Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 4 November 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
November 4, 2009
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 4 November 2009

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Day of National Unity in Russia, a holiday.

FE-5 Williams started the day with another Reaction Self Test (Psychomotor Vigilance Self Test on the ISS) protocol. [The RST is performed twice daily (after wakeup & before bedtime) for 3 days prior to the sleep shift, the day(s) of the sleep shift and 5 days following the sleep shift.]

FE-1 Suraev did the regular daily early-morning check of the aerosol filters at the Russian Elektron O2 generator which he had installed on 10/19 in gaps between the BZh Liquid Unit and the oxygen outlet pipe (filter FA-K) plus hydrogen outlet pipe (filter FA-V). [FE-3 again inspects the filters tonight at bedtime, currently a daily requirement per plan, with photographs to be taken if the filter packing is discolored.]

The FE-1 afterwards undertook a major (3-hr) IFM (Inflight Maintenance) in the SM (Service Module) on the SUBA Onboard Equipment Control System, installing a new BSK-2 Common Power Switching Timer (Blok silovoiy kommutatsii-2) and connecting three associated extensive cable harnesses. [SUBA controls, monitors, and diagnoses SM systems status. It operates using sensor output signals and command radio link SM functional outputs, onboard computer system (BVS) units, SM control panels, and system relay outputs. Its software resides in the SM central computer (TsVM) and terminal computer (TVM). The BSKs are used to switch electrical power and protect electrical circuits with fuses against overloads.]

Meanwhile, FE-3 Romanenko had ~2.5 hrs to perform IFM on the RS (Russian Segment)’s Electrical Power System, removing and replacing the #2 unit of the six 800A batteries in the FGB (Funktsionalnyi-Grusovoi Blok).

Starting the planned major recovery activities after the UPA (Urine Processor Assembly) failure, FE-1 Stott & FE-4 Thirsk, wearing protective gear (silver shield gloves, dust mask, goggles), drained the WSTA (Waste Storage Tank Assembly) urine from ~46% to 10% into an EDV-U container to allow for room in the WSTA for the subsequent DA (Distillation Assembly) dryout. [The planned backflow troubleshooting procedure involves flowing fluid “back” from the WSTA tank into the DA via a narrow pick-up tube which is probably clogged, at a delta-pressure between WSTA & DA of about 14 psi. It is hoped that by flowing the urine in the reverse direction than usual, the pre-treat/urine will contact areas it has not been able to reach and help dissolve the blockage.]

Stott then had 3h15min & Thirsk 15min to conduct the backflow procedure for clearing up the DA. [As first step, Nicole had to remove the CEVIS cycle ergometer, TOCA, EDV-U, compressor and associated brackets from the front of the WRS-2 (Water Recovery System 2) Rack to allow it to rotate down and to be opened up. By switching hose connections, the FE-1 was then to initiate the backflow to the DA, for a duration of ~30 sec or to 5% decrease of WSTA tank quantity. Bob assisted with monitoring time and quantity.]

Later, Thirsk worked on the U.S. WHC (Waste & Hygiene Compartment), performing the periodic changeout of the urine receptacle plus hose and its filter insert with new units.

Using the SLAMMD (Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device) equipment and appropriate software, CDR De Winne, FE-2 Stott, FE-4 Thirsk & FE-5 Williams each completed a body mass measurement (BMM), with the video camcorder recording footage that was later downlinked via MPC/Multiple-Protocol Converter. The required control run was performed by De Winne after setting up the calibration arm and attaching the calibration mass. Afterwards, Frank powered off, dismantled and temporarily stowed the SLAMMD hardware. [SLAMMD, performed first on Expedition 12 in December 2005, provides an accurate means of determining the on-orbit mass of humans spanning the range from the 5th percentile Japanese female to the 95th percentile American male. The procedure, in accordance with Newton’s 2nd Law of Motion, finds the mass by dividing force, generated by two springs inside the SLAMMD drawer, by acceleration measured with a precise optical instrument that detects the position versus time trajectory of the SLAMMD guide arm and a micro controller which collects the raw data and provides the precise timing. The final computation is done via portable laptop computer with SLAMMD unique software. To calculate their mass, crewmembers wrap their legs around a leg support assembly, align the stomach against a belly pad and either rest the head or chin on a head rest. For calibration, an 18-lbs. mass is used at different lengths from the pivot point, to simulate different mass values. Crew mass range is from 90 to 240 lbs.]

Romanenko again had several hours allotted to continue his audit of available stowage space in the FGB, SM and DC1 Docking Compartment to assess useable stowage space for cargo to be delivered on 11/12 on 5R/Progress 302 (MRM2).

Roman also completed the periodic checkout & performance verification of IP-1 airflow sensors in the various RS hatchways. [Skipping the Soyuz hatch to DC1, inspected IP-1s are in the passageways PrK (SM Transfer Tunnel)–RO (SM Working Compartment), PkhO (SM Transfer Compartment)–RO, PkhO–DC1, PkhO–FGB PGO, FGB PGO–FGB GA, and FGB GA–Node-1.]

Maxim Suraev used the CMS (Countermeasure System), a component of the SKDS GANK-4M suite, to perform the standard check on the SM cabin air, today looking for Carbon Monoxide, Hydrogen Chloride and Hydrogen Cyanide. [CMS uses preprogrammed microchips to measure for numerous contaminants such as O-Xylol (1,2-Dimethylbenzol, C8H10), Hydrogen Chloride (HCl), Formaldehyde, Isopropanol, Methanol, Toluene, Mercaptan, Sulphur dioxide, Hydrogen Cyanide, Phosgene, etc.],

The FE-1 also continued the current round of preventive maintenance on the Russian ventilation system, today cleaning the four “Group B” fan screens (VT1, VTK1, VV1RO & VV2RO) in the SM, while the FE-3 worked in the DC1 on cleaning the V3 ventilator grille.

At the Node -1’s “ceiling”, Jeff & Bob moved the ARED exercise device on its platform into position from its stowage location. Then, after they had used it for their workout, Frank & Bob later moved it again out of the way and stowed it to make room for the subsequent PMA-3 activities.

Continuing preparations for Node-3 “Tranquility” arrival, Jeff Williams re-opened the PMA-3 (Pressurized Mating Adapter 3) hatch in Node-1, after which Jeff & Bob reinstalled the two CPAs, PMA target assembly and hatch center disk cover.

After subsequent hatch closure, Thirsk & De Winne depressurized the PMA-3 to 2 psi using the US A/L (Airlock)’s Depress Pump. Later, hatch perimeter, newly installed IMV valve & new bulkhead feedthroughs in Node-1 were checked by Jeff for leaks with the ULD (Ultrasound Leak Detector). [The A/L pump was connected to the Node-1 port hatch by the VAJ (Vacuum Access Jumper) dragged through the Node-1 starboard hatchway. After reaching 2 psi, the remaining pressure was evacuated with the Lab PCA (Pressure Control Assembly) to the outside, connected by a 35-ft VAJ. When completely depressed, the VAJ was disconnected, followed by the leak checks.]

In the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), FE-5 Williams prepared the FPEF MS (Fluid Physics Experiment Facility / Marangoni Surface) equipment for a ground-controlled run of the MI (Marangoni Inside) convection experiment, transferring & setting up the MWA (Maintenance Work Area) at the F3 location, installing the MI Core on the MWA (after inspecting for broken glass) and preparing the MI Body inside the MWA. [In microgravity, fluids react differently to stresses when compared to the same stresses on Earth. Understanding the responses to the stressors allows for improved fluid flow models to be designed. Mass transfer on or in a liquid due to surface tension differences is called the Marangoni Effect (which, for example, stabilizes a soap film). The Marangoni convection experiment in the FPEF examines fluid tension flow in micro-G: first, a liquid bridge of silicone oil is formed into a pair of disks. Then, using temperature differences imposed on the disks, convection is induced causing the silicone oil to move and transition through different types of flows because of its fluid instability: successively from laminar to oscillatory, chaos, and turbulence flows as the driving force increases. The flow and temperature fields are observed in each stage and the transition conditions and processes are investigated.]

In the A/L, Nicole & Jeff had ~2 hrs for resizing two EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) spacesuits, #3006 & #3011, in preparation for ULF2 spacewalks. The crew also pre-gathered EVA support items for ULF3. The activities were videoed and downlinked. [#3006 was resized for Randy Bresnik for nominal use, and #3011 for EMU checkout, backup readiness for Mike Foreman and return on ULF3. #3009 will not be used on ULF3.]

Nicole & Bob downloaded the data taken yesterday by their instrumented SDTO (Station Development Test Objective) harnesses during their TVIS treadmill runs.

De Winne removed the IWIS (Internal Wireless Instrumentation System) accelerometer from its interface plate in the JAXA JPM and installed it instead on the T2/COLBERT treadmill for structural dynamics measurements.

For tomorrow’s planned ESA experiment CARD (Long Term Microgravity: Model for Investigating Mechanisms of Heart Disease), Frank equipped the body-worn CARD HLTA BP (Holter Arterial Blood Pressure) instrument with fresh AA batteries. [The CARD protocol included a 24h urine collection on Day 1, a 24h blood pressure monitoring with the HLTA, a blood draw (in the morning of Day 2), and five cardiac output measurements performed with the HRF-2 PFS (Pulmonary Function System) via re-breathing technique (three double re-breathing sessions with the 4L Re-breathing Bag on Day 1 and two on Day 2).]

In the JPM, Stott again serviced the CBEF (Cell Biology Experiment Facility) by opening the door to the Micro-G IU (Incubation Unit) section and manually fanning the air inside for ventilation for a few minutes, as she did last month regularly. [This was a precaution against too much humidity after yesterday’s temporary power outage, see below.]

Using another ~20-min RGS (Russian Ground Site) overflight window for VHF coverage, Maxim Suraev downlinked the video footage taken by him on 10/30 aboard the station. His “News from Zero Gravity” report was filmed for the Russian television channel “TV Tsentr”, using an uplinked script for the various scenes and narrations. [TV Tsentr is launching a new program on science and technology and one of the first episodes is to show a report from the ISS. (“…Now you know how we live up here. The reality is that there is a lot of work in space. There are many scientific experiments and studies that we carry out for the benefit of all mankind. An example is the Rusalka experiment, in which carbon dioxide levels in our planet’s atmosphere are accurately measured. In the Uragan experiment, we are working on a procedure and system for predicting the development of natural and man-made disasters. The Vaktsina experiment is to investigate prospective proteins for AIDS vaccines on Earth and in space. Soon, a new mini research module will be added to the ISS Russian segment, thus broadening and increasing the Russian science program. Don’t forget, we are working up here for the good of our planet. Our fragile Earth. Good luck to you all….".)]

Bob Thirsk performed the periodic WPA (Water Processor Assembly) sample analysis in the TOCA (Total Organic Carbon Analyzer), after first initializing the software and priming (filling) the TOCA water sample hose. [After the approximately 2-hr TOCA analysis, results were transferred by Frank De Winne to SSC-5 (Station Support Computer 5) via USB drive for downlink, and the data were also logged.]

The CDR started (later terminated) another 5-hr automatic sampling run (the 42nd) with the EHS GC/DMS (Environmental Health System Gas Chromatograph/Differential Mobility Spectrometer), also known as AQM (Air Quality Monitor), controlled with “Sionex” expert software from the SSC-4 (Station Support Computer 4) laptop. [The AQM demonstrates COTS (Commercial Off-the-Shelf) technology for identifying volatile organic compounds, similar to the VOA (Volatile Organics Analyzer). Today’s data will again to be compared with VOA and GSC (Grab Sample Container) measurements. This evaluation will continue over the course of several months as it helps to eventually certify the GC/DMS as nominal CHeCS (Crew Health Care Systems) hardware.]

Near the end of his workday, FE-1 Suraev conducts his third data collection for the psychological MBI-16 Vzaimodejstvie (“Interactions”) program, accessing and completing the computerized study questionnaire on the RSE-Med laptop and saving the data in an encrypted file. [The software has a “mood” questionnaire, a “group & work environment” questionnaire, and a “critical incidents” log. Results from the study, which is also mirrored by ground control subjects, could help to improve the ability of future crewmembers to interact safely and effectively with each other and with Mission Control, to have a more positive experience in space during multi-cultural, long-duration missions, and to successfully accomplish mission activities.]

At ~4:20pm EST, just before sleep time, the FE-3 will also set up the Russian MBI-12 SONOKARD payload and start his 11th experiment session, using a sports shirt from the SONOKARD kit with a special device in the pocket for testing a new method for acquiring physiological data without using direct contact on the skin. Measurements are recorded on a data card for return to Earth. [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.]

FE-2, FE-4 & FE-5 had their periodic PMCs (Private Medical Conferences), via S- & Ku-band audio/video, Nicole at ~10:05am, Jeff at ~2:30pm & Bob at ~3:10pm EST.

The crew performed their regular 2-hr physical exercise on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (CDR, FE-2), TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-1, FE-2, FE-3, FE-4, FE-5), ARED advanced resistive exerciser (FE-4, FE-5), and VELO cycle ergometer with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1, FE-3).

Later, Jeff transferred the exercise data files to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) for downlink, including the daily wristband HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) data of the workouts on ARED, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).

At ~9:33am EST Bob Thirsk powered up the SM’s amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and at 9:38am conducted a ham radio session with students at John Taylor Collegiate, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

SSRMS Operations: From ~3:15pm-5:15pm EST, ground operators will translate the MT (Mobile Transporter) railcart on the truss from WS5 (Workstation 5) to WS3, to satisfy another ULF3 pre-launch checkout requirements as well as put the Robotics systems into a good configuration to allow JAXA to perform their upcoming ICS (Inter-Satellite Communication System) checkout.

ISS Power Outage Event: Yesterday morning at 12:54am EST, MBSU1 (Main Bus Switching Unit 1) experienced an unexpected power loss due to a POR (Power On Reset), the first on-orbit POR on any MBSU hardware. MBSU1 was recovered almost immediately, but it took time to assess deactivated systems and start them up again. Systems were down for about 3 hrs. Engineering teams are reviewing the anomaly but currently believe the POR was a random event and that MBSU1 is healthy and not susceptible to further PORs. MBSU1 controls half of station systems, and there were some impacts to yesterday operations, mostly science activities. ISS is completely recovered.

UPA Anomaly: Should the Urine Processor Assembly remain down for longer than expected, the unprocessed urine will accumulate, requiring special provisions for collecting, containing & stowing, including during ULF3-docked period. Replanning is underway at MCC-Houston and TsUP-Moscow for using Russian EDV containers (58 total, 9 US, 49 RS), Rodnik tanks and CWCs. Current efforts include discussions with Moscow to extend the normal EDV lifetime of 90 days to 120 days.

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Northern Isle of France, Mauritius (HMS Beagle Site: As the ISS track entered the Indian Ocean from the SW, the crew should have noted the large island of Madagascar, well left of track, followed by the small island of Reunion just left of track, and then quickly Mauritius near nadir. Charles Darwin and the Beagle landed at Port Louis on the northern portion of what is now known as the island of Mauritius on April 29, 1836. The island is also famous as the home of the dodo, a large flightless bird driven to extinction – directly or indirectly – by humans during the 17th century. This pass was in late afternoon light with partly cloudy weather expected. Concentrating on the Port Louis area located on the northern coast), Simon’s Bay, Cape Point, S. Africa (HMS Beagle site: The pass approached the coast of Africa from the SW in early afternoon light. Fair weather was expected. Looking left of track for views of this target. The most important aspect of this stop appears to have been Darwin’s visit to the noted astronomer Sir John Herschel who lived near Cape Town. Darwin called this "the most memorable event which, for a long period, I have had the good fortune to enjoy." Both Darwin and Herschel had read the Lyell’s famous Principles of Geology. Their discussion is not recorded, but they were thinking along similar lines: a few months earlier Herschel had written to Lyell praising the Principles as "a complete revolution in [its] subject, … altering entirely the point of view" in which scientists would think about geology; and as opening a way for bold speculation on "that mystery of mysteries, the replacement of extinct species by others."), and Port Louis, Berekely Sound, Falkland Island (HMS Beagle Site: Darwin and the Beagle arrived at the Falkland Islands on March 1, 1833 and found shelter for several weeks in Berkeley Sound at Port Louis on East Falkland Island. ISS approached this target from the W in late morning. Fair weather with a near nadir pass offered an excellent opportunity for detailed views of Port Louis and Berekely Sound).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 7:55am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 342.1 km
Apogee height – 346.3 km
Perigee height – 338.0 km
Period — 91.38 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.000617
Solar Beta Angle — 36.1 deg (magnitude peaking)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.76
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 97 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 62806

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
11/10/09 — 5R/MRM-2 (Russian Mini Research Module 2) on Soyuz-U @ 9:22am EST)
11/12/09 — 5R/MRM-2 docking (SM zenith) @ 10:43am EST
11/16/09 — STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 launch (ELC1, ELC2) @ 2:28pm EST
12/01/09 – Soyuz TMA-15/19S undock
12/01-12/23 —> two-member crew
12/21/09 — Soyuz TMA-17/21S launch — O. Kotov/S. Noguchi/T.J. Creamer
12/23/09 — Soyuz TMA-17/21S (FGB nadir)
01/20/10 — Soyuz TMA-16/20S relocation (from SM aft to MRM-2)
02/03/10 — Progress M-04M/36P launch
02/04/10 — STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 “Tranquility” + Cupola
02/05/10 — Progress M-04M/36P docking
03/18/10 — Soyuz TMA-16/20S undock/landing
03/18/10 — STS-131/Discovery/19A – MPLM(P), LMC
04/02/10 — Soyuz TMA-18/22S launch
04/27/10 — Progress M-03M/35P undock
04/28/10 — Progress M-05M/37P launch
04/30/10 — Progress M-05M/37P docking
05/14/10 — STS-132/Atlantis/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM-1
05/29/10 — Progress M-04M/36P undock
05/30/10 — Soyuz TMA-19/23S launch
06/30/10 — Progress M-06M/38P launch
07/02/10 — Progress M-06M/38P docking
07/26/10 — Progress M-05M/37P undock
07/27/10 — Progress M-07M/39P launch
07/29/10 — Progress M-07M/39P docking
07/29/10 — STS-134/Endeavour (ULF6 – ELC3, AMS-02)
08/30/10 — Progress M-06M/38P undock
08/31/10 — Progress M-08M/40P launch
09/02/10 — Progress M-08M/40P docking
09/16/10 — STS-133/Discovery (ULF5 – ELC4, PLM)
09/18/10 — STS-133/Discovery (ULF5 – ELC4, PLM) docking
09/22/10 — STS-133/Discovery (ULF5 – ELC4, PLM) undock
09/30/10 — Soyuz TMA-20/24S launch
10/26/10 — Progress M-07M/39P undock
10/27/10 — Progress M-09M/41P launch
10/29/10 — Progress M-09M/41P docking
11/30/10 — ATV2 launch– Ariane 5 (ESA)
11/30/10 — Soyuz TMA-21/25S launch
12/15/10 — Progress M-08M/40P undock
12/17/10 — ATV2 docking
02/08/11 — Progress M-09M/41P undock
02/09/11 — Progress M-10M/42P launch
02/11/11 — Progress M-10M/42P docking
03/30/11 — Soyuz TMA-22/26S launch
xx/xx/11 – Progress M-11M/43P launch
05/30/11 — Soyuz TMA-23/27S launch
12/??/11 — 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – on Proton

Note: The daily ISS On-Orbit Status reports can also be found at

SpaceRef staff editor.