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> Nov. 9, 2006
> Grey Hautaluoma
> Headquarters, Washington
> 202-358-0668
> James Hartsfield 
> Johnson Space Center, Houston 
> 281-483-5111 
> The International Space Station crewmembers spent this week getting 
> ready for an upcoming spacewalk, performing scientific research and 
> voting in the U.S. elections back on Earth.
> Throughout the week the crew prepared the Pirs docking compartment for 
> the Nov. 22 spacewalk by Expedition 14 Commander Michael 
> Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin. The astronauts 
> gathered tools and equipment they will use on the nearly six-hour 
> spacewalk. 
> Lopez-Alegria and Tyurin next week will prepare the Russian Orlan 
> spacesuits they will wear for the excursion. During the spacewalk 
> they will relocate a communications antenna, install new experiment 
> hardware and photograph a Kurs rendezvous system antenna on the 
> Progress supply ship that docked last month to the Zvezda module's 
> aft docking port. Tyurin also will conduct a Russian commercial 
> demonstration by hitting a golf ball teed up on the exterior of Pirs.
> A top priority for Flight Engineer Thomas Reiter this week was packing 
> material destined to return to Earth on the Space Shuttle Discovery 
> in December. Lopez-Alegria completed a routine checkout of the Mobile 
> Servicing System that moves the station's robotic arm up and down the 
> truss, in support of that shuttle assembly flight.
> On mission STS-116, targeted to launch Dec. 6/7, the shuttle crew will 
> deliver another component of the station's girder-like truss 
> structure and perform spacewalks to rewire the station's electrical 
> system. The shuttle crew includes astronaut Suni Williams, who will 
> relieve Reiter on board. Reiter will have spent six months on the 
> complex.
> Lopez-Alegria, the NASA International Space Station Science Officer 
> for Expedition 14, collected his third set of blood and urine samples 
> for the Nutritional Status Assessment experiment. This experiment 
> measures physiological indicators of the changes in the human body 
> during spaceflight.
> The samples are stored in the Minus-Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer 
> aboard the station. Once returned to Earth the blood and urine 
> samples will be analyzed to understand a wide variety of bodily 
> systems, including hormonal changes and how they relate to stress, 
> bone and muscle metabolism. Scientists will also look at markers to 
> measure bone metabolism, oxidative damage, and vitamin and mineral 
> status.
> These findings are expected to give researchers a better understanding 
> of what happens to crewmembers in space and when it happens. It also 
> will help to define nutritional requirements and develop food systems 
> for future missions to the moon and Mars. 
> Working hundreds of miles away from home didn't stop Lopez-Alegria 
> from participating in this week's general election. Texas law permits 
> residents who happen to be in orbit on Election Day to cast a ballot 
> from space. This was first done by David Wolf from the Mir space 
> station in 1997. Lopez-Alegria made his choices on an encrypted 
> computer ballot that was downlinked to Mission Control and forwarded 
> to the county clerk's office in Houston for tabulation. 
> The next station status report will be issued Nov. 17, or earlier if 
> events warrant. For more about the crew's activities and station 
> sighting opportunities: 
> http://www.nasa.gov/station 
> -end-
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