May 14, 2004
International Space Station Status Report: SS04-009
The crew of the International Space Station (ISS) is working through its regular schedule of operations in orbit. Expedition 9 Commander Gennady Padalka and NASA ISS Science Officer and Flight Engineer Mike Fincke spent the week preparing spacesuits for their upcoming spacewalk and loading trash aboard a Progress logistics vehicle.
Early in the week, Fincke conducted the second in a series of battery recharging activities for the U.S. spacesuits. The nickel metal hydride batteries will be used during a spacesuit dry run scheduled for next week. Fincke also worked on the water servicing system of one of the spacesuits' liquid cooling and ventilation garments. The garments, worn under the spacesuit, are imbedded with a network of tiny tubes that provide cooling. Fincke's maintenance work ensured no air bubbles will develop in that tubing.
The spacesuit work is part of preparations and evaluations for a spacewalk planned for June 10 to replace a Remote Power Control Module and restore power to a Station Control Moment Gyroscope.
Both crew members spent several hours loading trash into the Progress 13 spacecraft, which is scheduled to be undocked from the Station NET 5:18 a.m. EDT May 24. The next Russian cargo vehicle, Progress 14, is scheduled to launch May 25 from Kazakhstan at 8:34 a.m. EDT and dock with the Station at 8:57 a.m. EDT May 27. Progress 14 will carry fresh food, clothes and other supplies for the Station and new spacesuit gloves and other equipment for the June 10 spacewalk.
Also this week, U.S. flight controllers transmitted a software upgrade to several onboard computers. The upgrades are part of an extensive program initiated this year to improve Station software. They were loaded in four separate Station computers: two external multiplexer/demultiplexers (MDMs) and two S0 Truss MDMs that operate the systems on the truss.
The crew's scientific work included setting up a camera for use by thousands of middle-school students. The Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students (EarthKAM) camera was set up to operate from a window in the Zvezda Service Module. More than 60 schools and 3,600 students are expected to participate in EarthKAM observations.
The EarthKAM program allows students to research and select photos of sites on Earth to be taken using the equipment aboard the Station. A Station computer receives the list of requested images from the ground. A high-resolution digital camera controlled by a nearby laptop computer, photographs the target. The computer then downlinks the image back to Earth. When the students receive the digital images, they conduct geographical research based on the photographs.
Crewmembers also had some daily time reserved for continued Station familiarization and adaptation, as is routine for new Station crewmembers during their first two weeks onboard.
Flight controllers are also preparing for a regularly scheduled reboost of the ISS Tuesday using the Progress engine for an 11-minute firing that will increase the altitude of the Station by two statute miles at its apogee.
For information about NASA and agency missions on the Internet, visit:
Information about crew activities on the Space Station, future launch dates, and Station sighting opportunities from Earth, is available on the Internet at:
Station science information is available on an Internet site administered by the Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., at:
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