Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 18 October 2008

By SpaceRef Editor
October 18, 2008
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 18 October 2008

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Day 5 of joint E17/18 operations. Saturday – not a rest (yet) for CDR Volkov, FE-1 Kononenko, FE-2 Chamitoff, CDR-18 Fincke, FE-1-18 Lonchakov & SFP Garriott.

The crew’s work/sleep cycle remains at the one-hour earlier wake-up time of 1:00am EDT; sleeptime tonight – 4:30pm.

Aboard the station, the E17/18 crew rotation/handover activities continued nominally. [Volkov, Kononenko, Fincke and Lonchakov had ~3:30 hrs between them for dedicated CDR/CDR & FE/FE handover activities, focusing today on SOZh/ECLSS (BMP, GANK, CMS Analyzer), SOTR (Thermal Control System), EPS (Electrical Power System), Internal Lights, BVS (Onboard Computer System), as listed in the relevant Handover (RPS) Book sections 10, 12, 13, 17, 18. In addition, there are “generic” handovers where crewmembers are scheduled together to complete various designated standard tasks.]

CDR Volkov, with Yuri Lonchakov observing, performed the periodic maintenance of the active Russian BMP (Harmful Impurities Removal System) by starting the "bake-out" cycle to vacuum on absorbent bed #1 of the regenerable dual-channel filtration system. The process will be terminated at ~3:30pm EDT and Bed #2 regeneration performed tomorrow. [Regeneration of each of the two cartridges takes about 12 hours and is conducted only during crew awake periods. The BMP’s regeneration cycle, normally done every 20 days, is currently performed four times more frequently (last time: 9/29 & 9/30).]

Sergey Volkov also conducted the (currently daily) visual status check on the running DAKON-M hardware in the second session of the Russian experiment TEKh-15/IZGIB (“Bend”), tagging up with the ground, downlinking data and restarting the data taking afterwards. [The activity runs till 10/20, requiring visual control of hardware operations three times a day and report to the ground. The first IZGIB session, for checkout, was conducted on 9/23. 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.]

Major science activities in the RS (Russian Segment) by Yuri Lonchakov today focused on work with the biotechnological experiments

  • BTKh-14/BIOEMULSION (activation of mixing mode Day 3, closeout ops with Bioreactor #5 and transfer to KRIOGEM-3M, with photography) and
  • BIO-4 (installation of Base C and SEN/Xenopus units in KUBIK 3, and ventilating the BIO-4 sample in KUBIK-1). [The four BIO-4 experiments, developed by scientists from Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and France, include research in bacterial physiology, immune cell function and developmental biology. Two experiments (BBB/BASE B & BBC/BASE C) study how bacteria cope and adapt in the spaceflight environment, being exposed to parameters such as microgravity, cosmic radiation, space electromagnetism and vibrations. Xenopus studies the development of cane toad tadpoles (Xenopus laevis) in spaceflight. The fourth experiment is ROALD looks at the “ROle of Apoptosis in Lymphocyte Depression”. BBB, BBC & SEN will return on Soyuz TMA-12/16S.]

In support of the Russian KPT-12/EXPERT experiment, Kononenko collected surface samples from inside and around the SM PrK (Transfer Compartment) Tunnel.

The FE-1 also removed yellow tags from equipment that was certified since launch, involving the two ZVENO-B (“Link-B”) units installed last August behind SM (Service Module) panel 437. [Yellow tags, more formally called "uncertified dual ops tags", are used to identify items not certified for ISS Operations (certification and/or paperwork not complete prior to launch); items which have IP (International Partner) segment-specific certification (can be used in one IP segment but should not be used in anther IP segment); items that could pose a safety hazard; and items that are broken or expired. Blank yellow tags are flown so hardware can be tagged on-orbit as necessary.]

Working in JAXA’s Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), Chamitoff powered up the PCS (Portable Computer System) laptop and performed a checkout of the external forward TV camera to verify its function and controllability for the upcoming JEMRMS (Robotic Manipulator System) checkout.

On the JPM’s IPU VRU (Image Processing Unit/Video Recording Unit), the FE-2 removed & replaced a number of recording disks (#1035, #1036, #1037, #1038, #1039).

Additionally, Gregory had ~1hr. for cleaning up payload items in Kibo, i.e., consolidating LSE (Laboratory Support Equipment) and FPEF (Fluid Physics Experiment Facility) tools in their CTBs (Cargo Transfer Bags) and relocating the CTBs for return to the ground on ULF-2.

Also in the Japanese segment, CDR-18 Fincke took documentary photography for subsequent downlink to Tsukuba from an SSC (Station Support Computer). [The shots were to show the clearance between the ZSR (Zero-G Stowage Rack) and JLP (JEM Pressurized Logistics Segment) shell and N-Brace, plus the Saibo Rack CO2 umbilical connection and the manual valve GCO2 vent.]

In the Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft, Yuri Lonchakov performed troubleshooting on the V1 fan of the ventilation system in the Descent Module, supported by ground monitoring on DO4 (Daily Orbit 4).

In preparation for tomorrow’s SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) operations, i.e., maneuvering to and grapple MBS PDGF-1 (Mobile Base System/Power & Data Grapple Fixture 1), Greg Chamitoff set up the Robotics video camera connection by hooking up the UOP DCP (Utility Outlet Panel/Display & Control Panel) power bypass cable for both the Lab & Cupola RWS (Robotics Workstations), followed by a 30-min. review of newly uplinked POC DOUG (Portable Onboard Computers/Dynamic Onboard Ubiquitous Graphics) software for the SSRMS activities.

Afterwards, Gregory cleaned out Node-2 of stowage items to make room for setting up and checking out the CBCS (Centerline Berthing Camera System) preparatory to the docking of MPLM (Multi-Purpose Logistics Module) “Leonardo” on ULF-2.

Kononenko & Lonchakov conducted an inspection and checkout of PU SOA (Air Scrubbing System Control Panel) cables behind SM panel 425. [Panel 425 covers the flexible metal H2 hoses from Elektron between the RPD pressure differential regulator (equalization unit) and the ZLVK-2 hydrogen vent valve toward the BMP micropurification unit inlet valve.]

Yuri Lonchakov performed the monthly radiation data checkup for accumulated flux & dose rate data with the Matryoshka-R radiation payload (RBO-3-2) and its LULIN-5 electronics box, replacing its data storage card with a new one.

Chamitoff worked on the BCAT-4 experiment which on 10/10 had encountered a problem with the SSC-12 laptop running the automated picture-taking EarthKAM software. [Setting up to continue BCAT-4 operations tomorrow, Greg replaced the SSC-12 with another laptop (SSCs-4 & 6 being also not good), then turned on the laptop and camera, and took some Sample 3 photos in order to make sure that the system is working properly.]

The FE-2 also repaired a failed PCS (Portable Computer System) laptop in the US Airlock by transferring its hard disk drive (vers. R11) to another laptop shell, later reporting that the PC was working OK again.

Greg filled out the regular FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire), his 16th, on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer). [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.]

Mike Fincke performed the monthly CEVIS (cycle ergometer) maintenance, and Yuri Lonchakov got checked out on TVIS treadmill IFM (Inflight Maintenance) procedures.

Sergey Volkov conducted the periodic (currently daily) checkout/verification of IP-1 airflow sensors in the various RS hatchways, including the DC1-to-Soyuz tunnel, and the FGB-to-Soyuz and FGB-to-Node passageway. [This is especially important when the ventilation/circulation system has to cope with a larger crew on board, currently six persons, and one of the two Russian SKV air conditioners still off (SKV-1), having run out of service life.]

Oleg & Yuri took readings with the Russian AOK GANK-4M Real-Time Harmful Contaminant Gas Analyzer system and calibrated the unit.

Servicing the US OGS (Oxygen Generation System), Mike Fincke & Greg Chamitoff removed the WDS (Water Delivery System) to provide access to the OGS for the regular O2 purge of the H2 sensor, after demating the O2 outlet QD (Quick Disconnect). The WDS was then re-installed on the OGS rack front.

VC-15 Richard Garriott, assisted in part by Russian crewmembers, worked on his daily onboard program which today included –

  • SLEEP Actiwatch logging;
  • Tagup with consultants (AT) at TsUP via VHF-1;
  • Ham radio session (Austin, TX for Challenger Center);
  • PRK Visual Acuity evaluation;
  • MUSCLE-G (LBP/Low Back Pain) questionnaire;
  • MOP-G (Motion Perception; vestibular adaptation to changes in micro-G);
  • Video blogs (e.g., Earth Science Challenges 1-6, Time in Space, Tabula Rasa, DEV Team & players, commercial Seiko questionnaire, et al.);
  • Earth photography (mid-US, Seattle, Southern Canada); and
  • Copying data & image files to HDD (Hard Disk Drive) for return.

Richard and the three Russian crewmembers had two hours set aside for scheduled commemorative (Russian: “symbolic”) activities, a standard tradition for visiting guests and departing expedition crewmembers. [The crew members signed and stamped a book by Y. V. Kondratiuk (“Conquering Interplanetary Space”), pennants of TsAGI (Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute), the Communard Association and the Chemical Engineering Design Office (with A.M. Isaiev’s portrait), Russian post philatelic items (envelopes), and envelopes for the 16S crew commemorative kit.]

Garriott, Fincke & Lonchakov had their standard PMCs (Private Medical Conferences), via S-band/audio & Ku-band/video, Richard at ~4:30am EDT, Mike at ~1:05pm, Yuri at ~1:20pm.

Gregory & Michael had again time set aside on their schedule for pre-packing hardware to be returned on STS-126/ULF-2.

The E17 crew completed their regular 2.5-hr. physical workout program (about half of which is used for setup & post-exercise personal hygiene) on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-2), TVIS treadmill (CDR/2.5h, FE-1/2.5h), and RED resistive exercise device (FE-2). Also, CDR-18 Fincke performed his second onboard exercise on the RED for one hour.

Afterwards, Greg transferred the exercise data file to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) laptop 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).

Weekly Science Update (Expedition Seventeen — Week 26)

3-D SPACE: In progress.

ALTCRISS (Alteino Long Term monitoring of Cosmic Rays on the ISS): Close-out activities for Inc 17-ALTCRISS were performed on 10/14.

ANITA (Analyzing Interferometer for Ambient Air): Continuing.

BCAT-3/4 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test 3/4): “Greg. thank you for all your work to attempt to get a functional laptop and for requesting to try BCAT-4 again.”

BIO-4: With 17S, a package of 3 Biology experiments were launched (i.e. ROALD, XENOPUS, BASE-B/-C) using the KUBIK incubators. On 10/14, KUBIK 1 & 2 were activated and temperatures were set: +21deg C for KUBIK-1 (to support XENOPUS) and +37deg C for KUBIK-2 (to support ROALD). XENOPUS experiment containers were installed upon transfer from Soyuz and activated on 10/14/11:20am EDT. ROALD experiment containers were installed, and the centrifuge was activated around 10/14/11:33am. The ROALD experiment is controlled by an automated timeline which commands the different fixation points in time. Containers with fixed samples are then transferred to MELFI. The first insertion into MELFI was performed around 10/14/2:40pm, and the second insertion was performed some hours later around 10/14/4:15pm. The next day, the third transfer was also performed as planned and samples were inserted into MELFI around 10/15/2:16pm. The fourth and final transfer for ROALD was planned for 10/16/2:00pm (pending confirmation).

For the XENOPUS experiment, the crew performs a daily ventilation of the KUBIK. The containers for the BASE-B/-C experiment were kept in Soyuz to allow for stable temperature conditions. The experiment will start on GMT292, with KUBIK-3 setup on GMT291.
CARDIOCOG-2: Completed.

CCISS (Cardiovascular & Cerebrovascular Control on Return from ISS): Reserve.

CFE (Capillary Flow Experiment): Reserve.

CW/CR (Cell Wall/Resist Wall) in EMCS (European Modular Cultivation System): Samples returned on 1J.

CSI-2/CGBA-5 (CGBA Science Insert #2/Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus 5): In progress.

CGBA-2 (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus 2): Complete.

CSLM-2 (Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures 2): Complete.

EarthKAM (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students): Complete.

ELITE-S2 (Elaboratore Immagini Televisive – Space 2): Planned.

EPO (Educational Payload Operations): Reserve.

ETD (Eye Tracking Device): Completed.

EuTEF (European Technology Exposure Facility): Due to safety concerns identified for the PLEGPAY instrument (when operated in Plasma Discharge mode), the entire EuTEF platform was put in survival mode on 9/1 at around 11:00am EDT (just prior to 29P undocking). Since then, the EuTEF power feeder#1 has been de-activated and no science acquisition is possible. Request has been approved for intermittent activation for 3 of the 9 EUTEF payloads. EuTEF platform power feeder #1 has been re-activated for 8-hrs periods on 10/10, 10/12, and 10/15 (10/14 was skipped because of 17S docking). This activation protocol will continue every other day until safety issues are solved with the PLEGPAY instrument. This only mitigates the science loss for the EXPOSE, DOSTEL and MEDET instruments. The situation implies significant loss of science return for all EUTEF payloads.

FSL (Fluid Science Laboratory): FSL is nominal.

GEOFLOW: In progress.

HDTV System Test DL (JAXA): JAXA tried to downlink the missed images but failed. So, a tape was added which was on the return manifest for ULF-2.

IMMUNO (Neuroendocrine & Immune Responses in Humans During & After Long Term Stay at ISS): Complete.

InSPACE-2 (Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions 2): In progress.

Integrated Immune: In progress.

KUBIK-FM1/ KUBIK-FM2 Centrifuge/Incubators: Completed.

LOCAD-PTS (Lab-on-a-Chip Application Development-Portable Test System): In progress.

Marangoni Experiment for ISS (JAXA Fluid Physics Experiment Facility): The Marangoni Experiment has been completed, with the exception of the HDD (Hard Disk Drive) exchange. The PI team decided not to conduct the experiment further, because of the lack of the silicon oil buffer. Although the liquid bridge occurred, the PI is very satisfied with the results.

Micro-G Clay (JAXA EPO): Complete.

MISSE (Materials ISS Experiment): Ongoing.

Moon Photography from ISS (JAXA EPO): Complete.

MOP (Motion Perception in Zero-G): Daily MOP questionnaires are filled in by the SFP (Space Flight Participant).

MSG-SAME (Microgravity Science Glovebox): Complete.

MTR-2 (Russian radiation measurements): Passive dosimeters measurements in DC1 “Pirs”.

MULTIGEN-1: Completed.

MUSCLE-G (LBP/Low Back Pain): Daily MUSCLE questionnaires are filled in by the SFP.

NOA-1/-2 (Nitric Oxide Analyzer, ESA): NOA return items have been pre-packed for 16S return.


PADLES (Passive Dosimeter for Lifescience Experiment in Space): In progress.

PCRF (Protein Crystallization Research Facility) Reconfiguration (JAXA): Complete.

PMDIS (Perceptual Motor Deficits in Space): Complete.

SAMS/MAMS (Space & Microgravity Acceleration Measurement Systems): Ongoing.

SAMPLE: Complete.

SHERE (Shear History Extensional Rheology Experiment): Complete.

SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight): “Greg, thanks for completing your Sleep logging this week. The Sleep PI is receiving your data, and we will work to correct the Sleep Log File save path with a service pack update and try to schedule another week to make up for the week that was deleted. We are currently working on scheduling a download 3 and initialize 2 activity after undocking on 10/23 for the Actiwatch data.”

SOLAR (Solar Monitoring Observatory): The last Sun visibility window ended on 10/4. The instruments operated nominally, with the exception of SOLACES which encountered a synchronization problem for its two micro-controllers units.

SOLO (Sodium Loading in Microgravity): Currently in idle mode, as no sun visibility. Performed only troubleshooting for SOLACES on problem of synchronization for its two micro-controllers units

SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellite): Reserve.

Swab (Characterization of Microorganisms & Allergens in Spacecraft): Complete.

TRAC (Test of Reaction & Adaptation Capabilities): Planned.


WAICO #1 (Waving and Coiling of Arabidopsis Roots at Different g-levels): Completed.

CEO (Crew Earth Observations): Through 10/16 the ground has received a total of 8,491 frames of CEO images for review and cataloging. Photos with times corresponding to the uplinked CEO target request times are reviewed first and since the last report included: Hurricane Norbert, Eastern Pacific (excellent imagery but received only yesterday). “Greg, your excellent, sun glint-enhanced view of Coronado Island in Mexico’s Gulf of California will be published on NASA/GSFC’s Earth Observatory website this weekend. Your image nicely documents the topographic features of this uninhabited island and hints of its diverse marine environment. Nice catch!”

CEO (Crew Earth Observations) photo targets uplinked for today were Meili Glacier, China (Meili Mt. with its glacier rises above 22,000 feet and is the center of a diversity hotspot for plants and endangered animals [snow leopard, clouded leopard, Asiatic black bear, and red panda]. The snow-covered mountain ranges run parallel separated by major rivers in semiarid gorges. Meili Mt. lies on the second major range right of track), and Two Hearted River Forest Reserve, Upper Peninsula, MI (this Reserve will be managed by the Nature Conservancy for sustainable forestry. Imagery for longer term monitoring was requested. Looking just right of track, a short way inland from the shore of Lake Superior).

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).

Week 26 Scheduled Main Activities:

  • Sun. (10/19): ISS-18 expmts.; VC15 Prgm.; Handovers ISS-18; BMP ch.2 regen.; JEMRMS DOUG review ; JEMRMS activities/checkout ; MBI-15 NEURO; O-OHA assess.; IP-1 check; Elektron BZh check.

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 7:26am EDT [= epoch]):
Mean altitude — 352.2 km
Apogee height — 354.5 km
Perigee height — 349.9 km
Period — 91.58 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0003346
Solar Beta Angle — -60.6 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 48 hours — 30 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 56793

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible.):
10/23/08 — Soyuz TMA-12/16S undock (DC1 nadir, 8:15pm) & land (11:36pm) = 10/24 — 9:36am Kazakhstan)
11/02/08 — Progress 30P reboost; Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends
11/15/08 — STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 launch – MPLM Leonardo, LMC
11/17/08 — STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 docking
11/20/08 — ISS 10 Years
11/25/08 — Progress M-65/30P undocking & deorbit – (UNDER REVIEW)
11/26/08 — Progress M-66/31P launch
11/30/08 — Progress M-66/31P docking
12/01/08 — STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 landing (~1:25pm EST est.) – (UNDER REVIEW)
02/09/09 — Progress M-66/31P undocking & deorbit
02/10/09 — Progress M-67/32P launch
02/12/09 — Progress M-67/32P docking
02/12/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A launch – S6 truss segment
02/14/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A docking
02/24/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A undocking
02/26/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A landing (nominal)
03/25/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S launch
03/27/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S docking (DC1)
04/05/09 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S undocking
04/07/09 — Progress M-67/32P undocking & deorbit
05/15/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch – JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD
05/25/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
05/27/09 — Six-person crew on ISS (following Soyuz 19S docking)
07/30/09 — STS-128/Atlantis/17A – MPLM(P), last crew rotation
10/15/09 — STS-129/Discovery/ULF3 – ELC1, ELC2
12/10/09 — STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola
02/11/10 — STS-131/Atlantis/19A – MPLM(P)
04/08/10 — STS-132/Discovery/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM1
05/31/10 — STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 – ELC3, ELC4 (contingency).

SpaceRef staff editor.