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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 27 September 2008

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Saturday, September 27, 2008

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All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Saturday - light duty day for CDR Volkov, FE-1 Kononenko & FE-2 Chamitoff. Congratulations to Taikonaut Zhai Zhigang for spending ~20 minutes outside the Shenzhou-7 spacecraft on the first Chinese spacewalk today!

The crew performed the regular weekly three-hour task of thorough station cleaning. ["Uborka", usually done on Saturdays, includes removal of food waste products, cleaning of compartments with vacuum cleaner, damp cleaning of the SM (Service Module) dining table, other frequently touched surfaces and surfaces where trash is collected, as well as the FE's sleep station with a standard cleaning solution; also, fan screens and grilles are cleaned to avoid temperature rises. Special cleaning is also done every 90 days on the HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) bacteria filters in the Lab.]

Afterwards, Volkov temporarily powered down the Russian POTOK-150MK (150 micron) air filter unit of the SM's SOGS air revitalization subsystem for the periodic cleaning of its pre-filter, using the vacuum cleaner with narrow-slit nozzle attachment.

At ~10:00am EDT the crewmembers conducted their regular WPC (Weekly Planning Conference) with the ground, discussing next week's "Look-Ahead Plan" (prepared jointly by MCC-Houston and TsUP-Moscow timeline planners) via S-band/audio, reviewing the monthly calendar, upcoming activities, and any concerns about future on-orbit events.

FE-2 Chamitoff conducted Part 1 of his Flight Day 120 session (his fifth) with the NASA/JSC experiment NUTRITION w/Repository, for blood collection only, for which he had to forego exercising and food intake since yesterday for eight hours. Later today, the FE-2 will set up the equipment for the 24-hour urine collections which start with the first void early tomorrow morning. Volkov & Kononenko assisted. [After the CDR performed the phlebotomy, i.e., drawing Greg's blood samples (from an arm vein), with the FE-1 taking photographs, the samples 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.]

Oleg Kononenko conducted 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.]

Gregory Chamitoff's chosen VolSci (Voluntary Weekend Science) program today involved a 3.5-hour run with the payload SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites), for which Greg set up the work area in the Lab and two PD-100 camcorders for video capture, dimmed the GLAs (General Luminaire Assemblies) and used the SSC (Station Support Computer) laptop to control the test satellites. [The SPHERES experiment is a test bed for the development and testing of formation flying and other multi-spacecraft control algorithms. Today's session (Session 13) concentrated on three satellites and five beacons on mounts, with three CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) tanks and six battery packs, to experiment with docking, formation flight, and reconfigurations. In addition, the session added a wide range of control algorithms for maneuvers previously demonstrated using basic control laws. Modern robust control techniques are combined with path planning and formation flight algorithms to improve the performance of the system. The session also continued to obtain data for control reconfiguration after satellites dock (and their mass properties change). Per applicable Flight Rule, SPHERES operations have no CO2 output constraints if the CDRA (CO2 Removal Assembly) is operating in dual-bed or single-bed mode.]

Later tonight, Chamitoff will disconnect and stow the Ethernet cabling of the A31p PCS-2 (Portable Computer System 2) laptop of the HRF-2 (Human Research Facility 2), used for ANITA (Analyzing Interferometer for Ambient Air), in preparation of the upcoming relocation of the rack from the US Lab to COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory).

At ~10:55am EDT, Sergey & Oleg downlinked a PAO TV address of greetings to the participants of the Third Science Festival in Moscow, to be held October 10-12 at M. V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, with participation of the Moscow City Government and support of the Federal Agency for Science & Innovations under the Russian Federation's Ministry of Education & Science. Goals of the festival are to demonstrate the latest scientific achievements and advancement of science research into manufacturing, to draw talented youth into institutions of higher learning, to promote a profession of teacher and scientist. ["...We are sending our heartfelt greetings to the participants of Science Festival in Moscow from onboard of the International Space Station. We are thousands of miles apart now, but we are with you in our thoughts, in Moscow State University, where the Festival's opening ceremony is under way. Most likely this is a very colorful, interesting, and informative event, just like the entire festival's program. This is a remarkable idea to conduct a real celebration of science with participation not just scientists but everybody who is interested in scientific quest and has a thirst for knowledge....Yes, the future of our home very much depends on the extent to which science, engineering and technology are developed, and the degree the world relies on scientific research and knowledge. Moscow Science Festival just serves this noble goal. We are being heard in the MSU Grand Conference Hall, where science festival guests are gathered. Among them there are those whose inspirational work opened a road into space. Our best wishes to you on this day celebrating science and intellect."]

The two cosmonauts also had their weekly PFCs (Private Family Conferences) via S-band/audio and Ku-band/MS-NetMeeting application (which displays the uplinked ground video on an SSC laptop), Oleg at ~6:50am, Sergey at ~8:20am.

The crew completed their regular daily 2.5-hr. physical workout program (about half of which is used for setup & post-exercise personal hygiene) on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-2), TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation (CDR/2.5h, FE-1/2.5h), and RED resistive exercise device (FE-2).

Later, Oleg transferred the exercise data files to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) 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).

As generally every day now, today starting at 9:00am and running until 3:00pm (during the SPHERES session), the US CDRA (Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly) is activated intermittently for two half-cycles to control ppCO2 levels. This configuration for the daily ops does not require connecting & disconnecting the ITCS cooling loop. [A forward plan is in work for cycling the CSV (CO2 Selector Valve) to prevent its sticking. CDRA remains "yellow" on the ISS critical systems list.]

Conjunction Advisory: Another piece of debris from the Kosmos-2421 satellite (Object 87055) will pass by ISS on 9/29 (Monday) at 5:04am EDT. Latest trajectory predictions indicate a miss distance of 30.4 km. MCC-H specialists are closely monitoring. If DAM (Debris Avoidance Maneuver) is required, it could replace the ISS reboost scheduled for 10/2.

Week 23/24 Scheduled Main Activities:

  • Sun. (9/28): NUTRITION w/urine collect; TVIS video; FMK deploy; SOLO diet mntr.; GFI-1 charge; PFC (FE-2).
  • Mon. (9/29): NUTRITION; BMP ch.1 regen; VELO maint.; ASU toilet replmnts; Elektron maint.; MFCV valve adjustments; Node-2, A/L, Lab SD/BF maint.; GFI-1/Relax. exp. (ATV1); air sampling (CMS, GSC, AK-1M); IP-1 inspect.; KPT/BAR-RM power charge.
  • Tue, (9/30): MO-7; BMP ch.2 regen; TEPC relocate; NOA1 exp.; RED inspect.; IWIS reprog.; Node-1 RFCA Flowmeter test, ITCS MTL (MFCV) adjust, A/L MTL Flowmeter meas.; FMK stow; Kazbek fit checks; crew dep. preps.

Weekly Science Update (Expedition Seventeen -- Week 23)

3-D SPACE: In progress.

ALTCRISS (Alteino Long Term monitoring of Cosmic Rays on the ISS): Measurements continue in FGB module.

ANITA (Analyzing Interferometer for Ambient Air): Continuing.

BCAT-3/4 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test 3/4): BCAT team coordinating pictures with sample modules, ascertaining image quality and comparing Kodak and Nikon camera results. Data download delayed by hurricane Ike. Looking forward to BCAT-4 data.

CARDIOCOG-2: Completed.

CCISS (Cardiovascular & Cerebrovascular Control on Return from ISS): Reserve.

CFE (Capillary Flow Experiment): Reserve.

CW/CR (Cell Wall/Resist Wall) in EMCS (European Modular Cultivation System): Samples returned on 1J.

CSI-2/CGBA-5 (CGBA Science Insert #2/Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus 5): In progress.

CGBA-2 (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus 2): Complete.

CSLM-2 (Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures 2): Complete.

EarthKAM (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students): Complete.

ELITE-S2 (Elaboratore Immagini Televisive - Space 2): Planned.

EPO (Educational Payload Operations): Reserve.

ETD (Eye Tracking Device): Completed.

EuTEF (European Technology Exposure Facility): Due to safety concerns identified for the PLEGPAY instrument (when operated in Plasma Discharge mode), the entire EuTEF platform was put in survival mode on 9/1 at around 11:00am EDT (just prior to 29P undocking). Since then, the EuTEF power feeder#1 has been de-activated and no science acquisition is possible. Request has been approved for intermittent activation for 3 of the 9 EUTEF payloads. EuTEF platform power feeder#1 has been re-activated for 4-hrs periods on 9/20, 9/22, 9/24 and will continue to be re-activated every other day until safety issues are solved with the PLEGPAY instrument. This mitigates the science loss for the EXPOSE, DOSTEL and MEDET instruments only. -- DEBIE-2: Inactive; -- DOSTEL: Inactive, part of proposed intermittent activation;-- EuTEMP: Inactive as planned; -- EVC: Inactive; -- EXPOSE: Inactive, part of proposed intermittent activation; -- FIPEX: Inactive; -- MEDET: Inactive, part of proposed intermittent activation; -- PLEGPAY: Inactive; -- TRIBOLAB: Inactive.

FSL (Fluid Science Laboratory): FSL is nominal.

GEOFLOW: The GEOFLOW EC (Experiment Container) has been removed on 9/16 in view of the 30P docking.

HDTV System Test DL (JAXA): In progress.

IMMUNO (Neuroendocrine & Immune Responses in Humans During & After Long Term Stay at ISS): Complete.

InSPACE-2 (Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions 2): In progress.

Integrated Immune: In progress.

KUBIK-FM1/ KUBIK-FM2 Centrifuge/Incubators: Completed.

LOCAD-PTS (Lab-on-a-Chip Application Development-Portable Test System): "Greg, thanks for choosing LOCAD on Saturday. You did a great job again and got some interesting results. The LOCAD test you performed was for 'beta-glucan', a molecule found in fungal cell walls. As you know, each test provides 5 sets of data on the display: sample concentration, sample coefficient of variation (CV) %, spike concentration, spike CV%, and recovery %. We're mainly interested in the first number: 'sample concentration' (from 1ng/ml to 100ng/ml). We expected readings around 1ng/ml in Node 1 (a relatively 'clean' location), but you have obtained readings up to 18ng/ml! This was exciting for us because, while not a concern for crew health, it would be a significant event during exploration missions where a major scientific challenge will be to search for extraterrestrial life AND differentiate it from microbial life associated with the spacecraft and crew. Your work is providing valuable data to help prepare for that challenge."

Marangoni Experiment for ISS (JAXA Fluid Physics Experiment Facility): The fourth run started on 9/25. Part of the differed third run will be conducted in the Inc 17 and some part also in Inc 18.

Micro-G Clay (JAXA EPO): Complete.

MISSE (Materials ISS Experiment): Ongoing.

Moon Photography from ISS (JAXA EPO): Complete.

MTR-2 (Russian radiation measurements): Passive dosimeters measurements in DC1 "Pirs".

MULTIGEN-1: Completed.

MSG-SAME (Microgravity Science Glovebox): Complete.

NOA-1/-2 (Nitric Oxide Analyzer, ESA): Next NOA-1 session currently planned on 9/30.

NUTRITION w/REPOSITORY: In progress.

PADLES (Passive Dosimeter for Lifescience Experiment in Space): In progress.

PCRF (Protein Crystallization Research Facility) Reconfiguration (JAXA): Complete.

PMDIS (Perceptual Motor Deficits in Space): Complete.

SAMS/MAMS (Space & Microgravity Acceleration Measurement Systems): Ongoing.

SAMPLE: Complete.

SHERE (Shear History Extensional Rheology Experiment): In progress.

SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight): In progress.

SOLAR (Solar Monitoring Observatory): The next sun visibility window expected to open as of 9/26. -- SOVIM: awaiting the Sun to acquire science; -- SOLSPEC: awaiting the Sun to acquire science; -- SOLACES: awaiting the Sun to acquire science.

SOLO (Sodium Loading in Microgravity): PCBA (Portable Clinical Blood Analyzer) pouches with control solution and cartridges have been transferred to MELFI and all SOLO kits have been transferred from Progress to the ETC (European Transport Carrier) in COL on 9/18. First SOLO session currently planned to start on 10/3. [Note: The ETC carries payload items that cannot be launched within the ESA facilities because of stowage or transport limitations. In orbit it serves as a workbench and stowage facility to support experiments with Biolab, the Fluid Science Lab, the European Physiology Modules and the European Drawer Rack.]
SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellite): Reserve.

Swab (Characterization of Microorganisms & Allergens in Spacecraft): Complete.

TRAC (Test of Reaction & Adaptation Capabilities): Planned.

ULTRASOUND: Planned.

WAICO #1 (Waving and Coiling of Arabidopsis Roots at Different g-levels): Teams on ground continue to assess the results of the BIOLAB Rotor A Bellow Test, which gave faulty signals for 4 out of 6 Reference ECs. Rotor B Actuator test and Rotor B bellow test have been successfully performed on 9/5.

CEO (Crew Earth Observations): Through 9/15 the ground has received a total of 7,434 frames of CEO images for review and cataloging. "Photos with times corresponding to our CEO target list request times are reviewed first and since our last report included: Pilcomayo River Dynamics, N. Argentina (unconfirmed and under review); Araguainha Impact Crater, Brazil (unconfirmed and under review); Jarvis Island, Equatorial Pacific (acquisition confirmed and under review); Lake Poopo, Bolivia (acquisition confirmed and under review); and Red River Basin (acquisition confirmed and under review). We also wish to acknowledge several of your timely Hurricane Ike images that were used by PAO and the new media. Other imagery of interest noted and under review include: Iceberg A43a, South Atlantic Ocean; Bovet Island, South Atlantic Ocean; sessions with views of Auroras; and views of cities at night, all acquired without our prompting. Your recent striking shot of the Tifernine Dune Field in eastern Algeria will be published on NASA/GSFC's Earth Observatory website this weekend. It nicely illustrates the impact of climate change on the evolution and character of topographic features in this region. Please keep up your good work as we continue to work through our backlog of your imagery due to the JSC closure for Ike."

CEO (Crew Earth Observations) photo targets uplinked for today were S. Mozambique (ISS had a fair-weather pass near midday with the center of this target area just right of track. Researchers requested overlapping long lens views mapping the area along the ground track. The region is undergoing rapid development, and baseline imagery of land cover will be useful to track changes to regional ecosystems over time), South Tibesti Megafans (these subtle, ancient erosional features in the Sahara are located between Lake Chad to the south and closer to the southern flank of the rugged Tibesti Mountains to the north. Requested were short lens oblique views of the region for later use to help pinpoint areas of more detailed shots. ISS approach was from the SW in midday sun and fair weather. After crossing Lake Chad, Greg was to begin shooting broad mapping views of the area to the left of track until he reached the mountains), B.P. Structure (this tiny impact site in eastern Libya near the border with Egypt is just 2 km in diameter and few crews have managed to spot it. On nadir pass in clear weather and early afternoon CEO researchers requested a short lens mapping strip along the track since they plan to use a suitable context view from one of the views to aid in locating it for a long lens shot in the future), Pilcomayo River, N Argentina (ISS pass over this target area was nadir and at midday with fair weather expected at this time. This failing river system serves as the international boundary between Argentina and Paraguay as it tracks SE-ward from the central Andes Mountains towards the large Parana River. This river has special geological interest because it is blocking its own course with sediment, and spilling out onto the surrounding flatlands, at the point near where the track crosses the course. Also, this river has built the largest megafan [inland delta] on Earth. Greg was to attempt to map the river in detail from where it breaks out of the mountains until it becomes indistinct [Note: The Pilcomayo River should not be confused with the more distinct, neighboring Bermejo River further south which follows a similar course southeastward]), and Sevilleta Wildlife Area, New Mexico (this wildlife area is also designated as a Long Term Ecological Research [LTER] site. It is primarily situated near either side of the Rio Grande River in central New Mexico. As ISS approached from the SW in late afternoon sun, it may have been partly cloudy, but Greg was to try for detailed views S-to-N along the east side of the river as far north as Santa Fe).

CEO photography can be studied at this "Gateway" website:
http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov (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, 5:11am EDT [= epoch]):
Mean altitude -- 352.4 km
Apogee height -- 356.9 km
Perigee height -- 348.0 km
Period -- 91.59 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0006617
Solar Beta Angle -- 21.1 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 48 hours -- 68 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 56461

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible.):
09/29/08 -- ATV de-orbit (nighttime re-entry for observation from 2 NASA aircraft; ~9:12pm)
10/01/08 -- NASA 50 Years (official)
10/02/08 -- ISS Reboost (~1.8 m/s)
10/14/08 -- STS-125/Atlantis Hubble Space Telescope Service Mission 4 (SM4) 12:33am
10/12/08 -- Soyuz TMA-13/17S launch (~3:03am EDT; Lonchakov, Fincke, Garriott)
10/14/08 -- Soyuz TMA-13/17S docking (FGB nadir port, ~4:51am)
10/24/08 -- Soyuz TMA-12/16S undocking (DC1 nadir) & landing
11/02/08 -- Progress 30P reboost
11/16/08 -- STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 launch - MPLM Leonardo, LMC (~7:02pm EST)
11/18/08 -- STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 docking
11/20/08 -- ISS 10 Years
11/25/08 -- Progress M-65/30P undocking & deorbit
11/26/08 -- Progress M-66/31P launch
11/30/08 -- Progress M-66/31P docking
12/01/08 -- STS-126/Endeavour/ULF2 landing (~1:25pm EST est.)
02/09/09 -- Progress M-66/31P undocking & deorbit
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
02/24/09 -- STS-119/Discovery/15A undocking
02/26/09 -- STS-119/Discovery/15A landing (nominal)
03/25/09 -- Soyuz TMA-14/18S launch
03/27/09 - Soyuz TMA-14/18S docking (DC1)
04/05/09 -- Soyuz TMA-13/17S undocking
04/07/09 -- Progress M-67/32P undocking & deorbit
05/15/09 -- STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch - JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD
05/25/09 -- Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
05/27/09 -- Six-person crew on ISS (following Soyuz 19S docking)
07/30/09 -- STS-128/Atlantis/17A - MPLM(P), last crew rotation
10/15/09 -- STS-129/Discovery/ULF3 - ELC1, ELC2
12/10/09 -- STS-130/Endeavour/20A - Node-3 + Cupola
02/11/10 -- STS-131/Atlantis/19A - MPLM(P)
04/08/10 -- STS-132/Discovery/ULF4 - ICC-VLD, MRM1
05/31/10 -- STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 - ELC3, ELC4 (contingency).

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