Nov. 3, 2006
Johnson Space Center, Houston
STATUS REPORT: SS06-048
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION STATUS REPORT: SS06-048
Repair of an oxygen generator, robotic arm operations and cargo
unpacking were the top priorities aboard the International Space
Station this week.
On Monday, Expedition 14 Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin installed new
valves and cables to repair the Elektron oxygen-generation unit which
shut down in mid-September. Tyurin re-activated it after installing
the new parts, and the Elektron is supplying oxygen for the cabin
The crew unpacked most of the items from the recently arrived Russian
Progress cargo ship including the Elektron parts, fresh food and
other systems hardware. The rest will be unpacked as needed and as
Commander Mike Lopez-Alegria worked on robotics proficiency tasks
throughout the week. At the start of the week, ground controllers
relocated the Mobile Transporter to a different worksite on the
station’s truss. On Wednesday, Lopez-Alegria maneuvered the Canadarm2
robotic arm over to the transporter and its operating base from the
arm’s normal home base on the Destiny Lab. The free end of the arm
was photographed to help robotics specialists as they evaluate an
issue that can cause snares to misalign inside the arm’s end
On Thursday, Lopez-Alegria connected the free end of the arm to
another grapple fixture on the Mobile Base System and released the
opposite end. Friday, the Mobile Transporter was moved by ground
controllers to the outermost worksite on the port truss. It will
provide support there for the Canadarm2 operations during the next
shuttle assembly mission, STS-116. Next week Lopez-Alegria will check
out the robotic system for the shuttle flight, which will bring and
install a new truss spacer segment to the station.
Lopez-Alegria set up and activated cameras for a session of the Earth
Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students, or EarthKAM experiment.
The middle school students study the Earth, then control a special
digital camera mounted on the space station to photograph coastlines,
mountain ranges and other geographic items from the unique vantage
point of space. At the University of California at San Diego, an
undergraduate student team manages the image requests and posts the
photographs on the Internet for the public and participating
classrooms around the world to view. More than 107 schools from 10
countries participated in this session.
The second sample of seeds for the Analysis of a Novel Sensory
Mechanism in Root Phototropism was harvested and frozen in the
Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer, a cold storage unit that maintains
experiment samples at temperatures of -80 C, -26 C, or 4 C throughout
a mission. Flight Engineer Thomas Reiter worked with the experiment,
which will increase the understanding of the different systems plants
use to determine the direction their roots and shoots should grow and
which genes are responsible for successful plant growth.
Reiter also continued work on a suite of European Space Agency science
experiments. One such experiment, called CARD, is helping scientists
examine the relationship between salt intake and the cardiovascular
system when exposed to the microgravity environment.
Crewmembers typically experience reduced blood pressure in
microgravity. To help them readjust to gravity on Earth, they take
salt tablets just before returning, which temporarily increases the
blood volume. CARD is looking at the effects of ingesting occasional
salt supplements throughout the long duration mission. This
experiment’s results could also help improve treatment of patients on
Earth with heart failure.
The crew began gathering tools for a Nov. 22 spacewalk by Tyurin and
Lopez-Alegria in Russian Orlan suits from the Pirs Docking
Compartment. They will replace and retrieve several science
experiments from the hull of the Zvezda Service Module.
Tyurin also plans to hit a golf ball from a bracket on Pirs as part of
a Russian commercial activity.
The next station status report will be issued Nov. 9. For more
information about the crew’s activities and station sighting