May 26, 2006

Joe Pally
Headquarters, Washington
(202) 358-7239

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



The residents of the International Space Station turned their
attention to spacewalk preparations this week as they gear up for a
six-hour excursion outside the complex June 1. During the spacewalk,
the crew will repair and retrieve U.S. and Russian hardware.

Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and NASA Flight Engineer and
Science Officer Jeff Williams gathered equipment for the spacewalk,
charged batteries for the Russian Orlan suits they will wear and
checked out systems in the Pirs Docking Compartment airlock. The
spacewalk will be staged from Pirs.

This will be the 65th spacewalk in support of station assembly and
maintenance and the 18th conducted from this airlock. This will be
the sixth spacewalk in Vinogradov’s career and the second for

The crew members will climb into their spacesuits next Tuesday to test
their mobility and to handle tools they will use while conducting
their work outside. Vinogradov and Williams shifted their wake and
sleep cycles this week to match the hours they will work on June 1.
They will enjoy some off-duty time this weekend before resuming
spacewalk preparations on Monday, with final communications and
systems checks on their suits.

During the spacewalk the crew will install a new hydrogen vent valve
on the hull of the Zvezda Service Module to bypass a similar valve
that is clogged. The vent valve is part of the Russian Elektron
oxygen-generation system that separates oxygen and hydrogen from
water in the device’s plumbing unit. The oxygen is then circulated
into the cabin atmosphere while hydrogen is released overboard.

The spacewalkers will also recover a thruster residue collection
device from Zvezda, retrieve a contamination monitoring device and a
package of biology experiments and reposition a cable for a
navigation antenna on the aft end of Zvezda to be used next year for
the unpiloted rendezvous and docking of the new European Automated
Transfer Vehicle.

Williams will also replace a camera on the station’s Mobile Base
System railcar that moves up and down the truss of the complex.

A Mission Status Briefing to preview the spacewalk will be broadcast
on NASA TV at 2 p.m. EDT May 30 with question-and-answer capability
for reporters at agency centers. Coverage of the spacewalk on NASA TV
begins at 5:30 p.m. EDT June 1.

On the maintenance front, Vinogradov finished replacing a gas analyzer
device for the Russian carbon dioxide removal system, known as
Vozdukh. It had been operating at a slightly decreased rate in
cleansing carbon dioxide from the cabin atmosphere. Russian
specialists reactivated the system following the installation of the
new gas analyzer. Vozdukh is now operating normally.

As part of the Crew Earth Observations experiment, Williams snapped
the first shots of the Cleveland volcano erupting on the Aleutian
Islands in Alaska. From their perspective in orbit, astronauts have
been the first to spot and confirm the volcanic eruptions on several
occasions. This is the first early sighting of a new eruption in
recent years.

On Tuesday, Williams discussed the progress of his mission with The
Associated Press Television Network and conducted an amateur radio
discussion with students at a school in Venice, Italy.

Williams began runs of an experiment, designated the Investigating the
Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions. The
fluid physics experiment, last operated during Expedition 7, studies
the behavior of fluids that change their properties when in a
magnetic field. It obtains basic data on a new class of smart
materials that can be used to improve or develop new brake systems,
seat suspensions robotics, clutches, airplane landing gear and
vibration damper systems. For experiment information, visit:

Williams also continued checking the camera for the ground-commanded
Binary Colloidal Alloy Test, or BCAT-3 activity. The EarthKAM camera
and equipment is taking time-lapse photography once every hour of
BCAT sample 3. BCAT-3 uses small particles called colloids to study
fundamental physics. It gathers data that may provide insight into a
wide range of applications, from the development of new
pharmaceuticals to new rocket engines. NASA’s payload operations team
at the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.,
coordinates U.S. science activities on the station.

The next station status report will be issued in the early morning
hours on June 2, following the spacewalk, or earlier if events
warrant. For information about crew activities and station sighting
opportunities, visit: