The Expedition One crew today installed the final cables and sensors into the prime oxygen-generation system aboard the International Space Station and continued to set up laptop computers and communications gear as they neared the end of a full week aboard the outpost.
ISS Commander Bill Shepherd, Soyuz Commander Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev reported that all of the gear associated with the Russian Elektron system has now been hooked up with the activation of the unit planned for Thursday. The Elektron uses the process of electrolysis to produce oxygen for the crew, while venting hydrogen overboard. Up to now, per the preflight plan, Shepherd, Gidzenko and Krikalev have been burning one oxygen-producing canister each day per crew member to maintain the proper level of oxygen in the ISS modules.
Krikalev successfully reactivated the ISS air conditioner after it shut itself down due to an excess amount of water in the condensate collection system. The condensate unit absorbs moisture from the air and needs to be emptied periodically. The unit was turned back on after a short outage and is operating normally.
Russian flight controllers continue to prepare for the next Progress resupply vehicle’s launch next week from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Progress is loaded with supplies and spare parts for the crew. Launch is set for the night of November 15, U.S. time, at 7:32 p.m. CST (1:32 GMT November 16). Docking to the Zarya module’s nadir port is scheduled for the night of November 17, U.S. time, at 9:07 p.m. CST (3:07 GMT November 18). The Progress will be unloaded by the crew prior to the launch of Endeavour November 30 on the STS-97 mission to deliver the first huge U.S. solar arrays to the ISS.
The crew for that flight - Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Mike Bloomfield and Mission Specialists Joe Tanner, Marc Garneau and Carlos Noriega - spent several hours aboard Endeavour today conducting a simulated countdown for their planned liftoff in three weeks.
Before beginning his sleep period, Shepherd told flight controllers that the ISS was “beginning to feel like home”. Tomorrow, the crew will mark the completion of its first week on board the expanding facility.
The ISS continues to operate in excellent shape at an altitude of 237 statute miles. Mission commentary on NASA Television will resume at 11 tonight with the next Expedition One status report planned for Thursday afternoon or sooner if developments warrant.
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