Status Report

NASA Space Station Status Report 26 Mar 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
March 26, 2004
Filed under , , ,
NASA Space Station Status Report 26 Mar 2004

The oxygen-producing Elektron unit aboard the Space
Station continues to function well, as it has since it was
restarted early last Saturday. Expedition 8 Commander Michael
Foale and Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri spent two days
last week replacing a liquids unit and a water flow system of
the Russian Elektron, in the Zvezda Service Module. The
Elektron separates water into oxygen and hydrogen. The oxygen
is used in the Station’s atmosphere, while the hydrogen is
vented over board.

The Elektron had shut down repeatedly after only brief
periods of operation during the past several weeks. In the
meantime, the crew used oxygen and air from the Progress
cargo vehicle docked at the Station to replenish the
atmosphere, as well as Solid Fuel Oxygen Generation (SFOG)
canisters. Each canister can supply the oxygen needs of one
crewmember for one day.

Thirteen SFOGs were used during the week before the Elektron
was repaired and activated. More than 100 SFOGs remain on
board, and two high-pressure tanks on the Station’s Quest
airlock contain a supply of oxygen that could last several
months if needed.

With the Elektron running smoothly, Foale and Kaleri devoted
much of the week to science activities. Kaleri tended the
Rasteniya experiment, a greenhouse containing peas, designed
to see how plants grow in a microgravity environment. Kaleri
also did a test of the Russian TORU manual docking system,
using the Station Progress 13 vehicle docked to Zvezda. That
Progress will be undocked, and it will burn up in the Earth’s
atmosphere in mid-May, the day before a new Progress arrives
with about two-and-a-half tons of equipment, supplies, water
and fuel.

Foale worked with the Miscible Fluids in Microgravity (MFMG)
experiment. It involves injecting honey into a water
container to see how the two combine in weightlessness. He
also worked with the Pore Formation and Mobility
Investigation, melting a transparent material in the
Microgravity Science Glovebox to observe the formation and
interaction of bubbles in the material. The experiment could
help in prevention of bubble formation during such processes,
perhaps resulting in stronger materials.

Foale also set up the hardware for the Binary Colloidal Alloy
Test 3 (BCAT-3) experiment. BCAT-3 studies the behavior of
tiny particles suspended in fluid. On Earth, gravity causes
colloids to separate, causing sedimentation. The Station’s
microgravity environment gives researchers a chance to study
the complex fluids without this effect.

On Monday and Tuesday, both crewmembers wore acoustic
dosimeters for about eight hours as part of regularly
scheduled tests of the Station’s noise levels. For the last
half of both days, they removed the dosimeters and set them
up in stationary locations.

On Tuesday, both crewmembers talked with students at Mill
Middle School in Williamsville, N.Y.

Today Foale and Kaleri did a periodic, detailed inspection of
one of two U.S. spacesuits on the Station. The other is not
scheduled for inspection for several months.

Information about crew activities is available on the
Internet at:

Details about Station science operations is available on the
Internet, at:

SpaceRef staff editor.