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International Space Station Status Report #03-9



Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC

International Space Station Status Report #03-9 
4 p.m. CST, Friday, Feb. 28, 2003 
Expedition Six Crew

Approaching their 100th day in orbit, the International Space Stationís
Expedition 6 crewmembers completed an important test of on-orbit
spacewalk preparation this week, while program managers cleared the way
for a crew rotation scenario that will bring the three-man crew back to
Earth in Kazakhstan in May. Monday Commander Ken Bowersox and Flight
Engineer Don Pettit conducted a successful test of the ability of two
crewmembers to safely get into American spacesuits without the assistance
of a third crewmember; that ability is a prerequisite to sending smaller
crews to ISS while the space shuttle fleet remains grounded during the
investigation of the Columbia accident. As Flight Engineer Nikolai
Budarin videotaped the activity and offered his advice, Bowersox and
Pettit helped each other into their Extravehicular Mobility Units, donned
jet backpacks called SAFERs, set up the necessary equipment for a
pre-breathe of oxygen to purge nitrogen from their bloodstreams, and then
got out of the spacesuits. 

Through a series of meetings, ISS partners announced that near-term
station crew rotations will involve two-person crews flying to the
International Space Station in Russian Soyuz spacecraft, beginning with
the previously scheduled launch in late April or early May. Expedition 6
will return to Kazakhstan in early May in the Soyuz currently docked to
the station. Smaller crews will mean a reduced demand for on-board
supplies, which can be delivered only on Russian Progress ships until the
shuttles are cleared for flight. One Progress arrived at the station
early this month, and the next is due to launch in June. 

U.S. astronauts Mike Foale and Ed Lu, and Russian cosmonauts Yuri
Malenchenko and Alexander Kaleri, all of whom were previously named to
various ISS expedition crews and who have many months of preparation for
ISS missions under their belts, are training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut
Training Center in Star City, Russia. 

Specialists at the Payload Operations Control Center, at NASAís Marshall
Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., continue troubleshooting the
Microgravity Sciences Glovebox in the stationís Destiny laboratory
module. The MSG, developed by the European Space Agency with scientists
at MSFC, provides an enclosed space for experiments involving fluids or
flames. This week Pettit did troubleshooting for the ground-based team
looking for the cause of the failure of two power controller boxes on the
facility last November, and this monthís tripping of a circuit breaker on
the facility shortly after the installation of new power boxes delivered
on the recent Progress resupply ship. Additional hands-on tests are being
planned for next week. 

Tuesday morning the crewmembers answered questions about their mission
and human spaceflight from middle school science students from Pettitís
old junior high school, Mark Twain Middle School in Silverton, Ore.
During the event -- staged at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
in Portland, Ore. -- Pettit spoke with the teacher, who was his own
science teacher in junior high school. On Friday the crewmembers
conducted interviews with USA Today and KPTV-TV in Portland, Ore. 

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, March 7, or sooner
if events warrant. 

-end-

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