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Melissa Mathews
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-1272)

James Hartsfield
Johnson Space Center, Houston
(Phone: 281/483-5111)

Dec. 10, 2004
RELEASE : SS04-044
International Space Station Status Report: SS04-044
International Space Station crewmembers this week continued research and maintenance activities and prepared for arrival of the next Progress cargo craft. On Wednesday, Station managers reviewed preparations for the upcoming launch of an unpiloted Russian Progress resupply ship, the 16th to visit the Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They confirmed work is progressing well for the scheduled liftoff at 5:19 p.m. EST Dec. 23.

The spacecraft will bring 2.5 tons of food, fuel, clothing and other supplies to the complex. Almost 70 food containers have been added to the craft's manifest to replenish onboard supplies. Station managers said recent audits showed there were fewer rations available to the crew than previously thought. The Expedition 10 crewmembers, Commander Leroy Chiao and Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov, have adequate food to last one or two weeks beyond the arrival of the Progress. They are working with nutritionists to make sure the onboard food supply can be safely rationed.

The Progress is scheduled to arrive at the Station at about 7:05 p.m. EST Dec. 25. Along with food, water, spare parts, science gear and equipment; the craft will carry Christmas gifts and other personal items for Chiao and Sharipov. The Progress already attached to the Station will be undocked from the rear of the Zvezda Service Module at 2:32 p.m. EST Dec. 22, clearing the aft port for the new vehicle.

Throughout the week, Chiao prepared the U.S. laboratory Destiny for the arrival of additional science experiments. He helped with several tests of the Active Rack Isolation System in one of the payload racks that will be used to house investigations.

For the "Saturday Science" program, Chiao conducted the In-Space Soldering Investigation experiment. He soldered 18 test articles, while the activity was recorded by a camcorder. He performed an additional test on a debris containment system that keeps nontoxic debris, like solder, from floating loose in the Station.

The tests connect the coupons, metal alloy wires of various configurations, together with solder and are designed to evaluate the effectiveness of different geometries typical of the kinds of operations that might be required in the future. The ground team monitoring the work expressed high satisfaction with their preliminary review of the down linked live video, indicating all coupons should yield important science data when they are returned to Earth.

Today, Chiao took photos of the Binary Colloidal Alloys Test. Researchers are using the experiment to study fluids like milk or paint that have particles suspended in them. The experiment samples are shaken initially and then photographed periodically to document how the particles settle in microgravity. Researchers hope to use this data to develop new technologies ranging from rocket propulsion to cable television.

Chiao and Sharipov participated in a Russian experiment to test the human cardiovascular system in space. The test included Sharipov wearing a special suit called the Chibis. It simulates forces on the musculoskeletal system using suction and provides information for researchers to evaluate the body's adaptation to living in space without gravity for long periods.

Maintenance work this week included conditioning of U.S. spacesuit batteries, gathering inter-module air duct measurements, collecting water and air samples for analysis, and installing cables in the Russian segment. Crewmembers also held a fire drill, which included the procedures they would use if they had to leave the Station in an emergency.

Information about crew activities on the Space Station, future launch dates and Station sighting opportunities from Earth, is available on the Internet at:

Details about Station science operations are available on an Internet site administered by the Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., at:

For information about NASA and other agency missions, visit:


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