For release: 04/17/02 (for week ending 04/17/02)
Science Ops status report #: 02-093
Five new experiments operating aboard Space Station
New Expedition Four experiments have been successfully transferred to the International Space Station, and completed experiments have been safely stowed aboard Atlantis for return to Earth. Space Station science experiments and payload operations are managed by the Payload Operations Center at the Marshall Center.
Photo: Mission Specialist Lee Morin and the Biomass Production System experiment (NASA/JSC)
New Expedition Four experiments were successfully transferred to the International Space Station last week, while completed experiments were stowed aboard the Space Shuttle for today’s undocking and return to scientists waiting on Earth.
On Wednesday, April 10, Shuttle Mission Specialists Lee Morin and Jerry Ross transferred the Commercial Protein Crystal Growth High Density (CPCG-H) experiment from Atlantis to the Space Station. Following power-up, health and status data were received by the University of Alabama at Birmingham science team, and scientists there have continued to receive telemetry.
On Friday, April 12, two more Expedition Four experiments were successfully transferred from the Shuttle to the Station: the Biomass Production System – Photosynthesis Experiment and System Testing Operation (BPS-PESTO) and the Protein Crystal Growth Enhanced Gaseous Nitrogen Dewar (PCG-EGN) experiment. The Principal investigators are Dr. Robert Morrow of Orbital Technologies Corp., Dr. Gary Stutte of Dynamac Corp. for BPS, and Dr. Alexander McPherson of the University of California, Irvine for the Dewar experiment. BPS operations quickly began with sampling activities on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday. When an acoustic muffler was installed upon transfer, humidity began to rise inside the environmental chambers. To avoid any loss of science, the muffler was removed.
“Our four environmental chambers contain developing Apogee wheat and Brassica rapa plants, which were germinated on the ground, pre-flight,” said Kristina Lagel, BPS project scientist with NASA’s Ames Research Center. “The BPS gathers a significant amount of data, both for payload performance and plant environment, that the principal investigators have been using to study the plant growth. During the past week in orbit, the Expedition Four crew performed gas calibration and sampling activities on three of the environmental chambers. In addition to providing a detailed look at air composition in the chambers, the gas samples will provide the air leak rate for the chambers, which is an important variable when analyzing plant photosynthetic activity.”
The dewar experiment was placed in the Russian FGB (Zarya) module, where this passive experiment will be allowed to thaw out and begin production of biological crystals for study later on the ground.
After Thursday’s spacewalk – the first of four to add a new truss structure and other equipment to the Station – the crew on Friday collected radiation readings on one set of EVA Radiation Monitoring (EVARM) dosimeter badges worn in the cooling undergarments of their spacesuits, as well as pre-spacewalk readings for Saturday’s spacewalk. The dosimeter badges were worn during each of the four EVA’s, with the badges being read in the days between the space walks.
Following final sample collection on Saturday, the Advanced Astroculture (ADVASC) experiment was deactivated and transferred from the Station to the Shuttle for return. In addition to collecting BPS samples, the crew also collected post spacewalk readings on their EVARM dosimeter badges and set up the Zeolite Crystal.
On Sunday, the crew performed ZCG operations, transferring and installing zeolite samples in the growth furnace in preparation for a 15-day series of sample runs beginning April 22. The principal investigator is Dr. Al Sacco, Jr., with the Center for Advanced Microgravity Materials Processing at Northeastern University in Boston, one of 17 NASA Commercial Space Centers.
The crew also moved the Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA) experiment from Atlantis to the Station and transferred cell science samples processed earlier during Expedition Four from a refrigerator in the lab to the Shuttle for return. The CGBA principal investigators are Dr. David Klaus, BioServe Space Technologies, University of Colorado, Boulder and Dr. Wenying Li, Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Wallingford, Conn.. Flight Engineer Carl Walz and Commander Yury Onufrienko also completed their Crew Interactions computer-bases surveys.
With the majority of payload transfers completed last week, the crew continued collecting EVARM badge readings on Monday. On Tuesday, EXPRESS Rack 2 was powered up, allowing the Active Rack Isolation System ISS-Characterization Experiment (ARIS-ICE) to resume testing the experimental vibration dampener.
Today, the crew transferred the new ARCTIC refrigerator from Atlantis to the lab and activated it and deactivated the lab’s BioTechnology Refrigrator (BTR), used to store biological samples during previous missions. EXPRESS Rack 1 was also powered up today, so the Shuttle undocking could be recorded by the Space Acceleration Measurement System and the Microgravity Acceleration Measurement System contained in the rack.
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.