Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 11 October 2008

By SpaceRef Editor
October 11, 2008
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 11 October 2008

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Saturday – off duty day for CDR Volkov, FE-1 Kononenko & FE-2 Chamitoff.

After yesterday’s deferral of the on-orbit Soyuz 16S motion control system (SUD) test due to failure of the Russian BITS2-12 onboard measurement telemetry system (see below), Sergey Volkov & Oleg Kononenko today spent an hour in the TMA-12 Descent Module (SA) supporting the ground-commanded checkout of the SUD, Mode 2/”Docked”. [The test, to prepare for a possible contingency relocation of the spacecraft to the FGB, should 17S be unable to dock at the FGB nadir port on 10/14, and the 16S undocking on 10/23, included pressurization of the KDU Combined Propulsion System Section 2 and Tank 2, a test of the pilot’s RUD translational hand controller, and a hot firing of the DPO braking thrusters. KDU maneuver thrusters and DPO lateral thrusters were not fired. For the test, the science windows in the US Lab and Kibo module were shuttered, and station attitude was handed over to Russian thruster control at 4:25am EDT, commanded to free drift at 4:45am, then back to LVLH XVV (Local Vertical Local Horizontal/x-axis in velocity vector) attitude. The one-minute firing started on Daily Orbit 1 at ~4:46am. Attitude control was returned to the U.S. segment (USOS) at 5:40am, and the Lab window could be re-opened at ~8:40am for CEO.]

FE-2 Chamitoff continued the daily diet monitoring for the SOLO (Sodium Loading in Microgravity) experiment. SOLO runs in two blocks of six days each, with the second having started yesterday. [For SOLO, Chamitoff follows a special high-salt diet, for which prepared meals are provided onboard. All three daily meals are being logged on sheets stowed in the PCBA Consumable Kit in the MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS) along with control solution and cartridges for the PCBA. Blood and urine samples are stowed in the MELFI.]

The crew performed the regular weekly three-hour task of thorough station cleaning. ["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 FE’s sleep station 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, Volkov & Kononenko conducted regular maintenance inspection & cleaning on fan screens in the FGB (TsV2), DC-1 (V3) and SM (VPkhO, VPrK, FS5, FS6 & FS9).

Kononenko later also completed the routine daily servicing of the SOZh system (ECLSS/Environment Control & Life Support System) in the SM, including the periodic checkup on the Russian POTOK-150MK(150 micron) air filter unit of the 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 KTO & KBO solid waste containers and replacement of EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine containers.]

At ~9:45am EDT the crewmembers conducted their regular WPC (Weekly Planning Conference) with the ground, discussing next week’s "Look-Ahead Plan" (prepared jointly by MCC-Houston and TsUP-Moscow timeline planners) via S-band/audio, reviewing the monthly calendar, upcoming activities, and any concerns about future on-orbit events.

The two cosmonauts had 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), Oleg at ~7:15am, Sergey at ~8:50am.

At ~8:18am, Chamitoff conducted a test pass of the onboard ham radio station with an ARISS (Amateur Radio on ISS) ground station, preceded by a 15-min telecon on S-band.

At ~12:05pm EDT, Gregory powered up the SM’s amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and conducted, at 12:10am, a ham radio exchange with the Colombia Mission Project at Buchanan High School, Clovis, CA. The COLUMBIA Mission began three years ago as a classroom project to introduce students to the magnificent accomplishments of space exploration. Due to its popularity with the broad student population, it is now an on-campus club. Each year the Project creates, and continues to evolve, a space station/planetary exploration simulation and ENDEAVOUR to excite, educate, and illuminate young minds to the staggering tasks undertaken by NASA. Each year, approximately 100 students organize themselves into an administrative structure of committees and subcommittees with the shared goal of “launching” our chosen astronauts into space for a two day mission aboard our mock space station. Questions were uplinked to Greg beforehand. [“Do you notice that your body composition changes over the course of the mission? If so, what training will you do to return it to normal?”; “What has been your favorite moment during your time on the ISS? Do you receive up-to-date entertainment, such as TV episodes or movies on the ISS?”; “Have you been able to follow the presidential campaign?”; “Since we last spoke, have you been able to spot any new locations on earth that you were interested in observing?”; “Has being in space affected your dream patterns?”; “What food items on earth do you miss the most?”; “Were you able to see Hurricane Ike form over the Caribbean a few weeks ago? From your view, were you able to observe how devastating it was?”; “What is the most interesting task you’ve performed this week?”; “What will you miss most about your time on the ISS? We know that you are unable to bathe in a conventional manner. How do you maintain your personal hygiene while on the Space Station?”; “What was either the most gruesome, or the funniest aspect of astronaut training?”]

The crew 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/2.5h, FE-1/2.5h), and RED resistive exercise device (FE-2).

Later, the FE-1 will transfer the exercise data file 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 discretionary “time permitting” task list, CDR Volkov ran another session for Russia’s Environmental Safety Agency (EKON), making observations and taking KPT-3 aerial photography with the NIKON D2X camera of environmental conditions in Russia. [Today’s target was the Plymouth area.]

As generally every day now, today starting at 9:00am and running until 3:00pm, the US CDRA (Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly) is running 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.]

An activity to upgrade SSC (Station Support Computer) laptops to Wireless capability (by installing wireless cards and modifying software) has been added to Chamitoff’s discretionary “job jar” task list.

BITS Failure: Overnight on 10/9-10, the Russian BITS2-12 onboard telemetry measurement system failed, resulting in a shutdown of RS (Russian Segment) SOZh/ECLSS equipment. As per program, this caused a Low Pressure alarm and a transition of the station to Survival Mode at 2:02am EDT (yesterday morning) and load shedding (power down of selected systems). Attitude control was automatically handed over to the RS while the US CMGs (Control Moment Gyroscopes) also briefly remained in control until MCC-H flight controllers commanded the USOS (US On-orbit Segment) to free drift to avoid a “force fight” between the control systems, allowing RS to take full attitude control. ISS attitude control never was lost, and RS thrusters maintained control for approximately 4 hours, expending about 44 kg of propellants. USOS systems were recovered, and the ground commanded attitude control handover to CMG Momentum Management, while TsUP-Moscow switched to the BITS backup system and recovered telemetry. All RS ECLSS were recovered. The actual source of the BITS failure is still under investigation.

MFCV Adjustments Update: FE-2 Chamitoff yesterday completed the fourth and last MTL MFCV (Moderate Temperature Loop/Manual Flow Control Valve) adjustment in preparation for Flight ULF-2, using the Non-Intrusive Flow Meter in the Lab Aft Endcone to adjust the MFCV to the desired flow reading of 79 kg/hr. Because of another zero-calibration required for the Flow Meter, the adjustment activity took longer than expected, and the also planned Node-1 MTL RFCA (Rack Flow Control Assembly) measurement task could not be performed. The BOB (Breakout Box)/Flow Meter setup was left intact, but the remaining task has not yet been rescheduled.

Soyuz TMA-13/17S Launch Update: Soyuz TMA-13/17S is in countdown for launch to the ISS tomorrow morning at 3:01:29 am EDT (11:01am Moscow time).

17S Flight Plan Overview:

Flight Day 1:

  • Launch to Orbit, ~9 min in duration; auto deployment of solar arrays & antennas; pressurization of prop tanks and filling of Soyuz manifolds; docking probe extended; leak check by crew of BO & SA modules; KURS self tests; test of BDUS angular rate sensors; attitude established (OSK/LVLH); crew opens BO-SA hatch, ingresses BO and doffs Sokol suits; test of RUO rotational hand controller; Soyuz put in ISK (sun spuinning/”barbecue”) mode; data for DV1 & DV2 burns uplinked; SOA air purification system activated in BO and deactivated in SA; DV1 burn; DV2 burn; Soyuz back in ISK attitude; crew clean & dry Sokols; crew sleep.

Flight Day 2:

  • Post-sleep activities; BO workstation prepared; data for DV3 burn uplinked; crew tests RUO-2 & RUD-2 rotational and translational hand controllers; DV3 attitude established by crew; DV3 burn executed; Soyuz back in ISK attitude; crew swaps CO2 filters in BO; crew sleep.

Flight Day 3:

  • Post-sleep activities; KURS-A heaters activated; data for automated rendezvous uplinked; crew dons Sokols; SOA deactivated in BO and activated in SA; crew ingresses SA, closes BO-SA hatch and dons harnesses for docking; DV5 burn; automated rendezvous & docking via KURS-P in ISS and KURS-A in Soyuz; docking; pressure equalized between Soyuz and ISS ; crew transfers.

Weekly Science Update (Expedition Seventeen — Week 25)

3-D SPACE: In progress.

ALTCRISS (Alteino Long Term monitoring of Cosmic Rays on the ISS): Measurements continue in FGB module.

ANITA (Analyzing Interferometer for Ambient Air): Continuing.

BCAT-3/4 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test 3/4): “”Greg, thank you for setting up the BCAT-4 experiment. We’re looking forward to seeing your experiment sample photographs when they are downlinked.”

CARDIOCOG-2: Completed.

CCISS (Cardiovascular & Cerebrovascular Control on Return from ISS): Reserve.

CFE (Capillary Flow Experiment): Reserve.

CW/CR (Cell Wall/Resist Wall) in EMCS (European Modular Cultivation System): Samples returned on 1J.

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

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

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

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

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

EPO (Educational Payload Operations): Reserve.

ETD (Eye Tracking Device): Completed.

EuTEF (European Technology Exposure Facility): Due to safety concerns identified for the PLEGPAY instrument (when operated in Plasma Discharge mode), the entire EuTEF platform was put in survival mode on 9/1 at around 11:00am EDT (just prior to 29P undocking). Since then, the EuTEF power feeder#1 has been de-activated and no science acquisition is possible. Request has been approved for intermittent activation for 3 of the 9 EUTEF payloads. EuTEF platform power feeder#1 has been re-activated for 8-hrs periods on 10/4, 10/6 and 10/8. This activation protocol wioll continue every other day until safety issues are solved with the PLEGPAY instrument. This only mitigates the science loss for the EXPOSE, DOSTEL and MEDET instruments. — DEBIE-2: Inactive;– DOSTEL: Inactive, part of proposed intermittent activation;– EuTEMP: Inactive;– EVC: Inactive;– EXPOSE: Inactive, part of proposed intermittent activation;– FIPEX: Inactive; — MEDET: Inactive, part of proposed intermittent activation; — PLEGPAY: Inactive;– TRIBOLAB: Inactive.

FSL (Fluid Science Laboratory): FSL is nominal.

GEOFLOW: In progress.

HDTV System Test DL (JAXA): In progress.

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): In progress.

Integrated Immune: In progress.

KUBIK-FM1/ KUBIK-FM2 Centrifuge/Incubators: Completed.

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

Marangoni Experiment for ISS (JAXA Fluid Physics Experiment Facility): Run #4 completed. However, because of the liquid bridge separation, the parameters of the 4th run were changed.

Micro-G Clay (JAXA EPO): Complete.

MISSE (Materials ISS Experiment): Ongoing.

Moon Photography from ISS (JAXA EPO): Complete.

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

MULTIGEN-1: Completed.

MSG-SAME (Microgravity Science Glovebox): Complete.

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


PADLES (Passive Dosimeter for Lifescience Experiment in Space): In progress.

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

PMDIS (Perceptual Motor Deficits in Space): Complete.

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

SAMPLE: Complete.

SHERE (Shear History Extensional Rheology Experiment): Complete.

SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight): In progress.

SOLAR (Solar Monitoring Observatory): The last Sun visibility window ended on 10/4. The instruments operated nominally, with the exception of SOLACES which encountered a synchronization problem for its two mcro-controllers units. – SOVIM: acquiring science until 10/4; since idle;- SOLSPEC: acquiring science until 10/4; since idle; — SOLACES: instrument powered on and troubleshooting is ongoing, on the micro-controllers synchronization problems.

SOLO (Sodium Loading in Microgravity): The first SOLO session started on 10/3, and it consists of 2 blocks, ending on the 17S docking day 10/14. The first block started on 10/3 and finished on 10/8 and included a normal sodium diet for the crewmember. For the first block the crewmember performed 2 body mass measurements (10/6 and 10/8), urine collection (from 10/7 to 10/8) and blood (PCBA) and 18ml SERUM + EDTA plasma) collection (10/7). These operations will be repeated during the second block which is with a low sodium diet of 5 days. The ground teams have seen spikes in the delta pressure water loop for both HRF racks during activation, deactivation and the setting of flow cases. ESA and NASA teams are currently assessing a work-around plan to allow for the operation of the racks for the second block of SOLO started on 10/9.

SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellite): Reserve.

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

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


WAICO #1 (Waving and Coiling of Arabidopsis Roots at Different g-levels): Completed.

CEO (Crew Earth Observations): Through 10/1 the ground has received a total of 8,210 frames of CEO images for review and cataloging. Photos with times corresponding to CEO target request times are reviewed first and since last week’s report included: South Tibesti Megafan, Chad (a) (some of the area was acquired, but dust clouds obscured most of it); Post-Ike Survey, Upper Texas Coast (some useful imagery was acquired, but there were focus issues); B.P. Structure, Libya (several useful context views acquired, two including Oasis Impact Crater as well); South Tibesti Megafans, Chad (b) (target acquired, but dust clouds present again); and Sevilleta Wild Life Refuge, New Mexico (target not acquired). “Your recent fine view of Sandy Cape, Fraser Island, Australia will be published on NASA/GSFC’s Earth Observatory website this weekend. Your image of northern end of the world’s largest sand Island, located off the coast of Queensland offers an excellent illustration of the geologic processes related to sand dune formation. Great shot!”

CEO photo targets uplinked for today were Tenoumer Impact Crater (this tiny 1.9km-diameter impact crater is located in the desert interior of northern Mauritania. Despite its small size, the crater is geologically fresh [just over 20,000 years old] and relatively unweathered in its desert setting. Researchers are seeking a few detailed, near-nadir views of this feature. ISS had a mid-morning track with clear weather anticipated. As ISS trackded northeastward from the Mauritanian coast, Greg was to note the large, well-photographed Richat Structure to the right of track and then begin looking only seconds later for Tenoumer just right of track), Caracas, Venezuela (the Venezuelan capital city is situated in a narrow valley, just inland from the Caribbean Sea coast south of a forested mountain range. Trying for detailed near-nadir views of the city as ISS approached from the SW in mid-morning light with possibly partly cloudy conditions), Hubbard Brook, New Hampshire (this small Long Term Ecological Reseach [LTER] site, located in northwestern New Hampshire, is one of several in the New England region that researchers have been attempting to acquire. Although most of these targets were well right of track on this early afternoon pass, this may have been some of the best weather conditions in months and just prior to winter snows. Looking right of track and trying for oblique, contextual views of the area roughly between Albany, New York and Quebec, Canada using the short lens settings), and Niwot Ridge Tundra, Colorado (ISS had a near-nadir view of this target area in late morning with generally fair weather anticipated. This LTER site is located in north-central Colorado within the alpine areas above 3,000m just west of Boulder. As the station tracked northeastward over the Colorado Rockies, before it reached the plains to the E, Greg was to try for contextual mapping of the ridge and its surroundings).

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).

Week 25 Scheduled Main Activities:

  • Sun. (10/12): Soyuz TMA-13/17S launch; SOLO #2; PFC; VRU disk exchange.

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 5:57am EDT [= epoch]):
Mean altitude — 352.7 km
Apogee height — 355.4 km
Perigee height — 350.0 km
Period — 91.59 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0004014
Solar Beta Angle — -45.9 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 48 hours — 38 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 56682

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible.):
10/12/08 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S launch (3:01:29 am EDT; Fincke, Lonchakov, Garriott)
10/14/08 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S dock (FGB nadir port, ~4:33am EDT)
10/23/08 — Soyuz TMA-12/16S undock (DC1 nadir, 8:15pm) & land (11:36pm) = 10/24 — 9:36am Kazakhstan)
11/02/08 — Progress 30P reboost; Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends
11/16/08 — STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 launch – MPLM Leonardo, LMC (~7:02pm EST) – U/R
11/18/08 — STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 docking – U/R
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
12/01/08 — STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 landing (~1:25pm EST est.)
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.