Search Marshall


Text Size

Link to Marshall Newsroom home page

Fact sheet number: FS-2004-03-37-MSFC
Release date: 04/04

International Space Station Expedition Nine:
Science Operations Overview

Photo description: International Space Station in December, 2002
International Space Station, photographed by a crewmember on board Space Shuttle Endeavour on December 2, 2002 (NASA/JSC)

Expedition 9, the ninth science research mission on the International Space Station, is scheduled to begin in April 2004, when the ninth crew arrives at the Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. It is designated the 8S mission for the eighth Soyuz to visit the Space Station. A crew of two will replace Expedition 8 crewmembers Michael Foale and Alexander Kaleri, who are scheduled to return home in April on another Soyuz spacecraft (7S), currently docked at the Station.

During Expedition 9, two Russian Progress cargo flights, called 14P and 15P for the 14thand 15th Progress vehicles, are scheduled to dock with the Space Station. The Progress re-supply ships will transport supplies to the Station and also may carry scientific equipment.

Much of the research complement for Expedition 9 will be carried out with scientific research facilities and samples already on board the Space Station. Additional experiments are being evaluated and prepared to take advantage of the limited cargo space on the Soyuz or Progress vehicles. The research agenda for the expedition remains flexible. A few perishable samples, such as urine samples and crystals, may be returned to Earth on the Soyuz. Most equipment and samples can remain on board the Station with minimal or no detrimental effects.

Expedition 9 crewmembers are Commander Gennady Padalka, and Flight Engineer Edward Michael Fincke, who also will serve as NASA Space Station Science Officer. They will continue maintaining the Space Station and work with science teams on the ground to operate experiments and collect data.

European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers will fly with the Expedition 9 crew to the Station to conduct research for a 10-day period, then return to Earth with the Expedition 8 crew. Kuipers will conduct European experiments inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox - a science facility built by the European Space Agency in collaboration with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

The Expedition 9 crew has more than 200 hours of possible payload activities. Space Station science also will be conducted by the ever-present additional "crewmembers" - the team of controllers and scientists on the ground, who will continue to plan, monitor and operate experiments from control centers around the United States.

A new cadre of controllers for Expedition 9 will replace Expedition 8 colleagues in the International Space Station's Payload Operations Center - the world's primary science command post for the Space Station - at the Marshall Center. Controllers work in three shifts around the clock, seven days a week in the Payload Operations Center, which links researchers around the world with their experiments and the crew aboard the Space Station.

Experiments using on-board resources

Many experiments from earlier Expeditions remain aboard the Space Station and will continue to benefit from the long-term research platform provided by the orbiting laboratory. These experiments include:

Crew Earth Observations (CEO) takes advantage of the crew in space to observe and photograph natural and man-made changes on Earth. The photographs record observable Earth surface changes over time, as well as more fleeting events such as storms, floods, fires and volcanic eruptions. Together they provide researchers on Earth with vital, continuous images needed to better understand the planet.

Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students (EarthKAM), an education experiment, allows students to program a digital camera aboard the Station to take pictures of a variety of geographical targets for study in the classroom.

Interactions will identify and characterize interpersonal and cultural factors that may affect crew and ground support personnel performance during Space Station missions. This experiment has been conducted on Expeditions 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8. It was also performed during five joint NASA/Russian Mir Space Station missions. Crewmembers answer a questionnaire and send data back to Earth. The information gained will help define the effects of these personal factors and will lead to improved training and in-flight support of future space crews.

Behavioral Issues Association with Isolation and Confinement: Review and Analysis of Astronaut Journals obtains information on behavioral and human factors relevant to the design of the equipment and procedures and sustained human performance during long-duration missions. Study results will provide data on which to base decisions concerning the priority that should be placed on the various behavioral issues to prepare for future missions.

Renal Stone collects urine samples from the crew and tests a possible countermeasure for preventing kidney stone formation. This experiment will continue with the launch of resupply hardware..

Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation (PFMI), an experiment performed in the Microgravity Science Glovebox, will melt samples of transparent modeling material to study how bubbles can be trapped in metal or crystal samples during space processing. Eliminating these bubbles could contribute to the development of stronger materials. Several samples were processed inside the glovebox during Expeditions 5, 7 and 8. These samples can be processed several times with different experiment settings, allowing investigators to study different phenomena.

Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) is a suitcase-sized experiment attached to the outside of the Space Station. It exposes hundreds of potential space construction materials to the environment. The samples will be returned to Earth for study during a later expedition. Investigators will use the resulting data to design stronger, more durable spacecraft.

Protein Crystal Growth Single-locker Thermal Enclosure System (PCG-STES) will continue to process crystals that have been growing since Expedition 6. Crystals were also grown on Expeditions 2, 4 and 5, then returned to Earth for analysis. The facility provides a temperature-controlled environment for growing high-quality protein crystals of selected proteins in microgravity for later analyses on the ground to determine the proteins' molecular structure. Research may contribute to advances in medicine, agriculture and other fields.

Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) and Microgravity Acceleration Measurement System (MAMS) sensors measure vibrations caused by crew, equipment and other sources that could disturb microgravity experiments.

Capillary Flow Experiment (CFE) will study how fluids behave in low gravity. Since fluids behave differently in low gravity, this information will be valuable for engineers who are designing spacecraft cooling systems, life support systems and the many other types of equipment that use fluids to operate.

For the Cell Biotechnology Operations Support Systems Fluid Dynamics Investigation (CBOSS - FDI), crew members will conduct a fluid-mixing test using CBOSS fluid samples. CBOSS is used to grow three-dimensional tissue that retains the form and function of natural living tissue, a capability that could hold insights in studying human diseases, including various types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and AIDS. These types of cellular experiments were conducted during Expeditions 3 and 4. A critical step in performing these cell experiments involves mixing fluids. These fluid-mixing tests will be conducted to improve future experiments.

Education Payload Operations (EPO) includes educational activities that will focus on demonstrating science, mathematics, technology, engineering or geography principles. EPO is designed to support the NASA Mission to inspire the next generation of explorers.

Viscous Liquid Foam - Bulk Metallic Glass (Foam) will study the structure of viscous or thick liquid foam produced by processing bulk metallic glasses - a new family of glasses discovered by NASA-funded researchers in the 1990s. Investigators will compare samples produced on the Space Station to samples on the ground and will determine if microgravity made it easier to control the processing of the materials.

Fluid Merging Viscosity Measurement (FMVM) will study the viscosity or thickness of fluids - a property of fluids that causes them to resist flowing because of the internal friction created as the molecules move against each other. Understanding the viscosity of molten materials is important for everything from designing laboratory experiments to industrial production of materials.

Binary Colloidal Alloy Test - 3 (BCAT - 3) will study the long-term behavior of colloids - a system of fine particles suspended in a fluid - in a microgravity environment, where the effects of sedimentation and convection are removed. Crewmembers will evenly mix the samples, photograph the growth and formations of the colloids, and downlink the images for analysis.

Pre- and Post-flight Human Physiology

Many continuing experiments will use pre- and post-flight measurements of Expedition 9 crewmembers to study changes in the body caused by exposure to the microgravity environment.

Promoting Sensorimotor Response to Generalizability: A Countermeasure to Mitigate Locomotor Dysfunction After Long-duration Spaceflight (Mobility) studies changes in posture and gait after long-duration spaceflight.

Biopsy allows researchers to take biopsies of their calf muscles before and after their stay on board the Space Station. This will allow scientists to begin developing an in-space countermeasure exercise program aimed at keeping muscles at their peak performance during long missions in space.

Chromosomal Aberrations in Blood Lymphocytes of Astronauts (Chromosome), will study space radiation on humans. The expected results will provide a better knowledge of the genetic risk of astronauts in space and can help to optimize radiation shielding.

Experiments Requiring Transport by Soyuz or Progress Vehicles

Expedition 9 also may include these experiments:

Yeast - Group Activation Pack (Yeast - GAP) - will evaluate the role of individual genes in the response of yeast to space flight conditions. The results of this research could help clarify how mammalian cells grow under microgravity conditions and determine if genes are altered.

Dust Aerosol Measurement Feasibility Test (DAFT) will release particles in the Space Station atmosphere to test the ability of different equipment to measure the levels of dust and air quality.

Destiny Laboratory Facilities

Several research facilities are in place aboard the Station to support Expedition 9 science investigations.

The Human Research Facility is designed to house and support a variety of life sciences experiments. It includes equipment for lung function tests, ultrasound to image the heart and many other types of computers and medical equipment.

The Microgravity Science Glovebox is the other major dedicated science facility inside Destiny. It has a large front window and built-in gloves to provide a sealed environment for conducting science and technology experiments. The Glovebox is particularly suited for handling hazardous materials when a crew is present. The facility's hardware is working and is available for Expedition 9 operations.

The Destiny lab also is outfitted with five EXPRESS Racks. EXPRESS, or Expedite the Processing of Experiments to the Space Station racks are standard payload racks designed to provide experiments with a variety of utilities such as power, data, cooling, fluids and gasses. The racks support payloads in a several disciplines, including biology, chemistry, physics, ecology and medicines. The racks stay in orbit, while experiments are changed as needed. EXPRESS Racks 2 and 3 are equipped with the Active Rack Isolation System (ARIS) for countering minute vibrations from crew movement or operating equipment that could disturb delicate experiments.

On the Internet

For fact sheets, imagery and more on Expedition 9 experiments and payload operations, click on:

Steve Roy
Public Affairs Office
(256) 544-0034

Graphic for line

Get releases sent directly to you!
Betty Humphery

Graphic for line