The current International Space Station crew began packing for home this week while the next Station crew completed a final review of plans before heading to the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, to prepare for launch.
On Monday Expedition 10 Commander Leroy Chiao and Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov held a news conference with reporters at NASA centers and discussed Station systems, lessons learned from two-man crew operations on the Station and the return of the Space Shuttle to flight. Chiao and Sharipov performed some maintenance work this week as well, including re-pressurizing the Station atmosphere with oxygen from the Progress supply ship’s tank. They discharged two carbon dioxide-removing lithium hydroxide canisters that were nearing their expiration dates while ground specialists monitored the Station’s environment to gauge the efficiency of the Russian canisters for possible future use.
Flight controllers and engineers are continuing to analyze several spikes in vibration and electrical current that have been noted in one of the Control Moment Gyroscopes. The two functional gyroscopes are operating well and continuing to control the Station's orientation. While the analysis continues, the Station is in an orientation that minimizes demands on the gyroscopes. Remaining in that orientation does not change other Station operations. The ongoing analysis focuses on attempts to correlate the events with activity aboard the Station.
At the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, Expedition 11 Commander Sergei Krikalev and Flight Engineer John Phillips, along with European Space Agency (ESA) Astronaut Roberto Vittori, who will travel to the Station for eight days under a commercial agreement between Russia and ESA, spent the week reviewing flight plans. They will travel to Kazakhstan Saturday. Their launch on ISS Soyuz 10 is set for 7:46 p.m. CDT Thursday, April 14. They will dock at the Station’s Pirs docking compartment at 9:19 p.m. CDT April 16. Vittori will join Chiao and Soyuz Commander Sharipov for the trip back to Earth, departing the Station and landing in Kazakhstan on April 24. Video of launch preparations at Baikonur will air on NASA TV daily, beginning Monday. NASA TV will broadcast the launch live starting at 7 p.m. CDT April 14.
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 April 14 after the launch of Expedition 11, or sooner if events warrant.
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