For release: 03/28/02 (for week ending 03/28/02)
Science Ops status report #: 02-069
Space Station science team compares vibration data to crew video
Scientists testing a "powered shock absorber" designed to protect International Space Station experiments from vibrations were able to directly compare vibration data from the Space Station this week with downlinked video during several crew activities in the lab module. Space Station science experiments and payload operations are managed by the Payload Operations Center at the Marshall Center.
Photo: ARIS pushrod and actuator (NASA/JSC)
Scientists testing a “powered shock absorber” designed to protect Space Station experiments from vibrations were able to directly compare vibration data from the Station on Tuesday with downlinked video during several crew activities in the lab module.
When the crew moved in the lab module, their motion could be clearly seen in the control system data transmitted by Active Rack Isolation System and other sensors on the Station. The science team resumed isolation performance testing with the experimental vibration dampener last week following repairs earlier this month of an actuator/pushrod failure.
The experimental device, designed to isolate delicate microgravity experiments from vibrations, experienced a failure in January. The crew replaced a faulty pushrod, and initial checkout tests were completed remotely from the ground last week by the science team. ARIS, located in EXPRESS Rack 2 in the Destiny lab module, uses eight actuators like powered shock absorbers to provide a reactive force to vibrations caused by crew movement, exercise, vibrating motors or other equipment that could disturb delicate microgravity experiments inside the rack. ARIS is expected to be declared “operational” in April when it will support the new Zeolite Crystal Growth experiment. Additional hammer tests, in which the crew taps on the rack with a small mallet, are scheduled for Friday.
The Space Acceleration Measurement System and Microgravity Acceleration Measurement System recorded Sunday’s docking by the Russian Progress 7 resupply ship. This vibration information is important to scientists planning future microgravity experiments.
Flight Engineers Dan Bursch and Carl Walz on Tuesday completed the weekly Crew Interactions computer-based survey.
On the crew’s schedule for Friday are weekly radiation measurements on the EVA Radiation Monitoring experiment dosimeter badges worn during spacewalks, and collection of condensate, nutrient and gas samples from the Advanced Astroculture experiment. Via ground commanding, the science team has been changing the environmental conditions in the growth chamber to encourage the plants to flower and produce seeds. The Station crew is scheduled to collect more plant tissue samples on April 3.
Locations scheduled to be photographed this week for the Crew Earth Observations research program were: industrialized Southeastern Africa, North and South Patagonian glaciers in South America, Lake Eyre, Australia, sea ice in the South Sandwich Islands, and New Caledonia coral reefs.
The Experiment on Physics of Colloids in Space remained powered off this week following efforts last week by both the Station crew and ground controllers to boot up its main computer. The science team and mission planners are working to arrange the return of both the Avionics Section and the Test Section of the colloids experiment on the upcoming STS-111 mission.
Biological and materials experiments onboard the Station continue to function normally, while the crew continues routine status checks and maintenance on the lab and its experiments. Experiments completed for Expedition Four include EarthKAM, Cellular Biotechnology Operations Support System, and Education Payload Operation-4.
The science team is also evaluating options for how to take advantage of additional experiment and crew time made available by the slip of the STS-111 Space Shuttle mission by 25 days.
The Space Station Payload Operations Center this week upgraded its computer systems software and databases to support new experiment hardware. This upgrade is essential to operations of payloads planned for the next Shuttle flight. These computer systems allow communications between the Operations Center and Mission Control in Houston, as well as remote telescience centers around the country. The new experiments include the Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus and the Biomass Production System – both plant growth experiments – and the Commercial Protein Crystal Growth experiment involving biological materials.
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.
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