2006 Report #10, 1 p.m. CST, Friday, March 10, 2006
The International Space Station
crew's week included a robotic arm first and a docking
communications test to prepare for a new European cargo ship set to
launch next year.
Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery
Tokarev also repaired a cabin air analyzer and completed a
scientific study of the effects of weightlessness on the muscles,
joints and bones of the lower body.
For the first time, Mission Control, Houston, moved the
station's Canadarm2 robotic arm by remote control from the ground
for normal station operations. Previous remote operations of the
arm had been done only as tests of that capability, but this week
controllers used the arm to survey several exterior station
On Thursday and Friday, controllers used the arm's television
cameras to view one of two integrated umbilical assembly mechanisms
on the station's Mobile Transporter rail car. One umbilical was cut
when an assembly malfunctioned in December 2005. They also checked
a Destiny laboratory vent, used to dump carbon dioxide overboard,
for contamination. Initial reports indicate the vent is clean.
McArthur operated the arm for in-flight proficiency training on
McArthur repaired electrical connectors in the Major Constituent
Analyzer, restoring the device to operation. The system is one of
several used to monitor the composition of the station air, and it
is needed to be used during an upcoming test of new spacewalk
preparation procedures. With its successful repair, managers now
plan to conduct the test of spacewalk preparations in early April.
The test may be conducted while handover from the current crew to
the Expedition 13 crew is under way aboard the complex.
McArthur wore specially instrumented cycling tights for a final
session with the Foot-Ground Reaction Forces during Space Flight
experiment (Foot) this week. The experiment investigates the
differences in use of the lower extremities on Earth and in space.
This week’s session completed the experiment, which began on
Expedition 6. The data gathered will aid in understanding bone loss
during long duration space missions and may help in developing
methods to counteract that effect.
Tokarev performed a test associated with the automatic docking
system for the European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV). The
European Space Agency unpiloted cargo carrier will have twice the
capacity of the Russian Progress cargo craft. This week's test
involved transmitting docking radio signals from the station to
ground stations located in the Canary Islands and near Madrid,
Also this week, McArthur videotaped an educational demonstration
of sleeping on the station and a typical morning routine.
The crew will soon begin preparing for a short trip away from
their orbiting home. They plan to relocate their Soyuz capsule from
the Earth-facing docking port of the station's Zarya module to an
aft port on the Zvezda module. The flight will take about a
half-hour on March 20 and will clear the Zarya port for the April 1
arrival of a new capsule carrying the next station crew.