Volume: 04, Issue: 05 11/02/2005 
Expedition 12 Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev, left, and Commander Bill McArthur work Thursday in the station's Quest airlock. Image credit: NASA TV.
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The ISS against the backdrop of the Caspian Sea, photographed by astronauts during the STS-114 mission. Image courtesy NASA.
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Other Articles in This Issue:
Hubble Reveals Possible New Moons Around Pluto
Cassini Uncovers More Saturn Mysteries
Spitzer Catches Black Widow Nebula
Chat about Spaceflight with a Former Astronaut
 

International Space Station Celebrates Milestone

Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev will mark five years of continuous human presence on the International Space Station on Nov. 2, 2005. The first station crew -- Bill Shepherd, Sergei Krikalev, and Yuri Gidzenko -- arrived at the complex on Nov. 2, 2000.

Originally the size of an efficiency apartment, the International Space Station (ISS) has grown to a volume larger than the average three-bedroom house. It is equipped with the most sophisticated laboratory ever to fly in space and is functioning as a test bed for technologies, procedures, and human endurance that will allow longer space journeys in the future.

McArthur and Tokarev are the 12th crew to inhabit the Station, known as Expedition 12. Prior to the Nov. 2 milestone, McArthur and Tokarev sent an anniversary greeting to the prior station crews and to the thousands who support the station in 16 nations.

The Expedition 12 crew is preparing to conduct a spacewalk on Nov. 7 at 9:30 a.m. EDT. The spacewalk will be the first from the station since 2003 to use U.S. spacesuits and originate from the Quest Airlock.

During the spacewalk, the crew will install a TV camera on the station's port side truss. The camera will be an important aid during future assembly work. They also plan to remove an experiment from the top of the P6 truss, the Station's highest point. The experiment measured the electrical environment around the Stationís exterior.

All station systems are operating well. The Elektron oxygen-generating system, one of several methods of replenishing oxygen in the station cabin atmosphere, is functioning. It was restored to operation Oct. 29, when Tokarev performed a maintenance procedure to purge air bubbles from its systems.

Russian flight controllers completed a test firing of thrusters on the Progress cargo craft on Oct. 28. The thrusters shut off early last week during a planned reboost of the complex. The thrusters were fired using a different manifold, as Russian controllers continued to evaluate a loss of data from the system observed during the aborted reboost. During the test firing, the engines operated normally. They are planned for use during the next reboost of the station on Nov. 10.

For more information about the International Space Station and its past and present crews, visit http://www.nasa.gov/station.

    
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