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International Space Station Status Report: SS05-056

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Sat Dec 3, 2005 7:13 pm
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In the third month of a six-month mission, the International Space Station Expedition 12 crew worked this week on science experiments, maintenance and the setup of hardware for future activities. After a light duty weekend, Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev began the week with science tasks.

McArthur, the NASA station science officer, worked with the Human Research Facility 2, setting up a refrigerated centrifuge for biological samples for future experiments. He also conducted experiments with the Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-3. It uses small particles called colloids to study fundamental physics. It gathers data that may provide insight into a wide range of applications, from the development of new pharmaceuticals to new rocket engines.

McArthur also inspected samples for the InSPACE magnetic materials experiment. The investigation studies the physics of magnetic particles in a fluid to gain insight into the processes used in many electromechanical applications on Earth. McArthur also repaired a trace contaminant monitor in the Destiny Lab. The monitor measures the amount of gases in the cabin air. He replaced thermal fuses and will activate and check the device next week.

During the week, the crew performed a variety of maintenance activities, labeled fire ports in the Unity Node, conducted an inventory of water containers and performed preventative maintenance on a ventilation system in the Russian segment. McArthur took time out to talk to students at two schools via amateur radio, the Hawthorne Brook Middle School in Townsend, Mass., and the Ralph McCall School in Airdrie, Alberta, Canada.

Tokarev worked with the docked Progress resupply spacecraft and repressurized the station atmosphere using oxygen from the craft. The Elektron oxygen generation system in the Zvezda Service Module was intentionally shut down last week to use the oxygen from the Progress.

Tokarev continued unpacking the craft and loading it with unneeded gear. Propellant from the Progress tanks was transferred to station tanks on the Zarya module. Both crew members completed routine medical officer proficiency training.

Station managers are evaluating a proposal from Russian engineers to delay the scheduled Dec. 20 Progress undocking. The proposal would leave the Progress attached to the station longer, allowing the crew additional time to use it for trash disposal and to use its oxygen supply. Regardless of whether the Progress is docked or undocked, launch and docking of the next Progress is Dec. 21 and Dec. 23. The new Progress will deliver food, water, fuel, air and holiday gifts for the crew. It will be the 20th Progress to go to the station.

For information about crew activities, future launch dates and station sighting opportunities on the Web, visit:

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