Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 14 November 2008

By SpaceRef Editor
November 14, 2008
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 14 November 2008

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

Progress M-65/30P undocked successfully from the Service Module (SM) aft port on schedule at 11:20am EST. The first separation burn was on time at 11:23am, to be followed by a 30-sec retrograde burn at 2:25pm. 30P will remain in orbit in independent flight, continuing to phase out in front of the ISS (about 40 km per orbit) in order to support Russian non-ISS (geophysical) experiments. A 26-sec posigrade burn is scheduled for 11/17 (12:05pm). After its free flight, the ship will deorbit on 12/6 for destructive reentry over the Pacific Ocean. [The separation appeared smooth, with no anomalous behavior reported by the crew. The undocking was done under US CMG (Control Moment Gyroscope) Momentum Management control, with Russian thrusters inhibited twice, first during the SM hooks opening activity at 9:40am and again at 11:17am for the undocking.]

After the undocking, FE-1 Lonchakov switched the SM PrK (Transfer Tunnel)-to-aft port vestibule PEV (Pressure Equalization Valve, KVD) manually to its Closed position, a standard post-undocking procedure.

FE-2 Chamitoff conducted Part 1 of his FD180 session of the NASA/JSC experiment NUTRITION w/Repository, his sixth and last, for blood collection only, for which he had to forego exercising and food intake since yesterday for eight hours. Later today (~5:40pm), the FE-2 will set up the equipment for the 24-hour urine collections which start with the first void early tomorrow morning. Fincke assisted. [After the CDR performed the phlebotomy, i.e., drawing Greg’s blood samples (from an arm vein), the samples were first allowed to coagulate in the Repository for 20-30 minutes, then spun in the HRF RC (Human Research Facility/Refrigerated Centrifuge) and finally placed in MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS). No thruster activity was allowed during the blood drawing. The RC was later powered off after a temperature reset to limit wear on the compressor, and cleaned. The NUTRITION project is the most comprehensive in-flight study done by NASA to date of human physiologic changes during long-duration space flight. It includes measures of bone metabolism, oxidative damage, nutritional assessments, and hormonal changes, expanding the previous Clinical Nutritional Assessment profile (MR016L) testing in three ways: Addition of in-flight blood & urine collection (made possible by supercold MELFI dewars), normative markers of nutritional assessment, and a return session plus 30-day (R+30) session to allow evaluation of post-flight nutrition and implications for rehabilitation.]

Later, the FE-2 completed the PFE (Periodic Fitness Evaluation) protocol, a monthly 1.5-hr. procedure which checks up on blood pressure and electrocardiogram (ECG) during programmed exercise on the CEVIS (Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation) in the US Lab. Readings were taken with the BP/ECG (blood pressure/electrocardiograph) and the HRM (heart rate monitor) watch with its radio transmitter. The CDR assisted as CMO (Crew Medical Officer). [BP/ECG provides automated noninvasive systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurements while also monitoring and displaying accurate heart rates on a continual basis at rest and during exercise.]

FE-1 Lonchakov set up the equipment for his first session with the Russian experiment MBI-18 DYKHANIE (“Respiration”), then 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.]

Chamitoff worked with Fincke on the BCAT-4 (Binary Colloidal Aggregation Test 4) experiment, handing it over to the CDR and passing on to Mike some of his findings of how to go about obtaining good imagery (sharp focus, perfectly square alignment, excellent stability), then tore down and stored the hardware.

Fincke conducted another one of the periodic offloadings of the Lab CCAA (Common Cabin Air Assembly) dehumidifier’s condensate tank, filling a CWC (Contingency Water Container, #1054) with the collected water slated for processing. Two condensate samples were collected for return on ULF-2. [Offloading began with 8.84 kg at 8:03am and ended 15 min later with 5.18 kg.]

Gregory filled out the regular FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire), his 20th, on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer). Mike Fincke’s second FFQ session was completed yesterday from the discretionary “job jar” task list. [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.]

In the U.S. Airlock (A/L), Mike & Greg finished configuration preparations for the ULF-2 EVAs, along with some clean-up items from previous stowage issues. [The crew removed the remaining charged batteries from the BSA (Battery Stowage Assembly) and conducted a final configuration check on the two EMUs (Extravehicular Mobility Units) and A/L. Since REBA (Rechargeable EVA Battery Assembly) #1004 exhibited a charge error yesterday, REBA #1005, a spare, will be used for ULF-2.]

The CDR conducted the regular bi-monthly reboots of the OCA Router and File Server SSC (Station Support Computer) laptops.

Mike also replaced the battery of the prime CSA-CP (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products) unit (#1057). [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. Mike changed out the battery, then zero-calibrated the instrument (to eliminate drift in the combustion sensors). Following zero calibration, the prime unit’s datalogger function was turned on to collect data at the SM Central Post as a spot check. After one hour, the datalogger was deactivated, with the prime CSA-CP remaining on for continuous passive sampling.]

Mike & Yuri disassembled the equipment used for the recent R&R (Removal & Replacement) activities on the FGB’s Komparus A3 system and stored it in the FGB. [“Komparus”, which received a full complement of new avionics assemblies, is the FGB’s communications portal. The Komparus (KIS) onboard radio command & measuring system activates and deactivates the FGB’s radio telemetry system, with transmitters, commutators, external antennas, etc. of its two independently operating RTU-A and -B data telemetry subsystems.]

Lonchakov conducted some external reportage photography of the Soyuz TMA-13/17S spacecraft, docked at the FGB nadir port from the DC-1 Docking Compartment’s EVA hatch 2 window. [Using the NIKON D2X camera with wide angle and tele lenses, the FE-1 took digital pictures of the MLI (Multi-Layer Insulation) at various typical areas to assess the condition of the blankets, then copied the images to the RSK1 laptop.]

The CDR & FE-2 had additional time reserved for hardware preparations and pre-packing for ULF-2. [Activities included completion of critical portions of the IVA (Intravehicular Activity) Toolbox reconfiguration (clearing out tools from a rack which will be obstructed by cargo assembled for loading into the MPLM (Multi-Purpose Logistics Module), tearing down the Shuttle BOB (Breakout Box) for testing for non-intrusive flow meter ops, and doing some more pre-packing for return to Earth.]

Yuri completed 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, replacement of EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine containers and performing US condensate processing (transfer from CWC to EDV containers) if condensate is available.]

Greg had ~2.5 hrs reserved for another VolSci (Voluntary Science) program session with the SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites) experiment. For today’s test run, Chamitoff aimed at finishing a full iteration of algorithm development using two computer/algorithm-controlled satellites propelled by CO2 gas, five beacons and one beacon tester. [Today’s run (Test Session 15), with ground team support, included the innovative use of “distributed computing” where the satellites perform low level path-following while high level path-determination happens in the crew’s laptop, the ability of the crewmember to tune his controller interactively while working in a micro-G environment, and the implementation in hardware of the crewmember’s algorithm.]

The crew performed 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 (FE-2/PFE), TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-1), RED resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-1, FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1).

At ~4:00am EST, 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 ~5:40am, 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 ~9:35am, the FE-1 downlinked a PAO TV message of congratulation to TsUP-Moscow for the 60th birthday of Ivan Leonidovich Derevyanchenko, the General Director of “Conversia XXI” Closed Joint Stock Company (ZAO).

At ~10:00am, the CDR powered up the SM’s amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and conducted, at 10:05am, a ham radio exchange with three schools as part of International Education Week,- Poolesville High School, Poolesville, MD, Academia Cotopaxi, Quito/Ecuador, and Enloe Magnet High School, Raleigh, NC. [Questions to Mike were uplinked beforehand. “How is oxygen brought into the ISS? Do you need to bring fresh oxygen or can you recycle the air?”; “What kinds of equipment are you required to work with on a regular basis, and what kind of knowledge or specialties must you have?”; “How do you prepare yourself, both physically and mentally, for the challenges of living in space?”; “If a compass won’t work in space, so there is no north-south-east-west, how can you indicate direction?”; “How are scientists working to overcome the effects of radiation on a trip to Mars? Also, do you think that exposure to cosmic rays is a risk that you are comfortable taking?”; “What are the benefits of conducting experiments/studies in space?”; “We learned that in the ISS muscles atrophy and disuse of bones causes osteopenia. Will growing children ever be able to live in space and still grow? We especially wonder about the possibility of children in future colonies on the Moon or Mars.”; “What are the differences between performing scientific experiments on earth as opposed to doing them on the space station? Also, what effects will these experiments have on our daily life here on earth?”; “What was the weirdest experiment ever performed on the space station?”; “We watched the ISS video on astronauts eating food and playing with floating spherical liquids. What would happen in a medical emergency on the ISS with spurting blood and other body fluids? How do you handle medical emergencies?”]

At ~5:10pm, the ISS crew will have their regular weekly tagup with the Lead Flight Director at JSC/MCC-H via S-band/audio. [S/G-2 (Space-to-Ground 2) phone patch via SSC (Station Support Computer)].

Sleep Cycle Shift for ULF-2: Tonight’s sleeptime for the crew will be delayed by 3.5 hrs, i.e., from 4:30pm to 8:00pm EST (wakeup tomorrow at 4:30am), beginning a series of shifts to bring station life in line with STS-126 arrival.

STS-126/ULF-2/Endeavour Countdown Milestones:
The Launch countdown is proceeding nominally. Tanking began at about 11:00am EST.

  • Launch Window Opens – 7:50pm
  • In-Plane Launch Time – 7:55pm
  • Launch Window Closes – 8:00pm.
  • Launch Weather Forecast:
    • Probability of KSC Weather Prohibiting Launch: 30%
    • Probability of KSC Weather Prohibiting Tanking: 0%

STS-126 Mission Highlights: STS-126/ULF-2/Endeavour, the 124th Shuttle mission and the 27th to the station, will be crewed by CDR Chris Ferguson, PLT Eric Boe, MS1 Donald Pettit, MS2/EV2 Steve Bowen, MS3/EV1 Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, MS4/EV3 Shane Kimbrough, and MS5/ Exp-18 FE-2 Sandra Magnus.

  • ISS wake/sleep cycle will be shifted from 1:00am EST to 4:30am on FD2, then to 9:30am on FD3. The early undock time (10:32am) drives crew wakeup 2.5 hrs earlier, to 7:00am by FD14. The shift is completed by moving crew sleep 30 min earlier on FD4, and then one hour earlier each day on FD12 and 13.
  • MPLM “Leonardo” will be installed on Node-2 on FD4; ingress same day just before Presleep. MPLM transfers start FD5 with four racks, followed on FD6 by 8 racks, including the Galley (/ER6).
  • Focused Orbiter inspection is nominally planned for FD6. However, since the installed MPLM will obstruct a small area on the lower starboard wing for Focused inspection, MPLM berthing could be delayed to FD5 if the Debris Assessment Team, in reviewing the RPM imagery on the evening of FD3, identifies an area of concern associated with the starboard wing. Late inspection will be completed in its entirety after the Shuttle undocks on FD14. Endeavour will be undocking with the OBSS (Orbiter Boom Sensor System) on the SRMS (Shuttle Remote Manipulator System) in preparation for that inspection.
  • Generic face-to-face handover time between Chamitoff & Magnus will be 12 hrs max; Gregory will remain on the ISS until the day before undocking and will be scheduled as an ISS crewmember.
  • Endeavour will be powered by the SSPTS (Station-Shuttle Power Transfer System) from post-docking to just before undocking. During the mated mission when ISS solar arrays are feathered for attitude maneuvers and EVA operations, SSPTS may be powered off to maintain station power margin.
  • 30 hrs are required for transfer ops to/from the Shuttle middeck and 105 hours for MPLM. With all the timelined activities and rack transfers scheduled, ULF2 will be a highly choreographed transfer mission. The Shuttle crew has been thoroughly trained on the details of the choreography. In addition, each day a transfer message will be uplinked, listing specific items that need to be transferred that day due to operations requiring the items.

CEO photo targets uplinked for today were Antarctic Ice Pack, S. Indian Ocean (the crew had a late morning pass over an area that weather satellite trends suggest at least partial clearing of the vicinity of the Antarctic Ice Pack. Looking well right of track for icepack, iceberg, and possible shoreline features), Kerguelen Archipelago (this glaciated and volcanic archipelago is located in the far south Indian Ocean nearly 2,000 miles SE of the island of Madagascar. Of primary interest is photography for monitoring of the rarely photographed ice field and glaciers located on the western end of the main island. ISS approach was from the W in mid-afternoon illumination and at least partial clearing was expected. Trying for a near-nadir mapping pass with the long lens, and then staying ready for the next target just seconds ahead), Heard Island (Heard Island is a bleak, uninhabited, and mountainous island located in the Southern Ocean; about two-thirds of the way from Madagascar to Antarctica. Its mountains are covered in glaciers and dominated by Mawson Peak, a 9,006 ft high complex volcano which forms part of the Big Ben massif. A long thin spit named "Elephant Spit" extends from the east of the island. ISS pass was in early afternoon light with weather satellite imagery suggesting partial clearing from the W. Looking well right of track and trying for oblique context views of this challenging target), Aurora Borealis (CREW REQUEST: Several passes during the day. Solar activity remains anomalously low and likewise Auroral displays will minimal. The crew was to look for displays obliquely left of track above the horizon), and Patagonian Glaciers (partial clearing, midday, nadir. Best pass of the day for lighting of this target area was at nadir over the southernmost portion of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. Greg & Mike should have had midday illumination with at least partial clearing expected. CEO database already has numerous, excellent views of most of the beautiful, large glacier on the eastern flank of the Andes. This time the crew was to try for detailed views of the smaller, less-well photographed ones on the western flank).

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, 8:24am EST [= epoch]):
Mean altitude — 351.4 km
Apogee height — 353.9 km
Perigee height — 348.9 km
Period — 91.57 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0003737
Solar Beta Angle — 32.8 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 48 hours — 53 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 57219

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible.):
11/14/08 — STS-126/Endeavour/ULF-2 launch – MPLM Leonardo, LMC, PSSC; (7:55:34pm EST)
11/16/08 — STS-126/Endeavour/ULF-2 docking; ~5:13pm
11/20/08 — ISS 10 Years
11/26/08 — Progress M-66/31P launch (nom.)
11/27/08 — STS-126/Endeavour/ULF-2 undocking; 10:40am
11/29/08 — STS-126/Endeavour/ULF-2 landing; ~2:10pm
11/30/08 — Progress M-66/31P docking (nom.) – DC1 Nadir
12/07/08 — Progress M-65/30P reentry (after 3 weeks autonomous flight for geophysical experiments)
12/18/08 — Russian EVA-21
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
05/27/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch

Six-person crew on ISS
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 (contingency)
05/31/10 — STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 – ELC3, ELC4 (contingency).

SpaceRef staff editor.