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Sun, Jan 22, 2006

It's A Marathon Run On the ISS

2006 Report #3, 10:30 a.m. CST, Friday, Jan. 20, 2006

Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur began his week Sunday by running a marathon in space.

McArthur ran a half-marathon on the station treadmill to support friends and colleagues who ran in the Houston Marathon that day. McArthur circled the globe at an altitude of 220 statute miles as runners on the ground circled Houston.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev participated with the ground flight control teams to rehearse procedures that would be used in the event a rapid cabin air leak required a station evacuation. Similar emergency procedures are practiced regularly by all station crews.

McArthur and Tokarev are also preparing for their second spacewalk. On Thursday, Mission managers decided to delay the spacewalk from Feb. 2 to Feb 3. The extra time will ease the crew's preparation schedule. Mission Control sent the crew detailed procedures for the spacewalk this week, and the crew reviewed the plans with experts on the ground. In addition, the crew began charging batteries and preparing the Pirs Docking Compartment airlock for the excursion. For the spacewalk, McArthur and Tokarev will wear Russian Orlan-M spacesuits.

During the spacewalk, the crew will move a cargo boom adapter from one module to another, install a safety bolt into a cable cutter on the Mobile Transporter truss rail car, and deploy SuitSat, an old Orlan space suit equipped with an active amateur radio transmitter. The SuitSat will remain in orbit for several weeks and allow contact with amateur radio operators on the ground.

Science operations this week included powering on a European Space Agency experiment known as Protein Crystal Growth Monitoring by Digital Holographic Microscope for the International Space Station (PROMISS-4). McArthur spent several hours setting up the Microgravity Science Glovebox and other support equipment early in the week. He then began sample processing for the PROMISS experiment in the glove box on Thursday. The experiment will investigate the growth processes of proteins during weightless conditions using advanced imaging methods such as digital holography.

McArthur and Tokarev took time out from their duties on Friday to answer questions posed by students at the Kuss Middle School in Fall River, Mass.



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