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For release: 03-31-03
Science Ops status report #: 03-048

Lights on as the Space Station’s Microgravity Science Glovebox prepares for more science

Photo description: Microgravity Science Glovebox

The Microgravity Science Glovebox, a sealed container with built-in gloves, is now ready to house experiments aboard the International Space Station. Station Science Officer Don Pettit worked closely with the team at NASA's Payload Operations Center at the Marshall Center — the command post for all science activities on the Station — to complete recent troubleshooting of the glovebox. Read more about other science activities on the Space Station.

Photo: Microgravity Science Glovebox (NASA/JSC)

The Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) aboard the International Space Station appears ready for science.  After weeks of systematic troubleshooting for the cause of a circuit breaker trip, the glovebox — a sealed container with gloves designed to provide an enclosed workspace for experiments — is getting set to support science investigations.  However, the cause of the circuit breaker trip has not been found, so it is possible it will reoccur. Although this time, the Power Distribution and Conversion box filter design has been modified to prevent another failure. 

International Space Station Science Officer Don Pettit worked with the specialists at the Payload Operations Center at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. to complete the glovebox troubleshooting in the station’s Destiny laboratory. Last Monday, Pettit activated the glovebox for 26 hours to perform one final check of circuits and a test run of the Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation or (PFMI). That experiment had been inside the glovebox since it lost power in November. 

On Thursday, the PFMI hardware was swapped out with hardware from another experiment — Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions (InSpace). The InSpace samples are being processed this week. Since InSPACE samples are not consumed during this investigation, they can be reused and would not be lost in the event of another MSG circuit breaker trip. The InSpace experiment will research a new class of “smart materials" or controllable fluids. These fluids can be used to improve or develop new brake systems, seat suspensions, robotics, clutches, airplane landing gear and vibration damping systems.

Meantime, as the crew prepares for an upcoming space walk, the Pulmonary Function in Flight, or PuFF, experiment sessions have been increased from monthly to bi-weekly. PuFF supports the continuing investigation of the effects of long-term microgravity exposure and EVA’s on lung function. The latest PuFF session was photographed and video recorded for historical documentation.

The crew continues weekly EVA Radiation Monitoring, or EVARM, experiment badge readings, which are presently co-located with the Intravehicular Charged Particle Directional Spectrometer (IVCPDS). These readings will help determine a closer correlation between the EVARM badge calibrations and the IVCPDS measurements.

Commander Ken Bowersox also conducted a Foot Reaction Forces During Space Flight, or FOOT, session last week. This experiment records signals from hip, leg, and ankle muscles and joint angles, as well as foot push-off forces, to characterize the effects of microgravity on the lower extremities.

Crew Earth Observations continue with the crew having the opportunity to photograph such South American sites as the Patagonian Glaciers, and the world’s largest wetlands. NASA’s payload operations team at the Marshall Center coordinates all science activities. Planners continue to schedule activities for the rest of Expedition Six as well as Expedition Seven.  The two man Expedition Seven crew is scheduled to arrive at the Station on a Soyuz spacecraft this spring.

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
ISS photo of the day
Science Ops news

Steve Roy
Public Affairs Office
(256) 544-0034

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