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>> Jan. 27, 2006
>> J.D. Harrington
>> Headquarters, Washington (202) 358-5241
>> James Hartsfield
>> Johnson Space Center, Houston
>> (281) 483-5111
>> Preparations for a walk in space took center stage this week on the 
>> space station. Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur and Flight 
>> Engineer Valery Tokarev reviewed procedures, gathered tools and 
>> outfitted equipment for their Feb. 3 spacewalk.
>> The walk may last up to six hours. It begins at 5:20 p.m. EST; NASA 
>> TV coverage starts at 4:30 p.m. EST. During the walk, the crew will 
>> release the unusual SuitSat satellite. It's an old Russian Orlan 
>> spacesuit outfitted with amateur radio equipment. It will fly freely 
>> for several weeks of scientific research and amateur radio tracking. 
>> Eventually, SuitSat will burn up in the atmosphere.
>> The crew will also install a safety bolt in an emergency cable 
>> cutting system on the station's mobile transporter rail car. The 
>> transporter is used to move a platform containing the station's 
>> robotic arm along the truss of the complex. Other spacewalk tasks 
>> include relocation of an adaptor for the Russian Strela boom. The 
>> crane-like Strela is used to move spacewalkers and cargo.
>> Managers decided to extend Expedition 12's mission and delay launch 
>> of Expedition 13 by one week. Expedition 13 is planned to launch on a 
>> Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on March 29. It 
>> will dock on April 1. Expedition 12 is scheduled to return home April 
>> 8. The additional time will be used to prepare the Expedition 13 
>> Soyuz spacecraft for flight.
>> The Protein Crystal Growth Monitoring by Digital Holographic 
>> Microscope for the International Space Station experiment operated on 
>> the station this week. The experiment uses diagnostic equipment to 
>> monitor the exact growth conditions of protein crystals. The 
>> experiment was activated Jan. 19. It operates for 15 days inside the 
>> Destiny Laboratory's Microgravity Science Glovebox. A better 
>> understanding of protein crystals may aid in the development of new 
>> medicines.
>> The ground-commanded Binary Colloidal Alloy Test captured time-lapse 
>> photography of its sixth sample using camera equipment borrowed from 
>> a student photography experiment called EarthKAM. The experiment 
>> studies the physics of the Earth's surface crystallization and fluids 
>> at their critical point. The payload operations team at NASA's 
>> Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., coordinates U.S. 
>> science activities on the station. As part of NASA's education 
>> programs, McArthur also videotaped a description of how astronauts 
>> stay oriented in weightlessness. The video will be used in classrooms 
>> and NASA educational products.
>> For information about crew activities, future launch dates and 
>> station sighting opportunities on the Web, visit:
>> http://www.nasa.gov/station
>> For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:
>> http://www.nasa.gov/home
>> -end-
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