April 20, 2007
John Ira Petty
Johnson Space Center, Houston
STATUS REPORT: SS07-21
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION STATUS REPORT: SS07-21
HOUSTON - The crew members aboard the International Space Station
spent this week finalizing handover operations, conducting
experiments and preparing for the departure of the Expedition 14
Expedition 14 Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer
Mikhail Tyurin, accompanied by Spaceflight Participant Charles
Simonyi, are targeted to touch down in central Kazakhstan in their
Soyuz spacecraft at 7:30 a.m. CDT Saturday, April 21, one day later
than originally planned.
The primary landing site is too wet for landing operations due to the
spring thaw. The one-day delay in departure from the station will
allow for touchdown in a landing zone further to the south.
The landing will conclude a 215-day flight for Lopez-Alegria and
Tyurin and mark the longest single flight by an American astronaut.
Live coverage of the landing operations will begin on NASA TV on
Saturday at 12:30 a.m. for hatch closing, will return at 3:45 a.m.
for undocking, and will resume at 6:15 a.m. for the deorbit burn and
Crew members held a ceremony Tuesday afternoon marking the change of
command of the station from Lopez-Alegria to Expedition 15 Commander
Fyodor Yurchikhin. Yurchikhin and flight engineers Oleg Kotov and
Suni Williams are now officially established on board the station.
Williams, who served as an Expedition 14 crew member since December,
will provide Expedition 15 with an experienced flight engineer for
the early part of its mission.
On Monday, Williams became the first person to run a marathon in
space. Williams, an accomplished marathoner, was an official entrant
in the Boston Marathon and ran the 26.2 mile race on a station
treadmill in the Zvezda module, circling Earth at least twice in the
process. Williams’ run coincided with the tens of thousands of people
running on the ground. She completed her marathon with an official
time of 4:23:10.
Russian specialists are preparing plans to repair the Condensate Feed
Unit in the Russian system that processes condensate recovered in the
U.S. segment of the station into potable water. Since the unit failed
over the weekend, the supply of drinking water has been decreasing
faster than the replenishment rate. Even if they are unable to repair
the unit, enough water already is onboard to last until the ISS
Progress 25 cargo vehicle docks in mid-May, providing a new supply of
Also this week, Lopez-Alegria completed his final session with the
Anomalous Long-Term Effects in Astronauts’ Center Nervous System
(ALTEA) experiment, which investigates the phenomenon of crew members
seeing flashes of light while in orbit. Using an instrumented helmet,
the experiment measures the cosmic radiation that passes through a
crew member’s head, brain activity and visual perception. ALTEA
should help researchers better understand what levels of cosmic
radiation crew members are exposed to and develop countermeasures for
future long-duration spaceflights.
Lopez-Alegria and Williams also worked on an Education Payload
Operations activity linked to the International Polar Year. The crew
members videotaped their Earth photography activities and their
observations of sea ice and auroras. These images will be used later
in NASA education videos sent to classrooms around the world.
Education Payload Operations include curriculum-based activities that
demonstrate basic principles of science, mathematics, technology,
engineering and geography. They are designed to support the NASA
mission of inspiring the next generation of explorers.
The next station status report will be issued Saturday after
Expedition 14’s landing, or earlier if events warrant.
For more about the crew’s activities and station sighting