International Space Station Status Report #03-63
4 p.m. CST, Friday, Dec. 12, 2003
Expedition 8 Crew

Aboard the International Space Station this week the Expedition 8 crew served as scientists, engineers, mechanics and investigators as it approaches two months of life in space aboard the orbiting outpost.

The workweek began with a U.S. milestone being recognized when Commander Mike Foale surpassed the astronaut cumulative time in space record of 231 days. During a special phone call Monday, Carl Walz, the previous record holder, called Foale to congratulate him on the milestone and discussed life on the Station and future endeavors in space.

Tuesday and Wednesday Foale – joined by Flight Engineer Cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri - dismantled the high-tech exercise treadmill and identified the cause of a problem preventing its use in the motorized mode. A bad bearing associated with its gyroscope assembly was determined to be the culprit and a replacement will be shipped to the Station on the next Progress resupply vehicle in late January. Until that time, the treadmill is usable for exercise without the stabilization system active.

Thursday Foale, also the onboard NASA ISS Science Officer, “flew” the Station’s robotic arm for the first time through a survey of various modules and components of the complex. The survey had two-purposes: To continue investigating the source of an unusual noise heard by the crew a couple of weeks ago while in the Zvezda Service Module and to check for any other changes outside the station, a check normally handled by a Space Shuttle upon undocking and flyaround. This survey detected no abnormalities.

Foale and Kaleri discussed their mission with news organizations from ABC and the website SpaceflightNow.com. The crew also enjoyed a lengthy question-and-answer period with schoolchildren at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in North Carolina, as celebrations are ongoing in advance of the 100th anniversary Dec. 17 of powered flight.

Information on the crew's activities aboard the Space Station, future launch dates, as well as Station sighting opportunities from anywhere on the Earth, is available on the Internet at: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/

Details on Station science operations can be found on an Internet site administered by the Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., at: http://scipoc.msfc.nasa.gov/

The next ISS status report will be issued Dec. 19, or sooner if events warrant.

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