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Mar. 9, 2007

John Yembrick
Headquarters, Washington 

James Hartsfield
Johnson Space Center, Houston



HOUSTON - The Expedition 14 crew members this week prepared for 
upcoming additions to the station and performed experiments related 
to human adaptation to space.

Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Suni Williams 
completed the last of the internal assembly tasks for the startup 
later this year of the new Oxygen Generation System in the Destiny 
laboratory. The astronauts installed sound-deadening equipment and an 
electrical cable and reconnected a wastewater hose for the hardware 
delivered last summer on space shuttle mission STS-121. The Oxygen 
Generation System will be required when the station crew size expands 
to six people. Slated for activation during Expedition 15, it will 
function initially as a backup to the Russian Elektron system, which 
supplies oxygen for the station's crew.

Lopez-Alegria and Williams also performed scientific experiments, 
conducting another session with the Anomalous Long-Term Effects in 
Astronauts' Central Nervous System (ALTEA) to measure exposure to 
cosmic radiation.

For 90 minutes, each crew member wore an instrumented helmet 
containing six different particle detectors that measure radiation 
exposure, brain electrical activity and visual perception. ALTEA will 
further the understanding of radiation impact on the human central 
nervous and visual systems, especially the phenomenon of crew members 
seeing flashes of light while in orbit.

Crew members also tested their hand-eye coordination during the Test 
of Reaction and Adaptation Capabilities (TRAC) experiment. TRAC 
studies the theory that while the brain is adapting to space, it is 
unable to provide the resources necessary to perform normal motor 
skills, such as hand-eye coordination.

For TRAC, the astronauts use a laptop and a joystick to control the 
position of a cursor and use a reaction time box to measure their 
responses to audio and visual cues. Understanding how the brain 
adapts to microgravity could lead to improved procedures for 
activities requiring precise motor skills.

Also this week, Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin prepared for the 
arrival of the first European Space Agency cargo-carrying Automated 
Transfer Vehicle (ATV). He set up equipment in the Zvezda module for 
a ground-operated test of the satellite navigation system to be used 
during autonomous docking of the ATV to the Zvezda module's aft port. 
He also pressurized and stowed a spare liquids unit for the Elektron 
and installed a new liquid crystal display for the TORU system, the 
manual docking system for Progress unpiloted supply ships. 

U.S. and Russian station officials reached an agreement this week on a 
plan to prepare for the arrival of the Soyuz TMA-10, which will 
deliver the Expedition 15 crew to the station. The plan is to 
relocate the Soyuz TMA-9 craft from the Earth-facing port of the 
Zarya module to the aft port of the Zvezda module on March 29. As a 
result, the next station resident crew will not need to perform the 
maneuver to reach Zarya as its final destination.

To make room for the Soyuz, the ISS Progress 23 cargo ship, currently 
docked to Zvezda, will undock on March 27, plunging into the Earth's 

Officials from both sides also agreed to reboost the station on March 
15, using the Progress 23 engines to place the station at the correct 
altitude for the Soyuz TMA-10 capsule, scheduled to launch April 7 
and dock to Zarya on April 9. 

The Soyuz TMA-9 is scheduled to undock April 20, returning the 
Expedition 14 crew to Earth.

For more about the crew's activities and station sighting 
opportunities, visit: 



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