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ISS STATUS REPORT #04-14a




    Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC - Amsat #31468


*International Space Station Status Report #04-14A*
*2 p.m. CST, Friday, March 19, 2004*
*Expedition 8 Crew*

Heading into the homestretch of their 6½-month mission aboard the 
International Space Station, Expedition 8 Commander Michael Foale and 
Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri spent the week conducting biomedical 
experiments and performing maintenance on a key Station component.

Foale and Kaleri spent two days replacing a liquids unit and a water 
flow system in the Russian Elektron oxygen-generation device in the 
Zvezda Service Module after weeks of troubleshooting efforts failed to 
coax it back into service. The Elektron produces oxygen for the Station 
atmosphere through electrolysis – the separation of hydrogen and oxygen 
from water that flows through a series of pumps and valves. The hydrogen 
is vented overboard.

Russian specialists spent several weeks trying to track down the most 
probable cause for repeated shutdowns of the system after just a few 
minutes of operation each time. They concluded that particles of 
potassium hydroxide electrolytes – a by-product of the electrolysis 
process – that created air bubbles in the liquids unit, resulting in the 
unit’s repeated shutdowns, were the most probable cause of the problem.

Since last Saturday, the crew has derived oxygen from solid-fuel oxygen 
generation (SFOG) canisters activated in Zvezda. The crew has been using 
an average of two SFOGs each day since available air and oxygen were 
depleted from tanks in the Russian Progress supply vehicle following the 
first shutdown of the Elektron.

Russian engineers now plan to activate the refurbished Elektron Saturday 
for a few days of checkouts and diagnosis. If the Elektron repair proves 
successful, the SFOG canisters will no longer be needed. There is an 
ample supply of those canisters, as well as oxygen contained in the 
Quest airlock tanks, that could provide oxygen for the Station for 
several months.

To accommodate the Elektron repair, a few lower-priority tasks were 
moved to other days, including routine proficiency training for Foale on 
the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

On Friday, Foale did a leak check of the window in the Destiny 
laboratory. In January, a flex hose that helps to vent air from the 
inner panes of the window was found to be causing a minor pressure decay 
from the Station. Although the flex hose is operating normally, today’s 
check revealed a slight leak from one of the inner panes of the window. 
The leak will not affect the pressure in the Station, but it will 
require another venting procedure in the next week or so to prevent 
condensation buildup.

Foale and Kaleri took advantage of the recently repaired high-tech 
treadmill to get in several rounds of intense exercise. A lengthy 
overhaul last week brought the system back into full operation.

Foale spent some time this week conducting experiments with a cellular 
biotechnology device to test methods for improved cell culture growth 
and with a device designed to measure the forces imparted on the joints 
of the lower extremities and the feet in the absence of gravity.

Foale and Kaleri also took time out from their schedule to answer 
questions from a syndicated talk show host from the Premiere Radio 
Networks and from students at the Howard Bishop Middle School in 
Gainesville, Fla.

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://scipoc.msfc.nasa.gov/

The next ISS status report will be issued Friday, March 26, or earlier 
if events warrant.




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