Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 27 February 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
February 27, 2009
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 27 February 2009
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All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below.

CDR Fincke conducted another session with the new SPICE (Smoke Point In Co-flow Experiment) payload, performed in the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) and controlled by its A31p laptop with SPICE microdrives. [Mike exchanged burner tubes, set up the still camera, exchanged the gas bottle with new fuel (pure propylene), performed ignition to start the flame test, adjusted to the smoke point and took photos. After twelve test points were conducted (#73-78; #85-90), Mike finished up with close-out ops. SPICE determines the point at which gas-jet flames (similar to a butane-lighter flame) begin to emit soot (dark carbonaceous particulate formed inside the flame) in microgravity. Studying a soot emitting flame is important in understanding the ability of fires to spread and in control of soot in practical combustion systems in space.]

FE-1 Lonchakov set up the Russian TKhN-7 SVS (Self-Propagating High-Temperature Synthesis) experiment equipment and ran the scheduled hardware test, using the SM (Service Module) DVCAM-5 video camera instead of the originally planned HDV (High Definition Video) cam. [SVS uses its own camera, “Telescience” hardware from PK-3 (Plasma Crystallization) and the onboard Klest TV system for researching self-propagating high-temperature fusion of samples in space.]

The CDR performed routine maintenance on the CSA-CP (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products) prime unit (#1045), replacing its battery (#1239) with a fresh spare (#1258). [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.]

Yuri Lonchakov completed the periodic (monthly) functional closure test of the Vozdukh CO2 (carbon dioxide) removal system’s spare emergency vacuum valves (AVK), in the spare parts kit. [The AVKs are crucial because they close the Vozdukh’s vacuum access lines in the event of a malfunction in the regular vacuum valves (BVK) or a depressurization in the Vozdukh valve panel (BOA). Access to vacuum is required to vent CO2 during the regeneration of the absorbent cartridges (PP).]

Preparatory to using an A31p laptop (#1192) from US spares as a new RSE1 laptop in the RS (Russian Segment), the FE-1 set up the new machine, equipped it with the nominal RSE1 HDD (Hard Disk Drive, #1034) and tested the unit, checking to make sure that RSE1 Version 1.2 booted up alright.

Similarly, Yuri configured a second US spare A31p laptop (#2212), checking it out with a Russian RSK1 HDD (#1018) and a DVD carrying RSE-Med software (v.1.4). [Laptop #2212 will not be used as an RSK1 laptop until after the beginning of Increment 19 when it has been updated with a new RSK1 software version and Cyrillic lettering has been applied to its keyboard.]

Sandra Magnus filled out the regular weekly FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire), her eleventh, on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer). [On the FFQs, NASA astronauts keep a personalized log of their nutritional intake over time on special MEC software. Recorded are the amounts consumed during the past week of such food items as beverages, cereals, grains, eggs, breads, snacks, sweets, fruit, beans, soup, vegetables, dairy, fish, meat, chicken, sauces & spreads, and vitamins. The FFQ is performed once a week to estimate nutrient intake from the previous week and to give recommendations to ground specialists that help maintain optimal crew health. Weekly estimation has been verified to be reliable enough that nutrients do not need to be tracked daily.]

Michael Fincke serviced the WPA (Water Processor Assembly), performing the regular changeout of the TOCA (Total Organic Carbon Analyzer)’s waste water bag, then conducting the periodic WPA sample analysis in the TOCA after first priming (filling) the TOCA water sample hose. Results were transferred to SSC-7 (Station Support Computer 7) via USB drive for downlink and the data were also logged for calldown. [The current procedure is a work-around for TOCA’s failed catalyst.]

Afterwards, the CDR also collected the regular periodic US WRS (Water Recovery System) water sample from the RIP (Rack Interface Panel) and prepared it for post-flight analysis on the ground. [WRS sampling & checkouts are being conducted for 90 days, i.e., every 4 days: WRS water hose (TOCA inflight analysis when TOCA is available) & microbial bag sample (inflight bacterial visual enumeration plus archival for return on 15A), every 8 days: an archival water sample (return on 15A), and monthly: a TOCA bag sample from PWD (tested inflight).]

Fincke performed the periodic visual inspection of the ARED (Advanced Resistive Exercise Device) and its VIS (Vibration Isolation System) rails & rollers and also evacuated its cylinder flywheels to maintain proper vacuum condition and sensor calibration. [ARED engineers are establishing a baseline for the condition of the VIS rails, in support of which Mike today took documentary photography of the Y-axis rails. This photo documentation applies to all future VIS rail inspections until the first VIS rail greasing, tentatively scheduled to occur in two weeks.]

After yesterday’s setting up of the electrical connections for testing the Elektron system’s main & backup BZh Liquid Unit circulation pumps, Yuri Lonchakov today pressurized the BZh units to 1.1-1.2 kg/sq.cm and checked out the operation of the pumps. Following the subsequent purging of the units with N2 (nitrogen), the test equipment was powered down and the electrical configuration disassembled. [The spare BZh has been in stowage since March 2007.]

Working on the three US BP (Blood Pressure) cuffs, the FE-2 used a Sharpie marker to label the cuffs with “Outside” and “Up” to aid in proper BP cuff donning.

In the Airlock, Magnus continued the changeout of the #026 PHA QD (Prebreathe Hose Assembly/Quick Disconnect), cleaning out the FOD (Foreign Object Debris) observed on 2/25, then installing the new QD, which replaces the leaking unit, plus performing additional purging of the O2 system.

In the US Lab, Fincke performed the regular controlled shut-down of the EHS VOA (Environmental Health System-Volatile Organic Analyzer), with the ground power-cycling its RPC-3 (Remote Power Controller 3), part of RPCM (RPC Module) LAD42B_A.

Lonchakov & Fincke performed a 1-hr session each with the Russian MedOps procedure MO-6 (Hand-Cycle Ergometry) in the SM, assisting each other in turn and supported by ground specialist tagup. [Because cosmonauts in early Russian programs have shown noticeable decrease in arm muscle tone, TsUP/IBMP (MCC-Moscow/Institute of Biomedical Problems) physical fitness experts have groundruled the handgrip/arm tolerance test analysis (hand ergometry) as a standard pre-Orlan EVA requirement. For MO-6, the subject dons the ECG (electrocardiogram) biomed harness, attaches three skin electrodes and plugs the harness into the PKO medical exam panel on the cycle ergometer. The other crewmember assists. The exercise itself starts after 10 seconds of complete rest, by manually rotating the cycle’s pedals, set at 150 W, backwards until "complete exhaustion".]

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, replacement of EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine containers and performing US condensate processing (transfer from CWC to EDV containers) if condensate is available.]

The FE-1 also handled the regular daily IMS (Inventory Management System) maintenance task by updating/editing the IMS standard “delta file” including stowage locations for the regular weekly automated export/import to its three databases on the ground (Houston, Moscow, Baikonur).

Mike & Yuri had 10 min set aside to fill out their surgeon-provided BRASLET-Anketa (bracelet questionnaire) for yesterday’s sessions with BRASLET (Validation of On-Orbit Methodology for the Assessment of Cardiac Function and Changes in the Circulating Volume Using Ultrasound and BRASLET-M Occlusion Cuffs). [BRASLET (bracelet), SDTO 17011, is sponsored by NASA and FSA/IBMP (Russian Federal Space Agency/Institute of Bio-Medical Problems, Russian: IMBP, Dr. Valery Bogomolov). Objective: to test the performance of occlusion cuffs in modifying fluid shifts that occur early during physiological transition into the space environment and to establish a valid ultrasound methodology for assessing a number of aspects of central and peripheral hemodynamics and cardiovascular function, specifically in rapid changes in intravascular circulating volume. The BRASLET-M occlusion cuffs are a Russian-made operational countermeasure already pre-calibrated and available onboard for each ISS crewmember. The assessment involves multiple modes of ultrasound imaging and measurements, in combination with short-term application of BRASLET-M occlusive cuffs and cardiopulmonary maneuvers (Valsalva, Mueller) to demonstrate and to evaluate the degree of changes in the circulating volume on orbit. This is accomplished by performing echocardiographic examinations in multiple modes (including Tissue Doppler mode), ultrasound measurements of lower extremity venous and arterial vascular responses to BRASLET-M device under nominal conditions and also during cardiopulmonary Mueller and Valsalva maneuvers. Identical measurements are being repeated without BRASLET-M, with BRASLET-M applied, and immediately after releasing the occlusion device.]

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, FE-2), ARED advanced resistive exerciser (CDR, FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1).

At ~2:55am EST, 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 ~3:10am, Yuri & Mike linked up with TsUP stowage specialists via S-band to conduct the weekly IMS tagup, discussing inventory & stowage issues, equipment locations and cargo transfers.

At ~5:30am, the crewmembers downlinked PAO TV messages of greetings to two Russian events: (1) to a formal meeting celebrating International Women’s Day in Moscow on March 8, and (2) to the Electronics and Systems Engineering Dept. of the Moscow State Forestry University on its 50th Anniversary

At ~12:40pm, the ISS crew held 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 ~4:00pm, Sandy has her weekly PFC (Private Family Conferences), via S-band/audio and Ku-band/MS-NetMeeting application (which displays the uplinked ground video on an SSC laptop).

Still on the US “job jar” task list is a reminder for Mike Fincke to fill out his fourth FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire) on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer).

WRM Update: An updated WRM (Water Recovery Management) “cue card” was uplinked yesterday for the crew’s reference, updated with the latest water audit. [The new card (18-0006O) lists 39 CWCs (~1,083.0 L total) for the four types of water identified on board: technical water (642.3 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 110.6 L currently off-limits, filled from WPA and pending sample analysis on the ground), potable water (390.1 L, incl. 174.6 L currently off-limit because of Wautersia bacteria), condensate water (0.0 L), waste/EMU dump and other (50.6 L, including the new CWC-I with 3.9 L from PWD flushes). 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 photo targets uplinked for today were East Haruj Megafans, Libya (ancient, now defunct rivers [sourced in the Tibesti Mountains to the south of the site when the Sahara Desert was much wetter] have laid down vast spreads of sediment as a series of large fans hundreds of km long and wide. As rivers shifted position they produced networks of criss-crossing stream channels covering the entire surface of megafans. Earth’s megafans may be the best analog for widespread "intercrater plains" on Mars. This analog is being applied for the first time in ongoing research. Looking right of track), Tungurahua Volcano, Ecuador (this may be a rare opportunity to photograph Tungurahua volcano. Typically this area is cloud covered and it probably will not have been entirely cloud free when ISS passed over, however, the crew might still have been able to spot this active volcano. Tungurahua is located in the Cordillera Central of Ecuador. After being quiet for some time Tungurahua became active again in 1999 with major eruptions in August 2006 and February 2008. Tungurahua is located next to Chimborazo volcano which may be more visible to the crew because of the glacier that covers the summit. Tungurahua also had a glacier at its summit, however, that glacier melted during previous eruptions), and Patagonian Glaciers (ISS orbit took the crew over the Northern Patagonian Ice Field located in Chile. The San Rafael Glacier is one of the major outlet glaciers of the Northern Patagonian Ice Field in southern Chile and it calves into the Laguna San Rafael. The crew was successful in capturing the terminus of this glacier earlier in this increment. CEO researchers requested that Mike & Sandy map this glacier with their imagery using the 400 mm lens to follow the glacier from its end [terminus] back to its source [ice field]. While the satellite indicated that the weather should have been clear enough for photography, there still may have been clouds).

CEO photography can be studied at this “Gateway” website:
http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov (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, 8:45am EST [= epoch]):
Mean altitude — 355.5 km
Apogee height — 362.10km
Perigee height — 349.1 km
Period — 91.65 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0009591
Solar Beta Angle — 2.8 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.71
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours – 80m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 58870

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
03/06/09 — Flight Readiness Review for STS-119/Discovery/15A launch
03/12/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A launch – S6 truss segment (tentative target date)
03/14/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A docking (tentative)
03/25/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A undocking (tentative)
03/28/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A landing (tentative)
03/26/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S launch
03/28/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S docking (DC1)
04/07/09 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S undocking
04/07/09 — Progress 32P undocking & deorbit
05/12/09 — STS-125/Atlantis Hubble Space Telescope Service Mission 4 (SM4)
05/15/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch – JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD
05/27/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
Six-person crew on ISS
08/06/09 — STS-128/Discovery/17A – MPLM (P), LMC, last crew rotation
08/XX/09 — Soyuz 5R/MRM2 (Russian Mini Research Module, MIM2) on Soyuz
09/XX/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1)
11/12/09 — STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 – ELC1, ELC2
12/10/09 — STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola
02/11/10 — STS-131/Atlantis/19A – MPLM(P), LMC
04/08/10 — STS-132/Discovery/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM1
05/31/10 — STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 – ELC3, ELC4
12/XX/11– Proton 3R/MLM w/ERA.

SpaceRef staff editor.