Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 1 June 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
June 1, 2009
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 1 June 2009

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Underway: Week 1 of Increment 20, with Exp-20 crewmembers CDR Gennady Padalka (Russia), FE-1 Michael Barratt (USA), FE-2 Koichi Wakata (Japan), FE-3 Roman Romanenko (Russia), FE-4 Robert Thirsk (Canada), and FE-5 Frank DeWinne (Belgium).

FE-4 & FE-5 started their first session of sleep logging for the experiment SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) from his Actiwatch to the HRF-1 (Human Research Facility 1) laptop as part of a 7-day-long session. [To monitor the crewmembers’ sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, Bob & Frank wear a special Actiwatch device which measures the light levels encountered by them as well as their patterns of sleep and activity throughout the Expedition, and they use the payload software for data logging and filling in questionnaire entries in the experiment’s laptop session file on the HRF-1 laptop. The log entries are done within 15 minutes of final awakening for seven consecutive days.]

FE-2 began the day with the extended “Bisphosphonates” biomedical countermeasures experiment for which Koichi again ingested an Alendronate pill before breakfast. [The Bisphosphonates study should determine whether antiresorptive agents (that help reduce bone loss) in conjunction with the routine in-flight exercise program will protect ISS crewmembers from the regional decreases in bone mineral density documented on previous ISS missions. Two dosing regimens will be tested: (1) an oral dose of 70 mg of Alendronate taken weekly starting 3 weeks prior to flight and then throughout the flight and (2) an intravenous (IV) dose of 4 mg Zoledronic Acid, administered just once approximately 45 days before flight. The rationale for including both Alendronate and Zoledronic Acid is that two dosing options will maximize crew participation, increase the countermeasure options available to flight surgeons, increase scientific opportunities, and minimize the effects of operational and logistical constraints. The primary measurement objective is to obtain preflight and postflight QCT (Quantitative Computed Tomography) scans of the hip. The QCT scans will provide volumetric bone density information of both cortical and trabecular (spongy) bone regions of the hip.]

After Bob Thirsk set up audio/video coverage of the TVIS worksite with a G1 camcorder from Node-1, Koichi continued troubleshooting the critical exercise device by subjecting all four stabilizers of the treadmill to a shake test. The video & audio was then downlinked for more ground analysis. The TVIS is off limits for exercise today (see Note below).

All crewmembers joined in a two-hour emergency egress equipment readiness drill, designed to familiarize the station residents with the locations of hardware and the positions of valves used in emergencies, as well as having them practice crew interaction in emergency situations. [The activities included locating post-fire protective equipment kits in the RS (Russian Segment) for subsequent stowage in designated locations. The crew inspected & checked equipment items in the SA (Descent Module) & BO (Orbital Module) of both Soyuz spacecraft, SM PrK (Service Module Transfer Tunnel), SM RO (Working Compartment)l. SM PkhO (Transfer Compartment), DC1 (Docking Compartment), Progress 33P, FGP PGO (Instrumentation Cargo Compartment), FGB GA (Pressurized Adapter), PMA-1 (Pressurized Mating Adapter 1), Node-1, Airlock, Lab, Node-2, COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), and JLP (JEM Logistics Pressurized Segment).]

FE-2 Barratt set up, checked out and conducted his third test with the French/CNES neuroscientific research experiment “3D Space” (SAP) as Subject #3, using the ESA Multipurpose Laptop with a prepared HDD (Hard Disk Drive), data storage on a PCMCIA memory card, and an electronic pen table connected to it. (Second time done: 4/20). [Before the run, Mike modified Tablet Pen #1 settings to correct an issue encountered during his previous run in April. 3D Space, which involves distance, writing and illusion exercises, is designed to test the hypothesis that altered visual perception affects motor control. To do this, the subject is asked to reproduce shapes or text on an electronic pen pad (Wacom Intuos3 A4). The test person is asked to reproduce shapes or text on the pen tablet which allows researchers to record and analyze the reactions both on earth and in space.]

In the JAXA Kibo JPM, Thirsk prepared fasteners for opening closeout panels during STS-127/2JA for a scheduled reconfiguration of a 1553 jumper and installation of an EFBM (External Facility Berthing Mechanism) contingency sensor cable, if required, and took situational photography.

Romanenko & Padalka set up and performed functional tests of communications links between the two Soyuz vehicles (TMA-14/18S & TMA-15/19S). [Objectives: Checking comm in hard-line mode (MBS) and S-band radio comm, Soyuz VHF-2/S-band and SM VHF-1 in relay mode, Soyuz-to-Soyuz VHF-2 in simplex mode via S-band and with SM VHF-1, and going through a training protocol of multi-element comm procedures.]

Afterwards, Gennady & Roman installed the StM (Docking Mechanism, Stykovochnovo mekhanizma) between Progress M-02M/33P and the DC1 airlock nadir port. [StM is the "classic" probe-and-cone type, consisting of an active docking assembly (ASA) with a probe (SSh), which fits into the cone (SK) on the passive docking assembly (PSA) for initial soft dock and subsequent retraction to hard dock. The ASA is mounted on the Progress’ cargo module (GrO), while the PSA sits on the docking ports of the SM, FGB and DC1.]

After performing a calibration check on the TOCA (Total Organic Carbon Analyzer), with data recording, Frank DeWinne conducted the periodic WPA (Water Processor Assembly) sample analysis in the TOCA after first priming (filling) the TOCA water sample hose. After the approximately 2 hr TOCA analysis, results were transferred to SSC-7 (Station Support Computer 7) via USB drive for downlink and the data were also logged for calldown. [The current procedure is a work-around for TOCA’s failed catalyst.]

Wakata, Thirsk & DeWinne performed the regular service on the WPA (Water Processor Assembly), first offloading the WPA into two of the new CWC-I (Collapsible Water Container-Iodine, #1020) with the common H2O Transfer Hose (which took about 23 min) from the PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) Auxiliary Port, then flushing the system.

In the Lab, Koichi started another 5-hr automatic sampling run, the fifth, with the new EHS GC/DMS (Environmental Health System Gas Chromatograph/Differential Mobility Spectrometer), also known as AQM (Air Quality Monitor), controlled with “Sionex” expert software from the SSC-4 (Station Support Computer 4) laptop. [The AQM demonstrates COTS (Commercial Off-the-Shelf) technology for identifying volatile organic compounds, similar to the VOA (Volatile Organics Analyzer). Today’s data will again to be compared with VOA and GSC (Grab Sample Container) measurements. This evaluation will continue over the course of several months as it helps to eventually certify the GC/DMS as nominal CHeCS hardware.]

The FE-4 configured the ALTEA (Anomalous Long Term Effects on Astronauts) equipment for dosimetry operations and activated DOSI Normal 10 data collection of real-time particle flux inside the ISS. [Purpose of ALTEA is to define and measure descriptors for the electrophysiological brain functioning and to follow their dynamics, correlating it with space environments. This involves CNSM measuring sessions by crewmembers wearing a brain electrode helmet for taking a 32-channel EEG (electroencephalograph), plus the current DOSI mode of long-term unmanned real-time particle flux dosimetry (DOSI mode) inside the ISS. A specific focus of CNSM is on abnormal visual perceptions (such as the often reported phosphenes, – “light flashes”) and the impact of particles on brain functions in micro-G. ALTEA also uses six particle detectors (originally introduced on Mir), the EEG helmet, a visual stimulator and a pushbutton. These devices can be used separately or in any combination, permitting several different experiments: in physics, dosimetry, psychophysics, electrophysiology and cognitive neurophysiology.]

In preparation for the Orlan EVA-22 on 6/5 (Friday) and the suited dry-run in the DC1 on 6/3 (Wednesday), Padalka, Barratt & Romanenko spent an hour on reviewing and studying procedural material on conducting spacewalks from the DC-1 airlock, with ground specialist tagup.

Wakata meanwhile worked in the US Airlock (A/L), initiating recharge on EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) batteries #2068 & #2069 in the BSA (Battery Stowage Assembly) for the STS-127/2JA EVAs.

After reviewing an RPM (R-Bar Pitch Maneuver) “refresher” video, Barratt & Padalka completed their third standard 30-min Shuttle RPM skill training, using the D2X digital still cameras with 400 & 800mm lenses to take in-cabin target imagery using an Orbiter cutout. Afterwards, Mike downlinked the obtained photographs for ground analysis. [The RPM drill prepares crewmembers for the bottom-side mapping of the Orbiter at the arrival of the Shuttle (STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A) on 6/15. During the RPM at ~600 ft from the station, the “shooters” have only ~90 seconds for taking high-resolution digital photographs of all tile areas and door seals on Endeavour, to be downlinked for launch debris assessment. Thus, time available for the shooting will be very limited, requiring great coordination between the two headset-equipped photographers and the Shuttle pilot.]

In the A/L, Barratt later set up two NIKON D2XS camera batteries for recharge, to be used for the STS-127 EVAs. [Batteries must be charged for at least 3 hrs, one battery at a time.]

The FE-1 also tore down and stowed the BCAT-4 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test 4) science setup. [The BCAT Team reported that the experiment has obtained “a multitude of fabulous data”. The payload will be reactivated again after 2J/A for more runs.]

CDR Padalka performed the frequent status check on the Russian BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("Plants-2") experiment, verifying proper operation of the BU Control Unit and MIS-LADA Module fans (testing their air flow by hand) plus today, as a discretionary task list item, monitoring seedling growth, humidity measurements, moistening of the substrate if necessary and topping off the water tank if ~20-25% of the total amount (4 liters) remains. [Rasteniya-2 researches growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in the LADA-15 greenhouse from IBMP (Institute of Bio-Medical Problems, Russian: IMBP).]

Conducting the current periodic humidity check on the CBEF (Cell Biology Experiment Facility) in the Saibo Rack of JAXA’s JPM, FE-2 Wakata opened the facility’s door for wiping up any condensation inside the micro-G & 1G section, if present, and also secured floating fan mesh with Kapton tape.

Also in the Kibo laboratory, Koichi activated the ELT (Experiment Laptop Terminal) after verifying proper Ethernet cable connection, then tested the data communication with the IPU (Image Processing Unit) by “pinging”.

FE-5 DeWinne received his orientation briefing on physical exercise procedures and use of the ARED (Advanced Resistive Exercise Device) in the USOS (US Segment).

The crew completed their regular daily 2.5-hr. physical workout program (about half of which is used for setup & post-exercise personal hygiene) on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-1, FE-2), ARED (CDR, FE-1, FE2) and VELO cycle ergometer with bungee cord load trainer (CDR). [On the CEVIS, the actual loads remain slightly lower than the commanded loads, but this was expected. A manual correction of the pertinent calibration coefficient via the control panel touch screen will be done at a later time when the new value has been determined.]

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

DeWinne also readied the CEVIS software for his and Bob Thirsk’s use by transferring the automated FE-4/FE-5 CEVIS protocol from the MEC to the appropriate CEVIS PCMCIA memory cards.

Romanenko completed 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.]

Padalka conducted 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).

Wakata had an hour set aside for regular crew departure preparations, working on the standard end-of-increment cleanup preparatory to his return to Earth around 6/29. [It is usual for crewmembers to be granted reduced workdays for making their departure preparations, as their return date approaches.]

Roman, Bob & Frank each had an hour to themselves for general orientation (station familiarization & acclimatization) as is standard daily rule for fresh crewmembers for the first two weeks after starting station residence, if they choose to take it.

FE-2, FE-4 & FE-5 spent another 30 min on gathering, prepacking & staging cargo itemized in an uplinked list for return on Endeavour (2J/A) in June.

The three newcomers had another PMC (Private Medical Conference) via S- & Ku-band audio/video, their fourth, Frank at ~7:10am, Bob at ~11:10am, Roman at ~12:00pm EDT.

Today’s schedule also provided for an approximately 1-hr repressurization of the ISS atmosphere with O2 from Progress 33P’s SrPK tankage, conducted by Gennady.

At ~10:25, the full crew participated in a 30-min PAO TV news conference, fielding questions from media representatives at NASA Centers, CSA/Canada HQ (St. Hubert, Quebec), ESA/EAC (Cologne, Germany) and JAXA in Tokyo/Japan.

TVIS Update: Audio/video analysis of yesterday’s TVIS exercise tryout showed the same loud thumping and metallic noise at 5 mph that has occurred previously, plus some additional noise, even though all of the stabilizers were disabled at running speeds. Today’s shake test on all stabilizers is now being analyzed for noise and damage. For today, the treadmill is down, and until the TVIS is restored with more intrusive repairs to full service, exercise speeds on the belt will be restricted to ~4-5 mph. Currently CEVIS, ARED and VELO are fully operational.

BCC Checkout: MCC-Houston will perform a BCC (Backup Control Center) checkout today at 4:30pm-5:30pm EDT. The TDRS (Tracking & Data Relay Satellite) forward link will “swing” from MCC-H to the BCC in Huntsville, with a brief voice check on S-band from the BCC Capcom.

Ground Network Loss: Several hours before Soyuz docking on 5/29, all ground network communication services (command, telemetry, voice) between MCC-Houston and TsUP-Moscow dropped out completely for several hours. Thanks to the immediate response by our European partners who allowed voice comm to be routed to the ISS through their resources at COL-CC in Oberpfaffenhofen/Germany, docking activities could proceed. The outage lasted from 12:22am – 4:40am EDT. [The network dropout was later traced to a cut fiber optics cable in Helsinki/Finland.]

Vozdukh Failure: Yesterday (5/31, Sunday), the Russian Vozdukh CO2 scrubber failed due to a faulty AKV valve. The system was restarted and has returned to a nominal condition. [Research has shown that the valve is not engaging fully, due to the failure of a micro-switch. This is an existing problem and workaround procedures have been used successfully.]

No CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today.

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).

ISS Orbit (as of this noon, 7:54am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 349.5 km
Apogee height – 355.8 km
Perigee height — 343.1 km
Period — 91.53 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0009445
Solar Beta Angle — -13.2 deg (magnitude peaking)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.73
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 104 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 60348

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
06/03/09 — Orlan Suited Dry-Run (training)
06/05/09 — Russian EVA-22
06/10/09 — Russian EVA-23
06/13/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch – JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD (7:12am)
06/29/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A landing (12:18am EDT, KSC)
07/17/09 – Progress M-02M/33P undock & deorbit
07/20/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S relocation (from SM aft to DC1)
07/24/09 — Progress 34P launch
07/26/09 — Progress 34P docking (SM aft)
08/06/09 — STS-128/Discovery/17A – MPLM (P), LMC
09/01/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) launch – tentative
09/07/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) berth
09/30/09 — Soyuz TMA-16/20S launch
10/02/09 — Soyuz TMA-16/20S docking (SM aft, until MRM-2 w/new port)
10/08/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) unberth
10/11/09 – Soyuz TMA-14/18S undock
10/15/09 — Progress 35P launch
11/10/09 — 5R/MRM-2 (Russian Mini Research Module 2) on Proton — tentative
11/12/09 — STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 – ELC1, ELC2
12/07/09 — Soyuz TMA-17/21S launch
12/26/09 — Progress 36P launch
02/03/10 — Progress 37P launch
02/XX/10 — STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola — tentative
02/11/10 — STS-131/Atlantis/19A – MPLM(P), LMC — tentative
03/05/10 — Progress 38P launch
04/02/10 — Soyuz TMA-18/22S launch
04/08/10 — STS-132/Discovery/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM-1 — tentative
04/30/10 — Progress 39P launch
05/30/10 — Soyuz TMA-19/23S launch
06/30/10 — Progress 40P launch
07/29/10 — STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 – ELC3, ELC4 — tentative
07/30/10 — Progress 41P launch
09/30/10 — Soyuz TMA-20/24S launch
10/30/10 — Progress 42P launch
11/??/10 — ATV2 – Ariane 5 (ESA)
12/??/11 — 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – on Proton

SpaceRef staff editor.