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*International Space Station Status Report #06-39*
*3 p.m. CDT, Friday, Aug. 25, 2006 *
*Expedition 13 Crew*

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 and 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 a launch on Sunday, which would 
result in a 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 the arrays 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 of Atlantis' arrival. The Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly, or 
CDRA, was turned on for an extended period of time 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 the 
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, that 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, or earlier if events warrant. 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, visit:



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