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Sun, Aug 15, 2004

Russian Cargo Ship Docks with ISS

Crew also working on science experiments and routine maintenance

The Expedition 9 crew aboard the International Space Station is preparing to unload a shipment of supplies after the Russian Progress M-50 ship docked automatically with the orbiting station right on schedule at 9:01 a.m. Moscow time, or 1:01 a.m. EDT, said Irina Manshilina, a spokeswoman at Russian mission control outside Moscow. The crew also worked on several science experiments and routine maintenance of Station systems.

The Progress M-50 was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 12:03 a.m. CDT Wednesday. Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer and NASA Science Officer Mike Fincke prepared for the arrival of the craft by clearing room for the new supplies and setting up video cameras to monitor its arrival. Padalka also trained on the use of the Russian telerobotically operated docking system that he would have operated to manually dock the Progress in the unlikely event the automated system is not available.

During the Station's orbits above the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, the crewmembers took photographs of Tropical Storm Bonnie and Hurricane Charley while video cameras on the exterior of the Destiny laboratory module documented the storms' development.

Science activities for the crew included using the advanced ultrasound equipment to gather more data about what ultrasound examinations of healthy crewmembers look like while in microgravity. The work is also verifying techniques developed for minimally trained people to conduct the examinations with the help from doctors in remote places, such as Mission Control, Houston in this instance.

The crew worked with a Russian experiment studying plasma-dust crystals and another studying the changes in body mass while in space. The crew also filled out dietary logs for two days to support the U.S. Biopsy experiment studying the effects of long-duration space flight on human skeletal muscle.

On Monday, the crewmembers answered questions from students at the Waimea Middle School in Kamuela, Hawaii with about 550 educators and students in attendance. Tuesday Fincke contacted students at Good Shepherd School and St. Paul's Catholic School in Decherd, Tennessee through the amateur radio system onboard.

Regular maintenance was conducted on the ventilation system and periodic environmental samples were collected. The crew also participated in a Soyuz emergency evacuation drill.



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