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21 August 2009

International Space Station Status Report

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Expedition 20 Crew

The six Expedition 20 crew members aboard the orbiting International Space Station had a full day Friday of maintenance, science and preparations for the scheduled arrival of the crew of space shuttle Discovery.

 

Flight Engineer Bob Thirsk spent much of the day replacing a water circulation unit in the station’s Oxygen Generation Assembly, hoping to bring the unit back into operation. Previous attempts over the course of the week to repair the assembly were not successful.

 

Commander Gennady Padalka took photographs of the Self-Propagating High-Temperature Synthesis Experiment, which researches the self-propagating high-temperature fusion of material samples in space.

 

Flight Engineer Mike Barratt did some troubleshooting on the Agricultural Camera (AgCam), which was built and is operated primarily by students and faculty at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, N.D. AgCam is designed to take visible light and infrared images of growing crops, rangeland, grasslands, forests, and wetlands in the northern Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions of the United States.

 

Flight Engineer Frank De Winne worked to replace a Command and Measurement Unit behind one of the Human Research Facilities in the European Space Agency’s Columbus laboratory.

 

Flight Engineer Roman Romanenko monitored the radiation payload suite Matryoshka-R, verifying its proper function. The Russian payload is designed for sophisticated radiation studies and is named after the traditional Russian set of nested dolls. Romanenko also performed regular weekly maintenance on the station’s treadmill.

 

In the Japanese Kibo laboratory, Flight Engineer Tim Kopra set up a laptop computer and connected cables for a Japanese life sciences experiment that studies the role of gravity in regulating the development of plants. He also spent some time getting ready for his departure from the station aboard space shuttle Discovery.

 

Discovery, scheduled to launch Aug. 25 on the STS-128 mission, is carrying more than seven tons of supplies, science racks and equipment, as well as additional environmental hardware to sustain six crew members on the orbital outpost. The shuttle also will deliver the newest Expedition crew member, astronaut Nicole Stott, for a three-month stay aboard the station.

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