Status Report

ISS Expedition Three Science Operations Weekly Science Status Report Wednesday, August 22, 2001

By SpaceRef Editor
August 22, 2001
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Scientific research on the Expedition Three mission got off to a rapid start in the past week, with the setup and activation of several new experiments and others continuing from Expeditions One and Two.

Spacewalking Space Shuttle astronauts Dan Barry and Patrick Forrester installed the Materials International Space Station Experiment on the outside of the Quest airlock module on Thursday, August 16. Two suitcase size containers of experimental materials for solar cells, paint and other applications will be exposed to the harsh space environment of space for the next year before they are retrieved for analysis.

On Saturday, August 18, the Expedition Three crew — astronaut Frank Culbertson and cosmonauts Vladimir Dezhurov and Mikhail Tyurin — performed the Hoffman Reflex experiment for the second time since their launch. This experiment measures spinal cord excitability as a way of studying the effectiveness of crew exercise in space. They will do the experiment again near the end of their mission.

Three experiments that study the microgravity environment recorded data during the Shuttle undocking on Monday, August 20. The Microgravity Acceleration Measurement System and the Space Acceleration Measurement System recorded the vibrations inside the Station caused by the separation of the two spacecraft. The Active Rack Isolation System ISS Characterization Experiment (ARIS-ICE) captured the undocking vibrations inside EXPRESS Rack 2, as well as the response of the ARIS vibration dampening system in the rack. ARIS-ICE also recorded the station reboost and water dump on Thursday, August 16. Having recorded both low-frequency vibrations during normal crew operations and broad frequency vibrations of the undocking, ARIS-ICE will collect measurements next week with a calibrated "shaker" device to further define ARIS’ ability to protect delicate microgravity experiments from vibrations.

The crew and the Payload Operations Center on Tuesday, August 21, activated and checked out EXPRESS Rack 4 during several orbital passes when both Ku-band telemetry and S-band commanding were available. Controllers turned on power to the rack’s eight lockers and two drawers provided for experiments, activated and loaded control software into the rack computer, and enabled the rack’s smoke detector and water system used for cooling. EXPRESS Racks provide power, data and other utilities to experiments.

The Experiment on Physics of Colloids in Space science team began their Expedition Three operations Tuesday with a 12-hour run commanded from the NASA Glenn Research Center’s Telescience Support Center in Cleveland. Another 12-hour run is planned for Friday. A colloid is a system of particles suspended in a fluid. Common examples are paint, milk and ink. Colloids are commonly used on Earth. Microgravity research may yield insights that could lead to engineering new colloid products on Earth.

Also on Tuesday, the crew began setup work with the Dynamically Controlled Protein Crystal Growth (DCPCG) experiment. Scientists hope this experiment will allow them to refine the methods and hardware for growing biological crystals using real-time, or dynamic, control of the protein solution. Past protein crystal experiments have largely been passive — requiring little, if any, crew or ground control interaction. This experiment allows scientists on the ground to remotely control the crystallization rate of DCPCG samples. Analysis of crystals grown in space may provide insights into numerous biological processes on Earth, with applications ranging from medicine to agriculture.

The crew began setup and activation on Wednesday, August 22, of the Biotechnology Specimen Temperature Controller. This device can house 32 stationary tissue culture modules operating at a carefully controlled temperature. It is part of the Cellular Biotechnology Operations Support System, an interim platform for cell-based research aboard the Space Station prior to the launch of the permanent Biotechnology Facility. The system is comprised of sub-rack modules that provide semi-automated bioreactors, gas supply systems, computer control systems and passive and low-temperature stowage systems. The system will enable investigations on normal and cancerous mammalian cells, including ovarian and colon cancer cells, neural precursor and human renal cells.

Photography targets uplinked this week to the Space Station for the Crew Earth Observations research program include bush fires in South Africa, several new lakes west of Lake Nassar in Egypt, air pollution over Europe and the Ohio River valley in the United States, agriculture in the Tigris and Euprhates River area of Turkey, Andean glaciers, East Africa’s Great Rift valley, and the Tuamotu Archipelago.

With Expedition Two coming to an end, officials reflected on the expedition and declared it a successful beginning to continuous science operations aboard the orbiting research outpost.

"We are well on our way to building and operating a world-class facility in orbit," said John Uri, lead increment scientist for Expedition Two, from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. "We flew and operated 18 investigations in a number of scientific disciplines. We accomplished virtually all of the goals we set out to accomplish. The crew took on the research program as their own, giving up

personal time to catch up or get ahead on tasks. The mission set the tone for the rest of the expeditions on the station."

Lybrease Woodard, lead Expedition Two Payload Operations Director, with NASA ‘s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., said the payload control team successfully demonstrated the Station payload operations concept, involving the station crew, the operations center in Huntsville and telescience centers around the world.

"It was like leading a new orchestra," she said. "Everybody learned how to play their parts and then came together like a symphony."

Editor’s Note: The Payload Operations Center at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages all science research experiment operations aboard

the International Space Station. The center is also home for coordination of the mission-planning work of a variety of international sources, all science payload deliveries and retrieval, and payload training and payload safety programs for the Station crew and all ground personnel.

SpaceRef staff editor.