May 18, 2007

John Yembrick
Headquarters, Washington

John Ira Petty
Johnson Space Center, Houston



HOUSTON - This week, the Expedition 15 crew unpacked new supplies and
began preparing for the arrival of the next visiting spacecraft and
two upcoming spacewalks at the International Space Station.

The ISS Progress 25 docked to the aft port of the Zvezda Service
Module at 12:10 a.m. CDT Tuesday. During the week, the crew began
unloading the more than 5,000 pounds of cargo from the supply ship.

Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov prepared
for their May 30 and June 6 spacewalks by working on the Pirs
Airlock. The cosmonauts will wear Russian Orlan spacesuits to install
orbital debris protection panels on the Zvezda Service Module and
replace experiments on the module’s hull. Mission experts at NASA’s
Johnson Space Center, Houston, will provide an overview of the
spacewalks in a news briefing at 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 23, on NASA

The crew prepared for the arrival of space shuttle Atlantis, which is
targeted to launch on June 8. Yurchikhin and Kotov practiced digital
photography techniques for their role in the inspection of the
shuttle’s heat shield as it approaches the station for the joint
STS-117 mission. Flight Engineer Suni Williams assembled a spacewalk
tool and wrapped it in protective tape to be used if spacewalkers
need help with retracting the P6 starboard solar array.

On Thursday, the crew called its colleagues working at National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Aquarius undersea laboratory
for the 12th NASA Extreme Environments Mission Operations (NEEMO). A
flight surgeon, two astronauts and a Cincinnati doctor completed
their 12-day mission Friday. That crew tested space medicine
concepts, robotic telesurgery operations and moon-walking techniques.
With its unique environment, Aquarius is an ideal training facility
for future spaceflight. Williams was a member of the second NEEMO
mission in May 2002.

On Friday, Williams completed an additional run of the Elastic Memory
Composite Hinge experiment, which studies the performance of a new
type of composite hinge to determine if it is suitable for use in
space. The experiment uses elastic memory hinges to move an attached
mass at one end. Materials tested in this experiment are stronger and
lighter than current material used in space hinges and could be used
in the design of future spacecraft.

Additionally, the crew spoke with C-SPAN, and Williams participated in
interviews with two hometown Boston television stations.

On Saturday, Williams is expected to update software on the station
support laptops.

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