Mission or Study ID: Expedition 8
International Space Station (ISS)
International Space Station
On October 18, 2003, Expedition Eight Commander Michael Foale and Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri launched on the Soyuz TMA-3 spacecraft for a two-day flight to the space station. Foale and Kaleri assumed formal control of the station from the outgoing Expedition Seven crew, who had been aboard the station since April. Accomodating Foale and Kaleri to the space station aboard the Soyuz was European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Pedro Duque of Spain who spent eight days aboard the space station performing scientific experiments under a commercial contract between ESA and the Russian Aviation and Space Agency (Rosaviakosmos). Duque returned to Earth on October 27th with the Expedition Seven crew in the Soyuz TMA-2 spacecraft.
During their stay, Foale and Kaleri focused their activities on station operations and maintenance. However, scientific research continued, as did science-focused education activities and Earth observations. Experiments made use of the microgravity environment in the Destiny Laboratory and the orientation of the station to conduct investigations in a variety of disciplines including life sciences, physics, and chemistry, and their applications in materials and manufacturing processes. The station crew also studied the Earth's environment, climate, geology, and oceanography. The crew devoted nearly 200 hours to U.S., Russian, and other partner research during its stay on orbit.
Experiments from earlier Expeditions remained aboard the ISS, continuing to benefit from long-term exposure to microgravity. Additional studies in the life and physical sciences and space technology development were also added.
Most of the research complement for Expedition Eight was carried out with scientific research facilities and samples already on board the space station. Among the new U.S. experiments conducted during Expedition Eight were:
- Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in Microgravity (ADUM) involves crewmembers conducting on-orbit ultrasound exams on one another to determine the accuracy of using ultrasound to diagnose certain types of on-orbit injuries and to assess whether ultrasound is a feasible option for monitoring inflight bone alterations.
- Behavioral Issues Associated with Isolation and Confinement: Review and Analysis of Astronaut Journals uses journals kept by the crew and surveys to study the effect of isolation to obtain quantitative data on the importance of different behavioral issues in long-duration crews. Results will help design equipment and procedures to allow astronauts to best cope with isolation and long duration spaceflight.
Life sciences experiments continuing into Expedition Eigh from earlier missions were:
- Chromosomal Aberrations in Blood Lymphocytes of Astronauts (Chromosome) will study space radiation on humans. The expected results will provide a better knowledge of the genetic risk of astronauts in space and can help to optimize radiation shielding.
- Interactions to identify and characterize interpersonal and cultural factors that may affect crew and ground support personnel performance during space station missions.
- Foot/Ground Reaction Forces During Space Flight seeks to characterize the load on the lower body and muscle activity in crewmembers while working in the microgravity environment of the space station.
- Mobility, a pre- and postflight investigation designed to study the changes in posture and gait after long-duration space flight.
- Renal Stone, research into a possible preventive medication for kidney stone formation.
- Bone, a pre- and postflight experiment designed to study changes in bone density caused by long-duration space flight.
Other experiments planned for Expedition Eight were Education Payload Operations (EPO), Group Activation Packs (YEAST), and Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, and Experimental Satellites (SPHERES).
During the more than six months aloft, Foale and Kaleri monitored the arrival of three Russian Progress resupply cargo ships filled with food, fuel, water, and supplies.
The crew's agenda also included working with the station's robotic arm, Canadarm2. Robotics work focused on observations of the station's exterior, maintaining operator proficiency, and completing the schedule of on-orbit checkout requirements that were developed to fully characterize the performance of the robotic system.
Foale and Kaleri performed a spacewalk out of the Pirs Docking Compartment airlock to swap out experiments on the Zvezda Service Module that measured the microgravity environment in low Earth orbit and prepared equipment on Zvezda for the maiden flight of ESA's "Jules Verne" Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) cargo ship. The unpiloted ATV, like the Russian Progress craft, delivered equipment and supplies to the ISS.
The Expedition Eight crewmembers returned to Earth on April 29, 2004, aboard the Soyuz TMA-3 spacecraft, the same vehicle that brought them to the station.