Status Report

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 9 September 2008

By SpaceRef Editor
September 9, 2008
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 9 September 2008

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below.

Upon wakeup, FE-2 Chamitoff started the next part (3rd of 5) of the periodic acoustic measurement protocol by recording post-sleep data of the crew-worn acoustic dosimeters, later deploying the dosimeters statically (Part 4), one at the SM (Service Module) Central Post, one in Node-2 and the third in an empty rack bay in the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module). Tonight (~3:10pm EDT), Chamitoff will record the data taken by the three static dosimeters during the day (Part 5). [Acoustic data must be taken twice per Increment, each time for the duration of the 16-hour crew workday.]

CDR Volkov serviced the Russian BMP (Harmful Impurities Removal System), starting the "bake-out"-to-vacuum cycle on absorbent bed #2 of the regenerable dual-channel filtration system. The regen process will be terminated tonight at ~4:30pm EDT. Filter bed #1 was regenerated yesterday. [Regeneration of each of the two cartridges takes about 12 hours and is conducted only during crew awake periods. The BMP’s regeneration cycle, normally done every 20 days, is currently performed four times more frequently to remove any lingering Freon-218 from the cabin atmosphere (last time: 9/3 & 9/4).]

In preparation for Progress M-65/30P docking on 9/12 (Friday), CDR Volkov & FE-1 Kononenko completed the standard three-hour training course with the TORU teleoperator system, which provides a manual backup mode to the Progress’ KURS automated rendezvous radar system. Afterwards, Sergey & Oleg 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: two with 30P from stationkeeping range (~150 m) in sunlight (insolation), and 30P in final approach (from 50 m) in darkness (eclipse). 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 CDR 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 9/12, Progress KURS will be activated at ~3:27pm EDT on Daily Orbit 1 (DO1), SM KURS two minutes later. Progress headlight will be switched on at a range of ~8 km (~4:20pm). Flyaround to the SM aft docking port (~400 m range, in sunlight) starts at 4:37pm. Start of final approach: ~4:52 (DO1) in sunlight, contact: ~5:01pm (in darkness).]

In the Kibo laboratory, Gregory Chamitoff set up and conducted two of JAXA’s fascinating EPO (Educational Payload Observation) activities,- AQUASPHERE and INK BALL, each one requiring about one hour. For the session, SSIPC (Space Station Integration & Promotion Center/Tsukuba) temporarily shut down the IMV (Intermodular Ventilation) and SDs (smoke detectors) in the JPM (Greg serving as living SD). Afterwards, the experiments were closed out and IMV & SDs turn on again. [The Japanese EPO program consists of eight activities: Life in the Universe (study of space environment effects on living things for educational purpose); Space Poem Chain (poems by famous poets and general public composed & recorded before the launch on a DVD, played and stored on ISS); Microgravity Clay (sculpting in clay to express the inspiration of human space flight); Aquasphere (recording the motion of a water sphere after external oscillations in micro-G environment with an HDTV camera, making various water shapes by vibration); Ink Ball (creating ink flow patterns/”marbling” on the water sphere, then transferring the marbling from the water ball to handmade Japanese papers for recording); Art (images taken with the HDTV camera on the ISS); Space Clothes (studying new clothing designs in space); and Photographing the Moon (images taken of the Moon from the station).]

After the FE-2 broke out the standard auditory test equipment, the three crewmembers took the periodic O-OHA (on-orbit hearing assessment) test, a 30-min. NASA environmental health systems examination to assess the efficacy of acoustic countermeasures, using a special MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) laptop application. It was Greg’s third O-OHA session, the fourth for Sergey & Oleg. [The O-OHA audiography test involves minimum audibility measurements for each ear over a wide range of frequencies (0.25-10 kHz) and sound pressure levels, with the crewmembers using individual-specific Prophonics earphones, Bose ANC headsets and the SLM (sound level meter). To conduct the testing, the experimenter is supported by special EarQ software on the MEC, featuring an up/down-arrow-operated slider for each test frequency that the crewmember moves to the lowest sound pressure level at which the tone can still be heard. The baseline test is required not later than about Flight Day 14 for each new Expedition and is then generally performed once per month. Note: There have been temporary hearing deficits documented on some U.S. and Russian crewmembers, all of which recovered to pre-mission levels.]

Sergey Volkov performed Part 3 of the scheduled R&R (removal & replacement) of the renewable condensate removal lines (SMOK) of the Russian SOTR Thermal Control System in the SM, today replacing the hoses between the NOK-1 and NOK-2 condensate pumps.

Oleg Kononenko initiated recharging of the SONY HVR-Z1J high definition camcorder’s battery.

Battery recharging was also on Chamitoff’s schedule, who initiated the 85-day maintenance cycle on the first two EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) batteries (#2072, #2067) in BCM3 (Battery Charger Module 3) and BCM4 in the US Airlock, to run till 9/12. Greg also checked BCM1 (which had exhibited a buzzing noise before and has never been used for charging since its launch on 1J), but found nothing wrong. [The periodic battery maintenance consists of fully discharging and then recharging the storage units to prolong their useful life. After end of the maintenance cycle, Clay will restore the SSC laptop, which is used in DOS mode for the automated procedure, to nominal ops.]

In preparation for installing, during STS-126/ULF2, the WRS-1 (Water Recovery System 1) of the new Regenerative ECLSS in the CHeCS rack, to be relocated on 9/11 (Thursday), the FE-2 filled the thermal control MTL (Internal Thermal Control System/Moderate Temperature Loop) supply jumper with coolant by connecting it to an ITCS (Internal Thermal Control System) Z-panel in the Lab (LAB1O3). [All coolant lines need to be filled prior to mating them to their respective racks.]

Kononenko took the periodic readings of potentially harmful atmospheric contaminants in the SM, using the CMS (Countermeasure System), a component of the SKDS GANK-4M Real-Time Harmful Contaminant Gas Analyzer suite, today using preprogrammed microchips to measure for Isopropanol (“rubbing alcohol”, C3H8O), Methanol (“wood alcohol”, CH3OH) and Toluene (methylbenzene, C7H8).

In the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), Gregory prepared the ESA FSL (Fluid Science Laboratory) facility, used for GEOFLOW, for the upcoming Progress docking acceleration/disturbance by ensuring a firm lock of the EC (Experiment Container) with the CEM-L (Central Experiment Module-Lower).

Greg had some time set aside to familiarize himself with BCAT-3/4 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-3/4) reference material from last year’s session, in preparation of a new run scheduled to start tomorrow. [BCAT-3/4 in micro-G is a unique opportunity to explore fundamental physics and simultaneously develop important future technology, such as computers operating on light, complex biomolecular pharmaceuticals, clean sources of geothermal power, and novel rocket engines for interplanetary travel. The experiment itself is simple and elegant: photographing samples of colloidal particles with a digital camera onboard the ISS. Colloids are tiny nanoscale spheres of Plexiglas a thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair (submicron radius) that are suspended in a fluid. They are ubiquitous (e.g., milk, smoke, and paint) and therefore interesting to study directly. Colloids are also small enough that they behave much like atoms and so can be used to model all sorts of phenomena because their size, shape, and interactions can be controlled.]

Later, to prepare for tomorrow’s BCAT science, Chamitoff set up an AAL (Alternate Applications Laptop) in the US Lab, by configuring a previous-loaded SSC (Station Support Computer) hard drive for use on the OpsLAN network with applications requiring older software & driver versions (specifically: to run the DCS760 digital cameras needed for BCAT). [Any SSC could be used except for SSC-4 which is required to run IWIS (Internal Wireless Instrumentation System). The AAL hard drive swap will be reverted to nominal config on 9/12.]

Oleg Kononenko 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 and replacement of EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine containers.]

The FE-1 also completed 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).

The crew had their periodic PMCs (Private Medical Conferences) via S- & Ku-band audio/video, Greg at ~8:45am, Oleg at ~11:30am, Sergey at ~12:00pm EDT.

The crewmembers completed their regular 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, FE-2), TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-1), RED resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-1, FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (CDR).

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

The crew had some time set aside to review a “Readme” summary preparing them for the upcoming major software upgrades. [Revisions will be R11 for the PCS (Portable Computer System) laptops, R7 for the CCS (Command & Control System) and GNC (Guidance, Navigation & Control) computers, and R3 for NCS (Node Control Software).]

As generally every day now, starting at ~9:00am and running until 3:00pm, the US CDRA (Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly) was activated intermittently for two half-cycles to control ppCO2 levels. This configuration for the daily ops does not require connecting & disconnecting the ITCS cooling loop. [A forward plan is in work for cycling the CSV (CO2 Selector Valve) to prevent its sticking. CDRA remains “yellow” on the ISS critical systems list.]

At ~2:15pm EDT, Sergey, Oleg & Greg downlinked a 20-min. TV PAO message of greetings in English & Russian to TsUP/Moscow for replay at the 59th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), to be held 9/29-10/3 at Glasgow, Scotland, for the Russian delegation, consisting of A.N. Perminov, V.A. Lopota, and other representatives of Russia’s space industry. [“The 17th ISS expedition crew would like to welcome the scientists, engineers and the heads of space industries from different countries participating in the 59th International Astronautical Congress. This year we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the launching of the International Space Station. The ISS is the greatest ever known successful international space project and the participants of the 59th International Astronautical Congress in Glasgow have been directly involved in it. Presently the elements of all the Partners are integrated into the ISS. The ISS Program is constantly expanding. Next year we will have six crew members on board. New modules, new vehicles and new crews will be arriving at the station. In the future we envisage new utilization programs up to 2020 and perhaps beyond. The ISS will become an international scientific test bed to verify procedures and technologies for the flights to the Moon and Mars…”]

MT Translation: For today’s return of the Mobile Transporter railcart from Worksite 7 (WS-7) to WS-4, using string-A IMCAs (Integrated Motor/Controller Assemblies) at 3:15pm-5:15pm, Russian thrusters will be inhibited for the period of 3:00pm-6:00pm EDT due to load constraints.

VolSci Preview: For next Sunday’s Voluntary Science program, Gregory was offered only one option this time,-a 1:55-hr session with the SPHERE (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites) payload, to continue algorithm/software development..

Progress M-64/29P Obit: Last night at 5:34pm, after its ~4:40pm EDT deorbit burn, Progress M-64/29P splashed down in the designated area of the Pacific ocean after destructive reentry. The cargo ship had undocked from the ISS on 9/1 and conducted a series of “Plasma-Progress” experiments during its autonomous flight. The TSNIIMash-developed experiment studies the plasma density in the Progress external environment, generated by the operations of the Progress liquid-propellant thrusters and observed with the incoherent dissipation radar of the Russian Institute of Solar & Earth Physics at Irkutsk. Similar experiments were conducted during the Progress M-60/25P & Progress M-62/27P independent-flight phases.

CEO (Crew Earth Observations) photo targets uplinked for today were Hurricane Ike, Western Cuba (Hurricane Ike is currently traversing Cuba, and is predicted to be slightly south of the western half of the island at the time of the ISS overpass. Looking to the right of track for the storm; while it has been weakened by its passage over Cuba, it was likely at Category 2 strength when Greg viewed it), and Lake Poopo, Bolivia (weather was predicted to be mostly clear over Lake Poopo and the nearby Salar de Uyuni (salt flat). ISS had a near-nadir pass over the lake; photography of the lake shoreline was requested in order to assess change in water levels).

CEO photography can be studied at this “Gateway” website: (as of 3/1/08, this database contained 757,605 views of the Earth from space, with 314,000 from the ISS alone).

Week 21 Scheduled Main Activities:

  • Wed. (9/10): MBI-18; MBI-12 term/dwnld; “Life on ISS” video; RS Video/MPEG-2 Ku-Band test; CGSE troubleshoot; SOTR-SMOK R&R; MAS microbial analyses (T+5); BCAT-3/-4; Progress 30P launch.
  • Thu. (9/11): MBI-11; JAXA Art video; TORU OBT rvw; CHeCS Rack relocate; SOTR-SMOK R&R; CWC audit; IWIS reprog.
  • Fri. (9/12): Tekh-20 (PK-3) BSPN; Lulin-5 check; ICS umbilical mate; Progress 30P docking (SM aft port); Node-2 cleanout; NUTRITION setup.
  • Sat. (9/13): NUTRITION w/blood collect; Progress SSVP-StM docking system dismantle; US-21 install; BITS2-12 connect; 30P cargo transfers (BTKh-1,-2,-3,-4,-20, SOLO-PCBA); BTKh-29 trans./install; IWIS dwnld; ham pass; FFQ.

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 8:43am EDT [= epoch]):
Mean altitude — 353.1 km
Apogee height — 357.9 km
Perigee height — 348.4 km
Period — 91.60 min.
Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0007052
Solar Beta Angle — 35.7 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours — 48 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 56180

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible.):
09/10/08 — Progress M-65/30P launch (~3:50pm)
09/12/08 — Progress M-65/30P docking (SM aft, ~5:01pm)
09/29/08 — ATV de-orbit (nighttime re-entry for observation from 2 NASA planes; 9:12pm)
10/01/08 — NASA 50 Years (official)
10/10/08 — STS-125/Atlantis Hubble Space Telescope Service Mission 4 (SM4) 12:33am
10/11/08 — Progress M-65/30P undocking (from SM aft)
10/12/08 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S launch (~3:03am EDT; Lonchakov, Fincke, Garriott)
10/14/08 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S docking (FGB nadir port, ~4:51am)
10/23/08 — Soyuz TMA-12/16S undocking (DC1 nadir) & landing
11/12/08 — STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 launch – MPLM Leonardo, LMC
11/14/08 — STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 docking
11/20/08 — ISS 10 Years
11/25/08 — Progress M-65/30P undocking & deorbit
11/26/08 — Progress M-66/31P launch
11/30/08 — Progress M-66/31P docking
02/09/09 — Progress M-66/31P undocking & deorbit
02/10/09 — Progress M-67/32P launch
02/12/09 — Progress M-67/32P docking
02/12/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A launch – S6 truss segment
02/14/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A docking
02/24/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A undocking
02/26/09 — STS-119/Discovery/15A landing (nominal)
03/25/09 — Soyuz TMA-14/18S launch
03/27/09 – Soyuz TMA-14/18S docking (DC1)
04/05/09 — Soyuz TMA-13/17S undocking
04/07/09 — Progress M-67/32P undocking & deorbit
05/15/09 — STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch – JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD
05/25/09 — Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
05/27/09 — Six-person crew on ISS (following Soyuz 19S docking)
07/30/09 — STS-128/Atlantis/17A – MPLM(P), last crew rotation
10/15/09 — STS-129/Discovery/ULF3 – ELC1, ELC2
12/10/09 — STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola
02/11/10 — STS-131/Atlantis/19A – MPLM(P)
04/08/10 — STS-132/Discovery/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM1
05/31/10 — STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 – ELC3, ELC4 (contingency).

SpaceRef staff editor.