For release: 05-24-02 (for week ending 05-24-02)
Science Ops status report #: 02-133
Space Station payload team prepares for Expedition Five mission, new experiments
Normal science operations resumed this week following a cooling system computer in the Russian Service Module that triggered the shutdown of certain systems in the Destiny laboratory.
Experiments and experiment hardware shut down as part of an automated "safing" procedure for the Station, Payload Operations Director Tim Horvath said. Experiment reactivation began Sunday as soon as controllers at the Payload Operations Center learned the Station was not threatened by the event. EXPRESS Rack 4 was returned to operations within 40 minutes, followed shortly by experiments inside the rack. Controllers successfully re-activated EXPRESS Racks 1 and 2 on Monday. EXPRESS Racks house experiments and provide connections for power, data, cooling, fluids and other utilities.
On Wednesday - when the Station completed its 20,000th revolution of the Earth since the 1998 launch of the Russian FGB module - the Operations Center successfully installed computer software that will allow the EXPRESS racks aboard the Station and ground systems to operate new Expedition Five science experiments scheduled to arrive aboard the Space Shuttle later this month.
"Recovering from the unexpected and forging ahead with preparations for new science experiments as we have done this week is very typical of the kind of teamwork it takes to do successful research in a remote, hostile environment like space," Horvath said.
Science teams were assessing the impact of the shutdown this week, including the impact of a slight temperature rise in the ARCTIC freezer used to store biological samples for return to Earth. The brief temperature rise was expected to have little or no effect on the samples and the results of the science.
After collecting gas samples from the Biomass Production System on Tuesday, the crew moved a wheat plant that had been interfering with the operation of a cooling fan in growth chamber 1. They also transmitted some new video of the plant growth chambers. Since then, they have continued a variety of maintenance activities this week to collect samples and make sure the growth chambers are supplied with water.
Also on Tuesday, the crew completed a background reading on the EVA Radiation Monitoring (EVARM) badges. The badges give scientists a better understanding of the radiation environment inside the Station in addition to being worn during spacewalks to determining radiation dosages received by specific parts of the body, such as the head, torso and legs. They also finished packing the Experiment on Physics of Colloids in Space for its return to Earth.
The Active Rack Isolation ISS Characterization Experiment (ARIS-ICE) team began tests of the experimental vibration dampener on Wednesday that will continue through next week. These tests are focused on changes in the vibration environment of EXPRESS Rack 2 due to removing cables and some fasteners from test and avionics sections of the colloids experiment in preparation for their return to Earth. The crew conducted their monthly test with the Pulmonary Function in Flight today (Thursday). The data session marked the conclusion of the in-flight portion of the experiment.
Crew Earth Observations (CEO) photography targets for the week include agricultural burning and smoke in Angola, Saharan dust being carried over the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, wildfires in the Okefenokee Swamp in the U.S., sediment loads in the Amazon delta, an area of the eastern Pacific where many tropical storms form, ice and snow in the Patagonian region of South America, the Colima volcano, and the Peruvian Andes.
With less than a week before the launch of the STS-111 mission to mark the end of Expedition Four and the beginning of Expedition Five, several experiments are already completed - Hoffman Reflex, Renal Stone, Pulmonary Function in Flight, EarthKAM, Educational Payload Operations, Zeolite Crystal Growth, Experiment on Physics of Colloids in Space, Protein Crystal Growth-Single Locker Thermal Enclosure System, Advanced Astroculture, and Cellular Biotechnology Support System cell science experiments. Continuing to operate normally aboard the orbiting research station are the Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus, Commercial Protein Crystal Growth, Space Acceleration Measurement System, Microgravity Acceleration Measurement System, Materials International Space Station Experiment, Pulmonary Function in
Flight, Biomass Production System, EVA Radiation Monitoring, Crew Earth Observations, Interactions and Protein Crystal Growth-Enhanced Nitrogen Dewar.
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.