Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 25 August 2008

By SpaceRef Editor
August 25, 2008
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 25 August 2008

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Underway: Week 19 of Increment 17.

The crew got up an hour earlier this morning (1:00am EDT) to enable TORU testing over RGS (Russian Groundsite). Sleep time tonight will also begin an hour earlier (4:30pm), and end tomorrow at the regular time (2:00am).

For the purpose of testing the main TORU (Teleoperator Control System) receiver on the mated Progress M-64/29P, CDR Volkov & FE-1 Kononenko worked with ground specialists via VHF on DO3 (Daily Orbit 3, VHF coverage 2:15-2:22am) on the standard vehicle-to-vehicle TORU checkout between the Service Module (SM) and the Progress 29P cargo ship docked to the FGB nadir port. TORU was activated on 2:16am. Progress thrusters (DPO) were inhibited and not involved. [Crew activities focused on TORU activation, inputting commands via the RUO Rotational Hand Controller and close-out ops. TORU lets an SM-based crewmember perform the approach and docking of automated Progress vehicles in case of failure of the automated KURS system. Receiving a video image of the approaching ISS, as seen from a Progress-mounted docking television camera (“Klest”), on a color monitor (“Simvol-Ts”, i.e. “symbol center”) which also displays an overlay of rendezvous data from the onboard digital computer, the crewmember steers the Progress to mechanical contact by means of two hand controllers, one for rotation (RUO), the other for translation (RUD), on adjustable armrests. The controller-generated commands are transmitted from the SM’s TORU control panel to the Progress via VHF radio. In addition to the Simvol-Ts color monitor, range, range rate (approach velocity) and relative angular position data are displayed on the “Klest-M” video monitor (VKU) which starts picking up signals from Progress when it is still approximately 7 km away. TORU is monitored in real time from TsUP over Russian ground sites (RGS) and via Ku-band from Houston, but its control cannot be taken over from the ground.]

FE-2 Chamitoff worked on reconditioning ITCS (Internal Thermal Control System) Flow Meter batteries, that is, charging them in the SMPA (SM Power Adapter) “Makita” battery charger through several cycles and checking charge level between cycles. [The batteries have discharged due to a shelf-life issue and were unable to accept charge via nominal charging. The reconditioning required demating the battery (to reset its internal circuit) every hour, then remating it for more charging if necessary. The process included a confidence check, i.e., by determining how long a battery will power the Flow Meter when connected to it. The SMPA connects to the Russian power system with U.S. cables and transforms the Russian 28 volts direct current to 12VDC for the battery.]

Kononenko conducted the periodic (about twice a month) replenishing of the Elektron oxygen generator’s water supply for electrolysis, filling the KOV EDV container with water collected in a CWC (Contingency Water Container, #1021) from the Lab CCAA (Common Cabin Air Assembly) dehumidifier. [The 40-minute procedure is specially designed to prevent air bubbles larger than ~10 mm from getting into the BZh Liquid Unit where they could cause Elektron shutdown.]

Volkov & Kononenko had another ~5:45 hrs reserved between them for ATV cargo transfers, i.e., moving consumables to the ISS via the SM and loading trash & excessed equipment on “Jules Verne”.

After the ATV D1 rack compartment was cleared of cargo items, the CDR performed a special deck inspection in the ESA freighter spacecraft to check on possible condensate and to measure shell temperature. Afterwards, Sergey & Oleg installed a TSR (Temporary Stowage Rack) in the D1 space and modified it to accept large trash items. [The shell inspection was motivated by the shifting of several layers of MLI (Multi-Layer Insulation) during launch, exposing the hull in several locations without thermal insulation. The goal of the inspection and temperature measurements with the Scopemeter with thermal probe was to evaluate the impact(s) of the insulation loss for the future.]

The FE-1 “harvested” plants grown in the long-term BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("Plants-2") micro-G growth payload, photographing and collecting barley seedlings and inserted them into a MELFI (Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for the ISS) box module (Dewar 3/Tray A) for return to Earth. Oleg then planted two BIO-5 root modules with fresh Mizuna seeds (Brassica juncea var. japonica, Japanese Mustard Greens, also known as California Peppergrass). Working off his discretionary “time permitting” task list, Oleg additionally performed the daily status check of the hardware. [Rasteniya researches growth and development of plants (currently Mizuna) under spaceflight conditions in the Lada-13 greenhouse. MELFI’s cooling system is using the Reverse Brayton Thermodynamic Cycle with nitrogen as working fluid. The cooling engine, a Brayton Machine (BM), working with a compression wheel and expansion wheel on the same shaft supported by a gas bearings system, can rotate at speeds up to 96,000 rpm depending on the cooling requirements.]

In preparation for tomorrow’s relocation of ER-4 (EXPRESS Rack 4) & ER-5 from the US Lab to the JAXA Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), Gregory made room for the transfers by clearing stowage from the future site of the racks in the JPM and prepared the translation path for “flying” the ERs over to Kibo. As an additional voluntary job on his “job jar” list, Greg also was to take photographs of any items protruding into the 50 in x 72 in. translation path needed for the various rack transfers.

Later, the three crewmembers reviewed tomorrow’s transfer activities and also the upcoming cabling modification tasks on the Regenerative ECLSS (Environment Control & Life Support System) in the Lab. [The ER rack transfers will involve only two of nine US rack relocations prior to STS-126/ULF2, with the remaining transfers scheduled in September, viz.: MELFI plus two ZSRs (Zero-G Stowage Racks) to Kibo, HRF-1 (Human Research Facility 1) & HRF-2 to COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), and CHeCS (Crew Health Care Systems) plus one RSR (Resupply Stowage Rack from Node-2) to Lab positions. The CHeCS rack transfer will lead over to completion of the Regenerative ECLSS modifications.]

Chamitoff completed the retrieval of eight US grounding straps from the JLP (JEM Logistics Pressurized Section), originally scheduled 8/20 but then postponed. The straps will be required for tomorrow’s rack relocations (four each for ER-4 & ER-5).

In the Lab, the FE-2 also performed corrective maintenance on the Avionics Rack 1 (LAB1D5), removing and replacing an RPCM (Remote Power Control Module). [The RPCM (LAD52B-A) exhibited anomalous behavior some time ago, probably because of a FET (Field Effect Transistor) Hybrid failure in one of the RPCs, causing a spontaneous power on reset which switched the INT MDM (Interior Multiplexer/Demultiplexer) computer system from Primary INT-2 to INT-1 and thereby removed some heaters from RPC control.]

CDR Volkov set up the IWIS (Internal Wireless Instrumentation System) and connected its NCU (Network Control Unit) to the SSC-4 (Station Support Computer 4) laptop to enable ground-commanded testing of the IWIS structural vibrations dynamics measuring & data recording system.

FE-1 Kononenko took care of 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 also 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).

Greg Chamitoff continued outfitting for the new Regenerative ECLSS, today working on its WRS (Water Recovery System) by installing the oxygen (O2) port, venting the new CHeCS O2 supply hose to prevent contamination, then relocating the umbilical to the new port, purging it and the CHeCS rack O2 port and configuring the setup for an overnight leak check. [The WRS will be used to recycle wastewater into potable water. The Regenerative ECLSS will be required for the future six-person occupancy of the station.]

Sergey set up the Fialka-UVC hardware in preparation for downlinking the video recording from last Wednesday’s (8/20) session with the geophysical GFI-1 Relaksatsiya ("relaxation") experiment which took images and radiation patterns from the Earth atmosphere & surface from spectra recorded with the UV (ultraviolet) camera from SM window #9. The TV recording will be downlinked tomorrow on DO4. [Relaksatsiya normally deals with the study of the chemoluminescent chemical reactions and atmospheric light phenomena (emissions, i.e., molecular relaxation processes), including those that occur during high-velocity interaction between the exhaust products from space vehicles and the atmosphere at orbital altitude and during the entry of space vehicles into the Earth’s upper atmosphere.]

The three station residents conducted their regular 2.5-hr. physical workout program (about half of which is used for setup & post-exercise personal hygiene) on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-2), TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-1), RED resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-1, FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (CDR, FE-1). Later, Volkov transferred 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).

Sergey initiated, later terminated, an oxygen refresh of the cabin atmosphere with O2 from Progress M-64/29P stores.

At ~12:35pm EDT, Dr. Chamitoff supported a live interactive PAO/Educational event of ~20 min with the Columbia Mission Project at Buchanan High School in Clovis, CA. This was the third annual Simulated Space Station Experience at that location. The project involved a simulated total NASA experience, from rocket fabrication to astronaut selection, training in Mission Control, and station operations. The highlight was students spending 48 hours in mockups of the ISS and Mission Control for a space station mission. Questions from the K-12 students were uplinked to the crew beforehand. [“What inspired you to be an astronaut?”; “What was the greatest obstacle you had to overcome in your astronaut training? For example, did you have to overcome any fears?”; “What was the most interesting psychological test you experienced during the astronaut application process?”; “You revolutionized the game of chess and took a chess board into space. Have any of the Mission Control Centers been able to beat you?”; “Where you able to watch or follow the Beijing Olympics and what event do you think would be most fun in space?”]

As generally every day now, today starting at ~9:00am and running until 3:00pm, the US CDRA (Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly) was activated intermittently for two half-cycles to control ppCO2 levels. This configuration for the daily ops does not require connecting & disconnecting the ITCS (Internal Thermal Control System) cooling loop. [A forward plan is in work for cycling the CSV (CO2 Selector Valve) to prevent its sticking.]

No CEO (Crew Earth Observations) photo targets uplinked for today.

CEO photography can be studied at this “Gateway” website: (as of 3/1/08, this database contained 757,605 views of the Earth from space, with 314,000 from the ISS alone).

Week 19 Scheduled Main Activities:

  • Tue. (8/26): SRVK KAV sample; ATV cargo transfers; ER4/ER5 stow; ER4 relocate to JPM; ER5 relocate to JPM; ER4/ER5 umbillicals mate; ER4/ER5 restow.
  • Wed. (8/27): MBI-12/Sonokard (FE-1); ATV cargo transfers; LULIN data dwnld.; DC1 IDZ-2 smoke detector cleaning; THC-IMV flow meas.; SVO BRP-M water sampling; IWIS setup; Emergency proc. OBT/drill; IWIS thruster test.
  • Thu. (8/28): MBI-12/Sonokard (CDR); BMP ch.1 regen; Regen ECLSS Mod Kit 1 install; JAXA CB Microscope C/O; Clay EPO return; COL FSL FCE release; ATV cargo transfers; PHS w/blood set-up; ASU R&R; WRM audit.
  • Fri. (8/29): BMP ch.2 regen; PHS w/blood (PCBA); 29P: LKT remove/activate/hatch close/leak check; BRTK-MBRL prox.comm. prep; ITCS fluid sampling (JEM, Lab, Node-2, COL).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 8:30am EDT [= epoch]):
Mean altitude — 355.6 km
Apogee height — 361.6 km
Perigee height — 349.6 km
Period — 91.65 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0008866
Solar Beta Angle — -27.2 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.71
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 44 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 55944

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible.):
09/01/08 — Progress M-64/29P undocking, from FGB nadir; de-orbit/re-entry ~9/8
09/05/08 — ATV1 undocking, from SM aft port (loiter until 9/29 for nighttime reentry/observation)
09/10/08 — Progress M-65/30P launch
09/12/08 — Progress M-65/30P docking (SM aft)
10/01/08 — NASA 50 Years (official)
10/08/08 — STS-125/Atlantis Hubble Space Telescope Service Mission 4 (SM4)
10/11/08 — Progress M-65/30P undocking (from SM aft)
10/12/08 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S launch (~3:03am EDT; Lonchakov, Fincke, Garriott)
10/14/08 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S docking (FGB nadir port, ~4:51am)
10/23/08 — Soyuz TMA-12/16S undocking (DC1 nadir) or 10/24?
11/10/08 — STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 launch – MPLM Leonardo, LMC
11/12/08 — STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 docking
11/20/08 — ISS 10 Years
11/25/08 — Progress M-65/30P undocking & deorbit
11/26/08 — Progress M-66/31P launch
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.