Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 16 March 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
March 16, 2009
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 16 March 2009

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Underway: Week 21 of Increment 18.

With STS-119/Discover/15A set for docking tomorrow (~5:13pm EDT), the crew’s wake period continues shifting (5:30am-12:25am EDT [3/17]) to adjust to the subsequent docked period (see Wake/Sleep Schedule, below).

CDR Fincke, FE-1 Lonchakov & FE-2 Magnus began their workday before breakfast with the periodic session of the Russian biomedical routine assessments PZEh-MO-7/Calf Volume Measurement and PZEh-MO-8/Body Mass Measurement, using the IM mass measurement device which Lonchakov then stowed away again. [Calf measurements (left leg only) are taken with the IZOG device, a custom-sewn fabric cuff that fits over the calf, using the knee and lower foot as fixed reference pints, to provide a rough index of deconditioning in zero-G and effectiveness of countermeasures. For determining body mass in zero-G, where things are weightless but not massless, the Russian IM "scales" measure the inertial forces that arise during the oscillatory motion of a mass driven by two helical metering springs with known spring constants. By measuring the time period of each oscillation of the unknown mass (the crewmember) and comparing it to the period of a known mass, the crewmember’s mass is calculated by the computer and displayed.]

The CDR readied the equipment for the pre-docking RPM (R-Bar Pitch Maneuver) photo activity in preparation of Shuttle arrival tomorrow evening, by –

  • Recharging five D2X camera batteries during the day [three batteries to be used for configuring the cameras in preparation for the RPM documentation, the fourth & fifth kept as backups for the actual RPM],
  • Configuring the D2X cameras with batteries installed (to keep Time/Date setting accurate),
  • Setting up one BPSMU (Battery Powered Speaker Mic Unit) at the Lab RWS (Robotic Workstation) using prerouted cables, and the second BPSMU near the Node-2 forward hatch for placement in the Discovery ODS after docking, and
  • Performing a joint procedures review of the RPM operations with FE-1 Lonchakov & FE-2 Magnus.

[The RPM is used by the crew for the bottom-side mapping of the Orbiter at the arrival of the Shuttle. 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.]

Mike Fincke also spent a few minutes working on the crew’s all-important OpsLAN OSTPV (Operations Local Area Network/Onboard Short Term Plan Viewer) on the laptop, adjusting its “MET Base Time” (Mission Elapsed Time) readout to reflect the Shuttle MET (starting at liftoff, 7:43pm), then building the Preference file for 15A.

Afterwards, Fincke made preparations for the upcoming O2 (oxygen) transfer from the Shuttle to the ISS, opening access panels in the US Airlock and pre-gathering the necessary transfer equipment.

Additional preparations for 15A were made by Sandra Magnus who installed a temporary THC IMV (Temperature & Humidity Control/ Intermodule Ventilation) air duct in Node-2 for increased Shuttle ventilation, and configured five of the six overhead IMV diffusers in the Lab to optimize air mixing for CO2 removal. [The sixth is being blocked by the TESS (Temporary Sleep Station).]

Later today, Magnus is scheduled to set up the equipment for pressurizing and leak checking the PMA-2 (Pressurized Mating Adapter 2) by the ground in preparation for ingress and hatch opening activities. [PMA-2 at the forward end of Node-2 will be the docking port for the Shuttle.]

At the ER4 (EXPRESS Rack 4) in the Lab, the CDR activated the SAMS ICU (Space Acceleration Measurement Unit/Interface Control Unit) in Drawer 1 for taking structural dynamics readings during the Shuttle docking. [SAMS is a distributed acceleration measurement system consisting of an ICU in ER4, and sensors in several payload racks including ER1, ER2, ER3, MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) Rack and CIR (Combustion Integrated Rack).

After terminating the recharge of the battery for the SONY DCR-TRV900E video camera started yesterday, Lonchakov set up for a session with the geophysical GFI-1 Relaksatsiya ("relaxation") experiment from SM (Service Module) window #1, then let it take spectrometric recordings of ionospheric radiation at the Earth’s limb starting shortly before a night pass at 2:35pm. Afterwards, the gear was disassembled and stowed. [Relaksatsiya deals with the study of the chemoluminescent chemical reactions and atmospheric light phenomena (emissions, i.e., molecular relaxation processes), including those that occur during high-velocity interaction between the exhaust products from space vehicles and the atmosphere at orbital altitude and during the entry of space vehicles into the Earth’s upper atmosphere. “Relaxation”, in Physics, is the transition of an atom or molecule from a higher energy level to a lower one, emitting radiative energy in the process as equilibrium is achieved.]

In the JAXA “Kibo” JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), Magnus collected 12 Area Dosimeters in the JPM and stowed them for return on 15A.

Sandy also assisted SSIPC/Tsukuba (Space Station Integration & Promotion Center) Flight Controllers in more troubleshooting of the failed CBEF (Cell Biology Experiment Facility) Micro-G Incubator temperature controller fan in the JPM, Sandra rotated the fan to another position for it to start. [On 2/28, the fan was found to be not working, depriving the system of essential temperature control (neither too cold nor too hot). The fan is a three-phase motor which mechanically stops at 12 different positions by magnet force of the fan motor, and the potential cause of the anomaly is breaking of one of the magnetic stoppage coils. Sandy’s support consists in rotating the fan to its non-startable position and observing/reporting whether it starts rotating this time.]

The FE-1 underwent his second orthostatic hemodynamic endurance test session with the Russian Chibis suit in preparation for his return to gravity on 4/7, conducting the MedOps MO-4 exercise protocol in the below-the-waist reduced-pressure device (ODNT, US: LBNP/Lower Body Negative Pressure) on the TVIS treadmill. With Mike Fincke acting as CMO (Crew Medical Officer), Yuri was supported in his one-hour session by ground specialist tagup via VHF at 11:38am. [The Chibis provides gravity-simulating stress to the body’s cardiovascular/circulatory system for evaluation of Lonchakov’s orthostatic tolerance (e.g., the Gauer-Henry reflex) after 200 days in zero-G. Data output includes blood pressure readings.]

Yuri Lonchakov gathered components and equipment for the upcoming installation of the new “Istochnik-M” (“spring”, “source”) system for transmitting telemetry from Soyuz spacecraft, supported by ground specialist tagup via S-band. [The equipment, including Istochnik TM station, power amplifiers, power supply, USB software sticks and cables, was brought up on Progress 32P.]

The crew is scheduled for their periodic PMCs (Private Medical Conferences) via S- & Ku-band audio/video, Sandy at ~1:24pm, Mike at ~1:39pm, Yuri at ~2:09pm.

Sandy 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.]

The FE-2 also conducts the regular daily IMS (Inventory Management System) maintenance task by updating/editing the IMS standard “delta file” including stowage locations for the regular weekly automated export/import to its three databases on the ground (Houston, Moscow, Baikonur).

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/MO-4, FE-2), and ARED advanced resistive exerciser (CDR, FE-2).

Yuri had ~30 min set aside for starting the regular crew departure preparations, working on the standard end-of-increment cleanup preparatory to his return to Earth early next month. [It is usual for crewmembers to be granted reduced workdays for making their departure preparations, as their return date approaches.]

Conjunction Advisory: A new conjunction with space debris (Object 18593, Cosmos 1275 debris) is being tracked for a TCA (Time of Closest Approach) tomorrow morning at 3:14am EDT, with a miss distance currently predicted at 0.793 km (“Green” category). A 0.5 m/s posigrade burn has been selected for DAM (Debris Avoidance Maneuver), to be conducted at 9:54pm tonight should it be required. This burn would be 3.5 orbits before TCA to allow tracking of the ISS post-DAM to allow adjusting the NC3 rendezvous burn of the Shuttle.

ISS Crew Sleep Shifting: To synchronize the ISS crew’s timeline with STS-119/15A arrival and docked period, the station wake/sleep cycle is again undergoing a number of 30-min shifts to the left. For the next few days, the schedule is as follows:


Wake: 5:30am – 12:25am 3/17


Wake: 8:55am – 12:15am 3/18


Wake: 8:45am – 11:45pm


Wake: 8:15am – 11:15pm


Wake: 7:45am – 11:15pm


Wake: 7:45am – 10:45pm


Wake: 7:15am – 10:15pm


Wake: 6:45am – 9:45pm


Wake: 6:15am – 9:45pm


Wake: 6:15am – 9:00pm

STS-119/Discovery — 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)
  • FD01 (3/15) — Launch 7:43pm EDT
  • FD02 (3/16) — TPS inspection using OBSS; checkout EVA suits; prepare for rendezvous/docking
  • FD03 (3/17) — Rendezvous; RPM, docking (~5:13pm); exchange Soyuz seat liners
  • FD04 (3/18) — 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)
  • FD05 (3/19) — EVA1; install S6 truss & solar arrays
  • FD06 (3/20) — Focused TPS inspection with OBSS on SRMS (if not required, deploy solar array wings); prepare for EVA2; campout (Swanson & Acaba)
  • FD07 (3/21) — EVA2; prepare P6 battery R&R (Mission 2JA); JEM GPS antenna P1/P3 tasks; deploy P3 UCCAS & S3 PAS, S1/P1 thermal radiators imaging
  • FD08 (3/22) — Deploy two S6 solar array wings (115 ft long); move MT from WS4 to WS1; prepare for EVA3; campout (Arnold & Acaba)
  • FD09 (3/23) — EVA3; relocate CETA; lube SPDM LEE B; replace two RPCMs; S1 tasks
  • FD10 (3/24) — Crew off duty (2h); final cargo transfers; reboost; close & leak check hatches
  • FD11 (3/25) — Undock (~10:23am); flyaround & sep; late TPS inspection using OBSS
  • FD12 (3/26) — Crew off duty (5:30h)
  • FD13 (3/27) — Cabin stow, Orbiter FCS checkout, RCS hot fire
  • FD14 (3/28) — Nominal deorbit (12:39pm); landing (1:42pm KSC).

No CEO (Crew Earth Observations) photo targets uplinked for today.

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, 7:27am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 354.6 km
Apogee height — 360.9 km
Perigee height — 348.2 km
Period — 91.63 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0009436
Solar Beta Angle — 45.0 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.71
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 78 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 59136

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
03/17/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A docking (5:13pm EDT)
03/19 — EVA-1 (~1 pm–7:30pm)
03/21 — EVA-2 (~12:30pm–7:00pm)
03/23 — EVA-3 (~11:30am–6:00pm)
03/25/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A undocking (9:47am)
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)
03/28/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A deorbit (12:39pm) & landing (1:42pm)
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.