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TOPIC: International Space Station


L

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RE: ISS
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Energia

Iranian-born entrepreneur Anousheh Ansari, left, talks to Japanese space passenger Daisuke Enomoto at the Energia plant near Moscow last week.

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L

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Kibo
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On May 5 (Friday, Eastern daylight time), Minister Kenji Kosaka of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and NASA Administrator Michael Griffin agreed the Japanese astronaut to be aboard the Space Shuttle flight for the first transportation and assembly of the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) "Kibo" of the International Space Station (ISS) during their meeting in Washington DC, USA.

The Kibo module, which has been developed by Japan as part of the ISS, is scheduled to be delivered to the ISS by three Space Shuttle flights. The first mission is to transport and assemble the Kibo Experiment Logistic Module (ELM) Pressurised Section to the ISS.


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According to the Russia's space agency, an Anousheh Ansari, an American entrepreneur of Iranian origin may become the first female space tourist after being chosen as backup to a Japanese man expected to blast off this Autumn.

She will be trained as a reserve to Japan's Daisuke Enomoto, who is slated become the world's fourth space tourist when he flies to the International Space Station this fall on board a Soyuz carrier rocket.

"A contract has been signed with Ansari, and she is undergoing training as a backup to the Japanese unprofessional member of the space crew, Daisuke Enomoto" - Agency Spokesperson.

The first man to travel to the world's sole civilian orbital station in 2001 was Dennis Tito, an American millionaire of Italian extraction. South African Mark Shuttleworth and American multimillionaire Gregory Olsen were the second and third ISS tourists.

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Russian experts will try again this Thursday to lift the International Space Station to a higher orbit to ease future rendezvous manoeuvres and reduce the risk of collisions with orbiting debris.

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According to NASA officials, one of the three spacewalks previously planned for the STS-121 shuttle mission this year has been cancelled because of scheduling constraints.

The EVA was planned to test heat shield repair techniques that would be used if shuttle tiles or panels were damaged during launch. However, because of an overloaded schedule for the mission, in part because of additional shuttle inspections added to the original mission timeline, led shuttle managers to drop the EVA from the schedule to give the crew some additional time off in orbit.
Mission controllers could add the EVA back to the schedule if enough consumables, particularly hydrogen and oxygen used for the shuttle's fuel cells, remain to extend the mission's duration by a day. The shuttle Discovery is scheduled to fly the STS-121 mission in July.

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A Soyuz carrier rocket guided by Russian cosmonaut Valery Tokarev, has successfully docked with the Zvezda module of the International Space Station (ISS)



He and astronaut William McArthur have successfully re-located the Soyuz spacecraft that will return them to Earth.
The re-location of the Soyuz to the Zvezda service module is required to free the docking port of the Zarya cargo bay for the next Soyuz spaceship (TMA-8), set to arrive on April 1.
The Expedition 12 crew undocked at 06:49 UTC, moving 135 feet away from the station, and moved laterally along the length of the station and then manoeuvred into position to face and re-dock with the Zvezda service module.
Docking to the back end of the station successfully occurred at 07:11 GMT.
The ISS-13 main expedition crew, Commander Pavel Vinogradov, NASA flight engineer Jeff Williams, and Brazilian Space Agency astronaut Marcos Pontes, are on schedule to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on March 30, 02:30 UTC (March 29, 9:30pm Eastern USA time).

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Progress 19
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Progress 19 filled with unneeded equipment and rubbish undocked from the ISS at 10:06:10 GMT, on Friday. A brief engine Burn cleared it from the space station. It will crash into the Pacific Ocean about 3,000 kilometres east of Wellington, New Zealand.

Progress 19ís vacant dock allows the Expedition 12 crew to relocate their Soyuz TMA-7 vehicle from its berth at the Earth-facing port on the stationís Zarya control module on March 20 to make way for the Expedition 13 crews arrival.
Expedition 13, commander Pavel Vinogradov, flight engineer Jeffrey Williams and Marcos Pontes Ė Brazilís first astronaut will launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on March 30 at 02:30 GMT, and dock the station two days later.

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RE: International Space Station
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NASA Announces International Space Station Update (requires reboot)

Friday at 3 p.m. EST, NASA's International Space Station Program Manager Mike Suffredini updated reporters about the revised station configuration and assembly sequence.
The station configuration and sequence were decided today during a meeting with NASA Administrator Mike Griffin and his counterparts from the Canadian, European, Japanese and Russian space agencies.

The Heads of space agencies partnering in the International Space Station on Thursday announced a sequence of space flights that would result in completion of the orbiting laboratory by 2010.



The sequence, including 16-shuttle-flights, foresees launch of the European Columbus Laboratory module on the seventh shuttle flight of the sequence and launch of the Japanese experiment module and associated equipment on the eighth, ninth and 12th shuttle flights. The assembly sequence provides almost a year's cushion for completion of assembly by 2010.
The station's crew would expand to three persons with the STS-121 mission, now scheduled for launch no earlier than May, and to six in 2009. The European Automated Cargo Vehicle, an unpiloted cargo carrier with more than twice the capacity of the Progress spacecraft, is scheduled to be launched on an Ariane rocket between the fifth and sixth flights in the shuttle sequence, perhaps in the spring of 2007.

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The Russian Progress M-54 cargo ship has undocked successfully from the orbital station.

Progress M-54 is now expected to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere at 13:41 GMT (16.41 Moscow time).

"The spaceship has undocked from the International Space Station smoothly. The Progress M-54 is continuing to descend, its engines will only be activated at 16:05 Moscow time (13:.05 GMT) to give it an impulse to enter the thick layers of atmosphere. Fragments of the vehicle that do not burn up are expected to fall into the Pacific at 16:53 Moscow time (13:53 p.m. GMT)." - Spokesperson, Mission Control.

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Golf
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Russian cosmonauts are hoping to hit a golf ball into Earth's orbit from the International Space Station, adding to the already numerous orbital junk, and setting a record for the longest drive ever made.

If the astro-golf attempt is approved, it will take place during one of three spacewalks planned for 2006.
The ball will be hit with a gold-plated golf club, made of the same scandium alloy used to build the station, and is expected to orbit Earth for four years.

In a worst-case scenario, the ball would remain at the same altitude long enough for its orbital plane to shift so it could hit the station side-on.
An orbital debris expert at Nasa's Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas has said that it would have a head-on collision impact speed of about 9.4km per second - equivalent to a 6.5-tonne truck moving at nearly 100km per hour.

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