Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 9 February 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
February 9, 2009
Filed under , , ,
NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 9 February 2009

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Underway: Week 16 of Increment 18.

FE-2 Magnus started the day with the daily download of the accumulated data of the SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) experiment from her Actiwatch to the HRF-1 (Human Research Facility 1) laptop as part of another week-long session with SLEEP, her 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.]

After updating the TOCA (Total Organic Carbon Analyzer) software load from USB, the CDR performed the regular periodic US WRS (Water Recovery System) sampling. [Steps included setting up the TOCA by connecting its power cable to the UOP1 J3 outlet panel and hooking up its primed WPA (Water Processing Assembly) water sample hose to the WRS Rack 1, followed by collecting samples from the PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) Hot needle outlet for subsequent inflight processing with the TOCA plus WMK (Water Microbiology Kit) with MCD (Microbial Capture Device) and CDB (Coliform Detection Bag). After the analyses, the usual water reclamation from the sample bags via an absorbing towel (to be dried by airing) and data recording (from TOCA USB drive into the SSC7 laptop) concluded the activities. WRS sampling & checkouts are being conducted for 90 days, i.e., every 4 days: WRS water hose (TOCA inflight analysis) & microbial bag sample (inflight bacterial visual enumeration plus archival for return on 15A), every 8 days: an archival water sample (return on 15A), and monthly: a TOCA bag sample from PWD (tested inflight). Background: The last TOCA run terminated due to the measured nitrogen (N2) gas flow rate indicating “below limits”. N2 is used as carrier gas to take the oxidized organic molecules to the CO2 sensor. With its catalyst failed, the gas mixture at the start of the analysis contains statistically significant amounts of hydrogen (H2) which causes the mass flow sensor to “think” it is still measuring N2 and CO2. Today’s software update allows TOCA to continue analysis if the flow rate sensor trips the limit.]

In preparation for Progress M-66/32P docking on 2/13 (Friday), CDR Fincke & FE-1 Lonchakov completed the standard three-hour training course with the TORU teleoperator system, which provides a manual backup mode to the Progress’ KURS automated rendezvous radio system. Afterwards, Mike & Yuri tagged up with a TORU instructor at TsUP/Moscow via S-band audio. [The drill included procedure review, rendezvous, docking data and rendezvous math modeling data review, fly-around, final approach, docking and off-nominal situations (e.g., video or comm loss). Three modes were simulated on the RSK1 laptop with varying range and sunlight conditions. The TORU teleoperator control system lets a SM-based crewmember perform the approach and docking of automated Progress vehicles in case of KURS failure. Receiving a video image of the approaching ISS, as seen from a Progress-mounted docking television camera (“Klest”), on a color monitor (“Simvol-Ts”, i.e. “symbol center”) which also displays an overlay of rendezvous data from the onboard digital computer, the FE-1 would steer the Progress to mechanical contact by means of two hand controllers, one for rotation (RUO), the other for translation (RUD), on adjustable armrests. The controller-generated commands are transmitted from the SM’s TORU control panel to the Progress via VHF radio. In addition to the Simvol-Ts color monitor, range, range rate (approach velocity) and relative angular position data are displayed on the “Klest-M” video monitor (VKU) which starts picking up signals from Progress when it is still approximately 8 km away. TORU is monitored in real time from TsUP over Russian ground sites (RGS) and via Ku-band from Houston, but its control cannot be taken over from the ground. On 2/13, Progress KURS will be activated at ~12:40am EST on Daily Orbit 1 (DO1), SM KURS two minutes later. Progress floodlight will be switched on at a range of ~8 km (~1:35am). Flyaround to the SM aft docking port (~400 m range, in sunlight) starts at 1:53am. Start of final approach: ~2:10am (DO1) in sunlight, contact: ~2:19am.]

In the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), FE-2 Magnus supported a software update on the EPM (European Physiology Module) facility’s laptop for use by the CDL PCBA (Portable Clinical Blood Analyzer) during the current SOLO experiments, by installing, activating and later deactivating and stowing the PC.

Servicing the COL ventilation system, Sandy also performed the periodic inspection and cleaning of the RGSH (Return Grid Sensor Housing) on the PD Panel, module side.

In the Lab, Magnus performed troubleshooting on the ELC6 (EXPRESS Rack 6 Laptop Computer) by successfully verifying proper connections, settings & functionality of its WOL (Wake On LAN) function (which had never worked before onboard).

Continuing the extended leak checking of the spare BZh Liquid Unit (#056) for the Elektron O2 generator, FE-1 Lonchakov charged the unit once again with pressurized N2 from the BPA Nitrogen Purge Unit to 1 atm (1 kg/cm2). The last test pressurization to monitor for leakage was on 12/20. [Objective of the monthly checkout of the BZh, which has been in stowage since March 2007, is to check for leakage and good water passage through the feed line inside of the BZh (from ZL1 connector to the buffer tank) and to check the response of the Electronics Unit’s micro switches (signaling “Buffer Tank is Empty” & “Buffer Tank is Full”. During Elektron operation, the inert gas locked up in the BZh has the purpose to prevent dangerous O2/H2 mixing. A leaking BZh cannot be used.]

The CDR & FE-2 had 10 min set aside to fill out their surgeon-provided BRASLET-Anketa (bracelet questionnaire) for the recent “Validation of On-Orbit Methodology for the Assessment of Cardiac Function and Changes in the Circulating Volume Using Ultrasound and BRASLET-M Occlusion Cuffs” activities. [BRASLET (bracelet), SDTO 17011, is sponsored by NASA and FSA/IBMP (Russian Federal Space Agency/Institute of Bio-Medical Problems, Russian: IMBP, Dr. Valery Bogomolov). Objective: to test the performance of occlusion cuffs in modifying fluid shifts that occur early during physiological transition into the space environment and to establish a valid ultrasound methodology for assessing a number of aspects of central and peripheral hemodynamics and cardiovascular function, specifically in rapid changes in intravascular circulating volume. The BRASLET-M occlusion cuffs are a Russian-made operational countermeasure already pre-calibrated and available onboard for each ISS crewmember. The assessment involves multiple modes of ultrasound imaging and measurements, in combination with short-term application of BRASLET-M occlusive cuffs and cardiopulmonary maneuvers (Valsalva, Mueller) to demonstrate and to evaluate the degree of changes in the circulating volume on orbit. This is accomplished by performing echocardiographic examinations in multiple modes (including Tissue Doppler mode), ultrasound measurements of lower extremity venous and arterial vascular responses to BRASLET-M device under nominal conditions and also during cardiopulmonary Mueller and Valsalva maneuvers. Identical measurements are being repeated without BRASLET-M, with BRASLET-M applied, and immediately after releasing the occlusion device.]

In the US Airlock, Sandy Magnus removed the freshly recharged EVA batteries from the BSA BCs (Battery Storage Assembly/Battery Chargers) #1, #2, #4 and stowed them for use on the 15A spacewalks.

Afterwards, Sandy conducted another sampling round with the LOCAD-PTS (Lab-on-a-Chip Application Development-Portable Test System) Phase 2 payload, swabbing five samples and using LOCAD-PTS Gram+ LAL Cartridges for analysis. [LOCAD uses small, thumb-sized “microfluidic” cartridges that are read by the experiment Reader. The Gram+ LOCAD cartridges provide a miniaturized molecular test for Gram-positive bacteria, a group of bacteria predominant on spacecraft cabin surfaces that test ‘positive’ with the Gram stain (developed by Danish microbiologist Hans Christian Gram in 1884). The cartridges contain dried extract of horseshoe crab blood cells (LAL/Limulus amebocyte lysate) and colorless dye. LAL tests are used for the detection and quantification of bacterial endotoxins: in the presence of the bacteria, the dried extract reacts strongly to turn the dye a green color. Therefore, the more green dye, the more microorganisms there are in the original sample. The handheld device tests this new analysis technology by sampling for the presence of gram positive bacteria in the sample in about 30 minutes, showing the results on a display screen. Background: Lab-on-a-Chip technology has an ever-expanding range of applications in the biotech industry. Chips are available (or in development) which can also detect yeast, mold, and gram positive bacteria, identify environmental contaminants, and perform quick health diagnostics in medical clinics. The technology has been used to swab the MERs (Mars Exploration Rovers) for planetary protection. With expanded testing on ISS, began by Sunita Williams in March/April last year, this compact technology has broad potential applications in space exploration–from monitoring environmental conditions to monitoring crew health. The current study should prepare for long-duration exploration by demonstrating a system that enables the crew to perform biochemical analysis in space without having to return samples to Earth.]

Mike Fincke meanwhile conducted 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, Mike completed the third day of his first six-day SOLO (Sodium Loading in Microgravity) session, which entails a series of diet intake loggings, body mass measurements and blood & urine samplings in two session blocks. [During the Session 1 block, the crewmember follows a special low-salt diet, during Session 2 a high-salt diet. For both diets, specially prepared meals are provided onboard. All three daily meals will be logged on sheets stowed in the PCBA (Portable Clinical Blood Analyzer) Consumable Kit in the MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS) along with control solution and cartridges for the PCBA. SOLO, an ESA/German experiment from the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Cologne/Germany, investigates the mechanisms of fluid and salt retention in the body during long-duration space flight. Body mass is measured with the SLAMMD (Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device); blood samples are taken with the PCBA. Background: The hypothesis of an increased urine flow as the main cause for body mass decrease has been questioned in several recently flown missions. Data from the US SLS1/2 missions as well as the European/Russian Euromir `94 & MIR 97 missions show that urine flow and total body fluid remain unchanged when isocaloric energy intake is achieved. However, in two astronauts during these missions the renin-angiotensin system was considerably activated while plasma ANP concentrations were decreased. Calculation of daily sodium balances during a 15-day experiment of the MIR 97 mission (by subtracting sodium excretion from sodium intake) showed an astonishing result: the astronaut retained on average 50 mmol sodium daily in space compared to balanced sodium in the control experiment.]

Lonchakov conducted the periodic audit/health check of all stationary lighting fixtures (SD-17) and their power supplies in the RS (Russian Segment), tagging up with ground specialists to discuss details. [The audit involved 17 lights in SM, 12 in FGB, and three in DC-1, plus some portable lights. For the health check, the crew used a functioning reference lamp and a reference power supply to test lighting fixtures with one or two faulty lamps and failed power supplies.]

Fincke had an hour to prepare and stow the defective CGSE VU (Common Gas Support Equipment Valve Unit), which he had removed on 1/20, for return on Flight 15A. [As part of troubleshooting of the CGSE in the JAXA JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), which had a blockage problem, Mike had replaced the failed CO2 valve with the He VU (helium valve unit). The removal of the CO2 VU, which also removed the CGSE fireport, was determined to be acceptable since the potential risk of fire in the CGSE is extremely low and the capability to inject fire suppressant with PFE (Portable Fire Extinguisher) still exists, as does monitoring with CSA-CP (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products).]

Yuri performed the periodic check of the BRI Smart Switch Router computer and its new Ethernet connection, then downloaded BRI log files from the RSS1 laptop for downlinking to the ground. [BRI is part of the RS OpsLAN (Operations Local Area Network), with connections to the three SSC clients, the Ethernet tie-in with the US network, and a network printer in the RS.]

Sandy took measurements for the regular (currently daily) atmospheric status check for ppCO2 (Carbon Dioxide partial pressure) in the Lab and in the SM at panel 449 plus battery ticks, using the hand-held CDMK (CO2 Monitoring Kit, #1002). The unit was then deactivated and returned to its stowage location (LAB1S2). [Purpose of the 5-min activity is to check on the cabin CO2 level (see Update, below), and to trend with MCA (Major Constituents Analyzer), i.e., to correlate the hand-held readings with MCA measurements. The results are usually logged in the OSTPV (Onboard Short Term Plan Viewer) and are immediately available to the ground. Note: CO2 is measured on board by the CDMK in percentage (i.e., concentration). To convert to mmHg, multiply the CDMK value (e.g., 0.55%) by the current cabin pressure (e.g., 760 mmHg) and divide by 100 (example result: 4.8 mmHg).]

The FE-1 performed 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, replacement of EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine containers and performing US condensate processing (transfer from CWC to EDV containers) if condensate is available.]

Yuri also conducted the regular daily IMS (Inventory Management System) maintenance task by updating/editing the IMS standard “delta file” including stowage locations for the regular weekly automated export/import to its three databases on the ground (Houston, Moscow, Baikonur).

At ~4:20pm EST, just before sleep time, Lonchakov will set up the Russian MBI-12 SONOKARD (Sonocard) payload and start his eighth 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.]

Sandy Magnus relocated CHeCS (Crew Health Care Systems) items from a “Lost & Found” collection bag to their proper IMS-logged stowage locations. [The items included an iRED Spacer, a CSA-CP Pump Filter, and two Water Sample Adapters.]

At ~2:20pm, FE-2 Magnus conducted a crew-requested teleconference with Exp-18 stowage specialists at MCC-Houston.

Working from his discretionary “time permitting” task list, Yuri performed the frequent status check on the Russian BIO-5 Rasteniya-1 ("Plants-1") experiment, verifying proper operation of the BU Control Unit and MIS-LADA Module fans (testing their air flow by hand). [Rasteniya-1 researches growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in the LADA-14 greenhouse from IBMP (Institute of Bio-Medical Problems, Russian: IMBP).]

A discretionary task item on the “job jar” list for CDR Fincke continues to be filling out his fourth FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire) on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer).

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 TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-1, FE-2), ARED advanced resistive exerciser (CDR, FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1).

Progress Update: Progress M-01M, the first Russian cargo vehicle equipped with modern digital control systems, was deorbited yesterday over the Pacific. The retroburn was initiated at 2:32am EST. Splashdown of remaining parts of the disintegrated vehicle in the south area of the Pacific was at ~3:20am. Meanwhile, at the Baikonur/Kazakhstan launch site preparations continue for the launch of the Progress M-66/32P cargo vehicle. Its Soyuz-U launch vehicle was rolled out this morning from the Integration Building to the launch pad and erected. L-2 Day activities have started. Launch is scheduled in early darkness on Wednesday, 2/11, shortly after midnight (~12:50am EST). Docking at the ISS is expected on 2/13 at ~2:19am.

Soyuz BILU Calibration: In the Soyuz TMA-13/17S, currently docked at the FGB nadir port, TsUP/Moscow performed the periodic standard calibration of the critical BILU linear accelerometer in the Descent Module (DM) via BITS2-12 onboard telemetry system in VD-SU control system mode. Crew involvement was not required. [BILU works with the DM’s “Argon” and KS-020M computers during the orbital free flight and subsequent reentry phases.]

CDRA/Vozdukh CO2 Update: With the US Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly currently turned off, the Russian Vozdukh continues to scrub CO2 from the cabin air. Current ppCO2 level is 5.3 mmHg (first day), which would be the Flight Rule-defined limit for a five-day running average. For one-day running average, the second ppCO2 limit is 6 mmHg. Additional (third & fourth) limits are 7.6 mmHg if reached at any time, and a crew report of CO2 symptoms. If Vozdukh cannot prevent CO2 from exceeding 5.3 mmHg averaged over five days, TsUP-Moscow will activate LiOH (Lithium Hydroxide) ”candles”.

KURS Update: For the Progress M-66 docking on 2/13, RSC-Energia reported that subset #2 of the KURS-P automated rendezvous radio system aboard the SM has been approved as backup for subset #1. Subset #3 will be standby as “cold reserve”, and an additional backup will be provided by the manual TORU system.

TVM Issue Update: The Russian TVM (Terminal Computer) system is currently operating only on one subset (of three). As required by Flight Rule, a minimum of two TVM channels are required for the 32P docking. TsUP-Moscow is planning a TVM restart on 2/11 and expects full recovery, making three channels available for the docking.

No CEO 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, 8:11am EST [= epoch]):
Mean altitude — 356.4 km
Apogee height — 362.2 km
Perigee height — 350.6 km
Period — 91.67 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0008546
Solar Beta Angle — -64.8 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.71
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 40 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 58587

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
02/10/09 – Progress M-66/32P launch (12:50am EST)
02/13/09 — Progress 32P docking (2:19am EST); [crew wake: 10:30pm on 2/12]
02/18/09 — FRR (Flight Readiness Review) for STS-119/Discovery
02/22/09? — STS-119/Discovery/15A launch – S6 truss segment — “NOT EARLIER THAN”
02/24/09? — STS-119/Discovery/15A docking
03/05/09? — STS-119/Discovery/15A undocking
03/08/09? — STS-119/Discovery/15A landing
03/26/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S launch
03/28/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S docking (DC1)
04/07/09 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S undocking
04/07/09 — Progress 32P undocking & deorbit
05/12/09 — STS-125/Atlantis Hubble Space Telescope Service Mission 4 (SM4)
05/15/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch – JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD
05/27/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
Six-person crew on ISS
08/06/09 — STS-128/Discovery/17A – MPLM (P), LMC, last crew rotation
08/XX/09 — Soyuz 5R/MRM2 (Russian Mini Research Module, MIM2) on Soyuz
09/XX/09 — H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1)
11/12/09 — STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 – ELC1, ELC2
12/10/09 — STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola
02/11/10 — STS-131/Atlantis/19A – MPLM(P), LMC
04/08/10 — STS-132/Discovery/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM1
05/31/10 — STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 – ELC3, ELC4
12/XX/11– Proton 3R/MLM w/ERA.

SpaceRef staff editor.