Singing birds have a beneficial effect on the human nervous system in space
The crew of the ISS had to carry out a manual docking of the Russian cargo rocket Progress M-32 due to a power outage at the ground control center located in Shchelkovo, Moscow region. According to vice president of the Russian Space Corporation Energia Vladimir Solovyev, part of equipment in Shchelkovo was affected by a power failure as the cargo ship was about to dock to the ISS. “Our personnel could not control the flight of the cargo ship following the breakdown of the communications channel,” said Mr. Solovyev. He added that Sergei Krikalev, mission commander of the ISS, had been promptly instructed to switch into a manual docking of the cargo ship. “He managed to do an excellent job while consuming a minimum amount of fuel,” said Mr. Solovyev.
The Progress delivered more than 2.5 tons of payload to the station. According to a press release of the Mission Control Center, more than 300 kilos of food, 420 liters of water, and 250 kilos of fuel were brought to the ISS by the cargo ship. Aside from the supplies and fuel, fire-fighting equipment, and equipment to maintain gaseous and heat conditions were also delivered to the station. The Mission Control Center stressed the importance of the latest docking operation for the American astronauts taking part in the current mission. Lately the Americans have experienced a number of technical malfunctions and equipment failures in space. Therefore, the Russian cargo spacecraft delivered 217 kilos of equipment for the American segment of the ISS.
The crew was to unload the cargo ship on Monday. However, part of the cargo was transferred on board the station right after the docking. A container with 60 living snails was taken out of the cargo ship without delay. The snails should be kept in special temperature conditions required for a experiment on zero-gravity adaptation.
Needless to say, the crew members called it a day only after unpacking the most valuable cargo i.e. letters and parcels from their families. This time the personal letters and parcels weight nearly 20 kilos. Specialists of the Institute of Medical and Biological Studies also sent in some stuff to brighten the crew's long days and night in space. Several DVDs including films and an electronic version of encyclopedia were sent to the station. A few DVDs were included in the film selection at the request of Alexei Krikalev who is the world champion in aerobatics. The films include five parts of the Russian documentary The Wings of the Motherland and last year's Hollywood blockbuster Aviator. “Sergei Krikalev, regarded as one of the most experienced cosmonauts not only in Russia but worldwide as well, is a completely self-sufficient person yet we do hope that he will like our parcel,” said the chief space psychologist Olga Kozerenko. She also told the journalists about “nightingales” that would be singing on board the station soon. She said that a CD with the sounds of birds' singing was sent to the ISS. The singing has a beneficial effect on the nervous system. The previous CD containing various wildlife sounds was not really a success story, admitted Mr. Kozerenko. Salizhan Sharipov, a cosmonaut of the previous ISS mission which returned to Earth this April, is reported to have complained about frogs croaking during mealtime on board the ISS.