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ISS CREWS PERFORM NEW THINGS



Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC - Amsat A/C #31468

Melissa Mathews
Headquarters, Washington               November 2, 2004
(Phone: 202/358-1272)

Kylie Clem
Johnson Space Center, Houston
(Phone: 281/483-5111)


EXPEDITION CREWS LEARN LESSONS DURING STATION'S FOURTH YEAR 

     Each crew aboard the International Space Station 
discovers more and more about what it takes to live and work 
in space for long periods of time. This year, the fourth for 
humans continuously staffing the Station since the arrival of 
Expedition 1 on November 2, 2000, has proven to be an 
exceptional example.

"Every challenge for the International Space Station crews, 
flight control teams and management adds to the knowledge 
base we need to develop longer spaceflight missions to places 
like the moon and Mars," said Bill Gerstenmaier, 
International Space Station program manager. "The work we're 
doing on Station is directly connected to future exploration 
missions."

International cooperation grew even closer during Station 
operations this year, particularly in the planning and 
execution of spacewalks. In February, the Expedition 8 crew, 
Commander Michael Foale and Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri, 
conducted the first spacewalk from the Station by a two-
person crew, without a crewmember left inside. The spacewalk 
demonstrated these types of spacewalks, using the procedures 
developed by American and Russian flight controllers working 
together, could be safe and successful.

Two spacewalks were planned for the next crew, Expedition 9 
Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Michael Fincke. 
Within days of their arrival, a breakdown of an external 
Station component added a third spacewalk to their mission. 
Then, problems were found in the U.S. spacesuits, and 
international cooperation came through again. Teams worked 
out procedures for the crew to wear Russian spacesuits to 
work on the U.S. side of the complex. They worked closely to 
combine tools and procedures, even switching between control 
centers and languages, to complete the successful repair.

Astronauts living aboard the Station have been invaluable in 
maintaining the facility. With no Space Shuttles to deliver 
supplies since the Columbia accident in February 2003, repair 
parts have been shipped via the smaller Russian Progress 
resupply vehicle. Fincke demonstrated U.S. spacesuits could 
be taken apart and repaired in space. Normally, a Shuttle 
would have delivered whole new suits as replacements. 
Fincke's work, continued by Expedition 10 Commander Leroy 
Chiao, will restore two U.S. spacesuits to operation.

Foale and Kaleri used a small set of tools to perform the 
unprecedented repair of a stabilizing gyroscope in their 
exercise treadmill. A new gyroscope would have been too large 
to deliver aboard a Progress. "The crews have shown repairing 
hardware in space with few supplies and equipment is 
possible," Gerstenmaier said. "Missions far from Earth will 
benefit from their work," he added.

Research on the Station this year was refocused to directly 
support the Vision for Space Exploration, with human life 
science experiments taking on highest priority. One such 
experiment was the Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in 
Microgravity (ADUM). It was used to develop the remote 
medical diagnostic and telemedicine capabilities needed by 
crews on distant exploration missions. Another experiment, 
called FOOT, evaluates the exercise forces necessary to 
maintain muscle and bone health on long-duration missions. A 
related experiment, called Biopsy, continues to study some of 
the basic fundamental principles involved in muscle atrophy 
that occurs during spaceflight.

Along with tackling technical tasks, ground support teams did 
their best to make the astronauts feel at home in space. 
Mission Control, Houston, kept Fincke in touch with his 
family as his wife gave birth. Fincke was able to talk from 
space to his wife using an Internet protocol telephone and 
private family conferences via satellite.

Chiao cast the first vote in a presidential election from 230 
miles above Earth. Through a special law passed in Texas in 
1997, astronauts are able to vote electronically from space. 
Chiao submitted his electronic ballet to his county clerk's 
office via email.

Another milestone in spaceflight was reached this year when 
Foale accumulated more time in space than any other U.S. 
astronaut. He logged 374 days, 11 hours and 19 minutes during 
his Station and previous missions. The astronauts and 
cosmonauts serve as test subjects, blazing a trail in 
understanding what happens to the human body while living 
without gravity for long periods.

Chiao and Expedition 10 Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov 
will continue to maintain hardware and conduct scientific 
research for the next six months. The Station has been under 
construction for six years, since the arrival of the first 
element, the Russian Zarya module, in 1998. Major assembly is 
set to resume with the return of the Space Shuttle to flight 
next year. For information about the International Space 
Station, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov
-end-
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