Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 9 April 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
April 11, 2009
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 9 April 2009

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below.   The ISS-19 crew is back on regular wake/sleep cycle (2:00am-5:30pm EDT).

CDR Padalka, FE-1 Barratt & FE-2 Wakata began their workday before breakfast with the periodic session of the Russian biomedical routine assessments PZEh-MO-7/Calf Volume Measurement and PZEh-MO-8/Body Mass Measurement, using the IM mass measurement device which Padalka then stowed away again.  First time for all three.    [Calf measurements (left leg only) are taken with the IZOG device, a custom-sewn fabric cuff that fits over the calf, using the knee and lower foot as fixed reference pints, to provide a rough index of deconditioning in zero-G and effectiveness of countermeasures.  For determining body mass in zero-G, where things are weightless but not massless, the Russian IM "scales" measure the inertial forces that arise during the oscillatory motion of a mass driven by two helical metering springs with known spring constants.  By measuring the time period of each oscillation of the unknown mass (the crewmember) and comparing it to the period of a known mass, the crewmember’s mass is calculated by the computer and displayed.]

The FE-1 set up and conducted his first ops session with the new BISE (Bodies in the Space Environment) experiment, setting up the video camcorder for recording the activity, loading BISE software into an A31p SSC (Station Support Computer) and configuring the “Neurospat” hardware.  Barratt then had ~35 min for completing the experiment protocol.    [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 Barratt’s test runs, 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.]

FE-2 Wakata performed the periodic WPA (Water Processor Assembly) chemical water analysis in the TOCA (Total Organic Carbon Analyzer) after first priming (filling) the TOCA water sample hose.  After the 2-hr. analysis, Wakata returned to the TOCA for transferring the results to SSC-7 (Station Support Computer 7) via USB drive for downlink and also logging the data for calldown.   [The current procedure is a work-around for TOCA’s failed catalyst.]

Later, Koichi also collected “Exp-19 Week 1” samples of potable water for chemical and microbial analysis from the SVO-ZV tap and the SRV-K Warm tap, the latter after preliminary heating of the water (three heating cycles) and flushing.     [Collected were three 225 mL sample (for inflight microbial analysis) and two 750 mL samples (for postflight chemical analysis) from each of three ports (SRV-K hot, SRV-K warm, SVO-ZV) for return on 2J/A.  The flush water, collected in three small waste water bags, was then reclaimed for technical use.  For the in-flight chemistry/microbiology analysis, Koichi used MCDs (microbial capture devices) from the U.S. WMK (water microbiology kit) for treatment/processing after no more than 6 hours of the collection (done ~1:10pm EDT).  Sample analysis included subsequent processing of water samples in the MWAK (microbial water analysis kit) for inflight coliform bacteria (Escherichia coli) detection.  Results of the on-board processing will be available after a two-day incubation period (T+2d), in case of the MWAK after 4-6 days of incubation.]

CDR Padalka performed major (3-hr) periodic replacements on the SM’s ASU toilet facility, changing out replaceable parts with new components, such as a sensor unit (A8A-9060), two receptacles (PR & MP), four hoses, a T-connector and an elbow fitting and an indicator.  All old parts were discarded as trash. 

The FE-2 meanwhile performed troubleshooting on the CEVIS (Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation System) which has shown anomalous workload indications.  To find out whether the ergometer or its new control panel are responsible, Wakata unstowed the CCC (CEVIS Contingency Controller) from the cycle’s accessory kit and installed it in place of the control panel, reattaching isolators, checking out the replacement and taking video close-ups of the CCC display (all 3 LED screens).    [Koichi recorded his CEVIS exercise with some zero-workload pedaling added. Afterwards, the video was to be downlinked for ground analysis.  ]

Padalka transferred two CWCs (Contingency Water Containers, #1043 & #1068) with US condensate to the RS (Russian Segment) for the periodic (about twice a month) replenishing of the Elektron’s water supply for electrolysis, filling the designated KOV EDV container.  Once filled, the EDV was connected to the BPK transfer pump for processing through the BKO.     [The 40-minute procedure is specially designed to prevent air bubbles larger than ~10 mm from getting into the BZh Liquid Unit where they could cause Elektron shutdown.]

The FE-1 conducted the periodic status check on the payloads CGBA-5 (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus 5) and ENose (Electronic Nose), both located in the ER-2 (EXPRESS Rack 2).

In the US Lab, Barratt removed the alignment guides on the FCF (Fluids & Combustion Facility) in the CIR (Combustion Integrated Rack) to allow PaRIS (Passive Rack Isolation System) activation for additional ground-commanded CIR MDCA (Multi-user Droplet Combustion Apparatus) operations that require a microgravity environment.    [More FCF-CIR test points will be run tomorrow.]

Mike also performed 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.]

Gennady took care of 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.]

Mike Barratt conducted 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).

Gennady collected and downloaded the periodic sensor readings of the Russian “Pille-MKS” (MKS = ISS) radiation dosimetry experiment which has ten sensors placed at various locations in the Russian segment (DC1, SM starboard & port cabin windows, ASU toilet facility, control panel, etc.).    [Nine of the ten dosimeters are read manually.]

The FE-1 conducted the weekly 10-min. CWC (Contingency Water Container) inventory as part of on-going WRM (Water Recovery & Management) assessment of onboard water supplies.  Updated “cue cards” based on the crew’s water calldowns are sent up every other week.   [The new card (18-1444A), the second for Exp 19, lists 45 CWCs (1406.6 L total) for the four types of water identified on board: technical water (917.0 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 485.8 L currently off-limits, filled from 15A & WPA and pending sample analysis on the ground), potable water (422.8 L, incl. 336.8 L currently off-limit because of Wautersia bacteria), condensate water (0.0 L), waste/EMU dump and other (66.8 L, including 22.2 L not to be used.  Wautersia bacteria are typical water-borne microorganisms that have been seen previously in ISS water sources.  These isolates pose no threat to human health.]

In the US Airlock, Mike swapped EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) spacesuits #3006 & #3011 in preparation for tomorrow’s planned cooling loop scrub. [After removing batteries from EMUs 3005 & 3006 plus a restraint strap & bag from 3011 for stowage, the FE-1 installed EMU 3011 on the forward EDDA (EMU Don/Doff Assembly) instead of 3005, moving the latter to the previous location of 3011.]

The FE-2 performed the periodic deployment of four passive FMK (Formaldehyde Monitoring Kit) sampling assemblies in the Lab (at P3, below CEVIS) and SM (at the most forward handrail, on panel 307) for two days, to catch any atmospheric formaldehyde on a collector substrate for subsequent analysis on the ground. [Two monitors each are usually attached side by side, preferably in an orientation with their faces perpendicular to the direction of air flow.]

Afterwards, Koichi collected air samples at the center of the Lab, SM and COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory) with US GSCs (Grab Sample Containers) #1054, #1066 & #1088.

Gennady unstowed and set up the equipment for the periodic Russian PZE-MO-10 "Hematokrit" testing which is scheduled for the post-sleep use by all crewmembers tomorrow. [MO-10 measures the hematocrit (red blood cell mass) value of the blood (it is a well-known phenomenon of space flight that red blood cell mass {normal range: 30-45%} tends to go down over time).]

Koichi reviewed general hardware requirements and procedures for setting up and operating video equipment for crew downlinking during media events,

Wakata, Barratt & Padalka were scheduled for their regular PMCs (Private Medical Conferences), Koichi at ~8:45am EDT, Mike at ~2:55pm, Gennady at 3:30pm.

At ~3:29am, Wakata powered up the SM’s amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and conducted, at 3:34am, a ham radio exchange in Japanese with students at the Kawanishi Seiwadai Community Center, Hyogo, Japan. [Kawanishi City is in the residential suburbs that still “has wonderful nature”. The history of Kawanishi City is very old. A lot of historical shrines and culture still exists. The community center was established as an exchanging place in 1987. It is put to practical use for regional peoples exchanging place through sports and culture.]

At ~4:35am, the crew held a tagup with the Japanese Flight Control Team at the SSIPC (Space Station Integration & Promotion Center) in Tsukuba via S-band/audio. [This conference is scheduled once every week, between the ISS crewmembers and SSIPC.]

At ~12:05pm, Mike & Koichi used the G1 video camcorder with MPC (Multipurpose Converter) and IPU (Image Processing Unit) for high definition PAO TV downlink for two interview events in Seattle, WA, one with KING-TV (Brad Goode), the other with KOMO-TV (Mike Dardis). Seattle is Mike Barratt’s hometown.

At ~2:35pm, CDR Padalka is scheduled to downlink two PAO TV messages of greetings,- (1) to high school students gathered at N.E. Bauman MGTU (Moscow State Technical University) on Cosmonautics Day (April 12), (2) to the participants of the 10th Russian “Constellation” Olympiad taking place at the Y.A. Gagarin Russian State Science & Research Testing Center for Cosmonaut Training from September 2008 through April 2009.

Gennady & Mike 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 station residence, if they choose to take it.

The crew 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-2/CCC), TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-1), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (FE-1, FE-2), and VELO with bungee cord load trainer (CDR). Afterwards, Barratt transferred 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 ARED, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).

Conjunction Update: Sufficient tracking updates have been received after 17S undock to reduce POC (Probability of Collision) with Object 29822 to almost zero, and the DAM (Debris Avoidance Maneuver) was cancelled. TCA (Time of Closest Approach) was 7:59am EDT this morning (overall miss: 0.9 km; radial: 0.7 km), Due to late tracking updates, Moscow did not get latest information by the agreed-upon cutoff time for calculating DAM parameters (23.5 hrs before projected collision). Procedures are under review. [Object 29822 is one of the ~2500 tracked pieces of debris that resulted from the 1/11 Chinese ASAT (Anti-Satellite) test against the old weather satellite Fengyun-1C.]

Istochnik-M Update: Data from the new “Istochnik-M” (“spring”, “source”) system for receiving telemetry from the re-entering Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft were received via ISS-relay during initial stages of the thruster firings but then stopped coming although ground systems showed that the station was still receiving. Specialists are analyzing. No official information available yet on the results of the data recording by US ground team deployed in Israel.

CEO (Crew Earth Observations) photo targets uplinked for today were Baikonur (Crew request. Looking left, rightward of the Aral Sea), Beijing, China Aerosol (looking for any haze masses in the atmosphere. A mapping swath well off track to include shorelines or other recognizable features was requested), Pyongyang, North Korea (Crew request. Looking right on far side of Korean Peninsula), Tenoumer Impact Crater, Mauritania (this small crater lies between two sets of dune fields, beyond a prominent linear ridge, all left of track. It appears as the only circular feature), Belgrade, Serbia (Crew request. Nadir pass. The city lies on the large Danube River), Slate Islands Impact Crater, Canada (looking just left of track. The crater appears as an island just off the north coast of Lake Superior—between the ISS track and the shoreline), Redoubt Volcano, Alaska (Dynamic event. Looking far left for any plume that may appear above the cloud layer. The volcano is intermittently active. Based on past activity, the current eruption phase is expected to continue for weeks to months, alternating between relatively quiet periods of lava dome growth and explosive episodes of dome destruction), Bismarck, North Dakota (Crew request. Looking right. The city is located on the Missouri River), Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota (Crew request. Nadir pass. The twin cities cover a large area on either side of the Mississippi River, with the airport to their south side), Madison, Wisconsin (Crew request. Looking at nadir and a touch right), and Columbus, Ohio (Crew request. Nadir pass. The city is situated where two rivers meet).

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, 8:05am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude — 353.1 km
Apogee height – 359.4 km
Perigee height — 346.8 km
Period — 91.60 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0009371
Solar Beta Angle — -42.2 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 100 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 59514

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
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.