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ESA ISS Science & System - Operations Status Report # 65
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ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Columbus

09 April 2010

This is ISS status report #65 from the European Space Agency outlining ESA’s science related activities that have taken place on the ISS during the past two weeks for different European experiments and experiment facilities. The report is compiled by ESA’s ISS Utilisation Department in cooperation with ESA’s Columbus and Payload Operations Management and Mission Science teams from the ISS Utilisation Department.

ISS Utilisation Programme

The principal focus of the European utilisation of the ISS is the Columbus laboratory, which was launched and permanently attached to the ISS in February 2008. In addition to the science taking place using the internal and external experiment facilities of the Columbus laboratory, ESA also has some further ongoing research taking place inside and outside the Russian Segment of the ISS and in the US Destiny laboratory. The current status of the European science package on the ISS is as follows:

European science and research facilities inside the Columbus Laboratory

Biolab and near-term experiments
Biolab is a facility designed to support biological experiments on micro-organisms, cells, tissue cultures, small plants and small invertebrates. On 31 March a software patch was performed for Biolab’s Life Support Modules and a Life Support Modules functional test was carried out from the ground as well as an O2 composition control test. This is in advance of the start of the second part of the Waving and Coiling of Arabidopsis Roots (WAICO) experiment, which was the very first experiment to take place in Biolab. The science samples for WAICO-2 were launched in conditioned state on Shuttle flight STS-131 / 19A on 5 April, arriving at the ISS two days later.

On 8 April cold stowage items for the WAICO-2 experiment were transferred to Biolab from the Shuttle’s mid-deck. WAICO seed and agar containers were transferred to Biolab’s Thermal Control Unit 1 while an experiment insert containing sample fixative was placed in Biolab’s Automatic Temperature Controlled Stowage unit 1. These two thermally-controlled storage locations in Biolab were set to 4 degrees C. This temperature encourages seed development in the Arabidopsis thaliana plant.

WAICO deals with the effect that gravity has on the spiralling motion (circumnutation) that occurs in Arabidopsis plant roots. It is suspected that this spiralling mechanism is an internal mechanism in the plant, independent of the influence of gravity.

The TripleLux-B experiment will be the next experiment after WAICO-2 to take place in the Biolab facility during Increment 23/24. The objective of this experiment is to further understand the cellular mechanisms underlying the aggravation of radiation responses, and the impairment of the immune function under spaceflight conditions. (The subsequent experiment, Triplelux-A, is scheduled to follow during Expedition 25/26)

The ArtEMISS-A experiment will also tentatively be one of the following experiments to take place in the Biolab facility. This will be tentatively performed within a short-duration flight scenario for the up- and download part whjch is under detailed elaboration. The purpose of this experiment is to determine the effect of spaceflight conditions, including weightlessness and radiation on the algae Arthrospira sp. The form, structure and physiology of the algae will be examined along with a genetic study of the organism. This data is important for determining the reliability of using Arthrospira sp. in spacecraft biological life support systems in such projects as MELISSA (Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative).

European Drawer Rack and Kubik 6 Incubator
A checkout of the European Drawer Rack was successfully completed on 31 March prior to the upcoming installation of the Kubik 6 incubator. The European Drawer Rack is a multi-user experiment facility which had been continuously active and providing power, data and temperature control to the Protein Crystallisation Diagnostic Facility before the conclusion of 3½ months of successful experiment runs in July 2009. The Kubik incubators are transportable incubators which were designed in the frame of the ISS Soyuz missions for biology experiments processing.

Fluid Science Laboratory and FASES/Geoflow-2 experiments
No activities were carried out using the Fluid Science laboratory in the two weeks until 9 April. The Flight Acceptance Review for the Fundamental and Applied Studies of Emulsion Stability (FASES) experiment has started and after the Experiment Sequence Test in the associated User Support and Operations Centre MARS in Naples, the launch of the Experiment Container is foreseen on Progress flight 39P in early September 2010. This experiment will be studying emulsion properties with advanced optical diagnostics. Results of the FASES experiment hold significance for oil extraction processes, chemical industry and in the food industry.

The hardware modifications for the implementation of the GeoFlow-2 experiment are in progress in order to launch it tentatively on ATV-2 at the end of 2010.

European Physiology Modules and CARD Experiment
No activities were carried out using the European Physiology Modules in the two weeks until 9 April. The European Physiology Modules facility is equipped with different science modules to investigate the effects of long-duration spaceflight on the human body, with experiment results contributing to an increased understanding of terrestrial problems such as the ageing process, osteoporosis, balance disorders, and muscle wastage.

Pulmonary Function System (in Human Research Facility 2)
No activities were carried out using the Pulmonary Function System in the two weeks until 9 April. The Pulmonary Function System is accommodated in NASA Human Research Facility 2, which was relocated from the US Destiny laboratory to the Columbus laboratory on 1 October 2008. The Pulmonary Function System is an ESA/NASA collaboration in the field of respiratory physiology instrumentation, which analyses exhaled gas from astronauts' lungs to provide near-instant data on the state of crew health.

Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System (MARES)
On 29 March ISS Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi prepared a Columbus rack location for the installation of the rack containing ESA’s Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System (MARES). This included installation of bonding straps, capture mechanisms and brackets as well as relocation of cargo items temporarily stored in the rack location. The facility will be used for undertaking neuromuscular and exercise research on the International Space Station. MARES is capable of assessing the strength of isolated muscle groups around joints to provide a better understanding of the effects of weightlessness on the muscular system.

MARES was launched to the ISS in an MPLM on board STS-131/19A Shuttle Flight on 5 April, arriving at the ISS two days later. It was transferred to Columbus on 9 April. MARES consists of an adjustable chair with a system of pads and levers that fit to each astronaut and cover different movements, a main box containing the facility motor and control electronics to which the chair is connected by an articulated arm, as well as dedicated experiment software. The system is considerably more advanced than equivalent ground-based devices and a vast improvement on current muscle research facilities on the ISS.

The Dose Distribution inside the ISS (DOSIS) experiment is progressing well, with the instrument constantly acquiring data. The monthly data downlink occurred on 30 March. The DOSIS experiment will determine the nature and distribution of the radiation field inside European Columbus laboratory using different active and passive detectors spread around the laboratory. This is the first time that 'area dosimetry' is being undertaken on Columbus to measure the spatial radiation gradients inside the module. DOSIS will continue to record the radiation environment in the Columbus laboratory.

Portable Pulmonary Function System
No activities were carried out using the Portable Pulmonary Function System in the two weeks up until 9 April. The Portable Pulmonary Function System is an autonomous multi-user facility supporting a broad range of human physiological research experiments under weightless condition in the areas of respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic physiology.

European Modular Cultivation System
No activities were carried out with the European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS) in the two weeks up until 9 April. The European Modular Cultivation System, which was flown to the ISS in July 2006, is dedicated to biological experiments such as the effects of gravity on cells, roots and physiology of plants and simple animals. It was developed by ESA and has been operated for two years under a bilateral barter agreement with NASA which is expected to be continued.

Genara-A is tentatively the next ESA experiment to take place in the European Modular Cultivation System and will study plant (Arabidopsis) growth at molecular level in weightlessness. This will help to better understand gravitropism and to find plant systems that compensate for the negative impact on plant growth in space. Before or after a further NASA experiment, SeedGrowth, ESA’s Gravi-2 experiment is planned to follow towards the end of 2010.

Microgravity Science Glovebox and SODI experiments
ISS Flight Engineers Soichi Noguchi and Timothy Creamer carried out additional activities with the Selectable Optical Diagnostics Instrument (SODI) on 2 April. The astronauts removed the cable harnesses from the SODI bottom plate and the Image Processing Unit. These were packed for return on Shuttle flight 19A to undergo analysis on ground.

The first SODI experiment to take place in the Microgravity Science Glovebox was IVIDIL (Influence of Vibrations on Diffusion in Liquids). This was successfully completed on 20 January. This will now be followed by the Colloid experiment, which covers the study on growth and properties of advanced photonic materials within colloidal solutions. This will take place following completion of ground analysis activities and return of SODI hardware on orbit. The Colloid experiment cells will be uploaded on a Progress flight in a few months.

The DSC experiment (‘Diffusion and Soret Coefficient Measurements for Improvement of Oil Recovery’), will now be the third and final SODI experiment processed in the Microgravity Science Glovebox. The DSC cells, which arrived at the ISS on Progress 36P on 5 February, will also be returned on STS-131 Shuttle Discovery for re-filling due to the problems with the SODI avionics hardware and deferral of SODI experiments until around September 2010.

The Microgravity Science Glovebox was developed by ESA within a barter agreement with NASA. The Glovebox provides the ability to perform a wide range of experiments in the fields of material science, biotechnology, fluid science, combustion science and crystal growth research, in a fully sealed and controlled environment. The Microgravity Science Glovebox has been continuously used for NASA experiments and will again play an important role for ESA’s SODI experiment series.

European science and research facilities outside the Columbus laboratory in open space

SOLAR was “safed” on 3 April due to the docking of Soyuz 22S the following morning. Following the docking of STS-131 Shuttle Discovery on 7 April, the Solar facility was placed in pointing mode and continued with acquisition of science data.

The SOLAR payload facility has been studying the Sun’s irradiation with unprecedented accuracy across most of its spectral range currently for more than two years on-orbit. The SOLAR facility has so far produced excellent scientific data during a series of Sun observation cycles. Following the conclusion of the detailed technical feasibility study for on-orbit lifetime extension the science team will be able to continue gathering further science data in a period of increasing solar activity up to the maximum level in 2013.

European science inside the US Destiny Laboratory

Material Science Laboratory in the Material Science Research Rack
Activities for the CETSOL and MICAST experiments were carried out in the Material Science Laboratory from 30 March – 2 April. The MICAST#1 samples were processed on 30 March, undergoing two heating phases and a melting phase. After solidification and cooling down, these were exchanged for CETSOL#5 samples the following day. CETSOL#5 samples started processing on 1 April. After solidification and cooling down, these samples were exchanged for MICAST#5 samples on 2 April.

ESA’s Material Science Laboratory is the primary research facility located in NASA’s Materials Science Research Rack-1, which was launched together with a total of six sample cartridges for NASA and for ESA’s MICAST and CETSOL projects on STS-128/17A under a cooperation agreement with NASA and is now installed in the US Laboratory on the ISS.

CETSOL and MICAST are two complementary material science projects, which carry out research into the formation of microstructures during the solidification of metallic alloys. The goal of MICAST is to study the formation of microstructures during casting of technical alloys. In space, buoyancy convection is eliminated and the dendritic solidification of the alloys can be quantitatively studied under purely diffusive conditions. The objective of CETSOL is then to study the transition from columnar growth to equiaxed growth that occurs when crystals start to nucleate in the melt and grow independently. Results of these experiments will help to optimise industrial casting processes.

European science inside the Russian ISS Segment

In its experimental set up the Matroshka experiments consist of a simulated human body (head and torso) called the Phantom equipped with several active and passive radiation dosimeters. The Phantom will be relocated to the Japanese Kibo laboratory and equipped with a set of new passive dosimeters (including PADLES type from JAXA) which will be tentatively uploaded on the next Progress flight (37P schedule for launch on 28 April). JAXA has prepared the technical accommodation of Matroshka in the KIBO laboratory and now the final implementation steps and bi-/trilateral agreements with JAXA and Russia are in progress for a joint experiment run until HTV-2 arrives in 2011. In the long-term Matroshka may again be accommodated on an external ISS platform to measure cosmic radiation levels in Low Earth Orbit which are of relevance for EVA activities.

GTS-2 (Global Transmission Service)
The Global Transmission Service was deactivated on 31 May 2009 though negotiations with Russian representatives are ongoing for reactivation of the instrument and continuation of the so-called test mode. GTS will be tentatively a cooperative European-Russian experiment on ISS. This experiment is intended to test the receiving conditions of a time and data signal for dedicated receivers on the ground. The time signal distributed by the GTS has special coding to allow the receiver to determine the local time anywhere on the Earth without user intervention. The main scientific objectives of the experiment are to verify under real space operation conditions: the performance and accuracy of a time signal transmitted to the Earth’s surface from low Earth orbit; the signal quality and data rates achieved on the ground; measurement of disturbing effects such as Doppler shifts, multi-path reflections, shadowing and elevation impacts.

Additional European science outside the ISS in open space

The Expose-R facility, which was installed outside the Zvezda Service Module during the Russian-based spacewalk on 10 March 2009, is operating nominally and science acquisition is on-going. A tentative return of the sample trays is foreseen for autumn 2010 which allow a scientifically beneficial extension of the open space exposure period of 50%.

Expose-R hosts a suite of nine new astrobiology experiments (eight from ESA, one from IBMP, Moscow), some of which could help understand how life originated on Earth. This suite of experiments was transported to the International Space Station on Progress flight 31P, which docked with the ISS on 30 November 2008. The experiments are accommodated in three special sample trays, which are loaded with a variety of biological samples including plant seeds and spores of bacteria, fungi and ferns, which are exposed to the harsh space environment (Solar UV, cosmic radiation, vacuum), for about one and a half years.

The individual Expose-R experiments are as follows:


  • AMINO: Photochemical processing of amino acids and other organic compounds in Earth orbit
  • ENDO: Response of endolithic organisms to space conditions
  • OSMO: Exposure of osmophilic microbes to the space environment
  • SPORES: Spores in artificial meteorites
  • PHOTO: Measurements of vacuum and solar radiation-induced DNA damages within spores
  • SUBTIL: Mutational spectra of Bacillus subtilis spores and plasmid DNA exposed to high vacuum and solar UV radiation in the space environment.
  • PUR: Responses of Phage T7, Phage DNA and polycrystalline uracil to the space environment.
  • ORGANIC: Evolution of organic matter in space.
  • IMBP: Exposure of resting stages of terrestrial organisms to space conditions.

Expose-R complements the exobiology science package that was performed in Expose-E, a twin facility which had been in operation on ESA’s EuTEF facility outside of Columbus since February 2008 until EuTEF’s return to Earth with the STS-128/17A Shuttle Flight in September 2009.

Non-European science and research facilities inside the Columbus Laboratory

Human Research Facility 1
ISS Flight Engineer Timothy Creamer continued with the week-long session of the NASA Sleep experiment at the start of the two-week period. Human Research Facility 1 was activated on 31 March in connection with downlink of data from the experiment.

Human Research Facility 2
On 30 March Timothy Creamer removed four hard disk drives from the facility’s Workstation 2.

ISS general system information and activities *

Columbus laboratory
In addition to the Columbus experiment facilities mentioned above, the Columbus systems have been working well. Some regular maintenance activities have been executed by the crew and the Flight Control Team on top of the regular conferences of the ISS Crew with the Columbus Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. Main points of interest are as follows:


  • Internal Thermal Control System
    After installing a sampling adaptor, ISS Flight Engineer and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi collected a coolant sample from the Internal Thermal Control System in Columbus on 1 April for return to ground for analysis. Similar coolant samples were also taken from the European-built Nodes 2 and 3 on 4 April


  • Columbus Laptops
    A monthly battery check and reboot was carried out on Columbus laptops on 1 April by ISS Flight engineer and NASA astronaut Timothy Creamer. On 8 April ISS Flight engineer and NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson relocated a laptop from the European-built Node 2 to Columbus.


  • Camcorder
    A Video Camera Assembly camcorder was relocated from Columbus to the European-built Node 2 for monitoring cargo transfer operations from the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module during the STS-131/19A Shuttle mission. This was returned to Columbus on completion of each day’s activities.

Activities in the European-built Node 3


  • Exercise Equipment
    In addition to regular use, inspection and servicing of the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED), the pulley ropes for the device were replaced on 4 April and the frayed upper stop cables were replaced the following day. This replacement has allowed the crew to resume with all exercise modes on ARED.


  • Regenerative ECLSS
    During the past two weeks activities have been carried out with the two Water Recovery System racks which, together with the Oxygen Generation System rack, form the Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) which is necessary in support of a six-person ISS Crew to help reduce upload mass. Key points of interest are as follows:

    • Water Recovery System
      On 30 March the catalytic reactor unit of the Water Processor Assembly was removed by Timothy Creamer who inspected its internal water lines for a suspected leak (which caused the Water Processor Assembly to go into stand by on 22 March). Water was indeed found so suspect fittings were tightened. The reactor was hereafter reinstalled back inside the Water Processor Assembly. The Recycle Filter Tank Assembly of the Water Recovery System was also changed out on 2 April.


    • Oxygen Generation System
      Soichi installed the Water Delivery System on the front of the Oxygen Generation System Rack in Node 3 on 5 May. Following installation, Timothy Creamer configured the Water Delivery System for activation, to supply the potable water bus. As the Water Delivery System only released a small amount of water ground teams are analyzing data to take appropriate action.


    • Urine Processor Assembly
      On 6 April the Urine Processor Assembly was configured to use urine from the Waste and Hygiene Compartment by routing appropriate hoses for feeding the Urine Processor Assembly.

Soyuz TMA-18/22S Expedition 23/24


  • Soyuz TMA-18 launch and docking
    Roscosmos cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko, and NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson were launched successfully in the Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on flight 22S to the ISS on 2 April 2010 at 18:04 (CEST). Kornienko, and Caldwell Dyson are Flight Engineers for ISS Expeditions 23 and 24. Soyuz Commander Skvortsov is a Flight Engineer for ISS Expedition 23 and will become ISS Commander for Expedition 24. Following orbital insertion, Soyuz TMA antennas and solar arrays were deployed and various orbital burns were carried out over the following two days to bring the Soyuz in the vicinity of the ISS to begin docking procedures.

    Prior to Soyuz TMA-18 docking the ISS crew configured relevant communications and video equipment. The Soyuz spacecraft docked successfully with the Russian Mini Research Module 2, ‘Poisk’, on 4 April at 07:25 (CEST).


  • Soyuz TMA-18 post-docking activities
    ISS attitude control was handed back from Russian to US systems after docking. Video of the docking and structural dynamics measurements were downlinked by the crew and the standard leak check between the Soyuz and the ISS was carried out. On completion the hatches were opened at 09:21 (CEST) and the usual crew greeting took place. Quick disconnect clamps were installed at the interface between the Soyuz and the ISS to further stabilise the connection. Flight engineer Kotov set up the three Sokol spacesuits and their gloves for drying out, and he deactivated the Soyuz spacecraft. Following the standard crew safety briefing, handover activities and familiarisation of the newcomers with the Station, the crew started cargo transfer from the Soyuz to the ISS.

STS-131/19A Shuttle Discovery Mission


  • Launch
    STS-131 Shuttle Discovery launched successfully from Kennedy Space Center at 12:21 (CEST), 06:21 local time on 5 April on the 13-day ISS 19A mission. Discovery was transporting a European-built Multi-Purpose Logistics Module in its cargo bay carrying about 7.7 tonnes of vital ISS outfitting equipment and cargo. This included ESA’s Muscle Atrophy Resistive Exercise System (MARES). Discovery has a seven-person crew, which includes Shuttle Commander Alan Poindexter, Pilot James Dutton, and Mission Specialists Rick Mastracchio, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson, Naoko Yamazak and Clayton Anderson, all representing NASA except Yamazaki who represents JAXA.


  • Shuttle R-bar Pitch Manoeuvre
    On 7 April, during the R-bar Pitch Manoeuvre of Shuttle Discovery prior to docking, ISS Commander Oleg Kotov and ISS Flight Engineer Timothy Creamer took high resolution digital photos with 400mm and 800mm lenses respectively. During the manoeuvre at a distance of about 180 m from the Station, the photographers had around 90 seconds to take images of all thermal protection tile areas and door seals on the Shuttle, which were downlinked for launch debris assessment.


  • Shuttle docking
    After successfully completing the R-Bar Pitch Manoeuvre, Space Shuttle Discovery docked to Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 on 7 April at 09:44 (CEST). Before the docking, final communications configuration checks and configuration of the Russian Motion Control System for Shuttle arrival was performed. The Station now hosts thirteen occupants, including four women.


  • Post-docking procedures
    After the docking, the Station was reoriented in order to minimize the risk of debris impacts upon the Shuttle. Following relevant leak checks of the docking vestibule hatches were opened and the traditional crew welcome ceremony took place, followed by the safety briefing for the new arrivals. After hatch opening, ventilation ducting was installed between the ISS and the Shuttle and communications /data configuration occurred to account for the Shuttle docked to the Station. In addition, as Shuttle Ku-band communications failure occurred after liftoff, a work around was developed to transfer Shuttle heatshield inspection footage data via the ISS.


  • MPLM relocation to Node 2 and ingress
    On 8 April the European-built Multipurpose Logistics Module (MPLM) was manoeuvred by robotic arm from the Shuttle’s cargo bay to the Earth-facing port of the European-built Node 2 where it was berthed. Stephanie Wilson and Naoko Yamazaki were the operators of the Space Station’s robotic arm during transfer. Hereafter activities were carried out for opening and entering the MPLM. The area between the Node 2 and MPLM hatches was pressurised, a leak check was carried out and the Node 2 hatch was opened. Electricity and data cables were connected along with additional manual and computer configuration prior to entering the MPLM. After MPLM ingress equipment was transferred for the first mission spacewalk including an S0-truss Rate Gyro Assembly.


  • Spacewalk 1 (Mastracchio, Anderson)
    The spacewalk was preceded by standard procedures including the overnight camp out of the EVA astronauts in the Airlock at a reduced pressure and pre-breathing pure oxygen to remove nitrogen from their bodies. Spacewalk 1 was carried out by Rick Mastracchio and Clayton Anderson starting at 07:31 CEST on 9 April. During the 6 hr 27 minutes EVA the astronauts: relocated a new Ammonia Tank Assembly from the Shuttle cargo bay (assisted by Station robotic arm) to a temporary location outside the ISS; disconnected fluid quick disconnects on the old Ammonia Tank Assembly on the S1 truss section; retrieved Japanese Micro-Particles Capture hardware and Space Environment Exposure Device hardware for return on Discovery; replaced a Rate Gyro Assembly on the S0 truss; and additional get ahead tasks before finishing the spacewalk.


  • MPLM cargo transfers
    On 9 April five racks were transferred from the MPLM: ESA’s Muscle Atrophy Resistive Exercise System (MARES) to Columbus; ESA-developed MELFI 3 freezer to the Japanese laboratory; a new Crew Quarters to the European-built Node 2; and two Zero-G Stowage Racks, one to the Japanese laboratory and one to the US laboratory.

Progress Return Preparations
On 29 March ISS Commander and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kotov removed KURS-A hardware (which forms part of the Russian automatic docking system) from the Progress M-04M/36P spacecraft docked at the aft port of the Russian Service Module.

Public Affairs Addresses
ESA received Public Affairs addresses from the ISS on 29 March, including one for the annual Berlin Air Show’s Parliamentarians’ Day in the ESA/DLR Pavilion on June 11.

Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for the ISS (MELFI)
On 30 March Timothy Creamer removed the failed electronics unit from the MELFI-2 freezer for return to earth on STS-131 Shuttle Discovery. On 3 April, plant samples were placed in the European-built MELFI freezer for CSA’s APEX-Cambium (Advanced Plant Experiments on Orbit-Cambium) experiment. On 8 April additional samples were transferred to MELFI and MELFI-2 from the MERLIN (Microgravity Experiment Research Locker Incubator) fridge and the GLACIER (General Laboratory Active Cryogenic ISS Experiment Refrigerator) which were transported to the ISS on STS-131 Shuttle Discovery.

On 4 April Soichi Noguchi prepared the Japanese Kibo laboratory for the arrival of MELFI-3, on STS-131 Shuttle Discovery which docked to the ISS on 7 April. MELFI 3 was transferred to Kibo on 9 April.

Treadmill with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization
The Treadmill with Vibration Isolation and Stabilisation (TVIS) was removed from its ‘pit’ in the Russian Service Module by Noguchi and Kotov on 30 March. Hereafter they replaced the failed Gyroscope Wire Ropes that were noticed during inspection on 22 March. Kotov also spent time troubleshooting a power supply issue with TVIS. On 2 April Noguchi constructed and installed a replacement for a lost retainer plate for the treadmill.

Backup Control Centre Checkout
A successful checkout of the ISS Backup Control Centre in Huntsville, Alabama was carried out on 30 March with the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite switched to Huntsville from the Mission Control Centre in Houston for the exercise. The test verified the ability for Huntsville to take over control centre function in case of a problem at Houston such as tornado damage.

Emergency training
On 5 April the six-member ISS crew took part in a crew safety handover to familiarise themselves with escape routes and procedures in case of an emergency. The following day Kotov, Skvortsov, Caldwell-Dyson and Kornienko took part in an Emergency Egress training session, in the case of rapid cabin depressurisation, together with specialist personnel on ground at the Russian and US mission control centres

Other Activities
Other activities that have taken place in the two-week period include: installation of wireless LAN antenna in the Russian Service Module; relocating equipment for taking structural dynamics data during Shuttle docking; swapping an 800A battery of the power Supply System in the Russian Zarya Module; and disassembling and stowing a Temporary Sleep Station in the US laboratory.

(*)These activities are highlights of the past two weeks and do not include the majority of standard periodic operational/maintenance activities on the ISS or additional research activities not mentioned previously. Information compiled with the assistance of NASA sources.

Martin Zell
ESA Head of ISS Utilisation Department

Rosita Suenson
ESA Human Spaceflight Programme Communication Officer

Weekly reports compiled by ESA's ISS Utilisation Department.

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