Space Station (ISS) Status 1/05/07
Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) start the new year with new equipment as they prepared a second oxygen-generating system, upgraded soundproofing in the living
quarters and unpacked supplies delivered by space shuttle Discovery's STS-116 mission just before Christmas.
Station Expedition 14 Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Suni Williams spent most of the first week of 2007 installing the U.S. oxygen generation system activation kit
in the Destiny laboratory. The parts had been delivered on shuttle mission STS-121 in July 2006. The new generator will supplement the Russian Elektron oxygen system on the station.
The additional oxygen
generating capacity will be important as the standard station crew
size increases to six as the complex grows. In their work with the
new system this week, Lopez-Alegria and Williams installed a hydrogen
vent valve and power, data and fluid hoses and cables. The system
will be activated and tested later this year.
Meanwhile Expedition 14 Flight Engineer and cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin
worked in the Russian segment of the station, where he upgraded
soundproofing of the ventilation system. Tyurin installed new fans,
sound-deadening vibration isolators and air ducts with acoustic
shields to reduce the noise they create.
On the morning of January 5, 2007, Lopez-Alegria and Williams took time out from their work to share their mission with a group of students in the fifth through
eighth grades from the Columbia Explorers Academy. From the Adler
Planetarium in Chicago the students asked the astronauts about living
in orbit and the goals of their mission.
Later during that week, the crew finished unpacking and stowing supplies
delivered last month on Shuttle Discovery, and they marked
milestones in two laboratory experiments.
On Tuesday, Williams set up
the hardware for the Test of Reaction and Adaptation Capabilities, or
TRAC investigation. It is a NASA-sponsored experiment jointly managed
by scientists from Germany and Canada. Crew members' hand and eye
coordination are tested before, during and after missions.
tests, subjects use a joystick to control a cursor on a computer
screen and respond to audio and visual stimuli. The experiment
gathers data about how, and to what extent, the brain adapts to
Crew members completed the final operations of a biological experiment
on the impact of varying levels of light and gravity on plant root
growth. The final images of samples in the European Modular
Cultivation System were taken and downlinked, and the samples were
stowed in a freezer for eventual return to Earth.
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