Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 7 March 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
March 8, 2009
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 7 March 2009

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Saturday – light-duty day for CDR Fincke, FE-1 Lonchakov & FE-2 Magnus.

With wake period to the right by 2 hrs this morning (3:00am – 6:30pm), the crew started a new sleep cycle shift protocol to adjust to the requirements of the Mission 15A docked period next week (see Wake/Sleep Schedule, below, based on a nominal STS-119 launch on 3/11).

CDR Fincke started the day with the daily download of the accumulated data of the SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) experiment from his Actiwatch to the HRF-1 (Human Research Facility 1) laptop as part of another week-long session with SLEEP, his third. [To monitor the crewmember’s sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, the crewmembers wear a special Actiwatch device which measures the light levels encountered by them as well as their patterns of sleep and activity throughout the Expedition and use the payload software for data logging and filling in questionnaire entries in the experiment’s laptop session file on the HRF-1 laptop. The log entries are done within 15 minutes of final awakening for seven consecutive days, as part of the crew’s discretionary “job jar” task list.]

FE-2 Magnus began the second day of her FD120 (Flight Day 120) session with the NASA/JSC experiment NUTRITION w/Repository, after the overnight 8-hr fast. This was an all-day session, the fifth for Sandy, of collecting blood samples (assisted by Mike Fincke) plus urine samples several times until termination tomorrow after 24 hrs. [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.]

Fincke & FE-1Lonchakov continued EVA preparations in the DC1 (Docking Compartment), including –

  • Reviewing specific EVA procedures for several hours;
  • Preparing EVA gear, consolidating take-out equipment bundles, shooting documentary photo/video for ground review and tagging up with ground specialists;
  • Configuring the emergency medical kits in the DC1 [comprising the NP-2 First Aid Kit 2, SS Cardiovascular Remedies Kit and AB Onboard First Aid Kit from the Soyuz 13S];
  • Readying CCPKs (Crew Contamination Protection Kits, Russian: PNST) in the DC1, for protecting the spacewalkers from FORP (Fuel/Oxidizer Reaction Products, e.g., N-nitrosodimethylamine, NDMA), i.e., incompletely-burnt fuel residue on the SM hull from yaw/pitch thruster plumes [protective gear kits for use during and after the EVA in case the Orlans are inadvertently contaminated, are extensively equipped with wet wipes, dry towels, goggles, IPK gas masks and half masks, latex gloves, high performance filters, trash containers, etc. Towels used for wiping gloves etc. will not be thrown overboard but attached to handrails]; and
  • Installing the usual additional BNP portable air repress bottle in the DC1 (to support a DC1 repress in the event of a failure of the DC1/PkhO hatch’s pressure equalization valve) [the regular BNP bottle is already installed in the repress line of the SM’s work compartment (RO).]

Continuing her preparations for the 15A spacewalks, the FE-2 set up the REBA (Rechargeable EVA Battery), EHIP (EMU Helmet Interchangeable Portable) light, PGT (Pistol Grip Tool) and EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) batteries in the Airlock BSA (Battery Stowage Assembly) for recharging. [This is the first of two recharges required to prepare all EVA batteries for 15A.]

For this weekend’s planned VolSci (Voluntary Science) program, the crew had selected an EPO (Education Payload Operations) Renovation Demo, to create an educational video demonstration discussing the recent renovations that have occurred on the ISS and their preparations for six crewmembers. Sandy Magnus today reviewed the activity and set up the camcorder for conducting the demo tomorrow.

Mike Fincke completed the regular bi-monthly reboots of the OCA Router and File Server SSC (Station Support Computer) laptops.

Sandra Magnus took documentary photography of the LOCAD-PTS (Lab-on-a-Chip Application Development-Portable Test System) Phase 1 media slides from her last session on 3/4 for any culture growths.

The FE-2 also completed 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.]

Yuri Lonchakov performed the regular maintenance of the Russian POTOK-150MK (150 micron) air purification subsystems in the SM and FGB by cleaning the pre-filters with a vacuum cleaner with narrow nozzle attachment and later restarting the POTOK in automatic mode.

The station residents 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 (CDR, FE-2), TVIS treadmill (FE-1/2.5h) and ARED advanced resistive exerciser (CDR, FE-2).

At ~8:45am EST, the crew conducted their regular WPC (Weekly Planning Conference) with the ground, discussing next week’s "Look-Ahead Plan" (prepared jointly by MCC-Houston and TsUP-Moscow timeline planners) via S-band/audio, reviewing the monthly calendar, upcoming activities, and any concerns about future on-orbit events.

At ~2:40pm, the FE-2 has her weekly PFC (Private Family Conference), via S-band/audio and Ku-band/MS-NetMeeting application (which displays the uplinked ground video on an SSC laptop).

At ~5:00pm, the crew is scheduled to tag up with the STS-119 crew for a teleconference.

Working off the Russian discretionary “time permitting” suggestions list, the FE-1 conducted another session for Russia’s Environmental Safety Agency (EKON), making observations and taking KPT-3 aerial photography of environmental conditions on earth using the Nikon D2X with the SIGMA 300-800mm telephoto lens.

A second periodic task from the voluntary work list for Yuri called for another session of the Russian "Uragan" (hurricane) earth-imaging program, using the Nikon D1X digital camera with 400 & 800 mm focal length lenses to take pictures of natural environment targets, including those showing man-made impacts on nature. [Photo targets were the glaciers of the Patagonia southern and northern ice fields.]

ISS Crew Sleep Shift Planning: To synchronize the ISS crew’s timeline with STS-119/15A arrival and docked period, the station wake/sleep cycle is again undergoing a number of shifts which started this morning (3/7). For the next few days, the schedule is as follows:


Wake: 3:00am – 6:30pm EST


Wake: 6:00am – 9:30pm EDT


Wake: 6:00am – 5:30pm


Wake: 3:30am – 11:30pm


Wake: 9:00am – 12:30am 3/12


Wake: 9:00am – 2:00am 3/13


Wake: 10:30am – 1:50am 3/14


Wake: 10:20am – 1:20am 3/15


Wake: 9:50am – 12:50am 3/16


Wake: 9:20am – 12:50am 3/17


Wake: 9:20am – 12:20am 3/18


Wake: 8:50am – 11:50pm


Wake: 8:20am – 11:20pm


Wake: 7:50am – 11:20pm


Wake: 7:50am – 10:50pm


Wake: 7:20am – 10:50pm

EVA-21A Timeline Preview: The Orlan EVA-21A by Lonchakov (EV1) & Fincke (EV2) on 3/10 begins at ~12:20pm EDT (DC1 EV hatch open), to last an estimated 5 hrs 45 min, i.e., concluding at approximately 5:05pm. Russian attitude thrusters will be inhibited by TsUP ground commanding at specific times when the spacewalkers work on the SM RO (Working Compartment, l.d.) and SM AO (Assembly Compartment). Objectives of the EVA (all fallen off the previous EVA-21 timeline) are –

  • Mount the EXPOSE-R hardware on the URM-D (Portable Multipurpose Workstation) on the SM RO l.d., connect it to the PF-3 connector patch panel and remove protective cover;
  • Photograph the URM-D with EXPOSE-R monoblock & cables, ROBOTIC hardware, IPI-SM hardware and routed cables;
  • Remove fasteners (Aramide straps) in the installation areas of the docking target and AR-VKA & 2AR-VKA antennas on DC1;
  • Close MLI (Multi-Layer Insulation) flap on the SM PF-10 connector patch panel;
  • Re-install SKK #9 removable cassette container in nominal position on SM;
  • Inspect & photograph Progress antenna ASF1-M-VKA from DC handrail 3034; and
  • Inspect & photograph conditions of ISS RS exterior & structural elements (“Panorama-2009” DTO).

Weekly Science Update (Expedition Eighteen — Week 19)

3-D SPACE: Planned: 15A/FE-2.

ALTCRISS (Alteino Long Term monitoring of Cosmic Rays on the ISS): Complete.

BCAT-3/4 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test 3/4): Planned.

BIO-4: Complete.

BIOLAB (BLB): Additional troubleshooting steps with the installed empty WAICO-2 Experiment Containers are being prepared. On 3/2, Sandy has successfully performed preventive maintenance of the catalytic filters of the BIOLAB BioGloveBox (BGB). Later on, the leak-tightness check of the BGB has been successfully performed, with involvement of the ISS crew and via ground commanding.

CARDIOCOG-2: Complete.

CCISS (Cardiovascular & Cerebrovascular Control on Return from ISS): “Mike, unfortunately due to the Shuttle slipping, we were unable to get an optional midpoint CCISS session. Thanks for the generous offer. Your nominal CCISS session will be a few weeks away. Sandy, we are currently planning your final CCISS session for next Monday. It will be identical to the session you completed at the beginning of your mission. While analyzing the data, the PI noticed that the finger cuffs may have been loose during your first session. Tightening the small finger cuffs will ensure maximum science is collected. Thanks for your participation.”

CFE (Capillary Flow Experiment): Reserve.

CW/CR (Cell Wall/Resist Wall) in EMCS (European Modular Cultivation System): Samples returned on 1J.

CSI-3/CGBA-5 (CGBA Science Insert #2/Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus 5): Ongoing.

CGBA-2 (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus 2): Complete.

CIR (Combustion Integrated Rack): “This week saw the successful culmination of a great team effort to get the CIR and MDCA ready for science operations. Although we haven’t technically performed any science activities, we were able to run three ignitions of methanol droplets in the combustion chamber and capture images from all three of the CIR cameras. We really appreciate all the effort you made in ensuring the installation was done correctly and in helping us resolve the anomaly with the fuel reservoir. We couldn’t have gotten to this point without it. We’ll bring all those images to the ground and analyze them to see how it looks for proceeding with the science test points in the days after the Shuttle has undocked. Thanks for helping to make our initial combustion event a success.”

CSLM-2 (Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures 2): Complete.

DomeGene (JAXA): “We are now checking the ground command procedure to control the temperature caused from fan trouble. Thank you Sandy for your supporting our troubleshooting on this.”

EarthKAM (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students): Planned.

EDR (European Drawer Rack): Planned.

ELITE-S2 (Elaboratore Immagini Televisive – Space 2): Planned.

ENose (Electronic Nose): ENose is operating normally.

EPM (European Physiology Module): Underway.

EPO (Educational Payload Operations): Reserve.

ETD (Eye Tracking Device): Completed.

EuTEF (European Technology Exposure Facility): The platform continues to operate nominally, with the exception of two MILbus communication errors which have occurred on 2/25 and on 3/4. DOSTEL, MEDET, EXPOSE and FIPEX are acquiring science. The DEBIE-2 team has changed the thresholds limits in order to try and solve the problem of empty science packets after the instrument runs for a certain amount of time. Problem has been re-created on Ground Model, and as a work-around the instrument is power cycled every 30-35 hrs in order to avoid the situation of empty science packets. Troubleshooting is ongoing. For the TRIBOLAB instrument, further attempts to resume the Ball-Bearing run #4 have taken place from 2/28 to 3/1. Unfortunately, even at low rpm, the Ball-Bearing redundant shaft motor seems damaged, leading to the instrument switching to Non-Nominal Mode (NNM).

FSL (Fluid Science Laboratory): “On 3/2, Sandy Magnus has successfully repaired the MILbus cable of the FSL. The rack has been subsequently re-activated from ground – all subsystems reported nominal.”

GEOFLOW: Aborted. GEOFLOW EC (Experiment Container) will be returned on 15A for investigation of its anomaly.”

HDTV System Test DL (JAXA): Complete.

ICE CRYSTAL (JAXA): Complete. “This week, we have checked the failed thermo module again with ground commanding. But it does not come back again. So we have finished the experiment. Even with this malfunction at final stage, we could complete the experiment as we planned. In some cases, more than we expected. Thank you for your support.”

IMMUNO (Neuroendocrine & Immune Responses in Humans During & After Long Term Stay at ISS): Complete.

InSPACE-2 (Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions 2): Complete.

Integrated Immune: In progress.

KUBIK-FM1/ KUBIK-FM2 Centrifuge/Incubators: Completed.

LOCAD-PTS (Lab-on-a-Chip Application Development-Portable Test System): “Great job operating LOCAD on Wednesday! Thanks for your good work. You chose another interesting site: the Waste Hygiene Compartment (WHC) near the fan intake. The Limulus Amebocyte Lysate (LAL) test for endotoxin reading of 1.47 Endotoxin Units (EU) per mL was the second highest endotoxin value recorded on Station so far, out of the 50 or so tests performed since March 2007. The glucan readings were also on the high side (11 – 66 ng per mL glucan). Your Gram+ test for gram-positive bacteria gave a fairly low reading (< 0.058 mg per mL lipoteichoic acid), but that cartridge is not quite as sensitive as the other two. While trying not to be too graphic here, the high Endotoxin result may be due to a group of gram-negative bacteria called Bacteroides, which are normally present in the GI tract. The high glucan reading may be due to yeasts and molds, which are types of fungi (glucan is a molecule found in fungal cell walls), and also commonly found in the alimentary canal. You’re doing a truly excellent job for LOCAD and selecting some great sites for us. Thanks a lot!”

Marangoni Experiment for ISS in JAXA FPEF (Fluid Physics Experiment Facility): In progress.

Micro-G Clay (JAXA EPO): Complete.

MISSE (Materials ISS Experiment): Ongoing.

Moon Photography from ISS (JAXA EPO): Complete.

MSG-SAME (Microgravity Science Glovebox): Complete.

MTR-2 (Russian radiation measurements): Passive dosimeters measurements in DC1 “Pirs”.

MULTIGEN-1: Completed.

NOA-1/-2 (Nitric Oxide Analyzer, ESA): Complete.


PADLES (Passive Dosimeter for Lifescience Experiment in Space): In progress.

PCRF (Protein Crystallization Research Facility) Reconfiguration (JAXA): Complete.

PMDIS (Perceptual Motor Deficits in Space): Complete.

RadGene & LOH (JAXA): “Thank you Sandy for completing this experiment. Because of the launch delay, and also for the CO2 gas problem, we had to re-schedule so many times! But, finally we can complete the experiment. PI team is very pleased with the completion. We are waiting for the 15A launch.”

SAMS/MAMS (Space & Microgravity Acceleration Measurement Systems): Ongoing.

SAMPLE: Complete.

SHERE (Shear History Extensional Rheology Experiment): Complete.

SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight): “Mike, thanks for downloading and initializing yours and Sandy’s Actiwatches. Your data continues to look great.”

SOLAR (Solar Monitoring Observatory): Sun visibility window started on 2/23. The platform has been in Sun Pointing Mode during the last reporting period, until 3/4. Three successful Criss-Cross manoeuvres have been performed on 2/27.

SOLO (Sodium Loading in Microgravity): Experiment completed by Mike Fincke. Blood and urine samples are now stowed in MELFI for return on 2J/A.

SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellite): Reserve.

SPICE (Smoke Point In Co-flow Experiment): “All 108 nominal test points have been completed along with an almost equal number of bonus runs. Thanks to Mike and Sandy’s efficient work. Some of the fuels still have significant amounts of gas left which will be translated into additional test points after the ongoing analysis of the completed test points is completed. The double bonus test matrix is expected to be completed in two weeks.”

Swab (Characterization of Microorganisms & Allergens in Spacecraft): Complete.

TRAC (Test of Reaction & Adaptation Capabilities): Planned.


VLE (Video Lessons ESA): VLE-1 completed.

WAICO #1/#2 (Waving and Coiling of Arabidopsis Roots at Different g-levels): Complete/Planned (2J/A Stage).

CEO (Crew Earth Observations): Through 3/5, the ground has received a total of 22,879 of ISS CEO imagery for review and cataloguing. “Photos with times corresponding to our CEO target times are reviewed first and this week include: Bosumtwi Impact Crater, Ghana – 4 frames – target not acquired; Villarrica Volcano, Chile – 33 frames – target acquired – good context views – long lens views still needed; Kwanza Basin, Angola – 30 frames – under review; Volcan Colima, Mexico – 13 frames – target acquired – under review; and Palmerston Island, central South Pacific – 4 frames – target acquired – under review. Your excellent, context view, from a session last week, of the Minchinmavida and Chaiten Volcanoes, Chile will be published on NASA/GSFC’s Earth Observatory website this weekend. Yours are the first useful astronaut photos of this target area since the massive, explosive eruption of Chaiten last May. Kudos to the crew!”

CEO photo targets uplinked for today were Villarrica Volcano (snow-covered Villarrica [9,340 feet], one of Chile’s most active volcanoes, rises above the lake and town of the same name. It is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes that trend perpendicular to the Andean chain. Villarrica is one of only four volcanoes worldwide known to have an active lava lake within its crater. Last week the crew acquired an excellent context view of this target. Today Mike & Sandy had a late morning pass with mostly clear skies expected and the target just left of track. As ISS approached the central Chilean coast from the NW, they were to try for a detailed mapping strip from the lake through the three volcanic peaks in a line), S. Georgia/S. Sandwich (the South Georgia Island is an arching, mountainous and glaciated island that lies about 860 miles east-southeast of the Falkland Islands. The South Sandwich Islands form a separate island group and are to the SE. Weather was marginal with only partial clearing expected, but the crew was to try for detailed views of the glaciers on the north coast of South Georgia), and Coral reefs, American Samoa (ISS had a near nadir pass in fair weather with mid-morning lighting over this famous south Pacific Ocean paradise island. This is the easternmost of the larger islands in the Samoan group and rarely photographed. Using the long lens settings for detailed views of the fringing reef structures of the island.)

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, 8:45am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 355.1 km
Apogee height — 361.5 km
Perigee height — 348.6 km
Period — 91.64 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0009577
Solar Beta Angle — 37.5 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.71
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 57 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 58996

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
03/08/09 — US Daylight Time begins at 2:00am
03/08/09 — Russian EVA-21A suited dry run
03/10/09 — Russian EVA-1A (hatch open ~12:20pm EDT, 11:20am CDT)
03/11/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A launch – S6 truss segment — 9:20:10pm EDT
03/13/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A docking — 6:27pm EDT
03/23/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A undocking — 10:23am EDT
03/25/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A deorbit (Orbit 217) & landing — 3:27pm EDT (KSC)
03/26/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S launch
03/28/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A landing (tentative)
03/28/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S docking (DC1)
04/07/09 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S undocking & landing
05/06/09 — Progress 32P undocking & deorbit (under review)
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
05/15/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch – JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD
05/27/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
05/29/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S docking (FGB nadir)
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.