Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 13 March 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
March 13, 2009
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 13 March 2009

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

With STS-119/15A launch re-scheduled for not earlier than 3/15, the crew’s wake period is again shifting (9:00am-11:00pm EDT) to accommodate the Discovery’s arrival on 3/17 and the subsequent docked period.

Upon wakeup, FE-1 Lonchakov terminated his 10th experiment session for the long-term Russian sleep study MBI-12/SONOKARD, 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. [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.]

Afterwards, the FE-1 Lonchakov set up the equipment for his third session with the Russian experiment MBI-18 DYKHANIE (“Respiration”) and undertook the session, controlled from the RSE-Med laptop and supported by ground specialist tagup. Yuri then closed down the hardware and stowed it. [Dykhanie-1 uses two body belts (PG-T/thoracic, PG-A/abdominal), a calibrator, resistor, mouthpiece, etc., to study fundamental physiological mechanisms of the external breathing function of crewmembers under long-duration orbital flight conditions. During the experiment, physiological measurements are taken and recorded with a pneumotachogram, a thoracic pneumogram, an abdominal pneumogram, and pressure data in the oral cavity. All experimentally derived plus salient environmental data along with personal data of the subject are recorded on PCMIA card for return to the ground at end of the Expedition. Objectives include determining the dynamics of the relationship between thoracic (pectoral) and abdominal breathing function reserves and their realization potential during spontaneous breathing, the coordinated spontaneous respiratory movements in terms of thoracic and abdominal components of volumetric, time & rate parameters of spontaneous respiratory cycle, identification of the features of humoral-reflex regulation of breathing by dynamics of ventilation sensitivity of thoracic and abdominal components to chemoreceptor stimuli, etc. Overall, the experiment is intended to provide a better understanding of the basic mechanisms of pulmonary respiration/gas exchange gravitational relations of cosmonauts.]

FE-2 Magnus conducted the fourth of five sampling sessions with the LOCAD-PTS (Lab-on-a-Chip Application Development-Portable Test System) Phase 1 payload, swabbing four samples and using all three types of LOCAD-PTS cartridges, thus allowing for detection of Gram Negative and Gram Positive bacteria, as well as yeasts and molds. [Sample site was crew choice as long as the four swabs were adjacent to each other. Media slides were placed inside incubation bags and transferred to the incubation area. Data were recorded in the IPV (International Procedure Viewer) log file. LOCAD uses small, thumb-sized “microfluidic” cartridges that are read by the experiment Reader. The Gram+ LOCAD cartridges provide a miniaturized molecular test for Gram-positive bacteria, a group of bacteria predominant on spacecraft cabin surfaces that test ‘positive’ with the Gram stain (developed by Danish microbiologist Hans Christian Gram in 1884). The cartridges contain dried extract of horseshoe crab blood cells (LAL/Limulus amebocyte lysate) and colorless dye. LAL tests are used for the detection and quantification of bacterial endotoxins: in the presence of the bacteria, the dried extract reacts strongly to turn the dye a green color. Therefore, the more green dye, the more microorganisms there are in the original sample. The handheld device tests this new analysis technology by sampling for the presence of gram positive bacteria in the sample in about 30 minutes, showing the results on a display screen. Background: Lab-on-a-Chip technology has an ever-expanding range of applications in the biotech industry. Chips are available (or in development) which can also detect yeast, mold, and gram positive bacteria, identify environmental contaminants, and perform quick health diagnostics in medical clinics. The technology has been used to swab the MERs (Mars Exploration Rovers) for planetary protection. With expanded testing on ISS, began by Sunita Williams in March/April last year, this compact technology has broad potential applications in space exploration–from monitoring environmental conditions to monitoring crew health. The current study should prepare for long-duration exploration by demonstrating a system that enables the crew to perform biochemical analysis in space without having to return samples to Earth.]

CDR Fincke conducted the monthly inspection of the TVIS (Treadmill with Vibration Isolation & Stabilization), in particular looking for the condition of its roller bearings.

Fincke also performed the periodic visual inspection of the ARED (Advanced Resistive Exercise Device) and its VIS (Vibration Isolation System) rails & rollers, then evacuated its cylinder flywheels to maintain proper vacuum condition and sensor calibration.

In the DC1 (Docking Compartment), the FE-1 terminated the discharge process on the first 825M3 Orlan battery pack in the ZU-S recharge unit and started it on the second set.

As part of reconfiguring the DC1 to its pre-EVA state, the FE-1 re-installed and connected the MATRYOSHKA-R (RBO-3-2) radiation suite’s LULIN-5 electronics box with its associated spherical "Phantom" unit which he had temporarily stowed in the FGB on 3/1. [Data being accumulated by LULIN comprise measurement date, time, mode, three-directional flux data (per per sec.), and three-directional dose rate.]

As a standard operating procedure after deactivation/reactivation of the BITS2-12 onboard measurement telemetry system and VD-SU monitoring mode, Lonchakov performed a quick function verification of the SUBA Ethernet connection between the OpsLAN (Operations Local Area Network) and the BRI Smart Switch Router in the SM. [The routine task uses the RSS1 laptop for a comm check with the RSC-E PingMaster application and for downloading BRI log files.]

Later today, in the JAXA Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), Sandra Magnus will be power-cycling the MLT (Microgravity Measurement Apparatus Laptop Terminal), then support SSIPC/Tsukuba (Space Station Integration & Promotion Center) in checking out the MDRL (Medium Rate Data Link) and its connectivity from JEM-LAN (Local Area Network) to SSIPC via the US-LAN and POIC (Payload Operation & Integration Center/Huntsville). She will terminate the test tonight before bedtime. [When the JEM Exposed Facility is in place after the 2J/A mission, its payloads will downlink their data over Ethernet link to the Japanese Flight Control Center. Since the downlink will use new a new address system and requires some data conversion, today’s checkout is to verify the new communication method.]

Sandra will also fill out the regular weekly FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire), her 13th, on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer). [On the FFQs, NASA astronauts keep a personalized log of their nutritional intake over time on special MEC software. Recorded are the amounts consumed during the past week of such food items as beverages, cereals, grains, eggs, breads, snacks, sweets, fruit, beans, soup, vegetables, dairy, fish, meat, chicken, sauces & spreads, and vitamins. The FFQ is performed once a week to estimate nutrient intake from the previous week and to give recommendations to ground specialists that help maintain optimal crew health. Weekly estimation has been verified to be reliable enough that nutrients do not need to be tracked daily.]

Afterwards, Sandy is scheduled to service the WPA (Water Processor Assembly) in the US Lab, performing the regular changeout of the TOCA (Total Organic Carbon Analyzer)’s waste water bag, then conducting the periodic WPA sample analysis in the TOCA after first priming (filling) the TOCA water sample hose. Results are to be transferred to SSC-7 (Station Support Computer 7) via USB drive for downlink and the data are also logged for calldown. [The current procedure is a work-around for TOCA’s failed catalyst.]

Also in the Lab, the FE-2 is to perform the regular controlled shut-down of the EHS VOA (Environmental Health System-Volatile Organic Analyzer), with the ground power-cycling its RPC-3 (Remote Power Controller 3), part of RPCM (RPC Module) LAD42B_A.

Shortly before bedtime, Sandy conducts the routine maintenance on the four CSA-CP (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products) units, first replacing the batteries in all instruments, then zero-calibrating the units. [The CSA-CP is a passive cabin atmosphere monitor that provides quick response capability during a combustion event (fire). Its collected data are stored on a logger. Following zero calibration, the backup units (#1058, #1051, #1044), were returned to their nominal stowage location in the Node-1, along with the sampling pump, while the prime unit was deployed at the SM Central Post.]

Yuri Lonchakov has 2 hrs set aside to perform the periodic Russian SPOPT (Fire Detection & Suppression System) maintenance, today in the DC1, by dismantling its IDZ-2 smoke detectors, cleaning their ionizing needles and then reinstalling the sensors. [Part of the job is to inspect surrounding areas behind panels and to clean those surfaces with microbial growth wipes.]

Mike Fincke meanwhile will be working in the USOS (US Segment), performing the periodic cleaning of the THC IMV (Temperature & Humidity Control Intermodular Ventilation) ducting between the Lab and Node-2 and taking IMV flow measurements between modules with the electronic Velocicalc instrument.

In the US Airlock, Magnus is to terminate the recharge of REBA (Rechargeable EVA Battery) #1006, then start the recharge process on REBA #1008 from PSA (Power Supply Assembly) utility outlet.

Also tonight, Yuri Lonchakov is scheduled for 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.]

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

At ~10:45am EDT, the crew held the regular (nominally weekly) tagup with the Russian Flight Control Team (GOGU), including Shift Flight Director (SRP), at TsUP via S-band/audio, phone-patched from Houston and Moscow.

At ~12:10pm, Yuri & Mike linked up with TsUP stowage specialists via S-band to conduct the weekly IMS tagup, discussing inventory & stowage issues, equipment locations and cargo transfers.

At ~3:13pm, the CDR will have another one of his thank-you CDE (Crew Discretionary Event) audio/video downlinks, today with the Boeing Team.

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


Wake: 9:00am – 11:00pm EDT


Wake: 7:30am – 9:00pm


Wake: 5:30am – 12:30am 3/16

CEO (Crew Earth Observations) photo targets uplinked for today were Chaiten Volcano (ISS had a nadir pass at mid-morning with partly cloudy 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. Photography of the summit lava domes is of particular interest. Steam and ash plumes may also be 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 CEO team was asking for a tighter view with the 800 mm lens), S. Georgia/S. Sandwich (weather remained marginal for this late-morning pass of this target with only partial clearing at best. South Georgia 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. Looking well left of track and try for detailed views of the glaciers on the north coast of South Georgia. ISS pass was near midday, and the crew was to look well right of track), and S. Mozambique (Southern Mozambique is undergoing rapid infrastructure development as its regional resources are developed. The CEO team is seeking baseline information or the existing state of land cover prior to the major changes anticipated. ISS nadir pass was in late afternoon. The station tracked northeastward parallel to the coast of southeastern Africa. Because of the partly cloudy conditions and less than optimal illumination, Mike & Sandy were to try for a mapping strip across the target area using the short lens settings to acquire contextual views.)

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, 9:02am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 354.8 km
Apogee height — 361.2 km
Perigee height — 348.3 km
Period — 91.64 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0009578
Solar Beta Angle — 48.6 deg (magnitude peaking)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.71
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 53 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 59090

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
03/15/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A launch – S6 truss segment — 7:43:40pm EDT (NET)
03/17/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A docking — 5:13pm EDT
03/23/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A undocking
03/25/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A deorbit & landing
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.