International Space Station Oxygen Generating Unit Fixed

Sep 18, 2004

Almost two weeks of troubleshooting is paying off for the two Expedition 9 crewmembers. Today they restarted the International Space Station's primary oxygen generating unit.

Work with the Elektron, a device that recycles wastewater into oxygen, was one of several maintenance activities completed by Commander Gennady Padalka and NASA Station Science Officer Mike Fincke this week.

With guidance from Russian ground controllers, Padalka replaced the Elektron's liquid unit today with one he had refurbished last week using spare components. The Elektron is operating without a gas analyzer that was removed during troubleshooting. The absence of the gas analyzer does not affect the Elektron's ability to generate oxygen, although it may mean the crew will be required to closely monitor the unit's operations. Ground controllers requested the Elektron be turned off before the crew goes to sleep tonight to allow data gathered during its operations to be evaluated.

The crew flushed and cleaned several of the Elektron's lines earlier in the week, as well as cleaning a mounting plate and removing the gas analyzer.

While the Elektron was off, the Station atmosphere was repressurized Wednesday using oxygen from the Progress supply spacecraft docked to the orbiting laboratory. The Station has a supply of oxygen available in its own tanks, the Progress tanks and oxygen-generating candles that could be used for many months if necessary. The Elektron first began experiencing intermittent problems Sept. 8.

Meanwhile, Fincke replaced a flex hose used to vent an area between panes of the window in the U.S. Destiny Lab. After depressurizing the window's inner panes, he replaced the hose and installed a protective cover. The previous hose had been damaged and allowed air to leak into the area.

Fincke also used a camcorder to survey all external U.S. hardware visible from the Station windows. The video was down linked for engineers to assess the hardware's condition.

This week, the crewmembers began preparations for their trip home next month. They tested the UHF and VHF communication systems of the Soyuz spacecraft that will carry them back to Earth. The communication checks were done with NASA ground stations at the White Sands Test Facility, N.M.; NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Calif.; and NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Va. This will allow NASA sites to supplement primary Russian ground communications facilities.

Science activities for the crew this week included work with the Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in Microgravity experiment. Assisted by experts on the ground, they conducted body scans with the equipment to practice the procedures. They also continued providing information for the Interactions investigation, a computer-based survey that helps investigators study the interpersonal relations between crewmembers and ground control teams during long spaceflights.

Source: NASA

Explore further: SpaceX launches supplies to space station

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA simulation portrays ozone intrusions from aloft

Apr 10, 2014

(Phys.org) —Outdoor enthusiasts in Colorado's Front Range are occasionally rewarded with remarkable visibility brought about by dry, clear air and wind. But it's what people in the mountainous U.S. West ...

Rugged, rapid monitor safeguards space crews

Feb 07, 2014

There are few things as important on, and especially off, Earth as breathable, quality air. When air quality is compromised, we often don't have seconds to spare, which is why development of the Multi-Gas ...

Orbital samples with sight-saving potential

Dec 11, 2013

Those who travel to space are rewarded with a beautiful sight - planet Earth. But the effects of space travel on the human sense of sight aren't so beautiful. More than 30 percent of astronauts who returned ...

Irregular decreases in aquifer oxygenation

Dec 03, 2013

In the course of the last few decades, the oxygen concentration levels in aquifers in the Swiss Plateau have dropped irregularly. Results of the National Research Programme "Sustainable Water Management" (NRP 61) suggest ...

Recommended for you

SpaceX launches supplies to space station (Update)

10 hours ago

The SpaceX company returned to orbit Friday, launching fresh supplies to the International Space Station after more than a month's delay and setting the stage for urgent spacewalking repairs.

Quest for extraterrestrial life not over, experts say

10 hours ago

The discovery of an Earth-sized planet in the "habitable" zone of a distant star, though exciting, is still a long way from pointing to the existence of extraterrestrial life, experts said Friday. ...

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

10 hours ago

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

12 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

The importance of plumes

13 hours ago

The Hubble Space Telescope is famous for finding black holes. It can pick out thousands of galaxies in a patch of sky the size of a thumbprint. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Hubble provided ...

Continents may be a key feature of Super-Earths

14 hours ago

Huge Earth-like planets that have both continents and oceans may be better at harboring extraterrestrial life than those that are water-only worlds. A new study gives hope for the possibility that many super-Earth ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...