NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 18 November 2012

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2012

image All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Sunday - Undocking Day. Last day of Increment 33. Ahead: Week 1 of Increment 34 (three-person crew).

* Sleep Cycle Shift: Due to tonight's late Soyuz TMA-05M/31S undocking at 5:26pm EST, the ISS crew has a sleep cycle shift, with wakeup & sleeptime delayed by 5 hrs, to be adjusted back to regular tomorrow:
Wake - 6:00am EST (this morning)
Sleep - 9:30pm (tonight)
Wake - 7:00am (11/19, tomorrow for a short day)
Sleep - 4:30pm (tomorrow, normal).

At wakeup, FE-1 Novitskiy performed the routine inspection of the SM (Service Module) PSS Caution & Warning panel as part of regular Daily Morning Inspection. Oleg also completed the daily reboot of the Russian RS1 & RS2 laptops,

FE-2 Tarelkin rebooted the RSS1 & RSS2 laptops.

After wakeup, CDR Ford closed the protective shutters of the Lab, Node-3/Cupola & JPM (JEM Pressurized Module) shutters and later also turned off the onboard amateur/ham radio equipment to prevent RF interference with the departing Soyuz spacecraft.

Kevin then retrieved two Japanese/Russian Fish Fixation Apparatus units with samples of the MOST AQH (Medaka Osteoclast Aquatic Habitat) experiment from MELFI-3 (Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS 3), packed them in two small sample bags and handed them over to Evgeny Tarelkin for ambient stowage in Soyuz 31S SA (Descent Capsule), photo/video documented by Oleg Novitskiy.

Other payloads transferred by Oleg & Evgeny from the ISS RS (Russian Segment) to the 31S SA were -
. BTKh-40 BIF (Bifid bacterium) from the TBU cooler (+37 degC);
. BTKh-10 KONYUGACIYA with its Rekomb-K container; and
. BTKh-26 KASKAD from the Kriogem-03M incubator to the KT bioreactor for mixing and subsequent loading on 31S

FE-5 Sunita Williams meanwhile retrieved and packed an ESA ECCO Mini Thermal Container with small cartridges (at -19 degC) and biological samples from MELFI for frozen return, then transferred the ECCO to the RS for handover to Evgeny Tarelkin for stowage on the 31S SA/Descent Module.

Suni & Aki conducted their pre-descent PMCs (Private Medical Conferences), via S- & Ku-band audio/video, Suni at ~9:10am, Aki at ~9:25am EST.

Soyuz 31S Commander Yuri Malenchenko had another 3 hrs to wrap up cargo packing & stowing on the Soyuz spacecraft (return goods on the SA, disposal/trash on the BO/Orbital Module).

Afterwards, at ~11:25am, Yuri downlinked the standard "Loading Complete" report, then took documentary photo/video of the SA hatch cover and downlinked the files for ground inspection.

Preparations for the undocking picked up momentum at ~12:40pm with Malenchenko & Novitskiy performing a communications check from the 31S spacecraft to RGS (Russian Groundsite) via VHF (Very High Frequency) and activation of the Soyuz spacecraft by Yuri & Sunita at ~12:50pm, including removal of the SSD301 light fixtures in the BO Orbital Module for stowage in the FGB as spares.

Russian thrusters are disabled from 1:40pm-3:30pm due to load constraints for hatch closure and the removal, by Yuri & Oleg, of the QD (quick disconnect) screw clamps (BZV) of the docking & internal transfer mechanism (SSVP) which rigidized the joint at the MRM1 Rassvet nadir port.

After Crew Farewell, Yuri, Suni & Aki will enter the Soyuz at ~2:15pm, covered by live PAO TV.

Next, with the Soyuz spacecraft's gas analyzer (GA) running, Malenchenko (inside) and Novitskiy & Tarelkin (outside) close MRM1 & Soyuz hatches. The departing Soyuz crew then starts the standard one-hour leak check on the Soyuz-to-Rassvet vestibule (2:30pm-3:30pm).

After attitude control authority handover to the RS MCS (Motion Control System) at ~4:20pm, the ISS maneuvers to undock attitude. The returning crew then performs Sokol suit leak checks and depressurizes the BO Orbital Module by 150 mmHg for leak checking the SA-BO hatch. Next, they will don their Kentavr G-suits, biomed belts and Sokol space suits.

ISS goes into Free Drift at 5:22pm-5:27pm for MRM1 hooks opening, separation command at ~5:23pm and Soyuz undocking at ~5:26pm. Attitude control returns to US Momentum Management with CMGs (Control Moment Gyros) at ~5:30pm EST.

With the undocking of Soyuz 31S, Increment 33 ends and Inc-34 begins.

Activities scheduled for FE-1 Novitskiy & FE-2 Tarelkin immediately after undocking are -
* Monitoring 31S departure and shooting photography of the Soyuz Docking Assembly from SM window #7 after separation, for ground inspection for cleanliness (i.e., no seal debris),
* Manually closing the KVD/PEV (Pressure Equalization Valve) between the MRM1 Rassvet module and its nadir docking port vestibule,
* Downlinking the videos taken by Oleg of the Soyuz/MRM1 hatch interface prior to hatch closure and of the hatch closing,
* Readying, activating/monitoring and later closing out the Russian "Istochnik-M" (source, spring) telemetry reception & recording (SPR TMI) system in the SM during the Soyuz re-entry for the trimodule separation at 8:26p; [Istochnik-M enables the ISS to receive data telemetered from Soyuz spacecraft during return to Earth and record it on the SPR telemetry system. The equipment, including the Istochnik TM station, power amplifiers, power supply, USB software sticks and cables, captures the telemetry through the "Sputnik" amateur (ham) radio antenna and transfers it to a laptop display where the crew is able to immediately tell if a good separation of the three Soyuz modules occurred during Soyuz descent operations], and
* Returning the STTS comm system to its post-undocking configuration.

The crew works out on the CEVIS cycle ergometer with vibration isolation & stabilization (CDR, FE-5, FE-6), TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation & stabilization (FE-1, FE-2), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-6), and VELO ergometer bike with load trainer (FE-2).

After completing their final CEVIS and TVIS sessions, Suni, Aki & Yuri will stow their exercise equipment.

Tasks listed for FE-4 Malenchenko on the Russian discretionary "time permitting" job for today were -
* More preparation & downlinking of reportages (written text, photos, videos) for the Roskosmos website to promote Russia's manned space program (max. file size 500 Mb),
* A ~30-min. run of the GFI-8 "Uragan" (hurricane) earth-imaging program with the NIKON D3X digital camera with Sigma AF 300-800mm telelens and PI emission platform using the SKPF-U to record target sites on the Earth surface,
* A 10-min. photography session for the DZZ-13 "Seiner" ocean observation program, obtaining SKPF-U (Photo Image Coordinate Reference System) HDV (Z1) camcorder footage of color bloom patterns in the waters of Central-Eastern Atlantic (CEA), South-Eastern Atlantic (SEA) and South-East Pacific (SEP), then copying the images to the RSK-1 laptop, and
* A ~30-min. session for Russia's EKON Environmental Safety Agency, making observations and taking KPT-3 aerial photography of environmental conditions on Earth using the NIKON D3X camera with the RSK-1 laptop.

CEO target uplinked for today was San Salvador, El Salvador (CAPITAL CITIES COLLECTION. Nadir pass over this capital city of 2.44 million [greater metro area]. Visual cues are the large young volcanic cone to the west of the city, and Lake Ilopango to the east), and Managua, Nicaragua (CAPITAL CITIES COLLECTION. Looking left for this capital city of 2.4 million [greater metro area]. The city lies between Lakes Managua and Nicaragua. Lake Nicaragua is the largest in Central America, and the crew's major visual cue. [This lake once acted as a seaway between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea]).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 5:07am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude - 412.3 km
Apogee height - 422.8 km
Perigee height - 401.9 km
Period -- 92.81 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.65 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0015379
Solar Beta Angle -- -28.6 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.51
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 83 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 80,197
Time in orbit (station) -- 5112 days
Time in orbit (crews, cum.) -- 4399 days.

31S Descent Timeline Overview:

If everything proceeds nominally, the return to Earth of the TMA-06M/31S spacecraft tonight will proceed along the following approximate event sequence (all times EST):

* ISS Control Handover to RS --- 4:20pm;
* Orbital (local) Sunset --- 4:54pm;
* Undock Command (crew-issued) --- 5:23pm;
* Physical Separation --- 5:26pm;
* Orbital (local) Sunrise --- 5:29pm
* Sep Burn (automated; delta-V ~0.54 m/sec; 15 sec) --- 5:29pm;
* Deorbit Burn start (128 m/sec; 419.2 km alt) --- 7:58pm;
* Deorbit Burn complete --- 8:03pm;
* Tri-Module Separation (~140 km alt) --- 8:26:48pm;
* Atmospheric entry (101.9 km alt, with ~170 m/sec) --- 8:29:44pm;
* Entry Guidance start (80.4 km alt) --- 8:31:32pm;
* Maximum G-load (33 km alt) --- 8:37am
* Parachute deploy command (10.6 km alt) --- 8:39pm;
* Heat shield jettison (5.5 km) --- 8:43pm
* 31S Landing (DO2, pre-sunrise) --- ~8:54pm EST; ~4:54am (11/19) Moscow; 7:54am (11/19) local Kazakhstan; location 51deg 1min N, 67deg 10min E; 85 km from Arkalyk.
Note: Kazakhstan time = GMT+6h; = EST+11h. Moscow DMT time = EST+8h.]

What the Soyuz TMA-06M/31S crew will experience during their reentry/descent tonight:
* For the reentry, Yuri, Suni & Aki will wear the Russian Kentavr anti-G suit under their Sokol suits. [The Kentavr garment is a protective anti-g suit ensemble to facilitate the return of a long-duration crewmember into the Earth gravity. Consisting of shorts, gaiters, underpants, jersey and socks, it acts as countermeasure for circulatory disturbance, prevents crewmember from overloading during descent and increases orthostatic tolerance during post-flight adaptation. Russian crewmembers are also advised to ingest fluid-electrolyte additives, viz., three sodium chloride tablets during breakfast and after the midday meal, each time with 300 ml of fluid, and two pills during the meal aboard Soyuz before deorbit.]

* Before descent:
Special attention will be paid to the need for careful donning of the medical belt with sensors and securing tight contact between sensors and body. ECG electrodes are applied with paste. Kentavr suits must have snug fit in lower body and calves.
During preparation for descent, before atmosphere reentry, crewmembers settle down comfortably in the Kazbek couches, fasten the harness belts, securing tight contact between body and the seat liner in the couch.
* During de-orbit:

Dust particles starting to sink in the Descent Module (SA) cabin is the first indication of atmosphere reentry and beginning of G-load effect. From that time on, special attention is required as the loads increase rapidly.

Under G-load effects during atmosphere reentry the crew expects the following experience:
Sensation of G-load pressure on the body, heaviness of the body, labored breathing and speech. These are normal sensations, and the advice is to "take them coolly". In case of the feeling of a lump in the throat, this is no cause to "be nervous". This is frequent and should not be fought. Best is to "try not to swallow and talk at this moment". Crew should check vision and, if any disturbances occur, create additional tension of abdominal pressure and leg muscles (strain abdomen by pulling in), in addition to the Kentavr anti-G suit.

During deployment of pilot parachute (0.62 & 4.5 square meters), drogue chute (16 sq.m.) and main (518 sq.m.) chutes the impact accelerations will be perceived as a "strong jolt". No reason to become concerned about this but one should be prepared that during the parachutes deployment and change ("rehook") of prime parachute to symmetrical suspension, swinging and spinning motion of the SA occurs, which involves vestibular (middle ear) irritations.

* It is important to tighten restrain system to fasten pelvis and pectoral arch.
Vestibular irritation can occur in the form of different referred sensations such as vertigo, hyperhidrosis, postural illusions, general discomfort and nausea. To prevent vestibular irritation the crew should "limit head movement and eyes movement", as well as fix their sight on a stationary object.

* Just before the landing (softened by six small rocket engines behind the heat shield):
Crew will be prepared for the vehicle impact with the ground, with their bodies fixed along the surface of the seat liner in advance and braced for ground impact. "Special attention should be paid to arm fixation to avoid the elbow and hand squat" (instruction). Landing speed: ~9.9 m/sec.

* After landing:
Crew should not get up quickly from their seats to leave the SA. They were advised to stay in the couch for several minutes and only then stand up. In doing that, they should limit head and eyes movement and avoid excessive motions, proceeding slowly. Their body should not take up earth gravity in the upright position too quickly.

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
-------------- Inc-33: Six-crew operations -------------
11/18/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/31S undock/deorbit/landing - 5:26pm/7:58pm/8:53pm EST (local: 11/19, 7:53am) End of Increment 33)
-------------- Inc-34: Three-crew operations -------------
12/05/12 - Soyuz TMA-07M/33S launch - C.Hadfield (CDR-35)/T.Mashburn/R.Romanenko
12/07/12 - Soyuz TMA-07M/33S docking
-------------- Inc-34: Six-crew operations -------------
02/11/13 - Progress M-16M/48P undocking
02/12/13 - Progress M-18M/50P launch
02/14/13 - Progress M-18M/50P docking
03/15/13 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/32S undock/landing (End of Increment 34)
-------------- Inc-35: Three-crew operations -------------
04/02/13 -- Soyuz TMA-08M/34S launch - P.Vinogradov (CDR-36)/C.Cassidy/A.Misurkin
04/04/13 -- Soyuz TMA-08M/34S docking
04/23/13 -- Progress M-18M/50P undock/landing
-------------- Inc-35: Six-crew operations -------------
05/16/13 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/33S undock/landing (End of Increment 35)
-------------- Inc-36: Three-crew operations -------------
05/29/13 -- Soyuz TMA-09M/35S launch - M.Suraev (CDR-37)/K.Nyberg/L.Parmitano
05/31/13 -- Soyuz TMA-09M/35S docking
-------------- Inc-36: Six-crew operations -------------
09/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-08M/34S undock/landing (End of Increment 36)
-------------- Inc-37: Three-crew operations -------------
09/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-10M/36S launch - M.Hopkins/TBD (CDR-38)/TBD
09/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-10M/36S docking
-------------- Inc-37: Six-crew operations -------------
11/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-09M/35S undock/landing (End of Increment 37)
-------------- Inc-38: Three-crew operations -------------
11/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-11M/37S launch - K.Wakata (CDR-39)/R.Mastracchio/TBD
11/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-11M/37S docking
-------------- Inc-38: Six-crew operations -------------
03/xx/14 -- Soyuz TMA-10M/36S undock/landing (End of Increment 38)
-------------- Inc-39: Three-crew operations -------------

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