Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 19 March 2009

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

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Flight Day 5 (FD5) of STS-119/15A. ISS crew work cycle today: Wake 8:15am EDT; sleep 11:15pm (until 7:45am tomorrow morning).

Mission 15A’s EVA-1 is underway. Having begun at 1:16pm EDT (3 min behind schedule), the spacewalk is being performed by MS2 Steve Swanson (EV1) & MS3 Rick Arnold (EV-2). [EV1 & EV2 began their “campout” (nachalo desaturatsiy = desaturation start) last night at ~10:40pm in the U.S. Airlock (A/L) with hatch closure and depressurization of the Crewlock (CL) from 14.7 to 10.2 psi, followed by mask prebreathe at ~10:40pm-11:45pm. This morning, following the usual hygiene break/with mask prebreathe for Swanson & Arnold at ~8:50am-10:00am after spending the night on 10.2 psi, the A/L hatch was closed again by Fincke 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 switching to suit power, EVA-1 began at ~1:16pm EDT. The excursion is expected to last about 6h 30m, i.e., until ~7:43pm, supported by the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Maneuvering System), operated by M1 John Phillips & M2 Koichi Wakata.]

EVA-1 objectives are:

  • Attaching the S6 truss element to the S5 element at the end of the starboard-side truss (with SSRMS);
  • Engaging capture latch, tighten four bolts & install four S6 grounding straps to S5;
  • Connecting four S5-to-S6 umbilicals for power and data flow;
  • Releasing restraints of the SABB (Solar Array Blanket Box) blanket box containing the solar arrays blankets;
  • Unstowing SABB;
  • Releasing S6 PVR (Photovoltaic Radiator) cinch/winch & removing keel pin;
  • Releasing S6 BGA (Beta Gimbal Assembly);
  • Removing & jettisoning ECU/SSU (Electronic Control Unit/Sequential Shunt Unit) covers;
  • Cleanup & ingress.

Before the spacewalk, FE-1 Lonchakov powered down the amateur/ham radio equipment to prevent RF interference, while FE-2 Magnus closed the shutters of the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module) science window to protect against thruster firing effluents during the maneuver to S6 Install Attitude (~11:05am).

After the spacewalkers’ return on board tonight, post-EVA activities by Swanson, Arnold, Antonelli & Fincke in the A/L will consist of –

  • Recharging the EMU/spacesuits with water from PWR (Payload Water Reservoir),
  • Reconnecting the LTAs (Lower Torso Assemblies) to the EMUs,
  • Initiating battery charging in the A/L BSA (Battery Stowage Assembly), and
  • Taking photographs of the EMU gloves for subsequent downlink and inspection.

Also after the spacewalk, FE-2-18 Wakata will grapple the Node-2 with the SSRMS for walk-off from the MT (Mobile Transporter).

FE-1 Yuri Lonchakov completed his first preliminary training session with the Russian "Chibis" LBNP suit (lower body negative pressure; Russian: ODNT), ramping up to get himself ready for returning to gravity on 4/7. Assisted by FE-2 Sandra Magnus as CMO (Crew Medical Officer), Yuri was supported in the one-hour session by ground specialist tagup via VHF at 12:55pm (DO2). [The assessment uses the Gamma-1 ECG equipment with biomed harness, skin electrodes and a blood pressure and rheoplethysmograph cuff wired to the cycle ergometer’s instrumentation panels. The Chibis ODNT provides gravity-simulating stress to the body’s cardiovascular/circulatory system for evaluation of Volkov’s and Kononenko’s orthostatic tolerance (e.g., the Gauer-Henry reflex) after several months in zero-G. The preparatory training generally consists of first imbibing 150-200 milliliters of water or juice, followed by two cycles of a sequence of progressive regimes of reduced (“negative”) pressure, set today at -15, -20, -25, and -30 mmHg (Torr) for five min. each while shifting from foot to foot at 10-12 steps per minute wearing a sphygmomanometer to measure blood pressure. The body’s circulatory system interprets the pressure differential between upper and lower body as a gravity-like force pulling the blood (and other liquids) down. Chibis data and biomed cardiovascular readings are recorded. The Chibis suit (not to be confused with the Russian “Pinguin” suit for spring-loaded body compression, or the "Kentavr" anti-g suit worn during reentry) is similar to the U.S. LBNP facility (not a suit) used for the first time on Skylab in 1973/74, although it appears to accomplish its purpose more quickly.]

FE-2 Magnus filled out the regular weekly FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire), her 14th, 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.]

In a special sampling session with the NASA payload LOCAD-PTS (Lab-on-a-Chip Application Development-Portable Test System) Phase 1, Sandra took sample swabs of the right-hand glove palm on Swanson’s & Arnold’s EMU/spacesuits, both before and after the spacewalk for a total of four swabs. The samples will be processed tomorrow in the usual fashion using the LOCAD Reader. [LOCAD uses small, thumb-sized “microfluidic” cartridges that are read by the experiment Reader. The handheld device tests this new analysis technology by sampling for the presence of specific bacteria in the sample in about 30 minutes, showing the results on a display screen. Lab-on-a-Chip technology has an ever-expanding range of applications in the biotech industry. Chips are available (or in development) which can also detect yeast, mold, and gram positive bacteria, identify environmental contaminants, and perform quick health diagnostics in medical clinics. The technology has been used to swab the MERs (Mars Exploration Rovers) for planetary protection. With expanded testing on ISS, began by Sunita Williams in March/April last year, this compact technology has broad potential applications in space exploration–from monitoring environmental conditions to monitoring crew health. The current study should prepare for long-duration exploration by demonstrating a system that enables the crew to perform biochemical analysis in space without having to return samples to Earth.]

Lonchakov has ~2 hrs reserved for using the Russian Surface Test Tube Kit to collect surface samples from equipment & structures in the FGB and SM (Service Module) with cotton swabs. The test tubes were stowed for return on Soyuz 17S.

Yuri performed the periodic (currently daily) checkout & performance verification of 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.]

The FE-1 will re-configure the DC1 (Docking Compartment) and SM PkhO (Service Module Transfer Compartment) to their original states after his and Fincke’s Orlan EVA-21 on 3/10.

As a new daily activity for the ISS crew during the docked mission, begun yesterday, Sandy Magnus is scheduled for the twice-daily survey of onboard CO2 levels, using the hand-held CDMK (CO2 Monitoring Kit) for measuring ppCO2 (Carbon Dioxide partial pressure) in the ISS/Orbiter “stack”, at ~2:20pm and ~8:20pm 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.]

The FE-2 also completed the standard sensor calibration on the CSA-O2 (Compound Specific Analyzer-Oxygen) units #1043 & #1059, delivered on 1J, using a calibration adapter (#1001) brought up on Progress 30P.

After setting up the video equipment in the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory) for covering the subsequent PCDF (Protein Crystallization Diagnostic Facility) activities, Koichi Wakata & Sandra Magnus transferred the PCDF PU (Process Unit) from the Shuttle to the COL and installed it in Locker 2 of the EDR (European Drawer Rack), then made connections to the already-installed EU (Electronics Unit) and activated both EU and PU power switches. [The EDR is located in the COL in the Forward 1 position (COL1F1). Main power is delivered by PDU 2 (fed by Node 2 DDCU buses 2A and 3A). This is the first activity required when activating the EDR and is a crew-only activity, comprising switch position verification.]

As one of numerous handover activities for the new Japanese FE-2, Sandy & Koichi conducted the weekly 10-min. CWC (Contingency Water Container) inventory as part of on-going WRM (Water Recovery & Management) assessment of onboard water supplies. Updated “cue cards” based on the crew’s water calldowns are sent up every other week. [The current card (18-0006P) lists 37 CWCs (~1,081.0 L total) for the four types of water identified on board: technical water (640.3 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 110.6 L currently off-limits, filled from WPA and pending sample analysis on the ground), potable water (390.1 L, incl. 174.6 L currently off-limit because of Wautersia bacteria), condensate water (0.0 L), waste/EMU dump and other (50.6 L, including the new CWC-I with 3.9 L from PWD flushes). Wautersia bacteria are typical water-borne microorganisms that have been seen previously in ISS water sources. These isolates pose no threat to human health.]

Later tonight, Magnus will deploy new SODF (Systems Operation Data File) EMER1 & EMER-2 emergency books in the Lab, Soyuz, SM, Airlock, Node-1 and Node-2, a total of 13 copies.

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.]

The FE-1 also had another 35 min for his regular crew departure preparations, working on the standard end-of-increment cleanup preparatory to his return to Earth early next month. [It is usual for crewmembers to be granted reduced workdays for making their departure preparations, as their return date approaches.]

Wakata has ~1 hr free time on his schedule 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 continues to repair the failed Ergometer bike in the Shuttle.]

TVM1 Transient: Lane 1 of the Russian TVM Terminal Computer System experienced a temporary drop-out last night (7:20pm). Later, RGS (Russian Ground Station) telemetry indicated that the subset was working again. TVM is currently nominal on two lanes.

Transfers Update: As of last night (FD4), transfers between Shuttle and ISS were 33% complete. Transfer is ahead of schedule.

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: 8:15am – 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 Etosha Pan Inundation (DYNAMIC EVENT: The Etosha pan is a large salt pan with no outlet, forming part of the Kalahari Basin in the north of Namibia. The 120-km-long (75-mile-long) dry lakebed and its surroundings are protected as Etosha National Park, one of Namibia’s largest wildlife parks. In particularly rainy years the Etosha pan becomes a lake approximately 10 cm in depth and becomes a breeding ground for flamingos, which arrive in thousands. The Etosha area was used as a backdrop during the filming of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Recent reports indicate that the 2008-09 rainy season may have been one of the wettest in the past twenty years, and, that the pan now has water. ISS pass was in mid-afternoon with partly cloudy skies expected over the region. As ISS approached the Namib coast for the SW, the crew was to look for this large feature inland, well to the right of track, about 250 miles. Trying an oblique mapping pass of the pan and its smaller surrounding lakes), South Tibesti Megafans (today’s late afternoon pass clipped the northwestern corner of this target area with fair weather expected. These subtle, ancient erosional features in the central Sahara are located roughly between Lake Chad to the south and closer to the southern flank of the rugged Tibesti Mountains to the north. Researchers were asking this time for short lens oblique views of the region for use later to help pinpoint areas for more detailed shots. After tracking to the west of Lake Chad, the crew was to begin shooting broad mapping views of the area to the right of track until they reached the mountains), and Patagonian Glaciers (ISS orbit will take the crew over the Northern Patagonian Ice Field located in Chile. The San Rafael Glacier is one of the major outlet glaciers of the Northern Patagonian Ice Field in southern Chile and it calves into the Laguna San Rafael. The crew was successful in capturing the terminus of this glacier earlier in their increment. Today, the request was for them to map this glacier near nadir, using the 800 mm lens to follow the glacier from its end [terminus] back to its source [ice field]. The pass was at midday with at least partial clearing expected).

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, 8:33am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 354.5 km
Apogee height — 361.1 km
Perigee height — 348.0 km
Period — 91.63 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.000969
Solar Beta Angle — 36.3 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.71
Mean altitude gain in the last 24 hours — 85 m (Shuttle RCS)
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 59184

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
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.