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*International Space Station Status Report #06-8*
*1 p.m. CST, Friday, Feb. 24, 2006*
*Expedition 12 Crew*

Aboard the International Space Station this week, Expedition 12 
Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev have been 
preparing for upcoming spacecraft arrivals and departures.

Managers decided to postpone the planned station "campout" this week 
until next month. It will test procedures to shorten the preparation 
required for spacewalks. It was delayed after a device called the Major 
Constituent Analyzer (MCA) could not be activated following maintenance 
work by the crew. The device measures the composition of the station's air.

McArthur replaced a major component of the MCA last week, the mass 
spectrometer, but attempts to activate the unit were unsuccessful. 
McArthur continued troubleshooting the device Saturday. Engineers 
suspect the problem may be damaged electrical connectors and are 
evaluating ways to fix them.

The crew began preparations for the next shuttle mission, STS-121, 
targeted for launch to the station no earlier than May. McArthur made 
room in the storage racks inside the Destiny lab for new equipment 
scheduled to arrive on Space Shuttle Discovery.

He cleared space in EXPRESS Rack 3 for a European Space Agency 
experiment facility called the European Modular Cultivation System. The 
facility will house biological experiments dealing with the effects of 
gravity on plant cells, roots and physiology.

Tokarev and McArthur also continued packing the station's Progress 19 
cargo spacecraft with trash, readying it to undock March 3. The supply 
craft's thrusters were used a final time to reboost the station 
Wednesday, increasing the altitude by eight miles. McArthur continued 
science work, performing his third session with an experiment called 
Foot/Ground Reaction Forces During Spaceflight. The experiment 
investigates how muscles and joints of the legs and feet are used 
differently in space than on Earth.

To gather data, McArthur wore the instrumented Lower Extremity 
Monitoring Suit, which measures joint angles, muscle activity and forces 
on the feet as he exercised. The experiment measures the musculoskeletal 
system and may lead to a better understanding of bone loss during 
long-duration missions.

The SuitSat experiment, an unneeded Russian Orlan 
spacesuit-turned-satellite, has stopped sending signals. SuitSat was 
released by Tokarev during a spacewalk Feb. 3. It transmitted recorded 
voices of school children to amateur radio operators as it orbited the 
Earth. Hundreds of reports from individuals receiving the faint signal 
from all over the world were logged at the projectís Web site. For 
SuitSat information, visit:


For information about the station, including sighting opportunities, visit:


For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:


The next station status report will be issued Friday, March 3, or 
earlier if events warrant.

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