Status Report

ISS Science Operations Status Report for week ending 06-27-02

By SpaceRef Editor
June 27, 2002
Filed under , ,

From the International Space Station, the crew of Expedition Five has had an ideal vantage point for photographing wildfires in the southwestern United States during the past week, including fires in Arizona and Colorado. Space Station science experiments and payload operations are managed by the Payload Operations Center at Marshall Center.

From the International Space Station, the crew of Expedition Five has
had an ideal vantage point for photographing wildfires in the southwestern
United States during the past week.

Crew Earth Observations (CEO) photography subjects this week
included continued efforts to take pictures of two large fires burning
in Arizona and a fire in Colorado that threatened Denver suburbs. Imagery
from a good photo pass on Tuesday is expected to be downlinked later
this week. Other subjects during the week included land use and water
levels in the Tigris-Euphrates region of Turkey, Eastern Mediterranean
air quality, Lake Nasser and the Toshka Lakes of Egypt.

The oblique views of the fires have an almost three-dimensional quality
that have made them some of the most revealing yet captured by crews
aboard the orbiting research outpost. Images taken June 18 show the
Hayman fire burning in the foothills southwest of Denver. Astronauts
use a variety of lenses and look angles as their orbits pass over wildfires
to document the long-distance movements of smoke from the fires as well
as details of the burning areas. Details of the image reveal multiple
smoke source points as the fire moves across the rough terrain.

“The Station’s unique altitude allows us to see a broader area than
is possible with high flying aircraft and a lot more detail than satellites
that operate thousands of miles higher,”said Dr. Justin Wilkinson,
a scientist with the Earth Science and Image Analysis Laboratory at
Johnson Space Center in Houston. “We can see the relation of cumulus
rain clouds close to the smoke plume – the cloud is generated by heat
from the fire beneath. We can detect the sources of the fires within
tens of meters. We see the edges of the smoke as a reflector of sunlight.
We can see the barriers to burning, such as canals, power line clearings,
cliffs, etc. Being able to visualize the smoke is important to scientists
in synthesizing many different kinds of data.”

Last Friday, the crew completed a week of liver cell growth research
using the StelSys experiment. Cell samples cultured during the
week are now stowed in the ARCTIC 1 freezer for return to Earth
on the upcoming STS-112 mission. The Biotechnology Specimen Temperature
used to incubate the samples was deactivated.

On Monday, the Payload Operations Center reactivated EXPRESS
Rack 2
and the Zeolite Crystal Growth (ZCG) experiment inside.
Having installed new computer hard drives in the ZCG experiment last
week, the crew on Monday configured the experiment’s furnace in preparation
for the first sample runs of the Expedition, which began today.

On Tuesday, all three crew members completed their Crew Interactions
surveys on the Human Research Facility laptop computer.

On Wednesday, Commander Valery Korzun and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson
conducted their first tests with the Pulmonary Function in Flight
experiment and repaired a broken drawer on the Microgravity Science

Today, the crew performed several maintenance tasks with the Advanced
experiment, including collection of nutrient and gas
samples. On Friday they will conduct a nutrient fluid exchange to support
the continued growth of the experiment’s soybean plants. On Friday,
they will collect regular monthly background radiation readings on EVA
Radiation Monitoring
badges, and on Saturday their science activities
include reviewing Glovebox procedures prior to activation of the new
facility in July.

Other science payloads aboard the Destiny lab module continue to operate
normally — the Space Acceleration Measurement System, Microgravity
Acceleration Measurement System, Protein Crystal Growth Single Thermal
Enclosure System, and the Materials International Space Station Experiment.

SpaceRef staff editor.