Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 2 April 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
April 2, 2009
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 2 April 2009

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Day 6 of joint E18/19 operations for CDR Fincke, CDR-19 Padalka, FE-1 Lonchakov, FE-1-19 Barratt, FE-2 Wakata, and SFP Simonyi.

Before breakfast, CDR Fincke and FE-1-19 Barratt finished their sessions with the biomed experiment INTEGRATED IMMUNE (Validating Procedures for Monitoring Crew member Immune Function), collecting a liquid 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.]

Upon wakeup, CDR-19 Padalka terminated his first experiment session for the long-term Russian sleep study MBI-12/SONOKARD, by taking the recording device from his SONOKARD sports shirt pocket and later copying the measurements to the RSE-MED laptop for subsequent downlink to the ground. [SONOKARD objectives are stated to (1) study the feasibility of obtaining the maximum of data through computer processing of records obtained overnight, (2) systematically record the crewmember’s physiological functions during sleep, (3) study the feasibility of obtaining real-time crew health data. Investigators believe that contactless acquisition of cardiorespiratory data over the night period could serve as a basis for developing efficient criteria for evaluating and predicting adaptive capability of human body in long-duration space flight.]

Afterwards, Padalka & FE-1 Lonchakov conducted a session with the Russian biomedical MBI-15 "Pilot-M"/NEURO signal response experiment after setting up the workplace and equipment. It was Gennady’s first and Yuri’s third MBI-15 run. Afterwards, the Pilot-M & Neurolab-2000M gear was disassembled and stowed away. [MBI-15 requires a table, ankle restraint system, eyeball electrodes for an EOG (electrooculogram), and two hand controllers (RUO & RUD) for testing piloting skill in “flying” simulations on a laptop (RSK1) under stopwatch control, as well as for studying special features of the psychophysiologic response of cosmonauts to the effects of stress factors in flight.]

Mike Fincke & Mike Barratt, in another handover activity, worked in the US Airlock on the EMUs (Extravehicular Mobility Units) from the 15A spacewalks, setting up EMUs #3005 & #3006 with their SCUs (Service & Cooling Umbilicals) and initiated the standard one-hour scrubbing process on the spacesuits’ cooling water loops, filtering ionic and particulate matter (via a 3-micron filter), then reconfigured the cooling loops and started the ~2hr biocide filtering. Scrubbing termination, disassembly of the EMU water processing kit and stowing the equipment followed. Suit maintenance also included in-suit discharging of two EMU batteries by having them power the loop scrubbing and iodination, termination of METOX (Metal Oxide) regeneration on canisters 0011 & 0012 and initiation of regen on METOX cans 0013 &0015. [Loop scrubbing, incl. iodination of the LCVGs (Liquid Cooling & Ventilation Garments) for biocidal maintenance, is done to eliminate any biomass and particulate matter that may have accumulated in the loops.]

FE-1 Lonchakov collected the periodic water samples in the RS (Russian Segment), today from the BRP-M Water Distribution & Heating Unit (hot tap). The samples were stored in drinking bags and a sample container for return to the ground.

FE-1-19 collected the regular “snapshot” water samples from the WPA RIP (Water Processing Assembly/Rack Interface Panel), PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) Auxiliary Port & PWD Ambient Port, using the WPA common hose and readying the sample bags for return to Earth on Soyuz 17S.

Barratt also conducted the periodic WPA chemical sample analysis in the TOCA after first priming (filling) the TOCA water sample hose. Results were transferred to SSC-7 (Station Support Computer 7) via USB drive for downlink and the data are also logged for calldown. [The current procedure is a work-around for TOCA’s failed catalyst.]

Later (within 6 hrs from the sample collection), Dr. Mike worked on inflight analysis of the PWD samples with the WMK MCD (Water Microbiology Kit/Microbial Capture Devices) for microbial traces, and the CDB (Coliform Detection Bag) for inflight coliform indications (Magenta for Positive, Yellow for Negative).

Barratt also 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 new card (18-1444), the first for Exp 19, lists 46 CWCs (1470.3 L total) for the four types of water identified on board: technical water (939.5 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 453.7 L currently off-limits, filled from WPA and pending sample analysis on the ground), potable water (464.0 L, incl. 336.8 L currently off-limit because of Wautersia bacteria), condensate water (0.0 L), waste/EMU dump and other (66.8 L, including 22.2 L not to be used. Wautersia bacteria are typical water-borne microorganisms that have been seen previously in ISS water sources. These isolates pose no threat to human health.]

In preparation for more sample storage, FE-2 Wakata continued the crew support of the MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS) facility for POIC (Payload Operations Integration Center) by inserting two more Icepac belts (-32 degC) into MELFI Dewar 2 (Trays A & D). [Icepacs are used as thermal mass to keep samples cold during return and during extended MELFI power downs. No more than two ambient Icepacs may be inserted at any given time into a Dewar that has samples in it, to protect the samples from warm-up.]

In the JAXA JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), Koichi set up and donned the digital Holter ECG (Electrocardiograph) recorder and began recording data.

Also in the Kibo laboratory, the FE-2 removed the ICE CRYSTAL cell from the SCOF, took documentary photography of the SCOF interior, then installed a FACET cell in SCOF. [SCOF is a JAXA subrack facility for investigations of crystal growth phenomena in microgravity, housed in the “Ryutai” (fluid) experiment rack, along with the FPEF (Fluid Physics Experiment Facility), PCRF (Protein Crystallization Research Facility) and the IPU (Image Processing). FACET is an investigation of the mechanism of faceted cellular array growth. In order to investigate the phenomena at the solid-liquid interface in facet growth, in-situ observation of concentration and temperature diffusion field with two wavelength interferometer are carried out using transparent organic materials under microgravity condition. Results can provide the useful data on the optimization of the crystal growth condition not only in space but also on earth.]

Mike Fincke mated two TCS MTL (Thermal Control System/Moderate Temperature Loop) umbilicals on the ER5 (EXPRESS Rack 5), one a UIP (Utility Interface Panel) supply line, the other the return line. [ER5 will be used for future checkout and operations of the DRUMS (Space Dynamically Responding Ultrasonic Matrix System) experiment.]

As another handover, Lonchakov & Padalka joined up in preparing the spare BZh Liquid Unit (#056) for the Elektron O2 generator for its periodic maintenance/service of extended leak checking by charging the unit regularly with pressurized N2 from the BPA Nitrogen Purge Unit (#23) to 1 atm (1 kg/cm2) and then observing the internal pressure drop over time. [Objective of the monthly checkout of the BZh, which has been in stowage for about 2 years, is to check for leakage and good water passage through the feed line inside of the BZh (from ZL1 connector to the buffer tank) and to check the response of the Electronics Unit’s micro switches (signaling “Buffer Tank is Empty” & “Buffer Tank is Full”. During Elektron operation, the inert gas locked up in the BZh has the purpose to prevent dangerous O2/H2 mixing. A leaking BZh cannot be used.]

Yuri installed the KUBIK3 temperature-controlled sample container in the SM and set it to +22 degC.

Assisted by Yuri Lonchakov in the demo, Gennady prepared the educational experiment FIZIKA-OBRAZOVANIYE and conducted the OBR-1-1/”Fizika-LT (Letaushaya Tarelka/Flying Disk) experiment, also called “UFO”, taking photography of the experiment. [OBRAZOVANIE (Education) is a suite of three educational demonstrations of physics in micro-G, viz., OBR-1-1/”Fizika-LT” (Motion), OBR-1-2/”Fizika-Faza” (Phase) and OBR-1-3/”Fizika-Otolit”.]

In the JPM, Koichi checked out an FI (Fire Indicator, smoke detector) in location F1.

The FE-1 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 six persons, and one of the two Russian SKV air conditioners off (SKV-1) because it is beyond its service life.]

FE-1-19 Barratt conducted the periodic window inspection in the US Lab. [The inspection for any flaws is usually performed during night pass (preferably over the Pacific), with the science window shutters open and the Lab lights off.]

After setting up the G1 video camcorder with MPC (Multipurpose Converter) and IPU (Image Processing Unit) for downlink, at ~2:15pm the combined ISS crews conducted their traditional Change-of-Command ceremony, as Expedition 18 crewmembers Michael Fincke & Yuri Lonchakov turned ISS operations over to the Expedition 19 crew of Gennady Padalka, Michael Barratt and Koichi Wakata. With this event, stewardship of the space station was officially transferred to the new crew. [As part of the Change-of-Command ceremony, the Russian crewmembers signed two copies of the formal Russian handover protocol document certifying RS handover/acceptance. The first copy remains on ISS, the second copy will be returned to the ground on Soyuz TMA-13.]

Later, before sleeptime, Gennady conducted the data collection for the MBI-16 VZAIMODEJSTVIE (Interactions) program, accessing and completing the computerized study questionnaire on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) laptop and saving the data in an encrypted file. [The software has a mood questionnaire, a group and work environment questionnaire, and a critical incident 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.]

Fincke & Barratt had an hour reserved for handover activities.

For SFP Charles Simonyi, scheduled VC-16 activities today included –

  • Reading accumulated data from his personalized sensor (A0301) of the “Pille-MKS” radiation suite,
  • Holding the daily comm session via TLF (phone) with his advisory team at TsUP/Moscow,
  • Conducting a ham radio session,
  • Working with his email,
  • Supporting two PAO downlink events (~6:30am; ~7:40am),
  • Conducting his IP-Phone call to the ground, and
  • Performing Earth photography plus copying the pictures to his HDD (Hard Disk Drive) for return.

Before his starting his exercise session on the ARED (Advanced Resistive Exercise Device) on the TVIS, the FE-2 set up the video equipment for filming his subsequent workout on the ARED for biomechanical evaluation of his performance and assessment of the hardware status by ground engineers. Afterwards, the camera gear was torn down & stowed and the video recording prepared for downlinking.

Fincke, Wakata, Lonchakov & Barratt completed 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 (FE-2), TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-1/2.5h), and ARED resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-1-19, FE-2).

At ~4:05am EDT, the CDR, FE-1-19 & FE-2 held a tagup with the Japanese Flight Control Team at the SSIPC (Space Station Integration & Promotion Center) in Tsukuba via S-band/audio. [This conference is scheduled once every week and will be between the ISS crewmembers and SSIPC.]

At ~5:10am, Koichi powered up the SM’s amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and at ~5:15am conducted a ham radio session with students
Miyahara Elementary School in Saitama, Japan.

Later, at ~9:35am, Col. Mike supported a ham radio pass with students from the Albert Camus School and Jules Verne School at Viry Chatillon, France.

Padalka & Barratt had their regular PMCs (Private Medical Conferences), Gennady at 10:35am, Dr. Mike at 10:50am.

MERLIN Deactivation: Overnight, a potential fire warning annunciated from the MERLIN (Microgravity Experiment Research Locker Incubator II) unit that is used for cold storage of crew food and drink. There were no indications of smoke, and CSA-CP (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products) readings were negative for combustion products. MERLIN was powered off. Preliminary data review indicates that a temperature sensor malfunction likely caused the false alarm. Ground teams are working on a troubleshooting plan.

Soyuz TMA-13/17S Undocking/Deorbit: Preparing for 17S descent operations, which are currently planned for 4/7 but may be postponed to 4/8 due to weather conditions. A final decision will be made tomorrow ~2:00am EDT. This may impact crew sleep shift.

CEO photo targets uplinked for today were Andean High Plains (Lake Poopo), Bolivia (Lake Poopo is part of a system of usually dry rivers and lake beds in the high Andes Mts. Shooting right of track to document the effects of the recent rainy weather. CEO workers suspect that the CEO images will show changes from even 1-2 months ago), Berlin, Germany (the city is so well forested that it can be difficult to detect. But it covers a large area: shooting overlapping images from near nadir to well left of track), and Santa Maria Volcano, Guatemala (looking just right of track, starting to shoot from the coastline inland for 30-45 secs. The highest part of this great volcano [3772 m] reaches above the tree line and appears as a gray patch among the forests facing the Pacific Ocean).

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, 8:08am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 353.5 km
Apogee height – 359.8 km
Perigee height — 347.2 km
Period — 91.61 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0009312
Solar Beta Angle — -22.8 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.72
Mean altitude gain in the last 24 hours — 46 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 59404

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
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
05/27/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
05/29/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S docking (FGB nadir)
06/13/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch – JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD
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.