Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 6 April 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
April 6, 2009
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 6 April 2009

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Day 10 of joint E18/19 operations for CDR Fincke, CDR-19 Padalka, FE-1 Lonchakov, FE-1-19 Barratt, FE-2 Wakata, and SFP Simonyi. Underway: Week 1 of Increment 19. A long day – but with a built-in short sleep period

Crew wake/sleep cycle: Adjusted for the Soyuz TMA-13/17S departure on 4/7 (11:52pm EDT) by inserting a crew nap today from 11:00pm–4:00pm and then continuing with a wake period from 2:00am–12:00pm tomorrow.

Before breakfast and exercise, CDR Fincke & FE-2 Wakata performed the periodic PHS (Periodic Health Status) w/Blood Labs examination, using the U.S. PCBA(Portable Clinical Blood Analyzer). The second part of PHS, Subjective Clinical Evaluation, was performed later in the day. Koichi assisted with the blood draw for Mike as CMO (Crew Medical Officer), and the CDR subsequently assisted Koichi in turn. All data were then logged on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) and the hardware stowed. [The PHS exam, with PCBA analysis and clinical evaluation, is guided by special software (IFEP, In-Flight Examination Program) on the MEC laptop. While PCBA analyzes total blood composition, the blood’s hematocrit is particularly measured by the Russian MO-10 protocol.]

Gennady Padalka, assisted part-time by Yuri Lonchakov, ran tests on the new “Istochnik-M” (“spring”, “source”) system between SM (Service Module) and the Soyuz TMA-13/17S for transmitting telemetry from onboard reentering Soyuz spacecraft, allowing ISS-based (and relayed to the ground) monitoring of the tri-module separation event. [The equipment, including Istochnik TM station, power amplifiers, power supply, USB software sticks and cables, was brought up on Progress 32P. Also, to monitor Soyuz capsule separation during reentry, a specialist team is deploying to the overflight zone in Israel.]

FE-1-19 Mike Barratt set up and conducted the new BISE (Bodies in the Space Environment) experiment, first reviewing a training video, followed by loading the BISE software in an A31p SSC (Station Support Computer) and configuring the experiment hardware. After taking documentary photography, Dr. Mike had ~35 min for a test session with the experiment (results TBD). [The CSA (Canadian Space Agency)-sponsored BISE experiment studies how astronauts perceive Up and Down in microgravity. The test involves having subjects view a computer screen through a cylinder that blocks all other visual information. The astronauts will be presented with background images with different orientations relative to their bodies. On top of these images will be superimposed a letter that could be either a “p” or a “d” depending on its orientation. They will indicate which letter they see and the scientists will measure the transition points where the letters change from a “p” to a “d” and back again. The angle between those two will then be taken as the perceptual Upright, and researchers can alter that perceptual Upright by changing body orientation or visual orientation. After today’s test run by Barratt, the study will be partially conducted by Canadian astronaut Dr. Robert (Bob) Thirsk, the CDR of Increment 20/21. Launching in June 2009, this mission will mark a milestone of Canada’s Manned Space Program as Thirsk takes part in the first-ever long-duration mission and research flight to the ISS.]

In preparation for their return to gravity in two days, Lonchakov undertook Part 2 of his fifth and final training session of the Russian MO-5 MedOps protocol of cardiovascular evaluation in the below-the-waist reduced-pressure device (ODNT, US: LBNP) on the Russian VELO ergometer, assisted by Fincke as CMO (Crew Medical Officer). The activity was then closed out. (This activity was not conducted yesterday, as reported, due to the undocking slip)) [The one-hour assessment, supported by ground specialist tagup (VHF) and telemetry monitoring from Russian ground sites (at 6:39am EDT, on DO2), uses the Gamma-1 ECG equipment with biomed harness, skin electrodes and a blood pressure and rheoplethysmograph cuff wired to the cycle ergometer’s instrumentation panels. The Chibis ODNT provides gravity-simulating stress to the body’s cardiovascular/circulatory system for evaluation of Malenchenko’s orthostatic tolerance (e.g., the Gauer-Henry reflex) after several months in zero-G. The preparatory training generally consists of first imbibing 150-200 milliliters of water or juice, followed by two cycles of a sequence of progressive regimes of reduced (“negative”) pressure, set at -20, -25, -35, and -40 mmHg for five min. each, then -25, -30, and -40 mmHg (Torr) for 10 min. each plus 30mmHg for 5 min. while shifting from foot to foot at 10-12 steps per minute, while wearing a sphygmomanometer to measure blood pressure. The body’s circulatory system interprets the pressure differential between upper and lower body as a gravity-like force pulling the blood (and other liquids) down. Chibis data and biomed cardiovascular readings are recorded. The Chibis suit (not to be confused with the Russian “Pinguin” suit for spring-loaded body compression, or the "Kentavr" anti-g suit worn during reentry) is similar to the U.S. LBNP facility (not a suit) used for the first time on Skylab in 1973/74, although it appears to accomplish its purpose more quickly.]

Padalka set up and later, after the short sleep period, activated the DAKON-M hardware for the eighth run of the Russian experiment TEKh-15/IZGIB (“Bend”) which will continue through the Soyuz undocking until 4/8. The activity requires only visual control of hardware operations by the CDR-19 three times a day, interrupted today by the nap, and reporting to the ground. The seventh IZGIB session was conducted by Yuri during the Soyuz docking but did not result in data. [IZGIB has the objective to help update mathematical models of the ISS gravitation environment, using accelerometers of the Russian SBI Onboard Measurement System, the GIVUS high-accuracy angular rate vector gyrometer of the SUDN Motion Control & Navigation System and other accelerometers for unattended measurement of micro-accelerations at science hardware accommodation locations – (1) in operation of onboard equipment having rotating parts (gyrodynes, fans), (2) when establishing and keeping various ISS attitude modes, and (3) when performing crew egresses into space and physical exercises.]

Gennady also conducted the periodic (currently daily) checkout & performance 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 Tunnel)–RO, PkhO–DC1, PkhO–FGB PGO, FGB PGO–FGB GA, FGB GA–Node-1. [This checkup is especially important when the ventilation/circulation system has to cope with a larger crew on board, currently six persons, and one of the two Russian SKV air conditioners is off (SKV-1) because it is beyond its service life.]

The CDR-19 performed routine maintenance on the Russian SRVK condensate water processor by removing & replacing its BRPK-2 (Condensate Separation & Pumping Unit)’s separator.

Yuri Lonchakov used the standard ECOSFERA equipment, set up yesterday, to conduct microbial air sampling runs for the MedOps SZM-MO-21 experiment, with the POTOK Air Purification System temporarily powered down, taking samples from cabin surfaces along with samples from crewmembers for sanitation and disease studies. The sample tubes were then stowed in the KRIOGEM-03 refrigerator and subsequently packed for return in the TMA-13. [The equipment, consisting of an air sampler set, a charger and power supply unit, provides samples to help determine microbial contamination of the ISS atmosphere, specifically the total bacterial and fungal microflora counts and microflora composition according to morphologic criteria of microorganism colonies.]

The FE-2 underwent a 30-min. PHS (Periodic Health Status) w/Blood Labs examination, using the U.S. PCBA(Portable Clinical Blood Analyzer). CDR Fincke assisted with the blood draw for Koichi as CMO. All data were then logged on the MEC and the hardware stowed. [The PHS exam, with PCBA analysis and clinical evaluation, is guided by special software (IFEP, In-Flight Examination Program) on the MEC laptop. While PCBA analyzes total blood composition, the blood’s hematocrit is particularly measured by the Russian MO-10 protocol.]

Gennady took the periodic readings with the Russian AOK GANK-4M Real-Time Harmful Contaminant Gas Analyzer system and calibrated the unit.

For the fifth time, Koichi Wakata continued preparing the MELFI (Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for the ISS) for upcoming sample storage by inserting more Icepacs, i.e., retrieving two -32 degC Icepac belts and placing them into Dewar 3.

Before the “short sleep” period (11:00am – 4:00pm), CDR Fincke, with FE-2 Wakata & FE-1-19 Barratt joining in for handover instruction, had an hour for unpacking 15A cargo.

Yuri & Gennady had several hours reserved for packing & stowing return cargo and excessed waste on Soyuz 17S, with the waste going into the Orbital Module, to be jettisoned during reentry. Several more hours are reserved for this activity after the short sleep period.

FE-2 Wakata deployed new SODF (Station Operations Data File) documents delivered on 15A and conducted an audit of current SODFs, guided by an uplinked listing.

FE1-19 Barratt conducted the daily status check on the BCAT-4 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-4) science payload, running by itself since 4/3. [The status check, conducted on the last image taken by the DCS 760 digital still camera which is controlled by EarthKAM software on an A31p laptop, is to verify proper image focus and camera alignment. The SSC (Station Support Computer) is taking photography of the phase separation occurring in the BCAT Sample 3, with the photo flash going off every half hour.]

After the afternoon “nap” and the evening meal, CDR-19 Padalka will take a video of the ESA BIO-1 payloads, then worked with FE-1 Lonchakov on transfers of the VC-16 experiments to the Soyuz Descent Module [including BTKh-5,7 (LAKTOLEN & OChB), BIO-1 (six experiments), BTKh-29 (Zhenshen-2/Ginseng-2), BTKh-31 (ANTIGEN), BTKh-6 (ARIL), BTKh-26 (KASKAD) & BTKh-27 (ASTROVAKTSINA).]

For the biomed experiment INTEGRATED IMMUNE (Validating Procedures for Monitoring Crew member Immune Function), CDR Fincke will set up the equipment, then have his blood sample drawn by FE-2 Wakata as CMO (Crew Medical Officer). Afterwards, Col. Mike acts as CMO, drawing a blood sample from Dr. Mike. The blood sleeves are then stored at ambient temperature for return to ground. [IMMUNE protocol requires the collection to occur first thing post-sleep, before eating, drinking and brushing teeth, and all samples are stored at ambient temperature. Along with NUTRITION (Nutritional Status Assessment), INTEGRATED IMMUNE samples & analyzes participant’s blood, urine, and saliva before, during and after flight for changes related to functions like bone metabolism, oxidative damage and immune function to develop and validate an immune monitoring strategy consistent with operational flight requirements and constraints. The strategy uses both long and short duration crewmembers as study subjects.]

After reviewing ALTEA (Anomalous Long Term Effects on Astronauts) payload material, Mike Barratt is to set up the ALTEA hardware and load the ELC2 (EXPRESS Rack 2) laptop with ALTEA software, then configure the video equipment and take situational video for documentary purposes of the dosimeter setup. Afterwards, The FE-1-19 performs the routine inspection of the running ALTEA equipment, checking the status of dosimeter LEDs (light emitting diodes) and downloading accumulated data for analysis before stowing the hardware. [POIC (Payload Operations Integration Center/Huntsville) will monitor the power draw of the activation from the ground. Using six particle detectors originally introduced on the space station Mir, ALTEA monitors and characterizes the ionizing charged radiation environment in which the crew is living.]

In the US Airlock, Barratt will perform the periodic FDS (Fire Detection & Suppression) bacteria filter and smoke detector (SD) inspection & cleaning. [Poor access previously prevented the torquing of the SD to the mounting plate. When the mounting plate is removed from the deck, access is gained to these fasteners allowing torquing.]

Shortly before his sleep time tomorrow morning, Yuri Lonchakov will dismantle and remove the LKT TA251MN Local Temperature Sensor Switching Unit (commutator) and PZU-1M ROM (read-only memory) unit from the Soyuz TMA-13/17S Orbital Compartment, stow it in the SM (Service Module) and report the number of accumulated LKTs to TsUP-Moscow. [When a Soyuz or Progress is undocked for return or disposal, the valuable electronics are retained, to be recycled on a future vehicle.]

Koishi Wakata is scheduled to prepare the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module) for the upcoming Hiten demo, relocating equipment and securing Ryutai Rack storage & foam cushions. [Hiten (Dance) is part of the JAXA-EPO (Education Payload Observation) program to excite everyone’s interest in microgravity research. Activities include educational events and artistic activities with astronauts on orbit. These artistic activities will enlighten the general public about microgravity research and human space flight. Hiten will record crewmembers performing ancient East Asian dances in micro-G.]

Wakata will also load GLACIER payload application software on the ELC from a CD. [GLACIER (General Laboratory Active Cryogenic ISS Experiment Refrigerator) units are ultra-cold freezers that will store samples as low as -185 degC. The GLACIER, designed and originally manufactured by the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB), provides a double middeck locker-sized ER (EXPRESS Rack)-compatible freezer/refrigerator for a variety of experiments that require temperatures ranging from +4 degC (39 degF) to -185 degC (-301 degF). GLACIER is part of the Cold Stowage Fleet of hardware which includes the MELFI and the MERLIN (Microgravity Experiment Research Locker/Incubator).]

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

Padalka also completes 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).

Col. Mike has an hour set aside for his regular crew departure preparations, working on the standard end-of-increment cleanup preparatory to his return to Earth in two days. [It is usual for crewmembers to be granted reduced workdays for making their departure preparations, as their return date approaches.]

The combined crew again had several hours of generic handover time scheduled, between Dr. Mike & Col. Mike, Yuri & Gennady, Col. Mike & Dr. Mike, and Koichi & Dr. Mike.

Fincke, Wakata, Padalka, Lonchakov & Barratt completed 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 (FE-1-19, FE-2), TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-1), ARED resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (CDR-19, FE-1/ODNT).

Scheduled VC-16 activities for SFP Charles Simonyi today included –

  • Holding the daily comm session via TLF (phone) with his advisory team at TsUP/Moscow,
  • Working with his email,
  • Conducting his IP-Phone call to the ground, and
  • Performing Earth photography plus copying the pictures to his HDD (Hard Disk Drive) for return.

The CDR & FE-2 have their weekly PFCs (Private Family Conferences) scheduled, via S-band/audio and Ku-band/MS-NetMeeting application (which displays the uplinked ground video on an SSC laptop), Mike at ~3:00am, Koichi at ~4:00pm.

At ~7:05am, Gennady Padalka supported a Russian PAO event, downlinking a message of greeting to The Army Shop Show on Channel One of Ostankino TV Broadcasting Co., to be shown on April 12 in a special Cosmonautics Day edition of the Army Shop show. [For the past 12 years, The Army Shop has been one of the most popular news & entertainment programs on Russian TV. This is a military and patriotic show with an emphasis on promoting youth education, raising the prestige of military service, advocating military professions and skills. For today’s taping, an Army Shop news crew and Russian pop stars Alexander Marshall & Larisa Dolina were expected to be in attendance, anchored by Tatiana Gerasimova.]

No CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today.

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, 8:20am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 353.3 km
Apogee height – 359.4 km
Perigee height — 347.1 km
Period — 91.60 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.00009867
Solar Beta Angle — -36.4 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 67 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 59467

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
04/07/09 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S undocking (11:52pm EDT)
04/08/09 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S deorbit burn (2:24am); landing (~3:15am EDT, ~10:15am Moscow, ~1:15pm Kazakhstan)
05/06/09 — Progress 32P undocking & deorbit
05/07/09 — Progress 33P launch
05/12/09 — STS-125/Atlantis Hubble Space Telescope Service Mission 4 (SM4)
05/12/09 — Progress 33P docking
05/27/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
05/29/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S docking (FGB nadir)
06/13/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch – JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD
Six-person crew on ISS
07/17/09 — Progress 33P undock & deorbit
07/20/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S relocation (to DC1)
07/24/09 — Progress 34P launch
07/26/09 — Progress 34P docking (SM aft)
08/06/09 — STS-128/Discovery/17A – MPLM (P), LMC
09/01/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) — tentative
11/10/09 — Soyuz 5R/MRM2 (Russian Mini Research Module, MIM2) on Soyuz — tentative
11/12/09 — STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 – ELC1, ELC2
12/10/09 — STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola — tentative
02/11/10 — STS-131/Atlantis/19A – MPLM(P), LMC — tentative
04/08/10 — STS-132/Discovery/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM1 — tentative
05/31/10 — STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 – ELC3, ELC4 — tentative
12/XX/11 — Proton 3R/MLM w/ERA.

SpaceRef staff editor.