Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 25 September 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
September 25, 2009
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 25 September 2009

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

At wake-up, FE-3 Romanenko terminated his eighth experiment session, started last night, 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.]

After setting up, powering on & configuring the RC (Refrigerated Centrifuge), FE-1 Mike Barratt acted as CMO (Crew Medical Officer) for FE-5 Frank De Winne as he completed Day 5 of Session 1 with the SOLO (Sodium Loading in Microgravity) experiment. Besides the daily diet monitoring/logging, today’s activities also involved blood sampling and urine collection. [SOLO runs in two blocks of six days each. Today, Mike drew blood from Frank, spun the samples in the RC and stowed them in the MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS). Later in the day, De Winne also collected urine samples for the SOLO assessment. During the current Session 1 block, the FE-5 follows a special low-salt diet, during the subsequent Session 2 a high-salt diet (normal ISS cuisine). For both diets, specially prepared meals are provided onboard. All three daily meals are logged on sheets stowed in the PCBA Consumable Kit in the MELFI along with control solution and cartridges for the PCBA. SOLO, an ESA/German experiment from the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Cologne/Germany, investigates the mechanisms of fluid and salt retention in the body during long-duration space flight. Background: The hypothesis of an increased urine flow as the main cause for body mass decrease has been questioned in several recently flown missions. Data from the US SLS1/2 missions as well as the European/Russian Euromir `94 & MIR 97 missions show that urine flow and total body fluid remain unchanged when isocaloric energy intake is achieved. However, in two astronauts during these missions the renin-angiotensin system was considerably activated while plasma ANP concentrations were decreased. Calculation of daily sodium balances during a 15-day experiment of the MIR 97 mission (by subtracting sodium excretion from sodium intake) showed an astonishing result: the astronaut retained on average 50 mmol sodium daily in space compared to balanced sodium in the control experiment.]

Mike Barratt set up the NUTRITION with Repository hardware for another session for himself (his fifth) & FE-2 Stott (her second) involving blood draws & urine sampling. [Urine collections will begin tomorrow (9/26) for both. Mike’s blood draw is also scheduled tomorrow, and Nicole’s on Sunday (9/27).]

The FE-1 completed his fourth (and final) two-day session with the CCISS (Cardiovascular & Cerebrovascular Control on Return from ISS) experiment, removing the HM-2 (Holter Monitor 2) and CCISS Actiwatches following completion of a 24-hr data collection for the passive heart rate study, downloaded HM2 & Actiwatch data from the PCMCIA memory card and then stowed the CCISS hardware. [CCISS studies the effects of long-duration spaceflight on crewmembers’ heart functions and their blood vessels that supply the brain (= “cerebrovascular”). Learning more about the changes in cardiovascular & cerebrovascular systems in zero-G could lead to specific countermeasures that might better protect future space travelers. For the Baro study of CCIS, heart rate and blood pressure are being recorded for resting and timed breathing for 5 min, with no caffeine or food (water is acceptable) allowed two hours before the start of the Baro Study and no exercise prior to the Baro Study.]

De Winne re-downloaded the HM-2 data of Nicole Stott’s ICV (Integrated Cardiovascular) session of 9/17 since only part of the earlier download (9/21) was received on the ground.

FE-2 Stott, FE-4 Thirsk & FE-5 De Winne worked with the Japanese RMS (Robotic Maneuvering System) in the Kibo module and the Canadian SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) in the U.S. Lab to return the EP (Exposed Pallet) to the HTV. [After yesterday’s very successful transfer of the two payloads HREP (HICO/Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean & RAIDS/Remote Atmospheric & Ionospheric Detection System) and SMILES (Superconducting Submillimeter-wave Limb-emission Sounder) from the EP to their EFU (Exposed Facility Unit) locations, Nicole & Bob set up the JPM (JEM Pressurized Module) video, grappled the EF on its location (EFU-10) on the EF and handed it over to the SSRMS, operated by Frank. After the handover, the EF was moved to the HTV and installed in the ULC (Unpressurized Logistics Carrier) in the HTV’s flank. Nicole finally parked the SSRMS at the HTV pre-grapple position and cleaned up the LEE B (Latching End Effector B) by returning its snare cables to nominal position.]

Barratt worked on the new Node-3 AR (Atmosphere Revitalization) Rack by completing the installation of the DCA (Data & Control Assembly) in the MCA (Major Constituent Analyzer) in the rack and connecting the vacuum jumper to support MCA activation and pumpout by ground control.

Mike, Nicole, Bob & Frank began with preparations for the upcoming major outfit job of installing T2, the new exercise treadmill, reviewing 67 uplinked pages of descriptions & procedures and conducting a 30-min teleconference with ground specialists at ~2:00pm to discuss procedural details. [T2 is to be installed in Node-2 (loc. D5), but this is only temporary: COLBERT is slated to be moved later to Node-3 (loc. F5).]

FE-3 Romanenko performed the periodic status checks on the Russian BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("Plants-2") experiment in the SM (Service Module). [Rasteniya-2 researches growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in the LADA-16 greenhouse from IBMP (Institute of Bio-Medical Problems, Russian: IMBP), currently planted with Mizuna seeds. Mizuna (Brassica rapa nipposinica) is a tasty variety of Japanese mustard greens, also known as California Peppergrass, eaten as a salad.]

For the Russian BTKh-11 Biodegradatsiya ("Biodegradation”) experiment, Romanenko collected surface samples from specific equipment and structures in the SM behind panels 139 & 407 for subsequent stowage in the Soyuz TMA-14 Descent Module for microbial analysis on Earth. [The activities were documented with the Nikon D2X digital camera with SB 28DX flash attachment for downlink via OCA.]

Using the CMS (Countermeasure System), a component of the SKDS GANK-4M suite, the FE-3 performed the standard check on the SM cabin air for Vinyl Chloride, Ethanol, and Ethylene Oxide. [CMS uses preprogrammed microchips to measure for numerous contaminants such as O-Xylol (1,2-Dimethylbenzol, C8H10), Hydrogen Chloride (HCl), Formaldehyde, Isopropanol, Methanol, Toluene, Mercaptan, Sulphur dioxide, Hydrogen cyanide, Phosgene, etc.],

With the MCA still inactive, Thirsk used the hand-held CDMK (Carbon Dioxide Monitoring Kit) to take CO2 readings in the Lab at mid-module, recording time, CO2 percentage and CDM battery ticks.

For further assurance, Bob checked CO2 levels in the Lab also with the CSA-O2 (Compound Specific Analyzer-Oxygen) instrument (#1046).

The FE-4 serviced the MDS (Mice Drawer System) by refilling the potable water supply. [An MDS troubleshooting plan is in work. Ground analysis has determined that the MDS ventilation system is not working as expected in zero gravity. Also, the MDS filter has not collected the waste as expected, and MDS had to be cleaned up with the vacuum cleaner. The waste poses no crew health concerns as long as it is dry (it could entail fungal growth if wet). For dry waste, the vacuum cleaner can be used for ISS housekeeping needs without requiring a new bag. The MDS, which must be cleaned every 30 days, is scheduled for return on ULF3, i.e., two more cleanings are expected nominally. Correction from yesterday’s report: Rats have been flown in space before by NASA, but not for long duration.]

Roman completed the periodic checkout & performance verification of IP-1 airflow sensors in the various RS (Russian Segment) hatchways.

CDR Padalka conducted a familiarization tagup with ground specialists on the Russian experiment OBR-1-3/”Fizika-Otolit”, then set up the Otolith stand and camera on different ends of the IMT mass measuring device platform and performed the experiment, which demonstrates a simulation process for transferring motion effects in micro-G to the human vestibulatory apparatus (inner ear). The video cassette was prepared for return on Soyuz TMA-14 and the experiment closed out. [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”. Otoliths, also called Statoconia, are the minute calciferous granules within the gelatinous statoconic membrane surmounting the acoustic maculae (membrana statoconiorum macularum) in the inner ear, the organ of equilibrium.]

Gennady also conducted the fourth onboard run of the Russian SSTV (Slow Scan TV) equipment of the MAI-75 experiment as part of OBR-3 (Obrazovanie -3) ops, essentially a ham radio set-up with Kenwood TM D700 Transceiver and Kenwood VS-N1 (Visual Communicator) gear for downlinking photographic images of the overflown terrain to ground stations, including one at MAI (Moscow Aviation Institute). Later in the day, the radio session was terminated and the equipment closed out. This was the second of the back-to-back sessions started yesterday. [The payload is named after the renowned MAI whose reputation is based on the large number of famous aviators and rocket scientists that received their academic education here. Among the alumni are Academicians and Corresponding Members of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Over 100 General and Chief Designers earned their degree at MAI, with famous rocket scientists like Makeyev, Mishin, Nadiradze and Yangel. MAI also fostered 20 Pilot-Cosmonauts, almost 100 famous test pilots, Heroes of the Soviet Union and Russia. The amateur radio (ham) equipment aboard the ISS for downlinking SSTV imagery is a MAI product.]

Later, the CDR conducted checkout tests of the VShTV Wide-Angle Vertical Sighting Device on the television screen showing Earth terrain. Screen shots using the NIKON D2X digital camera with f17-55 mm lens were then downlinked to the ground via OCA. [Purpose of the annual routine VShTV tests is to verify proper operation and optical quality of the device after being exposed to spaceflight conditions over a long period.]

In addition, Gennady checked out the performance of the BRPK-2 Condensate Air/Liquid Separation & Pumping Unit, using processed Elektron water (EDV-KOV), an empty EDV container, hose and a stopwatch.

After temporarily turning off the BMP Micropurification Unit in the SM, Roman checked the airflow at the MTs12-4 fan inlet and cleaned the fan grille using the Russian vacuum cleaner (PO-70). BMP was then started again in scrub mode.

The FE-3 completed another session with the ocean observations program DZZ-13 “Seiner” to obtain data on color field patterns and current cloud cover conditions in the Caribbean Basin and the Gulfstream frontal area. [The experiment uses visual observation, videography (HDV camcorder, PAL mode) and selective photography (NIKON D2X with AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 80-200 mm lens) of color-contrast images and large discontinuities in cloud fields along the flight path, controlled from the RSK-1 laptop. Roman’s photography had to be accompanied by a continuous non-stop video recording of underlying terrain using the HDV camera securely fixed above SM Window #8 precisely in nadir using the LIV adapter.]

Romanenko did 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).

Roman also 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-3 performed the regular weekly maintenance on the TVIS (Treadmill with Vibration Isolation & Stabilization), primarily inspecting the condition of the SLDs (Subject Loading Devices), SLD cables and SPDs (Subject Positioning Devices), lubricating as required, plus recording time & date values.

Romanenko spent an hour on the TVIS treadmill for the periodic Russian PZE-MO-3 test for physical fitness evaluation, using the TVIS in unmotorized (manual control) mode and wearing the Kardiokassette KK-2000 belt with three chest electrodes. [The fitness test, controlled from the RSE-Med laptop, yields ECG (electrocardiogram) readings to the KK-2000 data storage device, later downlinked via the Regul (BSR-TM) payload telemetry channel. Before the run, the KK-2000 was synchronized with the computer date/time readings. For the ECG, the crewmembers worked out on the treadmill, first walking 3 min. up to 3.5 km/h, then running at a slow pace of 5-6 km/h for 2 min, at moderate pace of 6.5 km/h, followed by the maximum pace not exceeding 10 km/h, then walking again at gradually decreasing pace.]

For onboard crew safety, all crewmembers went through a familiarization exercise of quickly demating & remating the JPM CQ (Crew Quarters) data cable drag-through QDs (Quick Disconnects) at the Node-2 port hatch, repeating the operation several times.

Gennady & Mike again had an hour each set aside for regular crew departure preparations, working on the standard end-of-increment cleanup preparatory to their return to Earth on Soyuz 18S, along with Canadian SPF (Spaceflight Participant) Guy Laliberte. [It is usual for crewmembers to be granted reduced workdays for making their departure preparations, as their return date approaches.]

At ~3:55am 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 ~4:10am, Gennady & Roman linked up with TsUP/Moscow stowage specialists via S-band to conduct the weekly IMS tagup, discussing inventory & stowage issues, equipment locations and cargo transfers.

At ~10:10am, Padalka, Barratt, Roman, Thirsk & De Winne joined in a tagup with the ESA staff at Col-CC (Columbus Control Center) at Oberpfaffenhofen/Germany. [This conference is scheduled once every week, between ISS crewmembers and Col-CC via S/G2 (Space-to-Ground 2) audio.]

At ~3:10pm, the ISS crew had 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 ~4:25pm, Nicole is scheduled for her weekly PFC (Private Family Conference), via S-band/audio and Ku-band/MS-NetMeeting application (which displays the uplinked ground video on an SSC laptop).

The crew completed their regular daily 2.5-hr. physical workout program on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-4), TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation (CDR/2h, FE-1, FE-2, FE-3, FE-5), ARED advanced resistive exerciser (FE-1, FE-2, FE-4, FE-5) and VELO cycle ergometer with bungee cord load trainer (FE-3).

Later, De Winne transferred the exercise data files 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).

WRM Update: A new WRM (Water Recovery Management) “cue card” was uplinked last night to the crew for their reference, updated with yesterday’s CWC (Collapsible Water Container) water audit. [The new card (20-0055S) lists 79 CWCs (~1,883.3 L total) for the four types of water identified on board: 1. technical water (66 CWCs with 1,497.9 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 285.0 L for flushing only due to Wautersia bacteria & 176.2 L in 4 clean bags for contingency use, 2. potable water (8 CWCs with 323.1 L, of which 194.8 L (5 bags) are currently off-limit pending ground analysis results), the remainder good for contingency use, 3. condensate water (3 CWCs with 5 L), 4. waste/EMU dump and other (2 CWCs with 57.3 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.]

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (weather was predicted to be mostly clear for this near-nadir pass over this famous African volcano. Looking to the left of track for the volcano; overlapping frames of the summit snow cover and glaciers is of particular interest. These images are useful for tracking change in ice and snow volumes on the mountain over time), Lahore, Pakistan (a near-nadir pass over this populous Pakistan city, which is known as the cultural heart of the country. Looking slightly to the right of track for the urban area to the SW of the River Ravi. Overlapping mapping frames taken along track were requested to obtain a rural-urban-rural transect across the urban area), Paraty, Brazil (HMS Beagle Site (special – "Darwin the Adventure" Workshop, Sep 20 -26, 2009): This morning pass over this target was likely mostly cloudy; however there may have been breaks in the clouds that allowed for photography of Paraty and the adjacent bay), Caracas, Venezuela (weather was predicted to be mostly clear over the capital city of Venezuela. The city follows the trend of the Caracas Valley within the coastal mountains. Overlapping mapping frames taken along track were requested; these capture a rural-urban-rural transect across the urban area), and Soufriere Hills Volcano, Caribbean (the Soufriere Hills volcano occupies the southern half of the island of Montserrat in the Lesser Antilles Islands. Eruptive activity during the late 1990’s eventually destroyed many settlements on the island, including the capital of Plymouth. Looking slightly to the left of track for the volcano. Overlapping mapping frames of the southern half of Montserrat were requested).

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, 7:55am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 346.4 km
Apogee height – 352.5 km
Perigee height — 340.3 km
Period — 91.46 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0009111
Solar Beta Angle — -22.6 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.74
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 100 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 62175

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
09/30/09 — Soyuz TMA-16/20S launch (3:14:42am, Baikonur: 1:14:42pm, Moscow DMT: 10:14:42am) — J. Williams/M. Suraev/G. Laliberte
10/02/09 — Soyuz TMA-16/20S docking (SM aft, until MRM-2 w/new port) (~4:37am)
10/10/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S undock (9:05pm)
10/11/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S land (~00:30am; Kazakhstan: ~10:30am)
10/14/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) unberth (under review)
10/15/09 — Progress 35P launch
10/27/09 — Ares I-X Flight Test
11/10/09 — 5R/MRM-2 (Russian Mini Research Module 2) on Soyuz-U
11/12/09 — 5R/MRM-2 docking (SM zenith)
11/12/09 — STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 launch (ELC1, ELC2)
12/01/09 – Soyuz TMA-15/19S undock
12/21/09 — Soyuz TMA-17/21S launch — O. Kotov/S. Noguchi/T.J. Creamer
12/23/09 — Soyuz TMA-17/21S (FGB nadir)
01/??/10 — Soyuz 20S relocation (from SM aft to MRM-2)
02/03/10 — Progress 36P launch
02/04/10 — STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola
02/05/10 — Progress 36P docking
03/18/10 — STS-131/Discovery/19A – MPLM(P), LMC
04/02/10 — Soyuz TMA-18/22S launch
04/28/10 — Progress 37P launch
05/14/10 — STS-132/Atlantis/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM-1
05/30/10 — Soyuz TMA-19/23S launch
06/30/10 — Progress 38P launch
07/27/10 — Progress 39P launch
07/29/10 — STS-133/Endeavour (ULF5 – ELC4, MPLM) or STS-134/Discovery (ULF6 – ELC3, AMS)
08/31/10 — Progress 40P launch
09/16/10 — STS-133/Endeavour (ULF5 – ELC4, MPLM) or STS-134/Discovery (ULF6 – ELC3, AMS)
09/30/10 — Soyuz TMA-20/24S launch
10/27/10 — Progress 41P launch
11/30/10 — Soyuz TMA-21/25S launch
12/21/10 — ATV2 – Ariane 5 (ESA)
02/09/11 — Progress 42P launch
03/30/11 — Soyuz TMA-22/26S launch
xx/xx/11 — Progress 43P launch
05/30/11 — Soyuz TMA-23/27S launch
12/??/11 — 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – on Proton

SpaceRef staff editor.