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International Space Station Status Report #06-7
4 p.m. CST, Friday, Feb. 17, 2006
Expedition 12 Crew

The International Space Station crew members completed a semiannual 
treadmill overhaul this week and began readying for a first-ever station 
"camp out" planned next week. Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur and 
Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev spent several days replacing worn 
components on the treadmill. They inspected and cleaned others. The 
device, called the Treadmill Vibration Isolation System, floats in a pit 
in the floor of the station's Zvezda living quarters module. A complex 
system prevents the crew's running from shaking the station's structure 
and experiments.

Following a final test run and inspection on Wednesday, the crew was 
given a go to return to normal use of the treadmill. It is one of 
several exercise options available aboard the station. Other equipment 
includes a stationary bicycle and a resistive exercise device that uses 
tension to simulate weights. Exercise is important to counteract the 
physical effects of long durations in weightlessness.

A special activity is planned next week to test procedures that could 
shorten the preparation time required in future spacewalks. The crew and 
Mission Control refer to this as a "camp out" since McArthur and Tokarev 
will shut themselves in the Quest Airlock overnight.

They will lower the air pressure to 10.2 pounds per square inch (psi), a 
pressure equal to about 10,000 feet high on Earth. The station is kept 
at 14.7 psi, near sea-level pressure.

Spending the night at the lower air pressure helps flush nitrogen from 
the body faster, preventing decompression sickness, commonly called "the 
bends." The new procedure can reduce the amount of time spacewalkers 
must breathe pure oxygen before a spacewalk to complete that purge.

For the test, McArthur and Tokarev will follow many of the same measures 
as if they were to perform a spacewalk, but they will not don their 
spacesuits. McArthur and Tokarev are set to enter the airlock around the 
start of their sleep period Thursday afternoon, Feb. 23. They will 
return to the main station modules when they awaken early Friday 
morning, Feb. 24.

In preparation for the camp out, McArthur worked in the Destiny 
Laboratory to replace a faulty component in a device that can measure 
the composition of the station's air. On Thursday, he installed a new 
spectrometer in the device, called the Mass Constituent Analyzer. An 
attempt by Mission Control to power up the unit early Friday was 
unsuccessful, and McArthur was asked to do further troubleshooting. 
Engineers suspect the problem may be electrical connectors within the 
device that are not seating properly. They are continuing to analyze the 
problem, and McArthur may conduct further troubleshooting this weekend.

In science work this week, the EarthKAM experiment completed its most 
recent session on Saturday. EarthKAM uses a camera to take photos of 
Earth through the station window as selected by school students.

A total of 118 schools and more than 1,900 students participated in the 
most recent session. Schools participated from: the United States, 
Canada, Argentina, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Japan, 
and, for the first time, New Zealand. More than 1,900 images were taken 
and will be used in a wide-range of studies, including coastline 
erosion, deforestation and environmental impacts. To date, almost 1,000 
schools have participated in EarthKAM with students taking nearly 20,000 

For more information about EarthKAM and to view images, visit: 

For information about crew activities, future launch dates and station 
sighting opportunities, visit:

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