Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 11 March 2009

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

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

Today’s wake period moved forward again (wake 9:00am, sleep 12:30am EDT on 3/12), as the crew continued on a sleep cycle shift protocol designed to accommodate the Mission 15A docked period (see Wake/Sleep Schedule, below, based on a nominal STS-119 launch tonight).

Yesterday’s Russian Orlan spacewalk EVA-21A from the DC1 (Docking Compartment) airlock by CDR Fincke & FE-1 Lonchakov concluded successfully well ahead of time, achieving all objectives. The spacewalkers –

  • Mounted the EXPOSE-R hardware on the URM-D (Portable Multipurpose Workstation) on the SM RO l.d., connect it to the PF-3 connector patch panel and remove protective cover (it was activated by the ground and is operating nominally);
  • Photographed the URM-D with EXPOSE-R monoblock & cables, ROBOTIC hardware, IPI-SM hardware and routed cables;
  • Removed fasteners (Aramide straps) in the installation areas of the docking target and AR-VKA & 2AR-VKA antennas on DC1;
  • Closed MLI (Multi-Layer Insulation) flap on the SM PF-10 connector patch panel;
  • Re-installed the SKK #9 removable cassette container in nominal position on SM;
  • Inspected & photographed Progress antenna ASF1-M-VKA from DC handrail 3034; and
  • Inspected & photographed the conditions of ISS RS exterior & structural elements (“Panorama-2009” DTO).

The spacewalk began 2 min late, with EVA hatch open at 12:22pm EDT, and ended at 5:11pm, lasting 4 hrs 49 min. It was the 115th EVA in support of ISS assembly, outfitting & maintenance, with a total spacewalk time of 723 h 37 min, and the 87th EVA out of the ISS.

This morning, CDR Fincke started the day with the daily download of the accumulated data of the SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) experiment from his Actiwatch to the HRF-1 (Human Research Facility 1) laptop as part of another week-long session with SLEEP, his 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.]

The CDR downlinked the photos obtained during the spacewalk with the two NIKON D2X digital cameras.

Afterwards, Fincke underwent the standard US post-EVA PHS (Periodic Health Status) exam, with FE-2 Magnus assisting as CMO (Crew Medical Officer). [The assessment used the AMP (Ambulatory Medical Pack), stethoscope, oral disposable thermometer and ABPC (Automatic Blood Pressure Cuff) from the ALSP (Advanced Life Support Pack). All data were then logged on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) and the hardware stowed. On the MEC laptop, the PHS exam is guided by special IFEP (In-Flight Examination Program) software. The obligatory Russian MO-9 post-EVA test was taken by Mike last night.]

Later, the crew was scheduled for their periodic PMCs (Private Medical Conferences) via S- & Ku-band audio/video, Yuri at ~12:05pm, Sandy at ~2:40pm, Mike at ~3:15pm.

Yuri Lonchakov collected the standard post-EVA radiation readings from the EMU-worn & background “Pille-MKS” dosimeters and transferred the sensors (A0305, A0306, A0307) to their regular sites. He also retrieved the ID-3 personal dosimeter from the chest liner pocket inside his EMU and re-attached it on his flight outfit for constant wear.

Mike Fincke meanwhile reworked the US EVA tools used yesterday during EVA-21A to their correct configuration for the 15A spacewalks and stowed them.

The Russian Elektron oxygen generator was reactivated by the ground at 32 amps, supported by FE-1 Lonchakov monitoring the external temperature of its secondary purification unit (BD) for the first 10 minutes of operations to ensure that there was no overheating. [The gas analyzer used on the Elektron during nominal operations for detecting hydrogen (H2) in the O2 line (which could cause overheating) is not included in the control algorithm until 10 minutes after Elektron startup. Elektron had been turned off for yesterday’s installation of a new EMI filter and today’s cabling work (which included making connections to the BITS2-12 Onboard Telemetry Measurement System).]

Lonchakov 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 #1 of the regenerable dual-channel filtration system. The process will be terminated tomorrow morning at ~12:15am EDT before crew sleep, followed tomorrow by Bed #2 regeneration. (Last time done: 2/18-2/19). [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.]

At ~2:20pm, Fincke & Magnus will tag up with ground specialists to discuss the ground-analyzed 400 & 800mm-lens photo/video training imagery that resulted from their latest RPM (R-bar Pitch Maneuver) drill on 3/5. [The RPM drill prepares crewmembers for the bottom-side mapping of the Orbiter at the arrival of the Shuttle (STS-119/Discovery/15A) on 3/13. During the RPM at ~600 ft from the station, the “shooters” have only ~90 seconds for taking high-resolution digital photographs of all tile areas and door seals on Discovery, to be downlinked for launch debris assessment. Thus, time available for the shooting will be very limited, requiring great coordination between the two headset-equipped photographers and the Shuttle pilot.]

Afterwards, the FE-2 performed the periodic sampling from the WPA (Water Processor Assembly) waste water tank, collecting two samples (after purging).

Mike Fincke is to conduct the periodic status check on the running payloads CGBA-5 (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus 5) and ENose (Electronic Nose), both located in the ER-2 (EXPRESS Rack 2). [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.]

Later, the FE-2 will perform 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.]

After the crew’s “midday” meal (3:30pm-4:30pm), Sandra Magnus will work in the US Airlock (A/L), continuing preparations for the 15A spacewalks, by –

  • Terminating EMU battery recharging in the BSA (Battery Stowage Assembly),
  • Installing EMU battery #2075 into EMU 3005,
  • Stowing EMU battery # 2074 and charger temporarily in a CTB (Cargo Transfer Bag),
  • Verifying that the PSA (Power Supply Assembly) utility adaptor has adequate clearance before opening or closing EDDA (EMU Don Doff Assembly),
  • Charging REBA (Rechargeable EVA Battery) #1009 with REBA remaining in EMU 3005 during the charge),
  • Degassing PWRs (Payload Water Reservoirs) #1003, #1005, #1032 (by centrifugation), and
  • Installing temporarily a protective cover over QD026 (Quick Disconnect 026) of the A/L PHA (Prebreathe Hose Assembly).

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), TVIS treadmill (FE-1/2.5h, FE-2), and ARED advanced resistive exerciser (CDR, FE-2).

Later today, the US crewmembers are 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), Mike at ~6:10pm, Sandy at ~7:50pm.

ISS Crew Sleep Shift Planning: To synchronize the ISS crew’s timeline with STS-119/15A arrival & docked period, the station wake/sleep cycle continues to undergo a number of shifts which started on 3/7. For the next few days, the schedule is as follows:


Wake: 9:00am – 2:00am 3/13


Wake: 10:30am – 1:50am 3/14


Wake: 10:20am – 1:20am 3/15


Wake: 9:50am – 12:50am 3/16


Wake: 9:20am – 12:50am 3/17


Wake: 9:20am – 12:20am 3/18


Wake: 8:50am – 11:50pm


Wake: 8:20am – 11:20pm


Wake: 7:50am – 11:20pm


Wake: 7:50am – 10:50pm


Wake: 7:20am – 10:50pm


Wake: 7:20am – 10:10pm


Wake: 6:40am – 9:30pm

STS-119/Discovery: Countdown is proceeding smoothly for Discovery’s launch tonight at 9:20pm EDT. Weather forecast is highly favorable for launch with a very slight probability (~5%) of launch-prohibiting low-cloud ceiling. EAFB (Edwards Air Force Base) and the TAL (Trans-Atlantic Abort Landing) sites are also forecast GO. ET loading began at 11:55am at the T-6hr mark. The countdown enters a 2.5hr-hold at 2:55pm and resumes at 5:25pm at the T-3h mark. The STS-119 crew begins boarding at 6:00pm. After another hold at 8:05pm, the count resumes at 8:15pm at the T-20m mark, enters a last hold at 8:26pm at the T-9m mark and resumes for the final phase at 9:11:10pm. At the launch time of 9:20:10pm the ISS is over the central South Pacific at 35.7 deg S Lat., 139.8 deg W Long.
>>>15A Crew & Mission Timeline:

  • CDR: Lee Archambault
  • PLT: Dominic Antonelli
  • MSs: Joseph Acaba; John Phillips; Steven Swanson; Richard Arnold
  • ISS FE-2s: Koichi Wakata (UP); Sandra Magnus (DOWN)
  • FD1 (3/11) — Launch 9:20:10pm EDT
  • FD2 (3/12) — TPS inspection using OBSS; checkout EVA suits; prepare for rendezvous/docking
  • FD3 (3/13) — Rendezvous; RPM, docking (~6:27pm); exchange Soyuz seat liners
  • FD4 (3/14) — Unberth S6 truss w/SSRMS; handoff S6 to SRMS; move SSRMS to WS1, hand S6 back to SSRMS; park SSRMS with S6 at overnight position; prepare for EVA1; campout (Swanson & Arnold)
  • FD5 (3/15) — EVA1; install S6 truss & solar arrays (~3 pm–9:30pm)
  • FD6 (3/16) — Focused TPS inspection with OBSS on SRMS (if not required, deploy solar array wings); prepare for EVA2; campout (Swanson & Acaba)
  • FD7 (3/17) — EVA2; prepare P6 battery R&R (Mission 2JA); P1/P3 tasks; deploy P3 UCCAS & S3 PAS (~2:15pm–8:45pm)
  • FD8 (3/18) — Deploy two S6 solar array wings (115 ft long); move MT from WS4 to WS1; prepare for EVA3; campout (Arnold & Acaba)
  • FD9 (3/19) — EVA3; relocate CETA; lube SPDM LEE B; replace two RPCMs; S1 tasks (~1:15pm–7:45pm)
  • FD10 (3/20) — Crew off duty; continue cargo transfers; joint news conference; prepare for EVA4; campout (Swanson & Arnold)
  • FD11 (3/21) — EVA4; JEM GPS antenna; reconfigure Z1 patch panel; photograph thermal radiators; S3 PAS; WETA (~12:45pm–7:15pm)
  • FD12 (3/22) — Crew off duty; final cargo transfers; reboost; close hatches (~3:27pm)
  • FD13 (3/23) — Undock (~10:23am); flyaround; late TPS inspection using OBSS
  • FD14 (3/24) — Orbiter FCS checkout, RCS hot fire
  • FD15 (3/25) — Nominal deorbit (2:24pm); landing (3:27pm KSC).

CEO photo targets uplinked for today were Chaiten Volcano (ISS had a near nadir pass at mid-morning with fair weather over this recently reactivated volcano in southern Chile. Prior to its eruption in May 2008, the volcano had been quiet for more than 9,000 years; it has caused significant damage to the town of Chaiten located to the SW. Looking just left of track for the volcano; photography of the summit lava domes is of particular interest. Steam and ash plumes may also have been visible. Last month on 2/24 while the crew successfully captured amazing imagery of Villarrica volcano they were also able to capture Chaiten with the 180 mm lens. This time the CEP group asked for a tighter view with the 800 mm lens), S. Georgia/S. Sandwich (the South Georgia Island is an arching, mountainous and glaciated island that lies about 860 miles east-southeast of the Falkland Islands. The South Sandwich Islands form a separate island group and are to the SE. Weather was marginal with only partial clearing expected, but Mike & Sandy were to try for detailed views of the glaciers on the north coast of South Georgia), and Acraman Impact Crater (this 590 million year old impact is located in the north central part of the Eyre Peninsula of southern Australia. It is approximately 90km in diameter and its basin includes several dry to partially dry lakes. ISS pass was in late mid-afternoon with partly cloudy conditions expected. As the station approached the south coast of Australia from the NW, the crew was to look inland, left of track, and try for contextual views of the target area).

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, 8:23am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 354.9 km
Apogee height — 361.4 km
Perigee height — 348.4 km
Period — 91.64 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0009655
Solar Beta Angle — 47.5 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.71
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 57 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 59058

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
03/11/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A launch – S6 truss segment — 9:20:10pm EDT
03/13/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A docking — 6:27pm EDT
03/23/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A undocking — 10:23am EDT
03/25/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A deorbit (Orbit 217, 2:24pm) & landing — 3:27pm EDT (KSC)
03/26/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S launch (7:49am EDT)
03/28/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S docking (SM aft port; 9:14am EDT)
04/07/09 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S undocking (1:02am) & landing (4:20am EDT)
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
05/15/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch – JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD
05/27/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
05/29/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S docking (FGB nadir)
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.