Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 19 August 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
August 20, 2009
Filed under , , ,
NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 19 August 2009

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

Upon wakeup, FE-2 Timothy Kopra continued his current experiment activity of SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight), logging data from his Actiwatch to the HRF-1 (Human Research Facility 1) laptop as part of an extended session.

FE-1 Barratt had the last day (Day 6) of his second SOLO (Sodium Loading in Microgravity) session (low salt diet), which entails a series of diet intake loggings, body mass measurements and blood & urine samplings in two session blocks. Today, Mike collected final samples of urine for stowage in the MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS) and performed another BMM (Body Mass Measurement) with the SLAMMD gear. Afterwards, the SOLO hardware was stowed away. [SOLO is/was composed of two sessions of six days each. From Day 1 to 5 (included) Mike had to eat special diet (Session 1: High salt diet which corresponds to normal ISS diet salt level and Session 2: Low salt diet). Solo Diet started with breakfast on Day 1. Day 6 of each session is diet-free. For both diets, specially prepared meals are provided onboard. All three daily meals are being logged on sheets stowed in the PCBA (Portable Clinical Blood Analyzer) Consumable Kit in the MELFI along with control solution and cartridges for the PCBA. SOLO, an ESA/German experiment from the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Cologne/Germany, investigates the mechanisms of fluid and salt retention in the body during long-duration space flight. Body mass is measured with the SLAMMD (Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device). Blood samples are taken with the PCBA. Background: The hypothesis of an increased urine flow as the main cause for body mass decrease has been questioned in several recently flown missions. Data from the US SLS1/2 missions as well as the European/Russian Euromir `94 & MIR 97 missions show that urine flow and total body fluid remain unchanged when isocaloric energy intake is achieved. However, in two astronauts during these missions the renin-angiotensin system was considerably activated while plasma ANP concentrations were decreased. Calculation of daily sodium balances during a 15-day experiment of the MIR 97 mission (by subtracting sodium excretion from sodium intake) showed an astonishing result: the astronaut retained on average 50 mmol sodium daily in space compared to balanced sodium in the control experiment.]

FE-5 Frank De Winne performed another run of the InSPACE-2 experiment, activating the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) and powering on the hardware including the MSG video cameras and monitor. Next, the optical alignment of the cameras was verified and the MSG video recorders were configured. Then, Frank completed session #58, switching the magnetic field to “steady” mode, sweeping and focusing the field of view, and then removing & stowing the video tapes from the MSG video recorders and inserting new blank tapes. Mike Barrat provided support by filming a 3-minute video of the InSPACE-2 activities. Later, the hardware including MSG was deactivated, the A31p turned off, and the gear stowed. [The purpose of the InSPACE-2 experiment is to obtain data on fluids that change properties in response to magnetic fields. Observations of the microscopic structures will yield a better understanding of the interplay of magnetic, surface and repulsion forces between structures in magnetorheological (MR) fluids (fluids that change properties under the influence of an applied magnetic field). These runs are allowing researchers to better understand the kinetics of formation of chain-like aggregates over longer times (2+ hrs) than were achieved in the initial runs of InSPACE-2 during Increment 16.]

FE-4 Bob Thirsk set up, checked out and conducted his second test with the French/CNES neuroscientific research experiment “3D Space” (SAP) as Subject #5, using the ESA Multipurpose Laptop with a prepared HDD (Hard Disk Drive), data storage on a PCMCIA memory card, and an electronic pen table connected to it. De Winne assisted during the Writing exercise. [3D Space, which involves distance, writing and illusion exercises, is designed to test the hypothesis that altered visual perception affects motor control. To do this, the subject is asked to reproduce shapes or text on an electronic pen pad (Wacom Intuos3 A4). The test person is asked to reproduce shapes or text on the pen tablet which allows researchers to record and analyze the reactions both on earth and in space.]

FE-2 Kopra set up, checked out and conducted his first test with the French/CNES neuroscientific research experiment “3D Space” (SAP) as Subject #6, using the ESA Multipurpose Laptop with a prepared HDD (Hard Disk Drive), data storage on a PCMCIA memory card, and an electronic pen table connected to it. Bob Thirsk assisted. [3D Space, which involves distance, writing and illusion exercises, is designed to test the hypothesis that altered visual perception affects motor control. To do this, the subject is asked to reproduce shapes or text on an electronic pen pad (Wacom Intuos3 A4). The test person is asked to reproduce shapes or text on the pen tablet which allows researchers to record and analyze the reactions both on earth and in space.]

Working on the WRS (Water Recovery System), the FE-4 configured and filled the RFTA (Recycle Filter Tank Assembly Quick Disconnect) hose preparatory to another RFTA R&R (Removal & Replacement).

Tim Kopra completed the periodic inspection of the SPS ELPS (Secondary Power System/Emergency Light Power Supply) subsystems in the Lab (2 units), Node-2 (2 units), A/L (US Airlock, 1 unit), and Node-1 (3 units). Later, De Winne performed the ELPS inspection also in the JAXA JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), JLP (JEM Logistics Pressurized Section) and ESA COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory).

In addition, the FE-5 conducted the monthly FDS PEP (Fire Detection & Suppression/Portable Emergency Provisions) safety inspection/audit in the ISS modules. [The 30-min IMS-supported inspection involves verification that PFEs (Portable Fire Extinguishers), PBAs (Portable Breathing Apparatus), QDMAs (Quick-Don Mask Assemblies) and EHTKs (Extension Hose/Tee Kits) are free of damage to ensure their functionality, and to track shelf life/life cycles on the hardware.]

In the U.S. A/L (Airlock), Kopra worked on the METOX (Metal Oxide) CO2 adsorption canisters, changing out O-ring seals that have reached their end-of-life.

Timothy also terminated the recharge of the last batch of EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) batteries.

Continuing EVA tool preparations for STS-128/17A, Mike Barratt meanwhile installed freshly charged batteries in three PGTs (Pistol Grip Tools) and inspected EVA tether extenders. [Installed were battery #1006 in EV1 PGT(#02), #1008 in EV2 PGT (#06), and #1009 in a spare PGT (#08) in the staging bag.]

To make room for installing a new rack in the Lab (loc. LAB1S2), Barratt completed the sorting-by-type and relocating of 31 CWC-I’s (Collapsible Water Containers-Iodine) from the Lab to the JLP. [This was a 4-hr job of which the first part of 2-hrs was performed yesterday by Bob Thirsk.]

Using a digital still camera, Barratt took situational photographs of each individual locker (door opened) of the LAB1O5 rack. [These photos were requested to give ground specialists insight into the configuration of the new rack location for CHeCS (Crew Health Care Systems) hardware and determine if the stowage plan for this rack is acceptable. This will also assist with the stowage plan for CHeCS hardware arriving on flight 17A.]

Mike prepared a USB Thumb Drive for the HMS (Health Medical Systems) TG1p laptop for 17A docked ops activity and temporarily stowed it along with the TG1p.

Romanenko conducted his fifth data collection for the psychological MBI-16 Vzaimodejstvie (“Interactions”) program, accessing and completing the computerized study questionnaire on the RSE-Med laptop and saving the data in an encrypted file. [The software has a “mood” questionnaire, a “group & work environment” questionnaire, and a “critical incidents” log. Results from the study, which is also mirrored by ground control subjects, could help to improve the ability of future crewmembers to interact safely and effectively with each other and with Mission Control, to have a more positive experience in space during multi-cultural, long-duration missions, and to successfully accomplish mission activities.]

CDR Padalka set up the equipment for his fourth session with the Russian experiment MBI-18 DYKHANIE (“Respiration”) and undertook the test, controlled from the RSE-Med laptop. Gennady then downlinked the test data files using OCA, closed down the hardware, and stowed it. [Dykhanie-1 uses two body belts (PG-T/thoracic, PG-A/abdominal), a calibrator, resistor, mouthpiece, etc., to study fundamental physiological mechanisms of the external breathing function of crewmembers under long-duration orbital flight conditions. During the experiment, physiological measurements are taken and recorded with a pneumotachogram, a thoracic pneumogram, an abdominal pneumogram, and pressure data in the oral cavity. All experimentally derived plus salient environmental data along with personal data of the subject are recorded on PCMIA card for return to the ground at end of the Expedition. Objectives include determining the dynamics of the relationship between thoracic (pectoral) and abdominal breathing function reserves and their realization potential during spontaneous breathing, the coordinated spontaneous respiratory movements in terms of thoracic and abdominal components of volumetric, time & rate parameters of spontaneous respiratory cycle, identification of the features of humoral-reflex regulation of breathing by dynamics of ventilation sensitivity of thoracic and abdominal components to chemoreceptor stimuli, etc. Overall, the experiment is intended to provide a better understanding of the basic mechanisms of pulmonary respiration/gas exchange gravitational relations of cosmonauts.]

In the Soyuz 18S spacecraft, Padalka performed another health check of the KhSA Cooler/Dehumidifier Assembly’s fans in the DM (Descent Module) by turning off the V1 fan and activating instead the V2 fan, then checking air flow. [On 6/25, a planned replacement of the apparently faulty fan in the Soyuz 18S DM with a new unit proved to be not necessary after Padalka configured a jumper bypass which successfully recovered functionality of the air conditioner fan. The fix is periodically being checked.]

The CDR terminated the recharge of the power pack for the BAR TTM-2 instrument and then had about 3 hrs. for taking measurements, including air and dew point temperatures with the Iv-6A, behind a large number of SM wall panels. [Objective of the Russian KPT-12/EKSPERT (“Expert”) science payload is to measure environmental parameters (temperature, humidity, air flow rate) and module shell surface temperatures behind SM panels and other areas susceptible to possible micro-destruction (corrosion), before and after insolation (day vs. night). The payload uses a remote infrared thermometer (Kelvin-Video), a thermohygrometer (Iva-6A), a heat-loss anemometer/thermometer (TTM-2) and an ultrasound analyzer (AU) to determine environmental data in specific locations and at specific times. Activities include documentary photography with the NIKON D2X camera and flash.]

FE-3 Romanenko worked about an hour in the FGB’s PGO Instrument Cargo Compartment, removing & replacing an STTS comm panel (VSB-95) of the VSB switching monoblock (unit), then tested the setup with Padalka’s assistance and updated the IMS (Inventory Management System). [The "Voskhod-M" STTS provides for telephone communication with users in the SM, FGB and U.S. segment (USOS), as well as with users on the ground via VHF (very high frequency) channels selected by an operator at the SM comm panel (PA). Also, buttons pushed at any of the six comm panels in the SM allow access to any of three audio channels, plus an intercom channel. The VSB-1M monoblock is an integrated switching unit for selecting between primary and secondary (backup) units of the VHF1 transmitter and receiver, and VHF2 simplex and duplex receivers and transmitters. It has redundant interfaces to the antenna feeder unit (AFU), the BRTS audio center, and the VSB voice/telegraph signal separation unit.]

Roman also terminated charging of the AIP1 battery of the DZZ-12 RUSALKA (“Mermaid”) science payload, then configured the hardware and started imaging from SM window #9, controlled from Laptop RS1. Data were later downloaded to Laptop RSE1. Gennady meanwhile used his own Nikon D2X with f=17-55mm lens & SB800 flash to take documentary photographs of the FE-3 during work. [RUSALKA ops involve calibration and tests of research equipment relating to the Sun and the Earth’s limb at sunset (atmosphere lighted). To be tested are the procedure for remote determination of Methane (CH4) & Carbon Dioxide (CO2) content in the atmosphere (in the First Phase), measurement of CH4 & CO2 content in the atmosphere and reception of data on NI2 and NI4 content over the territories subjected to natural and technogenic effects, reception of sufficient data on seasonal dependencies of tropospheric parameters being studied (in the Second Phase). Equipment used: Rusalka monoblock, Nikon D2X digital photo camera(s); AF VR Nikkor ED 80-400f/4.5-5.6D lens with ultraviolet filter, bracket for attachment to the window, and a Rusalka-Accessories set.]

Romanenko had ~1.5 hrs for returning various equipment to its proper containers and restowing the boxes at their nominal locations in the FGB and DC1.

Following up on his swabbing session on 8/14 with the LOCAD-PTS (Lab-on-a-Chip Application Development-Portable Test System) Phase 1 surface sampling experiment, Tim Kopra took documentary photographs of the two incubation media slides.

Early in the day, Mike Barratt went on a search for a “lost” cable for the upcoming PFS (Pulmonary Function System) activity, to connect PFS to the CEVIS exercise cycle for performing VO2 (oxygen volumetric) determination. [Report from Mike: “Found deployed around the CEVIS (bottom of WHC wall); returned to location 1 to its designated (labeled) spot. Cheers.”]

The FE-1 also conducted the periodic status & screen check on the payload CGBA-5 (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus), located in the ER-2 (EXPRESS Rack 2).

In Node-1, Bob Thirsk sorted/consolidated IVA (Intravehicular Activity) tools in the tool rack and relabeled the containers with new labels printed out from an uplinked file.

In a one-hour operation in Node 2, the FE-4 temporarily removed CQ1 (Crew Quarters 1) deck plates and relocated cables behind the N2D5 stbd/deck standoff, to prepare for the installation of the Colbert Treadmill, due to be launched on STS-128/17 on 8/25.

In the Lab, Thirsk prepared ER-4 (EXPRESS Rack 4) to receive the new MDS (Mice Drawer System) facility and two DECLIC (Device for the Study of Critical Liquids & Crystallization) lockers during 17A docked ops. [The job involved removing & stowing a total of four ISS lockers for return on 17A. Also, Locker-3 & -4 locations will have four Vent Close-Out Panels installed to cover the four exposed vents in the back of the rack as well as gray tape covering the two SSPCM (Solid State Power Control Module) access ports. Locker-5 & -6 also will have Vent Close-Out Panels installed covering four exposed vents in the back of the rack.]

Bob also reactivated the ALTEA DOSI (Anomalous Long Term Effects on Astronauts Dosimetry) system, which he had turned off on 8/17, to resume continuous radiation monitoring.

FE-2 & FE-5 jointly had ~4.5 hrs reserved for more transfer & prepacking of return cargo for 17A, including calldown of progress made to “bookkeepers” on the ground.

The FE-5 performed the regular periodic inspection and cleaning of the PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) in the US Lab.

At 12:20pm EDT, the FE-4 conducted another VHF-1 emergency communications proficiency check over NASA’s VHF (Very High Frequency) stations, today at the Wallops VHF site (12:24:49pm-12:30:44pm EDT), talking with Houston/Capcom, MSFC/PAYCOM (Payload Operation & Integration Center Communicator), Moscow/GLAVNI (TsUP Capcom), EUROCOM/Munich and JCOM/Tsukuba in the normal fashion via VHF radio from a handheld microphone and any of the USOS ATUs (Audio Terminal Units). [Purpose of the test is to verify signal reception and link integrity, improve crew proficiency, and ensure minimum required link margin during emergency (no TDRS) and special events (such as a Soyuz relocation).]

Bob started (later terminated) another 5-hr automatic sampling run (the 23rd) 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 hardware.]

Frank supported the ground by flipping the Release switch at the Cupola RWS (Robotic Workstation), set as Hot Backup for the SSRMS LEE (Space Station Remote Manipulator System Latching End Effector), to its deflected position to confirm release capability.

De Winne also closed the protective shutters of the Lab & JPM science windows, preparatory to tonight’s planned Russian photovoltaic solar cell efficiency test (see below). [The windows can be reopened 2 orbits after return of control to the US segment (~1:02am).]

Timothy had an hour set aside for regular crew departure preparations, working on the standard end-of-increment cleanup preparatory to his return to Earth on STS-128/17A. [It is usual for crewmembers to be granted reduced workdays for making their departure preparations, as their return date approaches.]

The FE-3 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.]

Romanenko also did the daily IMS 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).

The crew completed their regular daily 2.5-hr. physical workout program on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-4, FE-5), TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation (CDR, FE-1, FE-2, FE-3), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (FE-1, FE-2, FE-3, FE-4, FE-5), and VELO cycle ergometer with bungee cord load trainer (CDR).

Afterwards, Frank 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 ARED, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).

The ARED exercise sessions of Mike, Tim, Roman, Bob & Frank were video recorded over the course of the day for subsequent engineering evaluation of the system.

Russian Solar Array Efficiency Test: At 5:55pm-9:42pm EDT, during crew sleep, TsUP/Moscow is scheduled to conduct the periodic SM Solar Array Efficiency Testing. For the necessary ISS attitude change at 5:45pm, control authority will be handed over to RS MCS (Motion Control System) thrusters, to be returned to USOS CMG (Control Moment Gyroscope) momentum management at 10:02pm.

OGA Status: The Oxygen Generator Assembly remains off due to the high delta-p reading yesterday during the startup cycle after R&R of the filter in the inlet of the Pump ORU. A specialist meeting reviewed the fault tree based on the event and determined the next step in the process would be the Water ORU R&R. This activity was subsequently scheduled for this Friday. Additional reviews of the fault tree will continue which may lead to further troubleshooting plans if necessary.

Emergency Lighting Power Supplies (ELPS): The onboard ELPS units are coming up on their ten-year life certification expiration in September. This led to an on-orbit ELPS capacity test last night. The light stayed on bright for 2.5 hours and another 1.5 hours at reduced intensity, indicating the units are still fully operational.

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Como, Italy (nadir pass), Milan, Italy (looking a touch right), Venice, Italy (looking left on the coast), Algiers, Algeria (nadir pass), Haruj Megafans, Libya (nadir pass. Overlapping images shot at nadir along track for ~30secs were requested. Visual cue was the black Namus volcano and dark sand streak immediately uptrack of the target desert flats), Madeira Island, Portugal (looking right for the island group), Hurricane Bill, Atlantic basin (looking right for this storm, well southwest of track), Fernando de Noronha Islands, Brazil (HMS Beagle site. Looking right of track. Darwin’s observations of what is regarded as some of Brazil’s most beautiful islands caused subsequent researchers to visit this biologically diverse area), and Black Point Lava Flow, AZ (immediately after ISS crossed the Grand Canyon, the crew was to look for the small but prominent dark lava flow at nadir).

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).

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
08/25/09 — STS-128/Discovery/17A launch – MPLM (P), LMC (~1:36am EDT)
09/10/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) launch (~1:04pm 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)
10/11/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S undock
10/14/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) unberth
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) or STS-134/Discovery (ULF6 – ELC3, AMS)
08/11/10 — Progress 40P launch
09/16/10 — STS-133/Endeavour (ULF5 – ELC4, MPLM) or 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.