Mar. 9, 2007

John Yembrick
Headquarters, Washington

James Hartsfield
Johnson Space Center, Houston



HOUSTON - The Expedition 14 crew members this week prepared for
upcoming additions to the station and performed experiments related
to human adaptation to space.

Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Suni Williams
completed the last of the internal assembly tasks for the startup
later this year of the new Oxygen Generation System in the Destiny
laboratory. The astronauts installed sound-deadening equipment and an
electrical cable and reconnected a wastewater hose for the hardware
delivered last summer on space shuttle mission STS-121. The Oxygen
Generation System will be required when the station crew size expands
to six people. Slated for activation during Expedition 15, it will
function initially as a backup to the Russian Elektron system, which
supplies oxygen for the station’s crew.

Lopez-Alegria and Williams also performed scientific experiments,
conducting another session with the Anomalous Long-Term Effects in
Astronauts’ Central Nervous System (ALTEA) to measure exposure to
cosmic radiation.

For 90 minutes, each crew member wore an instrumented helmet
containing six different particle detectors that measure radiation
exposure, brain electrical activity and visual perception. ALTEA will
further the understanding of radiation impact on the human central
nervous and visual systems, especially the phenomenon of crew members
seeing flashes of light while in orbit.

Crew members also tested their hand-eye coordination during the Test
of Reaction and Adaptation Capabilities (TRAC) experiment. TRAC
studies the theory that while the brain is adapting to space, it is
unable to provide the resources necessary to perform normal motor
skills, such as hand-eye coordination.

For TRAC, the astronauts use a laptop and a joystick to control the
position of a cursor and use a reaction time box to measure their
responses to audio and visual cues. Understanding how the brain
adapts to microgravity could lead to improved procedures for
activities requiring precise motor skills.

Also this week, Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin prepared for the
arrival of the first European Space Agency cargo-carrying Automated
Transfer Vehicle (ATV). He set up equipment in the Zvezda module for
a ground-operated test of the satellite navigation system to be used
during autonomous docking of the ATV to the Zvezda module’s aft port.
He also pressurized and stowed a spare liquids unit for the Elektron
and installed a new liquid crystal display for the TORU system, the
manual docking system for Progress unpiloted supply ships.

U.S. and Russian station officials reached an agreement this week on a
plan to prepare for the arrival of the Soyuz TMA-10, which will
deliver the Expedition 15 crew to the station. The plan is to
relocate the Soyuz TMA-9 craft from the Earth-facing port of the
Zarya module to the aft port of the Zvezda module on March 29. As a
result, the next station resident crew will not need to perform the
maneuver to reach Zarya as its final destination.

To make room for the Soyuz, the ISS Progress 23 cargo ship, currently
docked to Zvezda, will undock on March 27, plunging into the Earth’s

Officials from both sides also agreed to reboost the station on March
15, using the Progress 23 engines to place the station at the correct
altitude for the Soyuz TMA-10 capsule, scheduled to launch April 7
and dock to Zarya on April 9.

The Soyuz TMA-9 is scheduled to undock April 20, returning the
Expedition 14 crew to Earth.

For more about the crew’s activities and station sighting
opportunities, visit: