Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 31 December 2008

By SpaceRef Editor
December 31, 2008
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 31 December 2008

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. GMT 366: Leap Year’s End and…

New Year’s Eve16 times for the Expedition 18 crew of CDR Mike Fincke, FE-1 Yuri Lonchakov and FE-2 Sandra Magnus while counting down to 2009!

Before morning inspection and breakfast, FE-1 Lonchakov terminated his fifth experiment session for the long-term Russian sleep study MBI-12/SONOKARD, by taking the recording device from his SONOKARD sports shirt pocket and later copying the measurements to the RSE-MED laptop for subsequent downlink to the ground. [SONOKARD objectives are stated to (1) study the feasibility of obtaining the maximum of data through computer processing of records obtained overnight, (2) systematically record the crewmember’s physiological functions during sleep, (3) study the feasibility of obtaining real-time crew health data. Investigators believe that contactless acquisition of cardiorespiratory data over the night period could serve as a basis for developing efficient criteria for evaluating and predicting adaptive capability of human body in long-duration space flight.]

CDR Fincke & FE-2 Magnus continued ARED (Advanced Resistive Exercise Device” installation on “overtime”, after encountering a snag yesterday with a stuck launch restraint bolt. ACO (Activation & Checkout) Part 1 has been moved to tomorrow since ground engineers need to look over the final ARED installation photos before giving a Go. [For today’s removal of the stuck launch restraint bolt in the left cylinder flywheel, ground teams overnight developed two troubleshooting plans for slipping the flywheel restraint off, one involving trimming the stuck bolt’s ends (i.e., shorten it with a hacksaw), the other drilling into the bolts to destroy its protruding tips. Both options will require cleaning up any remaining protrusion with a file.]

In the SM (Service Module), FE-1 Lonchakov performed troubleshooting on the new EXPOSE-R payload installation which showed no telemetry indication of mated connectors in the unit’s power circuitry. [Troubleshooting, with ground support tagup, consisted of a thorough visual inspection of the electrical connectors and a test of the BKS onboard cable network by measuring electrical resistances between connector terminals.]

The FE-2 conducted the T+2d inflight microbiology analyses for the samples collected on 12/29 from the PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) Ambient plus SVO-ZV and SRV-K Warm taps. [Sandy reported “yellow” for Coliform (= Negative), “no purple dots” on the MCD (Microbial Capture Device) and a (nominal) incubation bag temperature of 80 degC.]

Lonchakov set up new Bubble dosimeters for recording radiation traces as an additional component of the RS (Russian Segment) radiation payload suite “Matryoshka-R” (RBO-3-2), initializing and deploying the detectors. Proper function of the setup was later verified with the LULIN-5 electronics box. [A total of eight Bubble dosimeter detectors (A01-A08) were initialized in the Bubble dosimeter reader in the SM and positioned at their exposure locations, three in the spherical “Phantom” unit on the DC1 panel and five in the SM (two in starboard crew cabin on both sides of the MOSFET (metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor) dosimeter detector unit, two under the work table, and one at panel 410). The setup was photo-documented with the NIKON D2X camera and also reported to TsUP via log sheet via OCA. The complex Matryoshka payload suite is designed for sophisticated radiation studies. Note: Matryoshka is the name for the traditional Russian set of nested dolls.]

Yuri also performed more troubleshooting in the FGB to investigate an unexplained “smoke” indication light on the PSS Caution & Warning status panel, today checking connectors behind panel (PPS) 339 and associated instruments. [A check behind panel 306 on 12/17 failed to clear the issue.]

After setting up the SHERE (Shear History Extensional Rheology Experiment) payload equipment over the weekend, Mike Fincke had two experiment runs on his schedule for today, with the second run depending on the continuing work on ARED. Planned SHERE activities for today were –

  • Activating the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) from the A31p laptop,
  • Powering on the SHERE hardware,
  • Accessing the CGBA (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus) to install the SHERE FM (Fluid Module) #32;
  • Supporting the first SHERE experiment run (Test Point 29);
  • Transferring the module with the fluid sample,
  • Installing FM #36 for the second experiment run (Test Point 30);
  • Removing the FM from the CGBA, followed by SHERE data transfer;
  • Turning off the SHERE/CGBA equipment;
  • Transferring the data files to the MSG laptop for subsequent downlink, and
  • Powering down the MSG.

[Mike has 25 new Fluid Modules available that were delivered on STS-126, of a new-and-improved design that should be easier to deploy & close than the ones Greg Chamitoff used. Background: Rheology is the study of the deformation and flow of matter under the influence of an applied stress (“preshearing” = rotation) which might be, for example, a shear stress or extensional stress. In practice, rheology is principally concerned with extending the "classical" disciplines of elasticity and (Newtonian) fluid mechanics to materials whose mechanical behavior cannot be described with the classical theories. SHERE is designed to study the effect of preshear (rotation) on the transient evolution of the microstructure and viscoelastic tensile stresses for solutions with long chains of monodisperse dilute polymer molecules in the MSG. Collectively referred to as “Boger fluids,” these polymer solutions have become a popular choice for rheological studies of non-Newtonian fluids and are the non-Newtonian fluid used in this experiment. The SHERE hardware consists of the Rheometer, Camera Arm, Interface Box, Cabling, Keyboard, Tool Box, Fluid Modules, and Stowage Tray.]

The FE-1 performed another collection of the periodic readings of potentially harmful atmospheric contaminants in the SM, using the CMS (Countermeasure System), a component of the SKDS GANK-4M Real-Time Harmful Contaminant Gas Analyzer suite, today using preprogrammed microchips to measure for o-Xylol (1,2-Dimethylbenzol, C8H10) and Methyl-Mercaptan (Methanethiol, CH4S).

Sandy Magnus used the vacuum cleaner/brush plus other tools to perform the periodic 3:15h USOS hatch seal inspection (Node-1 Forward, Aft & Starboard, Lab Aft & Forward, Node-2 Aft, Starboard & Port, Airlock, Columbus, Kibo JPM Zenith & Starboard, Kibo JLP Nadir) in support of ACS (Atmospheric Control System) maintenance.

With TsUP/Moscow approval, Magnus set up an IWIS RSU (Internal Wireless Instrumentation System/Remote Sensor Unit) in the SM (from power outlet A331), completing IWIS network setup for data taking during the initial ARED exercise.

Sandy also conducted the weekly 10-min. CWC (Contingency Water Container) inventory as part of on-going WRM (Water Recovery & Management) assessment of onboard water supplies. Updated “cue cards” based on the crew’s water calldowns are sent up every other week. [The new card (18-0006H) lists 39 CWCs (~1,250.9 L total) for the four types of water identified on board: technical water (673.8 L, for Elektron electrolysis), potable water (530.4 L, incl. 174.6 L currently off-limit because of Wautersia bacteria), condensate water (0.0 L), waste/EMU dump and other (46.7 L). Wautersia bacteria are typical water-borne microorganisms that have been seen previously in ISS water sources. These isolates pose no threat to human health.]

As part of Progress M-01M/31P unloading, Yuri transferred the new BIO-2/BIORISK-MSV container #12 from the cargo ship and set it up for exposure in the SM in the conical section of the PkhO Transfer Compartment. [BIORISK entails a series of experiments designed to expose samples of materials to study adaptation and changes of bacteria & fungi within the typical micro biota residing on structural materials of space-flown equipment. Early data from these experiments already point to significant effects of space flight on growth, reproduction, and biological properties of test microbes and fungi. BIORISK-KM experiments deal with “passive” materials, BIORISK-MSV with microorganisms-materials within the SM and BIORISK-MSN with microorganisms-materials outside the ISS.]

Lonchakov started another round of the monthly preventive maintenance of RS (Russian segment) ventilation systems, today working 1:50h in the SM, cleaning airducts, ventilator fans and grilles.

Working from his discretionary “time permitting” task list, Yuri also was to conduct the periodic (currently daily) checkout/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 Compartment)–RO, PkhO–DC1, PkhO–FGB PGO, FGB PGO–FGB GA, FGB GA–Node-1.

Also on Lonchakov’s voluntary list was the frequent status check on the Russian BIO-5 Rasteniya-1 ("Plants-1") experiment, verifying proper operation of the BU Control Unit and MIS-LADA Module fans (testing their air flow by hand). [Rasteniya-1 researches growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in the LADA-14 greenhouse from IBMP (Institute of Bio-Medical Problems, Russian: IMBP).]

Sandy performed the daily IMS maintenance, consisting of updating/editing of 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 ~2:55am EST, the crew held a 20-min. TV conference with Russian top management of RSC Energia, IBMP, GCTC (Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center) and TsUP, postponed from yesterday.

At ~3:15am EST, the crew joined for a PAO TV Symbolic Activity downlink for the European Space Agency (ESA) for the New Year, presenting two unstowed placards expressing a Declaration of Human Rights in the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory) where they also took a series of photos showing crewmembers with the placards in various scenes.

The station residents conducted 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, FE-2), TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-1, FE-2), and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1).

VolSci Program Preview: For the weekend of 1/10 & 1/11, Mike and Sandy were offered three choices for the Voluntary Weekend Science program: (1) SHERE (Shear History Extensional Rheology Experiment) runs for Mike; (2) EPO (Education Payload Operations) Renovation Demo, for Mike & Sandy, to create an educational video demonstration discussing the recent renovations that have occurred on the ISS, for producing an educational product to enhance existing education resources for students in grades K-12; and (3) LOCAD-PTS (Lab-On-A-Chip Application Development – Portable Test System (PTS) for Mike, to perform a Phase 2 Surface Sampling Session in COL using the Glucan LAL Cartridges that will target fungus on ISS surfaces.

CEO (Crew Earth Observations) photo target uplinked for today was Betsiboka River Delta, Madagascar (looking left of track for the major Betsiboka estuary, one of two on the northwest Madagascan coast. Since 1945 deforestation inland increased rapidly. Consequent soil erosion and delivery of sediment to the Betsiboka River and estuary resulted. The estuary is now more than 80% filled by delta islands. Growth of islands has been documented since the first Shuttle flights, and imagery of the present status is requested).

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, 8:25am EST [= epoch]):
Mean altitude — 353.4 km
Apogee height — 358.4 km
Perigee height — 348.4 km
Period — 91.61 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0007443
Solar Beta Angle — -3.7 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 61 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 57958

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
01/14/09 — ISS reboost w/SM thrusters
02/09/09 — Progress M-01M/31P undocking & deorbit
02/10/09 — Progress 32P launch
02/12/09 — Progress 32P docking
02/12/09 — STS-119/Endeavour/15A launch – S6 truss segment
02/14/09 — STS-119/Endeavour/15A docking
02/24/09 — STS-119/Endeavour/15A undocking
02/26/09 — STS-119/Endeavour/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 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.