Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 16 September 2012

By SpaceRef Editor
September 16, 2012
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All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Sunday – Soyuz 30S Undocking. Ahead: Week 1 of Increment 33 (three-person crew).

* Sleep Cycle Shift: Due to tonight’s late undocking (7:10pm EDT) of Soyuz TMA-04M/30S, the ISS crew has a sleep cycle shift, with wakeup delayed by 7h and a sleeptime shifted by 6h 20m, to be adjusted back to regular tomorrow:
Wake – 9:00am EDT (this morning)
Sleep – 11:10pm (tonight)
Wake – 7:40am (9/17, tomorrow)
Sleep – 5:30pm (tomorrow, normal).

After wakeup, FE-4 Malenchenko performed the routine inspection of the SM (Service Module) PSS Caution & Warning panel as part of regular Daily Morning Inspection.

CDR Sunita Williams, FE-3 Joe Acaba & FE-6 Akihiko Hoshide completed their post-sleep session of the Reaction Self-Test (Psychomotor Vigilance Self-Test on the ISS) protocol, the 38th and last for Joe, the 23rd for Suni & Aki. [RST is done twice daily (after wakeup & before bedtime) for 3 days prior to the sleep shift, the day(s) of the sleep shift and 5 days following a sleep shift. The experiment consists of a 5-minute reaction time task that allows crewmembers to monitor the daily effects of fatigue on performance while on ISS. The experiment provides objective feedback on neurobehavioral changes in attention, psychomotor speed, state stability, and impulsivity while on ISS missions, particularly as they relate to changes in circadian rhythms, sleep restrictions, and extended work shifts.]

Hoshide set up the NIKON D2Xs camera with 180mm & 400mm lenses and took engineering photographs of the external Channel 3A power channel components (at Solar Array Base) from SM window #2 (Yuri’s sleep station) and MRM2.

Aki also closed the protective shutters of the Lab, Node-3/Cupola & JPM (JEM Pressurized Module) shutters and turned off the onboard amateur/ham radio equipment to prevent RF interference with the departing Soyuz spacecraft.

At ~12:50pm EDT, Joe Acaba conducted his pre-descent PMC (Private Medical Conference), via S- & Ku-band audio/video.

FE-1 Padalka had another 3 hrs to wrap up cargo packing & stowing on the Soyuz spacecraft.

At ~1:20pm, Gennady downlinked the standard “Loading Complete” report, then took documentary photo/video of the SA hatch cover and downlinked the files for ground inspection.

For return to Earth, FE-2 Revin transferred the bioreactor of the Russian biotechnology experiment BTKh-26 KASKAD to Soyuz, with photo and video documentation, then disconnected & removed the TBU incubator.

At ~1:30pm, the six crewmembers held their traditional Crew Farewell and Hatch Closure event in the MRM2 Poisk module, recording it with the SONY HVR-Z7E camcorder for later playback (since actual hatch closure & undocking activities will keep the crew too busy to allow time for videotaping).

Preparations for the undocking will pick up momentum at ~2:40pm with Padalka & Malenchenko performing a communications check from the 30S spacecraft to RGS (Russian Groundsite) via VHF (Very High Frequency), followed by activation of the Soyuz by Gennady & Sergei at ~3:00pm-4:00pm, including removal of the SSD301 light fixtures in the BO Orbital Module for stowage in the FGB as spares.

Starting at ~4:20pm, 30S will be on its own power.

Russian thrusters will be disabled from ~5:48pm-5:58pm due to load constraints for hatch closure and the removal, by Yuri, of the QD (quick disconnect) screw clamps (BZV) of the docking & internal transfer mechanism (SSVP) which rigidized the joint at the MRM2 nadir port.

With Gennady, Joe & Sergei ingressed in the Soyuz and the spacecraft’s gas analyzer (GA) running, the crew (Revin inside & Malenchenko in MRM2) will close MRM2 & Soyuz hatches. The departing Soyuz crew then starts the standard one-hour leak check on the Soyuz-to-Poisk vestibule (4:20pm-5:20pm).

Next, ISS will maneuver to undock attitude on USTO (US Thrusters Only) at 6:08pm, followed by attitude control authority handover to RS MCS (Russian Segment Motion Control System) at 6:48pm. The returning crew meanwhile performs Sokol suit leak checks and depressurizes the BO Orbital Module by 150 mmHg for leak checking the SA-BO hatch. Next, they don their Kentavr G-suits, biomed belts and Sokol space suits.

ISS goes into free drift at 7:05pm-7:10pm for MRM2 hooks opening and Soyuz undocking at ~7:10pm -7:12pm. Attitude control returns to US Momentum Management with CMGs (Control Moment Gyros) at ~7:39pm EDT.

After the undocking, the 30S crew will conduct a visibility test of direct lighting of the MRM2 port with the SSD309 LED floodlight via VSK (Space Vision Sight) & the VKU (Video Control Monitor) and provide a detailed report about how well they can distinguish the target and structural elements (7:09pm-7:19pm).

Deorbit burn will start at ~9:58pm, for a landing about 85 km from Arkalyk in Kazakhstan at ~10:53pm EDT.

With the undocking of Soyuz 30S, Increment 32 ends and Inc-33 begins.

Activities scheduled for F-4 Yuri Malenchenko immediately after undocking are –

. Deactivating the GA Gas Analyzer in “his” Soyuz, TMA-05M/31S,

* Monitoring 30S departure and shooting photography of the Soyuz Docking Assembly from SM window #7 after separation, for ground inspection for cleanliness (i.e., no seal debris),

* Manually closing the KVD/PEV (Pressure Equalization Valve) between the MRM2 Poisk module and its nadir docking port vestibule,

* Downlinking the videos taken by him of the Soyuz/MRM2 hatch interface prior to hatch closure and of the hatch closing,

* Readying, activating/monitoring and later closing out the Russian “Istochnik-M” (source, spring) telemetry reception & recording (SPR TMI) system in the SM during the Soyuz re-entry for the trimodule separation at ~10:25pm; [Istochnik-M enables the ISS to receive data telemetered from Soyuz spacecraft during return to Earth and record it on the SPR telemetry system. The equipment, including the Istochnik TM station, power amplifiers, power supply, USB software sticks and cables, captures the telemetry through the “Sputnik” amateur (ham) radio antenna and transfers it to a laptop display where the crew is able to immediately tell if a good separation of the three Soyuz modules occurred during Soyuz descent operations], and

* Returning the STTS comm system to its post-undocking configuration.

The crew worked out on the CEVIS cycle ergometer with vibration isolation (FE-6), TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation & stabilization (FE-4), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (FE-5, FE-6), and T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (FE-3, FE-5). [FE-6 & FE-5 are on the special experimental SPRINT protocol which diverts from the regular 2.5 hrs per day exercise regime and introduces special daily sessions involving resistive and aerobic (interval & continuous) exercise, followed by a USND (Ultrasound) leg muscle self scan in COL. No exercise is being timelined for Suni on Friday, for Aki on Thursday. If any day is not completed, Suni & Aki pick up where they left off, i.e., they would be finishing out the week with the last day of exercise on her off day.]

Tasks listed for Revin, Malenchenko & Padalka on the Russian discretionary “time permitting” job for today were –

* More preparation & downlinking of reportages (written text, photos, videos) for the Roskosmos website to promote Russia’s manned space program (max. file size 500 Mb), and

* A ~30-min. session for Russia’s EKON Environmental Safety Agency, making observations and taking KPT-3 aerial photography of environmental conditions on Earth using the NIKON D3X camera with the RSK-1 laptop.

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) targets uplinked for today were Slate Islands Impact, ON-CAN (Terrestrial Impact Craters: ISS had a midday pass for this target are in fair weather with approach from the WNW. The Slate Islands are located near the northernmost coast of Lake Superior. The islands mark the center of a 30 kilometer in diameter impact structure that was formed approximately 450 million years ago. At this time as ISS tracked over Lake Superior, the crew was to aim left of track for detailed views), Nassau, Bahamas (Capital Cities Collection: ISS had a mid-afternoon pass over Nassau, the capital city of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Some scattered clouds may have been present. The city of Nassau proper is located on the eastern half of New Providence Island; however the metropolitan area encompasses the entire island. Overlapping mapping frames of the island, concentrating on the eastern half, were requested), Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (Capital Cities Collection: ISS had a fair weather pass over the capital city of Mongolia. The city is located in the Tuul River valley in the north central part of Mongolia. As ISS tracked ESE, the crew was to look nadir for overlapping frames of the urban and surrounding rural area), Beijing, China Aerosol (looking left of track toward the coastline with oblique look-angles to capture the smog haze margins that are drifting east towards track. The Northeast China plain supports the largest population cluster on the planet, and the smoke, smog and dust hazes from the region reach well out into the Pacific Ocean. These plumes are of special interest in modeling the atmospheric heating and cooling effects of aerosols), and Typhoon Sanba (Dynamic Event: Typhoon Sanba reached category 5 strength on 9/14, and is forecasted to stay a typhoon as it continues north towards western Japan and Korea. As ISS tracked SE over the Korean Peninsula, the crew was to look nadir and left of track to take images of the typhoon as it heads over eastern Korea).

Conjunction Advisory: Flight Controllers are tracking a conjunction with Object 30407 (Fengyun 1C Debris) with TCA (Time of Closest Approach) on 9/18, 9:35am EDT. [This object is fairly well tracked and not difficult to predict. The conjunction is currently considered of Medium concern due to the small radial miss distance and the fact that the Soyuz undocking tonight could perturb the geometry. There will be time to track out the perturbations and determine the risk level prior to the decision points beginning early tomorrow morning. Flight Control will continue to collect data on this event and provide updates per nominal procedures.]

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 7:07am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 417.1 km
Apogee height — 429.5 km
Perigee height — 404.7 km
Period — 92.91 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.65 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0018222
Solar Beta Angle — -25.2 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.50
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 70 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 79,220
Time in orbit (station) — 5049 days
Time in orbit (crews, cum.) — 4336 days.

What the Soyuz TMA-05M/30S crew will experience during their reentry/descent tonight:

* For the reentry, Gennady, Sergei & Joe will wear the Russian Kentavr anti-G suit under their Sokol suits. [The Kentavr garment is a protective anti-g suit ensemble to facilitate the return of a long-duration crewmember into the Earth gravity. Consisting of shorts, gaiters, underpants, jersey and socks, it acts as countermeasure for circulatory disturbance, prevents crewmember from overloading during descent and increases orthostatic tolerance during post-flight adaptation. Russian crewmembers are also advised to ingest fluid-electrolyte additives, viz., three sodium chloride tablets during breakfast and after the midday meal, each time with 300 ml of fluid, and two pills during the meal aboard Soyuz before deorbit.]

* Before descent: Special attention will be paid to the need for careful donning of the medical belt with sensors and securing tight contact between sensors and body. ECG electrodes are applied with paste. Kentavr suits must have snug fit in lower body and calves. During preparation for descent, before atmosphere reentry, crewmembers settle down comfortably in the Kazbek couches, fasten the harness belts, securing tight contact between body and the seat liner in the couch.

* During de-orbit:

Dust particles starting to sink in the Descent Module (SA) cabin is the first indication of atmosphere reentry and beginning of G-load effect. From that time on, special attention is required as the loads increase rapidly.

Under G-load effects during atmosphere reentry the crew expects the following experience: Sensation of G-load pressure on the body, heaviness of the body, labored breathing and speech. These are normal sensations, and the advice is to “take them coolly”. In case of the feeling of a lump in the throat, this is no cause to “be nervous”. This is frequent and should not be fought. Best is to “try not to swallow and talk at this moment”. Crew should check vision and, if any disturbances occur, create additional tension of abdominal pressure and leg muscles (strain abdomen by pulling in), in addition to the Kentavr anti-G suit.

During deployment of pilot parachute (0.62 & 4.5 square meters), drogue chute (16 sq.m.) and main (518 sq.m.) chutes the impact accelerations will be perceived as a “strong jolt”. No reason to become concerned about this but one should be prepared that during the parachutes deployment and change (“rehook”) of prime parachute to symmetrical suspension, swinging and spinning motion of the SA occurs, which involves vestibular (middle ear) irritations.

* It is important to tighten restrain system to fasten pelvis and pectoral arch. Vestibular irritation can occur in the form of different referred sensations such as vertigo, hyperhidrosis, postural illusions, general discomfort and nausea. To prevent vestibular irritation the crew should “limit head movement and eyes movement”, as well as fix their sight on a stationary object.

* Just before the landing (softened by six small rocket engines behind the heat shield): Crew will be prepared for the vehicle impact with the ground, with their bodies fixed along the surface of the seat liner in advance and braced for ground impact. “Special attention should be paid to arm fixation to avoid the elbow and hand squat” (instruction). Landing speed: ~9.9 m/sec.

* After landing: Crew should not get up quickly from their seats to leave the SA. They were advised to stay in the couch for several minutes and only then stand up. In doing that, they should limit head and eyes movement and avoid excessive motions, proceeding slowly. Their body should not take up earth gravity in the upright position too quickly.

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
————–Six-crew operations—————-
09/16/12 — Soyuz TMA-04M/30S undock/landing – 7:12pm/~10:53pm
(End of Increment 32)
————–Three-crew operations————-
09/25/12 — ATV3 undocking — 6:35pm
09/26/12 — ATV3 deorbit (burn 2) — 10:31pm
10/15/12 — Soyuz TMA-06M/32S launch – K.Ford (CDR-34)/O.Novitsky/E.Tarelkin
10/17/12 — Soyuz TMA-06M/32S docking
————–Six-crew operations————-
10/31/12 — Progress M-17M/49P launch
10/31/12 — Progress M-17M/49P docking
11/12/12 — Soyuz TMA-05M/31S undock/landing (End of Increment 33)
————–Three-crew operations————-
12/05/12 — Soyuz TMA-07M/33S launch – C.Hadfield (CDR-35)/T.Mashburn/R.Romanenko
12/07/12 — Soyuz TMA-07M/33S docking
————–Six-crew operations————-
02/11/13 — Progress M-16M/48P undocking
02/12/13 — Progress M-18M/50P launch
02/14/13 — Progress M-18M/50P docking
03/15/13 — Soyuz TMA-06M/32S undock/landing (End of Increment 34)
————–Three-crew operations————-
04/02/13 — Soyuz TMA-08M/34S launch – P.Vinogradov (CDR-36)/C.Cassidy/A.Misurkin
04/04/13 — Soyuz TMA-08M/34S docking
04/23/13 — Progress M-18M/50P undock/landing
————–Six-crew operations————-
05/16/13 — Soyuz TMA-07M/33S undock/landing (End of Increment 35)
————–Three-crew operations————-
05/29/13 — Soyuz TMA-09M/35S launch – M.Suraev (CDR-37)/K.Nyberg/L.Parmitano
05/31/13 — Soyuz TMA-09M/35S docking
————–Six-crew operations————-
09/xx/13 — Soyuz TMA-08M/34S undock/landing (End of Increment 36)
————–Three-crew operations————-
09/xx/13 — Soyuz TMA-10M/36S launch – M.Hopkins/TBD (CDR-38)/TBD
09/xx/13 — Soyuz TMA-10M/36S docking
————–Six-crew operations————-
11/xx/13 — Soyuz TMA-09M/35S undock/landing (End of Increment 37)
————–Three-crew operations————-
11/xx/13 — Soyuz TMA-11M/37S launch – K.Wakata (CDR-39)/R.Mastracchio/TBD
11/xx/13 — Soyuz TMA-11M/37S docking
————–Six-crew operations————-
03/xx/14 — Soyuz TMA-10M/36S undock/landing (End of Increment 38)
————–Three-crew operations————-

SpaceRef staff editor.