Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 11 February 2009

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

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

Progress M-66/32P is continuing its rendezvous flight to the ISS. Docking is scheduled for ~2:19am EST on 2/13 (Friday). [Today’s tasks include checkout of the Progress’ TORU system by sending commands from the TORU panel at TsUP-Moscow to the onboard system. On Friday, Progress KURS will be activated at ~12:40am EST on Daily Orbit 1 (DO1), SM KURS two minutes later. Progress floodlight will be switched on at a range of ~8 km (~1:35am). Flyaround to the SM aft docking port (~400 m range, in sunlight) starts at 1:53am. Start of final approach: ~2:10am (DO1) in sunlight, contact: ~2:19am. Note: Soyuz & Progress flights are supported by (currently) 11 RGS stations: five connected to TsUP-Moscow by fiber-optic land line, four by the “Primyorka” geostationary satellite, and two in autonomous mode. Real-time commanding is normally performed directly by the RGS sites, with voice link to/from TsUP. There is also a tracking ship, “Cosmonaut Posayev” (KVP 47), in the port of Kaliningrad.]

FE-2 Magnus started the day with the daily download of the accumulated data of the SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) experiment from her Actiwatch to the HRF-1 (Human Research Facility 1) laptop as part of another week-long session with SLEEP, her third. [To monitor the crewmember’s sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, the crewmembers 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 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, as part of the crew’s discretionary “job jar” task list.]

Mike Fincke had the fifth day of his first six-day SOLO (Sodium Loading in Microgravity) session, which comprises a series of diet intake loggings, body mass measurements and blood & urine samplings in two session blocks. Today, Mike continued with measurements and sampling of body mass (with SLAMMD/Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device), blood (with PCBA/Portable Clinical Blood Analyzer), and urine, begun yesterday and continuing for one more day. Samples were stowed in the MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS). [During the Session 1 block, the crewmember follows a special low-salt diet, during Session 2 a high-salt diet. For both diets, specially prepared meals are provided onboard. All three daily meals will be logged on sheets stowed in the PCBA (Portable Clinical Blood Analyzer) Consumable Kit in the MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS) along with control solution and cartridges for the PCBA. SOLO, an ESA/German experiment from the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Cologne/Germany, investigates the mechanisms of fluid and salt retention in the body during long-duration space flight. Body mass is measured with the SLAMMD (Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device); blood samples are taken with the PCBA. Background: The hypothesis of an increased urine flow as the main cause for body mass decrease has been questioned in several recently flown missions. Data from the US SLS1/2 missions as well as the European/Russian Euromir `94 & MIR 97 missions show that urine flow and total body fluid remain unchanged when isocaloric energy intake is achieved. However, in two astronauts during these missions the renin-angiotensin system was considerably activated while plasma ANP concentrations were decreased. Calculation of daily sodium balances during a 15-day experiment of the MIR 97 mission (by subtracting sodium excretion from sodium intake) showed an astonishing result: the astronaut retained on average 50 mmol sodium daily in space compared to balanced sodium in the control experiment. SLAMMD, performed first on Expedition 12 in December 2005, provides an accurate means of determining the on-orbit mass of humans spanning the range from the 5th percentile Japanese female and the 95th percentile American male. The procedure, in accordance with Newton’s 2nd Law of Motion, finds the mass by dividing force, generated by two springs inside the SLAMMD drawer, by acceleration measured with a precise optical instrument that detects the position versus time trajectory of the SLAMMD guide arm and a micro controller which collects the raw data and provides the precise timing. The final computation is done via portable laptop computer with SLAMMD unique software. To calculate their mass, crewmembers wrap their legs around a leg support assembly, align the stomach against a belly pad and either rest the head or chin on a head rest. For calibration, an 18-lbs. mass is used at different lengths from the pivot point, to simulate different mass values. Crew mass range is from 90 to 240 lbs.]

In preparation for an upcoming test with the Russian payload TKhN-7 SVS (Self-Propagating High-Temperature Synthesis) experiment hardware and as a result of the SVS end-to-end checkout performed on 2/5, Yuri Lonchakov conducted a search for an HDV (High Definition Video) adapter to be used for a test with the SVS experiment hardware. [SVS uses its own camera, “Telescience” hardware from PK-3 (Plasma Crystallization) and the onboard Klest TV system for researching self-propagating high-temperature fusion of samples in space.]

As part of his regular physical fitness checkup, FE-1 Lonchakov spent an hour with the Russian MO-5 MedOps protocol of cardiovascular assessment during graded physical load on the VELO cycle ergometer, his third, assisted by Mike Fincke as CMO (Crew Medical Officer). [The assessment 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. Measurements were telemetered down via VHF to RGS (Russian Groundsite) during a comm window at ~4:30am EST (DO3). For the graded-load 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.]

Lonchakov 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, replacement of EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine containers and performing US condensate processing (transfer from CWC to EDV containers) if condensate is available.]

Continuing the current round of regular preventive maintenance of RS (Russian Segment) ventilation systems, the FE-1 used vacuum cleaner and soft brush to clean the detachable VT7 fan screens 1, 2 & 3 of the three SOTR (Thermal Control System) gas-liquid heat exchangers (GZhT4) In the FGB (Funktsionalnyi-Grusovoi Blok).

CDR Fincke conducted the weekly “T+2d” inflight microbiology analyses for the samples collected on 2/9 from the PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) Ambient plus SVO-ZV and SRV-K Warm taps.

Servicing the US OGS (Oxygen Generation System), Sandy Magnus opened the OGS rack and performed the regular water vapor purge of the H2 sensor. The O2 outlet QDs (quick disconnects) were then reconnected. [Since the WDS (Water Delivery System) was already off, Sandy did not have to deinstall it to gain OGS access. It was left off.]

Lonchakov performed major periodic replacements on the SM’s ASU toilet facility, changing out replaceable parts with new components, such as a sensor unit (A8A-9060), two receptacles (PR & MP), four hoses, a T-connector, an elbow fitting, an indicator, a filter insert (F-V), and the pretreat container (E-K) with its hose. All old parts were discarded as trash. [E-K contains five liters of pre-treat solution, i.e., a mix of H2SO4 (sulfuric acid), CrO3 (chromium oxide, for oxidation and purple color), and H2O (water). The pre-treat liquid is mixed with water in a dispenser (DKiV) and used for toilet flushing.]

Fincke retrieved and stowed the four passive FMK (Formaldehyde Monitoring Kit) sampling assemblies deployed by Magnus on 2/9 in the Lab (at P3, below CEVIS) and Service Module (SM, at the most forward handrail, on panel 307), to catch any atmospheric formaldehyde on a collector substrate for subsequent analysis on the ground. [Two monitors each are usually attached side by side, preferably in an orientation with their faces perpendicular to the direction of air flow.]

In preparation for the upcoming Progress M-66/32P docking, Mike worked with Yuri to configure & test the TV downlink from the RS over the MPEG-2 (Moving Pictures Expert Group 2) encoder via U.S. OpsLAN and Ku-band in “streaming video” packets. [The setup involved the designated A31p laptop in the FGB for converting analog-to-digital video, the video connection from the SONY HVR-Z1J digital high-definition camcorder and the ZVK LIV Experimental Video Complex in the SM over the MPEG-2 encoder. After the test, with the RSCE PingMaster application, Yuri deactivated the A31p again. The KL-211 MPEG-2 Encoder uses the RSS1 A31p laptop (for monitoring the digital video) and a U.S. SSC (Station Support Computer) A31p laptop (for converting analog TV from Russian PAL mode to U.S. NTSC). The video hardware connection is checked with a network ping test. The digital video transmission is carried over JSL(Joint Station LAN)/Ethernet plus OCA/Ku-Band to MCC-Houston and from there to Moscow via the ESA Gateway for COL-CC/Oberpfaffenhofen transmission to 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).]

The FE-1 performed the periodic checkout/verification of IP-1 airflow sensors in the various RS (Russian Segment) hatchways, including the passageways PrK (SM Transfer Compartment)–PrK–RO (SM Working Compartment), PkhO (SM Transfer Compartment)–RO, PkhO–DC1, PkhO–FGB PGO, FGB PGO–FGB GA, FGB GA–Node-1.

Sandy took measurements for the regular (currently daily) atmospheric status check for ppCO2 (Carbon Dioxide partial pressure) in the Lab and in the SM at panel 449 plus battery ticks, using the hand-held CDMK (CO2 Monitoring Kit, #1002). The unit was then deactivated and returned to its stowage location (LAB1S4). [Purpose of the 5-min activity is to check on the cabin CO2 level and to trend with MCA (Major Constituents Analyzer), i.e., to correlate the hand-held readings with MCA measurements. The results are usually logged in the OSTPV (Onboard Short Term Plan Viewer) and are immediately available to the ground. Note: CO2 is measured on board by the CDMK in percentage (i.e., concentration). To convert to mmHg, multiply the CDMK value (e.g., 0.55%) by the current cabin pressure (e.g., 760 mmHg) and divide by 100 (example result: 4.8 mmHg).]

The station residents 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 (CDR, FE-2), TVIS treadmill (FE-1), ARED advanced resistive exerciser (CDR, FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1/MO-5).

Working from his discretionary “time permitting” (unscheduled) task list, Yuri also conducted the regular daily IMS (Inventory Management System) maintenance task by updating/editing the IMS standard “delta file” including stowage locations for the regular weekly automated export/import to its three databases on the ground (Houston, Moscow, Baikonur).

A second voluntary task for the FE-1 was 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}).

At ~2:38am EST, the FE-2 powered up the SM’s amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and at 2:43am conducted a ham radio session with students of the 1st & 2nd Lyceums of Alexandroupolis, Alexandroupolis, Greece. [Alexandroupolis is the capital of Evros (population over 60.000) and has a leading role in the geographical area of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, being the connecting gate between the countries of the European Union, the Mediterranean area, Asia and the countries around the Black sea. Therefore, the town has become one of the major junctions of the European Union. Questions to Sandy were uplinked beforehand. “Do all the members of the crew have equal access to the rooms of ISS or is there any restricted access to some of them?”; “What made you decide to become an astronaut?”; “Have you ever faced any kind of technical problems while onboard ISS?”; “How many individuals does it take and for how long can one stay in the ISS?”; “Do you regard a manned mission to the Mars in the next 5 to 10 years feasible?”; “Can you tell us which is the most important task you have to do during your mission?”; “How long does the training of a cosmonaut last?”; “Do you believe that your ISS experience will influence your future life in any way?”; “Can the ISS be functional for a while unmanned or is the continual presence of the crew essential?”; “If you had the possibility would you choose a permanent stay on the ISS?”]

At ~8:55am, the ISS crew held their weekly teleconference with ISS Program Management at JSC/Houston via Ku-band/video & S-band/audio.

At ~1:55pm, the crew participated in a PAO TV downlink of greetings to the city of Vladimir on the occasion of the opening of an exhibition in its Star City Cosmonautics museum dedicated to the upcoming 75th Birthday of Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin (born March 8, 1934). [“Dear city residents and guests, participants of the space exhibition opening in the glorious city of Vladimir. Our vast Motherland has very few ancient cities like yours, which bonds all of us together, Soviet and Russian cosmonauts, and international astronauts by memory of our first cosmonaut on the planet, Yuri Gagarin. Yuri Alexeyevich was perfecting his flying skills in the skies over Vladimir and has completed the journey of his illustrious life on your land. We, the International Space Station crew, are following the space path initiated by Yuri Gagarin. The fact that rare exhibits from Cosmonaut Training Center collection will be shown in this historical Russian city to commemorate the 75th birthday of Yuri Gagarin, is a very meaningful event for us. There’s no doubt that the staff of the cosmonautics museum will dazzle the guests with exhibits and make participants feel proud of our great achievements in space; and the younger generation will be driven to learn the unknown. And who knows? Maybe one of the young exhibition visitors would continue the good deed initiated by Gagarin.”]

At ~2:30pm, Sandy Magnus is scheduled for her 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).

Crew Sleep Cycle Shift: To accommodate the early Progress docking on 2/13, sleep cycle will shift by 2.5 hrs on Friday, viz. –

  • 2/12: Wakeup – 1:00am EST (reg.); sleep – 2:00pm; wakeup – 10:30pm.
  • 2/13: Sleep – 2:00pm (2/13).
  • 2/14: Wakeup – 1:00am (reg.)

CEO photo targets uplinked for today were Bohai Sea Smog, China (weather systems seem to have cleared out for the moment over the Bohai Sea [also called the Bohai Gulf]. Looking to the right of track and towards the Huang He [Yellow River] delta for smog. Looking across the sea and towards land should allow Mike & Sandy to capture the edges of the aerosol. Overlapping images), and Mount Redoubt, Alaska (the sun angle for Redoubt is not particularly high. However, if the volcano erupts between the time this target list was composed and the time the ISS orbit passed near it, the crew should have been able to see the ash plume. Unrest continues at Redoubt, discrete earthquakes are occurring at a rate of one to several events per hour. Webcam images showed a steam plume rising up to several hundred feet above the crater on 2/9. CEO researchers requested the short lens because of the low sun angle. Looking along the Aleutian chain of islands towards Cook Inlet).

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).

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
02/13/09 — Progress 32P docking (2:19am EST); [crew wake: 10:30pm on 2/12]
02/18/09 — FRR (Flight Readiness Review) for STS-119/Discovery
02/22/09? — STS-119/Discovery/15A launch – S6 truss segment — “NOT EARLIER THAN”
02/24/09? — STS-119/Discovery/15A docking
03/05/09? — STS-119/Discovery/15A undocking
03/08/09? — STS-119/Discovery/15A landing
03/26/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S launch
03/28/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S docking (DC1)
04/07/09 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S undocking
04/07/09 — Progress 32P undocking & deorbit
05/12/09 — STS-125/Atlantis Hubble Space Telescope Service Mission 4 (SM4)
05/15/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch – JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD
05/27/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
Six-person crew on ISS
08/06/09 — STS-128/Discovery/17A – MPLM (P), LMC, last crew rotation
08/XX/09 — Soyuz 5R/MRM2 (Russian Mini Research Module, MIM2) on Soyuz
09/XX/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1)
11/12/09 — STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 – ELC1, ELC2
12/10/09 — STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola
02/11/10 — STS-131/Atlantis/19A – MPLM(P), LMC
04/08/10 — STS-132/Discovery/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM1
05/31/10 — STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 – ELC3, ELC4
12/XX/11– Proton 3R/MLM w/ERA.

SpaceRef staff editor.