NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 20 October 2008

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Monday, October 20, 2008


All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Underway: Week 27 of Increment 17. Day 7 of joint E17/18 operations.

Crew wake-up - 1:00am EDT; sleeptime - 4:30pm.

Aboard the station, the E17/18 crew rotation/handover activities continued nominally. [Kononenko and Lonchakov had ~30 min. between them for dedicated FE/FE handover activities, focusing today on SVO water supply system sampling, as listed in the relevant Handover (RPS) Book section 10. In addition, there are "generic" handovers where crewmembers are scheduled together to complete various designated standard tasks.]

CDR-18 Michael Fincke performed Rack outfitting in the JPM, installing a HCP/GPS (Hardware Command Panel/Global Positioning System) cable & cable guard, routing it in front of the ICS/PROX (Inter-orbit Communication System/Proximity Communication System) Rack, and installing the cable from the ICS Rack to the JPM hatch for connection to the Lab RWS (Robotics Workstation). [The ICS is Japan's unique system for uplinking & downlinking data, images, and voice data between Kibo and the Mission Control Room at TKCS (Tsukuba Space Center). The ICS Rack houses the ICS-PM (Pressurized Module) subsystem that enables data communications between Kibo and TKSC through the Japanese DRTS (Data Relay Test Satellite) known as Kodama. In addition, the ICS Rack includes the PROX that will be used for the HTV (H-II Transfer Vehicle) rendezvous and berthing. PROX consists of a PROX antenna, a PROX-GPS antenna, PROX comm equipment and an HCP. With the exception of the PROX antenna, the PROX-GPS antenna and the HCP, the PROX is also installed in the JPM. When the HTV approaches the ISS, the PROX antenna, which contains GPS receivers, will initiate communications with the HTV. The ISS orbital location and speed are immediately relayed to the HTV through the PROX. At the same time, data from the HTV are relayed to the ISS. In addition, the antenna relays commands sent from the ground to the HTV.]

FE-1 Kononenko conducted another session with the Russian biomedical MBI-15 "Pilot-M"/NEURO signal response experiment after setting up the workplace and equipment, with Volkov, who had conducted MBI-15 yesterday, assisting. Afterwards, the Pilot-M & Neurolab-2000M gear was closed down and stowed. [MBI-15 requires a table, ankle restraint system, eyeball electrodes for an EOG (electrooculogram), and two hand controllers (RUO & RUD) for testing piloting skill in "flying" simulations on a laptop (RSK1) under stopwatch control, as well as for studying special features of the psychophysiologic response of cosmonauts to the effects of stress factors in flight.]

Kononenko took and downloaded the periodic sensor readings of the Russian "Pille-MKS" (MKS = ISS) radiation dosimetry experiment which has ten sensors placed at various locations in the Russian segment (DC1, SM starboard & port cabin windows, ASU toilet facility, control panel, etc.), then re-deployed the sensors. The memory card was stowed for return to Earth. [Nine of the ten dosimeters are read manually.]

Sergey Volkov, Oleg Kononenko and SFP Richard Garriott spent three hours in the TMA-12 Descent Module (SA) to conduct the Soyuz descent drill, a standard training exercise for every crew returning on a Soyuz. The exercise, which strictly forbids any command activation (except for switching the InPU display), was supported by a tagup and discussions with ground instructor at TsUP/Moscow via S-band. [The session includes a review of the pertinent ODFs (operational data files), specifically the books on Soyuz Ascent & Descent Procedures, Emergency Descents, and Off-Nominal Situations, crew responsibilities when executing the flight program, visual crew recognition of SUS (Entry Control System) failures, spacesuit procedures, etc., with special emphasis on operations with the Neptune-ME cockpit console. The training uses a Descent Simulator application on the RSK1 laptop. During the actual descent, Volkov, as Soyuz CDR, will occupy the middle couch, with Garriott in the right seat and Kononenko in the Descent Module's left Kazbek couch. Pending the final State Commission decision at about 3.5h before undocking, 16S return is expected for 10/23 (next Thursday), with undocking at 8:15pm EDT and landing near Arkalyk/Kazakhstan at ~11:36pm (9:36am Kazakhstan time on 10/24). See below for details.]

After the JEM RMS (Robotic Manipulator System) checkout Part 4 on 10/19, Greg Chamitoff started up the POC DOUG (Portable Onboard Computers/Dynamic Onboard Ubiquitous Graphics) application for a ~30 min. procedures review of tomorrow's RMS checkout Part 1. [Checkout #1 is a test of the JEMRMS Region Check Function, by "flying" the arm in Manual mode and Joint Auto mode. In addition, Greg will perform a dynamic response test by moving designated joints in Joint Auto Mode.]

The FE-2 also worked with CDR-18 Mike Fincke in the US Airlock, resizing an EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) and making other preparations for the ULF-2 spacewalks. [One EMU was resized for MS-2 Steve Bowen for nominal use on ULF-2. Other activities involved pre-gathering and partitioning of EMU components for contingency use on ULF-2 or emergency undock transfer.]

Greg and Mike had another 70 min. reserved on their timelines for pre-packing ULF-2 return cargo.

Yuri performed the routine daily servicing of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS) in the SM. [Regular daily SOZh maintenance consists, among else, of checking the ASU toilet facilities, replacement of the KTO & KBO solid waste containers and replacement of EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine containers.]

Lonchakov also completed the daily IMS (Inventory Management System) maintenance, updating/editing its standard "delta file" including stowage locations, for the regular weekly automated export/import to its three databases on the ground (Houston, Moscow, Baikonur).

CDR Volkov performed the last one of the daily visual status checks on the running DAKON-M hardware in the second session of the Russian experiment TEKh-15/IZGIB ("Bend"), tagging up with the ground, downlinking data, closing down operations and de-installing the equipment. [The activity required visual control of hardware operations three times a day and report to the ground. The first IZGIB session, for checkout, was conducted on 9/23. IZGIB has the objective to help update mathematical models of the ISS gravitation environment, using accelerometers of the Russian SBI Onboard Measurement System, the GIVUS high-accuracy angular rate vector gyrometer of the SUDN Motion Control & Navigation System and other accelerometers for unattended measurement of micro-accelerations at science hardware accommodation locations - (1) in operation of onboard equipment having rotating parts (gyrodynes, fans), (2) when establishing and keeping various ISS attitude modes, and (3) when performing crew egresses into space and physical exercises.]

Yuri Lonchakov collected the periodic water samples from the Russian water supply system (SVO-ZV) for return on Soyuz 16S and analysis on the ground.

As another handover activity, Sergey & Yuri performed the periodic (monthly) functional closure test of the Vozdukh CO2 (carbon dioxide) removal system's spare emergency vacuum valves (AVK), in the spare parts kit. See CDRA item, below. [The AVKs are crucial because they close the Vozdukh's vacuum access lines in the event of a malfunction in the regular vacuum valves (BVK) or a depressurization in the Vozdukh valve panel (BOA). Access to vacuum is required to vent CO2 during the regeneration of the absorbent cartridges (PP).

FE-1 Kononenko completed another routine radiation data monitoring & logging session for flow & dose power data with the MATRYOSHKA-R radiation payload and its LULIN-5 electronics box. The memory cards were prepared for return on 16S.

For Volkov & Kononenko, it was time to complete the first 1.5-hr. part of their final training session in the "Chibis" ODNT suit as standard preparation of cosmonauts for returning into gravity (the second part is scheduled for tomorrow). [The below-the-waist reduced-pressure device ODNT (US: LBNP) in the "Chibis" garment provides gravity-simulating stress to the body's cardiovascular/circulatory system for reestablishing the body's orthostatic tolerance (e.g., the Gauer-Henry reflex) after the six-month stay in zero-G. Sergey's & Oleg's ODNT protocol today consisted of first imbibing 150-200 milliliters of water or juice, followed by a sequence of progressive regimes of reduced ("negative") pressure, set at -15, -25, -35 and -40 mmHg for five minutes each, then at -20, -30, and -40 mmHg, 10 minutes in each mode, and at -30 mmHg for 5 min, while shifting from foot to foot at 10-12 steps per minute. The body's circulatory system interprets the pressure differential between upper and lower body as a gravity-like force pulling the blood (and other liquids) down.]

Lonchakov conducted the periodic (currently daily) checkout/verification of IP-1 airflow sensors in the various RS hatchways, including the DC1-to-Soyuz tunnel, and the FGB-to-Soyuz and FGB-to-Node passageway. [This is especially important when the ventilation/circulation system has to cope with a larger crew on board, currently six persons, and one of the two Russian SKV air conditioners still off (SKV-1), having run out of service life.]

Major science activities in the RS (Russian Segment) by Yuri Lonchakov today focused BIO-4, ventilating the BIO-4 sample in KUBIK-1. [The four BIO-4 experiments, developed by scientists from Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and France, include research in bacterial physiology, immune cell function and developmental biology. Two experiments (BBB/BASE B & BBC/BASE C) study how bacteria cope and adapt in the spaceflight environment, being exposed to parameters such as microgravity, cosmic radiation, space electromagnetism and vibrations. Xenopus studies the development of cane toad tadpoles (Xenopus laevis) in spaceflight. The fourth experiment is ROALD looks at the "ROle of Apoptosis in Lymphocyte Depression". BBB, BBC & SEN will return on Soyuz TMA-12/16S.]

VC-15 Richard Garriott, assisted in part by Russian crewmembers, worked on his daily onboard program which today included -

  • SLEEP Actiwatch logging;
  • Soyuz descent training with Volkov & Kononenko;
  • Ham radio session (Pinehurst School);
  • Internet/NetMeeting conference with Challenger Center;
  • Symbolic (commemorative) activity;
  • PRK Visual Acuity evaluation;
  • MUSCLE-G (LBP/Low Back Pain) questionnaire;
  • MOP-G (Motion Perception; vestibular adaptation to changes in micro-G);
  • Video blogs;
  • Earth photography; and
  • Copying data & image files to HDD (Hard Disk Drive) for return.

In the US Lab, Greg Chamitoff de-installed the UOP DCP (Utility Outlet Panel/Display & Control Panel) bypass power cable to the VTR (Video Tape Recorder) at the Lab & Cupola RWS (Robotics Work Stations), now no longer required for a while.

As part of handovers, FE-1-18 Lonchakov was checked out on the CEVIS cycle ergometer and its maintenance (for example, the CEVIS Contingency Controller has no data uploading or saving capability.)

The E17/18 crew completed their regular 2.5-hr. physical workout program (about half of which is used for setup & post-exercise personal hygiene) on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-2), RED resistive exercise device (FE-2, CDR-18) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1-18). Sergey's & Oleg's exercise regimen today was accounted for by their Chibis/ODNT training activity.

Afterwards, Mike transferred the exercise data file to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) laptop for downlink, including the daily wristband HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) data of the workouts on RED, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).

In preparation for the following PAO TV event, the FE-2 set up and activated the VDS MPC (Video Distribution System/Multi-Purpose Converter) with its four downlinks for transmitting G1 camcorder imagery. Later (~12:00pm), the MPC was powered off again.

At 1:20pm EDT, all crewmembers, including SFP Garriott, gathered in the US segment for the "traditional" live televised SFP/Joint Crew News conference, with US media gathered at NASA Centers (~20 min.).

At ~4:10pm, just before sleep time, Yuri Lonchakov will set up the Russian MBI-12 SONOKARD (Sonocard) payload and start his first experiment session, using a sports shirt from the SONOKARD kit with a special device in the pocket for testing a new method for acquiring physiological data without using direct contact on the skin. Measurements are recorded on a data card for return to Earth. [SONOKARD objectives are stated to (1) study the feasibility of obtaining the maximum of data through computer processing of records obtained overnight, (2) systematically record the crewmember's physiological functions during sleep, (3) study the feasibility of obtaining real-time crew health data. Investigators believe that contactless acquisition of cardiorespiratory data over the night period could serve as a basis for developing efficient criteria for evaluating and predicting adaptive capability of human body in long-duration space flight.]

SM BRP-M Failure: After some steam or smoke was observed coming from the SM SRV-K (Condensate Water Processor) hot water tap and the BRP-M (Water Distribution & Heating Unit) body exhibited elevated temperature, the crew deactivated the system and closed all related valves, then replaced the BRP-M with an on-board spare.

CEO (Crew Earth Observations) photo targets uplinked for today were Mount Unzen (Mount Unzen volcano is located east of the city of Nagasaki. This volcano has been active during the last 10,000 years and is responsible for some pretty spectacular pyroclastic flows [fast moving currents of hot gas and rock which travel away from the volcano at speed generally greater than 80km/h]. The latest robust activity occurred from 1990-1995 when a lava dome formed at the summit and the resulting pyroclastic flows [temperatures in pf's can reach about 1,000 degrees C] were responsible for fatalities), Sakura-jima Volcano (Sakura-jima is one of Japan's most active volcanoes. It is located in a part of Kagoshima bay. In 1914 the lava from an eruption created new land that connected the former island to the Osumi Peninsula), N Mariana Islands & Guam (the Northern Mariana Islands consists of 15 islands. ISS orbital track took the station near the southern islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota. There are few images of these islands due to the sleep schedule of ISS crews and weather. Lows clouds were probably around but it was hoped that Greg still was able to capture some of the islands. Of particular interest are the fringing coral reefs surrounding the islands), and Arkenu 1 and Arkenu 2 Impact Craters (Arkenu 1 and 2 are a rarely exposed double impact structure created by a 500 m diameter pair of asteroids. Located in southeastern part of the Libyan Desert, Arkenu 1 is 6.8 km in diameter and Arkenu 2 is 10 km. Both have been dated as less than 140 million years old. Detailed images of the structures of both craters were requested).

CEO photography can be studied at this "Gateway" website: (as of 9/1/08, this database contained 770,668 views of the Earth from space, with 324,812 from the ISS alone).

Week 27 Scheduled Main Activities:

  • Tue. (10/21): MO-22, MBI-12, RSP checkout, CMRS checkout, JEMRMS checkout, SVO EDV sampling, ODNT/LBNPO closeouts, RBO-3-1, PAO; Rodnik xfer, PMCs, PFE (FE-2), BIO-2, MO-21, KPT-1 chg., FMK deploy.
  • Wed. (10/22): RPM skill trng2, BITS-LKT removal, IPD-NH3/GSC/CMS sampling, BIO-12 xfer, CBCS install, BTKh-31/-8 xfers, KPT-3 ops, MO-21, BIO-4, Change of Command, IP-1, PMCs.
  • Thu. (10/23): SLEEP, IMMUNE, FMK stow, Pld xfers, Hatches closure, Soyuz undock & land; IP-1.
  • Fri. (10/24): Ham pass, NUTRITION s/u, COL FSL VMU troubleshoot, BLB incubator ECS xchange, BCAT-4.
  • Sat. (10/25): NUTRITION, Ham pass, WPC, FFQ, VolSci EPO, SAMS PCMCIA check, Node-1 cleanup.
  • Sun. (10/26): NUTRITION, Station cleaning, PFCs.

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 8:19am EDT [= epoch]):
Mean altitude -- 352.1 km
Apogee height -- 354.4 km
Perigee height -- 349.8 km
Period -- 91.58 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0003359
Solar Beta Angle -- -57.0 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 48 hours -- 40 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 56825

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible.):
10/23/08 -- Soyuz TMA-12/16S undock (DC1 nadir, 8:16pm) & land (11:37pm) = 10/24 -- 9:37am Kazakhstan)
11/02/08 -- Progress 30P reboost; Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends
11/14/08 -- STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 launch - MPLM Leonardo, LMC
11/16/08 -- STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 docking
11/20/08 -- ISS 10 Years
11/25/08 -- Progress M-65/30P undocking & deorbit (UNDER REVIEW)
11/26/08 -- Progress M-66/31P launch
11/30/08 -- Progress M-66/31P docking
12/01/08 -- STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 landing (~1:25pm EST est.) (UNDER REVIEW)
02/09/09 -- Progress M-66/31P undocking & deorbit
02/10/09 -- Progress M-67/32P launch
02/12/09 -- Progress M-67/32P docking
02/12/09 -- STS-119/Discovery/15A launch - S6 truss segment
02/14/09 -- STS-119/Discovery/15A docking
02/24/09 -- STS-119/Discovery/15A undocking
02/26/09 -- STS-119/Discovery/15A landing (nominal)
03/25/09 -- Soyuz TMA-14/18S launch
03/27/09 -- Soyuz TMA-14/18S docking (DC1)
04/05/09 -- Soyuz TMA-13/17S undocking
04/07/09 -- Progress M-67/32P undocking & deorbit
05/15/09 -- STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch - JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD
05/25/09 -- Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
05/27/09 -- Six-person crew on ISS (following Soyuz 19S docking)
07/30/09 -- STS-128/Atlantis/17A - MPLM(P), last crew rotation
10/15/09 -- STS-129/Discovery/ULF3 - ELC1, ELC2
12/10/09 -- STS-130/Endeavour/20A - Node-3 + Cupola
02/11/10 -- STS-131/Atlantis/19A - MPLM(P)
04/08/10 -- STS-132/Discovery/ULF4 - ICC-VLD, MRM1
05/31/10 -- STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 - ELC3, ELC4 (contingency).

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