Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 20 April 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
April 20, 2009
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All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Underway: Week 3 of Increment 19.

FE-2 Wakata started the day with the extended “Bisphosphonates” biomedical countermeasures experiment, today again ingesting an Alendronate pill before breakfast. [The Bisphosphonates study should determine whether antiresorptive agents (that help reduce bone loss) in conjunction with the routine in-flight exercise program will protect ISS crewmembers from the regional decreases in bone mineral density documented on previous ISS missions. Two dosing regimens will be tested: (1) an oral dose of 70 mg of Alendronate taken weekly starting 3 weeks prior to flight and then throughout the flight and (2) an intravenous (IV) dose of 4 mg Zoledronic Acid, administered just once approximately 45 days before flight. The rationale for including both Alendronate and Zoledronic Acid is that two dosing options will maximize crew participation, increase the countermeasure options available to flight surgeons, increase scientific opportunities, and minimize the effects of operational and logistical constraints. The primary measurement objective is to obtain preflight and postflight QCT (Quantitative Computed Tomography) scans of the hip. The QCT scans will provide volumetric bone density information of both cortical and trabecular (spongy) bone regions of the hip.]

FE-1 Barratt performed the monthly SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) Actiwatch download and initialization. [In the first part of the activity, Dr. Mike downloaded his, Wakata’s and Mike Fincke’s Actiwatches. Afterwards, the FE-1 initialized his and Koichi’ Actiwatches and stowed Fincke’s unit.]

CDR Padalka began his day by replacing the failed battery in the Russian RSS1 laptop with a fresh one. [RSS1 monitors the BRI Smart Switch Router in the SM (Service Module) and works with the BSPN payload server and BSMM array matching device unit. RSS1 is rebooted every morning.]

Later, Gennady had ~40 min reserved for familiarizing himself with the onboard computer network in the RS (Russian Segment) which is using the BRI Smart Switch Router for connecting the various network terminals and via two Ethernet channels to the USOS (US Segment). [RS terminals include laptops RSK1, RSK2, RSE1, RSE2, EGE2, RSE-Med, RSS1, RSS2, Laptop 3, Printer, WAP UPS, and SPR-TM (HDD Telemetry Receiving & Recording Equipment for Soyuz entry TM download).]

Also in the SM, the CDR afterwards continued the troubleshooting on the BITS2-12 onboard telemetry measurement system which is failed on both strings.

With the Elektron generator currently off, the cabin air is repressed with O2 from Progress 32P tankage as required. [32P is to be undocked and deorbited on 5/6.]

FE-2 Wakata had ~40 min reserved for gathering US trash to be excessed on Progress 32P.

Koichi also spent about 90 min with cleanup work in the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module). [Koichi retrieved and relocated various JAXA & NASA equipment items which could not be stowed during the 1J, ULF2 and 15A stages in their final locations, including foam cushions, tools and bags. The activities were videoed to SSIPC (Space Station Integration & Promotion Center)/Tsukuba.]

Gennady Padalka set up the educational experiment FIZIKA-OBRAZOVANIYE and started a session with the “Physics-Phase” demo, five times 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”. The current Phase demo studies a complete gas-liquid phase separation of fine dispersion particles in micro-G with diffusion and surface tension of the fluid. The experiment is conducted for four days and more frequent photography during the first day (five times). ]

After recharging the video camcorder for another session with the geophysical GFI-1 Relaksatsiya (“relaxation”) experiment, Padalka set up the equipment at window #2 in the SM starboard cabin, adjusted parameter settings and launched the spectrometer operation on the Laptop 3 (which is reserved for conducting experiments). [Using the SONY DCR-TRV900E video camera, Relaksatsiya deals with the study of the chemoluminescent chemical reactions and atmospheric light phenomena (emissions, i.e., molecular relaxation processes), today by recording the luminance of the Earth’s ionosphere and limb. “Relaxation”, in Physics, is the transition of an atom or molecule from a higher energy level to a lower one, emitting radiative energy in the process as equilibrium is achieved. At 2:25pm, ISS attitude control authority was handed over to the RS MCS (Russian Segment/Motion Control System) for maneuvering with thrusters to the experiment attitude at 2:30pm-2:40pm EDT, and is to be returned to US Momentum Management at ~5:04pm. The Lab & JPM window shutters were closed during the activities.]

In the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), Mike Barratt activated and readied the PCS (Portable Computer System) laptop to allow MCC-Houston to upload & execute software patches for MELFI (Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for the ISS).

Later, the FE-1 set up, checked out and conducted his second test with the French/CNES neuroscientific research experiment “3D Space” (SAP) as Subject #3, 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. (First time done: 4/3). [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.]

Padalka transferred two CWCs (Contingency Water Containers, #1043 & #1065) with US condensate to the RS for the periodic (about twice a month) replenishing of the Elektron’s water supply for electrolysis, filling the designated KOV EDV container. Once filled, the EDV was connected to the BPK transfer pump for processing through the BKO. [The 40-minute procedure is specially designed to prevent air bubbles larger than ~10 mm from getting into the BZh Liquid Unit where they could cause Elektron shutdown.]

Barratt conducted the daily procedure of flushing the PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) ambient line with ~50mL of water (into a towel/Ziploc bag). PWD water is currently cleared only for hygienic use. [While final analysis of the PWD sample results on the ground is still pending, experts recommend keeping water flowing in the line daily to help control microbial growth. The flushing will be done daily unless at least this amount has been dispensed for other activities during the day).]

The FE-1 also performed the daily status check on the BCAT-4 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-4) science payload, running by itself since 4/3. [The status check, conducted on the last image taken by the DCS 760 digital still camera which is controlled by EarthKAM software on an A31p laptop, is to verify proper image focus and camera alignment. The SSC (Station Support Computer) is taking photography of the phase separation occurring in the BCAT Sample 3, with the photo flash going off every half hour.]

FE-2 Wakata conducted the periodic WPA (Water Processor Assembly) sample analysis in the TOCA after first priming (filling) the TOCA water sample hose. After the approximately 2 hr TOCA analysis, results were transferred to SSC-7 (Station Support Computer 7) via USB drive for downlink and the data were also logged for calldown. [The current procedure is a work-around for TOCA’s failed catalyst.]

Later, Koichi completed regular service on the WPA (Water Processor Assembly), first offloading the WPA into a CWC-I (Contingency Water Container-Iodine, #1025) with the common H2O Transfer Hose (which took about 26 min) from the PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) Auxiliary Port, then flushing the system. [PWD water can be used by the crew for hygiene but is still off limits for human consumption until results of the post-flight analysis of 15A-returned samples are available.]

The CDR set up the power packs for the BAR instruments “Kelvin-Video” and TTM-2 for charging for another operational run of the Russian KPT-12/EXPERT science payload. Charging will be terminated tomorrow (4/21), and data taking will be continued in a second session. [Objective of EXPERT 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) and a heat-loss anemometer/thermometer (TTM-2) to determine environmental data in specific locations and at specific times. Activities include documentary photography with the NIKON D2X camera and flash.]

Continuing his setup support of the new AgCam (Agricultural Camera) payload in the Lab, FE-1 Barratt today rotated the AgCam MRB (Microgravity Rack Barrier) through 180 deg. [This aligned the Light Shield with the PDC (Power/Data Controller) light shield, allowing air from the fans in the PDC to exhaust into the main cabin. The Agricultural Camera is a multi-spectral camera for use on the ISS as a payload of the WORF (Window Observational Research Facility). Primary AgCam system components include an Imaging System Assembly, a Base Mount Pointing Assembly, a Power/Data Controller, associated cabling and support items, and a NASA-supplied A31p laptop and power supply. It will take frequent images, in visible and infrared light, of vegetated areas on the Earth, principally of growing crops, rangeland, grasslands, forests, and wetlands in the northern Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions of the United States. Images will be delivered within 2 days directly to requesting farmers, ranchers, foresters, natural resource managers and tribal officials to help improve their environmental stewardship of the land for which they are responsible. Images will also be shared with educators for classroom use. The Agricultural Camera was built and will be operated primarily by students and faculty at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND.]

Gennady Padalka 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 and replacement of EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine containers.]

Working off the discretionary “as time permits” task list, the CDR completed 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).

Dr. Barratt & Wakata-san spent an hour reviewing the uplinked procedures for the upcoming major TVIS (Treadmill with Vibration Isolation & Stabilization) Combined Maintenance. At ~11:05, the two Flight Engineers held a teleconference with ground specialists to discuss the R&R via S-band/audio & Ku-band/video. [The major periodic IFM begins tomorrow and is spread out over three days, in order to replace all 50 roller bearings, a new tread belt, 8 new belt slats, a new flywheel case, a new electronics box and damaged components at the TVIS corners. It also includes inspection and functional verification activities plus the regular 6-month maintenance.]

For covering the TVIS IFM, the FE-2 set up the video equipment with the G1 camcorder in the Node-1 for live downlink of the upcoming TVIS maintenance activities, starting tomorrow. [The equipment will be left in place for the duration of the IFM but the hatches between Node-1 and the SM will be closed at night to comply with the cable drag-thru flight rules.]

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 TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-1, FE-2), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (FE-1, FE-2), and VELO with bungee cord load trainer (CDR). [The CEVIS (Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation), which had shown anomalous workload indications, is currently “No-Go” as engineers are developing a forward plan for an inspection of its internals. All CEVIS exercise is being replaced with TVCIS exercise for the near term.]

Afterwards, Koichi transferred the exercise data file 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).

To prepare for his future workouts on the CEVIS, the FE-2 set up to the cycle ergometer’s PCMCIA memory card with his uplinked exercise protocol file.

At ~8:40am EDT, Barratt & Wakata participated in a PAO TV event of two interviews, one with “The John Williams Show” on WGN Radio, Chicago, the other with the “Good Day, Ohio” program on KPTV-TV, Portland, OR (Julie Grauert, Debra Gill).

At ~10:35am, Padalka supported a Russian PAO event, downlinking a message of greetings to the 50th birthday (on 4/25) of Sergey Yurievich Vinokurov, who after a diplomatic career in a number of West European countries today heads the Russian Federation President’s Administration for Inter-Regional and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries.

At ~12:30pm, Koichi set up the SM’s amateur radio equipment (Kenwood TM-D700 VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, and power supply) and at 12:35pm conducted a ham radio session with students at St. Edward School, Ashland, OH.

At ~3:55pm, the FE-2 also had his weekly PFC (Private Family Conference) scheduled, via S-band/audio and Ku-band/MS-NetMeeting application (which displays the uplinked ground video on an SSC laptop).

Gennady had three remaining items on his Russian discretionary “time permitting” task list for today, leading off with a session of the GFI-8 “Uragan” (hurricane) earth-imaging program, using the NIKON D2X digital camera to take 800mm-lens telephotos for subsequent downlinking on the BSR-TM payload data channel.

As second task item, the CDR conducted another session for Russia’s Environmental Safety Agency (EKON), making observations and taking KPT-3 aerial photography of environmental conditions on earth using the Nikon D2X with the SIGMA 300-800mm telephoto lens. [Today’s target: the seasonal Volga Delta flooding, to compare with images taken on 4/12.]

The third voluntary task for Padalka was to search for and prepare the hardware of the ESA cardiological experiment CARD (Long Term Microgravity: A Model for Investigating Mechanisms of Heart Disease), specifically the Russian CDL Holter Arterial Blood Pressure (BP) instrument and batteries for powering it. [CARD was performed last by ESA crewmember Thomas Reiter in November 2006. Astronauts experience lowered blood volume and pressure during space missions due to relaxation of the cardiovascular system in microgravity which may be a result from decreased fluid and sodium in the body. CARD examines the relationship between salt intake and the cardiovascular system when exposed to the microgravity environment and explores whether blood pressure & volume can be restored to the same levels that were measured during groundbased measurements by adding additional salt to the crew’s food. Results from this may lead to new health safety measures for astronauts to protect them on long duration missions.]

No CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today.

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, 7:57am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 352.3 km
Apogee height – 358.0 km
Perigee height — 346.6 km
Period — 91.59 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.000849
Solar Beta Angle — -19.7 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 74 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 59687

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
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) – 9:58am EDT
05/12/09 — Progress 33P docking
05/27/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
05/29/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S docking (FGB nadir)
06/05/09 — Russian EVA-22
06/10/09 — Russian EVA-23
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.