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For release: 02-20-03 (for week ending 02-12-03)
Science Ops status report #: 03-031

Expedition Six Space Station crew focuses on science mission

Photo description: Commander Ken Bowersox does physiology experiment

The Expedition Six crew on the International Space Station is focusing on the two 'P's of space research: physiology and physical science. Research in both of these key scientific areas is sponsored by NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research. Science activities on the Station are planned and carried out by NASA's Payload Operations Center at the Marshall Center.

Photo: Commander Ken Bowersox does physiology experiment. (NASA/JSC)

Science operations continue on the International Space Station with Expedition Six crewmembers focusing on the two "P's" of space research - physiology and physical science. These two scientific areas of study are the focus of many Station investigations.

The three crewmembers - Commander Ken Bowersox, Flight Engineer Nikolay Budarin and NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pettit -- unloaded the scientific equipment that arrived on the Russian Progress resupply ship on Feb. 4. On Tuesday, the Progress engines raised the Station's orbit by 9.2 kilometers (5.7 miles) to 386 by 410 kilometers (240 by 255 statue miles). During this reboost, two accelerometer systems measured vibrations.

Despite their being much smaller in magnitude than on Earth, vibration forces can be detrimental to some investigations. The Space Acceleration Monitoring System (SAMS) and the Microgravity Acceleration Measurement System (MAMS) record acceleration data for Station investigators.

Physical science experiments are often the most affected by accelerations. The Expedition Six crew's research agenda includes physical science research that examines how materials, fluids and other processes are affected or change inside the microgravity or low-gravity environment within the orbiting Space Station.

Troubleshooting efforts continued on the Station's Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG). The MSG is dedicated to physical research and provides a contained area for safely conducting experiments involving fumes, fluids, flames or loose particles. The European Space Agency (ESA) built the facility and the Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., plans and orchestrates all research on the Station. The ESA and Marshall teams are using the data from the troubleshooting activities, as well as information provided by Pettit, to complete an in-depth analysis and develop a more detailed troubleshooting plan, which Pettit can implement.

When Space Station crewmembers are not studying how physical systems are affected by microgravity, they are often focusing on the other "P" of space flight research: physiology. The Human Research Facility (HRF) -- another floor-to-ceiling, facility-class rack inside Destiny - supports these investigations. On Feb. 7, Bowersox performed the fourth session of the FOOT/Ground Reaction Forces During Space Flight (FOOT) experiment. FOOT characterizes the stress on the bones and muscles in the lower extremities.

The crew completed several other regular experiment activities, such as checking the status of automated experiments, recording data from radiation monitors and photographing Earth .

For supporting materials for this news release - such as photographs, fact sheets, video and audio files and more - please visit the NASA Marshall Center Newsroom Web site at:

For more information:
Status report
Expedition Six experiment fact sheets
Space Research Web site
Science Ops news

Delores Beasley
NASA Headquarters
(202) 358-1753

Steve Roy
Public Affairs Office
(256) 544-0034

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