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Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC

International Space Station Status Report #03-17 
4 p.m. CDT, Friday, April 18, 2003 
Expedition Six Crew

The Expedition 6 crewmembers on board the International Space Station
stepped up their preparations for returning to Earth this week, while
the next permanent crew for the station received its final certification
for a launch scheduled for the end of next week. 

Monday the Expedition crewmembers -- Commander Ken Bowersox, Flight
Engineer Nikolai Budarin, and NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pettit-got
into their Sokol launch and entry suits for a fit check in the
shock-absorbing seats in the Descent Module of the Soyuz TMA-1
spacecraft docked to the station's Pirs Docking Compartment. Wednesday
morning, taking advantage of their ability to look at the actual
hardware on orbit, the crewmembers spent an hour answering questions
from members of the flight control team in Houston about the details of
several maintenance and repair tasks completed during the past few
months. Packing of personal gear, and other preparations for departure
and landing, continued all week. 

Plans for the launch of the next crew to the International Space Station
advanced this week, too. On Monday at the General Designer's Review in
Moscow officials confirmed that the Soyuz TMA-2 vehicle is ready for
launch. Today officials at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star
City, Russia, certified the Expedition 7 crewmembers for flight. 

Commander Yuri Malenchenko and NASA ISS Science Officer Ed Lu are due to
depart Star City for the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch site in Kazakhstan
on Sunday to make final preparations for their launch April 26, at 9:54
a.m. Baikonur time (10:54 p.m. CDT on Friday, April 25). The new crew
should arrive at the station early in the morning of Monday, April 28,
to begin six days of handover briefings with the returning crew.
Bowersox, Budarin and Pettit are scheduled to land in the old Soyuz on
May 4; Bowersox and Pettit will be the first American astronauts ever to
land in a Soyuz spacecraft. 

While spending more time on departure preparations this week, the
station crew continued their science operations. All three participated
in biomedical experiments looking into lung function and kidney stone
formation in microgravity, and each day Pettit oversaw experiment runs
of the InSpace investigation in the Destiny Laboratory's Microgravity
Sciences Glovebox. Pettit has been applying and removing magnetic forces
to particles and clumps of particles suspended in paramagnetic fluids
for the benefit of investigators looking to develop better fluids for
brake and vibration damping systems. 

All three crewmembers also continued their participation in several
research protocols to learn more about how the human body reacts to
extended periods in a weightless environment. 

Thursday the Expedition 6 crewmembers participated in another
educational event, answering questions about their mission and about
living in space posed by students from Mountain Park Elementary School
in Roswell, Ga., who have been participating in a year-long celebration
of the Centennial of Flight. 

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: 


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: 


The next ISS status report will be issued after the launch of Soyuz
TMA-2, scheduled for late Friday, April 25, or sooner if events warrant.


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