Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 10 July 2009

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

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

CDR Padalka conducted the Russian/German TEKh-20 Plasma Crystal-3 Plus (PK-3+) experiment, the first time for Expedition 20. [After wakeup, the CDR activated the PK-3/N turbopump in the SM PkhO (Service Module Transfer Compartment) to keep the work chamber (ZB) in the SM RO (Work Compartment) at a vacuum. Then he set up the experiment, with video recording beginning ~4 min after experiment initiation. Today’s experiment, running in semi-automatic mode, was performed on plasma, i.e., fine particles charged and excited by HF (high frequency) radio power inside the evacuated work chamber, with particles having a diameter of 9.19 µm or 14.9 µm at varying pressures (40, 120, 200 Pa/Pascal) and low-frequency RF (radio frequency) generator capacities. The primary objective of the experiment is to find Type 2 phase transitions during excitation of a low-frequency alternating electrical field by generating a homogenous plasma-dust cloud (closure of void) using incremental reduction of RF generator capacity, observed via video imagery. In all, the operator had to make ~5 attempts (particle injections) during the experiment. Afterwards, PK-3+ was deactivated after collected data were transferred from the hard disk to USB stick and thence to the OCA laptop for downlinking. Later tonight (~5:25pm EDT), the turbo pump will be turned off again. (Cosmonauts appreciate PK-3+ particularly because it allows them to actually see the results of their work, as opposed to past crystal growth experiments).]

Padalka also performed the periodic maintenance of the active Russian BMP (Harmful Impurities Removal System) by starting the "bake-out" cycle to vacuum on absorbent bed #2 of the regenerable dual-channel filtration system. The process will be terminated at ~4:30pm EDT. Bed #1 regeneration was performed yesterday. [Regeneration of each of the two cartridges takes about 12 hours and is conducted only during crew awake periods. The BMP’s regeneration cycle is normally done every 20 days. (Last time done: 6/18-6/19).]

Today it was Frank DeWinne’s & Bob Thirsk’s turn with the PFE (Periodic Fitness Evaluation) protocol, a monthly 1.5-hr. procedure which checks up on blood pressure and electrocardiogram (ECG) during programmed exercise on the CEVIS cycle ergometer in the US Lab.  Bob Thirsk acted as CMO (Crew Medical Officer).  Afterwards, the two crewmembers switched, and Bob became the Subject, with Frank assisting. Readings were taken with the BP/ECG (blood pressure/electrocardiograph) and the HRM (heart rate monitor) watch with its radio transmitter. [BP/ECG provides automated noninvasive systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurements while also monitoring and displaying accurate heart rates on a continual basis at rest and during exercise.]

Padalka & Romanenko spent two hours on an in-depth refresher review of procedures and recommendations for the Progress 33P repeat rendezvous on 7/12, rehearsing steps for monitoring the test approach of the spacecraft, reviewing docking data and tagging up with a training instructor at TsUP/Moscow.    [The re-rendezvous  is planned with the following stages:

  • KURS activation on 33P – 11:28am EDT,
  • SM Final Approach enable – ~12:33pm,
  • Begin Flyaround at 400-m ~12:37pm,
  • Final Approach initiation – 12:58pm,
  • Start “breakout” maneuver (two burns) – 1:10pm & ~1:15pm.

The 33P test is conducted to verify that the KURS-P antennas are installed correctly on the SM PkhO (Service Module Transfer Compartment) zenith docking port.  It is planned to abort (stop) the approach at a range of ~11.5 m, followed by the “breakout” maneuver.]

FE-1 Barratt downloaded & initialized his, Bob’s & Frank’s Actiwatches of the SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) experiment.   [The data will be downlinked by the ground from the HRF PC1 (Human Research Facility Portable Computer 1) at a later time.]

FE-5 DeWinne wrapped up the ICV (Integrated Cardiovascular) session by Thirsk earlier this week by downloading Bob’s CDP (Cardiopres) data to the Cardiolab Main Unit (CDP computer) in the EPM (European Physiology Module) rack, copying the NASA ICV CBPD (Continuous Blood Pressure Device) files to PCMCIA memory card and then transferring them from there to the HRF PC for later downlink.

In the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module, FE-2 Wakata performed the crucial Checkout #3 on the MRDL (Medium Rate Data Link) by connecting, then activating, the PLT (Payload Laptop Terminal) to the ELT (Experiment Laptop Computer) and checking out their Ethernet connectivity with a Ping test.    [Although an earlier MAC (Media Access Control) address discrepancy between PHEG (Payload Ethernet Hub Gateway) components has been corrected with a software update on the ELT, sending massive science data from the new MAXI experiment arriving with STS-127 and JEF (JEM Exposed Facility) directly to the ground is prevented by conflicts with resource allocations.  The inclusion of the PLT in the data chain allows pre-processing of the data to downlink only the needed corrected info.]

Mike Barratt hooked up the UOP DCP (Utility Outlet Panel/Display & Control Panel) power bypass cable at the CUP RWS (Cupola Robotic Work Station) for video coverage of the Progress 33P’s repeat rendezvous with the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) cameras.

The FE-1 also performed his first LOCAD-PTS (Lab-on-a-Chip Application Development-Portable Test System) Phase 1 surface sampling session, preceded by a teleconference with LOCAD team members Jake Maule (PI) and Dan Gunter).    [LOCAD uses small, thumb-sized “microfluidic” cartridges that are read by the experiment reader. The cartridges contain dried extract of horseshoe crab blood cells and colorless dye. In the presence of the bacteria, the dried extract reacts strongly to turn the dye a green color. Therefore, the more green dye, the more microorganisms there are in the original sample. The handheld device tests this new analysis technology by sampling for the presence of gram negative bacteria in the sample in about 15 minutes. Lab-on-a-Chip technology has an ever-expanding range of applications in the biotech industry. Chips are available (or in development) which can also detect yeast, mold, and gram positive bacteria, identify environmental contaminants, and perform quick health diagnostics in medical clinics. The technology has been used to swab the MERs (Mars Exploration Rovers) for planetary protection. With expanded testing on ISS, this compact technology has broad potential applications in space exploration–from monitoring environmental conditions to monitoring crew health.]

In the US Airlock (A/L), Koichi Wakata set up the A/L spacesuit cooling loop and EMUs (Extravehicular Mobility Units) #3005 & #3011 for their maintenance 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.

FE-5 DeWinne performed the periodic manual filling of the WHC (Waste & Hygiene Compartment) flush water tank (EDV-SV), which took about 25 min.   [WHC was unavailable during the fill time.]

Later, Koichi completed the periodic changeout of the WHC urine hose/receptacle plus hose and filter insert.

For monitoring the 33P re-rendezvous test, Roman & Mike installed & tested the RS (Russian Segment) video system, which uses the SONY HDV camera for transmitting over the MPEG-2 (Moving Pictures Expert Group 2) encoder from FGB & SM to downlink “streaming video” packets via U.S. OpsLAN and Ku-band, involving the FGB-based A31p SSC (Station Support Computer) laptop for the TV conversion to NTSC and Ku-band.   [The A31p was later deactivated again.]

Working on the JAXA CBEF (Cell Biology Experiment Facility) in the JPM, Frank detached & retrieved three MEUs (Measurement Experiment Units) from the CBEF Micro-G IU (Incubator Unit), then stowed the CBEF after also removing the video cable between it and the IPU (Image Processing Unit).

Barratt conducted troubleshooting on the ENose (Electronic Noise) instrument in the ER-2 (EXPRESS Rack 2), restarting the unit, checking its TCP-IP address and performing re-initialization tests. [ENose monitors the station’s interior for harmful chemicals such as ammonia, mercury, methanol and formaldehyde, running continuously and autonomously. It is the first instrument aboard ISS which can detect and quantify chemical leaks or spills as they happen. If successful, ENose might be used in future space missions as part of an automated system to monitor and control astronauts’ in-space environments. The shoebox-sized ENose contains an array of 32 sensors that can identify and quantify several organic and inorganic chemicals, including organic solvents and marker chemicals that signal the start of electrical fires. The sensors are polymer films that change their electrical conductivity in response to different chemicals, where the pattern of the sensor array’s response depends on the particular chemical types present in the air. The instrument can analyze volatile aerosols and vapors, help monitor cleanup of chemical spills or leaks, and enable more intensive chemical analysis by collecting raw data and streaming it to a computer at JPL’s ENose laboratory. The instrument, weighing less than nine pounds and requiring only 20 watts of power, has a wide range of chemical sensitivity, from fractional parts per million to 10,000 parts per million. Its data-analysis software can identify and quantify the release of chemicals within 40 minutes of detection. While ENose will look for 10 chemical types in this six-month experiment, it can be “trained” to detect many others.]

Bob Thirsk set up the HMS USND (Health Maintenance Systems) Ultrasound equipment (in two parts), then performed the scans during CEVIS (Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation) exercise (exercise echocardiography), assisted by FE-1 Barratt.  Mike later stowed the gear again.

Romanenko serviced the RS radiation payload suite “Matryoshka-R” (RBO-3-2), setting up new Bubble dosimeters for recording radiation traces, initializing & deploying the detectors and verifying proper function of the setup with the LULIN-5 electronics box. [A total of eight Bubble dosimeter detectors (A01-A08) were initialized in the Bubble dosimeter reader in the SM and positioned at their exposure locations, three in the spherical “Phantom” unit on the DC1 panel and five in the SM (two in starboard crew cabin on both sides of the MOSFET (metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor) dosimeter detector unit, two under the work table, and one at panel 410). The deployment locations of the detectors were photo-documented with the NIKON D2X camera and also reported to TsUP via log sheet via OCA. The complex Matryoshka payload suite is designed for sophisticated radiation studies. Note: Matryoshka is the name for the traditional Russian set of nested dolls.]

DeWinne activated the SNFM (Serial Network Flow Monitor) application on the ELC1 (EXPRESS Rack 1  Laptop Computer) which then captured LAN-2 ER-3 (EXPRESS Rack 3) data using the ELC-3 (ER-3 Laptop) preparatory to HRF Rack 1 data downlink.

Later, FE-5 performed the regular weekly maintenance on the TVIS (Treadmill with Vibration Isolation & Stabilization), primarily inspecting the condition of the SLDs, SLD cables and SPDs (Subject Positioning Devices), lubricating as required, plus recording time & date values. [Particular attention was requested on inspecting, marking & recording any visible SLD damages.]

Frank also set up and configured the video camcorder for recording his subsequent workout on the TVIS treadmill.

In the COL (Columbus Orbital Facility), DeWinne checked out performance values of the ISFA IMV-fan (Intermodular Ventilation Supply Fan).

In the U.S. Lab, Bob troubleshot the non-dispensing PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) switch and took clearance measurements of the switch with gauges.     [Components of the dispenser mechanism appear to exhibit some sticking and are sometimes not easy to move.]

In the RS, Roman worked on the SM ASU (Toilet Facility), performing the monthly 30-min. maintenance/servicing of the facility by changing out replaceable ASU parts with new components, i.e., the urine receptacle (MP) and a filter insert (F-V). The old parts were discarded as trash.

FE-5 supported a communications test with POIC (Payload Operations Integration Center, Huntsville) via the OCA NetMeeting functions, involving video, voice, whiteboard and chat.

FE-1, FE-2 & FE-5 filled out their regular weekly FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire) on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer). It was Mike’s 14th, Koichi’s 18th, Frank’s 6th FFQ session.    [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.]

Romanenko did 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).

Padalka 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.]

The crew completed their regular daily 2.5-hr. physical workout program on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-1, FE-4), TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation (CDR, FE-2, FE-3, FE-5), RED resistive exercise device (FE-1, FE-2, FE-4, FE-5) and VELO cycle ergometer with bungee cord load trainer (CDR, FE-3). [The interim RED is being this week in lieu of the ARED until the latter has had its damaged VIS dashpot replaced and can be put back in service.]

Later, Wakata transferred the exercise data files to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) 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).

At ~4:30am EDT, 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 ~10:00am, Gennady 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 ~4:10pm, 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).]

FE-1 & FE-2 were scheduled for their weekly PFCs (Private Family Conferences), via S-band/audio and Ku-band/MS-NetMeeting application (which displays the uplinked ground video on an SSC laptop), Koichi at ~6:20am, Mike at ~5:00pm.

As a new entry on the voluntary U.S. “job jar” task list, Bob Thirsk was to consider his second session with the MedOps experiment WinSCAT (Spaceflight Cognitive Assessment Tool for Windows), by logging in on the MEC laptop and performing the psychological evaluation exercise on the PC-based WinSCAT application. [WinSCAT is a monthly time-constrained questionnaire test of cognitive abilities, routinely performed by astronauts aboard the ISS every 30 days before or after the PHS (periodic health status) test or on special CDR’s, crewmembers or flight surgeons request. The test uses cognitive subtests that measure sustained concentration, verbal working memory, attention, short-term memory, spatial processing, and math skills. The five cognitive subtests are Coding Memory – Learning, Continuous Processing Task (CPT), Match to Sample, Mathematics, and Coding Delayed Recall. These WinSCAT subtests are the same as those used during NASA’s long-duration bed rest studies.]

BGA 2B Issue:    Yesterday, BGA 2B (Beta Gimbal Assembly 2B) on the port solar array began to exhibit an increased number and frequency of high current events (motor current >0.75A) while in autotrack mode with the BGA Autobiasing function enabled.  Ground controllers took over manual control which “unstalled” the drive motor, but after more efforts the BGA is currently stuck at 163.9 deg.  Power generation is sufficient, but the decreasing solar Beta angle is bringing the current position into a hazardous longeron  shadowing condition.  The autobiasing of the associated Port SARJ (Solar Alpha Rotary Joint) has been inhibited and manual biasing started to account for the current position of BGA 2B. No options for un-sticking BGA 2B have been identified yet.

No CEO (Crew Earth Observation) targets uplinked today, except PMC (Polar Mesospheric Cloud) opportunities.  Low light conditions continue for all CEO surface targets beneath the ISS daylight-awake orbit tracks.

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) 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, 10:46am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 346.6 km
Apogee height – 351.7 km
Perigee height — 341.6 km
Period — 91.47 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0007546
Solar Beta Angle — 71.8 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.74
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 31 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 60964

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
07/11/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch – JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD; (7:39am EDT)
07/12/09 — Progress 33P Re-rendezvous attempt (closest approach 10m; ~1:06pm) & separation
07/13/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A docking; ~3:25pm (if launched nominally 7/11)
07/13/09 — Progress 33P deorbit burn, entry interface (11:45am; 12:20pm)
07/24/09 — Progress 34P launch
07/25/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A undocking; ~7:33am
07/27/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A landing (KSC, ~12:26pm)
07/27/09 — Progress 34P docking (if STS-127 departs nominally; can slip to 7/29)
07/31/09 — PMA-3 relocation
08/18/09 — STS-128/Discovery/17A – MPLM (P), LMC (~4:25am EDT)
09/10/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) launch (~1:00pm EDT)
09/16/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) berth w/SSRMS
09/29/09 — Progress 34P undock
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 Soyuz-U
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
02/04/10 — STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola
03/18/10 — STS-131/Discovery/19A – MPLM(P), LMC
04/02/10 — Soyuz TMA-18/22S launch
04/27/10 — Progress 38P launch
05/14/10 — STS-132/Atlantis/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM-1
05/29/10 — Soyuz TMA-19/23S launch
06/25/10 — Progress 39P launch
07/29/10 — STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 – ELC4, MPLM
08/11/10 — Progress 40P launch
09/16/10 — STS-134/Discovery/ULF6 – ELC3, AMS
09/29/10 — Soyuz TMA-20/24S launch
10/19/10 — Progress 41P launch
11/??/10 — ATV2 – Ariane 5 (ESA)
12/??/11 — 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – on Proton

SpaceRef staff editor.