Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 18 March 2009

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

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Flight Day 4 (FD4) of STS-119/15A. First full day of Koichi Wakata as new crewmember (FE-2) of Expedition 18. ISS crew work cycle today: Wake 8:45am EDT; sleep 11:45pm (until 8:15am tomorrow morning).

S6 Truss Transfer: At ~11:10am, MS4 John Phillips & FE-2 Sandy Magnus grappled the 31,000-lbs S6 truss element assembly in the PLB with the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System), followed by its unberthing and handover to the SRMS (Shuttle RMS), controlled by PLT Dominic Antonelli & MS1JosephAcaba, at ~2:00pm to allow repositioning the SSRMS with the MT (Mobile Transporter) from WS6 (Worksite 6) to the installation worksite (WS1). The S6 package will later be re-grappled by the SSRMS (~6:00pm), with FE-2-18 Koichi Wakata assisting (as handover activity) and “parked” overnight in space on the SSRMS for temperature adjustment.

Before breakfast, CDR Mike Fincke performed his first session with the biomed experiment INTEGRATED IMMUNE (Validating Procedures for Monitoring Crew member Immune Function), collecting one wet saliva sample. [IMMUNE protocol requires the collection to occur first thing post-sleep, before eating, drinking and brushing teeth, and all samples are stored at ambient temperature. Along with NUTRITION (Nutritional Status Assessment), INTEGRATED IMMUNE 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.]

For Koichi Wakata, the new ISS crewmember, handover activities began, today focusing on the US CMS (Countermeasure Systems) physical exercise devices CEVIS, TVIS and ARED). [Wakata also had his first 15-min sample session on the TVIS treadmill scheduled, followed later in the day by formatting his personal PCMCIA card for the subsequent recording of TVIS exercise data and installing & inspecting his SPDs (Subject Positioning Devices) which keep the exercising subject safely on the running belt.]

A new daily activity for the ISS crew during the docked mission is a twice-daily survey of onboard CO2 levels twice daily, using the hand-held CDMK (CO2 Monitoring Kit) for measuring ppCO2 (Carbon Dioxide partial pressure) in the ISS/Orbiter “stack”. CDR Fincke today collects the readings at ~4:20pm and ~7:30pm EDT. [The data are recorded on an onboard spreadsheet which will be downlinked once the mission is complete to support a long-term analysis of Station/Shuttle ventilation.]

Also a currently daily activity is for FE-1 Lonchakov to check out & verify proper performance of the IP-1 airflow sensors in the various RS (Russian Segment) hatchways, including the passageways PrK (SM Transfer Compartment)–PrK–RO (SM Working Compartment), PkhO (SM Transfer Tunnel)–RO, PkhO–DC1, PkhO–FGB PGO, FGB PGO–FGB GA, FGB GA–Node-1. [This checkup is especially important when the ventilation/circulation system has to cope with a larger crew on board, currently ten persons, and one of the two Russian SKV air conditioners off (SKV-1) because it is beyond its service life.]

After the overnight 17-hr iodine soak of its microbial filter to reduce microbial count, Sandra Magnus is to work on the PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) for a leak check and flush, followed by the periodic US WRS (Water Recovery System) sampling. [After first setting up the TOCA (Total Organic Carbon Analyzer) by connecting its power cable to the UOP1 J3 outlet panel and hooking up its primed WPA (Water Processing Assembly) water sample hose to the WRS Rack 1, Sandy will collect samples from the PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) Hot needle outlet for subsequent inflight processing with the TOCA plus WMK (Water Microbiology Kit) with MCD (Microbial Capture Device) and CDB (Coliform Detection Bag). After the analyses, the usual water reclamation from the sample bags via an absorbing towel (to be dried by airing) and data recording (from TOCA USB drive into the SSC7 laptop) conclude the activities. WRS sampling & checkouts are being conducted for 90 days, i.e., every 4 days: WRS water hose (TOCA inflight analysis) & microbial bag sample (inflight bacterial visual enumeration plus archival for return on 15A), every 8 days: an archival water sample (return on 15A), and monthly: a TOCA bag sample from PWD (tested inflight).]

FE-1 Lonchakov worked his way through an extensive 3.5 -hour teardown of the Russian MATRYOSHKA-R (RBO-3-2) radiation suite in the SM (Service Module). [Yuri dismantled the anthropomorphic (human torso) "Phantom" in the FGB, after taking documentary photography, and removed 298 TLDs (Thermoluminescent Detectors) from its torso layers. The detectors and a PCMCIA memory card with recorded data were then to be pre-packed for return to Earth and handed over to the Shuttle crew, while the Phantom was to be re-assembled and temporarily stowed in the FGB.]

FE-2 Magnus supported JAXA’s SSIPC/Tsukuba (Space Station Integration & Promotion Center) Flight Controllers by power-cycling the MMA MLT (Microgravity Measurement Apparatus Laptop Terminal) in the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), then started the MMA’s micro-G measurement program in the Ryutai Rack for monitoring the robotics activities of the S6 truss unberthing.

Later in the day, Koichi Wakata supported the activation of the new DomeGene experiment for SSIPC in the JPM. [After transferring DomeGene EUs (Experiment Units) 3 & 4 from the Shuttle to the ISS and inserting the samples with their fixation cylinders in the MELFI, Koichi attached the EUs at the CBEF (Cell Biology Experiment Facility) in the Saibo Rack, took documentary photography with the D2Xs camera and closed out the activity, stowing the tools for the EU installation and trashing his gloves. The DomGene packing material (foam in CTB) was transferred to the Shuttle for return to Earth. DomGene involves the culturing of two kinds of amphibian cell lines: an A-6 cell line derived from a kidney and A-8 cell line derived from a liver, which show different types of cell differentiation and morphogenesis. While they are cultured under micro-G, researchers want to observe the shape and state of the cells, plus examine the known and unknown gene expression by DNA array assay using fixed and frozen recovery samples.]

Mike Fincke installed 12 new Area Radiation Dosimeters in the JPM (inside wall) and took photos of all installed units.

Later tonight, Sandy Magnus is scheduled to take documentary video, using the G1 camcorder, and D2Sx still photos of insertion/removal activities on the new GLACIER freezer hardware. [GLACIER (General Laboratory Active Cryogenic ISS Experiment Refrigerator) units are ultra-cold freezers that will store samples as low as -185 degrees C. The GLACIER, designed and originally manufactured by the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB), provides a double middeck locker-sized ER (EXPRESS Rack)-compatible freezer/refrigerator for a variety of experiments that require temperatures ranging from +4 degC (39 degF) to -185 degC (-301 degF). GLACIER is part of the Cold Stowage Fleet of hardware which includes the MELFI and the MERLIN (Microgravity Experiment Research Locker/Incubator).]

Afterwards, Magnus & Fincke transfer pre-15A DCB (Double Coldbag) samples of JAXA experiments RadGene & LOH and NASA’s Nutrition experiment from MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS) to the ISS GLACIER in the Lab. [A new GLACIER was delivered on Discovery, to be transferred on FD6.]

The CDR conducted the periodic status check on the running payloads CGBA-5 (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus 5) and ENose (Electronic Nose), both located in the ER-2 (EXPRESS Rack 2).

Wakata, with Yuri Lonchakov, inspected the new SOKOL pressure suit which Koichi would wear as a Soyuz passenger in a contingency return, conducted a leak check and set it and its gloves up for airing (“drying”) out. Later, suit and gloves were stowed in the Soyuz 17S Orbital Module.

Yuri 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, 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.]

In addition, working off his discretionary “time permitting” task list, the FE-1 completed the regular daily job of IMS (Inventory Management System) “delta file” updating/editing for the weekly automated export/import to its three databases on the ground (Houston, Moscow, Baikonur).

The new Japanese Flight Engineer is scheduled for his first PMC (Private Medical Conference) at ~7:30pm. Koichi also has ~2.5 hrs to himself for general orientation (station familiarization & acclimatization) as is customary for fresh crewmembers for the first two weeks after starting station residence, if she/he chooses to take it.

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 CEVIS cycle ergometer (CDR), TVIS treadmill (FE-1, FE-2), and ARED resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-2). [Work is underway to repair the failed Ergometer bike in the Shuttle. Contingency use of the Russian VELO by the Shuttle crew is under consideration, and CDR Archambault also used the ARED today..]

At ~2:58pm EDT, Fincke, Archambault, Acaba and Arnold were scheduled for a 20-min PAO TV interview via standard & HD video with Channel One News (Steven Fabian) from Node-2.

In preparation for tomorrow’s EVA-1 by EV1 Steve Swanson & E2 Richard Arnold, Mike configuring the transfer equipment which allows the Shuttle to supply O2 to the ISS PBAs (Portable Breathing Apparatus) in support of the pre-EVA mask prebreathing by the spacewalkers for denitrogenation. [Earlier today, the crew closed the N2 (nitrogen) feed valve, used for purging the O2 supply line from the Shuttle.]

Also for the EVA-1, Fincke set up the batteries of the D2Xs cameras for recharge (which takes at least three hours) and later was to configure the D2Xs for the spacewalk.

At ~8:45pm tonight, the joint crew is scheduled for an in-depth one-hour review of procedures for the EVA-1 spacewalk, with egress scheduled to start tomorrow at ~1:15pm EDT.

Afterwards, Steven Swanson (EV1) & Richard Arnold (EV2) will begin their “campout” (nachalo desaturatsiy = desaturation start) in the A/L (Airlock) with hatch closure and depressurization of the CL (Crewlock) from 14.7 to 10.2 psi at ~10:40pm, followed by mask prebreathe at ~10:40pm-11:45pm. Sleep time for the ISS crew begins at 12:15am. [Sleep for the ISS crew begins at 11:45pm.]

Following the usual hygiene break/with mask prebreathe for Swanson & Arnold at ~8:50am-10:00am 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 (~11:30am) and prebreathe (~11:45am) in the EMUs. Afterwards, with CL depressurization (~12:45pm) and EV1/EV2 egress, EVA-1 nominally begins at ~1:15pm EDT.

ISS Crew Sleep Shifting: To synchronize the ISS crew’s timeline with STS-119/15A docked period and departure, 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: 8:45am – 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)
  • 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).

CEO photo targets uplinked for today were Nairobi, Kenya (Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya with over 3 million inhabitants. ISS approach was from the SW in mid-afternoon sun with fair weather expected. Looking just right of track and try for detailed mapping of the urban margins), Chaiten Volcano (ISS had a midday pass in fair weather over this recently reactivated volcano in southern Chile. Prior to its eruption in May 2008, the volcano had been quiet for more than 9,000 years; it has caused significant damage to the town of Chaiten located to the SW. Photography of the summit lava domes is of particular interest. Steam and ash plumes may also be visible. Last month on 2/24 while the crew successfully captured amazing imagery of Villarrica volcano, they were also able to capture Chaiten with the 180 mm lens. This time researchers asked for a tighter view with the 800 mm lens), Lake Poopo, Bolivia (the last good views of Lake Poopo were in early November showing it to be all but completely dry. Today ISS had a mid-afternoon pass in fair weather with near-nadir views possible. There was no need for detailed views this time. Instead the crew was to try for a broad, short-lens survey of the entire Altiplano region including the salars of Uyuni and Coipasa, Lake Poopo in the south, and Lake Titicaca to the north), Tungurahua Volcano, Ecuador (this mid-afternoon pass tracked through three successive target areas for volcanoes in the northern Andes Mountains of Ecuador and Colombia. The CEO team has had no success, so far, in acquiring ISS imagery of these features due to heavy cloud cover that is so frequent in this region of South America. Today was no exception with, at best, only partial clearing of any of these three expected. Requested was that the crew attempt to simply perform a continuous, short-lens mapping pass of all three. As the station tracked northeastward near the coast, the crew was to look right of track for any volcanic peaks visible through breaks in the clouds), Galeras Volcano (there were two additional passes of this targets, and they were to use the request for Tungurahua Volcano above for both).

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, 6:46am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 354.5 km
Apogee height — 360.8 km
Perigee height — 348.1 km
Period — 91.63 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0009398
Solar Beta Angle — 39.6 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.71
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 55 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 59167

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
03/19 — STS-119 EVA1 (~1:15 pm–7:45pm)
03/21 — STS-119 EVA2 (~12:45pm–7:15pm)
03/23 — STS-119 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.