INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
Expedition Two Science Operations
Weekly Science Status Report
Wednesday, June 6, 2001
An experiment to measure vibrations as small as a rotating fan or as
big as a docking spacecraft began its watchdog role on the orbiting
laboratory this week.
The Space Acceleration Measurement System II (SAMS-II) is
designed to measure vibrations that could degrade delicate microgravity
experiments on board the Station. Scientists need to understand the
vibration environment so they can better understand their experiment
results and perhaps compensate for the vibrations.
"For instance, if there is an experiment in EXPRESS Rack 1 in the U.S.
lab and a crew member is exercising on the treadmill in the Service
Module, we want to be able to tell scientists what disturbance levels
they can expect from that activity," said Kevin McPherson, project manager
for Principal Investigator Microgravity Services at NASA's Glenn Research
Center, Cleveland, Ohio.
The SAMS-II sensor activated Monday, June 4, is located in EXPRESS
Rack 2 in the Destiny lab module. Four additional sensors are located
in drawers in EXPRESS Rack 1 and are scheduled for activation next week.
Since 1991, SAMS has flown on 20 Space Shuttle missions and operated
on Russia's Mir space station for about four years - the longest operational
US hardware on the former Russian outpost. It is one of two acceleration
measurement systems developed by the Glenn field center. The other --
the Microgravity Acceleration Measurement Systems (MAMS) -- was activated
earlier and has recorded disturbances including the docking of a Russian
Progress resupply ship.
On Tuesday, June 5, Flight Engineer Susan Helms activated the third
of six growth cylinders in the Protein Crystal Growth Single Thermal
Enclosure System Unit 10. Every chemical reaction essential to life
depends on the function of the proteins and other biological molecules,
some of which will be studied as a result of this experiment. Analyses
of biological material samples grown on the Station may lead to improved
understanding of their structure and the biological processes that they
control. In microgravity, scientists hope that these materials can be
grown larger and more perfectly ordered than is possible on Earth.
The Expedition Two crew continued during the past week to maintain
and operate the orbiting laboratory's science payloads as they prepared
for a spacewalk. On Sunday, June 3, Helms performed tests with the Middeck
Active Control Experiment (MACE II) space structures experiment.
Flight Engineer Jim Voss conducted the nutrient exchange required by
the Advanced Astroculture (ADVASC) plant growth experiment and
did computer-based familiarization to perform gas and condensate sampling
on ADVASC. These activities are required to feed the plants and understand
growing conditions inside the plant experiment. Video downlinked indicated
the plants are growing well. Also last weekend, Voss downloaded data
from a portable sensor for the Dosimetric Mapping (DOSMAP) experiment
to characterize the radiation environment on the Station.
On Friday, June 1, the crew transferred radiation data from the Phantom
Torso and Bonner Ball and DOSMAP experiments to storage computers
The crew's week included additional Crew Earth Observations (CEO)
photography activities. CEO targets for June 6 through June 9 include
the Red Basin, Sechuan Province, China; Yellow River Delta near Beijing;
Ganges River Basin; Rift Triple Junction in Ethiopia; and expansion
of the Suez Canal system and agriculture east of the Canal; Central
Philippine Islands; Rukwa Transform, Tanzania; Yangtze River Delta;
major urban industrial centers in southeastern Africa; Kilimanjaro Tropical
Glacier; and the Rift Triple Junction in Ethiopia. These sites are of
interest to scientists studying global warming and agricultural and
The crew continued to fill out the computer questionnaire as part of
the Interactions study of crew relationships during long space
Science payload activities later this week are expected to be limited
as the crew prepares for a 35-minute space walk. Several activities
are on a task list of optional items for the crew if they have time,
including: operations with the three expedition's radiation experiments,
Interactions sessions, continued ADVASC maintenance activities and photography
and film loading for the Crew Earth Observations experiment.
Normal operations continue with the Destiny laboratory module's three
major science facilities - the Human Research Facility and EXPRESS Racks
1 and 2. In addition to the radiation experiments, other research currently
operating on the Station includes the Commercial Protein Crystal Growth,
and Experiment on the Physics of Colloids in Space. Science teams on
the ground are evaluating the impact of changes to the Space Shuttle
Of the 18 experiments planned for Expedition Two, one is completed,
one failed and was deactivated, 13 others have been activated and are
in progress, one is partially activated, one remains to be fully set
up and activated, and one remains to be launched this summer on the
7A Station assembly mission.
Editor’s Note: The Payload Operations Center at NASA’s
Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages all science
research experiment operations aboard
the International Space Station. The center is also home for coordination
of the mission-planning work of a variety of international sources,
all science payload deliveries and retrieval, and payload training and
payload safety programs for the Station crew and all ground personnel.