Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 17 July 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
July 18, 2009
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 17 July 2009

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

Crew sleep cycle: Wake 6:28am, sleep 10:33pm EDT.

STS-127/Endeavour docked smoothly at the ISS PMA-2 (Pressurized Mating Adapter-2) port at 1:47pm EDT, six minutes ahead timeline, in darkness (orbital sunset ~1:25pm/sunrise ~1:58pm), after successfully completing the RPM (R-Bar Pitch Maneuver) in daylight (12:56pm-1:05pmEDT) and arriving at +V-Bar (310 ft straight in front of ISS) at few minutes later. The station now hosts thirteen occupants as Mission 2J/A is underway. [The combined crew is comprised of ISS-CDR Gennady Padalka (Russia), FE-1 Mike Barratt (USA), FE-2 Koichi Wakata (Japan), FE-3 Roman Romanenko (Russia), FE-4 Thirsk (Canada), FE-5 DeWinne (Belgium), STS-CDR Mark Polansky, PLT Doug Hurley, MS Dave Wolf, MS Christopher Cassidy, MS Julie Payette (CSA), MS Tom Marshburn, and MS/FE-2-20 Tim Kopra. who replaces Koichi Wakata as FE-2, as the latter returns on Endeavour.]

Hooks closure to rigidize the Shuttle/ISS linkup was at ~1:50pm. After the docking, the station was reoriented as planned to minimize the risk of micrometeoroid/debris impacts upon the Shuttle (-XVV = -x-axis in velocity vector, +z-axis in local vertical). [Earlier, the ISS maneuvered to docking attitude after attitude control authority was handed over from USOS (US Segment) to RS MCS (Russian Segment Motion Control System).]

Upon wakeup, FE-3 Roman Romanenko terminated his third experiment session for the long-term Russian sleep study MBI-12/SONOKARD, by taking the recording device from his SONOKARD sports shirt pocket and later copying the measurements to the RSE-MED laptop for subsequent downlink to the ground. [SONOKARD objectives are stated to (1) study the feasibility of obtaining the maximum of data through computer processing of records obtained overnight, (2) systematically record the crewmember’s physiological functions during sleep, (3) study the feasibility of obtaining real-time crew health data. Investigators believe that contactless acquisition of cardiorespiratory data over the night period could serve as a basis for developing efficient criteria for evaluating and predicting adaptive capability of human body in long-duration space flight.]

For FE-2 Wakata & FE-4 Thirsk, the day began with the extended “Bisphosphonates” biomedical countermeasures experiment for which Wakata & Thirsk ingested an Alendronate pill before breakfast. [The Bisphosphonates study should determine whether antiresorptive agents (that help reduce bone loss) in conjunction with the routine in-flight exercise program will protect ISS crewmembers from the regional decreases in bone mineral density documented on previous ISS missions. Two dosing regimens will be tested: (1) an oral dose of 70 mg of Alendronate taken weekly starting 3 weeks prior to flight and then throughout the flight and (2) an intravenous (IV) dose of 4 mg Zoledronic Acid, administered just once approximately 45 days before flight. The rationale for including both Alendronate and Zoledronic Acid is that two dosing options will maximize crew participation, increase the countermeasure options available to flight surgeons, increase scientific opportunities, and minimize the effects of operational and logistical constraints. The primary measurement objective is to obtain preflight and postflight QCT (Quantitative Computed Tomography) scans of the hip. The QCT scans will provide volumetric bone density information of both cortical and trabecular (spongy) bone regions of the hip.]

CDR Padalka performed the routine daily servicing of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS) in the Service Module (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.]

Gennady also completed the periodic transfer of US condensate water from two CWCs (Contingency Water Container, #1065, #1074) to the RS for the periodic (about twice a month) replenishing of the Elektron’s water supply for electrolysis, filling the designated KOV EDV container. Once filled, the EDV was connected to the BPK transfer pump for processing through the BKO. [The 40-minute procedure is specially designed to prevent air bubbles larger than ~10 mm from getting into the BZh Liquid Unit where they could cause Elektron shutdown.]

FE-5 DeWinne reviewed a training video and procedures for removing & replacing the nonfunctional GLACIER (General Laboratory Active Cryogenic ISS Experiment Refrigerator). [GLACIER had been powered off on 6/15 in response to exhibiting loud noise and vibration as the fan speed was increased. The crew removed the JAXA DomeGene samples from GLACIER and transferred them to the MELFI (Minus Eighty Degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISSI). GLACIER is scheduled to return on Flight 2JA. Specialists will review the data and determine a forward plan.]

Preparatory to the Shuttle arrival, FE-2 Wakata verified closure of the Lab & Kibo JPM (Japanese Pressurized Module) science window shutters as protection against thruster plumes. [The window shutters must remain closed when Shuttle is within 3000 ft/915m of the ISS. They may be opened for no more than 15 minutes for photo documentation if the Shuttle is in Freedrift.]

Other pre-docking preparations were:

  • Barrat & Padalka readying their RPM (R-Bar Pitch Maneuver) photo/video equipment, including camera battery checks, for Orbiter TPS (Thermal Protection System) documentation,
  • Wakata checking the proper hook-up of the UOP DCP (Utility Outlet Panel/Display & Control Panel) power bypass cable at the CUP RWS (Cupola Robotic Work Station) for video coverage of the Shuttle’s approach & docking with the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) cameras, then also
  • Powering up the PCS (Portable Computer System) CUP RWS & Airlock A31p laptops and swapping out tapes in the VDS VTR (Video Distribution Subsystem/Video Tape Recorder);
  • Koichi configuring & later activating the camera timers upon Orbiter RPM initiation and handling the camcorder (the timers indicated beginning & end of the bottom-side photography window),
  • The CDR performing final STTS communications configuration checks for the docking; then
  • Configuring proper headset connection for supporting the RPM activity (which resulted in several hundred pictures of the Orbiter bottom TPS), and
  • Verifying powerdown of the amateur radio equipment in the SM to prevent RF interference during the proximity & docking ops.

During the RPM photography session (12:40pm-1:05pm), Gennady wielded the 400mm-lens D2X camera (replacing the earlier DCS-760), Mike the 800mm-lens D2X for documenting the tile acreage & bottom-side door seals). [The RPM was 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, Mike & Gennady, the “shooters”, had only ~90 seconds (out of the total 9 min of imaging) for taking high-resolution digital photographs of all tile areas and door seals on Endeavour, which Mike prepared for downlinked after completion of the “shoot” at ~4:20pm for launch damage assessment. Thus, time available for the shooting was very limited, requiring great coordination between the two headset-equipped photographers and the Shuttle pilot.]

Shortly before the docking, the crew configured the Russian MCS (Motion Control System) for the automatic “PMA-2 Arrival” mode, an operational sequence used to monitor Orbiter arrival at the PMA-2 (Pressurized Mating Adapter 2). [At “Capture Confirmed”, ISS attitude was immediately set to Freedrift for about 25 min. to allow dampening out relative motions of ISS and Endeavour (with the ODS (Orbiter Docking System) dampers/shock absorbers), then maneuvered to “Mated TEA” (Torque Equilibrium Attitude) to account for the new overall configuration with Endeavour docked.]

Docking took place at 1:47pm EDT, followed by leak checks of the ODS (Orbiter Docking System) vestibule for about half an hour.

CDR Padalka & FE-1 Barratt then switched the USOS/RS (US/Russian Segment) comm systems, including the internal hardline audio connections, to their “mated-flight” mode.

After a final checkout/verification of IP-1 airflow sensors and their ventilation performance in the various RS hatchways by Romanenko, ISS/STS hatches were opened at ~3:55pm.

Upon hatch opening, before installation of the ventilation airduct between ISS and Endeavour, the FE-3 performed the standard collection of air samples with the Russian AK-1M sampler in the SM, FGB, Lab, and then also in the Orbiter. FE-4 Thirsk took GSC (Grab Sample Container) air samples.

Additionally, Roman used the CMS (Countermeasure System), a component of the SKDS GANK-4M suite, for the periodic check for Vinyl Chloride, Ethanol, and Ethylene Oxide in the SM. [CMS uses preprogrammed microchips to measure for numerous contaminants such as O-Xylol (1,2-Dimethylbenzol, C8H10), Hydrogen Chloride (HCl), Formaldehyde, Isopropanol, Methanol, Toluene, Mercaptan, Sulphur dioxide, Hydrogen cyanide, Phosgene, etc.]

The traditional Welcome Ceremony was next, followed by the mandatory 25-min. Safety Briefing for the new arrivals.

FE-2-20 Tim Kopra transferred his IELK (Individual Equipment Liner Kit) seat liner from the Shuttle to the Soyuz TMA-14/18S crew return vehicle where Padalka installed it for the new FE-2. Koichi Wakata’s IELK seat liner will be pulled out and stowed in the Shuttle for return to Earth. [A crewmember is not considered transferred until his/her IELK, AMP (ambulatory medical pack) and ALSP (advanced life support pack) drug kit are transferred. After today’s reconfiguration of the FE-2 IELKs, Koichi has technically become a member of the Endeavour crew aboard ISS, and Tim a crewmember of the space station.]

On the Russian Matryoshka-R (RBO-3-2) radiation payload in the DC-1, Romanenko deactivated the AST Spectrometer, removed its ALC-961 PCMCIA (Portable Computer Memory Card International Adapter) and checked out its contents on the RSE-Med laptop before archiving its contents on the used ALC-954 card for stowage in its kit (#7). Also, stored files were to be downlinked via OCA. AST remains off.

The FE-2 configured the equipment for supplying Shuttle O2 (oxygen) to the ISS ports, after purging the Node-2 O2 line.

In the U.S. Lab, Bob Thirsk started (later terminated) another 5-hr automatic sampling run, the 15th, with the new EHS GC/DMS (Environmental Health System Gas Chromatograph/Differential Mobility Spectrometer), also known as AQM (Air Quality Monitor), controlled with “Sionex” expert software from the SSC-4 (Station Support Computer 4) laptop. [The AQM demonstrates COTS (Commercial Off-the-Shelf) technology for identifying volatile organic compounds, similar to the VOA (Volatile Organics Analyzer). Today’s data will again to be compared with VOA and GSC (Grab Sample Container) measurements. This evaluation will continue over the course of several months as it helps to eventually certify the GC/DMS as nominal CHeCS hardware.]

Dave Wolf & Tim Kopra will begin their “campout” (nachalo desaturatsiy = desaturation start) in the A/L with hatch closure and depressurization of the CL (Crewlock) from 14.7 to 10.2 psi at ~11:21pm, followed by mask prebreathe at ~11:21-12:26am. Sleep time for the ISS crew begins at 12:26am. [For the Campout, METOX (Metal Oxide) canisters were installed in the A/L for CO2 control.]

Following the usual hygiene break/with mask prebreathe for Dave & Tim tomorrow morning after spending the night on 10.2 psi, the A/L hatch will be closed again for EVA preps in 10.2 psi, followed by EMU purge and prebreathe in the EMUs, then egress on EVA-1.

The crew completed their regular daily 2.5-hr. physical workout program on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-1, FE-4, FE-5), TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation (CDR, FE-1, FE-2, FE-3), RED resistive exercise device (FE-2, FE-4, FE-5) and VELO cycle ergometer with bungee cord load trainer (CDR, FE-3). [The interim RED is being used in lieu of the ARED (Advanced RED) until the latter has had its damaged VIS (Vibration Isolation System) dashpot replaced and can be put back in service.]

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

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
07/24/09 — Progress 34P launch
07/26/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A undocking;
07/28/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A landing
07/27/09 — Progress 34P docking (if STS-127 departs nominally; can slip to 7/29)
07/31/09 — PMA-3 relocation
08/18/09 — STS-128/Discovery/17A – MPLM (P), LMC (~4:25am EDT)
09/10/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) launch (~1:00pm EDT)
09/16/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) berth w/SSRMS
09/29/09 — Progress 34P undock
09/30/09 — Soyuz TMA-16/20S launch
10/02/09 — Soyuz TMA-16/20S docking (SM aft, until MRM-2 w/new port)
10/08/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) unberth
10/11/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S undock
10/15/09 — Progress 35P launch
11/10/09 — 5R/MRM-2 (Russian Mini Research Module 2) on Soyuz-U
11/12/09 — STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 – ELC1, ELC2
12/07/09 — Soyuz TMA-17/21S launch
12/26/09 — Progress 36P launch
02/03/10 — Progress 37P launch
02/04/10 — STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola
03/18/10 — STS-131/Discovery/19A – MPLM(P), LMC
04/02/10 — Soyuz TMA-18/22S launch
04/27/10 — Progress 38P launch
05/14/10 — STS-132/Atlantis/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM-1
05/29/10 — Soyuz TMA-19/23S launch
06/25/10 — Progress 39P launch
07/29/10 — STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 – ELC4, MPLM
08/11/10 — Progress 40P launch
09/16/10 — STS-134/Discovery/ULF6 – ELC3, AMS
09/29/10 — Soyuz TMA-20/24S launch
10/19/10 — Progress 41P launch
11/??/10 — ATV2 – Ariane 5 (ESA)
12/??/11 — 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – on Proton

SpaceRef staff editor.