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*International Space Station Status Report #06-26*
*1 p.m. CDT, Friday, May 26, 2006*
*Expedition 13 Crew*

The residents of the International Space Station turned their attention 
to spacewalk preparations this week as they gear up for a six-hour 
excursion outside the complex June 1. During the spacewalk, the crew 
will repair and retrieve U.S. and Russian hardware.

Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and NASA Flight Engineer and 
Science Officer Jeff Williams gathered equipment for the spacewalk, 
charged batteries for the Russian Orlan suits they will wear and checked 
out systems in the Pirs Docking Compartment airlock. The spacewalk will 
be staged from Pirs.

This will be the 65th spacewalk in support of station assembly and 
maintenance and the 18th conducted from this airlock. This will be the 
sixth spacewalk in Vinogradov's career and the second for Williams.

The crew members will climb into their spacesuits next Tuesday to test 
their mobility and to handle tools they will use while conducting their 
work outside. Vinogradov and Williams shifted their wake and sleep 
cycles this week to match the hours they will work on June 1. They will 
enjoy some off-duty time this weekend before resuming spacewalk 
preparations on Monday, with final communications and systems checks on 
their suits.

During the spacewalk the crew will install a new hydrogen vent valve on 
the hull of the Zvezda Service Module to bypass a similar valve that is 
clogged. The vent valve is part of the Russian Elektron 
oxygen-generation system that separates oxygen and hydrogen from water 
in the device's plumbing unit. The oxygen is then circulated into the 
cabin atmosphere while hydrogen is released overboard.

The spacewalkers will also recover a thruster residue collection device 
from Zvezda, retrieve a contamination monitoring device and a package of 
biology experiments and reposition a cable for a navigation antenna on 
the aft end of Zvezda to be used next year for the unpiloted rendezvous 
and docking of the new European Automated Transfer Vehicle.

Williams will also replace a camera on the station's Mobile Base System 
railcar that moves up and down the truss of the complex.

A Mission Status Briefing to preview the spacewalk will be broadcast on 
NASA Television at 1 p.m. CDT May 30 with question-and-answer capability 
for reporters at NASA centers. Coverage of the spacewalk on NASA TV 
begins at 4:30 p.m. CDT June 1.

On the maintenance front, Vinogradov this week finished replacing a gas 
analyzer device for the Russian carbon dioxide removal system, known as 
Vozdukh. It had been operating at a slightly decreased rate in cleansing 
carbon dioxide from the cabin atmosphere. Russian specialists 
reactivated the system following the installation of the new gas 
analyzer. Vozdukh is now operating normally.

As part of the Crew Earth Observations experiment, Williams snapped the 
first shots of the Cleveland volcano erupting on the Aleutian Islands in 
Alaska. From their perspective in orbit, astronauts have been the first 
to spot and confirm the volcanic eruptions on several occasions. This is 
the first early sighting of a new eruption in recent years.

On Tuesday, Williams discussed the progress of his mission with the 
Associated Press Television Network and conducted an amateur radio 
discussion with students at a school in Venice, Italy.

Williams began runs of an experiment, designated the Investigating the 
Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions, or 
InSPACE. The fluid physics experiment, last operated during Expedition 
7, studies the behavior of fluids that change their properties when in a 
magnetic field. InSPACE obtains basic data on a new class of smart 
materials that can be used to improve or develop new brake systems, seat 
suspensions robotics, clutches, airplane landing gear and vibration 
damper systems. For more information, visit:


Williams also continued checking the camera for the ground-commanded 
Binary Colloidal Alloy Test, or BCAT-3 activity. The EarthKAM camera and 
equipment is taking time-lapse photography once every hour of BCAT 
sample 3. BCAT-3 uses small particles called colloids to study 
fundamental physics. It gathers data that may provide insight into a 
wide range of applications, from the development of new pharmaceuticals 
to new rocket engines. NASA's payload operations team at the agency's 
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., coordinates U.S. science 
activities on the station.

The next station status report will be issued in the early morning hours 
on June 2, following the spacewalk, or earlier if events warrant. For 
more about the crew's activities and station sighting opportunities, visit:

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