Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 17 April 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
April 17, 2009
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 17 April 2009

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

FE-2 Koichi Wakata started the day with the daily download of the overnight data of the SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) experiment from his Actiwatch to the HRF-1 (Human Research Facility 1) laptop as part of another week-long session with SLEEP, his second.

As is standard for some new Expeditions, CDR Padalka & FE-1 Barratt performed the periodic 3-hr. routine health checkout on the RS (Russian segment)’s STTS telephone/telegraph subsystem, including inspection and audio function checks of all comm panels (PA) in and between the Service Module (SM), FGB and Docking Compartment (DC1), VHF receiver tests, and an audit of headsets. The STTS comm assets were then switched over to their backup string. [The “Voskhod-M” STTS enables telephone communications between the SM, FGB, DC1 and U.S. segment (USOS), and also with users on the ground over VHF channels selected by an operator at an SM comm panel, via STTS antennas on the SM’s outside. There are six comm panels in the SM with pushbuttons for accessing any of three audio channels (LINE-1,-2,-3), plus an intercom channel (VPU). Other modes of the STTS include telegraphy (teletype), EVA voice, emergency alarms, Packet/Email, and TORU docking support. Last time done 4/25/08 by Volkov & Kononenko.]

In the US Lab, FE-2 Wakata turned on the power switch on ER5 (EXPRESS Rack 5). [ER5 will be used for future checkout and operations of the DRUMS (Space Dynamically Responding Ultrasonic Matrix System) experiment.]

In the DC1 (Docking Compartment), the CDR serviced the MATRYOSHKA-R (RBO-3-2) radiation suite’s LULIN-5 electronics box near the associated spherical “Phantom” unit, checking/adjusting date & time, taking readings and entering a time tag, followed by a brief reboot of the Lulin-5 electronics box to clear data. [Data accumulated by LULIN comprise measurement date, time, mode, three-directional flux data ( per sec.), and three-directional dose rate.]

Afterwards, Padalka worked on recovering the Russian RS1 laptop by initiating its reloading with its nominal software from flash memory, supported by ground specialist tagup. About an hour later, the CDR terminated the largely unattended activity.

FE-2 Wakata filled out the regular weekly FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire) on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer), his fifth. [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.]

Continuing his support of the new AgCam (Agricultural Camera) payload in the Lab, FE-1 Barratt opened the protective Lab window shutters for the experiment, to be closed again later tonight after 6 hrs. For the experiment, the window’s inner scratch pane assembly including its heater and temperature sensor was removed. [The Agricultural Camera is a multi-spectral camera for use on the ISS as a payload of the WORF (Window Observational Research Facility). Primary AgCam system components include an Imaging System Assembly, a Base Mount Pointing Assembly, a Power/Data Controller, associated cabling and support items, and a NASA-supplied A31p laptop and power supply. It will take frequent images, in visible and infrared light, of vegetated areas on the Earth, principally of growing crops, rangeland, grasslands, forests, and wetlands in the northern Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions of the United States. Images will be delivered within 2 days directly to requesting farmers, ranchers, foresters, natural resource managers and tribal officials to help improve their environmental stewardship of the land for which they are responsible. Images will also be shared with educators for classroom use. The Agricultural Camera was built and will be operated primarily by students and faculty at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND.]

Wakata performed the daily procedure of flushing the PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) ambient line with ~50mL of water (into a towel/Ziploc bag). PWD water is currently cleared only for hygienic use. [While final analysis of the PWD sample results on the ground is still pending, experts recommend keeping water flowing in the line daily to help control microbial growth. The flushing will be done daily unless at least this amount has been dispensed for other activities during the day.]

After setting up and connecting the UOP DCP (Utility Outlet Panel/Display & Control Panel) power bypass cable at the Lab RWS (Robotic Work Station) to allow SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) video coverage, Koichi Wakata & Mike Barratt reviewed the POC DOUG (Portable Onboard Computers/Dynamic Onboard Ubiquitous Graphics) material of the subsequent SSRMS activities, then had 2 hrs for operating the arm for the FMA (Force Moment Accommodation) test. [Objective: to demonstrate the functionality of the FMA algorithm by maneuvering the SSRMS into the MBS PDGF-3 (Mobile Base System/Power & Data Grapple Fixture 3) capture envelope, then purposefully misaligning it in the +Y and +Z directions and closing the snares. The FMS (Force Moment Sensor) should detect the load imparted by the snare cables, and FMA should actively move the SSRMS to alleviate the loads and remove the misalignments.]

With the BITS2-12 onboard telemetry measurement system in the SM failed on both strings, Padalka performed initial troubleshooting on the system by inspecting and replacing one of the ROM/read-only memory unit halfsets (PZU YuA114M) in the Central Processor Subsystem (PTsB) TA968MA Monoblock unit.

FE-2 Wakata performed the weekly “T+2d” inflight microbiology analyses for the potable water samples collected on 4/15 for chemical and microbial analysis from the SVO-ZV tap and the SRV-K Warm tap. [Sample analysis included treatment/processing of water samples in MCDs (microbial capture devices) from the U.S. WMK (water microbiology kit). Analysis also includes processing of water samples in the MWAK (microbial water analysis kit) for inflight coliform bacteria (Escherichia coli) detection. Results of the MWAK will be available after another 2-4 days of incubation.]

Padalka completed the periodic maintenance of the spare BZh Liquid Unit (#056) for the Elektron O2 generator, connecting it via cable to the test panel, setting up the EDV (KOV) tech water container for pressurizing and pump-flushing the BZh, then removing gas bubbles and performing functional tests on the primary (MNO) and backup (MNR) circulation pumps. [Objective of the monthly checkout of the BZh, which has been in stowage for about 2 years, is to check for leakage and good water passage through the feed line inside of the BZh (from ZL1 connector to the buffer tank) and to check the response of the Electronics Unit’s micro switches (signaling “Buffer Tank is Empty” & “Buffer Tank is Full”. During Elektron operation, the inert gas locked up in the BZh has the purpose to prevent dangerous O2/H2 mixing. A leaking BZh cannot be used.]

Barratt performed the daily status check on the BCAT-4 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-4) science payload, running by itself since 4/3. [The status check, conducted on the last image taken by the DCS 760 digital still camera which is controlled by EarthKAM software on an A31p laptop, is to verify proper image focus and camera alignment. The SSC (Station Support Computer) is taking photography of the phase separation occurring in the BCAT Sample 3, with the photo flash going off every half hour.]

The FE-2 conducted 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.

Wakata also did the weekly maintenance of the TVIS (Treadmill with Vibration Isolation & Stabilization) with SLD (Subject Loading Devices) contingency configuration, checking the condition of the roller bearings and recording the treadmill’s time & date values.

Afterwards, Koichi printed out updated combined (weekly/monthly) maintenance procedures for the TVIS in form of cue cards, including overview and stowage matrix.

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 TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-1, FE-2), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (FE-1, FE-2), and VELO with bungee cord load trainer (CDR). [The CEVIS (Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation), which had shown anomalous workload indications, is currently “No-Go” as engineers are developing a forward plan for an inspection of its internals. All CEVIS exercise is being replaced with TVCIS exercise for the near term.]

Afterwards, Wakata transferred the exercise data file to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) for downlink, including the daily wristband HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) data of the workouts on ARED, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).

Later, the FE-2 set up the hardware for another blood draw & urine collection session of the NUTRITION with Repository assessment, for both himself and the FE-1. [Koichi’s blood draw is scheduled on 4/18 (Saturday), Dr. Mike’s on 4/19 (Sunday). The 24h urine collections will begin on 4/18 for both of them.]

Working from the Russian discretionary “time permitting” task list, Padalka performed 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.]

Also off the voluntary task list, the CDR completed the daily IMS (Inventory Management System) 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).

At ~2:55am EDT, Mike Barratt had a CDE (Crew Discretionary Event) phone conference via S-band/audio.

At ~3:30am, Koichi Wakata powered up the SM’s amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and at 3:35am conducted a ham radio session with students at Ulvila Upper Secondary School, Ulvila, Satakunta, Finland. [The Ulvila Upper Secondary School, located in western Finland, has approximately 320 students. The age bracket of students is 16 to 19 years on average. The main academic objective is to give the students means for taking part in studies at universities and polytechnics. Questions to Koichi were uplinked beforehand. “What was the journey to the Space Station like?”; “What does it feel like to be light as a feather?”; “Do you feel any dizziness without gravitation?”; “What does the earth look like from space?”; “What does your work consist of?”; “What do you miss the most on earth?”; “What is the best thing in your job?”; “What kind of education do you have?”; “How do you wash yourself?”; How did you end up being an astronaut?”; “Do you have a strict diet and what does it consist of?”; “Do you believe in UFO’s?”]

At ~4:00am, 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 ~7:25am, Gennady linked up with TsUP stowage specialists via S-band to conduct the weekly IMS tagup, discussing inventory & stowage issues, equipment locations and cargo transfers. [Topics today included 3 hardware items reportedly stowed in the Progress ship.]

At ~9:20am, the ISS crew held their weekly teleconference with ISS Program Management at JSC/Houston via Ku-band/video & S-band/audio.

At ~4:00pm, the ISS crew is scheduled for 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).]

Dr. Mike again had an hour to himself general orientation (station familiarization & acclimatization) as is standard daily rule for fresh crewmembers for the first two weeks after starting station residence, if they choose to take it.

WRM Update: A new WRM (Water Recovery Management) “cue card” was uplinked last night for the crew’s reference, updated with yesterday’s CWC water audit. [The new card (19-0025B) lists 43 CWCs (~1,299.3 L total) for the four types of water identified on board: 1. technical water (28 CWCs with 882.2 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 334.3 L currently off-limits pending sample analysis on the ground, 174.6 L for flushing only due to Wautersia bacteria & 242.5 L for the Elektron), 2. potable water (9 CWCs with 349.6 L, currently off-limit pending ground analysis results), 3. condensate water (3 CWCs with 0.0 L), 4. waste/EMU dump and other (3 CWCs with 67.5 L). Wautersia bacteria are typical water-borne microorganisms that have been seen previously in ISS water sources. These isolates pose no threat to human health.]

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Warsaw, Poland (capital city. Looking left. The city lies at the confluence of two rivers), Tunis, Tunisia (capital city. Nadir pass), Khartoum, Sudan (capital city. Looking left at the confluence of the Blue and White Nile rivers. The dark lines of the rivers in the light-toned desert landscape are the visual cues from orbit), Southwest Algeria Megafans (a continuous mapping pass left of track was requested to capture details of desert river topography. This is a large site at the intersection of black hills and a flat, light-toned plain. The crew was to start shooting from the edge of the field of sand dunes for about 60-90 seconds), Slate Island, Impact Crater, Ontario (looking just right of track for these islands near Lake Superior’s northern shoreline), and Soufriere Volcano, Montserrat (looking just left of track. The island is diamond-shaped).

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, 8:12am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 352.5 km
Apogee height — 358.4 km
Perigee height — 346.7 km
Period — 91.59 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0008647
Solar Beta Angle — -31.2 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 58 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 59640

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
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) — 9:58am EDT
05/12/09 — Progress 33P docking
05/27/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
05/29/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S docking (FGB nadir)
06/05/09 — Russian EVA-22
06/10/09 — Russian EVA-23
06/13/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch — JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD

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.