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    Submitted by Arthur - Ni1ORC - Amsat #31458

*International Space Station Status Report #04-17*
*2 p.m. CST, Friday, April 2, 2004*
*Expedition 8 Crew*

Plans for the next crew rotation on the International Space Station are 
on schedule this week, as the Expedition 8 crew members moved into their 
final month on orbit and their successors to within weeks of their 
scheduled launch.

On Thursday, Station managers conducted a Stage Operations Readiness 
Review and found no constraints to the planned April 19 launch of the 
ISS Soyuz 8 carrying Expedition 9 Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight 
Engineer Mike Fincke, along with European Space Agency astronaut Andrť 
Kuipers of the Netherlands. Kuipers will be aboard the Station for nine 
days performing scientific experiments under a commercial contract 
between ESA and the Federal Space Agency (of Russia) during the handover 
to the new permanent crew.

Preparations for the Expedition 9 flight will be further evaluated next 
week during a Flight Readiness Review. Meanwhile, the crew received its 
final certification for flight from the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training 
Center in Star City, Russia, this week.

Aboard the Station, Commander Mike Foale and Flight Engineer Alexander 
Kaleri successfully completed the initial maintenance and some 
functional testing of two new Russian Orlan spacesuits delivered in 
January aboard the most recent Progress supply ship. Those suits replace 
three older Orlan units on the complex. Padalka and Fincke plant to use 
them on the first spacewalk of Expedition 9.

Foale also completed an external survey of the Station using cameras on 
the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Foale was conducting his final proficiency 
training operating the arm. During the survey, Foale solved a mystery, 
reporting to Mission Control that a sound he has heard from outside of 
the Destiny laboratory module was being caused each time he commanded 
the Labís external camera to tilt up and down.

On Friday morning, Kaleri reported another noise to Mission Control in 
Moscow. He and Foale heard a metallic sound from Zvezda's Instrument 
Compartment, a sound they said was very similar to a noise they reported 
on Nov. 26, 2003, coming from the same area. Russian controllers told 
the crew that the fact that the noise has apparently repeated itself 
would likely indicate the cause is the operation of a system on the 
station or some other activity. Russia and U.S. controllers will 
continue to evaluate the report. All systems on the complex continue to 
operate normally.

Russian specialists are reviewing plans to replace a cooling fan motor 
in the Soyuz spacecraftís descent module. The fan, which stopped 
functioning during the trip to the Station last October, helps maintain 
a proper level of humidity inside the Soyuz.

Mission Control completed a successful test of software that will 
operate the Thermal Rotary Radiator Joints on the Stationís truss. The 
large rotating joints will be used to position the Station's radiators 
as they dissipate heat from the complex. Ground controllers ran the 
check of programs that will automate the positioning of the Stationís 
radiators as they dissipate heat in the future when the Station's full 
cooling system is activated.

Foale and Kaleri took time to discuss the progress of their mission with 
students twice during the week. The crew answered questions from a group 
of Houston-area middle school students affiliated with the Aerospace 
Academy for Engineering and Teacher Education. They also demonstrated 
how some common tools, such as a wrench and hammer, function in space 
during a talk with elementary school students from the Center for 
Science and Industry in Columbus, Ohio.

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 at:


The next ISS status report will be issued April 9, or earlier if events 

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