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9 a.m. CST, Friday, Dec. 30, 2005
Mission Control Center, Houston
International Space Station Status Report #05-64
Midway through their six-month flight, the two men aboard the International Space Station celebrated a quiet Christmas this week and looked forward to a similar New Year's Day.

Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev spent Christmas Day talking with friends, family and coworkers as they ate a festive meal of Russian soup, bread, fish and other fare. They opened gifts that had arrived Dec. 23 aboard the station's most recent cargo shipment. The presents included a Russian Santa Claus matryoshka doll, chocolates and other items. The crew had a day off Monday, Dec. 26 in observance of Christmas, and they also will have Monday, Jan. 2 off duty to observe New Year's. They plan to celebrate New Year's with another Russian meal from among the spacecraft's supplies.

The station operated well during the week with no systems problems noted by the crew or flight controllers. The crew's activities included logging their food intake and collecting urine samples as part of a medical study to better understand ways to prevent the formation of kidney stones in weightlessness. The crew also began unloading almost three tons of equipment and supplies brought to the station aboard the ISS Progress 20 cargo ship.

The station's Elektron oxygen generation system was intentionally shut down and oxygen from the older Progress craft, Progress 19 that is still docked to the station, is being used to replenish the complex's cabin atmosphere. McArthur and Tokarev had several special linkups in observance of the holidays, including a conversation with the Russian Grandfather Frost and a press conference with media at the Russian Mission Control Center in Korolev.

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 station status report will be issued on Friday, Jan. 6, or earlier if events warrant.

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