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Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC - Amsat#31468

Allard Beutel
Headquarters, Washington                     April 16, 2004
(Phone: 202/358-4769)


     Work to prepare for the eighth International Space 
Station crew exchange continued on schedule on the Station 
and at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Expedition 9 Commander Gennady Padalka, Flight Engineer Mike 
Fincke, and European Space Agency astronaut André Kuipers of 
the Netherlands are at the launch site, ready to go. Their 
Soyuz spacecraft was mated with its rocket booster today, and 
it will be rolled out to the launch site tomorrow. Launch 
remains on schedule for 11:19 p.m. EDT April 18.

Expedition 8 Commander Mike Foale and Flight Engineer 
Alexander Kaleri spent the week preparing the Station for 
their replacement crew's arrival, packing for the trip home 
after six months on orbit, and wrapping up work on several 

Foale and Kaleri supported a test of their Soyuz return 
vehicle's maneuvering jets, which verified all thrusters are 
ready to support undocking, deorbit burn and re-entry. 
Russian flight controllers monitoring the test reported 
seeing evidence of the same helium leak initially seen in 
telemetry during the Expedition 8 crew's launch last October. 
Today, Russian controllers conducted an additional test of 
the helium system used to pressurize the Soyuz fuel tanks to 
gather additional data on the leak rate, which is believed to 
have increased some over previous observations. Russian 
flight controllers are continuing to evaluate data from the 
tests. However, no impact to the normal Soyuz descent and 
landing is anticipated.

Kaleri also spent several hours in the Soyuz descent module 
changing out a pair of ventilation and humidity removal fans. 
He replaced the fans with a spare stored in the Zarya control 
module and verified that they are working well. The old fan 
package, which has one working fan, will be retained on the 
Station as a spare.

Foale conducted a final session with the Hand Posture 
Analyzer experiment on Thursday, after wrapping up work with 
the Pore Formation of Materials Investigations (PFMI) and the 
Foot/Ground Reaction Forces during Space Flight (FOOT) 
experiments last week. The Hand Posture Analyzer is an 
Italian investigation looking at how humans use their arms, 
wrists and hands for reaching and grasping in microgravity.

Final sessions with the RENAL kidney stone experiment were 
also conducted today.

Foale also spent several hours Wednesday setting up and 
activating ESA's HEAT experiment in the Microgravity Science 
Glovebox for his visiting colleague Kuipers. HEAT will 
evaluate whether a grooved heat pipe can be used effectively 
in the weightlessness of space to transfer heat from hot 
surfaces, such as electronic devices, to cold surfaces, such 
as radiator panels.

Otherwise, the crew conducted a series of routine, periodic 
fitness-evaluation tests on themselves, and collected samples 
of a variety of environmental factors inside the Station for 
return to Earth and evaluation by scientists on the ground, 
when they return home.

The Expedition 9 crew is scheduled to rendezvous and dock 
with the Station at 1:04 a.m. EDT Wednesday. Hatches will 
open and the five spacefarers will greet each other at 2:25 
a.m. that day, beginning more than a week of joint 

Information on the crew's activities aboard the Space Station 
and future launch dates, as well as Station sighting 
opportunities from anywhere on the Earth, is available on the 
Internet at:


NASA's payload operations team at the Marshall Space Flight 
Center, Ala., coordinates science activities on Space 
Station. Details on Station science operations can be found 



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