NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 07 December 2012

image ISS On-Orbit Status 12/07/12

Today 40 years ago (1972), Apollo 17 was launched to the Moon - the 11th and final flight of the Apollo Program and the 6th lunar landing mission. After touching down in "Challenger" in the highlands of Taurus-Littrow, CDR Eugene A. Cernan, on his 3rd space flight, and LMP Dr. Harrison H. Schmitt, first scientist on the Moon, conducted 4 EVAs totaling 22 hrs, using the 3rd LRV (Lunar Roving Vehicle) and collecting 110.5 kg surface samples for return to Earth. During the return leg, CMP Ronald E. Evans, who had remained in the mother ship "America" circling the Moon, climbed out into free space for about 1h5m to retrieve exposed film from the external instrument bay of the CSM (Command & Service Module). The Apollo 17 mission lasted 12d 13h 51m 59s, breaking several records set by previous flights, including the first night launch of a Saturn V, the longest manned lunar landing flight, the longest total lunar surface extravehicular activities, the largest lunar sample return, and the longest time in lunar orbit.

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below.

After wakeup, FE-2 Tarelkin performed the routine inspection of the SM (Service Module) PSS Caution & Warning panel as part of regular Daily Morning Inspection and also completed the daily reboot of the Russian RSS1 & RSS2 laptops.

FE-1 Novitskiy rebooted the Russian RS1 & RS2 laptops.

After activating the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) plus video cameras, monitor and ancillary equipment, CDR Ford worked with the payload InSPACE and InSPACE3 (Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions 3), conducting another two successive runs of the experiment (#12, #25), with live ground monitoring from POIC (Payload Operations Integration Center) via Ku-Band and recording during LOS (Loss-of-Signal). [Steps included turning on MSG video cameras & monitor, verifying optical alignment of the cameras and configuring the MSG video recorders. Then, after switching the magnetic field to STEADY mode, Kevin swept & focused the field of view, later removed & stowed the video tapes from the MSG video recorders and inserted new blank tapes and a new vial with particles of a different aspect ratio for the 2nd run. Background: InSPACE-3 continues the earlier InSPACE-2 studies to determine the lowest energy configurations of the three dimensional structures of a magnetorheological (MR) fluid under the influence of pulsed magnetic fields. Purpose of the InSPACE micro-G investigations is to obtain fundamental data of the complex properties of an exciting class of smart materials termed magnetorheological (MR) fluids. MR fluids are suspensions of small (micron-sized) ellipsoid-shaped "superparamagnetic" particles in a nonmagnetic medium that change the physical properties of the fluid in response to magnetic fields. These controllable fluids can quickly transition into a nearly solidlike state when exposed to a magnetic field and return to their original liquid state when the magnetic field is removed. Their relative stiffness can be controlled by controlling the strength of the magnetic field. This investigation aims to provide information for a better understanding of the interplay of magnetic, surface, repulsion forces, and shape between particles in magically responsive fluids. Technology developed through this investigation has Due to the rapid-response interface that they provide between mechanical components and electronic controls, MR fluids can be used to improve or develop new brake systems, seat suspensions, robotics, clutches, airplane landing gear and vibration damping systems which promise to improve the ability to design structures, such as bridges and buildings, to better withstand earthquake forces.]

In the SM, Evgeny performed a 1.5-hr IFM (Inflight Maintenance) on the RS EPS (Russian Segment Electrical Power System), removing & replacing the 800A battery no. 1 with a new 800A unit. The old 800A was transferred to temporary stowage in the PrK (Transfer Tunnel) for later disposal in Progress 49P. [The battery's ZRU charge/discharge unit was deactivated by TsUP/Moscow beforehand and reactivated later. Each of the eight 800A 28 Volt batteries in the SM (the FGB has six) has its own ZRU charge/discharge unit, which tracks 49 battery parameters and is designed to increase the operating life of the battery by setting up charging & discharging modes. Each ZRU is comprised of one battery current converter (PTAB), one PTAB current control unit (BUPT-1M), and three charge/discharge current integrators (MIRT-3). Before connecting the new BUPT, TsUP turned off the BITS2-12 onboard telemetry measurement system and VD-SU control mode.]

Using the Russian electrical Kompressor-M (#41) pump with the A-R transfer hose, T2PrU air line and pressure adapter, Oleg Novitskiy pumped water from the Rodnik BV1 tank of Progress M-16M/48P (about 45 L) to two EDV containers, then started the standard bladder compression & leak check of BV1 on TsUP-Moscow Go, to get it ready for receiving urine from EDV-U containers. [Each of the spherical Rodnik tanks BV1 & BV2 consists of a hard shell with a soft membrane (bladder) composed of elastic fluoroplastic. The bladder is used to expel water from the tank by compressed air pumped into the tank volume surrounding the membrane and is leak-tested before urine transfers, i.e., with empty tanks, the bladders are expanded against the tank walls and checked for hermeticity.]

Kevin Ford conducted the weekly task of filling out his SHD (Space Headache) questionnaire [which he started after the Soyuz launch on a daily basis and continues on ISS on an SSC (Station Support Computer) for every week after his first week in space.]

Ford also had about half an hour reserved to work on the CMRS (Crew Medical Restraint System), stowed in the CHeCS (Crew Health Care Systems) rack, performing the periodic checkout and inspection of the system for upcoming standard CMO (Crew Medical Officer) proficiency training. [The CDR inspected the CMRS for cracks in the board and/or metal fastener exposed on top of CMRS (found on the ground units), either of which could provide a high-voltage defibrillation ground path from the patient to ISS structure. The board-like CMRS allows strapping down a patient on the board with a harness for medical attention by the CMO who is also provided with restraints around the device. The device can be secured to the ISS structure within two minutes to provide a patient restraint surface for performing emergency medical procedures, such as during ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support). It can also be used to transport a patient between the station and the Orbiter middeck. It isolates the crew and equipment electrically during defibrillations and pacing electrical discharges, accommodates the patient in the supine zero-G positions, provides cervical spine stabilization and, for a three-person crew, can also restrain two CMOs during their delivery of medical care.]

Tarelkin continued the RS outfitting with new low-noise fans, today replacing the VVPrK ventilator in the SM PrK (Transfer Tunnel) with one of the new fans. Before and after the installation, Evgeny was to measure the acoustics without and with the new fans using the SLM (Sound Level Meter).

Later, Evgeny completed scheduled maintenance on the Russian KL-103Ts Klest TV camera by setting it up, activating it and enabling monitoring of its picture from RGS (Russian Groundsite) and via VKU2 TV monitor in the SM for the next ~3.5 hrs before closing it down and dismantling it. [The SM TVS TV system is powered up/down from the SPP (Daily Flight Program) sequencer.]

Oleg meanwhile performed routine maintenance on the SM SRVK-2M Condensate Water Processor system by replacing its BKO multifiltration unit with a spare, discarding the old unit for disposal on Progress 49P and updating the IMS (Inventory Management System). (Last time done: 4/13/12). [BKO contains five purification columns to rid the condensate of dissolved mineral and organic impurities. It has a service lifetime of ~450 liters throughput. The water needs to be purified for proper electrolysis in the Elektron O2 generator.]

The CDR used the SLM (Sound Level Meter) to conduct the periodic (Week 11) acoustic survey of several ISS modules, taking a total of 41 measurements, then transferring the data for downlink. [General background noise measurements were taken in the US Lab (10), Node-2 (4), COL (7), Node-3 (8), SM (12). Acoustic measurements in Node-2 required MCC-Houston commanding to configure IMV (Intermodular Ventilation) fans according to the SLM Measurement Plan. ]

FE-2 set up the hardware for the Russian earth observation experiment TEKh-52 "Vizir" (Viewfinder) for another data take at SM window #6 and activated it for a validation run, followed by data downlink via RSPI high-speed data link and ground specialist tagup. [For today's tests, Tarelkin used easily identifiable earth targets for obtaining images which will then be processed by the ground for equipment alignment and precision characterization. Vizir uses the new SKPF-U hardware, a photo image coordinate reference system using ultrasound sensors, a NIKON D3X photo camera with AF300-800mm lens with PI emission platform for general target views, and the RSK1 T61p laptop with new software (Vers. 3.4), installed on 8/13.]

FE-1 Novitskiy had 1.5 hrs reserved for his first round of filming onboard "Chronicle" newsreel footage using the SONY HVR-Z7E camcorder and the NIKON D2X & D3 still cameras, part of the ongoing effort to create a "Life on the Station" photo & video documentary database on the flight of ISS-34 ("Flight Chronicles") for Telecanal Roskosmos. [Footage subjects generally include running experiments, current activities at the station, repair activities behind panels, exercise, cosmonauts looking out the window at the Earth, Earth surface, station interior, cosmonaut in zero gravity, leisure, life on orbit, personal hygiene, meals, station exterior, comm. passes with the ground, ham radio passes, station cleaning, spacesuits, space hardware, MRM1, MRM2, DC1, FGB, Soyuz & Progress, intermodular passageways, meeting a new crew, crewmember in space, medical experiments, handover activities, crew return preparations, farewell ceremonies, etc. The photo/video imagery is saved digitally on HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) for return to Earth on Soyuz.]

Oleg also performed more cargo stowage operations between Progress M-17M/49P and ISS for another 1h15m. [Since Progress 49P will remain docked to the station for about six months (until April 15, 2013), it serves the crew as a temporary stowage container.]

Evgeny continued the current round of periodic preventive maintenance of RS ventilation systems, today working in the MRM1 "Rassvet" module to clean "Group B" fan screens and the GZhT gas/liquid heat exchanger fan grill, replace the SKPF1 & SKPF2 dust filter cartridges, and take documentary photography of the dirty TsV3 fan grille for subsequent downlink via OCA. .

Oleg took on the daily routine job of servicing 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, replacement of EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine containers and filling EDV-SV, KOV (for Elektron), EDV-ZV & EDV on RP flow regulator.]

FE-1 also completed the daily IMS 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).

At ~2:55am EST, Novitskiy, Tarelkin & Ford held the regular (nominally weekly) tagup with the Russian Main Flight Control Team (GOGU/Glavnaya operativnaya gruppa upravleniya), including Shift Flight Director (SRP), at TsUP-Moscow via S-band/audio, phone-patched from Houston and Moscow.

At ~3:10am, Evgeny & Oleg linked up with TsUP/Moscow stowage specialists via S-band to conduct the weekly IMS tagup, discussing inventory & stowage issues, equipment locations and cargo transfers.

At ~1:10pm, Kevin Ford conducted the regular IMS stowage conference with Houston stowage specialists.

At ~1:50pm, the crew was scheduled for their regular weekly tagup with the Lead Flight Director at JSC/MCC-Houston.

Before Presleep (~2:30pm EST), Ford powers up the MPC (Multi-Protocol Converter) and starts the Ku-band data flow of video recorded during the day to the ground, with POIC (Payload Operations & Integration Center) routing the onboard HRDL (High-Rate Data Link). After about an hour, Kevin turns MPC routing off again. [This is a routine operation which regularly transmits HD onboard video (live or tape playback) to the ground on a daily basis before sleeptime.]

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

Tasks listed for Evgeny & Oleg 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),
• Downlinking the noise level data from today's and yesterday's acoustic measurements in the SM,
• 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, 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 (Crew Earth Observation) targets uplinked for today were Kerguelen Islands, Indian Ocean (Glaciers Site: There were probably scattered clouds over Kerguelen at the time of the early afternoon pass today as it is seldom cloud-free. This glaciated and volcanic archipelago is located in the far south Indian Ocean nearly 2,000 miles SE of the island of Madagascar. Of greatest interest is imagery for monitoring of the rarely photographed ice field and glaciers located on the western end of the main island. Cook Glacier, and its ice field are the crew's prime feature. With an area of ~403 km2, it is quoted as "France's largest glacier," since the islands are a French possession. At this time, as ISS tracked S of the islands, the crew was to look left of track for detailed mapping views of this feature), Piccaninny Impact, WA-AUS (Terrestrial Impact Craters Site: ISS had a late afternoon pass in good weather for this target with approach from the SW. At this time the crew was to begin looking nadir and try for a mapping strip to acquire views of this approximately 7-km diameter impact structure. The crater defines a roughly circular area on the landscape, but is fairly low contrast in relation to the surrounding area. The crater is located within an upland area with deep narrow canyons to the NW, just left of track), Aurora Borealis - Time Lapse (Time Lapse Photography: In preparation for night time city light time-lapse sequence requests, CEO staff started the crew out with the very popular Aurora Borealis time-lapse sequence. Time-lapse photography not only sets still images in motion, it also holds a great deal of information about the movement of the aurora, daytime cloud patterns, night time city lights across a large span of area, and many other things. The auroral forecast for today is Active (4), and along with the northern hemisphere being in darkness during the ISS flyover, it makes for a perfect match. As ISS began its flight over the northern Pacific Ocean, E of eastern Asia, the crew was to look N of track towards the North Pole to capture an automated sequence of the aurora, after using. The crew was to follow the "D3s INTERVALOMETER SET - NIGHT SEQUENCE" procedures to learn how to set everything up, letting the D3s camera run for at least 5 minutes. These are sure to make excellent time-lapse videos for the public and scientists!) and Bay of Islands, N. I., NZ (HMS BEAGLE Site: Darwin and the Beagle arrived here on December 21, 1835 after strong winds had delayed them earlier. After a nine-day stay with some exploration of the interior, the expedition departed New Zealand on January 30th. As the crew tracked SE over the Tasman Sea, they were to look right of track to get contextual shots of the Bay of Islands target on North Island).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 6:54am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude - 411.0 km
Apogee height - 421.9 km
Perigee height - 400.0 km
Period -- 92.79 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.65 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0016154
Solar Beta Angle -- 28.8 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.52
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 28 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 80,493
Time in orbit (station) -- 5131 days
Time in orbit (crews, cum.) -- 4418 days.

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
-------------- Inc-34: Three-crew operations -------------
12/13/12 -- ISS Reboost, including PDAM (Pre-Determined Debris Avoidance Maneuver) test,
12/19/12 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/33S launch - 7:12:35am EST - C.Hadfield (CDR-35)/T.Mashburn/R.Romanenko
12/21/12 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/33S docking - ~9:18:41am EST
-------------- 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 -------------
03/28/13 -- Soyuz TMA-08M/34S launch - P.Vinogradov (CDR-36)/C.Cassidy/A.Misurkin
03/30/13 -- Soyuz TMA-08M/34S docking
04/15/13 - Progress N-17M/49P undock
04/18/13 -- ATV4 launch
04/23/13 -- Progress M-18M/50P undock
04/24/13 - Progress M-19M/51P launch
04/26/13 - Progress M-19M/51P docking
05/01/13 -- ATV4 docking
-------------- Inc-35: Six-crew operations -------------
05/14/13 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/33S undock/landing (End of Increment 35)
-------------- Inc-36: Three-crew operations -------------
05/28/13 -- Soyuz TMA-09M/35S launch - M.Suraev (CDR-37)/K.Nyberg/L.Parmitano
05/30/13 -- Soyuz TMA-09M/35S docking
-------------- Inc-36: Six-crew operations -------------
07/23/13 - Progress M-19M/51P undock
07/24/13 - Progress M-20M/52P launch
07/26/13 -- Progress M-20M/52P docking
09/11/13 -- Soyuz TMA-08M/34S undock/landing (End of Increment 36)
-------------- Inc-37: Three-crew operations -------------
09/25/13 -- Soyuz TMA-10M/36S launch - M.Hopkins/O.Kotov(CDR-38)/S.Ryanzansky
09/27/13 -- 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/M.Tyurin
11/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-11M/37S docking
12/18/13 -- Progress M-20M/52P undock
-------------- 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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