Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 10 September 2008

By SpaceRef Editor
September 10, 2008
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 10 September 2008

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

Upon wakeup, FE-1 Kononenko terminated his ninth SONOKARD experiment session for the long-term Russian sleep study MBI-12, by taking the recording device from his SONOKARD sports shirt pocket and later copying the measurements to the RSE-MED laptop for subsequent downlink to the ground. Sergey Volkov’s new MBI-12 session starts tonight (~5:20pm). [SONOKARD objectives are stated to (1) study the feasibility of obtaining the maximum of data through computer processing of records obtained overnight, (2) systematically record the crewmember’s physiological functions during sleep, (3) study the feasibility of obtaining real-time crew health data. Investigators believe that contactless acquisition of cardiorespiratory data over the night period could serve as a basis for developing efficient criteria for evaluating and predicting adaptive capability of human body in long-duration space flight.]

CDR Volkov set up the equipment for his fourth session with the Russian experiment MBI-18 DYKHANIE (“Respiration”, “Breathing”), then undertook the session, controlled from the RSE-Med laptop, followed later by FE-1 Kononenko who also completed the approximately monthly experiment for the fourth time. The crewmembers took photographs of each other working the hardware, then closed down the payload and stowed it. [Dykhanie-1 uses two body belts (PG-T/thoracic, PG-A/abdominal), a calibrator, resistor, mouthpiece, etc., to study fundamental physiological mechanisms of the external breathing function of crewmembers under long-duration orbital flight conditions. During the experiment, physiological measurements are taken and recorded with a pneumotachogram, a thoracic pneumogram, an abdominal pneumogram, and pressure data in the oral cavity. All experimentally derived plus salient environmental data along with personal data of the subject are recorded on PCMIA card for return to the ground at end of the Expedition. Objectives include determining the dynamics of the relationship between thoracic (pectoral) and abdominal breathing function reserves and their realization potential during spontaneous breathing, the coordinated spontaneous respiratory movements in terms of thoracic and abdominal components of volumetric, time & rate parameters of spontaneous respiratory cycle, identification of the features of humoral-reflex regulation of breathing by dynamics of ventilation sensitivity of thoracic and abdominal components to chemoreceptor stimuli, etc. Overall, the experiment is intended to provide a better understanding of the basic mechanisms of pulmonary respiration/gas exchange gravitational relations of cosmonauts.]

Volkov’s Dykhanie session was filmed by Kononenko with a video camcorder for public airing by the Russian Vesti 24 TV news channel in their “Kosmos” segment as part of several “Life aboard ISS” videos to be recorded in the next few days. [Tomorrow’s filming will feature the FE-1 exercising, followed over the weekend by scenes showing food preparation, having a meal, performing Diatomeya/Uragan experiments and other views of interest to “Kosmos” viewers.]

Later in the day, Kononenko & Volkov undertook another session with the MedOps protocol MO-5, “Cardiovascular Evaluation during Graded Exercises” on the VELO cycle ergometer, a standard Russian fitness test, assisting each other as CMO (Crew Medical Officer). (Last time done: 7/3). [The 50-min assessment, supported by ground specialist tagup via VHF and telemetry monitoring, uses the Gamma-1 ECG equipment with biomed harness, skin electrodes and a blood pressure and rheoplethysmograph cuff wired to the cycle ergometer’s instrumentation panels. For the graded exercise, the subject works the pedals after a prescribed program at load settings of 125, 150, and 175 watts for three minutes each. Data output involves a kinetocardiogram, rheoplethysmogram, rheoencephalogram and a temporal pulsogram.]

After recharging the SONY HVR-Z1J digital high-definition camcorder’s battery yesterday, Volkov and FE-2 Chamitoff set up the usual equipment to downlink Russian analog video signals from the RS (Russian Segment) via streaming video on US Ku-band, and checked it out with a network ping test. The A31p laptop was then turned off. Purpose of the video setup is to cover the Progress M-65/30P arrival on 9/12. [The equipment involves the KL-211 MPEG-2 Encoder, the RSS1 A31p laptop (for monitoring the digital video) and a U.S. SSC (Station Support Computer) laptop (for converting the analog TV from Russian PAL mode to U.S. NTSC). Transmission tests with the ground followed (7:30am – 8:00am EDT), checking out connections and the digital video transmission over JSL/Ethernet plus OCA/Ku-Band to MCC-Houston and from there to Moscow via the ESA Gateway for COL-CC/Oberpfaffenhofen transmission to at TsUP-Moscow, plus transfer of the USOS analog video of the RS ISS video downlink via Streambox 2 to NISN (i.e., the Moscow Ostankino communication hub).]

Chamitoff disconnected the thermal control MTL (Moderate Temperature Loop) supply jumper which he attached yesterday in the US Lab to an ITCS (Internal Thermal Control System) Z-panel (LAB1O3) for filling with coolant. [The activity is in preparation for the installation of the WRS-1 (Water Recovery System 1) of the new Regenerative ECLSS in the CHeCS rack during STS-126/ULF2. CHeCS rack relocation is scheduled tomorrow (9/11). All coolant lines need to be filled prior to mating them to their respective racks.]

Using the standard O-OHA (on-orbit hearing assessment) equipment, the FE-2 took the periodic auditory test which he had to postpone yesterday due to time constraints. The O-OHA test is a 30-min NASA environmental health systems examination to assess the efficacy of acoustic countermeasures, using a special MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) laptop application. It was Greg’s third O-OHA session. Sergey & Oleg conducted their fourth sessions yesterday.

In the SM (Service Module), Volkov performed Part 4 of the scheduled R&R (removal & replacement) of the renewable condensate removal lines (SMOK) of the Russian SOTR Thermal Control System, today replacing the hoses between the SK1 valve behind panel 131 and a connector (K-G3) of the SRVK-2M condensate processor behind panel 436.

Gregory Chamitoff conducted his first session with the BCAT-3/4 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-3/4) science payload, setting up the MWA WSA (Maintenance Work Area/Work Surface Area) for BCAT operations, then taking photographs of the BCAT-3 samples 1-6 (undisturbed for six months) and restowing the BCAT-3 sample module. Afterwards, BCAT-4 samples were photographed. Homogenization of three BCAT-4 samples (8,9,10) was added to Greg’s discretionary “job jar” task list. [The BCAT equipment includes a DCS760 digital still camera run by the AAL (Alternate Applications Laptop) converted yesterday from an SSC (Station Support Computer) A31p, with “legacy” EarthKAM software for automatically taking flash photography of the sample every two hours over the next several days, a Mini-MagLite, and a camcorder for historical video. BCAT science in micro-G is a unique opportunity to explore fundamental physics and simultaneously develop important future technology, such as computers operating on light, complex biomolecular pharmaceuticals, clean sources of geothermal power, and novel rocket engines for interplanetary travel. The experiment itself is simple and elegant: photographing samples of colloidal particles with a digital camera onboard the ISS. Colloids are tiny nanoscale spheres of Plexiglas a thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair (submicron radius) that are suspended in a fluid. They are ubiquitous (e.g., milk, smoke, and paint) and therefore interesting to study directly. Colloids are also small enough that they behave much like atoms and so can be used to model all sorts of phenomena because their size, shape, and interactions can be controlled.]

Oleg completed the periodic (about twice a month) replenishing of the Elektron’s water supply for electrolysis, filling the KOV thermal loops’ EDV container with purified water from CWC (Contingency Water Container, #1051, #1064) collected by the U.S. CCAA (Common Cabin Air Assembly) dehumidifier. [The 40-minute procedure is specially designed to prevent air bubbles larger than ~10 mm from getting into the BZh Liquid Unit where they could cause Elektron micropump shutdown.]

Sergey conducted the periodic checkout/verification of IP-1 airflow sensors in the various RS hatchways, including the passageways SM PrK (Service Module Transfer Compartment) – RO (SM Working Compartment), PkhO (SM Transfer Tunnel) – RO, PkhO – DC1, PkhO – FGB PGO, FGB PGO – FGB GA, and FGB GA-Node-1.

The FE-2 ran the visual microbial (bacterial & fungal) “T+5 Day” analysis of microbiology air samples collected on 9/5 with the MAS (Microbial Air Sampler) from mid-module locations in the station, including the Kibo laboratory. Surface sampling with the SSK (Surface Sampling Kit) was not performed on 9/5 due to crew time constraints. [MAS sampling is performed once every three months, taking bacterial and fungal air samples at each location, and there are two locations sampled in each module. The samples are analyzed after 5-days of incubation in four Petri dishes.]

In the US Lab, Kononenko 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.]

In the SM, Oleg completed the routine daily servicing of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS). [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.]

Kononenko also took care of 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).

Additionally, the FE-1 completed the regular monthly & quarterly TVIS maintenance, inspecting the condition of harnesses, belt slats, corner bracket ropes, IRBAs (Isolation Restorative Bungee Assemblies) and gyroscope wire ropes for any damage or defects, lubricating as required plus recording time & date values. [Today’s inspection included pulling the TVIS skirt back at the corners to verify that the stabilizer fasteners (two per corner) are still tight.]

The crewmembers completed their regular 2.5-hr. physical workout program (about half of which is used for setup & post-exercise personal hygiene) on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-2), TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-1), RED resistive exercise device (FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (CDR/MO-5, FE-1/MO-5).

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

Working off the Russian at-crew’s-discretion task list, Oleg conducted the regular status check of the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("Plants-2") experiment which researches growth and development of plants (barley) under spaceflight conditions in the Lada-13 greenhouse from IBMP (Institute of Bio-Medical Problems {Russian: IMBP}).

As generally every day now, starting at ~9:00am and running until 3:00pm, the US CDRA (Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly) was activated intermittently for two half-cycles to control ppCO2 levels. This configuration for the daily ops does not require connecting & disconnecting the ITCS cooling loop. [A forward plan is in work for cycling the CSV (CO2 Selector Valve) to prevent its sticking. CDRA remains “yellow” on the ISS critical systems list.]

At ~10:25am, Sergey & Oleg conducted a telephone conversation with Ekaterina Beloglazova, editor of Rossiysky Kosmos Magazine. [“How did the ATV undocking go? What did you monitor?”; “Tell us about your next month activities. What else do you have to do?”; “Fire drill – what is that?”]

Tonight at ~6:15pm EDT, Gregory Chamitoff is scheduled for a CDE (Crew Discretionary Event) via S-band/audio & Ku-band/video.

Hurricane Ike Update: As of Tuesday afternoon (yesterday), JSC/MCC-Houston is at pre-storm preparedness Level 4. Hurricane Ike is beginning to strengthen over the central Gulf of Mexico, headed WNW, with a currently predicted landfall near Matagorda Bay on Friday night, then taking a sharp turn north which could bring it directly into Houston. Preparations are underway at JSC for activating the BCC (Backup Control Center) at MSFC/Huntsville and the BAT (Backup Advisory Team). [JSC Threat Level 4: Initiated when a storm poses a threat to JSC within 72 hrs or a storm enters the Gulf and threatens JSC. Level 3: Storm poses a threat to JSC within 48 hrs. All non-flight MCC-H personnel are suspended and outlying facilities are powered down. Transfer to BCC operations is imminent. Level 2: Storm poses a threat to JSC within 36 hrs. One string of nominal S-band telemetry, command, and voice communications are retained with the ISS from MSFC and TsUP-Moscow. HRT (Hurricane Ride-Out Team) performs fire watch within MCC-H throughout the storm. Level 1: Storm poses a threat at JSC within 24 hrs. BAT will be prime for command & control of the ISS/US Segment. If BAT is unable to provide recommendations, BCC Deployment Team will be contacted. Initiation of the individual threat levels have to be authorized by the JSC Director.]

Progress M-65/30P Update: At Baikonur/Kazakhstan, the Soyuz-U rocket with the Progress M-65/30P resupply/cargo vehicle stands poised on Pad 1 for today’s launch. Propellant loading preparations began this morning at 8:00am, followed by the usual meeting of the State Board at 11:20am, to approve initiation of the tanking process, starting at 12:00pm. After launch at 3:50pm EDT, orbital insertion is at 3:58:47pm, followed later by two corrective burns (DV1/14.86 m/s at ~7:30pm; DV2/16.81 m/s at ~8:16pm) and a third burn tomorrow (DV3/2.00 m/s at ~4:34pm). Docking at the ISS/SM aft port is on 9/12 at ~5:01pm.

CEO (Crew Earth Observations) photo targets uplinked for today were Antarctic Ice Pack, S. Indian Ocean (sea ice and icebergs are beginning to move northwards from Antarctica, and breaks in the cloud cover may have allowed for photography of the sea surface. Looking to the right of track for holes in the cloud deck south of Madagascar. Images of ice are useful, both for tracking the motion of icebergs that may present a danger to shipping, and for study of ice breakup processes), and Hurricane Ike, Gulf of Mexico (Hurricane Ike was in the Gulf of Mexico at the time of the ISS overpass, and is predicted to be at Category 2 strength. Looking to the left of track towards Cuba for the storm. This will likely have been Greg’s last opportunity to photograph the storm before illumination conditions become unfavorable for photography).

CEO photography can be studied at this “Gateway” website: (as of 3/1/08, this database contained 757,605 views of the Earth from space, with 314,000 from the ISS alone).

Week 21 Scheduled Main Activities:

  • Thu. (9/11): MBI-11; JAXA Art video; TORU OBT rvw; CHeCS Rack relocate; SOTR-SMOK R&R; CWC audit; IWIS reprog.
  • Fri. (9/12): Tekh-20 (PK-3) BSPN; Lulin-5 check; ICS umbilical mate; Progress 30P docking (SM aft port); Node-2 cleanout; NUTRITION setup.
  • Sat. (9/13): NUTRITION w/blood collect; Progress SSVP-StM docking system dismantle; US-21 install; BITS2-12 connect; 30P cargo transfers (BTKh-1,-2,-3,-4,-20, SOLO-PCBA); BTKh-29 trans./install; IWIS dwnld; ham pass; FFQ.

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 7:34am EDT [= epoch]):
Mean altitude — 353.1 km
Apogee height — 357.8 km
Perigee height — 348.4 km
Period — 91.60 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0006982
Solar Beta Angle — 39.5 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 40 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 56195

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible.):
09/10/08 — Progress M-65/30P launch (~3:50pm)
09/12/08 — Progress M-65/30P docking (SM aft, ~5:01pm)
09/29/08 — ATV de-orbit (nighttime re-entry for observation from 2 NASA planes; 9:12pm)
10/01/08 — NASA 50 Years (official)
10/10/08 — STS-125/Atlantis Hubble Space Telescope Service Mission 4 (SM4) 12:33am
10/11/08 — Progress M-65/30P undocking (from SM aft)
10/12/08 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S launch (~3:03am EDT; Lonchakov, Fincke, Garriott)
10/14/08 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S docking (FGB nadir port, ~4:51am)
10/23/08 — Soyuz TMA-12/16S undocking (DC1 nadir) & landing
11/12/08 — STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 launch – MPLM Leonardo, LMC
11/14/08 — STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 docking
11/20/08 — ISS 10 Years
11/25/08 — Progress M-65/30P undocking & deorbit
11/26/08 — Progress M-66/31P launch
11/30/08 — Progress M-66/31P docking
02/09/09 — Progress M-66/31P undocking & deorbit
02/10/09 — Progress M-67/32P launch
02/12/09 — Progress M-67/32P docking
02/12/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A launch – S6 truss segment
02/14/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A docking
02/24/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A undocking
02/26/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A landing (nominal)
03/25/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S launch
03/27/09 – Soyuz TMA-14/18S docking (DC1)
04/05/09 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S undocking
04/07/09 — Progress M-67/32P undocking & deorbit
05/15/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch – JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD
05/25/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
05/27/09 — Six-person crew on ISS (following Soyuz 19S docking)
07/30/09 — STS-128/Atlantis/17A – MPLM(P), last crew rotation
10/15/09 — STS-129/Discovery/ULF3 – ELC1, ELC2
12/10/09 — STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola
02/11/10 — STS-131/Atlantis/19A – MPLM(P)
04/08/10 — STS-132/Discovery/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM1
05/31/10 — STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 – ELC3, ELC4 (contingency).

SpaceRef staff editor.