Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 17 February 2009

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

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

In support of ground testing of the PCE (Proximity Communications Equipment; Russian: MBRL), in the Service Module (SM), used for the ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle), Lonchakov installed the control panel (PU), hand controller, the “PCE Z0000” box, made the necessary BKS cable connections and also hooked up the BUAP (Antenna Switching Control Box) telemetry connectors to the BITS2-12 onboard telemetry measurement system for ground control. The installation work was supported by ground specialist tagup via S-band. [The main MBRL components are the space-to-space radio “monoblock” (PCE Z0000), the BUAP, and the PU.]

Continuing the extended leak checking of the spare BZh Liquid Unit (#056) for the Elektron O2 generator, FE-1 Lonchakov charged the unit once again with pressurized N2 from the BPA Nitrogen Purge Unit to 1 atm (1 kg/cm2). The last test pressurization to monitor for leakage was on 2/9. [Objective of the monthly checkout of the BZh, which has been in stowage since March 2007, 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.]

Later, Yuri also supported the ground in powering down the Elektron-VM oxygen (O2) generator, safety-purging its BZh Liquid Unit with nitrogen (N2) at 0.65 kg/cm2 via its KE3 and VN3 valves.

Afterwards, as a regular activity after deactivation/reactivation of the BITS2-12’s VD-SU control mode after Elektron power down, the FE-1 checked the BRI Smart Switch Router computer and its new Ethernet connection to assess any impact of these activities on Ethernet comm. [BRI is part of the RS OpsLAN (Russian Segment/Operations Local Area Network), with connections to the three SSC clients, the Ethernet tie-in with the US network, and a network printer in the RS.]

CDR Fincke & FE-2 Magnus conducted another review of instructions for the new US payload SPICE (Smoke Point In Co-flow Experiment), then activated the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) via its A31p laptop and performed test operations with the SPICE hardware in the MSG work volume, begun last Saturday with VolSci. [SPICE determines the point at which gas-jet flames (similar to a butane-lighter flame) begin to emit soot (dark carbonaceous particulate formed inside the flame) in microgravity. Studying a soot emitting flame is important in understanding the ability of fires to spread and in control of soot in practical combustion systems in space. The experiment is testing six different fuels, each using three different burner sizes, and each burner size requires six test points. Looping through the test procedure three times, each fuel thus requires eighteen test points, and today’s run involved two groups of six test points each for a total of twelve. Today’s session was to perform tests on two more sets of six test points each (#13-18 with Ethylene,#19-24 with Propane).]

The CDR took photography of the LOCAD-PTS (Lab-on-a-Chip Application Development-Portable Test System) media slides from the last run and listed the barcodes of the slides & both incubation bags used.

The FE-2 performed her first sampling run with the LOCAD-PTS Phase 1 payload, swabbing four surface samples and using all three types of LOCAD cartridges (Gram+ LAL, Glucan LAL, yeasts & molds) for analysis, logging results in a data 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.]

In the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), in preparation for the upcoming installation of the PCDF PU (Protein Crystallization Diagnostic Facility – Process Unit) in the EDR (European Drawer Rack), Sandy repacked some ESA CTBs (cargo transfer bags) and changed EDR stowage configuration to enable/facilitate access. [The PCDF PU will be arriving on 15A.]

Also in the COL, Sandy checked EC (Experiment Containers) interface locks on the BLB (Biolab) Rotor B. [At least one of the six EC interface levers is showing as ‘not closed’ on telemetry, and Magnus was to identify which one. Also, since the BLB laptop is not booting its operating system, the FE-2 performed troubleshooting, taking some pictures of the laptop booting sequence, looking for potential error messages.]

The FE-2 also completed 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, 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.]

Later, Magnus conducted 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).

With the VOA (Volatile Organics Analyzer) back up and running nominally, the FE-2 prepared the system for a powerdown. [This is needed to safe it for an upcoming N2 (nitrogen) leak check. The controlled routine powerdown will ensure that all components will reset and return to their default settings which will help reduce VOA failures in general, thus increasing the chances of acquiring successful sample runs.]

CDR Fincke worked on the SLAMMD (Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device), performing troubleshooting on the malfunctioning device. [The cause of the problem may have been an issue with the sequencing of the cabling that prevented the SLAMMD software from “recognizing” the hardware assembly, giving a communication error.]

The FE-1 had time set aside to inspect three Russian manometer units (MV vacuum pressure sensors) and conduct their periodic checkup and calibration for accuracy.

Additionally, Lonchakov made preparations for tomorrow’s scheduled recharging of the Russian SKV-2 air conditioner with Progress 32P-delivered Khladon (Freon-218).

Mike Fincke completed Day 3 of Session 2 of his daily diet monitoring for the SOLO (Sodium Loading in Microgravity) experiment. SOLO runs in two blocks of six days each. [During the Session 1 block, the CDR followed a special low-salt diet, during the current Session 2 a high-salt diet. For both diets, specially prepared meals are provided onboard. All three daily meals will be logged on sheets stowed in the PCBA (Portable Clinical Blood Analyzer) Consumable Kit in the MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS) along with control solution and cartridges for the PCBA. SOLO, an ESA/German experiment from the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Cologne/Germany, investigates the mechanisms of fluid and salt retention in the body during long-duration space flight.]

The crewmembers had their periodic PMCs (Private Medical Conferences) via S- & Ku-band audio/video, Mike at ~10:10am, Sandy at ~10:30am, Yuri at ~11:45am EST.

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, FE-2), ARED advanced resistive exerciser (CDR, FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1).

At ~2:10am EST, the crew downlinked a PAO TV message of greetings to school girls from the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense boarding school via RGS (Russian Ground Station). [The Ministry of Defense Boarding School for Girls of the Moscow Cadet Corps was opened on 9/1/ 2008 as an educational institution for girls. The School was created to provide education for daughters of the Russian Federation Armed Forces personnel. All student expenses are fully covered by the government and the students receive both general education and extra-curricular educational programs with the emphasis on music, fine arts, and athletics. On 9/1/08, classes opened for girls in grades 7, 8, and 9. The idea of the Boarding School belongs to the Russian Minister of Defense. Similar educational institutions for girls have a long history going back to the 18th century. In 1764, Empress Catherine II decreed an educational society for noble maidens in St. Petersburg, the Russia’s first privileged female educational institution based on the Voskresensk Smolny Convent, which later became known as the Smolny Institute for Noble Maidens.]

At ~1:06pm, the CDR powered up the SM’s amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and at 1:11am conducted a ham radio session with students at South Park Elementary School in South Park, PA.

At ~3:00pm, Lonchakov downlinked a PAO TV congratulatory address to the St-Petersburg State Technical University (formerly, St-Petersburg Polytechnical Institute) on its 110th Anniversary.

A new item added to CDR Fincke’s voluntary “job jar” task list is to record a video tape of RS & US onboard food stowage, as part of the European VLE (Video Lessons ESA) program (VLE1 Reserve).

No CEO 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, 5:17am EST [= epoch]):
Mean altitude — 356.1 km
Apogee height — 362.3 km
Perigee height — 350.0 km
Period — 91.66 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0009152
Solar Beta Angle — -45.9 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.71
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 65 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 58634

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
02/20/09 — FRR (Flight Readiness Review) for STS-119/Discovery
02/27/09? — STS-119/Discovery/15A launch – S6 truss segment — “NOT EARLIER THAN”
02/29/09? — STS-119/Discovery/15A docking
03/10/09? — STS-119/Discovery/15A undocking
03/13/09? — STS-119/Discovery/15A landing
03/26/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S launch
03/28/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S docking (DC1)
04/07/09 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S undocking
04/07/09 — Progress 32P undocking & deorbit
05/12/09 — STS-125/Atlantis Hubble Space Telescope Service Mission 4 (SM4)
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
08/06/09 — STS-128/Discovery/17A – MPLM (P), LMC, last crew rotation
08/XX/09 — Soyuz 5R/MRM2 (Russian Mini Research Module, MIM2) on Soyuz
09/XX/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1)
11/12/09 — STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 – ELC1, ELC2
12/10/09 — STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola
02/11/10 — STS-131/Atlantis/19A – MPLM(P), LMC
04/08/10 — STS-132/Discovery/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM1
05/31/10 — STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 – ELC3, ELC4
12/XX/11– Proton 3R/MLM w/ERA.

SpaceRef staff editor.