Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 22 October 2008

By SpaceRef Editor
October 22, 2008
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 22 October 2008

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Day 9 of joint E17/18 operations (last full day for Volkov, Kononenko, Garriott).

Day/night cycle: Wake-up – 1:00am, followed by short sleep period from 9:00am-1:00pm, for second sleeptime at 10:00pm tonight (until 8:00am tomorrow morning).

FE-2 Chamitoff and CDR-18 Fincke conducted their second standard 30-min Shuttle RPM (R-bar Pitch Maneuver) skill training, using the NIKON D2Xs digital still camera with 400 & 800mm (by teleconverter) lenses at SM (Service Module) windows 6 & 8 (facing in flight direction) to take CEO (Crew Earth Observations) target imagery with manual focusing. The practice run involved mapping of ground features with images having 40-50% overlap and about 20 images in each sequence. Afterwards, the obtained OBT (onboard training) images were downlinked by Gregory to the ground for analysis (~3:55am). [The RPM drill prepares crewmembers for the bottom-side mapping of the Orbiter at the arrival of the Shuttle (STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 on 11/16. During the RPM at ~600 ft from the station, the “shooters” have only ~90 seconds for taking high-resolution digital photographs of all tile areas and door seals on Discovery, to be downlinked for launch debris assessment. Thus, time available for the shooting will be very limited, requiring great coordination between the two headset-equipped photographers and the Shuttle pilot.]

Floating in the Soyuz TMA-12/16S Orbital Module (BO), CDR Volkov dismantled and removed the LKT local temperature sensor commutator (TA251MB) of the BITS2-12 onboard telemetry system, along with its PZU-1M ROM (read-only memory) unit, now no longer required since the BO is to be jettisoned before 16S reentry. [The electronics was stowed on ISS for reuse in a future Progress vehicle.]

FE-1 Kononenko terminated the charging of the TTM-2 and “Kelvin-Video” batteries and checked out the equipment for another run of the Russian KPT-2 science payload BAR-RM. Afterwards, data gathering started using the RSE-1 laptop, with downlinking via BSR-TM channel. [Objective of the payload is to experiment with ISS leak detection based on environmental data anomalies (temperature, humidity, and ultrasound emissions) at leak locations. The payload uses a remote infrared thermometer (Kelvin-Video), a thermohygrometer (Iva-6A), a heat-loss anemometer/thermometer (TTM-2), an ultrasound analyzer (AU-01), and a leak detector (UT2-03) to determine physical background signs of loss of ISS pressure integrity which could be indicative of leaks in the working compartments of the station. Measurements are taken in specific zones (13 in SM PkhO and 4 in DC1), both with lights & fans turned on and off. ]

FE-1-18 Lonchakov conducted an observation & operations checkout on the KPT-3 aerial photography equipment for Russia’s Environmental Safety Agency (EKON), which uses the NIKON D2X camera to document environmental conditions in Russia.

Kononenko later used the Russian IPD-NH3 Draeger tubes, on a cartridge belt with a pump, to check the cabin air for NH3 (ammonia, from possible urine spillage), followed by the periodic air sampling with the AK-1M adsorber around the SM work table. The samplers were stowed in the Soyuz 16S Descent Module for analysis on the ground.

Major science activities in the RS (Russian Segment) by Oleg Kononenko & Yuri Lonchakov today concerned the biotechnical/biomedical payloads BIO-12/REGENERATION with its two PLANARIA containers, BTKh-31 (ANTIGEN), KUBIK-3 (set On to +6 degC), BTKh-8 (BIOTREK), which the Flight Engineers transferred from the SM to the Soyuz for return to Earth, and ESA’s BIO-4 (ventilating the BIO-4 sample in the thermostatic container KUBIK-1).

VC-15 Richard Garriott, assisted in part by Russian crewmembers, worked on his daily onboard program which today included –

  • SLEEP Actiwatch logging;
  • Phone tagup with consultant team at TsUP via VHF-1;
  • SSTV (Slow-Scan TV) ham session (City of Shchelkovo)
  • PCG (Protein Crystal Growth) photography;
  • PCG transfer to Soyuz;
  • Video blogs;
  • Earth photography; and
  • Copying data & image files to HDD (Hard Disk Drive) for return.

In preparation for STS-126/ULF-2 arrival and the MPLM (Multi-Purpose Logistics Module) Leonardo docking with the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System), Chamitoff & Fincke installed the CBCS (Centerline Berthing Camera System) at the Node-2 Nadir hatch, powered it up and checked it out. Afterwards, the CBCS electronics cables were disconnected to avoid hatch “dragthroughs”. [Should there be any changes to the CBCS configuration between now and ULF-2, another CBCS checkout may be required. Leonardo will be transferred from the Shuttle cargo bay with the SSRMS and berthed at the Node-2 Nadir Port CBM (Common Berthing Mechanism).]

In addition, Gregory performed a checkout of the nadir CBM (Common Berthing Mechanism) in Node-2.

Also for ULF-2, Greg & Mike worked ~2:35h in the US Airlock, preparing EVA (Extravehicular Activity) tools for the planned four spacewalks, including configuring the gear, CL (Crewlock) bags, the Large ORU (Orbit Replaceable Unit) bag, the Staging Bag, and Grease Guns for the SARJ (Solar Array Rotary Joint) repair activities. (See below for More on this).

FE-1-18 Lonchakov took the periodic readings of potentially harmful atmospheric contaminants in the SM, using the CMS (Countermeasure System), a component of the SKDS GANK-4M Real-Time Harmful Contaminant Gas Analyzer suite, today using preprogrammed microchips to measure for Isopropanol (“rubbing alcohol”, C3H8O), Methanol (“wood alcohol”, CH3OH) and Toluene (methylbenzene, C7H8).

Additionally, Yuri performed the periodic checkout/verification of IP-1 airflow sensors in the various RS (Russian Segment) hatchways, including the passageways SM PrK (Transfer Compartment) – RO (SM Working Compartment), PkhO (SM Transfer Tunnel) – RO, PkhO – DC1, PkhO – FGB PGO, FGB PGO – FGB GA, and FGB GA-Node-1.

CDR-18 Fincke meanwhile conducted the periodic atmospheric sampling in the center of the Lab, SM and COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory) with the U.S. GSCs (Grab Sample Containers), except for #1041.

Kononenko completed the periodic collection of air samples, including checking for Freon, in the SM & FGB using the AK-1M adsorber, recording date, time & location. Kits and pouches were then stowed for return to Earth

The FE-1 also used the standard ECOSFERA equipment, set up yesterday, to conduct microbial air sampling runs for the MedOps SZM-MO-21 experiment, with the POTOK Air Purification System temporarily powered down, taking samples from cabin surfaces along with samples from crewmembers for sanitation and disease studies. The sample tubes were then stowed in the Kriogem-03 refrigerator for return on TMA-11. [The equipment, consisting of an air sampler set, a charger and power supply unit, provides samples to help determine microbial contamination of the ISS atmosphere, specifically the total bacterial and fungal microflora counts and microflora composition according to morphologic criteria of microorganism colonies.]

After the short sleep period, Yuri will conduct 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.]

Oleg is to take care of 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).

Volkov & Kononenko have their regular pre-descent PMCs (Private Medical Conferences), Oleg at 3:10pm EDT, Sergey at 3:40pm.

Sergey and Oleg will be finishing up packing and stowing return cargo on 16S, and Mike & Greg have additional time reserved for continuing pre-packing for ULF-2.

The crew executes 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-18, FE-2), TVIS treadmill (CDR/2.5h, FE-1/2.5h), and RED resistive exercise device (FE-1-18, FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1-18).

Later, The FE-2 transfers the exercise data file to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) laptop for downlink, including the daily wristband HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) data of the workouts on RED, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).

At ~1:30pm EDT, Gregory sets up the G1 video camcorder with MPC (Multipurpose Converter) and IPU (Image Processing Unit), and at ~1:40pm the combined ISS crews conducted their traditional Change-of-Command ceremony, as Expedition 17 crewmembers Sergey Volkov & Oleg Kononenko turn ISS operations over to the Expedition 18 crew of Michael Fincke, Yuri Lonchakov and Gregory Chamitoff. With this, stewardship of the space station is 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-12.]

EVA/EMU Preparations: Mike Fincke & Greg Chamitoff were lauded by MCC-H spacewalk specialists for “a great job getting the suits ready for ULF2 despite the difficulties in locating some of the parts. We appreciate your patience in helping us get the airlock sorted out and ready for EVA.” Today’s job for Mike & Greg: inspecting the large EVA trash bag, prepping and modifying the trigger throw on the SARJ (Solar Array Rotary Joint) grease guns and starting tool configuration for EVA 1. Today’s timeline has 2hr 35min reserved for tool config, plus there are 2 more hours scheduled on 11/6 to complete the ULF2 preparations/EVA tool configuring.

16S Return to Earth: The return to Earth of the TMA-12 spacecraft on 10/23 is planned to proceed along the following approximate event sequence (all times EDT):

  • ISS attitude control handover to RS — 6:20pm;
  • ISS in free drift for DC-1 hooks open — 6:40pm;
  • ISS in free drift for undocking — 8:12pm;
  • Hooks Open command — 8:13:30pm; automatic undocking from DC-1 on DO15;
  • Separation springs action (delta-V ~0.12 m/sec) — 8:16pm;
  • Manual separation burn (15 sec, ~0.54 m/sec) — 8:19pm;
  • ISS attitude control handover to US — 9:55pm;
  • Deorbit Burn start (delta-V 115.2 m/sec) — 10:45:19pm;
  • Deorbit Burn complete — 10:49:41pm
  • Tri-Module separation (140 km) — 11:10:31pm;
  • Atmospheric entry (102 km, with ~170 m/sec) — 11:13:29pm;
  • Max G-load (34 km alt) — 11:20:12pm;
  • Parachute deploy command (10.7 km alt) — 11:22:04pm;
  • 16S Landing (DO1) — 11:37pm EDT; 6:37am Moscow DMT (10/24); 9:37am local Kazakhstan (10/24);
  • Local Sunset — 7:18am (10/24), 6:18pm local.

[Note: Kazakhstan time = GMT+6h; EDT+10h. Moscow DMT = EDT+7h.]

What the Soyuz TMA-12 crew will experience during their reentry/descent tomorrow (10/23):

For the reentry, Volkov, Kononenko and Garriott will wear the Russian Kentavr anti-G suit. [The Kentavr garment is a protective anti-g suit ensemble to facilitate the return of a long-duration crewmember into the Earth gravity. Consisting of shorts, gaiters, underpants, jersey and socks, it acts as countermeasure for circulatory disturbance, prevents crewmember from overloading during descent and increases orthostatic tolerance during post-flight adaptation. Russian crewmembers are also advised to ingest fluid-electrolyte additives, viz., three sodium chloride tablets during breakfast and after the midday meal, each time with 300 ml of fluid, and two pills during the meal aboard Soyuz before deorbit.]

Before descent:
Special attention will be paid to the need for careful donning of the medical belt with sensors and securing tight contact between sensors and body.

During preparation for descent, before atmosphere reentry, crewmembers settle down comfortably in the Kazbek couches, fasten the belts, securing tight contact between body and the seat liner in the couch.

During de-orbit:
Dust particles starting to sink in the Descent Module (SA) cabin is the first indication of atmosphere reentry and beginning of G-load effect. From that time on, special attention is required as the loads increase rapidly.

Under G-load effect during atmosphere reentry the crew expects the following experience:
Sensation of G-load pressure on the body, burden in the body, labored breathing and speech. These are normal sensations, and the advice is to "take them coolly". In case of the feeling of a lump in the throat, this is no cause to "be nervous". This is frequent and should not be fought. Best is to "try not to swallow and talk at this moment". Crew should check vision and, if any disturbances occur, create additional tension of abdominal pressure and leg muscles (strain abdomen by pulling in), in addition to the Kentavr anti-G suit.

During deployment of pilot parachute (0.62 & 4.5 square meters), drogue chute (16 sq.m.) and main (518 sq.m.) chutes the impact accelerations will be perceived as a "strong snatch". No reason to become concerned about this but one should be prepared that during the parachutes deployment and change ("rehook") of prime parachute to symmetrical suspension, swinging and spinning motion of the SA occurs, which involves vestibular (middle ear) irritations.

It is important to tighten restrain system to fasten pelvis and pectoral arch.
Vestibular irritation can occur in the form of different referred sensations such as vertigo, hyperhidrosis, postural illusions, general discomfort and nausea. To prevent vestibular irritation the crew should "limit head movement and eyes movement", as well as fix their sight on motionless objects.

Just before the landing (softened by six small rocket engines behind the heat shield):
Crew will be prepared for the vehicle impact with the ground, with their bodies fixed along the surface of the seat liner in advance. "Special attention should be paid to arm fixation to avoid the elbow and hand squat" (instruction). Landing speed: ~9.9 m/sec.

After landing:
Crew should not get up quickly from their seats to leave the SA. They were advised to stay in the couch for several minutes and only then stand up. In doing that, they should limit head and eyes movement and avoid excessive motions, proceeding slowly. They and their body should not take up earth gravity in the upright position too quickly.

CEO (Crew Earth Observations) photo targets uplinked for today were Tigris-Euphrates Delta (ISS pass for this target is in early afternoon light with clear skies expected. As the station tracked southeastward down the Tigris-Euphrates valley, Greg & Mike were to look right of track for the delta region as they approached the NW end of the Persian Gulf. Trying for short-lens, contextual views of the area for a baseline, seasonal documentation of the state of the river and its environment), Lake Nasser, Toshka Lakes, Egypt (on this early afternoon pass with clear skies Greg & Mike had a nadir pass over the northeastern part of the CEO target area. Using the long lens settings for detailed views of northern Lake Nasser and the Aswan dam area), Santa Barbara Coast, California (this target is a Long Term Ecological Research [LTER] site centered near Santa Barbara, CA. On this early afternoon pass, clear skies were expected over the land areas as Greg & Mike approached from the NW. Using the long lens settings and looking just right of track for a detailed mapping of the Santa Inez Mountains from Lompoc in the west to just north of Ventura to the east),andVolcan Colima (less than 6 minutes after the ISS encounter with the Santa Barbara Coast target, as the station continued down the W coast of Mexico, Greg & Mike had a nadir pass over this active volcano. Actually comprised of two eruptive centers, Nevado de Colima and Volcan de Colima, this target is challenging because of diurnal cloud formation near the summits. If clouds permitted, the crew was to try for detailed views of this volcanic complex, including the cones and surrounding volcanic deposits).

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).

Week 27 Scheduled Main Activities:

  • Thu. (10/23): SLEEP, IMMUNE, FMK stow, Pld xfers, Hatches closure, Soyuz undock & land; IP-1.
  • Fri. (10/24): Ham pass, NUTRITION s/u, COL FSL VMU troubleshoot, BLB incubator ECS xchange, BCAT-4.
  • Sat. (10/25): NUTRITION, Ham pass, WPC, FFQ, VolSci EPO, SAMS PCMCIA check, Node-1 cleanup.
  • Sun. (10/26): NUTRITION, Station cleaning, PFCs.

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 9:03am EDT [= epoch]):
Mean altitude — 352.0 km
Apogee height — 354.3 km
Perigee height — 349.7 km
Period — 91.58 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0003369
Solar Beta Angle — -50.7 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 48 hours — 70 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 56857

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible.):
10/23/08 — Soyuz TMA-12/16S undock (DC1 nadir, 8:16pm) & land (11:37pm) = 10/24 — 9:37am Kazakhstan)
11/02/08 — Progress 30P reboost; Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends
11/15/08 — STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 launch – MPLM Leonardo, LMC
11/17/08 — STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 docking
11/20/08 — ISS 10 Years
11/25/08 — Progress M-65/30P undocking & deorbit (UNDER REVIEW)
11/26/08 — Progress M-66/31P launch
11/29/08 — STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 landing (~1:25pm EST est.)
11/30/08 — Progress M-66/31P docking
02/09/09 — Progress M-66/31P undocking & deorbit
02/10/09 — Progress M-67/32P launch
02/12/09 — Progress M-67/32P docking
02/12/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A launch – S6 truss segment
02/14/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A docking
02/24/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A undocking
02/26/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A landing (nominal)
03/25/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S launch
03/27/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S docking (DC1)
04/05/09 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S undocking
04/07/09 — Progress M-67/32P undocking & deorbit
05/15/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch – JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD
05/25/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
05/27/09 — Six-person crew on ISS (following Soyuz 19S docking)
07/30/09 — STS-128/Atlantis/17A – MPLM(P), last crew rotation
10/15/09 — STS-129/Discovery/ULF3 – ELC1, ELC2
12/10/09 — STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola
02/11/10 — STS-131/Atlantis/19A – MPLM(P)
04/08/10 — STS-132/Discovery/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM1
05/31/10 — STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 – ELC3, ELC4 (contingency).

SpaceRef staff editor.