Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 29 March 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
March 29, 2009
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 29 March 2009

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Crew day: Wake 6:30am EDT; sleep 5:30pm (until 2:00am tomorrow morning). Day 2 of joint E18/19 operations. Sunday – light-duty handover day for the ISS crew CDR Fincke, CDR-19 Padalka, FE-1 Lonchakov, FE-1-19 Barratt, FE-2 Wakata, and SFP Simonyi. Ahead: Week 23 of Increment 18 (last).

Koichi Wakata started out in the morning with the fourth day of his first week-long session of 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.]

Mike Fincke broke out the equipment for the CCIS experiment and performed Day 1 of his second on-orbit session with the CCISS (Cardiovascular & Cerebrovascular Control on Return from ISS) experiment by setting up and donning the Holter Monitor, donning the CBPD (Continuous Blood Pressure Device), performing the Baro Study, doffing the CBPD, and starting the 24-hr passive heart rate data collection. [Data are recorded on a PCMCIA memory card, with the HRF (Human Research Facility) rack laptop for control. Data download and equipment stowage is scheduled tomorrow after the 24-hr period. Former Flight Surgeon Mike Barratt assisted as Operator, placing electrodes and donning the CBPD, and took documentary photography. 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.]

Afterwards, Fincke & Barratt spent about an hour on handover activities, getting the new FE-1 ready for Increment 19.

Yuri Lonchakov meanwhile set up the hardware for the Russian MBI-21 PNEVMOKARD experiment, including the NIKON D2X camera for Padalka to take documentary imagery, and conducted the session, his fourth, which forbids moving or talking during data recording. The experiment is controlled from the RSE-med A31p laptop, equipped with new software, and uses the TENZOPLUS sphygmomanometer to measure arterial blood pressure. The experiment was then closed out and the test data stowed in the Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft for return to the ground. [PNEVMOKARD (Pneumocard) attempts to obtain new scientific information to refine the understanding about the mechanisms used by the cardiorespiratory system and the whole body organism to spaceflight conditions. By recording (on PCMCIA cards) the crewmember’s electrocardiogram, impedance cardiogram, low-frequency phonocardiogram (seismocardiogram), pneumotachogram (using nose temperature sensors), and finger photoplethismogram, the experiment supports integrated studies of (1) the cardiovascular system and its adaptation mechanisms in various phases of a long-duration mission, (2) the synchronization of heart activity and breathing factors, as well as the cardiorespiratory system control processes based on the variability rate of physiological parameters, and (3) the interconnection between the cardiorespiratory system during a long-duration mission and the tolerance of orthostatic & physical activities at the beginning of readaptation for predicting possible reactions of the crewmembers organism during the their return to ground.]

Afterwards, the FE-1 closed out the Matryoshka-R (RBO-3-2) radiation payload which he had deactivated & disassembled on 3/18, and prepacked Kit #7 for return on Soyuz 17S, after taking digital images of the AST spectrometer and the three RBO-3-2 kits in the SM (Service Module).

Working with Padalka, Lonchakov also took photography of the payloads –

  • BTKh-14 BIOEMULSION (insertion of Bioreactor in CRYOGEM-03),
  • BTKh-10 CONJUGATION (RECOMB-K activity),
  • BTKh-26 KASKAD (deactivation & stowage), and
  • TEKh-15 DAKON IZGIB (Bend) hardware (closeout activity).

In addition, the FE-1 and CDR-19 set up the power packs for the BAR instruments “Kelvin-Video” and TTM-2 for charging for another operational run of the Russian KPT-12/EXPERT science payload. Charging will be terminated tomorrow (3/30), and data taking will be continued in a second session. [Objective of EXPERT is to measure environmental parameters (temperature, humidity, air flow rate) and module shell surface temperatures behind SM panels and other areas susceptible to possible micro-destruction (corrosion), before and after insolation (day vs. night). The payload uses a remote infrared thermometer (Kelvin-Video), a thermohygrometer (Iva-6A) and a heat-loss anemometer/thermometer (TTM-2) to determine environmental data in specific locations and at specific times. Activities include documentary photography with the NIKON D2X camera and flash.]

Mike Fincke performed the periodic (currently daily) checkout & performance verification of IP-1 airflow sensors in the various RS (Russian Segment) hatchways, including the passageways PrK (SM Transfer Compartment)–PrK–RO (SM Working Compartment), PkhO (SM Transfer Tunnel)–RO, PkhO–DC1, PkhO–FGB PGO, FGB PGO–FGB GA, FGB GA–Node-1. [This checkup is especially important when the ventilation/circulation system has to cope with a larger crew on board, currently six persons, and one of the two Russian SKV air conditioners off (SKV-1) because it is beyond its service life.]

Floating in the Habitation Module of the newly arrived Soyuz TMA-14/18S spacecraft, Gennady and Yuri installed the LKT local temperature sensor commutator (TA251M1B) of the BITS2-12 onboard telemetry system and its ROM/read-only memory unit (PZU TA765B), both kept in storage from an earlier Soyuz.

Padalka & Lonchakov also had an hour reserved for replacing and updating RODF (Russian Operations Data File) procedures pages that arrived with 18S, updating five books (VC-16 Emergency, Biotechnical Experiments, Medical Experiments, Biological Experiments, LDM (Long-Duration Missions), and stowing two new ODF CD-ROMs plus two new books (VC-16 Program, E18/19 Crew Handover).

In the SM, Yuri completed the routine daily servicing of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS). [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.]

Gennady meanwhile performed the regular daily job of IMS (Inventory Management System) “delta file” updating/editing for the weekly automated export/import to its three databases on the ground (Houston, Moscow, Baikonur).

FE-2 Wakata set up the NUTRITION w/Repository hardware for his first session, starting tomorrow with the blood draw. [The 24-hr urine collection starts with the first void of the day tomorrow morning (with Fincke assisting) and continues through the first void on Tuesday (3/31) morning. Col. Mike’s FD180 NUTRITION collection is also scheduled next week, starting on 3/31.]

Col. Mike, Dr. Mike & Wakata-san worked on the CEVIS cycle ergometer, installing the new control panel (-320) which was delivered on STS-119/15A. [The new panel, which should restore the CEVIS to nominal operations, allowing data to be stored on the crewmember’s PCMCIA memory cards, differs from the old panel in that it is Windows based. After installation of the panel and display cable, the crew performed an Activation & Checkout protocol to verify that the control panel is properly commanding the Ergometer in all three modes of operation.]

Having secured the DomeGene samples in the MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS) yesterday before Soyuz hatch opening, FE-2 Wakata today worked in the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module) on the CBEF (Cell Biology Experiment Facility) in the Saibo Rack, turning off and removing the ELT (Experiment Laptop), removing EUs (Experiment Units), rotating the CBEF fan to its startable position and configuring the CB (Clean Bench) for stowage. Koichi also took documentary photography with the D2Xs camera.

Later today, the CDR & FE-2 will have their weekly PFCs (Private Family Conferences), via S-band/audio and Ku-band/MS-NetMeeting application (which displays the uplinked ground video on an SSC laptop), Col. Mike at ~1:45pm EDT, Koichi at ~3:33pm.

Simonyi, Lonchakov, Padalka & Barratt were scheduled for their first PMCs (Private Medical Conferences) via S- & Ku-band audio/video, Charles at ~9:30am, Yuri at ~12:20pm, Gennady at ~1:10pm, Dr. Mike at ~2:25pm.

Scheduled VC-16 activities for SFP Charles Simonyi today included –

  • Reading accumulated data from one of the “Pille-MKS” radiation sensors,
  • Conducting the daily comm session with his advisory team at TsUP/Moscow,
  • Working with his email,
  • Conducting his IP-Phone call to the ground, and
  • Performing Earth photography plus copying the pictures to his HDD (Hard Disk Drive) for return.

Fincke, Wakata & Lonchakov 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 (FE-2), TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-1), and ARED resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-2).

Weekly Science Update (Expedition Eighteen — Week 22)

3-D SPACE: First session for Koichi was successfully performed on 3/23. “Thank you for alerting us before you began, that you had to attend to robotic operations during the experiment protocol. We have confirmed with the scientist(s) that this has no consequences to the experiment objectives. Also, ground teams greatly appreciated Koichi’s feedback at the end of the session about the digital table pen.”

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

BCAT-3/4 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test 3/4): Planned.

BIO-4: Complete.

BIOLAB (BLB): Two anomalies are being investigated: 1) leak of the Life Support System (LSS) loop; 2) bad alignment of bellow door for Rotor B.

BISPHOSPHONATES: “Koichi, thanks for completing your first in-flight pill ingestion. Your only Bisphosphonates exclusive activities are the weekly pill ingestion. The urine collection session will be completed as a data share with the Nutrition experiment. Congratulations on being our first subject!”

CARDIOCOG-2: Complete.

CCISS (Cardiovascular & Cerebrovascular Control on Return from ISS): “Mike, we are currently planning your remaining CCISS session for this weekend on 3/29 and 3/30. Thanks for your participation.”

CFE (Capillary Flow Experiment): Reserve.

CW/CR (Cell Wall/Resist Wall) in EMCS (European Modular Cultivation System): Complete.

CSI-3/CGBA-5 (CGBA Science Insert #2/Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus 5): Ongoing.

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

CIR (Combustion Integrated Rack): Ongoing.

CSLM-2 (Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures 2): Complete.

DomeGene (JAXA): “DomeGene is going nominal, and we are looking forward to the final process this Saturday.”

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

EDR (European Drawer Rack): The rack is continuously active in support of the PCDF (Protein Crystallization Diagnostic Facility) experiment. EDR is providing power/data and temperature control (via cooling loop) to PCDF. Some initial glitches have been encountered with the EDR Video Management Unit (VMU), via which high-rate science data is routed and recorded (contingency imagery data storage). Science data is nevertheless transmitted to ground.

ELITE-S2 (Elaboratore Immagini Televisive – Space 2): Planned.

ENose (Electronic Nose): “ENose has been operating on ISS for 102 days so far. We see a few events a week involving low concentrations of alcohols or other small organic compounds. Each of those events lasts about an hour or less. The sensors have responded to every payload status check that has involved a disinfectant wipe; thank you to Mike and Sandy for doing these confirmational events, so we know that ENose is working well.”

EPM (European Physiology Module): Underway.

EPO (Educational Payload Operations): Reserve.

ETD (Eye Tracking Device): Completed.

EuTEF (European Technology Exposure Facility): On 3/20, the ISS Attitude was reoriented to support the deployment of the newly installed S6 Solar Array. This has caused a change of the thermal environment of the EuTEF platform, with a consequent automatic deployment of thermal protection (see status of EXPOSE below). The platform has again experienced a MIL Bus error on 3/21. After each MIL Bus occurrence, the instruments have to be reconfigured.– DEBIE-2: the instrument continues to start generating empty science packets at regular intervals (of 30 to 34hrs). Science acquisition is pursued with regular power cycling of the instrument (work-around);– DOSTEL: On-going science acquisition – nominal;– EuTEMP: Currently inactive as planned;– EXPOSE: on 3/20, the tray lids automatically closed as the temperature of the instrument reached the upper limit. The purpose of this automatic behaviour is to protect the exobiology samples from harsh temperatures. On 3/21, EXPOSE operators have successfully re-opened these lids via ground commanding.– EVC: EVC instrument is too cold to be operated;– FIPEX: weekly script has been successfully uplinked on 3/25.- MEDET: On-going science acquisition – nominal. On 3/24, some commanding was successfully performed to modify the acquisition parameters of the instrument.- PLEGPAY: Inactive, “Experiment 1” memory has been erased on 10/30/08. Plasma generation capability was disabled;– TRIBOLAB: Instrument in stand-by mode (SBM).

FSL (Fluid Science Laboratory): Microgravity measurements were successfully performed on 3/17 during the 15A docking and on 3/25 during the 15A undocking. Additional measurements are also planned on 3/28 for the Soyuz 18S docking.

GEOFLOW: Aborted. “The return of the Experiment Container is confirmed with 15A.”

HDTV System Test DL (JAXA): Complete.


IMMUNO (Neuroendocrine & Immune Responses in Humans During & After Long Term Stay at ISS): Complete.

InSPACE-2 (Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions 2): Complete.

Integrated Immune: “Mike, thanks to you and Sandy for completing your 15A Integrated Immune session. The photos of your saliva collection looked great! We appreciated all the great science you do for us! Your last session is right around the corner with Mike Barratt.”

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

LOCAD-PTS (Lab-on-a-Chip Application Development-Portable Test System): “Mike, thanks for continuing support of LOCAD. During STS-119, Sandy did a super job swabbing the EVA gloves. It was great to watch her swab the gloves as Swanny and Ricky came through the hatch, with Tony and Mike helping support. This kind of procedure could help future crews perform valuable scientific tasks on the Moon and Mars. The results were very interesting. Gloves were clean, ranging from 1 to 3 ng/ml glucan (a fungal molecule), well below the CEVIS (>100ng/ml) and WHC (66ng/ml). Patterns observed were remarkably consistent – a good reflection on your technique. Swanny’s gloves dropped from 3.11 ng/ml pre-EVA to 1.54 ng/mL post-EVA (50% drop); Ricky’s gloves dropped from 3.13 pre-EVA to 1.26 ng/mL post-EVA(60% drop). Swanny and Ricky touched many S6 sites which tested high for glucan at KSC before launch, such as the gap spanners and ECU/SSU shrouds, but much of the glucan may have been destroyed after a few days in space. That information is very useful to us as we design strategies for Moon/Mars missions. The observed drop from pre-EVA to post-EVA may be due to the low level of glucan already on the glove ‘shaking loose’ during EVA. Our goal now is to develop a special swab that can be used during EVA, capped, stored in a tool bag, and then analyzed back inside. This has been a valuable first step toward that goal. Thanks again and great job!”

Marangoni Experiment for ISS in JAXA FPEF (Fluid Physics Experiment Facility): In progress.

Micro-G Clay (JAXA EPO): Complete.

MISSE (Materials ISS Experiment): Ongoing.

Moon Photography from ISS (JAXA EPO): Complete.

MSG-SAME (Microgravity Science Glovebox): Complete.

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

MULTIGEN-1: Completed.

NOA-1/-2 (Nitric Oxide Analyzer, ESA): Complete.


PADLES (Passive Dosimeter for Lifescience Experiment in Space): In progress.

PCDF-PU (Protein Crystallization Diagnostic Facility – Process Unit): “Thanks, Koichi, for re-installing the Optical Fibre Cable between PCDF-PU, now it works perfectly! From 3/23 to 3/24 the PCDF science commissioning tests have been successfully carried out remotely from the ground. On 3/24 evening, the first PCDF science run was started. This run will last a bit more than 7 days with Reactor #4. Exciting times!”

PCRF (Protein Crystallization Research Facility) Reconfiguration (JAXA): Complete.

PMDIS (Perceptual Motor Deficits in Space): Complete.

RadGene & LOH (JAXA): Complete.

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

SAMPLE: Complete.

SHERE (Shear History Extensional Rheology Experiment): Complete.

SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight): “Mike, thanks for completing the Sleep download and initialization session for all the Actiwatches. Your only remaining activity is to doff the Actiwatch prior to undock. Another crewmember will download the data that you are currently taking. Koichi, you are currently scheduled to complete your first of three weeks of Sleep logging.”

SOLAR (Solar Monitoring Observatory): The on-going Sun observation window started on 3/23, slightly later than predicted (i.e. on 3/22), due to high Yaw, Pitch, Roll angles for ISS. On 3/25, SOLAR platform was put in safing mode for the 15A undocking, and put back into Pointing Mode afterwards. No anomalies so far. The Sun observation window is expected to end on 4/2.

SOLO (Sodium Loading in Microgravity): Experiment completed by Mike Fincke. Blood and urine samples are now stowed in MELFI for return on 2J/A.

SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellite): Reserve.

SPICE (Smoke Point In Co-flow Experiment): Reserve.

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

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


VLE (Video Lessons ESA): VLE-1 completed.

WAICO #1/#2 (Waving and Coiling of Arabidopsis Roots at Different g-levels): Complete/Planned (2J/A Stage).

CEO (Crew Earth Observations): Through 3/24, the ground has received a total of 25,735 of ISS CEO imagery for review and cataloguing. “Photos with times corresponding to our CEO target times are reviewed first and this week include: Patagonian Glaciers – 46 frames – specific target not acquired – excellent imagery of other glaciers; Nairobi Kenya – 29 frames – target not acquired – under review; Chaiten Volcano, Chile – 34 frames – target not acquired – other excellent imagery; Tungurauan-Galeras-Nevado del Huila Volcanoes – 36 frames – target not acquired – too cloudy; Etosha Pan Inundation – 30 frames – target acquired – excellent imagery including context views – under review; Mississippi Delta – 13 frames – specific area not acquired – your views were too far north; Arkenu – 17 frames – target not acquired; and Georgia Coastal Ecosystems – 31 frames – under review. Your dramatic late-January view of Madagascar’s Betsiboka River in flood stage will be published on NASA/GSFC’s Earth Observatory website this weekend. Two tropical cyclones earlier in the month had saturated the watershed of the famous river and produced tremendous flooding in northern Madagascar. Your imagery could be compared with imagery from Increment 7, acquired under more normal conditions, to handily illustrate the scope of this natural disaster. Very nice catch on your own initiative!”

No CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today.

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, 7:42am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 353.8 km
Apogee height – 360.2 km
Perigee height — 347.3 km
Period — 91.61 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0009617
Solar Beta Angle — -6.0 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.72
Mean altitude gain in the last 24 hours — 15 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 59340

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
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
05/27/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
05/29/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S docking (FGB nadir)
06/13/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch – JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD
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.