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ISS STATUS REPORT #24



Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC

2002
Report # 24 
4 p.m. CDT, Friday, May 17, 2002 
Expedition Four Crew 

As Expedition 4 entered its 24th week aboard the International Space
Station this week, the crew split time between preparations for the trip
home early next month, continuing science experiments and recovering the
use of an onboard oxygen generator.

Commander Yury Onufrienko and Flight Engineers Carl Walz and Dan Bursch
continued packing experiments and other gear in anticipation of the
arrival of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, their ride home, early next
month. Shuttle managers Thursday cleared Endeavour for launch on mission 
STS-111 May 30, which would lead to a docking with the station on June 1.

With Onufrienko's assistance, Russian flight controllers repaired the
Elektron system on the station, one of several methods available to
replenish oxygen aboard the spacecraft. The Elektron splits water into
hydrogen, which is disposed of, and oxygen, which is released into the
cabin, as part of onboard recycling. The unit had been functioning only
intermittently for the past two weeks and Russian flight controllers and
the crew made several troubleshooting attempts. The problem eventually
was traced to an errant sensor which was bypassed with a software
adjustment provided by the Russian Mission Control Center.

There was no shortage of oxygen in the cabin air aboard the station
throughout the Elektron troubleshooting procedures. While the Elektron
was not operating properly, the crew supplemented the cabin air's oxygen
by using several Solid Fuel Oxygen Generator cartridges, chemical
canisters that release oxygen when heated. Even without the Elektron in
operation, the station has oxygen supplies aboard -- in the solid fuel
canisters and in U.S. oxygen tanks -- to last in excess of three months.
Oxygen reserves also are replenished each time a shuttle or Progress
supply craft visits the station.

In the Destiny laboratory, the crew wrapped up work this week with an
experiment that grew the first zeolite crystals, a key element of
refining processes used in the petrochemical industry on Earth, in a
Destiny Laboratory furnace. The experiment had been delivered last month
aboard the shuttle Atlantis and the completed crystals will be returned
to scientists on the ground by Endeavour. In addition, work continued on
the Biomass Production System, a plant growth experiment, with the crew
regularly preserving Brassica plant samples and checking the growth
chambers' status.

The crew spent several hours this week reviewing the plans for joint work
with the astronauts that will arrive aboard Endeavour during STS-111 and
the handover of station responsibilities to the upcoming Expedition 5
crew.  In addition to exchanging station crews, STS-111 will deliver a
Canadian-contributed Mobile Base System that will enable the station's
Canadarm2 to move up and down the station's truss railway, delivered on a
shuttle flight last month. Endeavour's crew also will replace a faulty
wrist roll joint on the Canadarm2, preparing the arm and railway for use
in missions later this year and in 2003 that will add more segments of
truss to the station. 

Meanwhile, station managers are investigating the need to add a safeguard
mechanism to some of the fluid umbilical connections that will be used as
the truss is assembled during missions later this year and early in 2003.
The mechanism is designed to prevent a slight possibility of the
umbilical connections, called quick disconnects, jamming over time. The
mechanisms will ensure that the umbilicals may always be disconnected as
needed for future assembly or maintenance operations. The new mechanisms
will be installed during upcoming shuttle missions and station
increments. Over this period, the installation may add one spacewalk
above what is currently planned.

Information on the crew’s activities aboard the space station, future
launch dates, as well as station sighting opportunities from anywhere on
the Earth, is available on the Internet at:

http://spaceflight.nasa.gov

Details on station science operations can be found on an Internet site
administered by the Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space
Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., at:

http://www.scipoc.msfc.nasa.gov

The next ISS status report will be issued on Friday, May 24, or earlier
if developments warrant.

- -END-

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