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ISS STATUS REPORT 06-18



SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC - AMSAT A/C #31468

*International Space Station Status Report #06-18*
*1 p.m. CDT  Friday, April 14, 2006*
*Expedition 13 Crew*

The 13th crew of the International Space Station is wrapping up its 
first week flying solo in its new orbiting home. The crew's work has 
included station maintenance, medical and other experiments and standard 
daily exercise.

Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer and NASA 
Science Officer Jeff Williams said farewell to their predecessors last 
Saturday. The Expedition 12 crew and a visiting Brazilian astronaut 
undocked that afternoon and landed in Kazakhstan at 7:48 p.m. EDT.

Vinogradov and Williams had light duty Sunday and Monday, a break after 
completing eight days of extensive handover activities with their 
counterparts.

Maintenance work included a three-and-a-half hour scheduled replacement 
of station toilet components on Tuesday. Both crew members also took 
time to talk with two Russian news organizations and participants at a 
Russian school children's aerospace festival.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the crew from the 
Kremlin. Putin's call came on the 45th anniversary of the first human 
spaceflight by Yuri Gagarin, a landmark event commemorated by the 
Russian holiday Cosmonautics Day. That date, April 12, was also the 25th 
anniversary of the first NASA space shuttle launch in 1981.

Putin told the crew it was a pleasure to see representatives of the 
United States and Russia working together on the same spacecraft. During 
the light-hearted exchange, Vinogradov invited Putin to visit the space 
station.

The crew continued loading the station's Progress cargo craft with trash 
and conducted physical evaluations and experiments Thursday. Vinogradov 
and Williams practiced an emergency evacuation drill Friday. Throughout 
the week, they had time to familiarize themselves with their new home.

Vinogradov and Williams will remain in orbit for six months. During that 
time, they plan to welcome two space shuttles and perform two 
spacewalks. Shuttle Discovery's STS-121 mission, targeting a launch no 
earlier than July 1, will bring European Space Agency astronaut Thomas 
Reiter aboard the station.

Reiter will increase the station crew size to three for the first time 
since May 2003 when the crew size was reduced to conserve station 
supplies following the Columbia accident.

Back on Earth for almost a week, Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur 
and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev remain in Star City, Russia, near 
Moscow. They continue to undergo debriefing and rehabilitation after 190 
days in space. With them is Marcos Pontes, Brazil's first astronaut, who 
launched with Expedition 13. He returned to Earth with the Expedition 12 
crew after spending about eight days on the station conducting experiments.

Tentative plans call for McArthur to return to Houston later this month.

Information on the crew's activities aboard the space station, future 
launch dates, and station sighting opportunities are available at:

http://www.nasa.gov/station

The next status report will be issued Friday, April 21, or earlier if 
events warrant.

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