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ISS Status Report: SS07-23

April 27, 2007
> John Yembrick
> Headquarters, Washington 
> 202-358-0602
> John Ira Petty
> Johnson Space Center, Houston
> 281-483-5111 
> HOUSTON - The Expedition 15 crew aboard the International Space 
> Station completed its first week of station orientation as the crew 
> worked with experiments and hardware maintenance.
*New Crew Completes First Week Alone* 

Image above: Flight Engineer Suni Williams works with water tanks in 
theProgress 24 spacecraft docked to the International Space Station. 
Image  credit: NASA

Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and flight engineers Oleg Kotov and Suni
> Williams began the week with a couple light duty days after the busy 
> handover operations with the former crew. Expedition 14 Commander 
> Michael Lopez-Alegria and Russian crewmate Mikhail Tyurin, 
> accompanied by spaceflight participant Charles Simonyi, returned to 
> Earth on Saturday, April 21, and are at the Gagarin Cosmonaut 
> Training Center in Star City, Russia, for several weeks of 
> post-mission debriefing and rehabilitation.
> This week, the station crew members participated in several drills to 
> maintain their medical and emergency proficiency. Yurchikhin and 
> Kotov began sessions throughout the first two weeks of their 
> residence to orient themselves with the station's operating systems. 
> Williams, who served as an Expedition 14 crew member, is aiding 
> Expedition 15 with their station orientation.
> On Thursday, Williams was told that she will return to Earth aboard 
> space shuttle Atlantis, targeted for launch June 8. That shuttle 
> mission, STS-117, will carry astronaut Clay Anderson to the station 
> to join Expedition 15 in progress. This rotation originally was 
> planned for STS-118, targeted for launch Aug. 8.
> NASA managers approved the crew rotation after a more detailed review 
> determined it would not impact station operations or future shuttle 
> mission objectives. Since an earlier crew rotation was possible, they 
> decided it would be prudent to return Williams and deliver Anderson 
> sooner rather than later. Upon Williams' return, she will have 
> accumulated more time in space than any other woman. 
> Williams spent some of her off-duty time completing additional test 
> runs for the Capillary Flow Experiment. Capillary flow is the key 
> process used to move fluids in a microgravity environment. It uses 
> the low-gravity environment aboard the station to understand the 
> special dynamics of capillary flow and will aid in the design of 
> fluid transport systems on future spacecraft.
> On Monday, Williams set up cameras for the Earth Knowledge Acquired by 
> Middle School Students, or EarthKAM, education experiment. Middle 
> school students program a digital camera on the station to photograph 
> a variety of geographical targets from the unique vantage point of 
> space. Undergraduate teams at the University of California at San 
> Diego manage the images and post them on the Internet for the public 
> and participating classrooms around the world to view. Nearly 4,000 
> students from 66 schools in seven countries are participating in this 
> run.
> On Friday, Williams performed a series of test flights with small 
> free-flying satellites. The Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, 
> Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) experiment uses 8-inch 
> diameter spherical satellites that fly within the station cabin. The 
> satellites test the basics of formation flight and autonomous docking 
> that could be used in future spacecraft. The battery-powered 
> satellites use carbon dioxide to fuel 12 thrusters as they fly in the 
> cabin.
> In addition to general station orientation, Yurchikhin and Kotov also 
> performed maintenance work on life support hardware in the Russian 
> segment. The water separator in the air conditioning system was 
> replaced. The separator dispositions condensate water and air 
> collected from the station's atmosphere that forms through the air 
> conditioner, maintaining optimum humidity levels onboard. 
> Flight controllers and mission managers test fired the two main 
> engines on the Zvezda Service Module in a Wednesday reboost, raising 
> the station's altitude. It was the first time the engines were fired 
> since initial arrival of Zvezda in 2000. Another reboost using 
> International Space Station Progress 24 engines is scheduled for 
> Saturday to finish placing the station in its correct position for 
> the arrival of the International Space Station Progress 25 cargo 
> vehicle May 16 and the space shuttle Atlantis in June.
> For more about the crew's activities and station sighting 
> opportunities, visit: 
> http://www.nasa.gov/station
> -end-
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