ISS Crew Watch Hurricanes Brew, Prepare for Spacewalk

Oct 24, 2005

The 12th international space station crew turned its attention last week to experiment work aboard their microgravity home and laboratory. They also captured spectacular images of Hurricane Wilma and prepared for a spacewalk.

Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev began reviewing procedures for the first station-based spacewalk using U.S. suits since 2003.

During the November 7, five and one half hour spacewalk, they will install a new video camera on the far end of the station's P1 (port) truss. They also will remove a probe that measured the electrical potential around the station from the top of the P6 truss.

Last Thursday, the station's atmosphere was repressurized with oxygen from storage tanks on the docked Progress supply ship. Russian specialists are preparing a troubleshooting plan for the Elektron, the primary oxygen generation system on the station. It stopped working late last week.

Russian technical specialists are examining what caused the abort of a planned altitude reboost Tuesday using Progress fuel and thrusters.

Mission managers believe Russian navigation computers properly shut down the thrusters when they lost information about how they were performing. A planned test firing of the thrusters Wednesday will gather more data for Russian engineers.

McArthur checked out a system to analyze exhaled gases inside the station. The Pulmonary Function System took more than eight years of design, development and testing on Earth by U.S. and European Space Agency scientists. It was delivered to the station by the shuttle Discovery in July.

McArthur and Tokarev conducted the first of three sessions with the Renal Stone experiment. They collected urine samples for return to Earth and logged all food and drink consumed during a 24-hour period.

This ongoing experiment investigates whether potassium citrate can be used to reduce the risk of kidney stone formation for space travelers. The citrate minimizes kidney stone development on Earth.

Since urine calcium levels are typically much higher in space, astronauts are susceptible to an increased risk of developing kidney stones. An understanding of the crew's diet during the urine collection timeframes will help researchers.

They will determine if the excess calcium in the urine is due to diet or a response to the microgravity environment. The payload operations team at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center coordinates U.S. science activities on the station.

During their six-month mission, McArthur and Tokarev will conduct at least two spacewalks and oversee the arrival of the next Progress supply vehicle in December. They also will relocate their Soyuz spacecraft to free the Russian Pirs docking port for a later spacewalk. Pirs doubles as an airlock and docking module.

Copyright 2005 by Space Daily, Distributed United Press International

Explore further: Italian astronaut brews, sips first fresh espresso in space

Related Stories

Coffee production starting to decline

41 minutes ago

Scientists have provided the first on-the-ground evidence that climate change has already had a substantial impact on coffee production in the East African Highlands region, according to a recently published ...

Recommended for you

Image: SOHO captures bright filament eruption

1 hour ago

An elongated solar filament that extended almost half the sun's visible hemisphere erupted into space on April 28-29, 2015, in a large burst of bright plasma. Filaments are unstable strands of solar material ...

Image: Akari view of the Cygnus region in the Milky Way

23 hours ago

The constellation of Cygnus is one of the most recognisable in the northern hemisphere. During the summer months, the stars of its long neck stretch along the Milky Way and its wings sweep from side to side.

Image: Hubble eyes galactic refurbishment

May 04, 2015

The smudge of stars at the center of this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image is a galaxy known as UGC 5797. UGC 5797 is an emission line galaxy, meaning that it is currently undergoing active star formation. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.