Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 4 July 2008

By SpaceRef Editor
July 5, 2008
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 4 July 2008

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Independence Day holiday for the US of A, but a full workday for the crew.

Crew Sleep Cycle: Wake/sleep cycle remains right-shifted (5:30am – 9:00pm EDT).

Continuing preparations for the two upcoming Orlan EVAs, CDR Volkov & FE-2 Chamitoff held another 3-hr. training session in Soyuz TMA-12 to familiarize the American FE-2 with spacecraft ops during his isolation in the Descent Module (SA) during the EVAs. FE-1 Kononenko joined in the drill for some time. [With Sergey supervising, Gregory’s hands-on training focused on equipment familiarization, working with Soyuz communications facilities, monitoring & interfacing with the Soyuz Neptun-ME console displays & controls, reviewing his tasks during his stay in the SA, assisting the CDR & FE-1 with leak checking, pressure equalization between Orbital Module (BO) and SA, BO/SA hatch opening, Orlan suit doffing if required, etc.]

After deferral of yesterday’s MELFI (Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for the ISS) activity, Chamitoff today worked on the sample rearrangements in the Brayton-cycle freezer, swapping the latest blood and urine samples in their box modules between two dewars of different temperature, started on 7/2. [Sample vials, separated in bags, were swapped between Dewars 2 & 3 and Dewars 1 & 2. Rationale: The uncrewed station configuration during the upcoming Russian spacewalks will require MELFI being powered off for an extended period. Gregory’s current configuration changes between dewars are intended to provide best possible protection of the science samples contained in them. Toward this aim, Greg is packing as much thermal mass (“coldness”) into Dewar 2 to maximize the cold volume hold time.]

The CDR performed the periodic service of the active Russian BMP (Harmful Impurities Removal System) by starting the "bake-out" cycle to vacuum on absorbent bed #1 of the regenerable dual-channel filtration system. The process will be terminated around sleeptime, at ~8:45pm EDT. Bed #2 regeneration follows tomorrow. [Regeneration of each of the two cartridges takes about 12 hours and is conducted only during crew awake periods. The BMP’s regeneration cycle, normally done every 20 days, is currently performed four times more frequently to remove any lingering Freon-218 from the cabin atmosphere (last time: 6/23&24).]

With the ATV WDS (Automated Transfer Vehicle/Water Delivery System) tanks emptied of their water contents, Oleg Kononenko set up the hose & electric pump assembly and initiated (later closed out) transfer of urine from four EDV-U containers in the Service Module (SM ) to ATV WDS tank #2. [The setup was then torn down and the hose capped and stowed in its KBO-M bag for future ATV urine transfers, with the IMS (Inventory Management System) updated accordingly.]

After the recent upload by the Tsukuba JFCT (Japanese Flight Control Team) of a new database file to the Kibo JEMRMS (Japanese Experiment Module/Robotic Maneuvering System) console, Gregory Chamitoff today briefly activated, then deactivated the RTL (RMS Laptop) to enable/initialize the database.

The FE-2 also completed the T+2 in-flight microbiology analysis of “Week 11” potable water samples collected by him in MCDs (Microbial Capture Devices) and set up for incubation on 7/2. [The water samples were taken from the SM SRV-K (Service Module/Condensate Water Processor) Hot and Warm water taps. Two 750 mL samples from the three ports (SRV-K Hot + Warm, plus SVO-ZV) will return on Flight STS-126/ULF2 for postflight chemical analysis.]

Chamitoff then took measurements for the regular atmospheric status check for ppCO2 (Carbon Dioxide partial pressure) in the Lab, SM (at panel 449) and COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), using the hand-held CDMK (CO2 Monitoring Kit, #1002). [The battery pack is to be replaced with the one from unit #1009 if necessary.]

Greg also conducted the periodic offloading of the Lab CCAA (Common Cabin Air Assembly) dehumidifier’s condensate tank, filling a CWC (Contingency Water Container, #1054) with the collected water slated for processing. No samples were required. [Estimated offload time before reaching the tank’s neutral point (leaving ~6 kg in the tank): ~30 min. Condensate collection continues to be performed by the CCAA while the Russian SKV-2 air conditioner is off, awaiting its overdue Khladon (Freon-218) refill. SKV-1 has been nonfunctional for a long time.]

Sergey Volkov performed the regular bi-monthly reboot of the OCA Router and File Server SSC (Station Support Computer) laptops.

Later, Greg will do the periodic battery check and reboot of the COL PWS (Columbus Orbital Laboratory/Portable Workstation) laptop, a monthly activity.

Today’s mated Soyuz 16S thruster firing test was scheduled at 1:38pm-1:55pm EDT. After attitude handover to the Russian MCS (motion control system) at 1:30pm, the ISS goes briefly into free drift for the standard pre-undock hot fire test of the Soyuz KDU Combined Propulsion System. Attitude authority was to return to USOS momentum management at 3:14pm. [For the test, the Lab window shutters were closed for protection by Greg at 8:40am, the ISS audio remained configured for the crew’s entry into the Soyuz, the solar arrays were feathered to mitigate structural loads and contamination issues, and certain electrical loads were powered down due to the decreased power availability. All systems were to be returned to nominal configurations after the test.]

To prepare for the eventuality that the Progress TM-64/29P cargo ship needs to be undocked from the FGB nadir port to allow repositioning the Soyuz 16S spacecraft in case of a contingency after the upcoming Orlan EVAs, FE-1 Kononenko dismantled and removed electronic equipment from the ship, to be recycled, specifically the US-21 matching unit, the cargo ship’s LKT local temperature sensor commutator (TA251MB) of the BITS2-12 and its PZU-1M ROM (read-only memory) unit. These devices will be re-installed if the crew ingress after EVA-20A & EVA-20 is nominal. [When a Progress is undocked and jettisoned, the valuable electronics are retained, to be recycled on a future vehicle.]

Continuing preparations for Progress 29P undocking, Kononenko & Volkov then installed the StM Docking Mechanism between Progress and the FGB. [StM is the "classic" probe-and-cone type, consisting of an active docking assembly (ASA) with a probe (SSh), which fits into the cone (SK) on the passive docking assembly (PSA) for initial soft dock and subsequent retraction to hard dock. The ASA is mounted on the Progress’ cargo module (GrO), while the PSA sits on the docking ports of the SM, FGB and DC1.]

Later in the day, after activating the 29P, Oleg will disassemble the air duct in the hatchway to the FGB, remove the threaded quick-disconnect (QD) screw clamps of the FGB docking & internal transfer system (SSVP), which has rigidized the mating surfaces, closes hatches between 29P & the FGB and performs the standard one-hour leak check of the vestibule to verify hermeticity.

Before sleeptime tonight, Chamitoff is to set up NASA’s NUTRITION/Repository experiment hardware for his second session scheduled tomorrow. For the phlebotomy (blood sample draw), Greg has to start fasting 8 hrs before, i.e., tonight, with only water consumption allowed. [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.]

Sergey Volkov completed today’s routine maintenance of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS) in the SM, including ASU toilet facilities systems/replaceables.

The three crewmembers 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 (FE-2), and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (CDR, FE-1. Later, Gregory was to transfer 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).

At ~7:55am EDT, the crew held the regular (nominally weekly) tagup with the Russian Flight Control Team (GOGU/Glavnaya operativnaya gruppa upravleniya = “Main Operative Control Group”), including Shift Flight Director (SRP), at TsUP-Moscow via S-band/audio, phone-patched from Houston and Moscow.

At ~12:23pm, Chamitoff powered up the SM’s amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, and power supply) and at 12:28pm conducted a ham radio exchange with the Round Rock Scout Pack #304 and Blackland Prairie Elementary School, Round Rock, TX. [Cub Scout Pack 304 consists of about 50 boys, most of whom are students at Blackland Prairie Elementary School in Round Rock, Texas. The pack and the school are participating in this contact as a joint educational project. The project reinforces what the Cubs have been learning in their Science class, and enables them to earn some of the requirements for their “Scientist” activity badge in Scouting. The Cub’s radio station has been set up at the school. Questions to Greg were uplinked beforehand. “Were you afraid to travel into space?”; “How do you sleep onboard the Space Station with no gravity?”; “Would you go to the moon if you had the opportunity?”; “Are you weightless all the time in the Space Station?”; “How much training is required to be an astronaut?”; “How does it feel to be so far away from Earth?”; “Do you think there is intelligent alien life, and if so, why?”; “What school subjects helped you most in becoming an astronaut?”; “What do you do in your spare time in space?”; “What suggestions do you have for kids as they prepare for the future?”; “What impact will the shuttle missions have on future space missions?”; “How do you get privacy on the Space Station?”]

WRM Update: A corrected Water Recovery Management “cue card” was uplinked overnight for the crew’s reference in lieu of yesterday’s uplink. [The new card (17-0002Q) lists 35 CWCs (Contingency Water Containers,~1365.2 L total) for the four types of water identified on board: technical water (650.6 L, for Elektron, flushing, hygiene, incl. 509.4 L non-usable water because of Wautersia bacteria), potable water (706.7 L, incl. 260.6 L currently on hold), condensate water (4.9 L), waste/EMU dump and other (7.9 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.]

CEO (Crew Earth Observations) photo targets uplinked for today were Congo River headwaters (Dynamic event. Cloudiness over equatorial Africa is so pervasive that the Congo basin is seldom photographed. Clearer skies are forecast: Greg was to look right for oblique views of the southern basin and its major rivers. Lake Tanganyika at nadir), and Big Sur fires, California (Dynamic event. Overnight on Tuesday July 1, fires near Big Sur unexpectedly strengthened, and residents are now evacuating. Extensive yellow-brown smoke plumes should be visible left of track. Forecast is for partly cloudy weather. “Statewide, more than 19,000 firefighters and other workers have been fighting fires since June 20, when a line of storms and lightning sparked hundreds of blazes across the northern and central parts of the state.”)

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).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 9:14am EDT [= epoch]):
Mean altitude — 344.8 km
Apogee height — 350.6 km
Perigee height — 339.0 km
Period — 91.43 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0008601
Solar Beta Angle — 10.3 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.75
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 22 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 55126

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible.):
07/10/08 — Russian EVA-20A (2:18pm)
07/15/08 — Russian EVA-20 (1:14pm)
07/23/08 — ATV1 reboost (tent.)
09/05/08 — ATV1 undocking, from SM aft port (loiter until ~9/25 for nighttime reentry/observation)
09/09/08 — Progress M-64/29P undocking, from FGB nadir (may move to 8/30)
09/10/08 — Progress M-65/30P launch
09/12/08 — Progress M-65/30P docking (SM aft port)
10/01/08 — NASA 50 Years
10/08/08 — STS-125/Atlantis Hubble Space Telescope Service Mission 4 (SM4)
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 (FGB nadir port)
10/23/08 — Soyuz TMA-12/16S undocking (DC1 nadir)
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
11/26/08 — Progress M-66/31P launch
11/28/08 — Progress M-66/31P docking
02/10/09 — Progress M-67/32P launch
02/12/09 — Progress M-67/32P docking
1QTR CY09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A launch – S6 truss segment
03/25/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S launch
2QTR CY09 — STS-127/2J/A launch – JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD
3QTR CY09 — STS-128/17A/Atlantis – MPLM(P), last crew rotation
05/27/09 — Six-person crew on ISS (following Soyuz 19S docking, May ’09)
3QTR CY09 — STS-129/ULF3/Discovery – ELC1, ELC2
4QTR CY09 — STS-130/20A/Endeavour – Node-3 + Cupola
1QTR CY10 — STS-131/19A/Atlantis – MPLM(P)
1QTR CY10 — STS-132/ULF4/Discovery – ICC-VLD, MRM1 (contingency)
2QTR CY10 — STS-133/ULF5/Endeavour – ELC3, ELC4 (contingency).

SpaceRef staff editor.