Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 18 September 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
September 19, 2009
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 18 September 2009

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Half-day off for the crew.

The crew’s wake/sleep cycle is shifting back to “normal”. Today: wakeup – 8:30am EDT, sleep – 6:00pm (until 2:30am tomorrow).

The crew woke up to heartfelt congratulations on the “very smooth” capturing of the HTV which pioneered future cargo deliveries.

Also upon wakeup, FE-1 Barratt, FE-2 Stott, FE-4 Thirsk & FE-5 DeWinne continued their new week-long session of the experiment SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight), Nicole’s first, logging data from their Actiwatch to the HRF-1 (Human Research Facility 1) laptop as part of a week-long session. [To monitor the crewmembers’ sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, the crewmembers wear a special Actiwatch device which measures the light levels encountered by them as well as their patterns of sleep and activity throughout the Expedition and use the payload software for data logging and filling in questionnaire entries in the experiment’s laptop session file on the HRF-1 laptop. The log entries are done within 15 minutes of final awakening for seven consecutive days.]

The FE-2 & FE-4 continue preparing the HTV (H-IIB Transfer Vehicle), berthed at Node-2 nadir port, for unloading. Tasks performed by Nicole & Bob today include –

  • Outfitting HTV/Node-2 vestibule Part 2 (remove HTV hatch thermal blanket, install Node-2 HTV power jumper W6005 & Node-2 MPLM MIL-STD1553B data cable W6001),
  • Removing Node-2 nadir CBM CPA (Common Berthing Mechanism / Controller Panel Assembly),
  • Outfitting HTV/Node-2 vestibule Part 3 (open hatch MPEV/Manual Pressure Equalization Valve, install IMV/Intermodular Ventilation) supply hose, ARS (Atmosphere Revitalization System) jumper and port radial port closeout, plus remove hatch launch restraint PIP pin),
  • Opening the HTV’s PLC (Pressurized Logistic Carrier) hatch,
  • Ingressing HTV (2:25pm, actual) wearing respirators to take an air sample, and
  • Installing handrails & a PFE (Portable Fire Extinguisher) and PBA (Portable Breathing Apparatus) in HTV.
  • FE-3 Romanenko will also enter the HTV to collect air samples with the Russian AK-1M air sampler from its interior.

[Note on Cargo Ops: The truly enormous task of unloading and transferring cargo (~6000 kg) from the HTV is scheduled to begin “officially” on Monday, 9/21. The HTV PLC contains 2 bays with 4 racks each, i.e., 8 racks total (half an MPLM). One rack (JRSR) will be transferred to replace the excessed CHeCS rack in the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), seven HRRs (HTV Resupply Racks) are for stowage. It will be difficult to execute unpack & trash activities efficiently, to find stowage room on ISS without obstructing passageways for crewmembers carrying bundles & bags, and without obstructing fireports and ventilation intakes & outlets. Cargo ops are being carefully choreographed by ground specialists, with special cargo maps for unpacking & trashing ops (which occur simultaneously). Not only are they constrained by not letting localized CO2 pockets accumulate, but also by the requirement to maintain proper CG (Center of Gravity) management at any time, in case of an emergency hatch closure.]

CDR Padalka meanwhile is focusing mainly on preparations for the undocking of Progress M-67/34P on 9/21 (Monday). After Romanenko called down the standard Loading Complete report to TsUP-Moscow at ~11:00am, Gennady’s tasks included –

  • Activating the spacecraft’s electronics and taking out the ventilation/heating air duct to the DC-1 Docking Compartment,
  • Taking out an SD1-7 double-light fixture and stow it as a spare for re-use,
  • Removing (with Roman’s help) the QD (quick disconnect) screw clamps (BZV) of the docking & internal transfer mechanism (SSVP) which rigidized the joint [during clamp removal and leak checking, Russian thrusters were inhibited from 12:10pm to 2:00pm EDT due to load constraints],
  • Closing the hatches between 34P & SM (Service Module) aft port (~12:45pm);
  • Starting the standard one-hour leak checking of the SU docking vestibule and fuel/oxidizer transfer line interface between Progress and SM aft port (~1:00pm), and
  • Downlinking (by Roman) the video showing the SM AO-to-Progress interface and the close-out activities before PrK-SU hatch closure, for review by ground specialists.

[Undocking is scheduled for ~3:24am EDT on 9/21. Progress 34P will remain in orbit for several days on independent flight and conduct geophysical (plasma) observations.]

As part of post-17A maintenance and for HTV contingency EVA readiness, FE-1 Barratt worked in the U.S. Airlock (A/L), configuring EMUs (Extravehicular Mobility Units) #3006 & #3009 with their SCU (Service & Cooling Umbilical) and then initiating the standard one-hour scrubbing process on the spacesuit’s cooling water loops, filtering ionic and particulate matter (via a 3-micron filter). Afterwards, Mike reconfigured the cooling loops and started the ~2hr biocide filtering. Scrubbing termination, disassembly of the EMU water processing kit and stowing the equipment followed. [Loop scrubbing, incl. iodination of the LCVG (Liquid Cooling & Ventilation Garment) for biocidal maintenance is done to eliminate any biomass and particulate matter that may have accumulated in the loops.]

Barratt also performed a 25-min inspection of PEPS (Portable Emergency Provisions), checking PFEs (Portable Fire Extinguishers, PBAs (Portable Breathing Apparatus) and EHTKs (Extension Hose Tee Kits). [Audit and QDMA Harness inspection were not required today. PFEs: 2 in Node-1, 1 in A/L, 2 in Lab,1 in Node-2, 2 in JPM, 2 in COL, 1 in HTV. PBA O2 Bottles: 1 in Node-1, 2 in A/L, 2 in Lab, 2 in Node-2, 2 in JPM, 2 in COL, 1 in HTV. QDMAs (Quick-Don Mask Assemblies): 1 in Node-1, 5 in A/L, 2 in Lab, 2 in Node-2, 2 in JPM, 2 in COL, 1 in HTV. EHTKs: 1 in Node-1, 2 in Lab, 2 in Node-2.]

The FE-1 completed the routine TOCA (Total Organic Carbon Analyzer) data transfer from Compact Flash to USB Drive for later downlink.

FE-3 Romanenko conducted the periodic service of the RS (Russian Segment) radiation payload suite “Matryoshka-R” (RBO-3-2), verifying proper function of the setup with the LULIN-5 electronics box. [A total of eight Bubble dosimeter detectors (A01-A08) are positioned at their exposure locations, three in the spherical “Phantom” unit on the DC1 panel and five in the SM (two in starboard crew cabin on both sides of the MOSFET (metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor) dosimeter detector unit, two under the work table, and one at panel 410). The deployment locations of the detectors were photo-documented with the NIKON D2X camera and also reported to TsUP via log sheet via OCA. The complex Matryoshka payload suite is designed for sophisticated radiation studies. Note: Matryoshka is the name for the traditional Russian set of nested dolls.]

The FE-3 also –

  • Did the daily IMS (Inventory Management System) maintenance, updating/editing its standard “delta file” including stowage locations, for the regular weekly automated export/import to its three databases on the ground (Houston, Moscow, Baikonur), and
  • 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 and replacement of EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine containers.]

FE-5 De Winne meanwhile conducted the periodic maintenance & visual inspection of the ARED (Advanced Resistive Exercise Device) and its VIS (Vibration Isolation System), guide rails & rollers, greasing the Y- and Z-axis rails & rollers and also evacuating its cylinder flywheels to maintain proper vacuum condition and sensor calibration.

Later, Frank is scheduled to perform the monthly TVIS treadmill maintenance. [The inspection checks out the TVIS in the current SLD (subject loading device) contingency configuration, primarily looking at the condition of the SPDs (subject positioning devices) with clamp/rope assembly wire rope isolators for fraying and damage, plus recording time & date values.]

As all crewmembers, Frank De Winne is also to undertake the regular monthly HMS (Health Maintenance System) training protocol, a 30-min. exercise to refresh his CMO (Crew Medical Officer)’s acuity in a number of critical health areas. The proficiency drill today focuses on Airway Management. [The HMS hardware, including ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) equipment, may be used in contingency situations where crew life is at risk. To maintain proficiency, crewmembers spend one hour per month reviewing HMS and ACLS equipment and procedures via the HMS and ACLS CBT (computer-based training). The impact of not maintaining proficiency with the HMS hardware and procedures could lead to a substantial impact to ISS operations, potential evacuation of ISS, and loss of crew life.]

The FE-5 started (later terminated) another 5-hr automatic sampling run (the 30th) with the 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 (Crew Health Care Systems) hardware.]

Afterwards, Frank set up the hardware for another session with the NUTRITION with Repository experiment for himself and Bob Thirsk, beginning with urine collections tomorrow (9/19) and with the blood draw for Frank on 9/19 and Bob on 9/20, both having to observe the usual constraints prior to the sample taking.

Barratt & De Winne have time set aside for filling out their regular weekly FFQs (Food Frequency Questionnaires) 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.]

De Winne also started charging the battery of a laptop for WEAR (Wearable Augmented Reality), a new experiment with fascinating “sci-fi” possibilities. [The WEAR system is a demonstrator to assist astronauts in performing tasks onboard the ISS. WEAR allows crewmembers to consult procedures and manuals hands-free, with relevant information for the assigned task being displayed on a partially see-through screen before the astronaut’s eyes. The astronaut controls the system via voice commands. Background: Augmented reality (AR) is a term for a live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are merged with-, or augmented by virtual computer-generated imagery, thus creating a “mixed reality”. The augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, like for example sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally usable. Artificial information about the environment and the objects in it can be stored and retrieved as an information layer on top of the real world view.]

The crew performed an abbreviated (1-hr) physical workout program on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-1, FE-2, FE-5), TVIS treadmill (CDR), and ARED advanced resistive exercise device (FE-3, FE-4).

Afterwards, Frank transferred the exercise data files to the MEC for downlink, including the daily wristband HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) data of the workouts on ARED, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).

WRM Update: A new WRM (Water Recovery Management) “cue card” was uplinked last night to the crew for their reference, updated with yesterday’s CWC (Collapsible Water Container) water audit. [The new card (20-0055R) lists 81 CWCs (~1,920.9 L total) for the four types of water identified on board: 1. technical water (68 CWCs with 1,513.5 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 300.6 L for flushing only due to Wautersia bacteria & 176.2 L in 4 clean bags for contingency use, 2. potable water (8 CWCs with 323.1 L, of which 194.8 L (5 bags) are currently off-limit pending ground analysis results), the remainder good for contingency use, 3. condensate water (3 CWCs with 27 L), 4. waste/EMU dump and other (2 CWCs with 57.3 L). Wautersia bacteria are typical water-borne microorganisms that have been seen previously in ISS water sources. These isolates pose no threat to human health.]

Conjunction Alert: NASA FCT (Flight Control Team) is watching a conjunction of the ISS with Object 35438. TCA (Time of Closest Approach): tomorrow (9/19) at 1:28pm EDT. TsUP/Moscow has confirmed that Progress 34P would perform the DAM (Debris Avoidance Maneuver) if required. Latest time to call off the DAM: 9/19, 5:40am. DAM TIG (Time of Ignition), if required: 8:40am (on DO1). Since the US-21 Matching Unit has already been removed from 34P, TsUP is working on a no-Matching Unit timeline for command-preloading (time-tagged) on Progress.

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Sky Islands, Northern Mexico (looking to the left of track into northwestern Mexico for a zone of roughly NW-SE trending mountain ranges. The upper flanks and peaks of these ranges are relatively green with vegetation in comparison to the tan, sparsely vegetated lowland deserts around them. These high-elevation vegetated areas are known as "sky islands" due to their isolated nature on the landscape. Oblique imagery of the mountain ranges and their sky islands of vegetation was requested), and Sudbury Impact Crater, Ontario, Canada (weather was predicted to be mostly clear over this large [250 km across] impact structure. Looking to the left of track for the structure, which is elongated in a NE-SW direction. Overlapping mapping frames, taken as ISS travelled roughly parallel to the structure, were requested to build a complete image mosaic of its surface expression.)

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, 8:00am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 346.9 km
Apogee height – 353.2 km
Perigee height — 340.6 km
Period — 91.48 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.000936
Solar Beta Angle — 11.7 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.74
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 72 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 62064

HTV Flight Day (FD) Overview:
FD 10+: Crew rest

FD 11+: EP Transfer to JEM-EF
· EP removal from ULC via SSRMS
· SSRMS to JEM RMS handoff of EP
· JEM RMS installation of EP on JEM-EF

FD 12+: Payload Transfer
· JEM RMS transfer of HREP from EP to JEM-EF
· JEM RMS transfer of NASA SMILES from EP to JEM-EF

FD 13+: EP Transfer to HTV
· JEM RMS removal of EP
· JEM RMS to SSRMS handoff of EP
· SSRMS installation of EP into HTV

FD 14-38: Cargo Transfer
· 70 hours of soft stowage transfer and trash stow
· 1 rack transfer

FD 38+: Prep for Release
· Remove GLAs, smoke detector, PFE/PBAs
· Install CPAs
· IMV deactivation
· SSRMS grapple HTV

FD 39+: Deactivation and Release
· Vestibule de-outfitting
· HTV deactivation
· CBM unberthing
· SSRMS maneuver to release position
· GNC activation, propulsion system priming
· SSRMS release and departure burns

Departure Sequence
· SSRMS unberths HTV and maneuvers HTV to release point (12 m)
· Crew releases HTV (initiates 90 second Retreat initiation clock)
· Crew commands Retreat
o Initiates HTV opening rate down R-Bar
o Initiates departure 4 burn sequence
· Trajectory is 24-hour safe and outside the approach ellipsoid after 2ndburn

FD 40+: Re-entry.

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
09/21/09 — Progress 34P undock (~3:24am) for several days of Plasma experiment
09/30/09 — Soyuz TMA-16/20S launch
10/02/09 — Soyuz TMA-16/20S docking (SM aft, until MRM-2 w/new port)
10/11/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S undock
10/14/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) unberth (under review)
10/15/09 — Progress 35P launch
11/10/09 — 5R/MRM-2 (Russian Mini Research Module 2) on Soyuz-U
11/12/09 — 5R/MRM-2 docking (SM zenith)
11/12/09 — STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 – ELC1, ELC2 (may move up to 11/9)
11/23/09 – Soyuz TMA-15/19S undock
12/07/09 — Soyuz TMA-17/21S launch
12/09/09 — Soyuz TMA-17/21S (FGB nadir)
12/24/09 — Soyuz relocation (20S from SM aft to MRM2)
12/26/09 — Progress 36P launch
02/03/10 — Progress 37P launch
02/04/10 — STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola
03/05/10 — Progress 38P launch
03/18/10 — STS-131/Discovery/19A – MPLM(P), LMC
04/02/10 — Soyuz TMA-18/22S launch
04/30/10 — Progress 39P launch
05/14/10 — STS-132/Atlantis/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM-1
05/29/10 — Soyuz TMA-19/23S launch
06/30/10 — Progress 40P launch
07/29/10 — STS-133/Endeavour (ULF5 – ELC4, MPLM) or STS-134/Discovery (ULF6 – ELC3, AMS)
07/30/10 — Progress 41P launch
09/16/10 — STS-133/Endeavour (ULF5 – ELC4, MPLM) or STS-134/Discovery (ULF6 – ELC3, AMS)
09/30/10 — Soyuz TMA-20/24S launch
12/??/10 — ATV2 – Ariane 5 (ESA)
12/??/11 — 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – on Proton

SpaceRef staff editor.