Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 11 July 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
July 12, 2009
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 11 July 2009

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Saturday. Crew off-duty day.

CDR Padalka began his rest day by attending to the current experiment session with the Russian/German TEKh-20 Plasma Crystal-3+ (Plazmennyi-Kristall/PK-3+) payload, activating the turbopump in the Service Module (SM)’s Transfer Compartment (PkhO) for keeping the vacuum chamber (ZB) in the SM Work Compartment (RO) evacuated. The turbopump will be deactivated again before sleeptime, at ~5:25pm EDT. [Main objective of PK-3 is to study wave propagation and dispersion ratio in a dust plasma, i.e., fine particles charged and excited by HF (high frequency) radio power inside the evacuated work chamber, at a specified power of HF discharge, pressure, and a varied number of particles.]

The six-member crew performed the regular weekly three-hour task of thorough station cleaning, including COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory) and Kibo. ["Uborka", usually done on Saturdays, includes removal of food waste products, cleaning of compartments with vacuum cleaner, damp cleaning of the SM (Service Module) dining table, other frequently touched surfaces and surfaces where trash is collected, as well as the sleep stations with a standard cleaning solution; also, fan screens and grilles are cleaned to avoid temperature rises. Special cleaning is also done every 90 days on the HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) bacteria filters in the Lab.]

As part of the house cleaning, Padalka & Romanenko conducted regular maintenance inspection & cleaning on fan screens, Group A, in the FGB (TsV2), DC1 (V3), and SM (VPkhO, VPrK, FS5, FS6 & FS9), plus dust filter replacement in the FGB.

Later, the CDR performed the routine daily servicing of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS) in the SM, including the weekly collection of the toilet flush (SP) counter and water supply (SVO) readings for calldown to TsUP-Moscow.

Gennady also checked up on the Russian POTOK-150MK (150 micron) air filter unit of the SM’s SOGS air revitalization subsystem, gathering weekly data on total operating time & “On” durations for reporting to TsUP-Moscow. [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 spent their free time with several VolSci (Voluntary Weekend Science) activities of their choice:

  • After disconnecting an interfering cable of the ALTEA DAU (Anomalous Long Term Effects on Astronauts Data Acquisition Unit) hardware and removing the “Kabin” structure around the Lab WHC (Waste & Hygiene Compartment), to make temporary room for the subsequent experiment, Mike Barratt conducted a test session of the payload SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites), for which he set up the work area in the Lab and two PD-100 camcorders for video capture, dimmed the GLAs (General Luminaire Assemblies) and used the SSC (Station Support Computer) laptop to control the test satellites. Afterwards, the ALTEA cable was reconnected and the WHC privacy enclosure restored. [The SPHERES experiment is a test bed for the development and testing of formation flying and other multi-spacecraft control algorithms. Today’s session again used three satellites and five beacons on mounts, with three CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) tanks and six battery packs, to experiment with docking, formation flight, and reconfigurations. In addition, the session added a wide range of control algorithms for maneuvers previously demonstrated using basic control laws. Modern robust control techniques are combined with path planning and formation flight algorithms to improve the performance of the system. The session also continued to obtain data for control reconfiguration after satellites dock (and their mass properties change). Per applicable Flight Rule, SPHERES operations have no CO2 output constraints if the CDRA (CO2 Removal Assembly) is operating in dual-bed or single-bed mode.]
  • FE-2 Wakata & FE-5 DeWinne reviewed their choice of JAXA EPO (Educational Payload Operations) sessions, then set up video equipment and conducted –
    • Demo BERN, a demonstration of Bernoulli’s Law in micro-G, and
    • Demo Eat, a demonstration of eating in space.
  • FE-4 Thirsk conducted a Photosynch Mapping session, i.e., taking special shorts with the NIKON D2Xs camera to map the interior of the station (with no personal articles in sight).

Frank DeWinne set up the battery of the Scopemeter for charging, to prepare it for tomorrow’s scheduled EFBM (External Facility Berthing Mechanism) current monitor checkout.

FE-5 also completed the regular bi-monthly reboots of the OCA Router and File Server SSC (Station Support Computer) laptops.

FE-4 closed the protective shutters of the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module) and U.S. Lab in preparation for tomorrow’s Progress 33P re-rendezvous.

At ~6:10am EDT, Koichi Wakata powered up the SM’s amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and at ~12:48pm conducted a ham radio session with students at Mugegawa Junior High School, Seki, Gifu, Japan.

At ~8:35pm Frank DeWinne held a ham radio session with students at Technopolis, a permanent platform for science and technology in Mechelen, Flanders, Belgium.

At ~9:00am, Padalka & Romanenko conducted a PAO telephone conference with the editor of the Russian Rossiyskiy Kosmos Magazine, Ekaterina Beloglazova. [How much have done so far with experiments? Give us more details about Plasma Crystal. What are you doing to welcome guests? What will you be doing during this period? Your plans for next month?]

Working from the Russian discretionary “time permitting” task list, Gennady was to conduct another run for Russia’s Environmental Safety Agency (EKON), making observations and taking KPT-3 aerial photography of environmental conditions on earth using the Nikon D2X with the SIGMA 300-800mm telephoto lens.

The crew completed their regular daily 2.5-hr. physical workout program on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-1, FE-2), TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation (CDR, FE-3, FE-4, FE-5), RED resistive exercise device (FE-1, FE-2, FE-3, FE-4, FE-5) and VELO cycle ergometer with bungee cord load trainer (CDR). [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, Mike Barratt 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).

STS-127-2J/A Endeavour Launch Slip: A NO GO was given for ET (External Tank) tanking today. At about 2:51pm EDT yesterday, strong thunderstorms in the area of the launch pad resulted in seven lightning strikes within the pad perimeter. While there is no evidence of damage to the hardware, the teams will be proceeding through a series of electrical system retests. These retests cannot be completed in time to support tanking for a launch attempt today. The next tanking attempt will be tomorrow, Sunday, 7/12, with an MMT and weather briefing scheduled for 8:00am EDT. Tomorrow’s launch window opens at 7:08pm EDT. The launch weather forecast for tomorrow calls for a 40% chance of weather prohibiting launch due to a chance of showers and thunderstorms within 20 nautical miles of the Shuttle Landing Facility.

Weekly Science Update (Expedition Twenty — Week 6)

3-D SPACE: Third session successfully completed on 6/30. “Thanks Mike!”

AgCam (Agricultural Camera): “Mike, thank you for your troubleshooting efforts last week. The diagnostics process helped us to narrow down possibilities of what the problem is. We checked into the files you couldn’t find last week. It turns out that they should not be there to begin with, so that’s not an issue. The image files all showed some level of corruption, but not with any discernible pattern. We are working on an error tree that will pinpoint the problem. We are performing ground-based troubleshooting and analysis prior to asking for more crew involvement. Thanks again for your efforts.”

ALTCRISS (Alteino Long Term monitoring of Cosmic Rays on the ISS): Complete.

ALTEA DOSI (NASA/ASI): Standing by.

BCAT-4/5 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test 4/5): No report.

BIOLAB (ESA): Microscope target test successfully completed on 6/19.

Biological Rhythms (JAXA): No report.

BISE (CSA, Bodies in the Space Environment): No report.

BISPHOSPHONATES: “Koichi, Bob, thanks for completing your pill ingestion. Your next session is scheduled for 7/13.”

CARD (Long Term Microgravity: A Model for Investigating Mechanisms of Heart Disease, ESA): No report.

CARDIOCOG-2: Complete.

CB (JAXA Clean Bench): CB periodic maintenance was completed. Ground has confirmed that it is fully functional.

CBEF (JAXA Cell Biology Experiment Facility): No report.

CCISS (Cardiovascular & Cerebrovascular Control on Return from ISS): “Bob: Thanks for completing your second ICV with CCISS session. We will be downlinking the data later this week for the PI."

CFE (Capillary Flow Experiment): Reserve.

CSI-3/CGBA-5 (CGBA Science Insert #2/Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus 5): Complete.

CGBA-2 (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus 2): Complete.

CIR (Combustion Integrated Rack): See MDCA/Flex.

CSLM-2 (Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures 2): Complete.

Commercial 2 (JAXA): Completed.

Commercial 3 (JAXA): Completed.

CW/CR (Cell Wall/Resist Wall) in EMCS (European Modular Cultivation System): Complete.

DomeGene (JAXA): Complete.

EarthKAM (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students): Planned.

EDR (European Drawer Rack, ESA): The rack is continuously active in support of the PCDF (Protein Crystallization Diagnostic Facility) experiment. EDR is providing power / data and temperature control (via cooling loop) to PCDF.

ELITE-S2 (Elaboratore Immagini Televisive – Space 2): Planned.

ENose (Electronic Nose): No report.

EPM (European Physiology Module): PCBA S/W Upgrade was successfully completed on 7/2, in preparation for SOLO execution.

EPO (Educational Payload Operations, NASA): “Your SLAMMD EPO from 6/29 was just what the EPO team was looking for. We look forward to working with the crew again today for Bernoulli’s Principle and Eating.”

EPO 3-min Video (JAXA): No report.

EPO J-Astro Report (JAXA): Ongoing.

EPO Space Clothes (JAXA): Complete.

EPO Hiten (Dance, JAXA): Complete.

EPO Moon Score (JAXA): Planned.

EPO Try Zero-G (JAXA): “No report.

EPO Kibo Kids Tour (JAXA): Complete.

EPO Spiral Top (JAXA): No report.

ETD (Eye Tracking Device): Completed.

EuTEF (European Technology Exposure Facility): EuTEF platform and its instruments have been running nominally during this reporting period, with the exception of a MIL-Bus error on 7/3. – DEBIE-2: The instrument continues to regularly generate empty science packets, and as a work-around the instrument script includes a daily power cycle command, which is skipped from ground if the science packets remain nominal. – DOSTEL, EXPOSE: On-going science acquisition; – FIPEX: Science script successfully performed from 7/2 to 7/7. A new script has been started on 7/8; – MEDET: On 7/6 the instrument had to be switched off due to low temperature (high ISS beta angle period); – PLEGPAY: Successful Long Duration Test (LDT) runs have been carried out from 7/4 to 7/8. A new 5 days LDT run has been started on 7/8.

FACET (JAXA): No report.

FSL (Fluid Science Laboratory): “Thanks to Bob for installing the hard disk drive of the Microgravity Vibration Insulation System (MVIS). Thanks to Frank for removing the Optical Target#4 from FSL after successful completion of the FSL Optical Test #4. On the same day, MARS centre also successfully downlinked MMA data. FSL stands ready for the extensive MVIS commissioning phase which starts on 7/10.

GEOFLOW: No report.

HDTV System (JAXA): To be launched by HTV1.

Holter ECG (JAXA): No report.

HQPC (JAXA): To be launched by 34P.


ICV (Integrated Cardiovascular): “Bob, thanks again for another great ICV session! We are looking forward to getting the data down on Friday. The team would like to thank you and Frank for your diligence and hard work to troubleshoot the Cardiopres data download activities. Also, Bob we appreciate your efforts to track down the runaway Actiwatch.”

IMMUNO (Neuroendocrine & Immune Responses in Humans During & After Long Term Stay at ISS): Complete.

InSPACE-2 (Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions 2): No report.

IRIS (Image Reversal in Space): “Bob, thank you very much for the work on 7/9. The IRIS team was happy to have been able to work with you in real-time. We understand that there were issues with two of the images during the final attempt, and will be troubleshooting that on the ground in preparation for the next run. The IRIS team was pleased to get results from the remaining images, however, and regards that as a successful run.

LOCAD-PTS (Lab-on-a-Chip Application Development-Portable Test System): Completed.

Marangoni Experiment for ISS in JAXA FPEF (Fluid Physics Experiment Facility): No report.

MAXI (Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image, JAXA): Ongoing.

MDCA/Flex: No report.

Micro-G Clay (JAXA EPO): Complete.

MMA (JAXA/Microgravity Measurement Apparatus): MMA data downlink performed on 7/1. FSL Optical Target #4 check-out was completed by 7/1.

MISSE (Materials ISS Experiment): Ongoing.

Moon Photography from ISS (JAXA EPO): No report.

MSG-SAME (Microgravity Science Glovebox): Complete.

MTR-2 (Russian radiation measurements): Passive dosimeters measurements in DC1 “Pirs”.

MULTIGEN-1: Completed.

NEUROSPAT (ESA/Study of Spatial Cognition, Novelty Processing and Sensorimotor Integration): No report.

NOA-1/-2 (Nitric Oxide Analyzer, ESA): Complete.


PADLES (JAXA, Area PADLES 3; Passive Dosimeter for Lifescience Experiment in Space): Continuing radiation dose accumulation.

PCDF-PU (Protein Crystallization Diagnostic Facility – Process Unit): The science team is now focusing their study on the EP1 reactor, to possibly perform the last science script of the PCDF mission. This script, called “Defect Cycle” aims at inducing a thermal shock to the EP1 reactor after complete dissolution of the old crystals and an initial growth phase. Such thermal shock is likely to have a significant influence on the defects in the resulting crystals. On 7/5 and 7/8 spontaneous reboots of PCDF occurred, with very limited impact to science. Both EP2 and EP4 reactors show good and stable crystals for analysis after return on 2J/A (STS-127).

PCRF (Protein Crystallization Research Facility) Reconfiguration (JAXA): Complete.

PMDIS (Perceptual Motor Deficits in Space): Complete.


RadGene & LOH (JAXA): Complete.

SAMS/MAMS (Space & Microgravity Acceleration Measurement Systems): Ongoing.

SAMPLE: Complete.

SEDA-AP (Space Environment Data Acquisition Equipment-Attached Payload, JAXA): Exposed Payload,- to be launched by 2JA.

SHERE (Shear History Extensional Rheology Experiment): Complete.

SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight): “Mike, Bob, Frank: Thanks for completing another week of sleep logging. We will downlink the data later in the month. Thanks for your participation. Mike: Thank you for the successful data download Friday.”

SMILES (JAXA): Exposed Payload, to be launched by HTV1.

SOLAR (Solar Monitoring Observatory): SOLAR software upgrade was performed on 7/1. A zero procedure was tested successfully to confirm the upgrade. On 7/9, SOLAR was put back on Feeder #1 for the weekly SOLSPEC calibration run. B-USOC has also requested some imagery from the ISS external cameras to assess any movement of the SOLAR platform when left on Feeder #2-only configuration, i.e., when the platform is not motor-controlled. Imagery will be collected from 7/9 to 7/19. Further confirmation of software upgrade is expected at the start of the next Sun visibility window, expected to start around 7/20.

SOLO (Sodium Loading in Microgravity): PCBA software upgrade was successfully completed on 7/2, in preparation for SOLO execution.

SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellite): No report.

SPICE (Smoke Point In Co-flow Experiment): No report.

Swab (Characterization of Microorganisms & Allergens in Spacecraft): Complete.

TRAC (Test of Reaction & Adaptation Capabilities): Planned.


VLE (Video Lessons ESA): VLE-1 completed.

WAICO #1/#2 (Waving and Coiling of Arabidopsis Roots at Different g-levels): Complete/Planned (2J/A Stage).

CEO (Crew Earth Observations): Through 7/7, the ground has received a total of 16,930 of ISS CEO imagery for review and cataloguing. “We are pleased to confirm your acquisition of views of the following targets: Johnston Island Reef, Central Pacific Ocean – good detail – requirements complete; Valparaiso, Chile – both context and detailed views of the HMS Beagle site – requirements complete; Santiago Chile – excellent context and detailed views – requirements complete; and Southern Mozambique – located despite the clouds – we’ll continue to request this one. Your beautiful view Millennium Island (formerly Caroline) just west of the International Dateline in the South Pacific will be published on NASA/GSFC’s Earth Observatory website this weekend. This pristine, elongated atoll illustrates the subtle features and evolution of coral reef structures over old, submerged volcano. Nice shot! We are also pleased to report our receipt just moments ago this morning (7/10) of your first confirmed Polar Mesopheric (noctilucent) Cloud photos acquired earlier today over eastern North America at 3:14am EDT. Kudos and thanks for your patient efforts to acquire these transient phenomena! Thanks also for the prompt downlink.”

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 morning, 8:02am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 346.6 km
Apogee height – 351.6 km
Perigee height — 341.6 km
Period — 91.47 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0007425
Solar Beta Angle — 68.7 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.74
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 50 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 60978

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
07/12/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch – JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD; (7:14pm EDT)
07/12/09 — Progress 33P Re-rendezvous attempt (closest approach 10m; ~1:06pm) & separation
07/14/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A docking;
07/13/09 — Progress 33P deorbit burn, entry interface (11:45am; 12:20pm)
07/24/09 — Progress 34P launch
07/26/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A undocking;
07/28/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A landing
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.