Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 17 March 2009

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

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. 15A Docking Day.

A long day for the crews of ISS & STS-119: for Mike Fincke, Yuri Lonchakov & Sandra Magnus, wake-up was at 8:55am, with sleeptime shortly after midnight tonight – 12:15am (see Wake/Sleep Schedule, below).

STS-119/Discovery docked smoothly at the ISS PMA-2 (Pressurized Mating Adapter-2) port at 5:19pm EDT, six minutes behind timeline, in darkness (orbital sunset ~4:43pm/sunrise ~5:21pm), after successfully completing the RPM (R-Bar Pitch Maneuver) in daylight at 4:28pm and arriving at +V-Bar (310 ft straight in front of ISS) at few minutes later. The station now hosts ten occupants again as Mission 15A is underway. [The combined crew is comprised of ISS-CDR Fincke, FE-1 Lonchakov, FE-2 Magnus, STS-CDR Lee Archambault, PLT Dominic Antonelli, MS1/EV2 Joseph Acaba, MS2/EV1 Steven Swanson, MS3/EV2 Richard Arnold, MS4 John Phillips, and MS5/FE-2-18 Koichi Wakata who replaces Magnus as FE-2, as the latter returns on Discovery as MS-5.]

Hooks closure rigidized the Shuttle/ISS linkup was at ~5:26pm. 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, at ~3:25pm, the ISS maneuvered to docking attitude after attitude control authority was handed over (~3:20pm) from USOS (US Segment) to RS MCS (Russian Segment Motion Control System).]

FE-1 Lonchakov 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.]

Later in the day, the FE-1 also 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).

Preparatory to the Shuttle arrival, FE-2 Magnus 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:

  • Fincke & Magnus readying their RPM (R-Bar Pitch Maneuver) photo/video equipment, including camera battery checks, for Orbiter TPS (Thermal Protection System) documentation,
  • Magnus performing a controlled power-down of the VOA (Volatile Organics Analyzer);
  • Fincke 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);
  • Lonchakov 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), then also
  • Performing final STTS communications configuration checks for the docking;
  • 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, starting at ~4:10pm, Sandra 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 & Sandy, 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 Discovery, 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 Discovery (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 5:19pm EDT, followed by leak checks of the ODS (Orbiter Docking System) vestibule for about half an hour (~5:40pm-6:10pm).

FE- Lonchakov & CDR Fincke 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 Yuri, ISS/STS hatches will be opened (nominally) at ~6:58pm.

Upon hatch opening, before installation of the ventilation airduct between ISS and Discovery, the FE-1 will also perform the standard collection of air samples with the Russian AK-1M sampler in the SM, FGB, Lab, and then also in the Orbiter.

The traditional Welcome Ceremony is nominally expected at ~7:00pm, followed by the mandatory 25-min. Safety Briefing for the new arrivals.

FE-2-18 Koichi Wakata will transfer his IELK (Individual Equipment Liner Kit) seat liner from the Shuttle to the Soyuz TMA-13/17S crew return vehicle where Lonchakov installs it for the new FE-2. Sandy Magnus’ IELK seat liner will be pulled out and temporarily stowed in the JAXA JLP (JEM Pressurized Logistics Segment) for eventual 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, Sandy has technically become a member of the Discovery crew aboard ISS, and Koichi a crewmember of the space station.]

On the Russian Matryoshka-R (RBO-3-2) radiation payload in the DC-1, Lonchakov 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.

For Fincke’s upcoming first session & Magnus’ second session with the biomed experiment “Integrated Immune”, Sandra broke out and set up the equipment needed to support saliva collection. [Michael will begin his saliva collections first on FD4 (tomorrow, 3/18), Sandra her’s on FD7 (3/21) so that all collections line up with each of their respective blood draws. Background: Along with NUTRITION (Nutritional Status Assessment), Integrated Immune (Validating Procedures for Monitoring Crew member Immune Function) samples & analyzes participant’s blood, urine, and saliva before, during and after flight for changes related to functions like bone metabolism, oxidative damage and immune function to develop and validate an immune monitoring strategy consistent with operational flight requirements and constraints. The strategy uses both long and short duration crewmembers as study subjects. The saliva is collected in two forms, dry and liquid. The dry samples are collected at intervals during the collection day using a specialized book that contains filter paper. The liquid saliva collections require that the crewmember soak a piece of cotton inside their mouth and place it in a salivette bag; there are four of the liquid collections during docked operations. The on-orbit blood samples are collected right before undocking and returned on the Shuttle so that analysis can occur with 48 hours of the sampling. This allows assays that quantify the function of different types of white blood cells and other active components of the immune system. Samples are secured in the MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS). Also included are entries in a fluid/medications intact log, and a stress-test questionnaire to be filled out by the subject at begin and end. Urine is collected during a 24-hour period, conventionally divided into two twelve-hour phases: morning-evening and evening-morning.]

After Sandy has powered up the SSCR (Station-to-Shuttle Communications Router) on the ISS LAN (Local Area Network), Mike will transfer the wireless card-equipped SSC-14 Station Support Computer 14) from the ISS to the Orbiter and establish the wireless connection between laptop and ISS LAN.

In the US Airlock (A/L), the FE-2 also removed the IWIS (Internal Wireless Integrated System) accelerometer with its RSU (Remote Sensor Unit) and cable for temporary storage until its use during the checkout of the new UPA DA (Urine Processor Assembly/Distillation Assembly) after its delivery by STS-119.

Before the docking, Yuri Lonchakov unstowed, set up and activated the DAKON-M hardware in the SM PrK (Transfer Compartment) for the fourth run of the Russian experiment TEKh-15/IZGIB (“Bend”), taking documentary photography. The activity ran through Shuttle docking and was deactivated afterwards, followed by data transfer to USB stick at ~10:15pm and closeout. [IZGIB has the objective to help update mathematical models of the ISS gravitation environment, using accelerometers of the Russian SBI Onboard Measurement System, the GIVUS high-accuracy angular rate vector gyrometer of the SUDN Motion Control & Navigation System and other accelerometers for unattended measurement of micro-accelerations at science hardware accommodation locations – (1) in operation of onboard equipment having rotating parts (gyrodynes, fans), (2) when establishing and keeping various ISS attitude modes, and (3) when performing crew egresses into space and physical exercises.]

Later tonight, in preparation for tomorrow night’s EVA-1 “Campout” by Steve Swanson & Rick Arnold, Magnus will install REBAs (Rechargeable EVA Battery Assembly) in two EMUs (Extravehicular Mobility Units, 3017 & 3006) and conduct a powered hardware checkout of the suits.

Afterwards, Sandy moves two PBAs from JPM (JEM Pressurized Module, #1021) and COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory, #1019) to the US A/L for the Campout.

For his first task aboard the ISS after the IELK transfer, Koichi Wakata will be deploying new Emergency/C&W (Caution & Warning) cue cards for the 15A docked period in the Lab, Soyuz, SM, Airlock, and Node-2. [The cue cards cover Joint Emergency Egress, Crewlock Depress/Repress, Joint Expedited Undocking & Separation, SAFER Checkout Results & Status Troubleshooting, Emergency EVA Transfer/Expedited Suit Doffing, and Consumables Tracking & Battery Recharge/Metox Regen.]

After setting up the video equipment to record their activities, Mike & Koichi (as a handover) will service the PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) by accessing its microbial filter and injecting iodine solution into it for overnight soaking.

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 CEVIS cycle ergometer (CDR), TVIS treadmill (FE-1, FE-2), and ARED advanced resistive exerciser (CDR, FE-2).

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: 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)
  • 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; lubricate 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, 7:39am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 354.5 km
Apogee height — 360.9 km
Perigee height — 348.2 km
Period — 91.63 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0009417
Solar Beta Angle — 42.5 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.71
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 58 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 59152

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
03/17/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A docking (5:13pm EDT)
03/19 — EVA1 (~1:15 pm–7:45pm)
03/21 — EVA2 (~12:45pm–7:15pm)
03/23 — EVA3 (~11:45am–6:15pm)
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.