December 9, 2005

J.D. Harrington
Headquarters, Washington
Phone: (202) 358-5241

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



Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery
Tokarev focused on keeping the International Space Station in good
working condition this week, as managers reviewed plans for changing
cargo vehicles.

On Monday, McArthur replaced thermal fuses in a Volatile Organic
Analyzer in the Destiny Lab. The device is an atmospheric contaminant
monitor that measures the amount of gases in the cabin air. McArthur
planned to replace a circulation fan today in the rack the unit is
housed in; the apparatus will be activated and checked next week.

In the Russian Zarya module, the crew performed routine smoke detector
cleaning. Tokarev repaired air ducts to improve airflow into the U.S.
segment, and he installed mufflers on an adjustable fan in the
sleeping quarters to reduce noise.

As part of NASA’s education programs, McArthur recorded an explanation
of the station’s solar panels. The curriculum-based crew activities
demonstrate the basic principles of science, math, physics,
engineering and geography. The programs show students how familiar
objects on Earth may behave differently in weightlessness. The
videotaped session was down linked for use in classrooms and NASA
educational products.

McArthur updated the operating software of the five racks designed to
house science experiments in the Destiny lab. He also prepared the
canisters of a materials exposure experiment for installation outside
the station during the next space shuttle mission.

The crew spent time gathering unneeded equipment and trash for
disposal in the Progress cargo spacecraft docked to the aft port of
the Zvezda module. They removed the Progress’ Kurs automatic docking
system for return to Earth for refurbishment and reuse.

Station managers are reviewing a proposed plan to keep the Progress
docked a few more months. The extra time would allow the crew to use
its oxygen and fuel and for additional trash disposal. The Progress
is scheduled to undock Dec. 20.

The next Progress is set to launch Dec. 21 from the Baikonur
Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It will be the 20th Progress to dock with
the station. If the Progress docked to the station remains in place,
the new Progress will dock to the Pirs Docking Compartment on Dec.
23. It will deliver almost three tons of food, water, fuel, oxygen,
air, spare parts and holiday gifts.

For information about crew activities, future launch dates and station
sighting opportunities on the Web, visit:

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:


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Quindi stanno pensando seriamente a far rimanere il Progress attraccato alla stazione ed agganciarne un secondo?
I Russi non si smentiscono mai sulla filosofia del non buttare via nulla! In fondo ci sono tanti di quei portelli di aggancio sulla ISS che tenerne un altro occupato non cambia poi molto…