Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 24 March 2009

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

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Flight Day 10 (FD10) of STS-119/15A — ISS crew work cycle today: Wake 6:15am EDT; sleep 9:45pm (until 6:15am tomorrow morning).

Mission 15A EVA-3 was completed with partial success last night by Richard Arnold & Joseph Acaba in 6h 27min, accomplishing five of a total of eight objectives.
During the spacewalk, Arnold (EV1) & Acaba (EV2) –

  • Relocated the CETA 2 (Crew Equipment Translation Aid) cart from the port to the starboard location to support the P6 battery R&R (Removal & Replacement) scheduled for flights 2J/A & ULF-3,
  • Installed a short active CETA cart coupler required for clearance with the port SARJ (Solar Alpha Rotary Joint),
  • Lubricated the SSRMS LEE B (Space Station Remote Manipulator System/Latching End Effector B),
  • Reconfigured SSAS BBC (Segment-to-Segment Attach System Bus Bolt Controller) connectors, and
  • Removed two of six launch restraint P-clamps from the S1 truss FHRC (Flex Hose Rotary Coupler).

Official start time of the spacewalk was 11:37am EDT, and it ended at 6:04pm. Total EVA duration (PET = Phase Elapsed Time) was 6h 27min. It was the 123rd spacewalk for ISS assembly & maintenance and the 95th from the station (69 from Quest, 26 from Pirs, plus 28 from Shuttle) totaling 586h 37min. After yesterday’s EVA, a total of 167 spacewalkers (129 NASA astronauts, 27 Russians, and 11 astronauts representing Japan-1, Canada-4, France-1, Germany-2 and Sweden-3) have logged 774h 59min outside the station on building, outfitting & servicing. It was the 143rd spacewalk in history involving U.S. astronauts.

Not completed EVA tasks:

  1. EV1/EV2 were unable to position the P3 Zenith UCCAS (Unpressurized Cargo Carrier Attach System) into the final deployed position [the crew secured the UCCAS in the partial-deployed position used long-duration tie-down EVA tethers; the stowed ADP (Adjustable Diameter Pin) was determined not to be the cause of the jam; the UCCAS tie-down is considered structurally acceptable for Shuttle undocking and Soyuz docking & undocking];
  2. Ground controllers decided to defer the S3 PAS (Payload Attach System); and
  3. There was not enough time to re-attempt the Z1 Patch Panel reconfiguration [since the Z1 patch panel task was not performed, CMG-2 was not spun down; however, CMG-2 will remain out of the steering law until after Orbiter undock.]

Before breakfast, CDR Mike Fincke continued his first session with the biomed experiment INTEGRATED IMMUNE (Validating Procedures for Monitoring Crew member Immune Function), collecting one wet saliva sample. FE-2 Sandra Magnus performed the task of taking documentary photography for the liquid saliva collections. [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.]

Upon wakeup, FE-1 Yuri Lonchakov terminated his 11th experiment session for the long-term Russian sleep study MBI-12/SONOKARD, by taking the recording device from his SONOKARD sports shirt pocket and later copying the measurements to the RSE-MED laptop for subsequent downlink to the ground. [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.]

Lonchakov unstowed, set up and checked out the DAKON-M hardware for the sixth run of the Russian experiment TEKh-15/IZGIB (“Bend”) which will continue through the Shuttle undocking tomorrow. The activity requires only visual control of hardware operations by the FE-1 three times a day and reporting to the ground. The fifth IZGIB session was conducted by Yuri on 3/17 during the Shuttle docking. [IZGIB has the objective to help update mathematical models of the ISS gravitation environment, using accelerometers of the Russian SBI Onboard Measurement System, the GIVUS high-accuracy angular rate vector gyrometer of the SUDN Motion Control & Navigation System and other accelerometers for unattended measurement of micro-accelerations at science hardware accommodation locations – (1) in operation of onboard equipment having rotating parts (gyrodynes, fans), (2) when establishing and keeping various ISS attitude modes, and (3) when performing crew egresses into space and physical exercises.]

FE-2-18 Koichi Wakata set up the camera equipment in the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module) and conducted the scheduled Japanese “Space Poem” activity by having CDR Fincke take photographs of him with the Space Poem DVD in front of the Saibo Rack. Afterwards, the gear was disassembled and stowed away. [The Space Poem Chain is being composed as a universal message of Life in the Universe and on Earth. Approximately 1000 people have joined in the composition of the Space Poem Chain, transcending nationalities, cultural backgrounds, genders, specialties, and age. Koichi has been invited to write poem No. 25 from space. A Japanese poet, Shuntaro Tanikawa-san, will then pen poem No.26, as a final poem. Poems are in five lines, free format, in Japanese and clear & big letters for photography by the JEM internal camera.]

As a post-EVA activity, Mike Fincke relocated the EMER-1 & EMER-2 (Red & Orange) emergency books from their temporary place in the Quest Airlock (A/L) to the FGB and restowed the three borrowed PBAs (Portable Breathing Apparatus) and masks used for the pre-EVA prebreathing in their original locations in the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), JPM and JLP (JEM Logistics Pressurized Element).

Lonchakov completed the periodic collection of condensate water (KAV) from the SRVK-2M condensate processor upstream of the FGS gas-liquid mixture filter in drink bags for return to Earth.

Supported by ground specialist tagup, the FE-1 also worked in the SM setting up and checking out the work area for SFP/VC12 Charles Simonyi, who arrives with Soyuz TMA-14/18S on 3/28 (Saturday). [For the VC-16 science program during the ISS-18/ISS-19 handover period, Lonchakov installed (without plugging in) the two temperature control units CRYOGEM-03M and CRYOGEM-03. CRYOGEM-03 will be activated at +4 degC on Soyuz docking day. Additional equipment prepared by Yuri included hardware for the BIOEMULSIYA experiment, cleaning the NIKON D3 camera’s highly sensitive CCD (Charged-Couple Device) matrix, and readying the URAGAN-18 HDDS (hard disk drive) for return.]

For the survey (currently daily) of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) measurements during the docked mission, Koichi 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 ~11:55am and ~5:30pm 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.]

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

The FE-1 also conducted 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.

Mike Fincke & Lee Archambault worked jointly to tear down and stow the oxygen transfer equipment used to supply O2 from the Shuttle to the PBAs in the ISS A/L in support of pre-EVA mask prebreathe for denitrogenation.

Today it was Fincke’s job to spend time (~80 min.) with the new crewmember, Wakata-san, on standard “handover” activities. [Total generic face-to-face handover time for Koichi for the 15A stage amounts to 13.5 hrs.]

Wakata, Magnus & Lonchakov were scheduled for their periodic PMCs (Private Medical Conferences) via S- & Ku-band audio/video, Koichi at ~10:40am, Sandy at ~11:25am, Yuri at ~5:00pm.

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./2.5h, FE-2, FE-2-18), and ARED resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-2). [This was the third regular physical exercise for Koichi Wakata, again on the TVIS.]

At ~9:50am EDT, the combined ISS/Shuttle crew received a special VIP call from President Barack Obama from the Roosevelt Room in the White House. The ~30-min event went exceedingly well. [President Obama, who showed great interest and clearly enjoyed himself, was joined by local school children from Montgomery County, Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, DC. who asked questions, Also present were eight Congressional leaders including Sen. Nelson (FL) and Sen. Mikulski (MD), three Congresswomen (Giffords/AZ, Kosmas/FL, Jackson-Lee/TX) and three Congressmen (Mollohan/WVA, Gordon/TN, Griffith/AZ), plus NASA Acting Administrator Christopher Scolese with David Noble and Mary D. Kerwin. All station residents, including Koichi and Yuri, spoke with the President. Emphasis of the exchange was on the onboard scientific/research program, international cooperation and living-in-space experiences by crewmembers.]

At 1:10pm, the ten station residents supported the traditional 35-min. news conference conducted with U.S. and Japanese media at NASA centers from the Node-2 Harmony Module. The event was on HD MPC (High Definition/Multi-Purpose Converter) video & audio (down), S/G-2 up. [Media clients taped the event for use within their respective media outlets.]

Afterwards, at ~1:50pm, the ISS & Shuttle crew assembled in the SM for posing for the standard joint crew photograph.

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: 6:15am – 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).
  • FD11 (3/25)
    • Wakeup (6:15am EDT, both crews)
    • WPA Sample Collect (8:29am)
    • CWC #12 Transfer (10:39am)
    • Rendezvous Tools checkout (10:54am)
    • Farewell Event (12:54pm)
    • Close & leak check hatches (1:29pm)
    • Maneuver to Undock Attitude (2:39pm)
    • Undock (3:54pm)
    • Flyaround Initiation (4:19pm)
    • Sleep (9:00pm, ISS)
  • 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).

CEO photo targets uplinked for today were Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ISS had a fair weather pass over the Ethiopian capital city during the dry season for the central highlands. Approach was from the SW in early afternoon with the nadir view of the target. As with most of CEO’s large city targets, researchers are interested in a detailed mapping of the urban margins to track changes in area and in land use. The crew was over a primarily agricultural region, so for landmarks, they were to look towards the forested hills to the N and W of the city), Arkenu 1 and Arkenu 2 Impact Craters (ISS had a mid-afternoon pass with clear skies over this target area with the center just left of track. Arkenu 1 and 2 are a rarely exposed double impact structure created by a 500 m diameter pair of asteroids. Located in the southeastern part of the Libyan Desert, Arkenu 1 is 6.8 km in diameter and Arkenu 2 is 10 km. Both have been dated as less than 140 million years old. The crew has been successful in capturing these craters with the 400 mm lens. Since more detailed images of the structures of both craters were requested, Mike & Sandy were asked to use the 800 mm lens today), Central Algeria Megafans (ISS had a mid-afternoon pass, with perhaps a few clouds over this challenging target. Researchers seek CEO photos of these ancient erosional features from a period when the central Algeria has a much wetter climate than today. These megafans are subtle features and the crew did not need to try to recognize them themselves while taking photos. They were simply to try for a mapping strip just left of track to spot and orient the target area within its surrounding features), and Georgia Coastal Ecosystems (ISS had an almost ideal pass for acquiring this target during mid-afternoon lighting, and with a forecast of clear skies, as the station tracked northeastward near the coast of Georgia. This is a Long Term Ecological Research [LTER] site that includes the coastal wetlands, estuaries, and barrier islands from just north of Jacksonville, Florida to just north of Savannah, Georgia. Mike & Sandy were asked to use the 800mm lens for a detailed mapping strip along the line between these two cities).

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 noon, 12:03pm EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 354.3 km
Apogee height – 360.8 km
Perigee height — 347.9 km
Period — 91.63 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0009637
Solar Beta Angle — 16.2 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.71
Mean altitude gain in the last 24 hours — 203 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 59265

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
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.

SpaceRef staff editor.