Status Report

ISS Weekly Science Status Report 5 Dec 2001

By SpaceRef Editor
December 5, 2001
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The Expedition Three science team spent the past week finishing its few
remaining activities and preparing for the next science mission.

The Advanced Protein Crystallization Facility (APCF) and Dynamically
Controlled Protein Crystal Growth (DCPCG) experiments were deactivated on
Friday, November 30, to be stowed for the return to Earth on the upcoming
STS-108 Space Shuttle mission.

The Space Acceleration Measurement System and Microgravity Acceleration
Measurement System, experiments for studying the Station’s vibration
environment, are set to start high data rate recording during the Shuttle
docking before being powered off during joint operations. They will be
reactivated to record the undocking.

The Active Rack Isolation System ISS Characterization Experiment has been
running continuously and using all communications windows during the past
week to test a vibration dampening device expected to begin supporting
Expedition Four experiments in 2002. It is scheduled for deactivation about
three hours before the Shuttle docking and will be reactivated after the
Shuttle undocks. The Station crew will install alignment guides before
powerdown to ensure that the eight delicate pushrods used to damp vibrations
entering EXPRESS Rack 2 are not damaged during joint operations.

The Experiment on Physics of Colloids in Space completed a 24-hour run on
Monday, December 3, performing several diagnostics on the colloid polymer
gel sample. It completed a 48-hour run today and started another 24-hour
run, taking advantage of the STS-108 weather delay. Tests during the past
week have been used mainly to study the early stages of aging of the
colloid-polymer gel sample. Once the gel network spans the sample container
and the fluid no longer flows, gelation is complete and aging of the gel
occurs. Aging refers to the evolution of the gel’s structure and to its
internal motions during that time. The gelation and aging scenario is much
like the hardening of gelatin on Earth. It takes time for the gel structure
to set up and then more time for the gel network to become stiffer. The
study of aging of gels and viscoelastic fluids attempts to understand how
small stresses built in during formation relax over time. Colloids, which
are systems of tiny particles, are used in many products and manufacturing
processes on Earth.

Commander Frank Culbertson plans to use the DREAMTiME high definition TV
camera to record the Shuttle docking and crew ingress before packing it for
return to Earth.

The remainder of the Expedition Three science program has been completed.
Operations are complete on EarthKAM, Crew Interactions, Pulmonary Function
in Flight, Renal Stone, Hoffman Reflex, and the Cellular Biotechnology
Operations Support System. Several experiments will be continued into
Expedition Four.

As an energy conservation measure during docked operations, ground
controllers are ready to power down EXPRESS Rack 2 shortly before Shuttle
docking and EXPRESS Rack 1 after APCF and DCPG are transferred to the

The Expedition Three science team is preparing questions for Culbertson,
Vladimir Dezhurov and Mikhail Turin during their post-landing debrief to
gain more insight into science operations onboard and how they can be
improved in the future.

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.