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Sunita Williams' Mission Log
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Watching Other People Work

Life on the ISS:
I’m going to keep this short this week. You probably already know, but the Russian EVA was entirely successful. The antenna was cut and moved out of the way for the Progress to undock! Yeah!

We should have 2 more Russian EVAs during Expedition 15, so, just in case I didn't get all the list of 10 done this last time - I have other chances…

One observation worth noting this week is what the Earth looks like at night. It is a funny thing, but it surely looks a lot more populated. Lights are all over the place. There are areas of the Earth that I would absolutely think no one lived in based on daytime observations. But then at night, lights pop up in those areas. The cities are really prominent. Sadly enough, the border between N. Korea and S. Korea is even visible. I think if I were going to another planet, I would like to orbit at night to see what type of activity shows up…

Cool places we have flown over this week:
Our travels this week have taken us over quite a bit of eastern Europe - looks cold and snowy down there. Also, some more sightings of craters in Africa, a sand storm in the Middle East, Iraq/Kuwait area.

I haven’t been taking a lot of pictures this week because we have an experiment in the lab window. The experiment is called EarthKam. This is a pretty neat experiment, based out of UC San Diego. In this experiment, students from all over the U.S. and around the world submit requests for pictures and the university takes the pictures here through a computer program. Over 98 schools, 6,000 students have been participating this week. Over 800 images of our planet have been taken and downlinked for these students to use in their classes. If you are interested in learning more or wondering how to get your schools involved, here is the website:


We are also starting to see the formation of hurricanes in the southern hemisphere. It is that time of year there. The northern hemisphere season will be here soon too. Hope we don't see too many.

Good Food:
Garlic baked in olive oil - yummy on bread and wheat flat bread! The entire Service Module smelled like an Italian restaurant. We got the garlic from the Progress and have been thinking of ways to use it. I cut it up and put some in my food. But we thought this would be a great appetizer. It was, but it was lots of trouble. We cut a drink bag, put the garlic cloves in, poured on some olive oil, sealed it up - we thought - and baked it over night. Oil has a tendency to migrate, so it got out of the aluminum pouch and all over the oven. The oven smelled good, and still smells good. However, everything else we put in there comes out smelling like garlic and olive oil. Even the berry cherry cobbler, heated up, was smelling like garlic. It has taken us a while to air out the oven.

• 30 minutes biking, 2 miles running
• 5 miles running
• 30 minutes biking, 3 miles running
• 60 minutes biking
• 4.5 miles running
• 40 minutes biking, 2.2 miles walking/running
• 13.2 miles - that hurt a bit. No record time either, but I watched a funny Russian movie about fishing.
I am starting to take one day of a week of lifting to give my legs a little break with the increased running distance. I am also trying to stretch quite a bit. I brought up a yoga CD and am going to try that tonight...not sure how it will work. I will give you the lowdown next week.

Things we did:
• SSRMS checkout. Robotic arm moved in preparations for the next Space Shuttle flight, STS 117, Atlantis. We needed to “walk off” and move the arm into position for the next piece of truss we are going to install. Both ends of the "arm" can act like the base or the end effector. So, to change the base (the shoulder) you grapple a pin with the end effector (hand) of the arm. Then we and the ground go through a series of steps to change the power from the previous shoulder to the new shoulder. Then the old shoulder becomes the hand and lets go of the pin it is holding on to. This gives the arm a lot of flexibility to move to the optimum position for the tasks it needs to perform. Pretty amazing piece of machinery.
• Stowage and packing to get ready for the upcoming Space Shuttle Atlantis mission, STS-117. Launch date is 15 March right now. 3 more of my Group 17 Penguins (we were the 17th group of astronauts to be selected in 1998 - patience is a virtue I think all of us have) are going to be making their first flights on this mission! The name Penguin came from the fact that they are essentially flight-less birds...but they/we are starting to fly in good numbers!
• Orlan EVA

ISS014e14552 : Mikhail Tyurin conducts spacewalk

Misha hanging out…

Image to left: Cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin of Russia's Federal Space Agency, Expedition 14 flight engineer, participates in a 6-hour, 18-minute spacewalk to retract a stuck antenna on a cargo spacecraft and perform some miscellaneous tasks. Tyurin was joined by astronaut Michael A. Lopez-Alegria for the add-on extravehicular activity. Image credit: NASA

ISS014e14537 : Michael Lopez-Alegria conducts spacewalk

LA squinting…

Image to right: Astronaut Michael A. Lopez-Alegria, Expedition 14 commander and NASA ISS science officer, participates in a 6-hour, 18-minute spacewalk to retract a stuck antenna on a cargo spacecraft and perform some miscellaneous tasks. Lopez-Alegria was joined by cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, flight engineer representing Russia's Federal Space Agency, for the add-on extravehicular activity. Image credit: NASA