ISS News: August 2007 Archives

Magnetic gravity trick grows perfect crystals,

"One of the few scientific success stories of the International Space Station has been its use to grow large, pure crystals in microgravity (see Space station unlocks new world of crystals). Now scientists from the Netherlands and Japan have shown that a strong magnetic field can mimic the effects of microgravity when growing protein crystals. The new Earth-bound technique could provide a cheaper and easier way to produce crystals of the same quality as those grown aboard the ISS."

Endeavour Undocks from Space Station

"Space Shuttle Endeavour undocked from the International Space Station at 7:56 a.m. EDT today, ending an almost nine-day stay at the orbital outpost for the STS-118 crew. Undocking was moved up a day in preparation for landing on Tuesday. The earlier landing opportunity was selected in the event Hurricane Dean threatens the Houston area. It allows an opportunity for the shuttle to land before Mission Control, Houston, would be shut down in preparation for a storm. Mission managers are continuing to monitor the situation and assess their options."

More ISS and Shuttle News

Shuttle Endeavour, Space Station Crew News Conference

"The 10 astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the space shuttle Endeavour and the International Space Station will participate in a news conference at 12:34 p.m. CDT on Friday, Aug. 17. Date: Aug. 16, 2007"


Editor's note: Looks like I will be on CNN Domestic/CNN International at around 12:30 pm EDT today - just before the press conference.

Opportunity for the Use of the ISS by U.S. Non-government Entitites for Research and Development and Industrial Processing Purposes

"In preparation for the ISS post-assembly phase, NASA is announcing limited opportunities for U.S. non-government entities to conduct R&D activities on the ISS. Under this arrangement, NASA may enter into Space Act Agreements with such entities to allow access to NASA facilities, personnel and technical information as the need and situation warrants, however, there will be no provision of funds. Respondents will be responsible for financing their own activities."

Editor's note: In his latest "What's New" rant, AIP's resident curmudgeon Bob Park reveals his chronic and absolute ignorance with regard to biology when he says:

2. ENDEAVOUR: NOT THE FIRST TIME IN SPACE FOR S. PNEUMONIAE. School teacher Barbara Morgan, we're told, has been busy using the camera on the robot arm to examine the shuttle skin for signs of damage from three pieces of foam that broke off the fuel tank on launch.Not a word though on how Streptococcus pneumoniae is doing.A vial of the pneumonia bacteria was taken up on Endeavour to study how microbes adapt to microgravity.Are they kidding?In the human space flight program this is called "science." Of course, S. pneumoniae have been to space many times before - they're in the upper respiratory tract of 40% of the population.Why didn't they just swab the nasal passages of astronauts?

Streptococcus pneumoniae colonizes the nasopharyngeal cavity in 5 - 70% of adults in the population depending primarily on whether they have recently been in close proximity to small children. As such, Park's claim of 40% is an oversimplification. It is precisely because this organism may colonize otherwise healthy adults and cause them no problems unless or until they become immune-compromised (which indeed may occur during long-duration exploration-class missions), at which point space life scientists really do need to know whether S. pneumoniae behaves differently under conditions of microgravity.

There is precedent for changes in potentially pathogenic bacteria when grown in the microgravity environment (see papers by Duane Pierson et al). The researchers for this experiment and others (Cheryl Nickerson, Arnold Dement) see changes in patterns of gene expression or production of secondary metabolites in ground-based analogs of microgravity.

Alas, Bob Park never bothers to research the actual science behind things before he dumps on them. Then again, "What's New" about that, eh Bob?

NASA STS-118 Execute Package FD04


The following procedure should be followed on MCC "Go" to perform a sneakernet transfer of execute package messages from the ISS SSCs to the Shuttle PGSCs. During the docked timeframe, the Shuttle Ku coverage is very limited in the hours before crew wakeup due to ISS blockage. The Shuttle OCA OFFICER will uplink the Shuttle execute package to a Shuttle PCMCIA card (inserted into an ISS SSC) and you (shuttle crew) will move the PCMCIA card to a Shuttle PGSC in the morning and run a batch file to copy the execute package files to their standard location on the KFX PGSC."

A wide-ranging interview with the leader of NASA, CBS/SpaceflightNow

"Griffin: ... There is and there will continue to be much debate on the scientific merits of the space station and I think there should be that debate, that's fine. We will find a way to utilize the space station to help benefit human exploration of the solar system. But leaving all of that aside, it is the most amazing construction project ever attempted by human beings."

Photos From Space: What Astronaut Clay Anderson Is Reading, SpaceRef

Editor's note: "It is getting harder and harder to find interesting things in the photos sent back from the ISS. Not only are there fewer internal photos being sent back these days, but someone is clearly screening them so as to not let anything interesting slip through. I am told that Mike Griffin's favorite communications guru Marsha Ivins used to do this screening personally."

Reader Comments: "Regarding your last commentary - Clay has a daily trivia quiz that he does with MCC-Houston and (I think) the POCC at Goddard for fun. Apparently that's where he gets his questions from."

"Right after Clay arrived at ISS, he started a ritual of asking ground controllers in Houston and Huntsville trivia questions, getting the answer the following day. He apparently uses the book to get the questions and answers."

NASA JSC Solicitation: Digital Cameras and Digital Peripherals

"NASA/JSC has a requirement for multiple digital cameras and camera peripherals. The digital cameras and all camera peripherals must be manufactured from the same lot. NASA has a requirement for 48 Nikon D2XS SLR Digital Cameras. The cameras must be lubricated with Braycote lubricating grease which is approved for spaceflight during the manufacturing process. Attempts to compete similar efforts have been unsuccessful due to the camera equipment having to be manufactured from the same lot and items requiring Braycote lubricant grease having to be lubricated during the manufacturing and assembly process."

Editor's note: This Expedition 15 photo should give you an idea of what camera gear they already have on orbit.



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This page is an archive of entries in the ISS News category from August 2007.

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