Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 21 Nov 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
November 21, 2003
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 21 Nov 2003

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

FE Alexander Kaleri completed a 2.5-hr. task in the FGB (Funktsionalnyi-Grusovoi Blok), removing and replacing the current converter (PTAB) and current converter control device (BUPT) of battery #2 with spare units, discarding the removed units.

CDR/SO Michael Foale started his activity on the FOOT (foot/ground reaction forces during space flight) experiment by using the onboard sewing kit for a size alteration on the LEMS (Lower Extremity Monitoring Suit) pants.  The task was not completed and will be finished next week (Tuesday). 

Mike also performed a practice run of the calibration exercises necessary before actual FOOT activity.  LEMS was not required while performing the EMG dry run, for which Mike set up the EMG calibration hardware on the HRF Rack for practicing each exercise.  During this time the ground received real-time video to support the CDR if needed. [EMG (electromyography, i.e., electric muscle currents recording) calibrations are done after donning the TVIS (treadmill) harness before exercising, after exercising with harness removed, and also at end of day prior to removing the LEMS pants.  During the actual experiment, wearing these black Lycra “biking tights” with 20 electrodes as well as shoes fitted with insoles that measure impact forces on the bottom of the foot for the 12-hr session, Foale will go through a typical on-orbit day while reaction forces against the ISS structure are recorded passively to determine how much stress his legs and feet endure.  This provides better understanding of the bone loss and loss of muscle mass experienced by astronauts in zero-G (on Mir, for example, cosmonauts lost as much bone mass in a month as post-menopausal women do in a year).  The experiment is led by the biomedical engineering department at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio.]

Kaleri worked in the Soyuz TMA-3 to assess the feasibility of replacing the cooler/dehumidifier fan assembly (V1 & V2) without removing a switching unit (AP-1). [During its approach and docking on 10/20, the Soyuz 7S vehicle had exhibited higher than expected humidity in its cabin atmosphere (18 mmHg) during the pre-dock stand-alone flight.]

The FE terminated the bake-out cycle on the BMP micropurification system’s channel #2, moding the channel back to Purify.  After yesterday’s termination of regeneration on channel #1, this restored both filter beds to Purification/Absorption mode.  [The regeneration of the air purifier filter beds is repeated every 20 days.  Each bakeout to space vacuum takes about 24 hours.]

Foale collected the daily “ad hoc” cabin air ppO2 (oxygen partial pressure) measurement of the CSA-CP (compound specific analyzer-combustion products), used by the ground for trending analyses, followed by the regular weekly calldown of the ppCO2 value, measured with the CDMK (carbon dioxide monitoring kit).

Mike Foale worked out on CEVIS cycle (aerobic), and RED exerciser (anaerobic).  He also transferred data files from the physical exercise equipment to the MEC (medical equipment computer) via memory card and RED log entries, for downlink on OCA comm.

Later, the CDR performed the periodic transfer of accumulated data files from the wristband HRM (heart rate monitor) receiver stations to the MEC for downlink, then deleted them on the HRM.  

FE Kaleri performed his first session with the Russian MedOps cardio experiment MO-1 (Study of the Bioelectric Activity of the Heart at Rest), with CDR Foale as CMO (crew medical officer). [During the 30-min. test, the crew tagged up with ground specialists during a Russian ground site (RGS) pass and downlinked data from the Gamma-1M ECG (electrocardiogram) for about 5-6 minutes.]

Kaleri performed the afore-mentioned MO-1 cardio assessment using the U.S. CEVIS (cycle ergometer with vibration isolation) instead of the originally planned TVIS (treadmill with vibration isolation and stabilization), which is currently “no go” while troubleshooting on the ground continues. [Increasing current draw of the VIS (vibration isolation system) by 2-2 .5 amps and decreasing max speed of the VIS’ roll-axis stabilizing gyroscope by 40-50 RPM, along with video imagery and a screeching noise, have shown that the gyro bearing(s) have a problem and may suddenly seize.  TVIS could potentially be used in a no-gyro contingency mode, but not without prior structural/mechanical analysis and approval of the contingency configuration.  Also required are development of the actual contingency ops procedure and review/approval of the requisite subsequent “Chit” documentation.]

The CEVIS, which has a failed control unit, but has been kept working by a temporary “fix” connecting (“hot wiring”) it to an alternate power source, is currently the only device for aerobic exercise aboard ISS since the Russian VELO cycle ergometer with load trainer is also “no go” at this time, as Moscow’s IBMP (Institute of Biomedical Problems)

 is developing a troubleshooting plan.

Kaleri completed the regular once-a-week maintenance reboot on the operational PCS laptops.

Sasha conducted the periodic functional closure test of the Vozdukh CO2 removal system’s emergency vacuum valves (AVK, last time done: 10/20).  [The AVKs are critically important because they close the Vozdukh’s vacuum access lines in the event of a malfunction in the regular vacuum valves (BVK) or a depressurization in the Vozdukh valve panel (BOA).  Access to vacuum is required to vent carbon dioxide during the regeneration of the absorbent cartridges (PP).  During nominal operation, the AVK valves remain open.]

Mike performed documentary photography of the damaged, unused UCDs (urine collection devices) for the Renal Stone experiment, in the hope that the images will help the ground to gain insight into what caused the damage.

Kaleri performed the daily routine servicing task of SOZh life support system maintenance and prepared today’s IMS inventory “delta” (update) file, while Foale did the status checkup of the autonomous Lab payloads.

The FE used the Nikon-D1 digital still camera to take pictures of the doors of the ASU toilet facility as well as of SRV-K2M (condensate water processor) panels. [ASU imagery is required to support modification of SRV panels, replacement of ASU doors and ASU repair in the mirror area, while the SRV photography focused on five panels and two holes made by the crew for outlets of additional translucent tubes for monitoring liquid throughput.]

Mike conducted the periodic inventory audit of the available CWCs (contingency water containers) and their contents, to keep track of onboard water supplies (last time done: 11/7).

In preparation for Monday’s (11/24) scheduled MSS (Mobile Service System) proficiency activities, Mike Foale went through a one-hour review of the DOUG (dynamic operations ubiquitous graphics) application.[Used during Robotics/SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) operations, DOUG is a software program on the MSS RWS (mobile service system robotics workstation) laptops that provides a birdseye-view graphical image of the external station configuration and the SSRMS arm, showing its real-time location and configuration on a laptop during its operation.]

Mike and Sasha had their weekly teleconference with the ISS Flight Director at MCC-H.

The crew is continuing to support the Renal Stone prevention experiment by taking the test medication (either potassium citrate or placebo tablets) at dinnertime until the next sample collection phase.

The ground thanked Mike for his work yesterday on the CBOSS-FDI (Cellular Biotechnology Operations Support System/Fluid Dynamics Investigation) payload. [The downlinked images of the camera position optimization will be evaluated, and future activities will be modified based on the information obtained.  Next week CBOSS-FDI will evaluate an alternate camera setup to photograph the TCMs (tissue culture modules).]

Launch of the next resupply mission, Progress 13P, originally planned for later this month, has officially been rescheduled for January 28, 2004, with a chance of slipping into early February.  Onboard consumables supplies are in good shape and do not stand in the way of the schedule change.  However, the limited cargo capability of the Progress (~2000 kg) will require judicious prioritizing of needed Russian and U.S. equipment (spares) and will probably not permit manifesting of research payloads this time.

Today’s CEO (crew earth observation) targets, limited in the current XPOP attitude by flight rule constraints on the use of the Lab nadir/science window, were Fires, West Africa (Dynamic event.  Break in equatorial cloud.  As ISS crossed over the West African coastline, the crew was to look left and right for numerous fires that are being reported),Lake Distribution, Argentina (Dynamic event.  Sunglint opportunity to show distribution of numerous small lakes [between dunes of an extensive but inactive dune field].  In this flat terrain, lakes indicate subtle topography of the mainly subsurface “groundwater table”. Groundwater levels have risen due to climates becoming wetter since the emplacement of the dunes in a recent prior dry climate),Buenos Aires, Argentina(looking left of track for views of the extensive conurbation),Chao Lava, Chile(opportunity to image this unique, highly viscous lava outpouring on the west flank of the Andes.  A mapping swath looking left about 1.5 degrees should have captured the zone), andLower Amazon River Basin(nadir pass over the center of the great estuary, which has been poorly imaged in the last several years due mainly to cloud cover.  Coastline changes are of scientific interest since the Amazon is the largest river on the planet).

CEO images can be viewed at the websites.

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

SpaceRef staff editor.