Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 30 August 2008

By SpaceRef Editor
August 30, 2008
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 30 August 2008

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Saturday – mostly off duty for CDR Volkov, FE-1 Kononenko & FE-2 Chamitoff.

Sergey Volkov & Oleg Kononenko performed the regular weekly three-hour task of thorough station cleaning. ["Uborka", usually done on Saturdays, includes removal of food waste products, cleaning of compartments with vacuum cleaner, damp cleaning of the SM (Service Module) dining table, other frequently touched surfaces and surfaces where trash is collected, as well as the FE’s sleep station with a standard cleaning solution; also, fan screens and grilles are cleaned to avoid temperature rises. Special cleaning is also done every 90 days on the HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) bacteria filters in the Lab.]

As part of the house cleaning, the crew conducted regular maintenance inspection & cleaning on fan grilles in the FGB (TsV2) and SM (VPkhO, VPrK, FS5, FS6 & FS9) screens.

The CDR also checked up on the Russian POTOK-150MK (150 micron) air filter unit of the SM’s SOGS air revitalization subsystem, gathering weekly data on total operating time & “On” durations for reporting to TsUP-Moscow. Afterwards, Volkov temporarily powered down the POTOK for the periodic cleaning of its pre-filter, using the vacuum cleaner with narrow-slit nozzle attachment.

At ~10:05am EDT the crewmembers conducted their regular WPC (Weekly Planning Conference) with the ground, discussing next week’s "Look-Ahead Plan" (prepared jointly by MCC-Houston and TsUP-Moscow timeline planners) via S-band/audio, reviewing the monthly calendar, upcoming activities, and any concerns about future on-orbit events.

In the Kibo JPM Laboratory, Greg Chamitoff supported ongoing Marangoni Surface experimentation in the FPEF (Fluid Physics Experiment Facility), ground-commanded from the SSIPC (Space Station Integration & Promotion Center) at Tsukuba/Japan, by activating the MMA (Microgravity Measurement Apparatus) and its laptop (MLT), first powering up the MMA’s NCU/RSU (Network Control Unit/Remote Sensor Unit) set from the Ryutai rack’s UDC (Utility DC to DC Converter), then turning on both NCU/RSU and MLT.

Afterwards, after a brief familiarization review of reference material plus a ground specialist tagup, Gregory began his selected four-hour VolSci (Voluntary Weekend Science) session with the payload SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites). In support of this interesting experiment, flight controllers at 9:00am EDT activated the CDRA (Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly), to be turned off after an extended run tonight at ~8:00pm. [The SPHERES experiment is a test bed for the development and testing of formation flying and other multi-spacecraft control algorithms. Today’s 11:40am-3:10pm session concentrates on the ability of a single crewperson to deploy three satellites in two modes: “Position Hold” and “Closed Loop delta-V Control”. 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.Single-satellite experiments test new thrusting algorithms utilizing onboard accelerometers and gyroscopes to more accurately apply velocity commands; they also use a new technique to more accurately estimate velocity. The two-satellite experiments introduce new controllers and path planning tools for purpose of docking to a tumbling satellite. Formation flight experiments test initialization of a formation, and obstacle avoidance. These tests help to develop the concept of a “fractionated spacecraft,” which uses a loose formation of small satellites to perform the tasks of a single large spacecraft. Greg set up the Work Area, dimmed GLAs (General Luminaire Assemblies), programmed & deployed the 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. The experiment run was time-critical since Ku-band is required for real-time video downlink.]

Chamitoff also filled out the regular FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire), his 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.]

At ~6:50am, Cosmonaut Kononenko had his weekly PFC (Private Family Conference) via S-band/audio and Ku-band/MS-NetMeeting application (which displays the uplinked ground video on an SSC laptop).

At ~9:47am, the FE-2 powered up the SM’s amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and conducted, at 9:52am, a ham radio exchange with students and teachers at Schulhaus Feld 1 in Richterswil, Switzerland. Richterswil is situated at the lake of Zurich. Some of the approximately 11000 inhabitants of the township work in Zurich, about 30 kilometers away. Others are employed at one of the local firms or have jobs in the neighboring towns and villages. There are five schools and several kindergardens. Richterswil hosts its own museum and many different organizations such as sports clubs, a woman’s club, a parent’s organization, a theatre group, several choirs and more. At the school there are about 170 children aged 6 to 13 years, split up into eight classes (grades 1 to 6). Staff includes 15 teachers and 3 janitors. The school building includes a gym and a swimming hall, which is also used by the other schools in Richterswil. Questions to Greg were uplinked beforehand. [“Is this your first mission on the ISS?”; “What do you feel when the rocket takes off? Are you happy, scared or just excited?”; “Do you miss your family? Are you homesick?”; “Is it comfortable to live in zero gravity or do you like it better on Earth?”; “How are you feeling psychologically in Space?”; “What does it smell like inside the ISS?”; “Do you sleep well in your sleeping bag? Is it comfortable?”; “How do you wash or shower?”; “What do you eat and how do you prepare and cook your food?”; “Is it difficult to live so closely together? Do you have any rules to help you?”; “Are there any sounds in Space or is it quiet?”; “Can you see other planets from the ISS?”.]

Kononenko completed the routine daily servicing of the SOZh system (ECLSS/Environment Control & Life Support System) in the SM. [Regular daily SOZh maintenance consists, among else, of checking the ASU toilet facilities, replacement of KTO & KBO solid waste containers and replacement of EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine containers.]

The station residents conducted their regular 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), RED resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-1, FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (CDR, FE-1). Later, Greg transferred 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).

Hurricane Gustav Update: MCC-Houston is at Level 4 (full team) since yesterday morning and continues preparations for the potential closure of JSC. Gustav’s progress is being tracked, and JSC is planning on a tagup tonight at ~11:00pm EDT to determine the next course of action for Sunday. NASA’s SSC (Stennis Space Center) are closed and MAF (Michoud Assembly Facility) will close at midnight tonight (except for essential personnel).

.Weekly Science Update (Expedition Seventeen — Week 19

3-D SPACE: In progress.

ALTCRISS (Alteino Long Term monitoring of Cosmic Rays on the ISS): Measurements continue in FGB module.

ANITA (Analyzing Interferometer for Ambient Air): Continuing.

BCAT-3 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test 3): Reserve.

CARDIOCOG-2: Completed.

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

CFE (Capillary Flow Experiment): Reserve.

CW/CR (Cell Wall/Resist Wall) in EMCS (European Modular Cultivation System): Samples returned on 1J.

CSI-2/CGBA-5 (CGBA Science Insert #2/Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus 5): Silicate Garden Hab Side 2 is complete and CGBA-5 has now been powered off awaiting its move to EXPRESS Rack 2 (ER2). The Hab along with other CSI-02 equipment will be removed and returned home on ULF2.

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

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

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

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

EPO (Educational Payload Operations): Reserve.

ETD (Eye Tracking Device): Completed.

EuTEF (European Technology Exposure Facility): EuTEF platform is nominal. — DEBIE-2: IOPs (Instrument Operations Procedures) were performed successfully for 24 hrs duration from 8/22 to 8/26. Generic status: link error still in work; however a work-around allows for regular science data acquisition using an on-board Instrument Operations Procedure (IOP) (but not yet in conjunction with any FIPEX IOP). A final software patch, which will enhance the present instrument capabilities, is under finalization on the ground.– DOSTEL: On-going science acquisition.– EuTEMP: Currently inactive as planned.– EVC: Currently no picture taking.– EXPOSE: On-going science acquisition.– FIPEX: IOPs) were performed from 8/27 until 8/29.– MEDET: Continuous science acquisition.– PLEGPAY: Currently in READY mode, no science data acquisition on-going.– TRIBOLAB: The Ball-Bearing experiment #4 was paused on 8/27 for the DAM. After the DAM, TRIBOLAB was commanded again to Thermal Stabilization Mode (in order to restart the Ball-Bearing Experiment #4).– MEDET: Continuous science acquisition.

FSL (Fluid Science Laboratory): FSL is nominal.

GEOFLOW: Science Run#1 and Run#2 were successfully downlinked and handed-over to science teams in Germany. “We have received very promising results for GEOFLOW so far!” After deletion of the FSL VMU (Fluid Science Laboratory Video Management Unit) hard-disk content, the Science Run#3 was successfully performed on 8/25. The temperature gradient set-point of 4.2K could not be reached (actual gradient showed 3.6K), but science team gave their go ahead to proceed. Run#3 data were successfully downlinked on 8/26). On 8/27, Science Run#4 had to be interrupted before its completion (9 out of 11 iterations completed) because the FSL Rack had to be readied and the FSL FCE (Facility Core Element) was locked prior to the DAM (Debris Avoidance Maneuver) at 12:11pm. Unfortunately, it was not possible to activate FSL Rack prior to crew wake up time, to create enough time margin to secure the full Run#4 processing. The actual temperature gradient is now much closer to the set-point value (6.1K vs 6.2K, respectively) after modification of the GEOFLOW hardware temperature regulation parameters. Run#4 data were downlinked on 8/28. Due to limited crew time for ESA, the FSL FCE will remain locked at least until after the Progress 30P docking planned on 9/12.

HDTV System Test DL (JAXA): This activity is now planned for next week (9/5).

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): In progress.

Integrated Immune: In progress.

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

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

Marangoni Experiment for ISS (JAXA Fluid Physics Experiment Facility): The first experiment cycle was completed successfully.

Micro-G Clay (JAXA EPO): The Clay figures were retrieved from the JPM wall on 8/28 and stowed for return on ULF2.

MISSE (Materials ISS Experiment): Ongoing.

Moon Photography from ISS (JAXA EPO): Complete.

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

MULTIGEN-1: Completed.

MSG-SAME (Microgravity Science Glovebox): Complete.

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


PADLES (Passive Dosimeter for Lifescience Experiment in Space): These continue to be exposed in JEM-PM and JLP until 15A.

PCRF (Protein Crystallization Research Facility) Reconfiguration (JAXA): The PCRF reconfiguration was completed nominally on 8/28.

PMDIS (Perceptual Motor Deficits in Space): Complete.

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

SAMPLE: Complete.

SHERE (Shear History Extensional Rheology Experiment): “Greg, you have almost completed all of the planned test points for SHERE. We thank you very much for all the fantastic science you have given us and all your hard work. You have given us science far beyond the original plan, and your results have sparked much discussion and excitement among the team. Thank you! We will send you more results as we analyze the data, and we hope to work with you again soon.”

SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight): “Greg, next week you will have your next Sleep download activity. The Support team may or may not be verifying the file in between the download and initialization, based on whether hurricane Gustav decides to make an appearance. We are also working to start your next week of Sleep logging later in the week. Thanks for your participation.”

SOLAR (Solar Monitoring Observatory): With the Sun observation duration per orbit reaching its maximum (20 min), SOLAR has been put in Sun Pointing Mode at around 8/28, 4:20pm EDT. The first Criss-Cross maneuver was successfully performed on 8/29.– SOVIM: Acquiring science;– SOLSPEC: Acquiring science; — SOLACES: Acquiring science.

SOLO: Planned.

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

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

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


WAICO #1 (Waving and Coiling of Arabidopsis Roots at Different g-levels): On 8/22, the BIOLAB Rotor A bellow test was performed by ground commanding. Unfortunately this test was not successful, as 4 out of the 6 Reference ECs (Experiment Containers) gave faulty results. Teams on ground are assessing the impact to the planned recovery activities

CEO (Crew Earth Observations): Through 8/26 the ground has received a total of 5,220 frames of CEO images for review and cataloging. Photos acquired with times corresponding to the CEO target list request times were reviewed first and this week included: the Toshka Lakes, Egypt (acquired-under review) and West Hawk Impact Crater, Manitoba (acquired-under review). “We are pleased to report that your excellent imagery of Tunis, Tunisia satisfies our increment requirements for this target and we can strike it from our list. The composition and focus of your images continues to show much improvement. However, more effort is needed on improving your mapping technique (i.e. overlap of successive frames). Many of our targets have this requirement because of their size and the level of detail needed. Please keep in mind that sufficient overlap is especially important in long-lens sessions where center-point jumps (random walk views) either leave the target incomplete or acquire imagery that is difficult to impossible to locate. Your recent, detailed view of the Aeolian Islands off the north coast of Sicily will be published on NASA/GSFC’s Earth Observatory website this weekend. It provides excellent detail and context of the variety of volcanic structures present on these small Mediterranean islands. Nice shot!”

CEO photo targets uplinked for today were Algerian megafan (a mapping swath was requested along this ideally located track. If Greg shot for 60 secs after crossing the prominent dune field just uptrack, he will have acquired significant portions of the target [overlapping images are important for researchers to be able to identify the area covered in these long-lens images]), and Hurricane Gustav, Caribbean (by the time of this pass Gustav will have strengthened to a Category 2 (and possibly 3) storm now that it is over warm water).

CEO photography can be studied at this “Gateway” website: (as of 3/1/08, this database contained 757,605 views of the Earth from space, with 314,000 from the ISS alone).

Week 20 Scheduled Main Activities:

  • Sun. (8/31): Station cleaning (USOS); WINSCAT; PFC (FE-2).
  • Mon. (9/1, Labor Day): Crew off duty; Progress 29P Undock (~3:47pm); CSA-CP probe replacement; ham session; FSL/FCE lock.
  • Tue. (9/2): ATV Undock OBT; BUAP/MBRL (PCE) equipment install in SM (ATV hand controller, antenna switch box, prox comm unit); Elektron deact/act; Vozdukh AVK test; FGB PS1/PS2 filter & TsV1 screen cleaning; USOS water sampling; CMO profic.train.; FSL/FCE release.
  • Wed. (9/3): MO-7 (all); RED inspection; BMP ch.1 regen; MO-3/FE-1 (TVIS); WRS O2 purge/port install/leak check; SAMS s/w load; CGSE troubleshooting; BRTK-MBRL (PCE) test 1.
  • Thu. (9/4): SOTR-KOB1 maintenance; SRVK-BRPK maintenance; BMP ch.2 regen; CWC audit; SLEEP init.; PCS s/w load-ghosting; IWIS reprogram; ATV: activate/SSVP docking system remove/close hatches/take photo+video; TVS-MPEG Ku-band test.

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 8:55am EDT [= epoch]):
Mean altitude — 353.6 km
Apogee height — 358.3 km
Perigee height — 349.0 km
Period — 91.61 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0006895
Solar Beta Angle — -8.0 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 48 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 56023

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible.):
09/01/08 — Progress M-64/29P undocking, FGB nadir (~3:47pm); independent flight w/”Plasma” exp.
09/05/08 — ATV1 undocking, from SM aft port (~5:27pm); independent flight
09/09/08 — Progress M-64/29P de-orbit (~5:19pm)
09/10/08 — Progress M-65/30P launch (~3:49:45pm)
09/12/08 — Progress M-65/30P docking (SM aft, ~5:08pm DM)
09/29/08 — ATV de-orbit (nighttime re-entry for observation)
10/01/08 — NASA 50 Years (official)
10/08/08 — STS-125/Atlantis Hubble Space Telescope Service Mission 4 (SM4)
10/11/08 — Progress M-65/30P undocking (from SM aft)
10/12/08 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S launch (~3:03am EDT; Lonchakov, Fincke, Garriott)
10/14/08 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S docking (FGB nadir port, ~4:51am)
10/23/08 — Soyuz TMA-12/16S undocking (DC1 nadir) or 10/24?
11/10/08 — STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 launch – MPLM Leonardo, LMC
11/12/08 — STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 docking
11/20/08 — ISS 10 Years
11/25/08 — Progress M-65/30P undocking & deorbit
11/26/08 — Progress M-66/31P launch
11/30/08 — Progress M-66/31P docking
02/09/09 — Progress M-66/31P undocking & deorbit
02/10/09 — Progress M-67/32P launch
02/12/09 — Progress M-67/32P docking
02/12/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A launch – S6 truss segment
02/14/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A docking
02/24/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A undocking
02/26/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A landing (nominal)
03/25/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S launch
03/27/09 – Soyuz TMA-14/18S docking (DC1)
04/05/09 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S undocking
04/07/09 — Progress M-67/32P undocking & deorbit
05/15/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch – JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD
05/25/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
05/27/09 — Six-person crew on ISS (following Soyuz 19S docking)
07/30/09 — STS-128/Atlantis/17A – MPLM(P), last crew rotation
10/15/09 — STS-129/Discovery/ULF3 – ELC1, ELC2
12/10/09 — STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola
02/11/10 — STS-131/Atlantis/19A – MPLM(P)
04/08/10 — STS-132/Discovery/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM1
05/31/10 — STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 – ELC3, ELC4 (contingency).

SpaceRef staff editor.