ISS Crew Packs Up For Home

Apr 11, 2005

This week, the current International Space Station crew is starting to pack-up for home while the next Station crew is completing a final review of plans before heading to the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, to prepare for launch.

On Monday Expedition 10 Commander Leroy Chiao and Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov held an in-flight news conference with reporters at NASA centers. They discussed Station systems, lessons learned from two-man crew operations on the Station and the return of the Space Shuttle to flight. Chiao and Sharipov performed some maintenance work this week as well, including re-pressurizing the Station atmosphere with oxygen from the Progress supply ship's tank. They discharged two carbon dioxide-removing lithium hydroxide canisters that were nearing their expiration dates while ground specialists monitored the Station's environment to gauge the efficiency of the Russian canisters for possible future use.

Flight controllers and engineers are continuing to analyze several spikes in vibration and electrical current that have been noted in one of the Control Moment Gyroscopes. The two functional gyroscopes are operating well and continuing to control the Station's orientation. While the analysis continues, the Station is in an orientation that minimizes demands on the gyroscopes. Remaining in that orientation does not change other Station operations. The ongoing analysis focuses on attempts to correlate the events with activity aboard the Station.

Research aboard the Station this week included the crew taking a close look at themselves. Chiao and Sharipov conducted their final session with the Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in Microgravity (ADUM) experiment. Chiao and Sharipov performed ultrasound bone scans on each other by taking turns as operator and subject. The bone scans were taken of the shoulder, elbow, knee and ankle, monitored remotely from the ground, and videotaped and photographed for downlink.

While an ultrasound cannot image bone porosity itself, the ADUM team is looking at the bone surface roughness as an indicator of bone density. Their hypothesis is that during muscle atrophy the bones may become smoother as fewer muscle and ligament attachment sites are required. Therefore by monitoring the surface roughness of bones, it may be possible to get some indication of how much muscle has been lost and possibly how much bone has been lost as well. If successful, in the future, this could lead to changes in exercise protocols that could be adapted to individuals in near real time. For his Saturday Science activities last weekend, Chiao conducted a session with the Miscible Fluids in Microgravity, or MFMG experiment. Fluids do not behave the same on Earth as in the microgravity environment inside the orbiting Station. This experiment studies how miscible fluids, or those that completely dissolve, interact without the interference of gravity.

This test involved Chiao pulling tinted water from a syringe through a drinking straw and into another syringe containing a mixture of honey and water. The way the fluid interacted was both videotaped and photographed for observation. This research could help scientists improve the way plastics and other polymers are produced on Earth and in space. The payload operations team at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center coordinates U.S. science activities on the Station.

At the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, the next Station crew, Expedition 11, spent the week reviewing flight plans. Commander Sergei Krikalev and Flight Engineer John Phillips, along with European Space Agency (ESA) Astronaut Roberto Vittori will travel to Kazakhstan tomorrow ahead of their launch. Vittori will fly to the Station for eight days under a commercial agreement between Russia and ESA. He'll return to Earth with the Expedition 10 crew.

The Expedition 11 crew and Vittori will launch in their Soyuz spacecraft at 8:46 p.m. EDT Thursday, April 14. They will dock at the Station's Pirs docking compartment at 10:19 p.m. EDT April 16. This will be the 10th Soyuz to dock with the Station. Vittori, Chiao and Sharipov are scheduled to land in Kazakhstan on April 24.

Source: NASA

Explore further: Mysteries of space dust revealed

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

How astronauts survive diplomatic tensions in space

Mar 22, 2014

While the United States and Russia traded sanctions this week in a burgeoning crisis over Crimea, astronauts from both nations rose above the discord in their sanctuary hundreds of miles from Earth.

China's Wall Less Great in View from Space

May 10, 2005

It has become a space-based myth. The Great Wall of China, frequently billed as the only man-made object visible from space, generally isn't, at least to the unaided eye in low Earth orbit. It certainly isn't ...

International Space Station Expedition 11 Moving Full Speed

May 08, 2005

Commander Sergei Krikalev and Flight Engineer John Phillips are moving full speed ahead into their Expedition 11 maintenance and science work aboard the International Space Station. Krikalev replaced a liquid processing com ...

ISS Expedition 11 Crew: One Week Behind

May 02, 2005

The new crew members of the International Space Station completed their first full work week today. They performed routine maintenance, continued to settle in and practiced photography for the Space Shuttle Return to Flight ...

ISS Expedition 10 Safely Back

Apr 25, 2005

Commander and NASA ISS Science Officer Leroy Chiao and Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov, the 10th crew of the International Space Station, landed in the steppes of Kazakhstan in their Soyuz spacecraft at ...

Recommended for you

Mysteries of space dust revealed

6 hours ago

The first analysis of space dust collected by a special collector onboard NASA's Stardust mission and sent back to Earth for study in 2006 suggests the tiny specks open a door to studying the origins of the ...

A guide to the 2014 Neptune opposition season

11 hours ago

Never seen Neptune? Now is a good time to try, as the outermost ice giant world reaches opposition this weekend at 14:00 Universal Time (UT) or 10:00 AM EDT on Friday, August 29th. This means that the distant ...

How can we find tiny particles in exoplanet atmospheres?

12 hours ago

It may seem like magic, but astronomers have worked out a scheme that will allow them to detect and measure particles ten times smaller than the width of a human hair, even at many light-years distance.  ...

Spitzer telescope witnesses asteroid smashup

Aug 28, 2014

(Phys.org) —NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted an eruption of dust around a young star, possibly the result of a smashup between large asteroids. This type of collision can eventually lead to the ...

User comments : 0