- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 18, 2005

Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev and American astronaut John Phillips are scheduled to make a spacewalk today to maintain science experiments mounted on the International Space Station’s exterior.

Mr. Krikalev and Mr. Phillips also will mount experiments designed to expose a variety of materials to the vacuum and radiation in space and replace a failed video camera.

It will be the eighth spacewalk for Mr. Krikalev and the first spacewalk for Mr. Phillips.

Mr. Krikalev set the world record for the most experienced space traveler on Monday, logging 749 days in space.

The Space Shuttle Discovery’s visit to the space station two weeks ago refilled its pantry and removed the garbage. Space station manager Kirk Shireman said Discovery brought up 5,000 pounds of cargo and returned 6,000 pounds to Earth. The shuttle also transferred nitrogen, oxygen and 1,800 pounds of water.

The space station has enough supplies to last until late January, even if scheduled Russian rockets with supplies are delayed.

Space station scientist Don Thomas said the amount of experiments improved dramatically because of the shuttle’s visit. In the 2 years that the shuttle was grounded, NASA was able to send only 167 pounds of science experiments to the space station and 13 pounds to Earth, all of it on Russian rockets.

Out of necessity, critical supplies and spare parts had priority and science experiments could be flown only on a space-available basis. In contrast, Discovery brought 1,764 pounds of experiments to the space station and returned 816 pounds to Earth.

The shuttle “brought us some scientific equipment that’s very important,” Mr. Phillips said. “We’ve got a brand new shiny new rack of scientific apparatus … and we’re really looking forward to activating that and giving a little shakedown.”

The rack includes a scale for measuring an astronaut’s mass in space, a refrigerated centrifuge and a system for measuring an astronaut’s lung capacity.

“All of these features are important for any crew going on to Mars,” Mr. Thomas said.

Mr. Krikalev and Mr. Phillips are scheduled to return to Earth in October after the arrival of their replacements, American astronaut Bill McArthur and Russian cosmonaut Valery Tokarev. NASA expects its next shuttle launch no earlier than November.

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