Encyclopedia Astronautica
2003.12.24 - International Space Station Status Report #03-65


The Expedition 8 crew had a busy three days of science and International Space Station maintenance activities before beginning to wind down Wednesday afternoon for a Christmas day off. Mike Foale, commander and NASA ISS science officer, and Alexander Kaleri, the flight engineer, also showed off their Christmas preparations to viewers on Earth.

On Wednesday, the crew's 68th day in space, Kaleri spent some time working with the Russian air conditioning system. He had replaced a filter for condensate water on Tuesday. When the air conditioner was restarted sensors indicated tanks to which the water is supposed to flow were full. Kaleri had established water flow through the new filter by Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile Foale spent more than three hours gathering and organizing clothing, some of it from previous crews, and stowing it in the Station's Unity node.

Flight controllers in Moscow continue to monitor the oxygen-generating Elektron unit in Zvezda. The Elektron converts water to oxygen, for the Station's atmosphere, and hydrogen, which is vented overboard. The Elektron had shut down several times, apparently because air had gotten into pumps that help separate liquid and gas. The unit was operating normally Wednesday afternoon.

Foale and Kaleri talked with reporters from KNX Radio in Los Angeles and National Public Radio on Tuesday. Representatives of both asked about Christmas on the International Space Station. Foale and Kaleri showed the interviewers their two Christmas trees, one embroidered on a blanket and the other a small artificial tree.

The crew also shared their plans for the holiday in a video sent down to Houston's Mission Control Center and shown on NASA television. They filmed and talked about decorations, including their Christmas trees, and stockings with gifts sent up long in advance. Foale and Kaleri will have Christmas Day off, with only minimal tasks and physical exercise scheduled. They are scheduled to visit with their families in private two-way videoconferences.

On Monday, after a quiet weekend, Foale did troubleshooting involving the Pore Formation & Mobility Investigation (PFMI) experiment. A circuit breaker tripped earlier this month when the experiment was in the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG). Foale removed the MSG's thermal chamber and sent down video and descriptions of what he saw. Engineers in Houston are working on a fix for a binding gear in the chamber. Both crewmembers spent more than two hours doing an Inventory Management System audit and sorting items for disposal on the unpiloted Progress cargo spacecraft docked to the back of the Zvezda Service Module. Both crewmembers began Monday with medical experiments involving body mass and calf volume measurements.

Tuesday morning Kaleri set up three acoustic dosimeters in Zvezda to take sound level measurements for 16 hours. He also did troubleshooting on an antenna for a Russian satellite navigation system. Foale spent several hours working with the Fluid Dynamics Investigation on the Cellular Biotechnology Support System. The investigation and the system are designed to grow cell cultures in three dimensions.

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