New science investigations, a fresh ground crew to operate experiments, two more science racks, and delivery of Leonardo -- the logistics module carrying experiments to the International Space Station -- are all contributions of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., to the next Space Station expedition.
The Aug. 9 launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on the STS-105 mission will mark the beginning of the newest four-month science expedition -- Expedition Three -continuing through the landing of the Space Shuttle Endeavor on STS-108 mission in early December.
Discovery will deliver more scientific experiments and a new three-member crew to the Space Station, and return to Earth with scientific equipment, samples and data, as well as the three Expedition Two crew members.
"We will focus more on the research program," said John Uri, lead increment scientist for Expedition Three at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. "We are on our way to building and maintaining a world-class science research laboratory in low-Earth orbit."
To conduct 18 U.S. experiments during Expedition Three, Uri's team will work closely with the Payload Operations Center - NASA's command post for Space Station science activities at the Marshall Center. A new cadre of controllers replaced their Expedition Two colleagues and started working on Aug. 6 in three shifts, around-the-clock, seven days a week. Their mission is to link Earth-bound researchers with experiments and astronauts aboard the Space Station.
"Science is happening on the station 24-hours a day-- even when the crew is sleeping," said Ray Echols, the lead payload operations director who heads the cadre working in the science control center at Marshall. "Allocation of a small amount of the crew's time to set up and install experiments can yield a lot of science.
Once many experiments are started, we can control them remotely from the ground."Via communications and
Contact: Steve Roy
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center News Center