Status Report

ISS Science Operations Status Report 28 Aug 2002

By SpaceRef Editor
August 28, 2002
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Commander Valery Korzun wrapped up his Monday spacewalk with a lung function test on Tuesday to help learn whether the low pressure environment of his space suit has any effects on his lungs.

Korzun conducted the Pulmonary Function in Flight (PuFF) experiment as part of an ongoing study of the effects of longterm spaceflight and spacewalks on crew lung function.  The lung function tests are conducted on a regular monthly basis as well as before and after spacewalks.

Each PuFF session consists of five lung function tests, which involve breathing cabin air through a measurement device.  The focus is on measuring changes in the evenness of gas exchange in the lungs and on detecting changes in respiratory muscle strength that may result from long periods in microgravity.  The experiment uses the Gas Analyzer System for Metabolic Analysis Physiology (GASMAP),located in the Human Research Facility rack, along with other equipment.  The data are stored and later transmitted to the ground.

PuFF research builds on research conducted during Spacelab missions during the last decade.  Unlike Spacelab missions, Station missions are much longer and often involve more spacewalks by the crews.  Spacewalks pose a risk of nitrogen bubble formation in the blood because the U.S. spacesuits operate at about 4.3 pounds of pressure per square inch, and the Russian spacesuits — used Monday — operate at about 5.7 psi, compared to normal atmospheric pressure on Earth and inside the Station of 14.7 psi. 

Scientists hope to find new ways to protect the health of future space travelers, and to gain a better understanding of the effects of gravity on the lungs on Earth.  PuFF was developed by Dr. John West, of the University of California, San Diego, and is managed by NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, selected members of the International Space Station crew continued to record their experiences for the Crew Interactions experiment.  The experiment, which has been part of every Expedition since the Station became permanently occupied, will identify and characterize important interpersonal and cultural factors that may affect the performance of the crew and ground support personnel.

The crew today conducted a battery of maintenance activities with the Advanced Astroculture experiment, collecting nutrient, condensation, and gas samples from the plant growth device as a way of getting a detailed look at the growth process of soybean plants growing inside.

Crew Earth Observations photography subjects this week included: Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll in the Pacific, Amman, Jordan, Guagzhou and Xianggang, China, and Hurrican Fausto.

On Friday, the crew is tentatively scheduled to turn on the Materials Science Glovebox and begin recovery procedures with the Solidification Using Baffle in Sealed Ampoule (SUBSA) experiment.  Recovery work is a prelude to resuming research with SUBSA and the Glovebox.  SUBSA is investigating manufacturing processes that could yield insights into semiconductor production on Earth.  During the fifth SUBSA experiment recently, the quartz sample tube cracked and then broke during removal, leaving some small particles that have to be removed.

The crew continued to conduct daily status checks on experiments and research equipment onboard during the past week.  Automated experiments continuing to

operate normally included the Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE), Protein Crystal Growth Single Thermal Enclosure System (PCG-STES), Advanced Astroculture  (ADVASC), Microgravitiy Acceleration Measurement System (MAMS), and Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS).

Completed science payloads for Expedition Five include: StelSys, Educational Payload Operations 5, Microencapsulation Electrostatic Processing (MEPS), and Zeolite Crystal Growth (ZCG).

SpaceRef staff editor.