Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 31 July 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
July 31, 2009
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 31 July 2009

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below

STS-127/Endeavour (ISS-2J/A) returned to Earth on the first opportunity, landing at KSC at 10:48am EDT after 248 orbits and 6,547,853 stat.mi. [During the flight, Endeavour delivered the final piece of the JAXA Kibo laboratory and a new crew member to the ISS. Endeavour’s mission included five spacewalks and installation of two platforms outside the Japanese module. One platform remained on the station and serves as a type of porch for experiments that require direct exposure to space. The other was an experiment storage pallet that returned aboard the Shuttle. During the mission, Kibo’s robotic arm transferred three experiments from the palette to the platform. The station now is 83 percent complete and has a mass of more than 685,000 pounds.]

FE-2 Tim Kopra began the second day of his first (FD15) session with the NASA/JSC experiment NUTRITION w/Repository, continuing with urine collections for a full 24 hours. FE-1 Mike Barratt also started a 24-hr. urine collection session of the NUTRITION w/Repository program. [The NUTRITION project is the most comprehensive in-flight study done by NASA to date of human physiologic changes during long-duration space flight. It includes measures of bone metabolism, oxidative damage, nutritional assessments, and hormonal changes, expanding the previous Clinical Nutritional Assessment profile (MR016L) testing in three ways: Addition of in-flight blood & urine collection (made possible by supercold MELFI dewars), normative markers of nutritional assessment, and a return session plus 30-day (R+30) session to allow evaluation of post-flight nutrition and implications for rehabilitation.]

Upon wakeup, FE-3 Roman Romanenko terminated his fourth experiment session, started last night, 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.]

Padalka, Barratt, Romanenko, Thirsk and DeWinne each took the periodic O-OHA (On-Orbit Hearing Assessment) test, a 30-min NASA environmental health systems examination to assess the efficacy of acoustic countermeasures, using a special software application on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) laptop. [The O-OHA audiography test involves minimum audibility measurements for each ear over a wide range of frequencies (0.25-10 kHz) and sound pressure levels, with the crewmembers using individual-specific Prophonics earphones, new Bose ANC headsets (delivered on 30P) and the SLM (sound level meter). To conduct the testing, the experimenter is supported by special EarQ software on the MEC, featuring an up/down-arrow-operated slider for each test frequency that the crewmember moves to the lowest sound pressure level at which the tone can still be heard. The baseline test is required not later than about Flight Day 14 for each new Expedition and is then generally performed once per month. Note: There have been temporary hearing deficits documented on some U.S. and Russian crewmembers, all of which recovered to pre-mission levels.]

FE-4 Bob Thirsk conducted the PFE (Periodic Fitness Evaluation) protocol, a monthly 1.5-hr. procedure which checks up on blood pressure and electrocardiogram (ECG) during programmed exercise on the CEVIS (Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation) in the US Lab, with Mike Barratt the subject. The activity was video-recorded, and readings were taken with the BP/ECG (blood pressure/electrocardiograph) and the HRM (heart rate monitor) watch with its radio transmitter. [Bob Thirsk assisted as CMO (Crew Medical Officer), taking Mike’s BP readings for the PFE protocol. BP/ECG provides automated noninvasive systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurements while also monitoring and displaying accurate heart rates on a continual basis at rest and during exercise.]

Padalka performed the periodic maintenance of the active Russian BMP (Harmful Impurities Removal System) by starting the "bake-out" cycle to vacuum on absorbent bed #2 of the regenerable dual-channel filtration system. The process was terminated at ~5:15pm EDT. Bed #1 regeneration was performed yesterday. [Regeneration of each of the two cartridges takes about 12 hours and is conducted only during crew awake periods. The BMP’s regeneration cycle is normally done every 20 days. (Last time done: 7/09-7/10).]

The FE-1 performed the periodic inspection and cleaning of the PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) in the US Lab.

Bob Thirsk & Frank DeWinne filled out their regular weekly FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire) 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.]

Mike Barratt & Bob Thirsk had 3h 45min set aside for troubleshooting the heater problem of the CDRA (Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly) in consonance with the ground in an attempt to recover nominal CDRA operations. [The crew took resistance measurements of several connectors to determine specifically which internal CDRA components were potentially shorted and to verify the associated cabling was wired in accordance with expectations. An overnight review of the resistance measurements taken yesterday along with photographs of the connectors downlinked to the ground revealed the harness was not built to print. Once the cabling assessment was completed the crew was given the go-ahead to cut the wires to the shorted heater string. CDRA was subsequently re-installed and re-started. At this writing the available heaters are working nominally and CDRA is in warmup with an expectation of nominal operation around 6:30pm EDT. During the CDRA outage onboard exercise was deleted and LiOH canisters were activated as required in order to manage CO2 levels.]

CDR Padalka took FE-2 Kopra through the standard ISS Emergency Equipment Location & Status Drill (OBT-COMBO EMER-RVW), designed to familiarize the crewmember with the locations of hardware, the positions of valves used in emergencies, and with the egress route to the Soyuz, and practicing crew interactions in emergencies. [During the training, the CDR & FE-2 worked according to uplinked instructions and consulted with specialists at MCC-M, MCC-H, COL-CC, and SSIPC.]

At 12:15pm, the FE-4 conducted the periodic VHF-1 emergency communications proficiency check over NASA’s VHF (Very High Frequency) stations, today at the Wallops Station VHF site (12:19:37pm-12:27:06pm), talking with Houston/Capcom, MSFC/PAYCOM (Payload Operation & Integration Center Communicator), Moscow/GLAVNI (TsUP Capcom), EUROCOM/Munich and JCOM/Tsukuba in the normal fashion via VHF radio from a handheld microphone and any of the USOS ATUs (Audio Terminal Units). [Purpose of the test is to verify signal reception and link integrity, improve crew proficiency, and ensure minimum required link margin during emergency (no TDRS) and special events (such as a Soyuz relocation).]

In the Japanese laboratory, DeWinne relocated the ROBOT hardware from the JLP (JEM Logistics Pressurized Segment), loc. JLP1A2, to the JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), loc JPM1A1.

Thirsk installed the CBCS (Centerline Berthing Camera System) at the Node-1 port hatch and checked it out for function, in preparation for the upcoming PMA-3 relocation at the Node-1 portside hatch. [After checkout, CBCS was powered down but remains installed and in this configuration until PMA-3 Relocate.]

Romanenko conducted a session of new ocean observations program, DZZ-13 “Seiner”, which provides informational support to fishing vessel research of fishing grounds in the waters off northwest Africa, from the Canary Islands to the Cape Verde Islands. [The experiment uses visual observation, videography (HD camcorder, PAL mode) and selective photography (NIKON D2X) of color-contrast images and large discontinuities in cloud fields along the flight path.]

In his free time, Roman unloaded the Progress 34P cargo ship.

Tim Kopra had an hour to themselves for general orientation (station familiarization & acclimatization) as is standard daily rule for fresh crewmembers for the first two weeks after starting residence, if they choose to take it.

The CDR performed the routine daily servicing of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS) in the SM, including the weekly collection of the toilet flush (SP) counter and water supply (SVO) readings for calldown to TsUP-Moscow.

The FE-3 completed the daily 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).

Frank set up the video equipment to record documentary footage of crewmembers using the newly fixed ARED (Advanced Resistive Exercise Device). Later, the video was downloaded and the equipment stowed.

Gennady Padalka made preparations for another run of the Russian/German TEKh-20 Plasma Crystal-3 Plus (PK-3+) experiment payload, the second of Expedition 20, by unstowing the hardware in the SM PkhO (Transfer Compartment), installing it in the SM for operation and photographing the setup. The images were downlinked to TsUP/Moscow via OCA for inspection, and the CDR performed the initial leak check of the PK-3 Electronics Box before its evacuation. More work to come tomorrow. [The experiment is performed on plasma, i.e., fine particles charged and excited by HF (high frequency) radio power inside a vacuum work chamber. Main objective is to obtain a homogeneous plasma dust cloud at various pressures and particle quantities with or without superimposition of an LF (low frequency) harmonic electrical field. The experiment is conducted in automated mode. PK-3+ has more advanced hardware and software than the previously used Russian PKE-Nefedov payload.]

At ~4:25am EDT, 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 ~7:15am, Gennady linked up with TsUP/Moscow stowage specialists via S-band to conduct the weekly IMS tagup, discussing inventory & stowage issues, equipment locations and cargo transfers.

At ~3:10pm, 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).]

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
08/01/09 — ISS reboost from Progress 34P
08/07/09 — PMA-3 relocation to Node- 1 Port (~7:35am EDT)
08/25/09 — STS-128/Discovery/17A launch – MPLM (P), LMC (~1:36am EDT)
09/10/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) launch (~1:00pm EDT)
09/16/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) berth w/SSRMS
09/29/09 — Progress 34P undock
09/30/09 — Soyuz TMA-16/20S launch
10/02/09 — Soyuz TMA-16/20S docking (SM aft, until MRM-2 w/new port)
10/08/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) unberth
10/11/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S undock
10/15/09 — Progress 35P launch
11/10/09 — 5R/MRM-2 (Russian Mini Research Module 2) on Soyuz-U
11/12/09 — STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 – ELC1, ELC2
12/07/09 — Soyuz TMA-17/21S launch
12/26/09 — Progress 36P launch
02/03/10 — Progress 37P launch
02/04/10 — STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola
03/18/10 — STS-131/Discovery/19A – MPLM(P), LMC
04/02/10 — Soyuz TMA-18/22S launch
04/27/10 — Progress 38P launch
05/14/10 — STS-132/Atlantis/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM-1
05/29/10 — Soyuz TMA-19/23S launch
06/25/10 — Progress 39P launch
07/29/10 — STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 – ELC4, MPLM
08/11/10 — Progress 40P launch
09/16/10 — STS-134/Discovery/ULF6 – ELC3, AMS
09/29/10 — Soyuz TMA-20/24S launch
10/19/10 — Progress 41P launch
11/??/10 — ATV2 – Ariane 5 (ESA)
12/??/11 — 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – on Proton

SpaceRef staff editor.