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International Space Station Status Report #06-50
3 p.m. CST Friday, Nov. 17, 2006
Expedition 13 Crew

Expedition 14 Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and flight engineers 
Mikhail Tyurin and Thomas Reiter continue to prepare for a spacewalk 
Wednesday, Nov. 22 out of the International Space Station's Russian Pirs 
Docking Compartment airlock.

Lopez-Alegria, who will make his sixth spacewalk, and Tyurin, with three 
previous spacewalks to his credit, climbed into Russian Orlan spacesuits 
Friday to test all systems and communications gear. This ended a week 
during which the spacewalkers also installed U.S. lights on their suit 
helmets, reviewed procedures for the extravehicular activity and 
performed leak checks on the Progress 22 craft currently docked to the 
Pirs airlock.

The six-hour spacewalk includes a commercial golf demonstration by 
Tyurin. Under a commercial agreement between the Russian Federal Space 
Agency and a Canadian golf company, Tyurin will hit a golf ball into 
space from a spring-mounted tee on the ladder next to the hatch of Pirs. 
The ball will be tapped over the back of the station's Russian segment 
so that the ball travels away from the complex. NASA flight controllers 
have calculated that it will burn up in the atmosphere in about three 
days. The ball weighs much less than the standard 45 gram golf ball. The 
ball used for this demonstration weighs three grams, approximately the 
weight of three paper clips.

During the spacewalk, Tyurin will examine part of the ISS Progress 23 
cargo ship. One of the antennas for the Progress' automated docking 
system may have failed to fold back when the spacecraft approached the 
aft port of the Zvezda Service Module on Oct. 26. If it's necessary, 
Tyurin will manually retract that antenna.

Also, Lopez-Alegria and Tyurin will reposition a communications antenna 
on the aft end of Zvezda associated with next year’s docking of the 
European Automated Transfer Vehicle, check restraining bolts on one of 
two Russian cargo cranes attached to Pirs and deploy an experiment to 
measure solar flares.

NASA TV coverage of the spacewalk on Nov. 22 begins at 4 p.m. CST. The 
excursion begins one hour later.

Wednesday marked the first live high-definition television broadcast 
from space. It featured Lopez-Alegria, with Reiter serving as camera 
operator. The broadcasts were conducted by NHK Television in Japan and 
the Discovery HD Theater. Known as the Space Video Gateway, the HD 
system onboard transmits high bandwidth digital television signals to 
the ground through a computer. Previously, high-definition video was 
recorded and then returned to Earth for viewing.

Flight controllers this week continued to test one of the station's four 
control moment gyroscopes (CMGs). CMG-3 exhibited high vibrations and 
electrical currents in the past and was shut down Oct. 9. The recent 
test results will be compared to a previous series of tests to provide 
additional data on the state of the gyroscope’s accelerometer, lubricant 
and lubrication of the spin bearings.

CMG-3 is scheduled to be removed and replaced on the STS-118 shuttle 
mission, targeted for launch in June 2007. The gyroscope will be stowed 
and returned to Earth on the STS-122 mission next fall. The station 
continues to function on three healthy CMGs without affecting operations.

Reiter also continued work this week on a suite of European Space Agency 
science experiments, including one called CASPER. Its objective is to 
develop ways to help astronauts sleep better during long-duration 
missions. Alteino Long Term Monitoring of Cosmic Rays or ALTCRISS is 
another experiment Reiter performed. It is allowing scientists to study 
the effects of shielding on cosmic rays. The information gained may help 
engineers better understand the radiation environment and how to provide 
efficient shielding against it.

The next station status report will be issued early Nov. 23 after the 
spacewalk, or earlier if events warrant. For more about the crew's 
activities and station sighting opportunities, visit:


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