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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 24 April 2005

Status Report From: NASA HQ/SpaceRef/NASA Watch
Posted: Sunday, April 24, 2005

image SpaceRef note: This NASA Headquarters internal status report, as presented here, contains additional, original material produced by SpaceRef.com (copyright © 2005) to enhance access to related status reports and NASA activities.

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Day 8 (and final day) of joint Exp.10/Exp.11 operations. When their Soyuz capsule lands tonight at 6:08pm EDT as scheduled, Leroy Chiao and Salizhan Sharipov will have spent 192d 19h in space (from liftoff), and ~190d aboard ISS). Roberto Vittori's time in space will have been 9d 21h 22m.

Yest rasstykovka! (there's Undocking) - at 2:45pm EDT.

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The ISS crews had a busy day with final packing, transfers, last handovers from Expedition 10 to Expedition 11, preparations for the undocking, and departure. Sleep period will begin later than usual (6:50pm), in consonance with TMA-5 departure and post-departure activities. [As of last night, the crews had completed over 9 hours of dedicated handover and over 20 hours of functional handover. Expedition 11 Commander Sergei Krikalev took command of the ISS from Expedition 10 Commander Leroy Chiao during the Change of Command Ceremony.]

Salizhan Sharipov completed the scheduled Russian MedOps (SZM-MO-22) sanitary-epidemiological status experiment, taking samples from cabin surfaces for return to the ground on 9S, along with samples from crewmembers, for sanitation and disease studies.

CDR-11 Krikalev meanwhile conducted a microbial air sampling run with the Russian MedOps SZM-MO-21 experiment Ecosphera. [The equipment, consisting of an air sampler set, a charger, power supply unit, and incubation tray for Petri dishes, determines microbial contamination of the ISS atmosphere, specifically the total bacterial and fungal microflora counts and microflora composition according to morphologic criteria of microorganism colonies.]

Sergei also conducted routine air sampling in the cabin, which is standard practice before departure of a crew. [Krikalev first used the IPD-NH3 Draeger tubes sampler for ammonia. Then, he took air samples in the Russian segment (RS) with the Russian AK-1M sampler.]

FE/SO-11 Phillips performed the monthly IMS-based PEP (portable emergency provisions) audit and inspection. [The procedure involves verification that PFEs (portable fire extinguishers), PBAs (portable breathing assemblies), QDMAs (quick-don mask assemblies) and EHTKs (extension hose/tee kits) are free of damage to ensure their functionality, and to track shelf life/life cycles on the hardware. PEPs are not removed from their locker unless obvious damage is discovered during the inspection. There are a total of 5 PBAs in the U.S. segment (USOS), viz., two in the Node, two in the Lab, and one in the Airlock. There is only one EHTK, in the Lab.]

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John also transferred IMAK (ISS Medical Accessory Kit) supplies brought up in Soyuz. Expired items were removed for disposal.

The ground deactivated the CDRA (carbon dioxide removal assembly) in the Lab. The Vozdukh CO2 scrubber in the Russian segment (RS) remains on.

Sergei conducted the periodic (currently daily) checkout/verification of IP-1 airflow sensors in the various Russian segment (RS) hatchways, including the SM-to-Soyuz tunnel, and the FGB-to-Node passageway. [This checkup is especially important when the ventilation/circulation system has to cope with a large crew on board.]

Russian and VC-8 "Eneide" experiments that were deactivated, closed out, transferred and stowed aboard the TMA-5 Descent Module (BO) today included:

  • STATOKONIA "Ulitka" Container and its ART temperature controller;
  • BIO-12 "Regeneratsiya" kit and its ART temperature controller;
  • Two BIO-10 KV-03 cold containers of Intercellular Interaction with samples, from the SM's Kriogem-03 freezer/glovebox;
  • BTKh-2 MIMETIK-K, "Interleukin-?". "Luch-2" kit;
  • GCF-JAXA (Granada Crystallization Facility for Japan);
  • VINO (Vines in Space);
  • CRISP-2 (Crickets in Space);
  • AGROSPACE (Beans/Seedlings in Space);
  • MICROSPACE (Effects of Space Environment on Microbes);
  • FRTL (Effects of Space Environment on Fischer Rat Thyroid Cells).

Krikalev set up the NIKON D1X still camera and DSP-150SP camcorder for battery charging preparatory to the subsequent Soyuz departure coverage.

Soyuz Crew: 'Phone Home'
"Soyuz crews have been provided with a Iridium/Motorola-9505 satellite phone and a Garmin GPSMAP 76 handheld GPS unit. Both units have the ability to function anywhere on Earth."

With Soyuz TMA-5 no longer available as emergency CRV (crew return vehicle) for the coming Increment, Sharipov ensured correct transfer of its three Emergency Procedures ODF (DAS EhP) books to the new CRV, Soyuz TMA-6, currently at the DC1 port (will be transposed to FGB later this summer).

The returning Expedition 10 crew and VC8 Roberto Vittori entered the Soyuz spacecraft via the FGB nadir port at ~10:15am EDT. Then Sergei and Salizhan set up and tested the communications configuration (STTS) for Soyuz undocking and descent, while Leroy Chiao activated the TMA-5 spacecraft.

Goodbye handshakes took place at ~11:40am, marking the official end of Increment 10. After closure of the two hatches between Soyuz and FGB at 11:45am EDT, leak check ops followed, requiring a period of 30 min of no pressure change in the docking vestibule (transfer tunnel) to ascertain seal pressure tightness.

The new Flight Engineer/Science Officer, John Phillips, performed the daily routine maintenance of the SOZh environmental control system and prepared the IMS (inventory management system) "delta" files for updating the IMS databases.

With that, the return to Earth of Soyuz TMA-5/9S with Leroy Chiao, Salizhan Sharipov & Roberto Vittori was ready to proceed along the following event sequence (all times EDT):

  • ISS attitude handover to RS & maneuver to 9S undocking attitude --- 11:15am;
  • ISS in free drift --- 2:37pm;
  • Hooks Open command --- 2:39pm;
  • Separation springs action (delta-V ~0.12 m/sec) --- 2:45pm;
  • Separation burn (8 sec, ~0.29 m/sec) --- 2:44pm;
  • Deorbit Burn (delta-V 115.2 m/sec) --- 5:16pm;
  • Tri-Module separation (140.1 km) --- 5:41pm;
  • Atmospheric entry (101.8 km, ~170 m/sec) --- 5:44pm;
  • Parachute deploy command --- 5:53pm;
  • ISS attitude control handed back to US --- 5:55pm.
  • 9S Landing (nominally) --- 6:08pm; 4:08am on 4/25 local Kustanai/Kazakhstan time;
  • Local Sunrise - 8:16pm (6:16am local).

[Note: Kazakhstan time is GMT+6h; EDT+10h.] Landing point for this descent profile is at ~85 km SW from Arkalyk City.

As 9S is getting ready for reentry later today, life aboard the station goes on.

For observing the Soyuz thruster plumes during the deorbit maneuvers and the Earth's limb, at ~12:40pm Sergei will install the geo-physical GFI-1 Relaksatsiya ("relaxation") experiment, reconfiguring the Russian payload laptop 3 for the experiment and mounting the ultraviolet (UV) camera with spectrometer unit at SM window #9, with its cover open. [Purpose of the current experiment is spectrometric recording of the Earth limb (~2:30pm), the TMA-5 propulsion plumes (by UV-video) during the 4-min. retrograde burn at 5:16pm, with the emission layer of the atmosphere at the Earth's limb during that period, and the actual reentry of the Soyuz descent module at ~5:40-6:06pm (which occurs in local darkness). Afterwards, Krikalev is to tear down the experiment and stow the equipment.]

For the reentry, all crewmembers are wearing the Russian Kentavr anti-G suit. [The Kentavr garment is a protective anti-g suit ensemble to facilitate the return of a long-duration crewmember into the Earth gravity. Consisting of shorts, gaiters, underpants, jersey and socks, it acts as countermeasure for circulatory disturbance, prevents crewmember from overloading during descent and increases orthostatic tolerance during post-flight adaptation. Russian crewmembers are also advised to ingest fluid-electrolyte additives, viz., three sodium chloride tablets during breakfast and after the midday meal, each time with 300 ml of fluid, and two pills during the meal aboard Soyuz before deorbit.]

Because of the currently wet and muddy ground conditions in the general landing zone, landing forces are considering three scenarios (which do not involve the Soyuz landing process itself): (a) if conditions at the landing site are too muddy for the usual post-landing ops, the SAR (Search-and-Rescue) helicopters will take the crew to Arkalyk (~85 km) for the standard post-landing process; (b) if conditions are muddy but workable, a reduced SAR force will land and de-suit the crew; (c) if the ground is dry, a normal SAR landing force will be deployed and conduct normal landing ops.

What will the Soyuz TMA-5/9S crew (Exp. 10 + Roberto Vittori) experience during today's reentry/descent?

Before descent:

Special attention will be paid to the need for careful donning of the medical belt with sensors and securing tight contact between sensors and body.

During preparation for descent, before atmosphere reentry, crewmembers settle down comfortably in the Kazbek couches, fasten the belts, securing tight contact between body and the seat liner in the couch.

During de-orbit:

Dust particles starting to sink in the Descent Module (DM) cabin is the first indication of atmosphere reentry and beginning of G-load effect. From that time on, special attention is required as the loads increase rapidly.

Under G-load effect during atmosphere reentry the crew expects the following experience:

Sensation of G-load pressure on the body, burden in the body, labored breathing and speech. These are normal sensations, and the advice is to "take them coolly". In case of the feeling of a lump in the throat, this is no cause to "be nervous". This is frequent and should not be fought. Best is to "try not to swallow and talk at this moment". Crew should check vision and, if any disturbances occur, create additional tension of abdominal pressure and leg muscles (strain abdomen by pulling in), in addition to the Kentavr anti-G suit.

During deployment of pilot (0.62 & 4.5 square meters), drogue (16 sq.m.) and main (518 sq.m.) parachutes the impact accelerations will be perceived as a "strong snatch". No reason to become concerned about this but one should be prepared that during the parachutes deployment and change ("rehook") of prime parachute to symmetrical suspension, swinging and spinning motion of the DM occurs, which involves vestibular (middle ear) irritations.

It is important to tighten restrain system to fasten pelvis and pectoral arch. Vestibular irritation can occur in the form of different referred sensations such as vertigo, hyperhidrosis, postural illusions, general discomfort and nausea. To prevent vestibular irritation the crew should "limit head movement and eyes movement", as well as fix their sight on motionless objects.

Just before the landing (softened by six small rocket engines behind the heat shield):

Crew will be prepared for the vehicle impact with the ground, with their bodies fixed along the surface of the seat liner in advance. "Special attention should be paid to arm fixation to avoid the elbow and hand squat" (instruction).

Landing speed: ~9.9 m/sec.

After landing:

Crew should not get up quickly from their seats to leave the DM. They were advised to stay in the couch for several minutes and only then stand up. In doing that, they should limit head and eyes movement and avoid excessive motions, proceeding slowly. They and their body should not take up earth gravity in the upright position too quickly.

Happy Landing, Leroy, Salizhan and Roberto!

CEO photography can be viewed and studied at the websites:

See also the website "Space Station Challenge" at:

To view the latest photos taken by the expedition 11 crew visit:

Expedition 11 Flight Crew Plans can be found at http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/timelines/

Previous NASA ISS On-orbit Status Reports can be found here. Previous NASA Space Station Status Reports can be found here. Previous NASA Space Shuttle Processing Status Reports can be found here. A collection of all of these reports and other materials relating to Return to Flight for the Space Shuttle fleet can be found here.

ISS Altitude History

Apogee height -- Mean Altitude -- Perigee height

ISS Altitude History

For more on ISS orbit and worldwide ISS naked-eye visibility dates/times, see http://www.hq.nasa.gov/osf/station/viewing/issvis.html. In addition, information on International Space Station sighting opportunities can be found at http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/ on NASA's Human Spaceflight website. The current location of the International Space Station can be found at http://science.nasa.gov/temp/StationLoc.html at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. Additional satellite tracking resources can be found at http://www.spaceref.com/iss/tracking.html.

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