Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 20 February 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
February 21, 2009
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 20 February 2009

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

FE-1 Lonchakov performed another four-hour leak check on the hatch between the spherical SM PkhO (Transfer Compartment) and the DC1 SU (Transfer Vestibule), focusing on its PEV (pressure equalization valve; Russian: KVD) which was subjected to high negative pressure during the Russian Orlan EVA-21 on 12/23/08. [The KVD refused to open on electric command, requiring FE-2 Magnus to enter the PkhO for manual cycling of the valve. Later, after ingress, the KVD valve suddenly became electrically functional again shortly before hatch opening (the second vestibule hatch, between the SU and the DC1 SO interior.]

The CDR broke out the Russian MO-8 BMM (Body Mass Measurement) “scales” (IM) for a measurement run and then put it away in stowage. [For determining body mass in zero-G, where things are weightless but not massless, the Russian IM “scales” measure the inertial forces that arise during the oscillatory motion of a mass driven by two helical metering springs with known spring constants. By measuring the time period of each oscillation of the unknown mass (the crewmember) and comparing it to the period of a known mass, the crewmember’s mass is calculated by the computer and displayed.]

Afterwards, Mike Fincke completed Day 6, the last day, of Session 2 of his daily diet monitoring for the SOLO (Sodium Loading in Microgravity) experiment. SOLO runs in two blocks of six days each. Today, Mike finished up with measurements and sampling of body mass, blood (with PCBA/Portable Clinical Blood Analyzer), and urine, begun two days ago. Samples were stowed in the MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS). The SOLO equipment was stowed away afterwards. [During the Session 1 block, the CDR followed a special low-salt diet, during the current Session 2 a high-salt diet. For both diets, specially prepared meals are provided onboard. All three daily meals will be logged on sheets stowed in the PCBA (Portable Clinical Blood Analyzer) Consumable Kit in the MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS) 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.]

In JAXA’s Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), FE-2 Magnus supported SSIPC/Tsukuba (Space Station Integration & Promotion Center)’s first operation with the RadGene experiment. Incubation in the CBEF (Cell Biology Experiment Facility) will then proceed for the next 7 days without crew intervention. [Supportive steps included removing MEUs (Measurement Experiment Units) from the CBEF Micro-G Incubator, preparing RadGene and LOH samples from MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS), installing CBHs (Culture Bag Holders) in the MEUs, returning the MEUs into the CBEF Micro-G Incubator and closing out the payload in the SAIBO. RadGene is a two part investigation addressing genetic alterations in immature immune cells: The first part, LOH, uses lymphoblastoid (immature immune) cells to detect potential changes on the chromosome after exposure to cosmic radiation. The second, RadGene, looks for changes in gene expression of p53 (a tumor suppressive protein) after cosmic radiation exposure. Future crewmembers will benefit from the data obtained in this investigation by understanding the effects of radiation on human cells, which can lead to the development of new countermeasures. The data is also applicable in the medical field in the areas of immunology and cancer research. A cell line from the human lymphoblastoid family of TK6 which can be grown as a suspension culture, is frozen on Earth in plastic bags. After the launch in the freezer, the cells are kept frozen in MELFI, then defrosted and cultivated using CBEF at 37 degC for 7 days, then frozen again up to recovery. After recovery, cells are analyzed for radiation effects with microgravity with DNA array assay and LOH mutation assay.]

Prior to using the new ARED (Advanced Resistive Exercise Device) for the crew’s fitness session, Sandy Magnus inspected the machine’s rails & rollers visually and then evacuated its cylinder flywheels to maintain proper vacuum condition and sensor calibration.

The station residents completed 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 exerciser (CDR, FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1).

Sandy filled out the regular weekly FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire), her tenth, on the MEC. [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.]

Yuri collected and downloaded the periodic sensor readings of the Russian “Pille-MKS” (MKS = ISS) radiation dosimetry experiment which has ten sensors placed at various locations in the Russian segment (DC1, SM starboard & port cabin windows, ASU toilet facility, control panel, etc.). [Nine of the ten dosimeters are read manually.]

Magnus 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, 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.]

Lonchakov took care of the regular daily IMS (Inventory Management System) maintenance task by updating/editing the IMS standard “delta file” including stowage locations for the regular weekly automated export/import to its three databases on the ground (Houston, Moscow, Baikonur).

Sandy set up the photo/video equipment to cover the subsequent activities on the MDCA, then worked on the FCF CIR (Fluids & Combustion Facility) in the CIR (Combustion Integrated Rack), powering down the rack, then opening the upper & lower rack doors and the front-end cap. Sandy then tightened the bayonet nuts of the MDCA (Multi-user Droplet Combustion Apparatus) fuel reservoir and closed up the facility again, configuring valve positions and setting rack and EPCU power switches to On. [Magnus set up a portable fan to circulate cabin air into the chamber while working because MDCA’s calibration test points require cabin air for the chamber environment. While tightening the bayonet nuts, close-up views with the camcorder and feedback on how much tightening she was able to do were downlinked.]

Mike powered down the VOA (Volatile Organics Analyzer).

The CDR also had a second session with the CRE-1 (Component Repair Equipment 1) hardware, finishing up yesterday’s run by replacing the electronic test component U2 on the single test card. Sessions 3 & 4 are tentatively scheduled for 2/23-24. [Background & Objective: In an effort to minimize the logistical footprint required to support space exploration, NASA-wide studies are being conducted to determine practicality & feasibility of repairing failed hardware in space at the lowest possible hardware level. The current ISS electronics repair plan is to replace an entire ORU. However, ORU-level replacements will be logistically challenging for programs such as Constellation; thus, electrical repairs at a component level are seen as highly desirable. Electrical repair in microgravity using solder is the focus of this experiment. To help gather data needed to develop a capability of repairs with a smaller logistical footprint, this CRE-1 activity will use the materials in the CRE-1 Kit to attempt repairs to functional circuit cards, which will be returned to Ground for analysis. The procedure uses the US Soldering Iron Kit, ISS IVA Vacuum and the CRE-1 Kit contents (delivered on ULF2) to be set up on the MWA Work Surface Area, complete with the MWA Containment System. CRE-1 is SDTO (Station Development Test Objective) 17012-U.]

The FE-2 took documentary photography of the LOCAD-PTS (Lab-on-a-Chip Application Development-Portable Test System) Phase 1 media slides from last Saturday’s (2/14) VolSci (Voluntary Weekend Science) session for any culture growths.

Lonchakov performed the periodic checkout/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 Compartment)-RO, PkhO-DC1, PkhO-FGB PGO, FGB PGO-FGB GA, FGB GA-Node-1.

Mike & Sandy had an hour set aside for an in-cabin video survey.

At ~2:45am EST, the crew held the regular (nominally weekly) tagup with the Russian Flight Control Team (GOGU), including Shift Flight Director (SRP), at TsUP via S-band/audio, phone-patched from Houston and Moscow.

At ~7:45am, Yuri & Mike linked up with TsUP stowage specialists via S-band to conduct the weekly IMS tagup, discussing inventory & stowage issues, equipment locations and cargo transfers.

At ~2:45pm, the ISS crew held their regular weekly tagup with the Lead Flight Director at JSC/MCC-H via S-band/audio. [S/G-2 (Space-to-Ground 2) phone patch via SSC (Station Support Computer).]

CEO photo targets uplinked for today were Foelsche Impact Crater, NT, Australia (Foelsche is a partially buried impact crater with a diameter of 6 km. The circular nature of this crater is still visible. Overlapping images taken along ISS orbit track were requested), Mount Vesuvius, Italy (Vesuvius is of course famous for its 79 AD eruption destroying the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The volcano is still considered active and could erupt in the near future. The volcanoes proximity to Naples and surrounding metropolitan area with 3 million people is of great concern. Looking slightly right of track for Vesuvius), Florida Coastal Everglades (the majority of this Long Term Ecological Research [LTER] site is located in the fresh water marsh in the Everglades National Park. Requested were shots of documentation of the vegetation and land use as well as drainage patterns in the marsh. Overlapping images taken along ISS orbit track), and Mount Redoubt, Alaska (the sun angle for Redoubt is not particularly high. However, if the volcano erupts between the time we compose this target list and the time your orbit passes near it you should be able to see the ash plume. Unrest continues at Redoubt, discrete earthquakes are occurring at a rate of one to several events per hour).

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, 3:47am EST [= epoch]):
Mean altitude — 356.0 km
Apogee height — 362.2 km
Perigee height — 349.8 km
Period — 91.66 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0009206
Solar Beta Angle — -31.8 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.71
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours – 48m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 58757

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
02/20/09 — FRR (Flight Readiness Review) for STS-119/Discovery
02/27/09? — STS-119/Discovery/15A launch – S6 truss segment — “NOT EARLIER THAN”
02/29/09? — STS-119/Discovery/15A docking
03/10/09? — STS-119/Discovery/15A undocking
03/13/09? — STS-119/Discovery/15A landing
03/26/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S launch
03/28/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S docking (DC1)
04/07/09 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S undocking
04/07/09 — Progress 32P undocking & deorbit
05/12/09 — STS-125/Atlantis Hubble Space Telescope Service Mission 4 (SM4)
05/15/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch – JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD
05/27/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
Six-person crew on ISS
08/06/09 — STS-128/Discovery/17A – MPLM (P), LMC, last crew rotation
08/XX/09 — Soyuz 5R/MRM2 (Russian Mini Research Module, MIM2) on Soyuz
09/XX/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1)
11/12/09 — STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 – ELC1, ELC2
12/10/09 — STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola
02/11/10 — STS-131/Atlantis/19A – MPLM(P), LMC
04/08/10 — STS-132/Discovery/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM1
05/31/10 — STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 – ELC3, ELC4
12/XX/11– Proton 3R/MLM w/ERA.

SpaceRef staff editor.