Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 13 August 2008

By SpaceRef Editor
August 13, 2008
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 13 August 2008

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

FE-2 Chamitoff started his day with the week-long experiment SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight), using the payload software for data logging and filling in questionnaire entries in the experiment’s session file on the HRF-1 laptop. [To monitor the crewmember’s sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, Greg wears a special Actiwatch device which measures the light levels encountered by him as well as his patterns of sleep and activity throughout the Expedition. 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.]

Upon wake-up, FE-1 Kononenko terminated his eighth MBI-12 SONOKARD experiment session for the long-term Russian sleep study, 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.]

Using the Russian PLASMA-ISS (KORONA) experiment, prepared yesterday, Oleg Kononenko had ~30 min to conduct measurement operations, recording images and spectra from the Soyuz TMA-12 surfaces during the ATV reboost firing.  Later, the video cassette and memory flash card with spectrometer data were removed, camcorder & laptop turned off and the hardware dismantled for stowage. [Using Russian Laptop 3 and the “Relaksatsiya” (Relaxation) spectrometer & video camera at SM (Service Module) window 9, the experiment registered luminosity values of the spacecraft surface from the plasma created by the thruster jets.]

After yesterday’s successful replacement of all 36 treadmill RBAs (Roller Bearing Assemblies), CDR Volkov & Gregory Chamitoff today worked through the final steps of maintenance activities on the TVIS (Treadmill with Vibration Isolation & Stabilization) by completing activation and checkout of the treadmill along with a video filming of the a noise capture & speed characterization test to verify TVIS operation and ensure that the belt repair activity has resolved the contact noises.  Afterwards, the crew was given the Go for TVIS operations by the ground.

Later, Chamitoff 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.

Continuing his preparations of payload operations in the JAXA JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), Gregory also completed the remaining two (of three) setups of the FPEF (Fluid Physics Experiment Facility) for the planned MS (Marangoni Surface) convection experiment by assembling FPEF MS core and cassette, checking them for leaks and completing FPEF MS assembly.    [In microgravity, fluids react differently to stresses when compared to the same stresses on Earth.  Understanding the responses to the stressors allows for improved fluid flow models to be designed.  Mass transfer on or in a liquid due to surface tension differences is called the Marangoni Effect (which, for example, stabilizes a soap film).  The Marangoni convection experiment in the FPEF examines fluid tension flow in micro-G:  first, a liquid bridge of silicone oil is formed into a pair of disks.  Then, using temperature differences imposed on the disks, convection is induced causing the silicone oil to move and transition through different types of flows because of its fluid instability: successively from laminar to oscillatory, chaos, and turbulence flows as the driving force increases.  The flow and temperature fields are observed in each stage and the transition conditions and processes are investigated.]

In preparation for the upcoming Kibo JEMRMS (Robotic Manipulator System) checkout later this week, Greg disconnected the RLT (Robotics Laptop) from its RIP (Remote Interface Panel) and hooked it up the JEMRMS UOP (Utility Outlet Panel) after verifying that the MDP (Management Data Processor) was powered off.

In the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory, Gregory unlocked the FSL FCE (Fluid Science Laboratory/Facility Core Element) which he had secured on 8/8 with four locking bolts against the acceleration forces caused by this morning’s ISS reboost.

In the SM, Oleg unstowed the LULIN-ISS radiation complex kit and set up its ICU (Interface Control Unit, Russian: BUI) with four PILLE radiation dosimeters, connecting it to a power outlet (PPS-26) and RSE-Med laptop.  The dosimeters were then activated for a duration of 24 hours. [Done before on 6/20.]

Kononenko also serviced the running Matryoshka-R (RBO-3-2) radiation payload which has taken over the ESA/RSC-Energia experiment ALTCRISS (Alteino Long Term monitoring of Cosmic Rays on the ISS/ALC) with its Spectrometer (AST) and ALC equipment on DC1 panel 429. [Oleg retrieved the ALC-949 PCMCIA (Portable Computer Memory Card International Adapter) from stowage, installed it for a checkout run of several minutes in the AST, then checked the card in the RSK-1 laptop, before re-inserting the #949 card into the AST PCMCIA slot for operation.]

A major activity for the FE-2 today was to support the COL Cycle 11 software transition on the POCs (Portable Onboard Computers).    [Today’s activity focused on PWS (Portable Workstation) A31p software partition transfers (4) to the MMU (Memory Mass Unit), disconnecting PWS-2 from the LAN (Local Area Network) and completing the reload on PWS-2 with the software upgrade from CD (compact disk).  More to come tomorrow.]

Chamitoff retrieved and stowed the four passive FMK (Formaldehyde Monitoring Kit) sampling assemblies deployed by him on 8/11 in the Lab (at P3, below CEVIS) and 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.]

CDR Volkov unstowed and configured the Russian biomedical "PILOT-M"/NEURO experiment (MBI-15), which requires a table, operator ankle restraint system, electrodes, and two hand controllers (RUO & RUD) for testing piloting skill in “flying” simulations on the RSK1 laptop under stopwatch control, and Neurolab-2000M sensors.  Operation of the experiment by Sergey is scheduled tomorrow, by Oleg on Friday.

The CDR also conducted ground tagup-supported checkout tests of the VShTV Wide-Angle Vertical Sighting Device on the television screen showing Earth terrain.  Screen shots were then downlinked to the ground via OCA.    [Purpose of the routine VShTV tests was to verify proper operation and optical quality of the device after being exposed to spaceflight conditions over a long period.]

The FE-1 performed another session of the Russian GFI-8 "Uragan" (hurricane) earth-imaging program, today “hard” scheduled, using the D2X digital camera with the F800 telephoto lens, then immediately downlinking photographs via the BSR-TM channel.  [Uplinked target area was the upper section of the Inguri river valley in the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range from the mountain ridge to a hydropower plant to the south of Mt. Elbrus.]

Oleg also supported the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("Plants-2") experiment, which researches growth and development of plants (peas) under spaceflight conditions in the Lada-13 greenhouse from IBMP (Institute of Bio-Medical Problems {Russian: IMBP}), by checking up on status, monitoring the greenhouse, taking pictures and downloading them to the ground,

The CDR had another 1h 35m reserved for more trash/equipment transfers to Progress 29P and loading it aboard, keeping the IMS (Inventory Management System) updated with the disposal transfers.

Later, Sergey performed the daily IMS 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).

Meanwhile, the FE-1 took care of the routine daily servicing of the SM’s 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.]

The crew conducted 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), RED resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-1, FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (CDR, FE-1).  Later, Oleg transferred 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).

At ~10:25am EDT, Dr. Chamitoff supported live interactive PAO interviews of ~10 minutes each with two clients,- KRIV-TV, Houston, TX and The Pearland Journal, Pearland, TX.

At ~12:05pm, Gregory powered up the SM’s amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, and power supply) and at 12:10pm conducted a ham radio exchange with young campers at the Summer Playground Camp of the town of Berkeley Heights, NJ.    [Berkley Heights sponsors an annual summer playground camp at one of the town’s parks.  Each year the New Providence Amateur Radio Club sets up its station, N2 XJ, at the camp as an educational opportunity for the children attending the camp.  The camp is open to all grades of school students, but most campers are in grades from kindergarten to sixth grade.  Questions to the crew were uplinked beforehand.  “Do you have any plants growing on the Space Station, and can you bring them back to Earth to study them?”; “Have you ever worked with a female astronaut?”; “What can a girl do to become an astronaut?”; “Have you done a spacewalk, and what is it like?”; “I’ve heard that Jeff Williams liked spicy foods in space.  Do you have the same experience?”; Can you see an eclipse from the Space Station despite the station’s high speed?”; “Can you see aurora from the Space Station?”; “How do you eat and drink while floating?”; “Can you see meteors from the Space Station, and do they look the same as here on Earth?”; “Do you think that children will go into space someday?”; “Will you be home in time to vote, and what state do you vote in?”]

At ~3:10pm, the FE-2 supported a real-time audio/video & software checkout of the new BCC (Backup Control Center) setup at the HOSC (Huntsville Operations Support Center).  Gregory is required only to check out the NetMeeting SSC (Station Support Computer) portion, including a short video exchange with the ground.

ATV Reboost Update: The ISS reboost with two ATV1 “Jules Verne” OCS (main propulsion) thrusters was successful.  The maneuver started this morning at 3:58am EDT for 16 min 35 s and completed nominally. Actual Delta-V was 3.3 m/s vs. 3.3 m/s (10.8 ft/s) planned, resulting in a mean altitude increase of 5.8 km (3.1 nmi), as planned.  The reboost consumed 325.4 kg of propellant for the maneuver and 195 kg of propellant for attitude control. Purpose of the maneuver was altitude maintenance and to set up phasing for upcoming visiting vehicles.  “Bon spectacle, Monsieur Verne!”

CEO (Crew Earth Observations) photo targets uplinked for today were Santorini Volcanic Complex, Mediterranean (Santorini [aka Thera], with its steep-walled caldera rim, is easy to detect from low earth orbit as a circular island group—looking left of track after crossing the large Mediterranean island of Crete.  Santorini is composed of overlapping shield volcanoes cut by at least four partially overlapping collapse calderas.  The youngest caldera formed about 3600 years BP during the Late-Bronze-Age that forced abandonment of the thriving island.  Subsequent eruptions occurred in 197 BC, 1650 AD [submarine eruption] and 1950), Tropical depression Hernan, E. Pacific (Dynamic event.  This well structured storm may still have been photogenic when ISS passed by to the east), Mauna Loa, Hawaii (detailed images left of track of volcanic features on the crest and flanks of the largest volcano on Earth are requested.  Mauna Loa comprises most of the island of Hawaii, and rises 56,000 feet from its base on the sea floor, with 13,680 feet visible above sea level.  Mauna Loa is among Earth’s most active volcanoes, having erupted 33 times since its first well-documented historical eruption in 1843.  Its most recent eruption was in 1984), and Andrews Forest, Oregon (nadir pass.  Detailed, overlapping images at nadir acquired this target.  Documentation of seasonal vegetation change is the rationale for this LTER [Long Term Ecological Research] site on the slopes of the Cascade Range in Oregon).

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).

Remaining Week 17 Main Activities:

  • Thurs. (8/14):  MBI-15/Neuro ops, JAXA JEMRMS checkout review, 29P stow, COL Cycle 11 software transition.
  • Fri. (8/15):   MBI-15/Neuro ops, MBI-21/Pneumocard, JEMRMS checkout, CDMK check, VOA power down, 29P stow, KOB-1 maintenance.
  • Sat. (8/16):  SAMS Ghosting, Weekly house cleaning.

ISS Orbit (as of this noon, 12:12pm EDT [= epoch]):
Mean altitude — 356.3 km
Apogee height — 362.3 km
Perigee height — 350.2 km
Period — 91.67 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0008987
Solar Beta Angle — -30.2 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.71
Mean altitude gain in the last 24 hours — 5800 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 55758

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible.):
09/02/08 — Progress M-64/29P undocking, from FGB nadir
09/07/08 — ATV1 undocking, from SM aft port (loiter until 9/29 for nighttime reentry/observation)
09/10/08 — Progress M-65/30P launch
09/12/08 — Progress M-65/30P docking (SM aft)
10/01/08 — NASA 50 Years (official)
10/08/08 — STS-125/Atlantis Hubble Space Telescope Service Mission 4 (SM4)
10/11/08 — Progress M-65/30P undocking (from SM aft)
10/12/08 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S launch (~3:03am EDT)
10/14/08 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S docking (FGB nadir port, ~4:51am)
10/23/08 — Soyuz TMA-12/16S undocking (DC1 nadir) or 10/24?
11/10/08 — STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 launch – MPLM Leonardo, LMC
11/12/08 — 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.