Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 26 March 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
March 26, 2009
Filed under , , ,
NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 26 March 2009

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Flight Day 12 (FD12) of STS-119/DiscoverySolo — ISS crew work cycle today: Wake 5:30am EDT; sleep 9:00pm (until 5:30am tomorrow morning).

Soyuz TMA-14 (18S) launched flawlessly this morning at Baikonur on time at 7:49:18am EDT carrying ISS-19 CDR Gennady Ivanovich Padalka (for his second ISS stint), ISS-19 FE-1 Dr. Michael Barratt, and SFP/VC-16 Charles Simonyi (on his second self-paid ISS visit). [Separations from second & third stage were nominal. Orbit was attained at L+ 8:45 min at an altitude of 210 km (perigee ~189.6 km/apogee ~230.1 km, downrange ~530 km, velocity ~7.50 km/s, orbit period 88.8 min). Antennas and solar arrays deployed nominally at orbit insertion. 18S has a two-day rendezvous profile, aiming for docking on Saturday, 3/28, at 9:14am EDT (4:14pm Moscow time) at the SM aft port. See Flight Plan, below. At orbit insertion, Soyuz unfolded two solar arrays, four Kurs antennas, one TORU/Rassvet-M antenna and one telemetry antenna. Later, the crew activated antenna heaters, set the maneuver mode, turned on the RKO orbit radio tracking system, started leak checks, etc. Two orbit adjustment burns of ~5 min duration each were executed this morning, DV1 (~14.64 m/s) at 11:29am, DV2 (8.89 m/s) at 12:23p, both with the SKD main engine. After the two-day "chase", supported by several more midcourse burns, 18S will dock at the SM aft port on 3/28 at ~9:14am EDT (4:14pm Moscow time).]

Aboard the ISS, FE-2 Wakata began his first week with the SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) experiment, using payload software for data downloading and filling in questionnaire entries in the experiment’s session file on the HRF-1 laptop. [To monitor the crewmember’s sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, Koichi wears a special Actiwatch device which measures the light levels encountered by him as well as his patterns of sleep and activity throughout the Expedition. The log entries are done within 15 minutes of final awakening for seven consecutive days, as part of the crew’s discretionary “job jar” task list.]

CDR Fincke & FE-1 Lonchakov prepared for their return to Earth on Soyuz TMA-13/17S on 4/7 (with Charles Simonyi) by unstowing their Sokol IV spacesuits, checking them for leaks and setting them up for “drying out” (airing) for about 2.5 hrs.

Afterwards, Fincke & Lonchakov also put on their "Kentavr" anti-g suits for individual fit checks, supported by ground specialist tagup. [The Kentavr (Centaur) suits are worn during reentry.]

Also In preparation for the upcoming Soyuz TMA-14 docking, Mike worked with Yuri to configure & test the TV downlink from the RS (Russian Segment) over the MPEG-2 (Moving Pictures Expert Group 2) encoder via U.S. OpsLAN and Ku-/band in “streaming video” packets. [The setup involves the designated A31p laptop at the Lab RWS (Robotic Workstation) for converting analog-to-digital video, the video connection from the SONY HVR-Z1J digital high-definition camcorder and the ZVK LIV Experimental Video Complex in the SM over the MPEG-2 encoder. After the test, with the RSCE PingMaster application, Fincke deactivated the A31p again. The KL-211 MPEG-2 Encoder uses the RSS1 A31p laptop (for monitoring the digital video) and a U.S. SSC (Station Support Computer) A31p laptop (for converting analog TV from Russian PAL mode to U.S. NTSC). The video hardware connection is checked with a network ping test. The digital video transmission is carried over JSL(Joint Station LAN)/Ethernet plus OCA/Ku-Band to MCC-Houston and from there to Moscow via the ESA Gateway for COL-CC/Oberpfaffenhofen transmission to TsUP-Moscow, plus transfer of the USOS analog video of the RS ISS video downlink via Streambox 2 to NISN (i.e., the Moscow Ostankino communication hub).]

FE-2 Wakata used a D2X digital still camera to take documentary photos of the GDS (Gas Delivery System) in the HRF-2 (Human Research Facility 2) Rack. [The pictures are needed by engineers to give them a real-time assessment of the gases available in the five tanks for future Increment 19/20 experiments.]

Later, Lonchakov is scheduled for transferring two CWCs (Contingency Water Containers, #1043 & #1072) with US condensate to the RS for the periodic (about twice a month) replenishing of the Elektron’s water supply for electrolysis, filling the designated KOV EDV container. Once filled, the EDV will be connected to the BPK transfer pump for processing through the BKO. [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.]

Koichi 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 new card (18-0006Q) lists 37 CWCs (~1,017.7 L total) for the four types of water identified on board: technical water (616.3 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 110.6 L currently off-limits, filled from WPA and pending sample analysis on the ground), potable water (345.7 L, incl. 174.6 L currently off-limit because of Wautersia bacteria), condensate water (0.0 L), waste/EMU dump and other (55.7 L, including 22.2 L not to be used. Wautersia bacteria are typical water-borne microorganisms that have been seen previously in ISS water sources. These isolates pose no threat to human health.]

To get the new US WHC ready for use, FE-2 Wakata set it up for operating with the UPA (Urine Processor Assembly). [To this end, there were three steps to complete: first changing out the EDV-U container with a new EDV (assembled from a bucket and a cover), then inspecting the WHC urine jumper on its potentially interfering with rotation of the LAB1P3 & LAB1P4 racks (in which case it would have to be rerouted), and finally configuring the WHC to feed directly into the UPA rather than the EDV-U. After these steps, the WHC is fully operational.]

Afterwards, Koichi also supported the ground by rebooting (turning off & back on after 90 sec) the Node-2 ISL (Integrated Station OpsLAN) Edge Router. [The device appears to be functioning properly but flight controllers cannot log into the management console remotely to verify status. The ISL network configuration with the Edge Router was originally installed by Sunita Williams in the Lab on 3/19/07.]

In preparation for the arrival and on-orbit stay of the next SFP & VC-16 (Space Flight Participant/Visiting Cosmonaut 16) Charles Simonyi, the crew conducted a 90-min. review of Simonyi’s projected timeline and then tagged up with ground specialists to discuss the planned VC-16 activity program. [VC-16 will be performed for 11 days, from 3/28-4/7 (10/14-10/23 in the ISS RS/Russian Segment). The program entails –

  • Two real-time TV conferences between RS and TsUP-Moscow,
  • Seven ham radio sessions,
  • Photo & video imagery in the RS interior,
  • Commemorative activities,
  • Once-daily (morning) tagups with the advisory group,
  • Daily (afternoon) private conferences using VOIP, and
  • Daily (afternoon) E-mail.]

During the VC-16 period, activities will include:

  • Pille radiation monitoring for Simonyi,
  • ARISS (Amateur Radio on ISS activities by the SFP),
  • Earth Imagery (by SFG, with Russian support),
  • MATRYOSHKA radiation monitoring,
  • EXPER sampling,
  • PILOT-M (MBI-15) pilot acuity,
  • KASKAD (BTKh-26),
  • LAKTOLEN (BTKh-5) & OChB (BTKh-7),
  • ARIL (BTKh-6),
  • SONOKARD (MBI-12),
  • IZGIB-DAKON (TEKh-15).

FE-1 Lonchakov 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.]

At ~2:05pm, Mike Fincke is scheduled for his regular PMC (Private Medical Conference), via S-band/audio & Ku-band/video.

At 3:45pm (5:20pm as backup opportunity), the FE-1 will support TsUP/Moscow in a communications session with the NASA Wallops Ground Station to test the downlink capability for telemetry data from the Soyuz TM-13/17S Descent Module monitoring its separation from the Orbital Module during reentry.

The station residents completed 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), and ARED advanced resistive exerciser (CDR, FE-2).

At ~7:15am, 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 ~9:05am, the CDR had another one of his thank-you CDE (Crew Discretionary Event) audio/video downlinks, today with the ESA Training Team, followed by a second call at ~11:45am to the Carnegie Science Center.

Tonight at ~7:45pm, Mike Fincke will power up the SM’s amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and conduct, at 7:50pm, a ham radio exchange with students at the Cotswold School, Christchurch, New Zealand. [Cotswold School is located in Bishopdale, Christchurch, NZ. “We provide quality education for children from Year 0 – Year 6. The current roll is 480 children, 19 classrooms and 23 teachers. The children you will be speaking to via telebridge range in age from 5 – 10 years old.” Questions to Mike were uplinked beforehand. “How do you eat food in space?”; “How do you drink in space?”; “How do you exercise is space?”; “What can you do in your spare time in space?”; “How long do you stay in space for?”; “How do you have a shower and keep clean in space?”; “How big is the space station?”; “What can you see out the window right now?”; “What are you working on at the moment?”; “What do you wear in space? What do you wear inside the space station? How is it different from what you wear outside the space station?”; “What equipment do you have on the space station?”; “How do you prepare meals?”]

18S Flight Plan Overview:

  • Flight Day 1:

Launch to Orbit, ~9 min in duration; auto deployment of solar arrays & antennas; pressurization of prop tanks and filling of Soyuz manifolds; docking probe extended; leak check by crew of BO & SA modules; KURS self tests; test of BDUS angular rate sensors; attitude established (OSK/LVLH); crew opens BO-SA hatch, ingresses BO and doffs Sokol suits; test of RUO rotational hand controller; Soyuz put in ISK (sun spinning/«barbecue») mode; data for DV1 & DV2 burns uplinked; SOA air purification system activated in BO and deactivated in SA; DV1 burn; DV2 burn; Soyuz back in ISK attitude; crew clean & dry Sokols; crew sleep.

  • Flight Day 2:

Post-sleep activities; BO workstation prepared; data for DV3 burn uplinked; crew tests RUO-2 & RUD-2 rotational and translational hand controllers; DV3 attitude established by crew; DV3 burn executed; Soyuz back in ISK attitude; crew swaps CO2 filters in BO; crew sleep.

  • Flight Day 3:

Post-sleep activities; KURS-A heaters activated; data for automated rendezvous uplinked; crew dons Sokols; SOA deactivated in BO and activated in SA; crew ingresses SA, closes BO-SA hatch and dons harnesses for docking; DV5 burn; automated rendezvous & docking via KURS-P in ISS & KURS-A in Soyuz; docking; pressure equalized between Soyuz and ISS ; crew transfers.

ISS Crew Sleep Shifting: To synchronize the ISS crew’s timeline with Soyuz 18S arrival, the station wake/sleep cycle shifts are continuing. For the next few days, the schedule is as follows:


Wake: 5:30am – 9:00pm


Wake: 5:30am – 5:30pm


Wake: 5:30am – 10:00pm


Wake: 6:30am – 5:30pm

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Etosha Pan Inundation (DYNAMIC EVENT: Last week the crew acquired excellent oblique views of this event that are being shared with international users and are under review. Today they had a near-nadir pass at midday over the Etosha with a good chance for sun glint enhancement of surface water features. There should have been no need for the long lens this pass. Trying to catch sun glint on water in the pan area as well as the small lakes and the flooding Ekuma River drainage to the NW and N), Mount Nyiragongo (about five minutes after ISS encountered the Etosha Pan target, its pass took it over the Rift Valley of east-central Africa to the west of giant Lake Victoria. It provided a nadir view at midday over one of Africa’s most notable volcanoes, Nyiragongo. This dangerous, 3,400-m-high stratovolcano is an ongoing threat to several cities in the region. It is situated just north of Lake Kivu. Using the long lens settings for details of the caldera and flanking lava beds), Arkenu 1 and Arkenu 2 Impact Craters (ISS had an early afternoon pass with clear skies over this target area with the center at nadir. Arkenu 1 & 2 are a rarely exposed double impact structure created by a 500 m diameter pair of asteroids. Located in 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 CEO researchers were requesting more detailed images of the structures of both craters, the crew was to use the 800 mm lens here), and Tin Bider Impact Crater (ISS had a fair-weather pass in early afternoon over this 6-km-diameter impact crater located in central Algeria. It appears as a dark circular feature almost directly under track. The crater lies between a dry inland delta under track, and a major dune field (erg), the Grand Erg Oriental.

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, 7:58am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 354.1 km
Apogee height – 360.8 km
Perigee height — 347.5 km
Period — 91.62 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0009893
Solar Beta Angle — 7.3 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 197 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 59293

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