March 10, 2006

Katherine Trinidad
Headquarters, Washington
(202) 358-3749

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



The International Space Station crew’s week included a robotic arm
first and a docking communications test to prepare for a new European
cargo ship.

Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery
Tokarev repaired a cabin air analyzer. They also completed a
scientific study of the effects of weightlessness on the muscles,
joints and bones of the lower body.

For the first time, Mission Control, Houston, moved the station’s
Canadarm2 robotic arm by remote control from the ground for normal
station operations. Previous remote operations of the arm were done
only as capability tests, but this week controllers used it to survey
several exterior station components.

On Thursday and Friday, controllers used the arm’s TV cameras to view
one of two integrated umbilical assembly mechanisms on the station’s
mobile transporter rail car. One umbilical was cut when an assembly
malfunctioned in December. They also checked a Destiny laboratory
vent for contamination. Initial reports indicate the vent, used to
dump carbon dioxide overboard, is clean. McArthur operated the arm
for in-flight proficiency training on Wednesday.

McArthur repaired electrical connectors in the major constituent
analyzer, restoring the device to operation. It is one of several
systems used to monitor the composition of station air, and it is
needed for an upcoming test of new spacewalk preparation procedures.
With the successful repair, managers plan to conduct the “camp out”
test of spacewalk preparations in early April. The test may occur
during handover from the crew to the Expedition 13 crew scheduled to
arrive April 1.

This week, McArthur wore specially instrumented cycling tights for a
final session with the Foot/Ground Reaction Forces during Space
Flight experiment, which began on Expedition 6. The experiment
investigates the differences between use of the lower extremities on
Earth and in space. For this session, McArthur wore the instrumented
Lower Extremity Monitoring Suit, which measured his joint angles,
muscle activity and forces on the feet during his exercise routines
on the cycle ergometer and the resistive exercise devices.

The data provided valuable information on the exact loads crew members
experience on their lower extremities in spaceflight. This will aid
in understanding bone loss during long duration space missions. The
experiment may help in developing methods to counteract that effect.
NASA’s payload operations team at the Marshall Space Flight Center,
Huntsville, Ala., coordinates U.S. science activities on the station.

Tokarev performed a test associated with the automatic docking system
for the European Automated Transfer Vehicle. The European Space
Agency unpiloted cargo carrier, set to launch next year, will have
twice the capacity of the Russian Progress cargo craft. This week’s
test involved transmitting docking radio signals from the station to
ground stations located in the Canary Islands and near Madrid, Spain.

Also this week, McArthur videotaped a demonstration of sleeping on the
station and a typical morning routine for use in NASA educational

The crew will soon begin preparing for a short trip away from their
orbiting home. They plan to relocate their Soyuz capsule from the
Earth-facing docking port of the station’s Zarya module to an aft
port on the Zvezda module. The flight will take approximately 30
minutes on March 20. It will clear the Zarya port for the Expedition
13 arrival.

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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