Expedition 8 Commander Mike Foale and Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri enjoyed a day off Thursday for the holiday, listening to music, watching movies and eating a Thanksgiving chicken and rice dinner. NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe placed a phone call to the crewmembers to wish them well.
On Monday, the crew ran on the exercise treadmill without its Vibration Isolation and Stabilization (VIS) system activated. U.S. and Russian engineers wanted to gather data about what kind of vibrations would occur when using the treadmill without the VIS activated. After analyzing the data, engineers gave the okay for the crew to resume using the treadmill over the weekend in this modified configuration. The work-around is in response to a gyroscope failure in the VIS that continues to be investigated by engineers.
On Wednesday, the crew heard a metallic noise during morning activities in the Russian Zvezda Service Module. Foale said it was a sound similar to shaking a thin sheet of metal so that it bent concave and then convex. All Station systems were checked by ground controllers and found to be operating normally. Exterior television cameras on the robotic arm and the Station truss were used to inspect the exterior of Zvezda and nothing unusual was identified.
In support of microgravity science experiments, Foale set up video cameras inside the Destiny laboratory to document the Fluid Dynamics Investigation. This experiment is being conducted to help improve the use of the Cellular Biotechnology Operational Support System (CBOSS), which grows human tissue cells in a unique three-dimensional form in microgravity. The CBOSS provides an unprecedented environment for research on various types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and AIDS.
Friday, Foale installed equipment in the Microgravity Sciences Glovebox for the Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation (PFMI). This experiment studies how bubbles form in metal and crystal samples, thus deteriorating the samples' strength and usefulness in experiments. Investigators will watch a transparent material melt and observe how the bubbles form and interact.
This week, Foale completed final alterations to an instrumented suit for the Foot/Ground Reaction Forces During Spaceflight (FOOT) experiment. The Lower Extremity Monitoring Suit (LEMS), a customized pair of Lycra cycling tights outfitted with 20 sensors, will measure forces on Foale's feet and joints and gauge his muscle activity while completing his normal activities in the Station. Foale will wear the shorts next week. The experiment's researchers hope to learn more about the reasons for bone and muscle loss by astronauts in orbit, insight that may lead to better countermeasures.