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12 June 2005

Space News: ISS Status Report: 10 June 2005

Aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the Expedition 11 crew is spending the latter part of its second month in space preparing for the arrival of new cargo. The Station commander quietly slipped into second place on the all time human space endurance list.

Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev and astronaut John Phillips conducted scientific research this week, while troubleshooting the station's oxygen generator, stowing trash and other unneeded items into the Progress supply spacecraft for disposal next week.

Krikalev, on his sixth voyage into space and third long duration mission (one on Mir and two on the ISS), surpassed fellow cosmonaut Valery Polyakov on the space duration record list. He will become number one in August, passing cosmonaut Sergei Avdeyev (747 days).

This afternoon, the Station passed over the Gulf of Mexico offering flight controllers an opportunity to capture video of Arlene, the Atlantic hurricane season's first tropical storm, as it tracked northward toward the U.S. Gulf Coast.

During the week, Krikalev swapped the large liquid unit component in the Station's Elektron oxygen generation unit in preparation for an attempt in two weeks to restore its use. New filters for its gas lines will arrive aboard the next Progress cargo spacecraft late next week. They will be installed before the crew attempts to reactivate the unit.

In the meantime, the crew continues to replenish the cabin atmosphere daily using two solid fuel oxygen generation canisters. The canisters introduce oxygen into the pressurized compartment by a chemical process. A plentiful supply of canisters is on board the Station, and more will arrive on the next supply ship June 18.

The onboard supply combined with future shipments can provide oxygen for the crew until at least January 2006, even without use of the Elektron. New Elektron components and spare parts are planned for delivery aboard supply spacecraft later this year.

Phillips put on his customized Lycra cycling tights this week for his second session of the Foot/Ground Reaction Forces during Spaceflight (FOOT) experiment. FOOT investigates the differences between use of the body's lower extremities on Earth and in space, and changes in the musculoskeletal system during spaceflight.

Phillips wore the instrumented Lower Extremity Monitoring Suit, which measured his joint angles, muscle activity and forces on the feet during a typical day on the Station. FOOT could help explain the reasons for bone and muscle loss during spaceflight and aid in the design of exercise countermeasures. This experiment also has significance for understanding, preventing and treating osteoporosis on Earth.

Focused human physiological and biological Space Station research on astronaut health and the development of countermeasures to protect crews from the space environment will allow for long duration missions to explore beyond low Earth orbit.

Early next week, the crew will wrap up stowage of trash and unneeded equipment in the Progress docked to the Station, prior to its undocking Wednesday. The Progress departure clears the docking port on the aft end of the Zvezda module for the arrival of the next supply craft. The next Progress is scheduled to launch June 16 and dock the evening of June 18. NASA TV will cover the arrival live. This will be the 18th Progress to dock with the Station.

More Space News

Space News: Space Station: Status Report
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