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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 4 October 2006

Status Report From: NASA HQ/SpaceRef/NASA Watch
Posted: Wednesday, October 4, 2006

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SpaceRef note: This NASA Headquarters internal status report, as presented here, contains additional, original material produced by SpaceRef.com (copyright © 2006) to enhance access to related status reports and NASA activities.

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Today 49 years ago, Soviet Russia's Sergei Korolev opened the Space Age by launching the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1 (83 kg/184 lbs).

CDR Michael Lopez-Alegria, FE-1 Mikhail Tyurin and FE-2 Thomas Reiter started the day by performing, before breakfast, their first periodic Russian biomedical assessments PZEh-MO-7 (Calf Volume Measurement) and PZEh-MO-8 (Body Mass Measurement), using the IM mass measurement device, later breaking it down for stowage. [Calf measurements (left leg only) are taken with the IZOG device, a custom-sewn fabric cuff that fits over the calf, using the knee and lower foot as fixed reference points, to provide a rough index of deconditioning in zero-G and effectiveness of countermeasures. For determining body mass in zero-G, where things are weightless but not massless, the Russian IM "scales" measure the inertial forces that arise during the oscillatory motion of a mass driven by two helical metering springs with known spring constants. By measuring the time period of each oscillation of the unknown mass (the crewmember) and comparing it to the period of a known mass, the crewmember's mass is calculated by the computer and displayed.]

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This was the second day for the current Renal (kidney) Stone experiment session of Lopez-Alegria, with LA collecting urine samples throughout the day and keeping his dietary/metabolic log entries up to date. Last day of diet logging. [This long-range preventive medicine investigation features daily random ingestion of either potassium citrate or placebo tablets at dinnertime. The NASA-JSC double-blind "Renal Stone" research study investigates methods to prevent formation of kidney stones in zero-G. Part of the experiment consists in keeping a metabolic diet log (food and fluid intake), followed by collection of urine samples several times per day during each session, which terminates tomorrow morning (10/5). The PI (Principal Investigator) receives the diet log data approximately 24 to 48 hours after the diet-logging session is completed.]

Shared with Renal Stone sampling, the CDR also went through his first session with the NASA/JSC-sponsored NUTRITION experiment. For tomorrow its protocol requires him to forego exercising and eating 8 hours before drawing his blood sample. [Background: The Clinical Nutritional Assessment profile, currently required on all U.S. Astronauts, collects blood and urine samples preflight and postflight. NUTRITION expands this protocol by also capturing inflight samples and an additional postflight sample. Furthermore, additional measurements are included for samples from all sessions, including additional markers of bone metabolism, vitamin status, and hormone and oxidative stressor tests. The results will be used to better understand the impact of countermeasures (exercise and pharmaceuticals) on nutritional status and nutrient requirements. The Clinical Nutritional Assessment profile (MR016L), first started on two Mir crewmembers and then on all ISS US crews, nominally consists of two pre-flight and one post-flight analysis of nutritional status, as well as an in-flight assessment of dietary intake using the FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire). The current NUTRITION project expands MR016L testing in three ways: Addition of in-flight blood & urine collection, 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. (Note: To date, it has not been possible to assess nutritional status during flight because blood and urine could not be collected, stowed frozen, and returned during ISS missions. MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS) now makes it possible.]

FE-2 Thomas Reiter had about an hour reserved for his first session with the ESA/Astrolab LDM (Long Duration Mission) experiment SKIN (or SkinCare), with Misha assisting with documentary photography. [Objective is to characterize different parameters of human skin in weightlessness inside the ISS, comparing results to already-known effects on the skin of long duration stays in orbit. The noninvasive medical equipment used by the experiment are the Tewameter (from TEWL = transepidermal water loss, one of the most important biophysical parameters for evaluating the efficiency of the human skin water barrier), the Corneometer (to accurately determine the hydration level of the skin surface) and the VisioScan which takes direct measurements of the skin topography (structure & level of dryness) with a special UV-A (Ultraviolet A) light video camera with high resolution.]

Thomas also completed his 5th session of the regular monthly ETD (Eye Tracking Device) experiment, which studies the coordination of eye and head movements in zero-G, i.e. the adaptation of the human vestibular (balance) system, and takes place in the Docking Compartment (DC-1)'s central sphere. [After a calibration with the calibrating unit, the experiment investigates horizontal eye and head movement coordination, measures Listing's plane, and determines the orientation of the vestibulo-ocular coordinate system, using five target marks on a visual target board on the EV-2 hatch on the horizontal plane. For the experiment, Thomas first had to check the setup of the left and right video cameras, then established his most comfortable and stable body position relative to the visual target (60 cm for the first part of the experiment, 100 to 150 cm in parts two & three). Each step required another prior calibration run, using visual target cues or the calibration unit.]

FE-1 Tyurin serviced the Russian BMP Harmful Impurities Removal System, starting the "bake-out" cycle to vacuum on absorbent bed #1 of the regenerable dual-channel filtration system. Before sleep time today (5:30pm EDT) the bake-out will be terminated. Regeneration of bed #2 follows tomorrow. [Regeneration of each of the two cartridges takes about 12 hours and is conducted only during crew awake periods.]

Reiter had another 2h 45m set aside for unloading 22P cargo in preparation for hatch closure before the Soyuz 13S relocation from Service Module (SM) aft to FGB nadir next week (Tuesday, 10/10). [Before the relocation, with all three crewmembers outside the ISS (configured for unmanned mode), the Progress 22 cargo ship will be prepared for the eventuality that it may have to be undocked by TsUP/Moscow via remote control in the unlikely event of an aborted Soyuz redocking on Tuesday morning.]

In the SM, FE-1 Tyurin completed the scheduled removal and replacement of one of the two SFOG (Solid Fuel Oxygen Generator, TGK) ignition "boxes" with the new electrically-ignited type and connected the associated electronic control unit (BU TGK). Afterwards, he successfully burned a "candle" as a test, which yielded ~1.6 mmHg of 2. [The SFOGs, on standby as oxygen sources as backup to the Elektron and Progress-stored O2, generate O2 by decomposing cartridges of solid potassium perchlorate (KClO4) into potassium chloride (KCl) and O2 when heated at 400 degC. The "old style" SFOGs were mechanically ignited with a percussion cap.]

Thomas Reiter replaced the PCMCIA memory card in the LAZIO (Low Altitude Zone Ionization Observatory) experiment, which studies charged particle radiation on orbit. The accumulated data on the card were archived to a laptop for downlink to TsUP via OCA. [The Italian LAZIO payload, with the AST spectrometer, EGLE magnetometer, MEB main electronics box, etc, was set up and operated last year by VC8 guest cosmonaut Roberto Vittori in the DC-1.]

Mike LA completed the daily routine maintenance of the SM's SOZh environment control & life support system, with the regular replacements in its toilet system (ASU), and also conducted the periodic checkout/verification of IP-1 airflow sensors in the various RS hatchways, including the SM-to-DC1 (22P) tunnel, and the FGB-to-Node and SM-to-Soyuz passageways.

Thomas did the daily updating/editing of the standard IMS "delta file", including locations, for the standard weekly automated export/import to its three databases on the ground (Houston, Moscow, Baikonur).

On the TVIS treadmill in the SM, the CDR performed the weekly maintenance, primarily checking the condition of the SPDs (subject positioning devices) and recording time & date values; he also did the regular monthly treadmill maintenance, which is mostly an inspection of the Russian and US tie-down harnesses for any damage.

For his subsequent 1.5-hour TVIS workout, LA also set up the video camcorder for the first-time filming of his session. [The TVIS video, showing the entire apparatus with the bottom skirt removed, is periodically required to support biomechanical evaluation of the exercising crewmember and assessment of the on-orbit setup of equipment during data collection.

All crewmembers then completed their regular 2.5-hr. physical exercise program (about half of which is used for setup & post-exercise personal hygiene) on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-2), TVIS (CDR, FE-1, FE-2), RED (CDR), and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1).

Afterwards LA transferred his, Misha's and Thomas' exercise data files to the MEC for downlink, as well as the daily wristband HRM data of the workouts on RED, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).

As all new station crews, Misha had one hour set aside on today's schedule for ISS familiarization and adaptation, to help in adjusting to their new surroundings and activities. [This unstructured and discretionary session has become a valuable standard requirement for new station occupants for the first two weeks.]

After yesterday's successful loading and the nominal functioning for 24 hours of the EXT-1 MDM (External-1 Multiplexer/De-multiplexer) computer with the new Rev. 5 (R5) software load, today ground teams similarly loaded the EXT-2 MDM. The final configuration has EXT-1 as the prime and EXT-2 as the backup MDM.

Elektron Update: Mikhail Tyurin performed the scheduled troubleshooting on the failed Elektron oxygen generator, conducting diagnostic checks with electric connectivity tests of the circuits controlling Elektron Liquid Unit (BZh-9) valves (KE-1, KE2, KE3) by measuring resistance between connectors. Results are TBD, but it already appears that a fuse affecting communication with Elektron is blown on a panel. [Stored O2 from 22P is currently being used to maintain cabin ppO2 within desired limits.]

Carbon Dioxide Update: CO2 levels in the cabin have been showing a slight upward trend, as measured by the U.S. MCA (Major Constituents Analyzer). Yesterday, CO2 in the Node and Airlock was at 5.3 mmHg; the MCA CO2reading at the same time the day before was 5.1 mm Hg (currently: ~5.1 mmHg). Five-day average CO2 levels remain below the first threshold identified in CO2 Management Flight Rules (5.3 mmHg). When the five-day average reaches this threshold, ground specialists, including flight surgeons, will determine whether CDRA (Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly) should be activated or additional CO2 management activities are necessary. [Russian specialists have also offered to use LiOH (Lithium Hydroxide) canisters that are due to expire in December 2006 to augment control of onboard CO2 levels. The Russian Vozdukh system has been primary for controlling CO2 since CDRA deactivation.]

Today's CEO (Crew Earth Observations) photo targets, from the Lab nadir/science window, were Ouarkziz Impact Crater (Ouarkziz impact crater has been dated as less than 70 million years. It is 3.5 km in diameter. The crew could locate Ouarkziz by following the monocline. Just after the bend on the eastern side they should have been able to see the crater), and Puerto Rico (The National Science Foundation has established the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) network. The network's mission is to understand ecological phenomena over long temporal and spatial scales, conduct well-designed and documented experiments at and between sites, and provide information for identification and solution of ecological problems. Astronaut photography is a uniquely useful dataset for the network due to its inherent variability in spatial scale and temporal frequency. Used together with traditional remotely sensed data, astronaut photography has the potential to increase the temporal resolution of and cover/land use change, vegetation dynamics, and surface soil process information for the LTER sites. The Luquillo Forest, located on the northeastern tip of Puerto Rico, has been a center of tropical forestry research for nearly a century. Documenting land cover, land use change in this region),

To date, over 250,000 of CEO images have been taken in the first six years of the ISS, about one third of the total number of images taken from orbit by astronauts.

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 14 crew visit:

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 Orbit (as of this morning, 6:41am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude -- 340.2 km
  • Apogee height -- 348.9 km
  • Perigee height -- 331.4 km
  • Period -- 91.34 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
  • Eccentricity -- 0.0013047
  • Solar Beta Angle -- 15.7 deg (magnitude increasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.76
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours -- 113 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 45039

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern and subject to change):

  • 10/10/06 -- Soyuz TMA-9/13S relocation (from SM aft to FGB nadir, undock 3:11pm; redock 3:38pm; on NASA TV from 2:45pm)
  • 10/23/06 -- Progress M-58/23P launch
  • 10/26/06 -- Progress M-58/23P docking (SM aft port; on NASA TV)
  • 11/22/06 -- Russian EVA-17
  • 12/07/06 -- STS-116/12A.1 launch
  • 12/09-16/06 -- STS-116/12A.1 docked mission w/ISS - P5 truss
  • 12/19/06 -- Progress M-57/22P undocking (DC1) & reentry
  • 12/20/06 -- Progress M-59/24P launch
  • 12/22/06 -- Progress M-59/24P docking (DC1)
  • 01/22/07 -- US EVA-6
  • 01/26/07 -- US EVA-7
  • 01/31/07 -- US EVA-8
  • 02/06/07 -- Progress M-59/24P undocking (DC1) & reentry
  • 02/07/07 -- Progress M-60/25P launch
  • 02/09/07 -- Progress M-60/25P docking (DC1)
  • 02/22/07 -- STS-117/13A launch - S3/S4 trusses
  • 02/24-03/03/07 -- STS-117/13A docked mission w/ISS (earliest)
  • 3/08/07 -- Progress M-58/23P undocking (SM aft port) & reentry
  • 03/09/07 -- Soyuz TMA-10/14S launch (Expedition 15 + VC12)
  • 03/11/07 -- Soyuz TMA-10/14S docking (SM aft port)
  • 03/19/07 -- Soyuz TMA-9/13S undocking (FGB nadir port)
  • ??/??/07 -- Soyuz TMA-10/14S relocation (SM aft port to FGB nadir port)
  • 06/11/07 -- STS-118/13A.1

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