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Aug. 25, 2006

Grey Hautaluoma
Headquarters, Washington

James Hartsfield
Johnson Space Center, Houston



With the countdown clock ticking toward the launch of Space Shuttle 
Atlantis on the STS-115 mission, the International Space Station crew 
continues to prepare for visitors. 

Commander Pavel Vinogradov, Flight Engineer, NASA Science Officer Jeff 
Williams and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter of Germany 
are ready for Atlantis to deliver a new section of the station's 
girder-like truss. Atlantis is set for launch on Sunday, which would 
result in docking with the station on Tuesday. 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 to 
allow them to track the sun. 

To prepare for Atlantis' visit, the station crew members packed items 
that will be returned to Earth on the shuttle. They also reviewed 
spacewalk plans, talked with the shuttle crew in a long-distance 
conference and trained to photograph the shuttle's heat shield as 
Atlantis does a backflip while approaching the station. 

Flight controllers tested the operation of a U.S. air scrubbing system 
in advance. The Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly, or CDRA, was turned 
on for an extended period to test its capability to remove carbon 
dioxide from the air. The CDRA augments the Russian air scrubber, 
Vozdukh, which was turned off during the test. Engineers are 
continuing to evaluate data from the CDRA operations. 

The station was raised 2.5 miles by firing the ISS Progress 21 engines 
Wednesday. The boost places the complex at the optimum position for 
Atlantis' rendezvous and docking. It also puts the station at the 
optimum altitude for the launch of the next station resident crew, 
Expedition 14, from Kazakhstan in September. 

Williams replaced filters in part of the station's cooling system. The 
used filters will be returned to Earth for engineering analysis to 
confirm their success at removing fine particles from water in 
coolant lines. 

Williams completed runs of the Dust and Aerosol Measurement 
Feasibility Test, or DAFT experiment. DAFT is testing the 
effectiveness of a commercial hand-held air quality monitor called 
P-Trak that counts ultra-fine dust particles in microgravity. The 
study provides data that may help in the design of fire detection 
systems on future spacecraft. Its data also may prove useful for fire 
detection hardware in extreme environments on Earth, such as 
submarines or underwater laboratories. 

The station crew continued with the set-up and check-out of the 
European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS) that was delivered on 
STS-121. This experiment system contains a centrifuge that can 
subject a wide range of small plant and animal experiments to partial 
gravity conditions. 

The first experiment that will be performed in EMCS is the Analysis of 
a Novel Sensory Mechanism in Root Phototropism, called Tropi, which 
seeks to identify the genes responsible for successful plant growth 
in microgravity. The experiment studies mustard seeds. 

Vinogradov and Reiter participated in European Space Agency science 
experiments that test the cardiovascular system's response to 
microgravity for long durations. 

The next station status report will be issued after the STS-115 
shuttle mission. The status of the ISS will be included in the 
twice-daily shuttle mission status reports issued during STS-115. For 
more about the crew's activities and station sighting opportunities, 



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