June 12, 2002 -- Working ahead of schedule, Space Station and Space Shuttle crews during the past week have almost completed moving new Expedition Five science experiments and lab equipment into the Station and transferring completed experiments to the Shuttle for waiting scientists on the ground.
On Saturday, crews moved the new EXPRESS Rack 3 from the Leonardo Multi Purpose Logistics Module into position in the Station’s Destiny laboratory. There are now five floor-to-ceiling EXPRESS experiment racks in the lab. The racks, built by Boeing at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, provide experiments with basic utilities such as power, communications, cooling, and fluids. Like EXPRESS Rack 2 already on board, Rack 3 is equipped with the Active Rack Isolation System for protecting delicate microgravity experiments inside from vibrations caused by crew movement and operating equipment. Transferred inside the rack was the Microencapsulation Electrostatic Processing System (MEPS) experiment.
On Sunday, the crew transferred the Microgravity Science Glovebox to the Destiny lab, a day ahead of schedule. The glovebox is a sealed container with built-in gloves that will make it possible for crews to do more hands-on science experiments involving fluids, flames, particles, and fumes. The gloves allow crews to change samples, adjust video and perform other operations in a sealed atmosphere. The Payload Operations Center will be working with the crew to complete the Glovebox’s installation and checkout during the first week in July. The Glovebox was built by the European Space Agency with help from engineers in the Microgravity and Applications Department at Marshall.
Two Glovebox experiments were also transferred from the Shuttle to the Station during the past week. The Solidification Using a Baffle in Sealed Ampoules (SUBSA) experiment places samples in a furnace inside the Glovebox to study production of semiconductor materials. The Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation experiment also uses a furnace inside the Glovebox to examine the formation and movement of bubbles in molten materials in microgravity.
Last Thursday aboard the Station, one day after the Shuttle lifted off, the Expedition 4 crew planted the last set of wheat seeds in the Biomass Production System (BPS), a plant growth system developed by Orbital Technology Corp, Madison, WI, for the Space Station Biological Research Project at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. The crew then transferred BPS to the Shuttle on Saturday. The seeds from this fast-growing hybrid were expected to germinate and grow while the Shuttle is docked with the Station. When Endeavour returns to Earth, the scientists from Orbital Technology Corp and Kennedy Space Center will harvest the plants and compare it with other plants grown during the two months that the BPS was on-orbit.
On Friday, the crew moved the new ARCTIC 2 freezer from the logistics module to a temporary location next to EXPRESS Rack 4. ARCTIC is used to preserve biological samples after processing until they can be returned to Earth. They also transferred the Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus from the Station to the Shuttle for return to Earth.
On Saturday, the crew transferred the Protein Crystal Growth Single Thermal Enclosure System (PCG-STES) experiment from Endeavour to the Station and
activated it on Sunday. Crystals of biological substances will be grown during the Expedition.
Frozen human liver cells and the media pouches to support the StelSys investigation of those cells functioning in microgravity were transferred from the Shuttle to the Station on Saturday. The cells are kept frozen in a liquid nitrogen dewar, and the media pouches were placed in the ARCTIC 1 refrigerator on the ISS. The dewar will maintain the viability of the liver cells until they are injected into the media pouches on June 18 for incubation in the Biotechnology Specimen Temperature Controller.
On Sunday, Flight Engineer Dan Bursch conducted pre-spacewalk readings of the EVA Radiation Monitoring experiment dosimeter badges worn by STS-111 crewmwmbers Franklin Chang-Diaz and Philippe Perrin during their spacewalk later that day.
Also on Sunday, the crew transferred the Advanced Astroculture commercial plant growth experiment from the Shuttle into the Station and activated it on Tuesday, initiating the germination of soybean seeds for a planned growth period of 71 days.
On Monday, the Experiment on Physics of Colloids in Space was transferred to a temporary location in the logistics module for later stowage and return to Earth.
Crew Earth Observations (CEO) photography subjects during the past week included vegetation and coastal dunes in Somalia, Amazon delta wetlands, and reefs and lagoons of the Tuamotu Archipelago.
Eleven experiments are completed and scheduled for return aboard the Shuttle. Another 11 continue operating aboard the Station, joined now by four all-new Expedition Five experiments, two re-flights of earlier experiments and additional research samples for research facilities already on board.
Ahead this week, the crew will transfer the Protein Crystal Growth Enhanced Gasseous Nitrogen dewar experiment from the Station to the Shuttle for return on Saturday.
The upcoming week is an unusually good time for people in North America to spot the International Space Station docked with Space Shuttle Endeavour. For more information, please click on: http://www.spacescience.com/headlines/y2002/10jun_spaceship.htm.
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