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*International Space Station Status Report #06-38*
*3 p.m. CDT, Friday, Aug. 18, 2006 *
*Expedition 13 Crew*

The astronauts aboard the International Space Station spent much of 
their week preparing for the arrival of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, set 
for launch Aug. 27 on the STS-115 mission.

Commander Pavel Vinogradov, Flight Engineer and NASA Science Officer 
Jeff Williams and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter of 
Germany prepared for Atlantis to deliver a new section of the station's 
girder-like truss. During Atlantis' mission, astronauts will attach the 
new P3/P4 truss, a segment that includes a huge new set of solar arrays 
and a giant rotary joint that allows the arrays to track the sun. The 
mission will mark the resumption of station assembly by delivering the 
first large new component to the station since late 2002.

During the shuttle flight, Atlantis' crew members will conduct three 
spacewalks to complete the installation and setup of the new segment. 
The spacewalks will begin from the station's Quest Airlock. Complex 
robotics work is involved as the 17.5-ton, bus-sized truss section is 
handed from the shuttle arm to the station arm for installation.

In preparation for Atlantis, the station crew trained on the robotic 
Canadarm2 and packed items for return to Earth on the shuttle. They also 
reviewed Atlantis' mission timeline and trained to photograph the 
shuttle's heat shield as the orbiter does a backflip while approaching 
the station. The crew also did several physiological and psychological 
tests and experiments designed to learn more about how humans react to 
long periods of weightlessness.

Early this week Williams worked with flight controllers and the Dynamic 
Onboard Ubiquitous Graphics (DOUG) program on robotic arm activities. 
DOUG simulates the arm's operation for training.

Williams moved the arm from a base on the U.S. Destiny Lab to a power 
and data grapple fixture on the mobile transporter, enabling the arm to 
work at different sites along the main truss' railway. Subsequently, in 
an inchworm-like maneuver, the arm was moved to a different grapple 
fixture on the transporter and used to inspect the outboard end of the 
P1 truss, where the new segment will be attached. The crew also reviewed 
installation procedures for the new segment and Williams did spacesuit 

Throughout the week Vinogradov and Reiter worked on the Russian-German 
Plasma Crystal experiment. The experiment examines the behavior of tiny 
particles excited by high-frequency radio signals in a vacuum chamber 
and functions by itself most of the time. It requires a crew member to 
work with it, however, at some intervals during the day.

The Earthkam experiment was activated this week. Earthkam allows 
students to request photos from space of specific locations on Earth via 
email and later receive those photos electronically. The 
remote-controlled camera has been used since October 2001.

The next station status report will be issued on Friday, Aug. 25, or 
earlier if events warrant. For more about the crew's activities and 
station sighting opportunities, visit:


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