Frank De Winne’s diary – Wednesday 15 July 2009

Working with the Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) in the Japanese Kibo laboratory
17 July 2009

I have now been in space for about one and a half months and I am quite used to the weightlessness on the International Space Station.

At the moment there are six of us here in the Expedition 20 crew: our Russian commander Gennadi Padalka, American NASA astronaut Michael Barratt, Koichi Wakata from Japan, Roman Romanenko from Russia, Robert Thirsk from Canada and me. Quite a an international mix, with representatives of all the international ISS partners. It’s the first time there are six permanent crewmembers.

Romanenko and Thirsk accompanied me into space with the Soyuz TMA-15 spacecraft that launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome on 27 May, and docked with the Station two days later. Hier werd ik ook in 2002 gelanceerd voor mijn eerste ruimtevlucht OdISSea naar het ISS.

Last month we celebrated Father's Day in space

During the past week I have been working on offgassing of the Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS). Thermal control systems maintain a comfortable work environment of 22 to 23 degrees in the Station and prevent overheating of equipment. They work using water, but every now and then the gas bubbles that form in the water have to be removed.

Water is important on Earth and in space: here I am collecting water samples for testing

I have also been doing some voluntary science. These are tasks that we can more or less choose to do, but that aren’t vitally important. I have been demonstrating the Bernoulli-effect. The Dutch-Swedish scientist Daniel Bernoulli (1700-1782) showed that an increase in the speed of a liquid or gas is accompanied by a fall in the pressure in the fluid or gas. Amongst other things, the Bernoulli-effect causes the ‘lift’ of an airplane. As a pilot it particularly interested me to demonstrate this effect in weightlessness.

Working with the Fluid Servicing System (FSS)

I have also been taking some samples of all the water supplies here on the ISS. Just like on Earth, here in space, water is very important to us, which links nicely to water quality and access to water on our planet.

As goodwill ambassador for UNICEF Belgium I am especially interested in this area – in particular to promote their WaSH campaign (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene). The campaign highlights the problems of access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene.

The name of my mission, OasISS, also refers to the importance of water for life on our planet. Every day 5000 children die because they don’t have access to water or because they live in bad hygienic circumstance. All the water samples I collected were fine, so there’s nothing for us to worry about - we can carry on using our drinking water.

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