Encyclopedia Astronautica
2005.10.14 - International Space Station Status Report #05-51


Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev are spending their first few days alone on the international space station following the safe return home of their predecessors Monday.

McArthur and Tokarev, veterans of shorter space shuttle flights, began familiarizing themselves with the nuances of a longer on orbit life. While becoming acquainted with their new microgravity home and laboratory, they did some routine maintenance work, exercised and conducted early experiment work. The crew also reviewed emergency procedures for departing the station, swapped a battery in the Zarya module and rearranged some stowage items in the Unity connecting node.

During McArthur and Tokarev's six months in orbit, they expect to perform at least two spacewalks, the first in early November. Before that, they will relocate their Soyuz spacecraft from the Russian Pirs docking port so it can be used for the spacewalks. In December, the Expedition 12 crew members expect to oversee the arrival of a new supply ship, the 20th Progress vehicle.

This week, McArthur set up a camera for a session of the Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students, or EarthKAM experiment. Using the Internet, students can control the special digital camera mounted on the space station to photograph coastlines, mountain ranges and other geographic items of interest. Thousands of students from 119 schools around the world are participating in the 20th session of this NASA education program.

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