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 mission.
Expedition 11 Commander Sergei Krikalev and Flight Engineer and NASA Station Science Officer John Phillips were given time each day to orient themselves with the Station and where items are stowed. They also completed an emergency evacuation drill, a standard procedure for all new crews. The practice helps them learn the location of emergency equipment and departure routes.
Both crew members kept busy with Station maintenance and upkeep. Krikalev conducted troubleshooting of the Russian Elektron oxygen generation system and the condensate removal system. The Elektron remains off-line, with oxygen being supplied from tanks in the Progress cargo ship, one of several oxygen supplies available. The next infusion of oxygen into the Station's atmosphere from Progress is early next week.
Krikalev also completed transfer of water from the Progress cargo ship to storage tanks in the Zvezda module. Phillips updated the Station's computer system with software specifically designed for this crew's mission. Early today Krikalev and Phillips were informed NASA changed the launch window for the Space Shuttle Discovery Return to Flight mission to July 13-31. The crew practiced with the digital cameras they will use to take images of Discovery, as it approaches the Station for docking on the third day of the STS-114 mission.
Phillips and Krikalev will have about 93 seconds of time available to use the cameras and high-power lenses to capture two sets of images of the Shuttle's heat shield. Discovery's Commander Eileen Collins will guide the Shuttle through a slow back flip to allow the Station crew to image both the top and bottom of the vehicle. The images will be quickly transmitted to the ground for analysis.
Krikalev and Phillips cleared cargo from a hatch in the Unity module, where a cargo container will be attached during STS-114. The crew also conferred via space to ground communications with Discovery's crew about the planned transfer and stowing of supplies.
Phillips began his stay aboard the Station participating in several experiments. He conducted the final Increment 10 session of the Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in Microgravity (ADUM) experiment with Expedition 10 Commander and NASA Station Science Officer Leroy Chiao. Phillips performed the cardiac and thoracic scan on Chiao. This session, which would normally be video down linked, was performed by using voice only for a portion of the scan – a new capability of performing the scans for these two crewmembers. Phillips described to the ground team exactly what image he was obtaining, and the ground team responded with directions to guide him.
Phillips also conducted his first session of the Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students, or EarthKAM experiment. He installed a remote-control camera at the Destiny Lab's Earth-facing window for a week's worth of imagery from the EarthKAM. This NASA education program enables thousands of students to photograph and examine Earth from a space crew's perspective. More than 8,500 students from 118 schools around the world are participating in this session. Using the Internet, the students control the special digital camera, and the team at EarthKAM posts the images on the Internet.
Phillips also began logging sessions for the Behavioral Issues Association with Isolation and Confinement: Review and Analysis of Astronaut Journals experiment. The purpose of the experiment is to obtain information about behavioral and human factors relevant to the design of the equipment, procedures and sustained human performance during long-duration missions. Study results will provide data for decisions concerning behavioral issues to prepare for future missions. Phillips will make journal entries three times weekly.
Meanwhile, Expedition 10 Commander Leroy Chiao and Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov, along with European Space Agency Astronaut Roberto Vittori of Italy, arrived at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia Monday morning. They rested, reunited with their families and went through medical tests following their landing in a Soyuz spacecraft. Chiao and Sharipov are expected to return to Houston in mid-May.
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