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International Space Station Expedition 11 Science Operations Status Report for the Week Ending September 16, 2005
Steve Roy
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
(Phone: 256.544.0034)

Status Report: 05-153

The installation and activation of a replacement part for an oxygen-generating system and the Foot/Ground Reaction Forces During Spaceflight (Foot) experiment highlighted recent activities on board the International Space Station.

Expedition 11 Commander Sergei Krikalev and NASA Science Officer John Phillips have been troubleshooting the Elektron oxygen-generation system by activating a new liquids unit. The Elektron breaks down water into oxygen for use in the station’s atmosphere. The Elektron has not functioned for several months. Adequate oxygen supplies are available on the station from tanks and Solid Fuel Oxygen Generators.

In addition to the Elektron liquids unit replacement, Phillips set up hardware for the Foot experiment. Monitored by the team in the Payload Operations Center at the Marshall Center, Phillips put on customized Lycra cycling tights for his fifth and final session of the experiment. Foot investigates the differences between use of the body’s lower extremities on Earth and in space, and changes in the musculoskeletal system during spaceflight.

During the session, Phillips wore the instrumented Lower Extremity Monitoring Suit, or LEMS, which measures joint angles, muscle activity and forces on the feet while exercising.

Taking force measurements while running through the range of settings with each piece of exercise equipment helps determine the settings necessary to match the forces that bones experience during exercise on Earth. Matching those forces during exercise is critical to reducing the amount of bone lost while in weightlessness.

The theories that are being explored in this experiment have significance for understanding, preventing and treating osteoporosis -- a disease occurring among women after the menopause in which the bones break easily and heal slowly -- on Earth.

NASA's payload operations team at the Marshall Center coordinates U.S. science activities on Space Station.