Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 27 December 2007

By SpaceRef Editor
December 28, 2007
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 27 December 2007

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

CDR Whitson and FE-2 Tani started the day with their daily reading of SLEEP experiment (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) data accumulated during the night, for logging and filling in questionnaire entries in the experiment’s laptop session file on the HRF-1 laptop for downlink. [To monitor the crewmembers’ sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, Dan and Peggy wear 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.]

Also upon wake-up, FE-2 Tani started Part 3 (of 5) of the periodic acoustic measurement protocol by recording post-sleep data of the crew-worn acoustic dosimeters, later deploying the dosimeters statically in the Service Module (SM) (Panel 404 near SM air conditioner, SM Central Post, & Vozdukh) for the duration of the day, then recording measurements this afternoon (~4:10pm EST) and stowing the instruments (Parts 4 & 5). [Acoustic data must be taken twice per Increment, each time for the duration of the 16-hour crew workday.]

Before breakfast & first exercise, Whitson, Malenchenko and Tani completed a full session with the Russian crew health monitoring program’s medical assessment MO-9/Biochemical Urinalysis. Afterwards, the FE-1 closed out and stowed the Urolux hardware. [MO-9 is conducted every 30 days (and also before and after EVAs) and is one of five nominal Russian medical tests adopted by NASA for U.S. crewmembers for IMG PHS (Integrated Medical Group/Periodic Health Status) evaluation as part of the "PHS/Without Blood Labs" exam. The analysis uses the sophisticated in-vitro diagnostic apparatus Urolux developed originally for the Mir program. Afterwards, the data are entered in the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer)’s special IFEP software (In-Flight Examination Program).]

At ~5:30am, the FE-2 again activated the VDS MPC (Video Distribution System/Multi-Purpose Converter) with its four downlinks to allow the ground to conduct HDTV (high-definition TV) playback and downlink operations. Later (~12:30pm), the MPC was powered off again.

In the Lab, after inspecting, activating and configuring the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) facility, Dr. Whitson initiated another series of vacuum draws on the sample chamber containing SPU-10 (Sample Processing Unit #10), by opening the vent and vacuum valves, for subsequent CSLM-2 (Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures 2) experiment ops tomorrow and the exchange with SPU-13 on 12/29. [CSLM-2 examines the kinetics of competitive particle growth within a liquid matrix. During this process, small particles shrink by losing atoms to larger particles, causing the larger particles to grow (coarsen) within a liquid lead/tin matrix. This study defined the mechanisms and rates of coarsening that govern the manufacture with metals from turbine blades to dental amalgam fillings.]

Later, the CDR broke out and set up the PFE-OUM (PFE-Oxygen Uptake Measurement) equipment on the HRF-2 (Human Research Facility 2) rack, including the HRF PFM/PAM (Pulmonary Function Module/Photoacoustic Analyzer Module), Mixing Bag System and GDS (Gas Delivery System). Data collection on herself and Dan, taking turns, is scheduled tomorrow. [The Periodic Fitness Evaluation with Oxygen Uptake Measurement experiment, using the CEVIS ergometer for workout, demonstrates the capability of crewmembers to perform periodic fitness evaluations with continuous oxygen consumption measurements within 14 days after arrival on ISS, and once monthly during routine PFEs. Once the capability of the pulmonary function system (PFS) to perform PFEs is verified, crewmembers will be able to integrate their monthly PFE with oxygen consumption measurements to fulfill the requirement for cardiovascular fitness evaluations during long-duration space flight.]

Working in the newly arrived 27P cargo ship (TKG), the FE-1 installed the LKT local temperature sensor commutator (TA251MB) of the BITS2-12 onboard telemetry measurement system, along with its ROM unit (read-only memory, TA765B), a 1-hr. job. The LKT was subsequently switched on by the ground to complete the basic configuration.

Yuri completed the electronic integration of 27P into the ISS by installing the standard US-21 matching unit, another 1-hr. task. A dynamic thruster test of the installation is scheduled tomorrow evening (7:05pm-8:41pm EST). [The US-21 matching unit connects the SM with the Progress motion control and DPO thrusters systems, so that they can be commanded by the SM computer system (BVS). After bolting the box down, Yuri hooked up its the telemetry (TM) connector to the BITS2-12 onboard TM system on Go from TsUP, after Moscow had inhibited data output to the VD-SU control system mode, powered off the BITS and deactivated the Elektron and the SKV-1 air conditioner. These systems were subsequently turned back on. ]

The CDR and FE-2 had almost two hours scheduled between them to unload the 27P resupply ship, transfer its cargo to the ISS and update the IMS accordingly.

Using the SKDS CMS (Pressure Control & Atmosphere Monitoring System/Countermeasure System), the FE-1 took the periodic readings of potentially harmful contaminants in the SM. The hardware was then returned to initial stowage. [The CMS uses preprogrammed microchips to measure Formaldehyde (H2CO, methanal), Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Ammonia (NH3), taking one measurement per microchip.]

The CDR conducted the daily status check on the BCAT-3 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-3) science payload, running by itself in Node-2 since 12/13 (briefly interrupted for EVA-13 photo support). 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.]

Peggy also removed the equipment used yesterday for downlinking TV imagery of the Progress docking via Ku-band and disconnected the UOP DCP (Utility Outlet Panel/Display & Control Panel) bypass power cable at the Lab RWS (Robotics Work Station) which was required for video coverage of the docking from the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) cameras.

Dan Tani booted up the ER2 RIC (EXPRESS Rack 2/Rack Interface Controller) laptop, then installed a new software load (Release 5) on it in two parts.

Performing the periodic (generally monthly) service of the ESA/RSC-Energia experiment ALTCRISS (Alteino Long Term monitoring of Cosmic Rays on the ISS), the FE-1 removed the PCMCIA memory card #940 from the AST spectrometer’s slot and copied the accumulated data, also from a previous card, #937, to the RSK1 laptop for subsequent downlinking via OCA. PCMCIA card 941 was then inserted to continue AST ops.

Peggy conducted the periodic (monthly) CSA-CP (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products) maintenance/checkout, today on all four units, then picked a new prime instrument and returned the backup units & sampling pump to their original locations. [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. Peggy changed out the batteries on the units, then zero-calibrated the instruments (to eliminate drift in the combustion sensors). Following zero calibration, the backup units was stowed in the Node (next to the sampling pump), while the prime unit’s datalogger function was turned on to collect data at the SM Central Post as a spot check. After one hour, the datalogger was deactivated, with the prime CSA-CP remaining on for continuous passive sampling.]

The CDR also took air samples for the periodic (weekly) atmospheric status check for ppO2 (Partial Pressure Oxygen) and ppCO2 (pp Carbon Dioxide), using the hand-held CSA-CP (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products), CSA-O2 (CSA -Oxygen sensor) and CDMK (CO2 Monitoring Kit). Batteries were to be replaced if necessary. [Purpose of the 15-min activity is to trend with MCA (Major Constituents Analyzer), i.e., to correlate the hand-held readings with MCA measurements.]

Peggy Whitson conducted the weekly 10-min. CWC audit as part of on-going WDS (Water Delivery System) assessment of onboard water supplies. [Updated “cue cards” based on the crew’s water calldowns are sent up every other week. The current cue card (16-0018K), to be updated with today’s data, lists 26 CWCs; ~983 liters total) for the four types of water identified on board: technical water (735.4 l, for Elektron, flushing, hygiene), potable water (221.3 l), condensate water (0 l), waste/EMU dump and other (26.6 l). Two CWCs (#1004 & #1081, ~89 l) with potable water are off limits due to the Wautersia bacteria found in sample analysis, the source of which is still not understood. Impact of losing this potable CWC is negligible since there are sufficient drinking water supplies onboard. Also currently not to be used are nine CWCs with technical water (~389 l).]

In the SM, Dan set up the video equipment for filming the subsequent workouts of all three crewmembers on the TVIS (Treadmill with Vibration Isolation & Stabilization), for biomechanical evaluation and assessment of the hardware status by ground engineers. Afterwards, he transferred the footage to VTR (Video Tape Recorder) for subsequent downlink to the ground, then dismantled and stowed the video equipment. [Preparations included the removal of the treadmill’s “skirt” to show TVIS motion within the floor “pit” in the SM along with the crewmember’s feet striking the belt.]

The crew performed their regular 2.5-hr. physical exercise program (about half of which is used for setup & post-exercise personal hygiene) on the TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-1, FE-2), RED (CDR, FE-2), and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1).

Afterwards, Whitson copied 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).

Yuri took care of the routine 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.]

Later, Malenchenko also completed the daily 20-min. 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).

At ~5:02am, the FE-1 powered up the SM’s amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, and power supply), to conduct, at 5:07am, a ham radio exchange with students at High School No. 15 in the city of Korolev near Moscow (home of RSC-Energia, TsNIIMASh, and TsUP). Questions to the crew were uplinked beforehand. [“What contaminations, and where, do you see in the ocean, on land and in the atmosphere?”; “What do US astronauts do onboard ISS as part of the school educational program?”; “How did you celebrate Christmas and how are you going to celebrate the New Year?”; “What presents did you get for the holidays with the arrival of the cargo vehicle?”; “We wish you a happy flight, interesting experiments, effective educational programs, and, of course, a soft landing. Happy New Year to all of you!”]

At ~10:15am, the crew conducted a press conference with Moscow’s TV Channel Russia Today, speaking from the SM decked out with New Year decorations and wearing “Father Frost” caps. [Russia Today is the first English-language news channel to present the Russian point of view on events happening in Russia and around the globe, on the air 24/7 with a potential of millions of viewers via 10 satellites and also 24 hours a day on the Internet. “How many times can you celebrate the New Year on orbit? How many times will your clock strike 12? What is this related to? How many times are you going to celebrate?”; “Is this going to be your first New Year in space? What are your feelings and thoughts in connection with that? Do you feel excited, committed?”; “Do cosmonauts have their own traditions when they celebrate?”; “How did you prepare for the New Year? “Who takes care of that? How was all of this delivered there?”; “How about the New Year traditions? How do you drink champagne? And, generally speaking, how do you do orbital celebrations?”; “On the New Year, do you feel some special nostalgia? What earthly fun will you be missing on this New Year night?”; “Are weekends any different from work days in space? What do you do? What kind of entertainment do you have?”; “Do you have a New Year wish? If wished on orbit is it going to come true sooner?”; “What kind of present would you like to get this New Year?”; “When you get back to Earth are you going to celebrate the New Year all over again with your families?”]

At ~1:05pm, the crew conducted their standard weekly teleconference with the JSC Astronaut Office (Kent Rominger), via Private S-band S/G-2 (space-to-ground).

At ~2:00pm, Dan Tani has a PFC (Private Family Conference) scheduled, via S-band/audio and Ku-band/MS-NetMeeting application (which displays the uplinked ground video on the SSC-10 laptop).

CEO photo targets uplinked for today again were Urumqi, China (looking right at the foot of the Tien Shan range for China’s western oil boom city), Eastern Tien Shan Range (ISS passed over one of central Asia’s ice capped ranges. Shooting white ice caps and glacier tongues at nadir and left. Ice caps are being drilled for cores that reveal information on climate change, and particularly because of the information they store on past environments–often tens of thousands of years of data on snow fall amount, blowing dust deposition as an indication of dryness, and atmospheric composition from air bubbles in the ice. This kind of data is being lost in many cases due to rapid melting. Continental ice caps in interior Asia have received far less attention than other low-latitude ice caps), Florida Coastal Everglades (50% cloud cover predicted, so there is a chance the crew may see some or all of the target: looking right to obtain a mapping swath), and Tunis, Tunisia (looking nadir and a touch right at the head of the big bay. Only scattered cloud predicted).

CEO photography can be viewed and studied at the websites: (about 700,000 NASA digital photographs of Earth are downloaded by the public each month from this “Gateway” site);

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 8:20am EST [= epoch]):
Mean altitude — 335.8 km
Apogee height — 336.9 km
Perigee height — 334.6 km
Period — 91.25 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0001738
Solar Beta Angle — -74.8 deg (magnitude peaking)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.78
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 185 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 52128

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Standard, some changes possible. NET = Not Earlier Than):
12/29/07 – Thruster Test Firing (tomorrow’s reboost was cancelled)
01/10/08 — NET: STS-122/Atlantis/1E launch — Columbus Module, ICC-Lite.
01/12/08 — NET: STS-122/Atlantis/1E docking
01/21/08 — NET: STS-122/Atlantis/1E undocking
01/31/08 — Explorer-1 50 Years (1st U.S. Satellite on Redstone rocket) [Check it out at ]
02/06/08 — Progress M-62/27P undocking & reentry
02/07/08 — Progress M-63/28P launch
02/09/08 — Progress M-63/28P docking (DC1)
02/22/08 – NET: ATV-1 “Jules Verne” launch/Ariane V (Kourou, French Guyana)
02/14/08 — STS-123/Endeavour/1J/A launch/1J/A, ~11:53am, w/SLP-SPDM, JEM ELM-PS
02/16/08 — STS-123/Endeavour/1J/A docking
02/27/08 — STS-123/Endeavour undocking
02/29/08 — STS-123/Endeavour landing
03/06/08 — ATV-1 Demo Day 1
03/12/08 — ATV-1 Demo Day 2
03/15/08 — ATV-1 Demo Day 3 & Docking (SM aft port)
04/07/08 — Progress M-63/28P undocking (DC1) & reentry
04/08/08 — Soyuz TMA-12/16S launch
04/10/08 — Soyuz TMA-12/16S docking (DC1)
04/19/08 — Soyuz TMA-11/15S undocking (FGB nadir port)
04/23/08 — Soyuz TMA-12/16S relocation (from DC1 to FGB nadir port)
04/24/08 — STS-124/Discovery/1J launch – JEM PM “Kibo”, racks, RMS
04/26/08 — STS-124/Discovery/1J docking
05/04/08 — STS-124/Discovery/1J undocking
05/14/08 — Progress M-64/29P launch
05/16/08 — Progress M-64/29P docking (DC1)
08/07/08 — NET: ATV-1 undocking (from SM aft port)
08/12/08 — Progress M-65/30P launch
08/14/08 — Progress M-65/30P docking (SM aft port)
09/09/08 — Progress M-64/29P undocking (from DC1)
09/10/08 — Progress M-66/31P launch
09/12/08 — Progress M-66/31P docking (DC1)
09/18/08 — STS-126/Discovery/ULF2 launch – MPLM Leonardo, LMC
09/20/08 — STS-126/Discovery/ULF2 docking
10/01/08 — STS-126/Discovery/ULF2 undocking.
10/01/08 — NASA 50 Years
10/11/08 — Progress M-65/30P undocking (from SM aft port)
10/12/08 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S launch
10/14/08 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S docking (SM aft port)
10/23/08 — Soyuz TMA-12/16S undocking (FGB nadir)
11/03/08 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S relocation (from SM aft to FGB nadir)
11/06/08 — STS-119/Discovery/15A launch – S6 truss segment
11/08/08 — STS-119/Discovery/15A docking
11/17/08 — STS-119/Discovery/15A undocking
11/20/08 — ISS 10 Years
11/26/08 — Progress M-67/32P launch
11/28/08 — Progress M-67/32P docking (SM aft port)
04/15/09 — Constellation’s Ares I-X Launch
05/??/09 — Six-person crew on ISS (following Soyuz 18S-2 docking)
04/??/10 — STS-132/Discovery/20A – Node-3 + Cupola.

SpaceRef staff editor.