Science Spacewalks Assembly Set for E

A continuing increase in science activities, a total of as many as eight spacewalks, the first piece of a truss that will form the backbone of the station and new software to support routing of power and data to and from it will be landmarks of the flight of the Expedition Four crew aboard the International Space Station.

Expedition Four crewmembers are cosmonaut and commander Yury Ivanovich Onufrienko, 40, a colonel and former senior pilot in his country's air force and veteran of a mission to the Russian space station Mir; astronaut Daniel Bursch, 44, a Navy captain and former test pilot with three shuttle flights to his credit, and Carl Walz, 46, an Air Force colonel, a former test pilot and veteran of three spaceflights.

New scientific experiments which were not on Increment Three include research in the biological sciences, physical sciences, and research in human physiology, much of it looking at effects of long-duration spaceflight. A number of experiments will continue from the previous increment.

As many as four of the spacewalks are to be conducted by members of the Expedition Four crew. Two of them will be early in the increment, from the new Pirs docking compartment using Russian Orlan suits. Two may be done later in Expedition Four, using U.S. spacesuits. Four other spacewalks are scheduled during the STS-110/8A flight of Atlantis, no earlier than the end of February, midway through the increment.

Those four spacewalks will focus on connecting the S0 Truss to the station's U.S. laboratory Destiny. The S0 Truss is scheduled to be brought to the station on Atlantis. It will be the first segment of the station's truss that eventually will support, among other things, four virtually identical solar wing assemblies. Among them will be the solar wings now atop the P6 truss, which already make the station the most powerful spacecraft ever.

In terms of activities, Expedition Four can be divided into three major segments. Early in the increment the focus will be on the first two spacewalks. The middle of the mission centers on the new software upload in preparation for arrival of the S0 Truss and its arrival, installation and checkout, and the final two spacewalks. As the end of Expedition Four approaches, the orientation changes to the arrival of a Russian taxi crew bringing a new Soyuz crew return vehicle to the station and preparation for the arrival of the Expedition Five crew, no earlier than early May.

Through all these activities, scientific investigations will continue.

The first two spacewalks are scheduled for mid-January. The first will be by Onufrienko and Walz and the second by Onufrienko and Bursch.

Among tasks by Onufrienko and Walz on the first spacewalk are those relating to transfer of the Strela cargo boom to the Pirs docking compartment. The boom and other Strela components were attached to the station's Pressurized Mating Adaptor 2 on previous shuttle flights.

During the second spacewalk, tasks assigned to Onufrienko and Bursch include:

Installation of thruster deflectors on the Zvezda service module.

Installation of contamination-control system experiments pallets on the docking compartment and Zvezda.

Installation of four antennas, for Ham Radio and Glisser TV, on Zvezda. Retrieval of the old Kromka materials experiment and installation of new samples. Photograph the Zvezda solar array flaps.

About six weeks before the arrival of STS-110/8A flight the second mission segment, preparations of the space station and the Expedition Four crew for its arrival will begin. Uplink of the new, extensive software load should be complete about four weeks before Atlantis arrives. The software will support the new configuration of the station - with the truss - including power distribution and a variety of other systems. It should be activated and verified well before Atlantis arrives.

The Expedition Four crew also will be doing on-orbit training with the station's robotic arm, Canadarm2, to maintain proficiency for the SO Truss installation. They also will verify the function of the arm after the software changes.

The four spacewalks during Atlantis' visit to the station will be dedicated to SO Truss installation. Once that is completed, crewmembers will verify that all the connections have been made correctly.

One or two more spacewalks may be done after Atlantis departs. They will be done in U.S. spacesuits out of the joint airlock Quest by Walz and Bursch and will use Canadarm2. Scheduled for April, the spacewalks will finish any needed SO Truss installation and activation work. They also will do "get-ahead" tasks relating to future truss construction.

The third Expedition Four segment is the home stretch. About two weeks after the final spacewalks, Expedition Four crewmembers will conduct the first of a series of air-to-ground conferences with their Expedition Five successors, which will include astronaut Peggy Whitson and two cosmonauts. Those conferences are part of lengthy preparations for Expedition Four's return home, which include everything from packing personal belongings to detailed cataloging of station and scientific equipment and procedures. They also will prepare station equipment and discards for return to Earth in Endeavour.

They also will begin planning and preparation for the arrival of a taxi crew in a new Soyuz crew return vehicle, the fourth Soyuz to be docked at the station for that purpose. They will orient the taxi crew and work with them during their six-day stay. The taxi crew is to depart in late April in the third Soyuz, which has been attached to the station since before Expedition Four crewmembers' arrival.

The Soyuz is scheduled to undock two days before the scheduled launch of Endeavour on the STS-111/UF-2 mission that will take Expedition Four crewmembers home.

Other tasks of Expedition Four crewmembers include maintenance replacement or enhancement. Electrical outlets will be replaced, as will the treadmill exercise device and its vibration isolation system in the Zvezda service module. Filters will be installed in thermal loops, more radiation shielding will be installed around Zvezda sleep stations and radiation monitors will be replaced.

Throughout the fourth increment, heavy emphasis will be placed on research in life sciences, Earth sciences and microgravity sciences. One reason crewmembers and controllers on the ground are able to do this is the growing maturity of the station. Increment three reaped some of the scientific benefits, and increment four stands to reap even more.

Here are the missions to the International Space Station during Expedition Four:

• STS-108 (UF-1) will rotate the Expedition Three and Expedition Four crews and bring a Multipurpose Logistics Module with equipment and supplies to the station.

• 7P will be the seventh Russian unpiloted supply spacecraft to be launched to the station with equipment, supplies, water and fuel.

• STS-110 (8A) will bring the SO Truss, the center of what will become the ISS backbone, to the station.

• 4S will be the fourth Russian Soyuz spacecraft to be brought to the station by a ferry crew. The ferry crew will return to Earth in S3, the Soyuz that was at the station for several months.

• STS-111 (UF-2) will rotate the Expedition Four and Expedition Five crews and bring a Multipurpose Logistics Module with equipment and supplies to the station.

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