Officer Mike Fincke conducted numerous biomedical experiments, including a Russian experiment named “Profilaktika” designed to measure Padalka’s cardiovascular condition while pedaling on a bicycle ergometer in the Zvezda Service Module. Fincke operated a fluid dynamics experiment in the Destiny Lab to measure how spheres of liquid emitted from syringes migrate in microgravity to form a single sphere. He also conducted an experiment to test the properties of foam in a weightless environment.
Details on Station science operations, managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, can be found on the Payload Operations Center’s Internet site at http://scipoc.msfc.nasa.gov/
The crew spent part of its week stowing trash in the ISS Progress 14 resupply craft docked to the aft end of Zvezda. The unpiloted Progress will be cast off from the ISS by Russian flight controllers on July 30 and deorbited to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere. A new Progress cargo ship is scheduled for launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on August 11 for a docking to the Station on August 14. It will carry food, fuel, water and supplies for Padalka and Fincke and for the Expedition 10 crew that is scheduled to launch to the Station in October.
On Thursday, Russian flight controllers were unable to upload new software into the Zvezda’s computers in preparation for next year’s maiden launch of the unpiloted European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) cargo ship that will operate in tandem with the Russian Progress vehicles. Russian specialists are analyzing what may have caused the unsuccessful upload and plan to try again next Wednesday. The computers are operating normally with the current load of software.
Earlier today, Padalka replaced a pump assembly in Zvezda that malfunctioned on Wednesday, causing the temporary loss of one of two redundant loops that provides cooling for Russian segment systems. The backup cooling system kept all Russian systems operating at the proper temperatures until the replacement work occurred. Both cooling loops are now working normally.
Fincke discussed life and work aboard the Station on Wednesday with a reporter from the Boston Globe newspaper magazine for an upcoming feature article and spent a few minutes in a ship-to-ship call discussing deep sea and outer space exploration with a NASA research team residing in the underwater ship “Aquarius” as part of the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) activities being conducted off the coast of Key Largo, FL.
Padalka and Fincke also participated in a pair of simulated emergency drills on board to maintain proficiency in handling medical emergencies and the unlikely depressurization of the Station cabin.
Next week, Fincke plans to conduct additional troubleshooting work on U.S. spacesuits with help from Mission Control. The Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMU) have cooling problems, which have tentatively been traced to pumps inside the suits. These pumps circulate water through the suit to keep spacewalkers cool or warm. Fincke plans to remove a pump from the suit designated for use by Padalka for further examination. Repair parts for the suits are to be launched next month aboard the next Progress supply craft.
The next spacewalk, using Russian Orlan suits, is planned for Aug. 3. During the spacewalk, the crew will retrieve science experiments, install others, and prepare the outside of the Zvezda module’s docking port for next year’s first flight of the ATV. Next week, the crew will begin preparations for the spacewalk and will review procedures for the excursion.
Information on the crew's activities aboard the Space Station, future launch dates, as well as Station sighting opportunities from anywhere on the Earth, is available on the Internet at:
The next ISS status report will be issued Friday, July 23, or earlier as events warrant.
- end -