Saturday, June 20, 2009

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 19 June 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009
All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below.

Upon wakeup, FE-3 Roman Romanenko terminated his second experiment session for the long-term Russian sleep study MBI-12/SONOKARD, by taking the recording device from his SONOKARD sports shirt pocket and later copying the measurements to the RSE-MED laptop for subsequent downlink to the ground. [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.]

Thirsk & DeWinne began the last day of their second session with the NASA/JSC experiment NUTRITION w/Repository. For both, 24-hr. urine collections ended this morning, and Bob finished his session with his blood draw from an arm vein, assisted in the phlebotomy by FE-5. [After the phlebotomy, Bob’s samples, like Frank’s yesterday, were first allowed to coagulate in the Repository for 20-30 minutes, then spun in the HRF RC (Human Research Facility/Refrigerated Centrifuge) and finally placed in MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS). No thruster activity was allowed during the blood drawing. The RC was later powered off after a temperature reset to limit wear on the compressor, and cleaned. 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.]

Before breakfast & exercise, CDR Padalka, FE-1 Barratt & FE-2 Wakata each completed a 10-min session with the periodic Russian MedOps test "Hematokrit" (MO-10), which measures the red cell count of the blood, with one of them acting as CMO (Crew Medical Officer, Russian: “Examiner”). It was the second session for the three of them. [The blood samples were drawn from a finger with a perforator lancet, then centrifuged in two microcapillary tubes in the M-1100 kit's minicentrifuge, and its hematocrit value was read off the tubes with a magnifying glass. It is a well-known phenomenon of space flight that red blood cell count (normal range: 30-45%) tends to go down over time. After the exam, the data were saved in the IFEP software (In-Flight Examination Program) on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer), and Romanenko stowed the equipment.]

Padalka performed the periodic maintenance of the active Russian BMP (Harmful Impurities Removal System) by starting the "bake-out" cycle to vacuum on absorbent bed #2 of the regenerable dual-channel filtration system. The process will be terminated at ~4:30pm EDT. Bed #1 regeneration was performed 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 is normally done every 20 days. (Last time done: 5/30-5/31).]

Thirsk & DeWinne in turn conducted a session each with the experiment BISE (Bodies in the Space Environment), complete with videocam coverage, investigating the relative contributions of internal and external cues to self-orientation during and after zero-G exposure, the fourth for Bob & Frank. After setting up the camcorder for recording the activity, configuring the “Neurospat” hardware and activating the BISE software on its A31p SSC (Station Support Computer) laptop, the crewmembers each then had ~20-25min for completing the experiment protocol, as they had done it for their BDC (Baseline Data Collection) runs on the ground. [The CSA (Canadian Space Agency)-sponsored BISE experiment studies how astronauts perceive Up and Down in microgravity. The specific objective of the BISE project is to conduct experiments during long-duration microgravity conditions to better understand how humans first adapt to microgravity and then re-adapt to normal gravity conditions upon return to earth. This experiment involves comparisons of preflight, flight, and post-flight perceptions and mental imagery, with special reference to spaceflight-related decreases in the vertical component of percepts. The test involves having subjects view a computer screen through a cylinder that blocks all other visual information. The astronauts are being presented with background images with different orientations relative to their bodies.]

FE-4 Thirsk concluded his ICV (Integrated Cardiovascular) Ambulatory Monitoring session, accompanied by CCISS (Cardiovascular Control on Return from the ISS). The Actiwatches and Holter Monitor 2, used during the CCIS Baro Study, with the ESA Cardiopres (CDPB), were then downloaded. [The CDPB is a portable instrument to monitor and store finger arterial blood pressure, a full 12-derivations ECG, and chest circumference changes, all measured continuously for up to 24 hours or longer under ambulatory conditions, using air pressure to inflate finger cuffs for measuring blood pressure, ECG cables, plus two respiratory belts for recording thoracic and abdominal chest circumference changes. For the CCIS Baro study of CCIS, heart rate and blood pressure are recorded for resting and timed breathing for 5 min, with no caffeine or food allowed (water is acceptable) two hours before the start of the Baro Study and no exercise prior to the Baro Study.]

In the JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), the FE-5 removed the Digital Walk Holter ECG (Electrocardiograph) of the JAXA biomedical experiment BIORHYTHM from his body with Bob’s assistance and uploaded the data from the memory card to the ELT (Experiment Laptop Terminal).

Following equipment breakout by Barratt, he, CDR Padalka & FE-2 Wakata 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 software application on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) laptop. It was Mike’s, Gennady’s & Koichi’s third O-OHA test. [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, new Bose ANC headsets (delivered on 30P) 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.]

Wakata transferred/saved the data of the overnight 24hr CDL (Cardiolab) Holter Arterial Blood Pressure measurements for the ESA CARD (Long-Term Microgravity: A Model for Investigating Mechanisms of Heart Disease) experiment to the CDL PCMCIA memory card, then stowed the card. This was a repeat of the blood pressure monitoring not completed during his run on 5/20-5/21. [The CARD protocol included a 24h urine collection, a 24h blood pressure monitoring, a blood draw (in the morning of Day 2), and five cardiac output measurements performed with the HRF-2 PFS (Pulmonary Function System) via re-breathing technique. On 5/20, most of the CARD activities have been performed. An anomaly with the CARDIOLAB blood pressure Holter was encountered and the instrument could not be programmed for the blood pressure monitoring overnight. On 5/21, blood draw, urine collection and two PFS sessions have been completed nominally. The Holter anomaly forced ESA to call off the continuation of the blood pressure monitoring in conjunction with the remaining two PFS sessions on 5/21.]

FE-1, FE-2 & FE-5 filled out their regular weekly FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire) on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer). It was Mike’s 11th, Koichi’s 15th, Bob’s third FFQ [On the FFQs, NASA astronauts keep a personalized log of their nutritional intake over time on special MEC software. Recorded are the amounts consumed during the past week of such food items as beverages, cereals, grains, eggs, breads, snacks, sweets, fruit, beans, soup, vegetables, dairy, fish, meat, chicken, sauces & spreads, and vitamins. The FFQ is performed once a week to estimate nutrient intake from the previous week and to give recommendations to ground specialists that help maintain optimal crew health. Weekly estimation has been verified to be reliable enough that nutrients do not need to be tracked daily.]

Padalka completed the frequent status check on the Russian BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("Plants-2") experiment, verifying proper operation of the BU Control Unit and MIS-LADA Module fans (testing their air flow by hand). [Rasteniya-2 researches growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in the LADA-15 greenhouse from Moscow’s IBMP (Institute of Bio-Medical Problems, Russian: IMBP).]

Working on the hardware of the GFI-1 “Relaksatsiya” (Relaxation) Earth Observation experiment at SM (Service Module) window #9, FE-3 Romanenko launched the experiment and performed a measurement session. Afterwards, the experiment was closed out and the equipment torn down for stowage. [Using the GFI-1 UFK “Fialka” ultraviolet camera, SP spectrometer and VKJ camcorder, controlled from Laptop 3, the activity dealt with observing and recording hyperspectral observations of the Earth atmosphere and surface. “Relaxation”, in Physics, is the transition of an atom or molecule from a higher energy level to a lower one, emitting radiative energy in the process as equilibrium is achieved.]

Gennady also performed the periodic checkout & performance verification of IP-1 airflow sensors in the various RS hatchways and installed an IP-1 flow indicator in the DC1-to-Progress 33P hatch. [Inspected IP-1s are in the passageways PrK (SM Transfer Compartment)–PrK–RO (SM Working Compartment), PkhO (SM Transfer Tunnel)–RO, PkhO–DC1, PkhO–FGB PGO, FGB PGO–FGB GA, FGB GA–Node-1.]

The CDR did the daily IMS 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).

Later, Padalka 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.]

In the US Lab, Mike Barratt reinstalled the alignment guides on the FCF (Fluids & Combustion Facility) in the CIR (Combustion Integrated Rack) to lock down the PaRIS (Passive Rack Isolation System).

FE-4 Thirsk completed routine maintenance on the CSA-CP (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products) prime unit (#1045), replacing its battery with a fresh spare, and performing zero-calibration on all four CSA-CP units, taking & downlinking readings before and after the zeroing. [The CSA-CP is a passive cabin atmosphere monitor that provides quick response capability during a combustion event (fire). Its collected data are stored on a logger.]

Romanenko performed routine inspection & maintenance (filter cleaning) on the Russian SRVK condensate water processor of the SVO water supply system.

Roman also conducted a session of new ocean observations program, DZZ-13 “Seiner”, which provides informational support to fishing vessel research of fishing grounds in the waters off northwest Africa, from the Canary Islands to the Cape Verde Islands. [The experiment uses visual observation, videography (HD camcorder, PAL mode) and selective photography (NIKON D2X) of color-contrast images and large discontinuities in cloud fields along the flight path.]

Koichi conducted the periodic inspection/audit of the current “plug-in” setup in the ISS, checking which electric outlets on the station control panels are powering what equipment (either continuously or as-needed) against an uplinked PIP (plug-in plan).

Frank De Winne undertook the periodic maintenance & visual inspection of the ARED and its VIS (Vibration Isolation System) guide rails & rollers, greasing the Y- and Z-axis rails & rollers and also evacuating its cylinder flywheels to maintain proper vacuum condition and sensor calibration.

Mike Barratt performed the regular weekly maintenance on the TVIS (Treadmill with Vibration Isolation & Stabilization), primarily inspecting the condition of the SLDs, SLD cables and SPDs (Subject Positioning Devices), lubricating as required, plus recording time & date values. [Particular attention was requested on inspecting, marking & recording any visible SLD damages.]

The crew completed their regular daily 2.5-hr. physical workout program on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-4, FE-5), TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation (CDR, FE-1, FE-2, FE-3), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (FE-1, FE-2, FE-4, FE-5) and VELO cycle ergometer with bungee cord load trainer (CDR, FE-3). [On the CEVIS, the actual loads remain slightly lower than the commanded loads, but this was expected. A manual correction of the pertinent calibration coefficient via the control panel touch screen will be done at a later time when the new value has been determined.]

Later, Koichi Wakata transferred the exercise data file to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) 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).

Mike, Bob & Frank had another 6 hrs between them for more E19/E20 handover activities.

At ~3:40am EDT, the crew held the regular (nominally weekly) tagup with the Russian Flight Control Team (GOGU), including Shift Flight Director (SRP), at TsUP via S-band/audio, phone-patched from Houston and Moscow.

At ~4:35am, Padalka, Barratt, Wakata, Thirsk & DeWinne joined in a tagup with the ESA staff at Col-CC (Columbus Control Center) at Oberpfaffenhofen/Germany. [This conference is scheduled once every week, between ISS crewmembers and Col-CC via S/G2 (Space-to-Ground 2) audio.]

At ~5:15am, Gennady linked up with TsUP/Moscow stowage specialists via S-band to conduct the weekly IMS tagup, discussing inventory & stowage issues, equipment locations and cargo transfers.

At ~10:15am, all crewmembers convened for their standard bi-weekly teleconference with the JSC Astronaut Office (Steve Lindsey), via S-band S/G-2 audio & phone patch.

At ~3:10pm, the ISS crew is scheduled for their regular weekly tagup with the Lead Flight Director at JSC/MCC-H via S-band/audio. [S/G-2 (Space-to-Ground 2) phone patch via SSC (Station Support Computer).]

STS-127 Launch Delay Update: US & Russian teams are in an intense process of replanning the timeline for the 2J/A mission, 33P undock, 34P dock, 17A mission, HTV mission, Soyuz relocation, and several software transitions, all of which having been impacted by the launch slip due to a hydrogen leak in ground support equipment and the prohibitive thermal Earth/Sun Beta angle “cutout” effect. Options being investigated include 2J/A launch on 7/11, delaying 33P undocking and 34P docking, or 2J/A launch on 7/17, with 33P undock and 34P dock prior to the shuttle mission. Teams are investigating other options including 33P undock prior to 2J/A mission and 34P dock after 2J/A undocking. RSC-E is also looking at a 34P launch on 7/24. 33P undock would be on July 1, and Soyuz relocation would be on 7/2-3, re-rendezvous test for MRM2 antenna functionality would be on 7/13. To set this flight program timeline a reboost using 33P propellant would be required prior to 7/1.

CEO photo targets uplinked for today were Lahore, Pakistan (Lahore is the second largest city in Pakistan, and is located on the banks of the River Ravi. Overlapping nadir mapping frames, taken along-track, were requested to capture a rural-urban-rural transect as ISS crossed the city from NW to SE), Jakarta, Indonesia (Capital City: Jakarta is the capital city of Indonesia. It has a greater population than any other city in Southeast Asia. It is located on the northwest coast of Java. Overlapping images were recommended. Jakarta should have been directly under track), Rome, Italy (this target is on the CEO Capitals and Cities of the World site list. The population of Rome is estimated to be about 3.7 million. This ancient city can be located along the Tiber River. Looking slightly left of track. Overlapping images were requested), Mount Vesuvius, Italy (looking slightly right of orbit track for this famous volcano, located between modern Naples and the ruins of ancient Pompeii. Detailed imagery of the volcano's summit and flanks was requested for use with lower resolution satellite imagery), and Nazca, Peru (Crew Site: The Nazca Lines are an especially challenging target. They are located in the Nazca Desert, a high plateau that stretches more than 80 km between the towns of Nazca and Palpa. The patterns are believed to have been created between 200 BCE and 700 CE and include many different features such as hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, or simply lines. CEO researchers recommend using the short lens and taking overlapping images along the flight path a little before the GMT target time and then continuing as ISS passes, looking back at the target site.)

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, 7:07am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude -- 347.9 km
Apogee height – 353.8 km
Perigee height -- 342.0 km
Period -- 91.50 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0008875
Solar Beta Angle -- -6.2 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.74
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 75 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 60631


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