Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 10 April 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
April 11, 2009
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 10 April 2009

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

Before breakfast and exercise, CDR Padalka, FE-1 Barratt & FE-2 Wakata each completed a 10-min session with the periodic Russian MedOps test "Hematokrit" (MO-10), which measures the red cell count of the blood, with one of them acting as CMO (Crew Medical Officer, Russian: “Examiner”). It was the first session for the three of them. [The blood samples were drawn from a finger with a perforator lancet, then centrifuged in two microcapillary tubes in the M-1100 kit’s minicentrifuge, and its hematocrit value was read off the tubes with a magnifying glass. It is a well-known phenomenon of space flight that red blood cell count (normal range: 30-45%) tends to go down over time. After the exam, the data were saved in the IFEP software (In-Flight Examination Program) on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer), and Padalka stowed the equipment.]

In the US Airlock (A/L), Mike Barratt set up the A/L spacesuit cooling loop and EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) #3011 for their final post-15A scrubbing and iodination which includes filtering ionic & particulate matter (via a 3-micron filter), then reconfiguring the cooling loops and starting a ~2h biocide filtering. [In a modification of previous procedure, the EMU’s battery (#2076) was discharged in-suit while powering the scrub, since BCMs (Battery Charger Modules) 3 & 4 are currently No-Go due to a previous over-discharge of a battery. After initiating the procedure, Mike was to let it run until the ground informed him of full battery discharge. The EMU was then to be returned to SCU (Service & Cooling Umbilical) power.]

Wakata also started a new procedure on the potable water equipment, consisting of a daily flushing of the PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) ambient line with ~50mL of water (unless at least this amount has been dispensed for other activities during the day). PWD water is currently cleared only for hygienic use. [While final analysis of the PWD sample results on the ground is still pending, experts recommend keeping water flowing in the line daily to help control microbial growth.]

CDR Padalka meanwhile set up the hardware for the Russian MBI-21 PNEVMOKARD experiment and conducted the session, his first, which forbids moving or talking during data recording. The experiment is controlled from the RSE-med A31p laptop, equipped with new software, and uses the TENZOPLUS sphygmomanometer to measure arterial blood pressure. The experiment was then closed out and the test data stowed for return to the ground. [PNEVMOKARD (Pneumocard) attempts to obtain new scientific information to refine the understanding about the mechanisms used by the cardiorespiratory system and the whole body organism to spaceflight conditions. By recording (on PCMCIA cards) the crewmember’s electrocardiogram, impedance cardiogram, low-frequency phonocardiogram (seismocardiogram), pneumotachogram (using nose temperature sensors), and finger photoplethismogram, the experiment supports integrated studies of (1) the cardiovascular system and its adaptation mechanisms in various phases of a long-duration mission, (2) the synchronization of heart activity and breathing factors, as well as the cardiorespiratory system control processes based on the variability rate of physiological parameters, and (3) the interconnection between the cardiorespiratory system during a long-duration mission and the tolerance of orthostatic & physical activities at the beginning of readaptation for predicting possible reactions of the crewmembers organism during the their return to ground.]

As is regular procedure for newly arrived cosmonauts, Gennady spent some time filling out the questionnaire for the standard Russian biomedical Braslet-M/Anketa ("bracelet/questionnaire") test procedure, then transferring the data to the BSR-TM payload telemetry channel for downlinking. [The objective was for Padalka to evaluate a number of "bracelet" cuffs for their usefulness in suppressing the adverse effects of micro-G for the "newcomer" aboard the station during the acute phase of adaptation to weightlessness, if there are such indications. Dr. Valeriy Bogomolov’s "bracelets" are compression cuffs attached to a belt and worn on the upper thighs over the coveralls, intended as countermeasures against the initial micro-G effects of blood filling (vascularity) in the upper torso (heaviness and blood pulsation in the head), facial puffiness, nasal stuffiness, painful eye movement, and vestibular disorders (dizziness, nausea, vomiting). They create artificial blood accumulation in the upper thirds of the thighs, causing some of the circulating blood volume to relocate from the upper body to the lower extremities, thereby (hopefully) correcting the adverse hemodynamic effect of micro-G and thus improving the crewmember’s working capability. The actual compression cuff in the Braslet units is a combination of alternating multi-layer tensile and non-tensile elements, whose distension by body movements creates elastic forces that produce the necessary pressure on the body surface.]

All three crewmembers performed the regular 2-hr Emergency Egress Drill. [This is a standard training exercise conducted to familiarize the crew with the location of emergency equipment (including hatches & passageways), focusing particularly on the passage along the emergency evacuation route. It includes checking out the position of valves used in emergencies and an audit of all cable cutters and flashlights at the hatches. MCC-H is currently determining what additional emergency equipment may have to be manifested, which requires a clear picture of the number and location of these items on board. The crew was also to move one of the CSA-CPs from Node-2 to Node-1, and an EMER-2 book from Node-2 to the FGB.]

In the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), Koichi Wakata set up the G1 video camcorder with MPC (Multipurpose Converter) and IPU (Image Processing Unit) for high-definition TV plus the NIKON D2Xs camera and JAXA E3 camera, then conducted another commercial program/taping in Japanese, “Commercial2”. [This involved shooting high-definition onboard scenes featuring a “Cosmo Flower” and other objects for commercial use. NASA insignia should not be in view. Later, the activity was closed down and the equipment stowed.]

Mike performed the daily status check on the BCAT-4 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-4) science payload, running by itself since 4/3. [The status check, conducted on the last image taken by the DCS 760 digital still camera which is controlled by EarthKAM software on an A31p laptop, is to verify proper image focus and camera alignment. The SSC (Station Support Computer) is taking photography of the phase separation occurring in the BCAT Sample 3, with the photo flash going off every half hour. Kudos for “great work” and excellent results went up to Dr. Mike from the BCAT Team.]

Wakata & Barratt filled out the regular weekly FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire) on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer), Koichi’s fourth, Dr. Mike’s second. [On the FFQs, NASA astronauts keep a personalized log of their nutritional intake over time on special MEC software. Recorded are the amounts consumed during the past week of such food items as beverages, cereals, grains, eggs, breads, snacks, sweets, fruit, beans, soup, vegetables, dairy, fish, meat, chicken, sauces & spreads, and vitamins. The FFQ is performed once a week to estimate nutrient intake from the previous week and to give recommendations to ground specialists that help maintain optimal crew health. Weekly estimation has been verified to be reliable enough that nutrients do not need to be tracked daily.]

The FE-2 conducted the periodic visual inspection of the ARED (Advanced Resistive Exercise Device) and its VIS (Vibration Isolation System) rails & rollers, then evacuated its cylinder flywheels to maintain proper vacuum condition and sensor calibration.

Later today, Koichi is also timelined for the weekly maintenance of the TVIS (Treadmill with Vibration Isolation & Stabilization) with SLD (Subject Loading Devices) contingency configuration, checking the condition of the roller bearings and recording the treadmill’s time & date values.

In the JAXA JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), Koichi repeated the downloading of the data and camcorder video of his 4/2 overnight cardiac measurements by the digital ECG (Electrocardiograph) Holter recorder, which had not been received at SSIPC (Space Station Integration & Promotion Center) in Tsukuba on 4/3.

Afterwards, Wakata conducted the routine maintenance on the four CSA-CP (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products) units, first replacing the battery of the prime unit, then zero-calibrating all instruments. [The CSA-CP is a passive cabin atmosphere monitor that provides quick response capability during a combustion event (fire). Its collected data are stored on a logger. Following zero calibration, the backup units (#1058, #1051, #1044), were returned to their nominal stowage location in the Node-1, along with the sampling pump, while the prime unit was deployed at the SM Central Post.]

CDR Padalka had an hour set aside for transferring water from the SM (Service Module) Rodnik BV2 tank to a new potable water container (EDV-ZV), relocating two EDV-M containers from behind panel 230 to other stowage to make room for two potable water EDVs (including the new one), and then connecting them to the Russian SVO-ZV (Water Supply System). [SM Rodnik tanks BV1 & BV2 each contain ~210 L of potable water. EDVs (~22L) are used (and identified) for a number of purposes, e.g., EDV-U for storing urine, EDV w/disinfectant for flushing Rodnik plumbing, EDV at RP (flow regulator) with potable water, EDV-SV for potable water at SVO-ZV, EDV-KOV for the Elektron apparatus, from US CWC.]

In the SM, the CDR also completed the periodic (monthly) download of protocol/log files of the BRI Smart Switch Router to the RSS1 laptop for subsequent dumping to the ground via OCA, for specialists to review control performance parameters, then rebooted the RRS1. [BRI is part of the RS OpsLAN network with connections to the three SSC clients, the Ethernet tie-in with the US network, and a network printer in the RS (Russian segment).]

FE-1 Barratt performed the regular controlled shut-down of the EHS VOA (Environmental Health System-Volatile Organic Analyzer), with the ground power-cycling its RPC-3 (Remote Power Controller 3), part of RPCM (RPC Module) LAD42B_A.

Wakata took care of 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.]

Koichi also 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).

Mike Barratt set up the NUTRITION w/Repository hardware for his first session, starting tomorrow with the blood draw and urine collection. [The 24-hr urine collection starts with the first void of the day tomorrow morning (with Wakata assisting) and continues through the first void on Sunday (4/12) morning.]

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 TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-1, FE-2), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (FE-1, FE-2), and VELO with bungee cord load trainer (CDR). [Yesterday’s troubleshooting of the CEVIS (which had shown anomalous workload indications) by Koichi was unsuccessful. CEVIS (Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation) is currently “No-Go” as engineers are developing a forward plan for an inspection of its internals. All CEVIS exercise is being replaced with TVCIS exercise for the near term.]

Afterwards, Barratt transferred the exercise data file to the MEC laptop 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).

At ~2:30am EDT, FE-2 Wakata had his weekly PFC (Private Family Conference) via S-band/audio and Ku-band/MS-NetMeeting application (which displays the uplinked ground video on an SSC laptop).

At ~4:10am, Gennady linked up with TsUP stowage specialists via S-band to conduct the weekly IMS tagup, discussing inventory & stowage issues, equipment locations and cargo transfers.

At 4:25am, the crew held the regular (nominally weekly) tagup with the Russian Flight Control Team (GOGU), including Shift Flight Director (SRP), at TsUP via S-band/audio, phone-patched from Houston and Moscow.

At ~4:40am, Padalka supported a ham radio session with participants of the Ulyanosk VACO Soyuz Branch, exchanging greetings with the XVIII Open Youth Space Festival dedicated to today’s International Day of Aviation & Cosmonautics at the Ulyanosk State Technical University. [It has become a tradition for the ISS crew to talk to schoolchildren of Ulyanosk on the eve of Cosmonautics Day (April 12). The first comm session of high school & university students of Ulyanosk was with the Mir space station in 1992, and in subsequent years another 15 radio bridges were conducted with Mir & ISS crews on the eve of Cosmonautics Day.]

At ~12:20pm, the crewmembers convened for their standard bi-weekly teleconference with the JSC Astronaut Office (Steve Lindsey), via S-band S/G-2 audio & phone patch.

At ~3:25pm, the ISS crew is scheduled for their regular weekly tagup with the Lead Flight Director at JSC/MCC-H via S-band/audio. [S/G-2 (Space-to-Ground 2) phone patch via SSC (Station Support Computer).]

Gennady & Dr. Mike again 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.

WRM Update: A new WRM (Water Recovery Management) “cue card” was uplinked last night for the crew’s reference, updated with the latest CWC water audit. [The new card (19-0025) lists 45 CWCs (~1,363.9 L total) for the four types of water identified on board: technical water (732.1 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 315.9 L currently off-limits pending sample analysis on the ground), potable water (567.0 L, incl. 524.2 L currently off-limit because of (1) Wautersia bacteria or (2) pending ground analysis results), condensate water (0.0 L), waste/EMU dump and other (64.8 L, including 20.2 L for flush, not to be used). Wautersia bacteria are typical water-borne microorganisms that have been seen previously in ISS water sources. These isolates pose no threat to human health.]

SPDM Checkouts: Yesterday & today the SPDM (Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator) has been operated via ground control for checking out Arm1 fine-alignment maneuvering capabilities in auto-sequence mode. The ground teams also checked out the Arm1 ORU (On-orbit Replacement Unit) and OTCM (Tool Change-out Mechanism) camera as well as the ground system developed to display alignment overlays with downlink video. This was the first time a dexterous arm was aligned with a dexterous grapple fixture and target on ISS. These operations were successful, demonstrating that maneuvers over distances as small as 2mm can be performed with control and precision. System performance was nominal. This was the second day of SPDM OCR (On-orbit Checkout Requirement) Session 3. Additional checkouts are continuing today and on Monday. This week of operations is part of a series of checkout activities leading up to a ground-controlled ISS RPCM (Remote Power Control Module) swap by SPDM, scheduled for September 2009.

CEO (Crew Earth Observations) photo targets uplinked for today were Cairo, Egypt (nadir pass. Shooting a mapping swath as far as the Mediterranean coastline), Central Japan (weather predicted clear. Tokyo, Saitama and Tsukuba cities all lied right of track), Southwest Algeria Megafans (although this site contains few features of high visual contrast, it is a large site, and target acquisition is straightforward: shooting a mapping swath just left of track for 30-45 secs. Megafans are large sheets of light-toned sediment laid down where a larger river flows onto a plain. Desert examples such as those in Algeria are likely analogs for the widespread layered sediments seen on Mars. Detailed images show stream patterns and modes of sediment deposition and erosion that are new to science), Central Algeria Megafans (ISS passed over the middle of this site: shooting a mapping pass near nadir for 30-45 secs), NW China Aerosol & Yellow River delta (looking left of track — from near nadir to high oblique — to document smog haze moving east. *Margins* of any haze mass were of the greatest interest), Yellow River Delta, China (ISS passed right over this delta. Increases in delta size and the shifting position of the river mouth have been documented with handheld imagery over the last two decades. Crew was to shoot nadir images of the coastline), Tehran, Iran (Capital city. Looking at nadir and a touch left), Columbia, South Carolina (Capital city. Nadir pass), and Athens, Greece (Capital city. Nadir pass).

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 morning, 9:41am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 352.9 km
Apogee height – 359.1 km
Perigee height — 346.8 km
Period — 91.60 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0009102
Solar Beta Angle — -43.0 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 112 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 59531

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
05/06/09 — Progress 32P undocking & deorbit
05/07/09 — Progress 33P launch
05/12/09 — STS-125/Atlantis Hubble Space Telescope Service Mission 4 (SM4)
05/12/09 — Progress 33P docking
05/27/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
05/29/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S docking (FGB nadir)
06/13/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch – JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD
Six-person crew on ISS
07/17/09 — Progress 33P undock & deorbit
07/20/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S relocation (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) — tentative
11/10/09 — Soyuz 5R/MRM2 (Russian Mini Research Module, MIM2) on Soyuz — tentative
11/12/09 — STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 – ELC1, ELC2
12/10/09 — STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola — tentative
02/11/10 — STS-131/Atlantis/19A – MPLM(P), LMC — tentative
04/08/10 — STS-132/Discovery/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM1 — tentative
05/31/10 — STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 – ELC3, ELC4 — tentative
12/XX/11 — Proton 3R/MLM w/ERA.

SpaceRef staff editor.