Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 24 April 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
April 24, 2009
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 24 April 2009
NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 24 April 2009

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

After again configuring and activating the G1 camcorder equipment in Node-1, FE-1 Barratt & FE-2 Wakata proceeded with Day 4 of the major TVIS Combined Maintenance. [Today’s IFM (Inflight Maintenance) had the crew verify torques on belt slat screws re-install closeout panels, verify chassis squareness, conduct an unmanned speed characterization test and wind up activities with a full Activation & Checkout (including exercise) with high definition video and audio capture. The data from the speed characterization test and Activation & Checkout were to be downloaded for review as soon as possible. Later, the video cables were to be disconnected and removed tonight, to comply with the cable hatch drag-thru flight rules.]

In the DC1 (Docking Compartment), Padalka continued the preparations for checkout and commissioning of the new Russian Orlan-MK #5 spacesuit which was delivered on the last Progress cargo ship. [Activities today involved Orlan-MK spacesuit activation after installing the UDSK pressure gauge plus hoses & umbilicals, checking the BSS interface unit, preparing the BRTA-2 radio telemetry unit, connecting the BRTA-2 antenna feeder unit, installing the BK-3M primary oxygen tank in the BRTA and the BRTA-2 battery. This was followed by installation of the backup BK-3M oxygen tank, an LP-9 LiOH (Lithium Hydroxide) canister (LP-9), and two new lights (one left, one right) on the suit. Gennady also terminated the charging of the Orlan 825M3 battery pack in the ZU-S recharge unit.]

The CDR set up the second demonstration of the educational experiment OBR-1/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”. Flying modes of the LT/Flying Saucer today were Bernoulli Law Hovering, Rotation, Rotation without Precession, and Rotation with Precession. After the video footage, Mike Barratt took interior scene snapshots of the CDR with the Flying Saucer in his hands.]

FE-1 Barratt turned off the PCS (Portable Computer System) A31p laptop in the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory/pos. SUP2) and relocated it with its 120VDC power supply (“Cobalt Brick”) and cabling to the US Lab (pos. UOP1) where it will be serving as the new MELFI (Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for the ISS) PCS.

In the ESA COL, FE-2 Wakata performed troubleshooting on the FSL DLT (Fluid Science Laboratory/Digital Line Tape), to solve a DLT beeping problem and tighten a SCSI (Serial Command & Monitoring Interface) connector.

Barratt completed routine maintenance on the CSA-CP (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products) prime unit (#1045), replacing its battery with a fresh spare. [The CSA-CP is a passive cabin atmosphere monitor that provides quick response capability during a combustion event (fire). Its collected data are stored on a logger.]

Afterwards, Mike completed regular service on the WPA (Water Processor Assembly), first offloading the WPA into a CWC-I (Contingency Water Container-Iodine, #1015) with the common H2O Transfer Hose (which took about 20 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. Preliminary results of the sample analyses look good; the final report will be available on 4/28/09. It is likely that approval for consumption of PWD water will be given at that point.]

The FE-1 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 current card (19-0025B) lists 43 CWCs (~1,299.3 L total) for the four types of water identified on board: 1. technical water (28 CWCs with 882.2 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 334.3 L currently off-limits pending sample analysis on the ground, 174.6 L for flushing only due to Wautersia bacteria & 242.5 L for the Elektron), 2. potable water (9 CWCs with 349.6 L, currently off-limit pending ground analysis results), 3. condensate water (3 CWCs with 0.0 L), 4. waste/EMU dump and other (3 CWCs with 67.5 L). Wautersia bacteria are typical water-borne microorganisms that have been seen previously in ISS water sources. These isolates pose no threat to human health.]

Padalka performed the standard collection of air samples with the Russian AK-1M adsorber in the SM and FGB.

Wakata completed 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).]

FE-1 Barratt took care of 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.]

Gennady terminated the discharge/charge cycle on the second pair of four NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) batteries for the Russian BMD (Biomedical Device) PZE STIMUL-01 payload for his upcoming physical stimulation/conditioning training with the device. [The neuromuscular myostimulator suit STIMUL-1, which uses electrical stimulation to contract and relax leg muscle fibers for conditioning, is part of the suite of BMS (Biomedical Support) systems under development at the Moscow IBMP (Institute for Biomedical Problems) for long-duration spaceflights including piloted Mars missions. STIMUL-1 will be delivered on Progress M-02M/33P, scheduled for launch on 5/7, to be worn by Padalka. Consisting of a vest and pants, it is made of soft no-absorption fabric, with small “windows” for electrodes. Special gel is used to stick the electrodes to the body. The electrodes are connected to an electro-myostimulating device located on the belt. Padalka was the one who tested stimulating pants in the Mir station. Back on the Earth, he needed only 5 days to recover after his 6-month space mission. His leg muscles were elastic. The suit has been developed by IBMP (Institute of Bio-Medical Problems).]

The FE-1 & FE-2 filled out their regular weekly FFQs (Food Frequency Questionnaires) on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer), Mike’s fourth, Koichi’s sixth. [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.]

Continuing the current round of regular preventive maintenance of RS (Russian Segment) ventilation systems, Padalka worked an hour in the SM to replace its four dust filters (PF1-4). The discarded filters were stowed away as trash.

Gennady also 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.]

Afterwards, 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).

The FE-2 conducted the periodic visual inspection of the ARED (Advanced Resistive Exercise Device) and its VIS (Vibration Isolation System) rails & rollers, then evacuated its cylinder flywheels to maintain proper vacuum condition and sensor calibration.

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 (FE-1, FE-2), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-1, FE-2), and VELO with bungee cord load trainer (CDR).

Afterwards, Mike Barratt downloaded 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).

At ~4:15am EDT, 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 ~7:15am, Koichi & Mike participated in an educational PAO, via MPC (Multipurpose Converter) and G1 high-definition camcorder, with attendees of a special event at the Saitama City Space Museum in Saitama, Japan. [In attendance were ~750 Saitama citizens, of which 250 participated in JAXA’s “100 Thousand Astronauts” project,- a DVD with recorded student photos brought up to the ISS by Dr. Wakata. Koichi & Mike today fielded questions from the “100 Thousand Astronauts”. The exchanges were headed by the Saitama City Director, Soichi Aikawa, and the Curator of the Space Museum, Toshio Sato.]

At ~9:05am, the crewmembers convened for their standard bi-weekly teleconference with the JSC Astronaut Office (Steve Lindsey), via S-band S/G-2 audio & phone patch.

At ~12:15pm, Barratt & Wakata participated in the periodic teleconference with the ISS Program Scientist and staff.

At ~3:40pm, the ISS crew is scheduled for 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).]

At ~4:10pm, the crew is scheduled for two televised Russian PAO downlinks to TsUP/Moscow, the first by Mike Barratt to the audience and visitors of the TV Channel “Russia Today” (thanking them for sending in their good wishes for his 50th Birthday on 4/16), the second to the faculty, students and alumni of MIIGA&K (Moscow State University of Geodesy & Cartography) to its 230th anniversary. [“Russia Today” (RT), launched in 2005, today has an audience of around 200 million paying viewers among the pay-TV subscribers in Europe, South Africa and North America. Among other achievements, RT in August 2007 was the first channel in TV history to report live from the North Pole. In 2008, the monthly audience among those who have access or are aware of RT’s broadcasts on Time Warner Cable in NYC exceeds the one of BBC America by 11%, and the daily audience of RT exceeds that of Deutsche Welle (DW) tenfold, within the Time Warner Cable network. MIIGA&K is a specialized (and the most well-known) institution of higher learning in Russia with bachelor & master degree programs in geodesy, photogrammetry, cartography, aerospace photo & video imagery, geo-data systems and optics instrumentation.]

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Megafan and Tin Bider Impact Crater, Algeria (these targets overlap and lie between areas of darker rock. Shooting a nadir swath for the diverging river beds of the megafan, which is a large feature. The crater is a dark feature [beyond the megafan as seen from track]. Another cue is the margin of a great dune field [Grand Erg Oriental] just beyond the crater), Mississippi Delta Region (the crew was asked to shoot a swath of overlapping images along the coastline), Sky Islands, Mexico (shooting obliques [left of track] of the mountains well inland of the coastline. Broad orientational views were requested), and Volcan Colima, Mexico (ISS crossed a short section of the coast of Mexico near the city of Puerto Vallarta. Colima Volcano lies inland of the point where ISS re-crossed the coastline out to sea Colima is part of a large volcanic complex that reaches 3850 m in altitude, supporting telltale green forests at higher elevations. The forests are the visual cue from orbit).

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 noon, 12:56pm EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 352.0 km
Apogee height – 357.8 km
Perigee height — 346.2 km
Period — 91.58 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0008593
Solar Beta Angle — -1.3 deg (magnitude bottoming out)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 38 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 59753

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
05/06/09 — Progress M01M/32P undocking & deorbit
05/07/09 — Progress M-02M/33P launch (on Soyuz-U, 51st rocket of this type)
05/12/09 — STS-125/Atlantis Hubble Space Telescope Service Mission 4 (SM4) – 1:31pm EDT
05/12/09 — Progress M-02M/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) launch – tentative
09/07/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) berth
09/30/09 — Soyuz TMA-16/20S launch
10/02/09 — Soyuz TMA-16/20S docking (SM aft, until MRM2 w/new port)
10/08/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) unberth
10/11/09 – Soyuz TMA-14/18S undock
10/15/09 — Progress 35P launch
11/10/09 — 5R/MRM2 (Russian Mini Research Module, MIM2) on Proton — tentative
11/12/09 — STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 – ELC1, ELC2
12/07/09 — Soyuz TMA-17/21S launch
12/26/09 — Progress 36P launch
02/03/10 — Progress 37P launch
02/??/10 — STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola — tentative
02/11/10 — STS-131/Atlantis/19A – MPLM(P), LMC — tentative
04/02/10 — Soyuz TMA-18/22S launch
04/08/10 — STS-132/Discovery/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM1 — tentative
04/27/10 — Progress 38P launch
05/29/10 — Soyuz TMA-19/23S launch
05/31/10 — STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 – ELC3, ELC4 — tentative
06/??/10 – ATV2 – Ariane 5 (ESA)
06/25/10 — Progress 39P launch
08/11/10 — Progress 40P launch
09/29/10 — Soyuz TMA-20/24S launch
12/??/11 — Proton 3R/MLM w/ERA.
10/19/10 — Progress 41P launch
12/??/11 – 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – on Proton.

SpaceRef staff editor.