Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 23 March 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
March 23, 2009
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 23 March 2009

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Flight Day 9 (FD9) of STS-119/15A — ISS crew work cycle today: Wake 6:45am EDT; sleep 9:45pm (until 6:15am tomorrow morning). Underway: Week 22 of Increment 18.

Mission 15A EVA-3 is underway. Begun at 11:37am EDT (8 min ahead of schedule), the spacewalk is being performed by MS3 Richard Arnold (EV1) & MS1 Joseph Acaba (EV2). [EV1 & EV2 began their “campout” for nitrogen de-saturation last night at ~9:10pm 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 ~9:10pm-10:15pm. This morning, following the usual hygiene break/with mask prebreathe for Arnold & Acaba at ~7:20am-8:30am after spending the night on 10.2 psi, the A/L hatch was closed again by Fincke & Antonelli for EVA preps in 10.2 psi, followed by EMU purge (~10:00am) and prebreathe (~10:15am) in the EMUs. Afterwards, with CL depressurization (~11:15am) and EV1/EV2 switching to suit power, EVA-3 began at 11:37am EDT. The excursion is expected to last about 6h 30m, i.e., nominally until ~6:07pm, viewed by the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Maneuvering System) videocams, operated by M1 John Phillips & FE-2-18 Koichi Wakata.]

EVA-3 Objectives (revised):

  • Relocate CETA (Crew & Equipment Translation Aid) cart from P1 to S1 truss;
  • Deploy P3 Nadir UCCAS (Unpressurized Cargo Carriers Attachment System);
  • Swap two connectors on CMG Patch Panel on Z1 truss;
  • Deploy S3 Outboard/Zenith PAS (Payload Attach System);
  • Repair/lubricate SSRMS LEE B (Latching End Effector B) as time permits;
  • Cleanup & Ingress.

Before the spacewalk –

  • FE-1 Lonchakov powered down the amateur/ham radio equipment in the SM (Service Module) to prevent RF interference,
  • FE-2 Magnus closed the protective shutters of the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module) science window,
  • CDR Fincke terminated the EMU battery recharging from PSA (Power Supply Assembly) utility outlet, and
  • Checked out the two D2X EVA cameras.

After the spacewalkers’ return on board tonight, post-EVA activities by Antonelli, Fincke, Arnold & Acaba in the “Quest” 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,
  • Taking photographs of the EMU gloves, and
  • Downlinking the EVA & glove images to the ground.

Before breakfast, Fincke & Magnus continued their saliva sampling session for the biomed experiment INTEGRATED IMMUNE (Validating Procedures for Monitoring Crew member Immune Function), Sandra collecting a liquid sample, Mike the regular dry samples throughout the day. [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.]

FE-2-18 Wakata began the extended “Bisphosphonates” biomedical countermeasures experiment, today ingesting an Alendronate pill before breakfast. [The Bisphosphonates study will determine whether antiresorptive agents 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 Lonchakov unstowed & prepared sampling and gas/liquid separator equipment for collecting condensate water (KAV) samples from the condensate water recovery system (SRV-K2M) in the SM tomorrow. [The samples will be obtained from upstream of the gas/liquid mixture filter (FGS) of the SRV-K2M.]

FE-2 Magnus removed the IWIS (Internal Wireless Instrumentation System) cable and accelerometer from inside the WRS2 rack and closed the rack.

Afterwards, Sandra followed up on the recent successful iodine soak of the PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) microbial filter, which showed no further microbial contamination in MCD (Microbial Capture Device)-processed samples from the PWD ambient line, today flushing the iodine from PWD ambient and hot Legs. [The flush used 5L of water for each of the two legs to decrease the iodine concentration to a level safe for consumption. An analysis of water samples returning on 15A will be required before the crew can be given the GO for drinking PWD water. The iodinated water was filled into a CWC-I (Contingency Water Container-iodine, #1026) from the PWD auxiliary port.]

Koichi Wakata set up and conducted a session with the French/CNES neuroscientific research experiment “3D Space”, 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. [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.]

Yuri Lonchakov completed his second 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 CDR Fincke as CMO (Crew Medical Officer), Yuri was supported in the one-hour session by ground specialist tagup via VHF at 1:08pm (DO3). [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 -25, -30, -35, and -40 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.]

The FE-1 collected 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 Ammonia (NH3) and Carbon Monoxide (CO).

For the survey (currently daily) of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) measurements during the docked mission, Sandra Magnus was scheduled for the twice-daily survey of onboard CO2 levels, using the hand-held CDMK (Carbon Dioxide Monitoring Kit) for measuring ppCO2 (CO2 partial pressure) in the ISS/Orbiter “stack”, at ~2:10pm and ~6:15pm 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.]

Working on the CGBA-5 (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus 5) in the Lab, Mike Fincke removed the CSI-3 (CGBA Science Insert 3) unit for return to Earth. [This marked the end of a very successful education experiment engaging K-12 students around the country in how butterflies and spiders live in space. Mike was thanked for his help in making this possible.]

The FE-2 had 2h 15m reserved for unpacking items delivered on STS-119/15A.

The FE-1 had ~2.5 hrs set aside for hardware prepacking for return and disposal on Soyuz TMA-13/17S. [Return items are being stowed in the Descent Module, discarded cargo & trash in the Orbital Module, to be jettisoned during Reentry.]

Yuri was also timelined to –

  • Complete 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],
  • Conduct 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], and
  • Perform the regular daily job of IMS (Inventory Management System) “delta file” updating/editing for the weekly automated export/import to its three databases on the ground (Houston, Moscow, Baikonur).

As part of the usual “Symbolic” activities for Roskosmos, the Expedition 18 crew, Mike, Yuri & Sandy, signed a DVD containing Soyuz TMA-13 prelaunch & launch footage, then added the ISS and Expedition 18 stamps and took photographs. [The disk, along with the photographs of the signings will be returned on Soyuz TMA-13 and handed over to the Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) for its museum.]

Lonchakov had another hour 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.]

At ~9:35pm EDT, just before sleep time, the FE-1 will set up the Russian MBI-12 SONOKARD (Sonocard) payload and start his 11th experiment session, using a sports shirt from the SONOKARD kit with a special device in the pocket for testing a new method for acquiring physiological data without using direct contact on the skin. Measurements are recorded on a data card for return to Earth. [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.]

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, FE-2-18), and ARED resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-2). [This was the second regular physical exercise for Koichi Wakata, today on the TVIS.]

Conjunction Update: ISS maneuvered out of harm’s way last night, avoiding the space debris (Object 26264, part of a Chinese CZ-4 rocket launched in 1999) by using the stack’s drag as a retrograde force. [To accomplish this, at 4:17pm the ISS/Shuttle complex was flipped by 180 deg to the +XVV attitude, i.e., Shuttle bottom facing into the flight direction. This generated an atmospheric drag force equivalent to a retarding delta-V of ~0.26 m/s (460m altitude) net “deboost” in 3 hrs, which effectively eliminated the concern of one close approach per orbit for six consecutive orbits approximately during today’s EVA-3. After the 3 hrs in +XVV, the previous –XVV attitude was re-established. Current state vector is good for Soyuz 18S docking and 17S primary landing sites. Any increase in stack altitude (posigrade delta-V) will have to be evaluated to make sure this object does not again come close enough to cause concern. The stack had been placed into the multiple-conjunctions area in the first place by the use of the Shuttle VRCS (Vernier Reaction Control System) for station attitude control during EVA-2, when the CMGs saturated; this provided a reboost (posigrade) delta-V of ~0.15 m/sec,]

UPA DA Update: Good news! The WPA (Water Processor Assembly) with the new DA (Distillation Assembly) is processing nominally. [After yesterday’s setback with the newly installed UPA DA (Urine Processing Assembly) DA due to a low RFTA (Recycle Filter Tank Assembly) fill flow rate, Fincke & Wakata replaced the RFTA with a newer unit. Although flow rate into the newer RFTA was slightly lower than desired, it was deemed adequate to continue the test. The crew also repeated the “dry spin” test, this time with high definition audio downlinked. Following the dry-run test the UPA wet-run was initiated and successfully reached steady state. The WPA (Water Processor Assembly) continued processing nominally through the night. Audio, video, and vibration test data were taken and will be compared to ground testing data.]

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 undergoing a number of shifts to the left. For the next few days, the schedule is as follows:


Wake: 6:45am – 9:45pm


Wake: 6:15am – 9:45pm


Wake: 6:15am – 9:00pm


Wake: 5:30am – 9:00pm


Wake: 5:30am – 5:30pm


Wake: 5:30am – 10:00pm


Wake: 6:30am – 5:30pm

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).
  • FD09 (3/23) — EVA-3; relocate CETA; deploy UCCAS & PAS, reconfigure Z1 patch panel, lubricate SSRMS LEE B (get-ahead);
  • FD10 (3/24) — Crew off duty (2h); final cargo transfers;
  • FD11 (3/25) — Close & leak check hatches; undock (3:54pm); flyaround & sep;
  • FD12 (3/26) — Crew off duty (ISS crew 4 hrs)
  • FD13 (3/27) — Cabin stow, Orbiter FCS checkout, RCS hot fire
  • FD14 (3/28) — Nominal deorbit (12:39pm); landing (1:42pm KSC).

No CEO 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, 9:44am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 354.1 km
Apogee height – 360.5 km
Perigee height — 347.8 km
Period — 91.62 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.000945
Solar Beta Angle — 20.5 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 795 m (DAM “deboost”)
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 59247

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
03/23 — STS-119 EVA-3 (~11:45am–6:15pm)
03/25/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A undocking (3:54pm)
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 (12:40pm) & landing (1:43pm)
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.

Note: The daily ISS On-Orbit Status reports can also be found at

SpaceRef staff editor.