Thursday, June 4, 2009

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 3 June 2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009
All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below.

FE-4 & FE-5 continued their first session of sleep logging for the experiment SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) from their Actiwatches to the HRF-1 (Human Research Facility 1) laptop as part of a 7-day-long session. [To monitor the crewmembers’ sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, Bob & Frank 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 they 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.]

Before breakfast & exercise, FE-3 Romanenko, FE-4 Thirsk & FE-5 DeWinne 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 first session for the three newcomers. [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.]

After yesterday’s completion of all Orlan-MK suit preparations, EVA-22 dry-run activities began today at ~4:05am EDT with FE-1 Barratt tearing down and removing the air ducts between the SM PkhO (Service Module Transfer Compartment) and DC1 Docking Compartment/airlock (skipping ventilation fan V3) to make room for the subsequent suited exercise.

At the same time, CDR Padalka worked on configuring the STTS communications systems in the DC1 for the exercise. [The suited run requires wireless Tranzit-B suit radio telemetry on both semi-sets (activated: 5:25am) and temporary deactivation of the Russian VHF channel 1 (Very High Frequency, Russian: UKV1, for ultra-shortwave) to avoid interference from extraneous radio stations to the Orlans while over Russian ground stations (RGS, DO 13/14). All EVA preps were monitored by the ground via audio. Tranzit-B TM was turned off at ~7:30am EDT.]

After another functionality & leak check of the Orlan-MKs, their equipment and their BSS interface units in the DC1 & PkhO, the crewmembers began donning EVA gear at ~4:55am, i.e., putting on personal gear bags, biomed harness, thermal underwear, LCG (liquid cooling garment), low-noise headset, gloves, etc. [US equipment used on one of the Orlan-MKs are EHIP (EMU Helmet Lights), two EHIP batteries, REBA (Rechargeable EVA Battery Assembly), EPH (EMU Power Harness) and ERCA (EVA Radio Frequency Camera Assembly).]

After another checkout of comm hookups & biomedical parameter telemetry via the BSS Orlan interface system for vital signs & equipment monitoring, suiting up then culminated in ingress in the Orlans (~6:05am) through their “backdoors” and sealing off of the backpacks.

Next in line were –
  • More functionality checkouts of the suits and their BSS controls (e.g., temperature control handling, water cooling system ops, preliminary Orlan & BSS leak checks),
  • Preliminary dimensional suit fit checks at reduced suit pressure of 0.4 atm (5.9 psi), and
  • About an hour of testing/training of suited mobility & translation inside the DC1, beginning at ~6:45am.
[These “intramural” exercises included translation to all DC1 work stations with mated fluid umbilical, assessment of how the interior DC1 config impacts operations with various gear & accessories such as the POV (EVA support panel) and BSS, moving the BRT (Body Restraint Tether) with a CLB (Crew Lock Bag) and securing the BRT on a handrail, retrieving the Kodak 760 camera from the KPU tool carrier and stowing it temporarily on the OTA swing arm, turning the WVS (Wireless Video System) camera on and off, etc. During the dry-run, the WVS/helmet light came loose from the Orlan-MK due to too much lateral free play on the brackets. For the EVA-22, a previously approved and tested method will be employed which uses wire ties to fasten the helmet lights.]

Egress of Gennady & Mike from their Orlan-MKs was at about 8:00am, followed by restoration of
communication settings in the DC1 to nominal ops and post-training close-out activities, including air duct assembly. Later, after the Orlans were confirmed to be dry, they were re-equipped by Gennady & Mike with fresh consumables/replaceable elements for the spacewalk on Friday, including replacement of the BK-3 onboard primary oxygen tanks in the DC1 BSS. [EVA-22, by Padalka (EV1) & Barratt (EV2), is scheduled to begin at 2:45am EDT. Objectives of the spacewalk are installation & activation of three KURS-P antennas on the SM with their cabling, and documentary photography of the installations.]

In the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), Bob Thirsk turned on the EPM LPT (European Physiology/Module Laptop Terminal), installed NES (NeuroSpat) equipment, such as the MEEMM (Multi-Electrode Electroencephalogram Measurement Module) cables, free-floating & low-frequency head box #1, EEG (Electroencephalograph) cap with electrodes, etc., took documentary photography of the EEG cap and then had ~70 min for performing his first NeuroSpat exercise session, assisted by Frank DeWinne. Afterwards, the gear was dismantled & stowed, the software closed down and the laptop deactivated. [The MEEMM is a subsection of the EPM facility and will be used for different types of non-invasive brain function investigations. It can also easily be reconfigured to support research in the field of muscle physiology. NeuroSpat, the first experiment to use the EPM, investigates the ways in which crew members’ three-dimensional visual & space perception is affected by long-duration stays in weightlessness.]

CDR Padalka performed 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) plus today, as a discretionary task list item, monitoring seedling growth, humidity measurements, moistening of the substrate if necessary and topping off the water tank if ~20-25% of the total amount (4 liters) remains. Taking plant photography was an additional task, off the Russian discretionary “time permitting” job list. [Rasteniya-2 researches growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in the LADA-15 greenhouse from IBMP (Institute of Bio-Medical Problems, Russian: IMBP).]

In the U.S. Lab, FE-2 Wakata started another 5-hr automatic sampling run, the fifth, with the new EHS GC/DMS (Environmental Health System Gas Chromatograph/Differential Mobility Spectrometer), also known as AQM (Air Quality Monitor), controlled with “Sionex” expert software from the SSC-4 (Station Support Computer 4) laptop. [The AQM demonstrates COTS (Commercial Off-the-Shelf) technology for identifying volatile organic compounds, similar to the VOA (Volatile Organics Analyzer). Today’s data will again to be compared with VOA and GSC (Grab Sample Container) measurements. This evaluation will continue over the course of several months as it helps to eventually certify the GC/DMS as nominal CHeCS hardware.]

FE-3 Romanenko performed another inspection of the 4GB4 hydraulic unit of the KOB-2 (Loop 2) of the Russian SOTR Thermal Control System, checking for presence of coolant. [On 5/19, CDR Padalka had replaced a pump unit of the 4SPN1 replaceable pump panel at this location.]

Working in the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), Wakata uninstalled & removed the CO2 VU (Valve Unit) of the CGSE Common Gas Support Equipment) for return on 2J/A. Protective packing of the VU will be done later.

Romanenko conducted a session with the Russian biomedical MBI-15 "Pilot-M"/NEURO signal response experiment after setting up the workplace and equipment. It was Roman’s first MBI-15 run. Afterwards, the Pilot-M & Neurolab-2000M gear was disassembled and stowed away. [MBI-15 requires a table, ankle restraint system, eyeball electrodes for an EOG (electrooculogram), and two hand controllers (RUO & RUD) for testing piloting skill in “flying” simulations on a laptop (RSK1) under stopwatch control, as well as for studying special features of the psychophysiologic response of cosmonauts to the effects of stress factors in flight.]

Continuing the extensive IFM (Inflight Maintenance) of the TVIS (Treadmill with Vibration Isolation & Stabilization), Koichi worked with Bob Thirsk in the SM to remove the machine from the “pit”, take off its forward right stabilizer for later inspection, disconnect cables to the aft right stabilizer and stow the treadmill temporarily again in its location in the SM floor. The activity also served as a “handover” for Bob of onboard physical exercise procedures on the TVIS.

In the U.S. Airlock, the FE-2 continued preparations for the STS-127/2JA spacewalks by de-gassing four PWRs (Payload Water Reservoirs, #1007, #1023, #1026, #1027). [“De-gassing” = removing air bubbles from the PWR water that will be used to refill the EMU water tanks, by centripetal force, i.e., swinging the water bags to produce temporary “artificial gravity”.]

After deactivating the CHeCS AAA (Crew Health Care System Avionics Air Assembly) at the LABS4 plug-in location, Wakata worked on the ITCS (Internal Thermal Control System), demating the MTL (Moderate Temperature Loop) return umbilical from the rack at its UIP (Utility Interface Panel, loc. LAB1S4) to increase coolant flow for payload use. [The hose had been mated by Koichi on 5/31 to provide cooling to the rack.]

FE-2 & FE-4 completed the weekly 10-min. CWC (Collapsible 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 (20-0055) lists 46 CWCs (~1,302.8 L total) for the four types of water identified on board: 1. technical water (32 CWCs with 885.7 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 283.2 L currently off-limits because used as CWC-I from WPA, 426.3 L for flushing only due to Wautersia bacteria & 176.2 L in 4 clean bags for contingency use, 2. potable water (8 CWCs with 349.6 L, of which 221.3 L (5 bags) are currently off-limit pending ground analysis results), the remainder good for contingency use 3. condensate water (3 CWCs, all empty), 4. waste/EMU dump and other (3 CWCs with 67.5 L). Wautersia bacteria are typical water-borne microorganisms that have been seen previously in ISS water sources. These isolates pose no threat to human health.]

Romanenko collected 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 looking for Vinyl Chloride, Ethanol, and Ethylene Oxide. [CMS uses preprogrammed microchips to measure for numerous contaminants such as O-Xylol (1,2-Dimethylbenzol, C8H10), Hydrogen Chloride (HCl), Formaldehyde, Isopropanol, Methanol, Toluene, Mercaptan, Sulphur dioxide, Hydrogen cyanide, Phosgene, etc.]

Roman also 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 addition, the FE-3 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).

Wakata again had an hour set aside for regular crew departure preparations, working on the standard end-of-increment cleanup preparatory to his return to Earth around 6/29. [It is usual for crewmembers to be granted reduced workdays for making their departure preparations, as their return date approaches.]

Roman, Bob & Frank each 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 residence, if they choose to take it.

FE-5 & FE-3 had another PMC (Private Medical Conference) via S- & Ku-band audio/video, their sixth, Frank at ~1:40pm, Roman at ~2:10pm EDT.

With the three newcomers performing their second onboard physical exercise sessions, the entire crew completed their regular daily 2.5-hr. workout program (about half of which is used for setup & post-exercise personal hygiene) on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-1, FE-2, FE-4, FE-5), ARED (CDR, FE-1, FE-2, FE-4, FE-5) and VELO cycle ergometer with bungee cord load trainer (CDR, FE-3/2.5h). [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, Wakata transferred the exercise data file to the MEC 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).

At ~5:20pm, just before sleep time, Roman will set up the Russian MBI-12 SONOKARD payload and start his first 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.]

At ~4:25am EDT, Koichi Wakata supported a JAXA VIP inflight event, receiving a call from Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso in Tokyo, accompanied by JAXA Astronaut Dr. Chiaki Mukai as moderator and children from the 6th grade Ohmiyabesho Elementary School in Tokyo. [Before the live event, Chiaki Mukai conducted a lecture on life in space and the effects on the body of the space environment. The students and Dr. Mukai also sampled recycled water from a JAXA-developed facility and watched the HD video with Koichi’s educational program “Try Zero-G”.]

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Lake Chad (Lake Chad is one of the CEO sites that astronauts have been documenting since Gemini. Over the past 40 years the lake level has gone from relatively full to practically devoid of surface water. It is located in the western part of Chad, bordering on northeastern Nigeria. Because Lake Chad is very shallow it is particularly sensitive to seasonal fluctuations. ISS had a fine fair-weather pass at mid-morning. The rainy season is about to begin for the Sahel Region including Lake Chad, so the crew was asked to try for context views of the entire lake by looking obliquely to the left of track), London, England (the metropolitan area of this sprawling mega-city and capital straddles the River Thames in southeastern England. ISS had a nadir pass in mid-afternoon light with fair weather expected. On this pass, the crew was to try for a west-to-east mapping strip along the River Thames), Falmouth, England (H.M.S. Beagle site: This historic port city is located on the south coast of Cornwall in extreme southwestern England. It is situated on the English Channel and offers the third deepest natural harbor in the world. ISS had a nadir pass at mid-afternoon with fine weather expected. The crew had to be prepared just seconds later for good views of their next target, Portsmouth), and Portsmouth, Devon, England (H.M.S. Beagle site: Just seconds after encountering the preceding target of Falmouth this famous port became visible on the south coast as well. Looking slightly more left of track and eastward for this one. It is in a complex estuary system located southeast of Southampton and northeast of the Isle of Wight).

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 noon, 5:20am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude -- 349.3 km
Apogee height – 355.6 km
Perigee height -- 343.0 km
Period -- 91.52 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.00094
Solar Beta Angle -- -19.5 deg (magnitude peaking)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.73
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 91 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 60378

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
06/05/09 -- Russian EVA-22 (hatch open ~2:41am EDT; est. duration ~5:32h)
06/10/09 -- Russian EVA-23
06/13/09 -- STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch - JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD (7:12am)
06/29/09 -- STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A landing (12:18am EDT, KSC)
07/17/09 – Progress M-02M/33P undock & deorbit
07/20/09 -- Soyuz TMA-14/18S relocation (from SM aft 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) launch – tentative
09/07/09 -- H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) berth
09/30/09 -- Soyuz TMA-16/20S launch
10/02/09 -- Soyuz TMA-16/20S docking (SM aft, until MRM-2 w/new port)
10/08/09 -- H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) unberth
10/11/09 – Soyuz TMA-14/18S undock
10/15/09 -- Progress 35P launch
11/10/09 -- 5R/MRM-2 (Russian Mini Research Module 2) on Proton -- tentative
11/12/09 -- STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 - ELC1, ELC2
12/07/09 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S launch
12/26/09 -- Progress 36P launch
02/03/10 -- Progress 37P launch
02/04/10 -- STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola
03/18/10 -- STS-131/Discovery/19A – MPLM(P), LMC
04/02/10 -- Soyuz TMA-18/22S launch
04/27/10 -- Progress 38P launch
05/14/10 -- STS-132/Atlantis/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM-1
05/29/10 -- Soyuz TMA-19/23S launch
06/25/10 -- Progress 39P launch
07/29/10 -- STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 – ELC4, MPLM
08/11/10 -- Progress 40P launch
09/16/10 -- STS-134/Discovery/ULF6 – ELC3, AMS
09/29/10 -- Soyuz TMA-20/24S launch
10/19/10 -- Progress 41P launch
11/??/10 -- ATV2 – Ariane 5 (ESA)
12/??/11 -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – on Proton


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