NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 24 June 2008

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2008


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

Before breakfast and exercise, all crewmembers completed a 10-min session with the periodic Russian MedOps test "Hematokrit" (MO-10), which measures the red cell count of the blood, with CDR Volkov acting as CMO (Crew Medical Officer, Russian: Examiner). It was the second session for Volkov & Kononenko, the first for Chamitoff. [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 Kononenko stowed the equipment.]

FE-2 Chamitoff started out on the NASA SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) experiment by initializing and donning an Actiwatch, using the HRF-1 (Human Research Facility 1) laptop. [As other crewmembers before him, to monitor his sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, Gregory will be wearing the special Actiwatch device which measures the light levels encountered by him as well as his patterns of sleep and activity throughout this week, for the last time. The log entries are done within 15 minutes of final awakening for seven consecutive days.]

The CDR serviced the Russian BMP (Harmful Impurities Removal System), starting the "bake-out"-to-vacuum cycle on absorbent bed #2 of the regenerable dual-channel filtration system. The regen process will be terminated tonight at ~5:15pm EDT. Filter 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, normally done every 20 days, is currently performed four times more frequently to remove any lingering Freon-218 from the cabin atmosphere (last time done: 6/19&20).]

Before starting today's suited Soyuz ingress training, Sergey, Oleg and Greg conducted the standard 30-min. fit check of the Kazbek couches, the contoured shock absorbing seats in the Descent Module (SA) of the Soyuz TMA-12/16S spacecraft docked at the DC1 Docking Compartment. [For the fit check, crew members removed their cabin suits and donned Sokol KV-2 suit and comm caps, got into in their seats and assessed the degree of comfort & uniform body support provided by the seat liner. Using a ruler, they then measured the gap between the top of the head and the top edge of the structure facing the head crown. The results were reported to TsUP. Kazbek-UM couches are designed to withstand g-loads during launch and orbital insertion as well as during reentry and brake-rocket-assisted landing. Each seat has two positions: cocked (armed) and noncocked. In cocked position, they are raised to allow the shock absorbers to function during touchdown. The fit check assures that the crewmembers, whose bodies gain in length during longer-term stay in zero-G, will still be adequately protected by the seat liners for their touchdown in Kazakhstan, either emergency or regular return.]

After resetting DC1 communication/telemetry links for their presence, Oleg continued clearing and configuring the "Pirs" module for the spacewalk training, including deactivating the spherical Phantom device and the Lulin-5 electronics box of the "Matryoshka-R" (RBO-3-3) radiation payload suite plus ancillary hardware and moving all of it to the FGB for temporary stowage.

Continuing preparations for the Orlan EVA-20a on 7/10-11, Volkov first tested the proper function of the pressure equalization valve (PEV; Russian: KVD) in the DC1(SU)-to-Soyuz transfer hatch. Volkov & Kononenko then had ~2 hrs set aside for rehearsing and training a possible emergency situation which calls for their translation from the DC1 to the Soyuz Orbital Module (BO) in flight suits, with a pressurized Orlan-M spacesuit and in two spacesuits. [Should the DC1 exhibit a pressure anomaly during the Orlan EVA activities, the BO of the Soyuz would be used (off-nominally) as an airlock. This would require equalizing the pressure between DC1 and BO, ingressing the BO, closing the BO-DC1 (SU) hatch, doffing the Orlan-Ms, equalizing the pressure between the BO and the SA, and ingressing the SA (which already contains the FE-2). Either restoring DC1 hermeticity or Soyuz relocation to the FGB nadir port or return to Earth could then be performed safely.]

Afterwards, Kononenko restored the nominal communications setup in DC1 and Service Module (SM).

Later, the CDR & FE-1 installed US add-on hardware on their Orlan suits and took photographs for ground inspection. [US add-ons include helmet lights, WVS (Wireless Video System) helmet cam & associated tools, DIDBs (Disposable In-suit Drink Bags), Fresnel lenses, Orlan tether adapters, adjustable fuse tether, DCS760 camera, needle-nose pliers, etc. from previous ECOKs (EMU Crew Options Kits).]

In the DC1 "Pirs", Kononenko then removed the threaded QD (quick disconnect) screw clamps (BZV) of the SSVP docking & internal transfer system to enable contingency Soyuz undocking, should it become necessary.

Sergey Volkov also worked on the SM toilet systems (ASU), performing the monthly 30-min. maintenance/servicing of the facility, changing out replaceable ASU parts with new components, i.e., the urine receptacle (MP) and a filter insert (F-V). The old parts were discarded as trash.

Greg completed the periodic relocation of the IVCPDS/TEPC (Intravehicular Charged Particle Directional Spectrometer/Tissue Equivalent Proportional Counter), the primary radiation measurement tool in the ISS, from Lab at position LAB1S4 to SM panel 449, plugging its power cable in the CHeCS (Crew Health Care Systems) power/data outlet 6 on panel 450. [Before its move to LAB1S4 on 5/21, TEPC was installed first on the Columbus L1A3 panel by Peggy Whitson, after Dan Tani had relocated it to the SM (panel 410) on 1/23/08 from its previous location in Node-2 (since 12/24/07).]

The FE-2 also performed the periodic offloading of the Lab CCAA (Common Cabin Air Assembly) dehumidifier's condensate tank, filling a CWC (Contingency Water Container, #1062) with the collected water slated for processing. No samples were required. [Transferred quantity is determined by allowing tank and CWC equalize with each other. Tank quantity stabilizes at a value higher than the neutral point. Waiting time ~30 min.]

In the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), Chamitoff did a quick inspection & cleaning job on the RGSH (Return Grid Sensor Housing) of the COL's ventilation system.

Gregory checked out the U.S. SLM (Sound Level Meter) instrument and then used it to conduct the periodic noise level measurements program in the station interior for a 2-hr acoustic survey, including transfer of the recorded data to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer). [A total of 45 acoustic measurements were obtained at four locations in the ATV-1, six locations in Node-2, 11 locations in the SM, eight locations in the COL, nine locations in the Kibo JPM, and four locations in the Kibo JLP. The survey also includes three crew preference locations taken at their perceived loudest locations in the station. The SLM gives instantaneous noise levels and their frequency spectra, which are transferred to the MEC laptop via an RS232 cable and later downlinked with regular CHeCS (Crew Health Care Systems) data dump or via OCA.]

Later, Chamitoff performed the monthly maintenance of the CEVIS (Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation & Stabilization), focusing on isolator damage and documenting it with the videocam for ground evaluation.

The FE-2 also completed the periodic (monthly) inspection of the RED (Resistive Exercise Device) canister cords and accessories.

Oleg performed 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).

Later, Kononenko conducted the routine maintenance of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS) in the SM, including ASU toilet facilities systems/replaceables.

The crew worked out according to their regular 2.5-hr. physical exercise protocol (about half of which is used for setup & post-exercise personal hygiene) on the CEVIS (FE-1, FE-2), TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-1), RED (FE-1, FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (CDR). Afterwards, Sergey transferred the exercise data file to the MEC laptop for downlink, including the daily wristband HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) data of the workouts on RED, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).

Gregory had about an hour for himself for general orientation (station familiarization & acclimatization) as is standard daily rule for fresh crewmembers for the first two weeks after starting station residence, if she/he chooses to take it.

At ~9:45am EDT, the two Russian crewmembers downlinked a PAO TV message of greetings and congratulations for the 30th Anniversary of the spaceflight of the first Polish cosmonaut, Miroslav Hermaszewski (Russian: Germashevsky), who flew with Col. Pyotr Klimuk on June 27, 1978 on Soyuz-30 into orbit, spending 7 days 22 minutes 59 seconds in space. [Hermaszewski's flight was part of the East Bloc's "Intercosmos" space program. After his flight, Hermaszewski continued to serve in the Polish armed forces. A Hero of the Soviet Union, he has been awarded the Soviet Order of Lenin, the Polish Order of the Grunwald Cross (1st degree), and other Polish decorations and medals. He was also conferred the Nicolaus Copernicus medal of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Today, Hermaszewski is retired and engaged, as a volunteer, in promoting space exploration. Hermaszewski sent a special message up to the ISS crew: "Hi there my friends! Cordial greetings from Miroslaw. I am happy that you are up there - realizing your dreams! Enriching wonderful tradition of World space technology! I regret that I cannot be now up there with the crew. I wish you a soft landing and see you on the ground! If I could have one request - would you mind making one photo of Poland? Cordial greetings from all of us here! Miroslaw Hermaszewski."]

The three crewmembers had their regular periodic PMCs (Private Medical Conferences) via S- & Ku-band audio/video, Sergey at ~11:05am, Oleg at ~11:55am, Garrett at ~1:40pm.

At ~4:11pm, the crew will convene for their standard bi-weekly teleconference with the JSC Astronaut Office (Steve Lindsey), via S-band S/G-2 audio & phone patch.

At ~5:20pm, just before sleep time, Oleg will again set up the Russian MBI-12 SONOKARD (Sonocard) payload and start his fifth 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.]

Still remaining on the voluntary task list item for Kononenko & Volkov today was an audit of expired Expedition 16 food rations, with repacking & preparation of food packages for disposal on the ATV1. [To clear storage space for cargo items delivered on Progress M-64/29P.]

Sleep Cycle Shift Preview: For adjusting the Orlan-suited dry-run & Soyuz ingress training next Thursday (6/26) to allow live VHF telemetry/comm visibility over RGS (Russian Groundsites), the crew will have an earlier (by 3 hrs) sleeptime tomorrow at 2:30pm EDT, followed by same-day wake-up at 11:00pm. On 6/26, sleep period begins at 3:30pm and extends to the regular 2:00am on 6/27 (Friday). The crew will then have half the day off to recover from the sleep shift.

BCC Dry Run: Early this morning, starting at 2:15am EDT and running for seven hours, MCC-Houston and its Moscow support group (HSG) conducted another BCC (Backup Control Center) dry run in test mode, with no involvement of the ISS crew or vehicle, with TsUP playing back ACT (American Contingency Telemetry) from the last BCC Checkout as test. [Purpose of this periodic exercise is to demonstrate BCC functionality under Russian assets while providing proficiency training for HSG personnel at the HSR (Houston Support Room) and TsUP-Moscow specialists. The ISS EMCC (Emergency Mission Control Center), located in Russia, comprises TsUP/Moscow as the Lead Control Center, coupled with HSR at TsUP. The BCC facility provides a command and control capability from TsUP if the EMCC must be activated. This is the case in situations that render MCC-Houston unable to provide telemetry, voice, and command capability for extended periods. EMCC is also used when the threat of severe weather results in evacuation of the MCC-H building for extended periods. In such an emergency, both Russian servers (CMD/command & TM/telemetry) are transitioned from MCC-H connectivity to BCC configuration, after which only the BCC can connect to the CMD and TM ports. An actual contingency requiring switchover to the BCC occurred on 10/2/2002 when Hurricane Lili forced MCC-H to shut down at 4:00am EDT, and also last year during the Hurricane Katrina emergency.]

PPS P6 Capacity Test: At ~10:00am, a capacity test was started by ground commanding on the truss P6 battery sets 2B3 (channel 2B) and 4B3 (channel 4B), simultaneously. The PPS (Primary Power System) test involves discharging the batteries to their lower limits and then recharging them, in order to measure the effectiveness of recent (May '08) battery recondition activities. No systems powerdowns are required.

CEO (Crew Earth Observations) photo targets uplinked for today were Tigris-Euphrates Delta (this area has undergone dramatic changes in the last few decades. The marshlands of the historic Tigris-Euphrates delta in southern Iraq have almost completely disappeared owing to excessive damming and drainage, according to a report from the UN Environmental Program. Overlapping, detailed, nadir views of the delta region were requested), Mt. Etna (Mt. Etna is a very active volcano located on the east coast of Sicily. It is the largest active volcano in Europe and some eruptions have been caught by past ISS crews. Nadir or near-nadir views were requested with overlapping frames. Documenting past lava flows [darker areas] and smaller cones and vents surrounding the volcano), and Afar Rift Zone, Ethiopia (the Afar region is one of our long term monitoring sites. We are particularly interested in documenting the faults, volcanoes, and past lava flows in this region. Overlapping frames were requested).

CEO photography can be studied at this "Gateway" website: (as of 3/1/08, this database contained 757,605 views of the Earth from space, with 314,000 from the ISS alone).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 8:37am EDT [= epoch]):
Mean altitude -- 345.4 km
Apogee height -- 351.0 km
Perigee height -- 339.8 km
Period -- 91.44 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0008338
Solar Beta Angle -- -24.5 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.75
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 62 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 54968

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible.):
06/26/08 -- Orlan-suited dry-run & Soyuz ingress training
07/10/08 -- Russian EVA-20a (7/10-11)
09/05/08 -- ATV1 Undocking
09/09/08 -- Progress M-64/29P undocking (from FGB nadir)
09/10/08 -- Progress M-65/30P launch
09/12/08 -- Progress M-65/30P docking
10/01/08 -- NASA 50 Years
10/08/08 -- STS-125/Atlantis Hubble Space Telescope Service Mission 4 (SM4)
10/11/08 -- Progress M-65/30P undocking (from SM aft port)
10/12/08 -- Soyuz TMA-13/17S launch
10/14/08 -- Soyuz TMA-13/17S docking (SM aft port)
10/23/08 -- Soyuz TMA-12/16S undocking (DC1 nadir)
11/03/08 -- Soyuz TMA-13/17S relocation
11/10/08 -- STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 launch - MPLM Leonardo, LMC
11/12/08 -- STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 docking
11/20/08 -- ISS 10 Years
11/26/08 -- Progress M-66/31P launch
11/28/08 -- Progress M-66/31P docking
02/10/09 -- Progress M-67/32P launch
02/12/09 -- Progress M-67/32P docking
02/12/09 -- STS-119/Discovery/15A launch - S6 truss segment
02/14/09 -- STS-119/Discovery/15A docking
02/23/09 -- STS-119/Discovery/15A undocking
03/25/09 -- Soyuz TMA-14/18S launch
05/21/09 -- STS-127/2J/A launch - JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD
07/30/09 -- STS-128/17A/Atlantis - MPLM(P), last crew rotation
05/??/09 -- Six-person crew on ISS (following Soyuz 19S docking, May '09)
4QTR CY09 -- STS-129/ULF3/Discovery - ELC1, ELC2
4QTR CY09 -- STS-130/20A/Endeavour - Node-3 + Cupola
1QTR CY10 -- STS-131/19A/Atlantis - MPLM(P)
1QTR CY10 -- STS-132/ULF4/Discovery - ICC-VLD, MRM1 (contingency)
2QTR CY10 -- STS-133/ULF5/Endeavour - ELC3, ELC4 (contingency).

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