Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 29 December 2007

By SpaceRef Editor
December 29, 2007
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 29 December 2007

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Saturday — off-duty day for CDR Whitson, FE-1 Malenchenko and FE-2 Tani except for housekeeping and voluntary work.

Whitson and Tani began the day with the daily reading of SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) experiment data accumulated during the night, for logging and filling in questionnaire entries in the experiment’s 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.]

Preparatory to potable water transfer from Progress M-62/27P to the Service Module (SM), FE-1 Malenchenko set up pumping equipment and initiated the compression of the Progress Rodnik BV1 tank bladder, monitoring air flow to check for leak tightness (hermeticity). Later, the FE-1 switched the compressor to the second tank, BV2, for the bladder check. [Each of the spherical Rodnik tanks BV1 & BV2 consists of a hard shell with a soft membrane (bladder) composed of elastic fluoroplastic. The bladder is used to expel water from the tank by compressed air pumped into the tank volume surrounding the membrane and is leak-tested before water transfer and the subsequent reception of liquid waste for disposal.]

Yuri Malenchenko later worked on the Russian SOTR Thermal Control System, performing connection tests on the jumper cables installed yesterday between the KMTK Triple Channel Matrix Commutator switch and the PUVN Cabin Air Heater Control Panel, and activating the 1N1 & 2N1 pumps of the two active external thermal control systems (KOKh1, KOKh2) of the SM.

After a brief familiarization review of reference material, FE-2 Dan Tani conducted another session with the payload SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites), which he had selected for today’s Voluntary Weekend Science program. In support of this interesting experiment, the ground yesterday activated CDRA (Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly) and will turn it off later today (~5:00pm EST). [Today’s session concentrated on the ability of a single crewperson to deploy three satellites with the assistance of a “Position Hold” mode. Due to the different air flows introduced with the addition of Node-2, the former operational environment has changed, making 3-satellite deployments more challenging. The SPHERES experiment is a test bed for the development and testing of formation flying and other multi-spacecraft control algorithms. SPHERES, done first by FE-1 Jeff Williams on Expedition 13, serves to mature autonomous satellite formation flight, rendezvous and docking algorithms in a long duration, microgravity environment. Dan set up the Work Area, dimmed GLAs (General Luminaire Assemblies), programmed & deployed three gas-propelled satellites (orange, red, blue), with five beacons, and used two PD-100 camcorders for video capture. Per applicable Flight Rule, SPHERES operations have no CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) output constraints if the CDRA (CO2 Removal Assembly) is operating in dual-bed or single-bed mode. Should CDRA not work properly, ECLSS (Environmental Control & Life Support System) engineers will assess the ppCO2 flight rule requirement. The experiment run was time-critical since Ku-band is required for real-time video downlink.]

Later, Dan conducted the visual microbial (bacterial & fungal) “T+5 Day” analysis of surface samples which he collected on 12/24 with the SSK (Surface Sampling Kit) at specific locations near air diffusers. [The sampling analysis is performed once per month for the first three months, and once every three months thereafter. Bacterial and fungal air samples are taken at two locations in each module. The colony growth on the sampling slides is analyzed after five days of incubation in four Petri dishes. For onboard visual analysis of media slides from SSK (Surface Sampling Kit), MCDs (microbial capture devices) from WMK (Water Monitoring Kit), coliform detection bags from MWAK (Microbial Water Analysis Kit), and Petri dishes from the MAS (Microbial Air Sampler) kit, the crew has a procedure for visual inspection of samples for bacterial and fungal colony growths after appropriate incubation periods.]

CDR Whitson continued her support of the CSLM-2 (Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures 2) experiment in the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) by terminating vacuum venting on SPU-13 (Sample Processing Unit 13), powering up the ECU (Electronics Control Unit) and started experiment operations by initiating sample heating.

In Node-2, FE-2 Tani worked on the BCAT-3 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-3) science payload (running since 12/13), today mixing Sample 3 again (since the previous run probably was corrupted) and monitoring the start of the next 2-week run. [Dan also took detailed documentary photos of the setup to show the exact angles and locations of the flash, camera, and sample module for ground scientists to better understand the lighting in the images and also for upcoming crew training sessions and procedures. An SSC (Station Support Computer) laptop is taking photography of the phase separation occurring in the BCAT Sample 3, with the photo flash going off every half hour.]

With SAMS (Space Acceleration Measurement System), used to monitor last night’s 27P thruster firing tests, currently no longer required, Peggy configured the ER1 (EXPRESS Rack 1) by disconnecting its MTL (Moderate Temperature Loop) cooling jumper QDs (quick disconnects) to the nearby LAB1O2 UIP (Utility Interface Panel, “Z-panel”).

The FE-1 continued the current round of periodic preventive maintenance of cabin ventilation systems in the RS (Russian Segment), today cleaning “Group A” fan grilles in the SM.

Malenchenko also completed 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, Yuri conducted 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).

Malenchenko also performed an update on the “Sigma” BNO (Ballistic Navigation Program) software on two Russian laptops, RSK1 & EGE-2 (in DOS), essentially updating ballistic service files for the new calendar year 2008 ahead, to prevent slowdown of the application (which computes real-time position of the ISS over the ground).

The crew worked out in their regular 2.5-hr. physical exercise 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 (CDR, FE-2), and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1).

Afterwards, Dan Tani 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).

Working from his discretionary “time permitting” task list, the FE-1 also performed the periodic collection & deletion of readings on the MOSFET (metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor) radiation sensor reader/display of the RBO-3-2 Matryoshka-R antroph-amorphous (human torso) "phantoms" located inside the station for sophisticated radiation studies, collecting radiation measurements every 15 minutes around the clock.

Led by Yuri Malenchenko, the crew supported two formal live PAO TV exchange sessions with visitors at TsUP-Moscow, viz. —

  1. At ~11:55pm EST (last night) with top officials of FKA/Roskosmos (Anatoly Perminov), RSC-Energia (Vitaly Lopota), TsNIIMASH (Nikolai Anfimov) GCTC (Vasily Tsibliev), IBMP (Anatoly Grigorievich), Moscow Mayor’s Office (Lyudmila Shvetsova), Vologda Region Governor’s Office (Nicolai Vinogradov), Interagency State Commission (Valery Grin), and – last not least – Father Frost; and
  2. At ~2:45am, a Press Conference with mass media representatives (Channel One TV, NTV Channel, Zvezda TV Channel, Russia Today TV Channel, ITAR-TASS Russian Information & Telegraph Agency, INTERFAX Information Agency, RIA Novosti Information-Analytical Agency, Kaliningradskaya Pravda Newspaper, and others).

Elektron Deactivation: The FE-1 and TsUP specialists yesterday performed a planned deactivation of the Elektron. As part of the deactivation process the Elektron was purged with N2 (nitrogen). The FE-1 had to swap the RS Laptop 1 with Laptop 2 to complete the purge successfully. The Elektron will remain powered down until 1/9/08. During this time, the station will be periodically repressurized with oxygen from Progress 27P.

Crew Provisions Audit: CDR Whitson yesterday completed a portion of the Increment 16 Crew Provisions Audit, going by an uplinked work sheet. The audit was performed to update onboard crew provision quantities for IMS accuracy and resupply planning. Some of the items audited included miscellaneous workout equipment and crew hygiene and clothing items.

Weekly Science Update (Expedition Sixteen — Week 10)

ALTCRISS (Alteino Long Term monitoring of Cosmic Rays on the ISS): In progress.

ANITA: Completed.

BCAT (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test): BCAT-3 has had a very successful week. Dan has successfully set up BCAT-3 on the ceiling seat tracks and handrails in Node-2 after seeing that he did not need to use the MWA surface to mount and run the experiment. He may have remembered seeing a future setup option during BCAT-4 training, which was designed to not monopolize the often needed MWA surface, while allowing BCAT to be able to be run, uninterrupted, for far longer periods of time. Researchers are particularly grateful for Dan’s continued willingness to tweak the setup, interactively, as they receive images automatically from EarthKAM. After several rounds of minor tweaks, the photos are now as good as any seen from the MWA-based setups. “This is great news as we are trying to get the similar alternate setup into the system for the future BCAT-4 runs.”

CARDIOCOG-2: Completed.

CCISS (Cardiovascular & Cerebrovascular Control on Return from ISS): Reserve.

CFE (Capillary Flow Experiment): Reserve.

CSI-2/CGBA (CGBA Science Insert #2/Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus): In progress.

CGBA-2 (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus 2): Complete.

CSLM-2 (Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures 2): “1.) SPU-11 (10.17 hour soak) – It appears that the quench did not occur as intended. The data was downloaded and analyzed and the normal quick cool down did not occur. It is possible that we may be able to get good data from SPU-11 (10.17 hour soak); we won’t know until we look at the samples. 2.) SPU-10 (4 hour soak planned) – The temperature and humidity (99%) indicated a dew point of 18.8oC which is above the max of 16oC required to permit us to connect to the VES. Possible causes: A) Failed humidity sensor in the SPU, or B) Failed circuit in the ECU that reads the humidity sensor, or C) Water system malfunction allowing the water to enter the chamber prematurely. 3.) SPU-13 (1.6 hour soak planned) is currently being evacuated which means that the humidity (30%) and temp (22C) was good to allow connecting to the VES. Once SPU-13 is completed we may go back and install SPU-10 again. This will allow us to re-check the humidity, but it is likely that the humidity sensor in this SPU has failed and thus is giving a maxed out reading.”

EarthKAM (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students): Complete.

EPO (Educational Payload Operations): Reserve.

ETD (Eye Tracking Device): In progress.

Integrated Immune: In progress.

KUBIK-FM1/ KUBIK-FM2 Centrifuge/Incubators: Completed.

LOCAD-PTS (Lab-on-a-Chip Application Development-Portable Test System): Complete.

MISSE (Materials ISS Experiment): Ongoing.

MTR-2 (Russian radiation measurements): Passive dosimeters measurements in DC1 “Pirs”.

MULTIGEN-1: MULTIGEN-1 samples will be downloaded on STS-122 (1E).

MSG-SAME (Microgravity Science Glovebox): Complete.

NOA-2 (Nitric Oxide Analyzer): Planned.

NUTRITION/REPOSITORY: “Peggy did a great job completing the FD60 Nutrition/Repository run. Blood operations were completed in record time”.

PMDIS (Perceptual Motor Deficits in Space): Complete.

SAMS/MAMS (Space & Microgravity Acceleration Measurement Systems): Ongoing.

SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight): Peggy completed the Actiwatch download/initialization activity off the task list. The ground will downlink those files soon and send them to the PI. “We appreciate the additional sleep logging. Peggy is going above and beyond the requirements, and the PI greatly appreciates it. We will still add sleep logging to Peggy’s task list during weeks she will be sleep shifting.” Dan completed his second week of sleep logging. “We still need to capture eleven days of sleep logging to fulfill the requirement. We will make sure these are on Dan’s task list. We appreciate Dan’s participation”.

SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellite): In progress. To be conducted tomorrow (12/2).

Swab (Characterization of Microorganisms & Allergens in Spacecraft): In progress.

TRAC (Test of Reaction & Adaptation Capabilities): Planned.

CEO (Crew Earth Observation): On-going.

CEO photo targets uplinked for today again were Polar Mesospheric Clouds — PMC, Antarctica (IPY–PMC radar research station active. GMTs for this and PMC opportunities, uplinked, have been chosen for closeness to the Antarctic PMC radar research site at 73S 13W. Radar is switched on during ISS passes at the GMTs uplinked. But the crew was to feel free to look south during any night awake pass), Hyderabad, India (this enormous urban area has an estimated 6.1 million people. It is India’s sixth largest metro area. ISS had a nadir pass: the crew was to shoot city margins), and Khartoum, Sudan (looking right for this city, which lies on both sides of the Nile, at the confluence of the White and Blue Niles (the visual cue from ISS).

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, 8:49am EST [= epoch]):
Mean altitude — 335.6 km
Apogee height — 336.7 km
Perigee height — 334.6 km
Period — 91.25 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.63 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0001506
Solar Beta Angle — -72.6 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.78
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 58 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 52160

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Standard, some changes possible. NET = Not Earlier Than):
TBD — STS-122/Atlantis/1E launch — Columbus Module, ICC-Lite.
TBD — STS-122/Atlantis/1E docking
TBD — 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.