For release: 05-15-02 (for week ending 05-15-02)
Science Ops status report #: 02-121
Space Station experiment vibration dampener transfers operations to Marshall's Payload Operations Center
The Active Rack Isolation System moved toward becoming a routine operational part of the International Space Station this week, as control centers in Houston and Seattle transferred operations of the experiment vibration dampener to the Payload Operations Center in Huntsville. Station crewmembers continued Earth photography, including recent fires in Central America. Space Station experiments and payload operations are managed by the Marshall Center.
Photo: Central American fires seen from Space Station (NASA/JSC)
The Active Rack Isolation System (ARIS) moved toward becoming a routine operational part of the Space Station this week as control centers in Houston and Seattle transferred operations to the Payload Operations Center in Huntsville.
ARIS, designed to make the Station an even better place to conduct microgravity research by damping out tiny vibrations caused by crew movement or operating equipment, has been undergoing testing for more than a year. Located in EXPRESS Rack 2 in the Destiny lab module, ARIS uses eight actuators and pushrods to “float” the rack within the lab and react against vibrations as they occur. Over the past month, it got its first operational run to support the Zeolite Crystal Growth (ZCG) experiment. ZCG completed a 14-day experiment run last week. Hardware used to test ARIS will be returned on the upcoming UF-2 Space Shuttle mission.
“We are now in Huntsville running ARIS initial checkout tests in its standard configuration,” said Naveed Quraishi, manager of the ARIS ISS Characterization Experiment at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “ARIS isolation performance has so far been excellent in part due to its newly developed “vibration free” power umbilicals. The entire test team would like to thank the crew for all their hard work and exceptional efforts that have made ARIS testing so successful.”
Members of the ARIS-ICE science team are at Marshall Center this week supporting tests that will transfer operations to the Payload Operations Center from NASA and Boeing Company control centers in Houston and Seattle. Boeing developed and built ARIS. Tests are under way by the Payload Rack Officer at the Operations Center to complete the checkout of ARIS operations.
The crew collected gas samples on Biomass Production System (BPS) chambers 2 and 4 and swapped root modules in chambers 2 and 4 on Friday, May 10. To maximize the science obtained from BPS, the wheat samples were moved from a chamber with inoperable humidity control to a chamber with good humidity control. Brassica rapa plants were moved to the other chamber because they are not as sensitive to high humidity. After a couple days with controlled humidity, the wheat plants began to recover and have begun to provide valuable information about how plants recover from undesirable conditions in microgravity. Flight Engineer Dan Bursch then harvested Brassica plant samples and collected water samples from the plant growth chamber. And he also conducted maintenance by priming the growth modules of the BPS experiment by ensuring that all air was out of water lines used to
feed the plants
The crew completed the Zeolite Crystal Growth experiment last week on Friday by unloading samples and shooting documentary video last weekend.
Bursch and Flight Engineer Carl Walz conducted their data collection for the Renal Stone experiment on Monday. The Renal Stone experiment is now complete for Expedition Four.
On Tuesday, the crew conducted pre-spacewalk readings on the EVA Radiation Monitoring experiment badges. All three crewmembers filled out their Crew Interactions surveys.
Crew Earth Observations (CEO) photography targets for the week include Saharan dust being carried over the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, the Toshka Lakes region around Egypt, Western Mediterranean dust and smog over Italy, geological features around Tanzania, fires in Angola and industrialized Southeast Africa, the Salton Sea in Southern California, and the Parana River wetlands in South America.
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.