NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 16 November 2008

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Sunday, November 16, 2008


All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Sunday - docking day. Ahead: Week 4 of Increment 18. Flight Day 3 (FD3) of STS-126/ULF-2. ISS crew work cycle today: Wake 9:30am EST; sleep 12:56am (until 9:26am tomorrow morning).

STS-126/Endeavour docked smoothly at the ISS PMA-2 (Pressurized Mating Adapter-2) port at 5:01pm EST, four minutes ahead of timeline, in darkness (orbital sunset ~4:34pm/sunrise ~5:09pm), after successfully completing the RPM (R-Bar Pitch Maneuver) in daylight at ~4:16pm and arriving at +V-Bar (straight in front of ISS) at ~4:30pm (Mike reported that he & Greg could see "no damages whatsoever" on the underbelly TPS through their telephoto lenses). The station now hosts ten occupants again as Mission ULF-2 is underway. [The combined crew is comprised of ISS-CDR Fincke, FE-1 Lonchakov, FE-2 Chamitoff, STS-CDR Chris Ferguson, PLT Eric Boe, MS1 Donald Pettit, MS2/EV2 Steve Bowen, MS3/EV1 Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, MS4/EV3 Shane Kimbrough, and MS5/ FE-2-18 Sandra Magnus who replaces Chamitoff as FE-2, as the latter returns on Endeavour as MS-5.]

Hooks closure to rigidize the Shuttle/ISS linkup was at ((~5:12pm, ~7 min after dock)). After the docking, the station was reoriented as planned to minimize the risk of micrometeoroid/debris impacts upon the Shuttle (-XVV = -x-axis in velocity vector, +z-axis in local vertical). [Earlier, at ~2:00pm, the ISS maneuvered to docking attitude after attitude control authority was handed over (~1:55pm) from USOS (US Segment) to RS MCS (Russian Segment Motion Control System).]

After wake-up, FE-2 Chamitoff ended his FD180 (Flight Day 180) session with the NASA/JSC experiment NUTRITION w/Repository, his sixth and last, by collecting a final urine sample upon wakeup for storage in the MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS). The sampling kit was then stowed away. [The current 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 MELFI), 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.]

FE-1 Lonchakov performed the routine daily servicing of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS) in the Service Module (SM), including the weekly collection of the toilet flush (SP) counter and water supply (SVO) readings for calldown to TsUP-Moscow. Additionally, the FE-1 today checked up on the Russian POTOK-150MK (150 micron) air filter unit of the SM's SOGS air revitalization subsystem, gathering weekly data on total operating time & "On" durations for reporting to TsUP-Moscow. [Regular daily SOZh maintenance consists, among else, of checking the ASU toilet facilities, replacement of the KTO & KBO solid waste containers, replacement of EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine containers and performing US condensate processing (transfer from CWC to EDV containers) if condensate is available.]

Preparatory to the Shuttle arrival, FE-2 Chamitoff verified closure of the Lab & Kibo JPM (Japanese Pressurized Module) science window shutters as protection against thruster plumes. [The window shutters must remain closed when Shuttle is within 3000 ft/915m of the ISS. They may be opened for no more than 15 minutes for photo documentation if the Shuttle is in Freedrift.]

Other pre-docking preparations:

  • Chamitoff hooked up the UOP DCP (Utility Outlet Panel/Display & Control Panel) power bypass cable at the CUP RWS (Cupola Robotic Work Station) to allow video coverage of the Shuttle's approach and docking with the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) cameras;
  • Fincke & Chamitoff readied RPM (R-Bar Pitch Maneuver) photo/video equipment, including camera battery checks, for Orbiter TPS (Thermal Protection System) documentation (Gregory wielded the 400mm-lens D2X camera (replacing the earlier DCS-760), Mike the 800mm-lens D2X for documenting the tile acreage & bottom-side door seals),
  • Lonchakov set up & later activated the camera timers upon Orbiter RPM initiation and handled the camcorder (the timers indicated beginning & end of the bottom-side photography window), then also
  • Performed final STTS communications configuration checks for the docking (later, upon docking, Yuri switched USOS/RS comm systems to their mated-flight mode),
  • Configured proper headset connection for supporting the RPM activity (which resulted in ~300 pictures of the Orbiter bottom TPS), and
  • Verified powerdown of the amateur radio equipment in the SM to prevent RF interference during the proximity & docking ops.

Shortly before the docking, the crew configured the Russian MCS for the automatic "PMA-2 Arrival" mode, an operational sequence used to monitor Orbiter arrival at the PMA-2. [At "Capture Confirmed", ISS attitude was immediately set to Freedrift for about 22 min. to allow dampening out relative motions of ISS and Endeavour (with the ODS (Orbiter Docking System) dampers/shock absorbers), then maneuvered to "Mated TEA" (Torque Equilibrium Attitude) to account for the new overall configuration with Endeavour docked.]

Docking took place at 5:01pm EST. After leak checks of the ODS (Orbiter Docking System) vestibule for about an hour, ISS/STS hatches will be opened (nominally) at ~6:16pm.

After hatch opening, before installation of the ventilation airduct between station and Endeavour, Yuri Lonchakov will be performing the standard collection of air samples with the Russian AK-1M sampler in the SM, FGB, Lab, and then also in the Orbiter.

After the traditional Welcome Ceremony (~6:50pm, nom.), the new arrivals are to receive the mandatory 25-min. Safety Briefing.

FE-2-18 Magnus will transfer her IELK (Individual Equipment Liner Kit) seat liner from the Shuttle to the Soyuz TMA-13/17S crew return vehicle where Yuri Lonchakov installs it for the new FE-2. Greg Chamitoff's IELK seat liner will be pulled out and temporarily stowed for return to Earth. [A crewmember is not considered transferred until her/his IELK, AMP (ambulatory medical pack) and ALSP (advanced life support pack) drug kit are transferred. After today's reconfiguration of the FE-2 IELKs, Sandy has technically become an Expedition 18 member aboard ISS.]

After the Safety Briefing, Fincke is scheduled to deploy and activate the SSC WRLS (Station Support Computer/ Wireless Router) laptop in Node-2 to joint the Shuttle & Station LANs (Local Area Networks) during the ULF-2 docked period.

Chamitoff relocates the COL VCA1 (Columbus Orbital Laboratory/Video Camera Assembly 1) to Node-2 to monitor transfer activities in the Node-2/MPLM (Multi-Purpose Logistics Module) area.

Greg will also exchange the video tape in the VDS VTR (Video Distribution Subsystem/Video Tape Recorder) which has documented the response of the S1 HRS (Heat Rejection Subsystem) Radiator to the docking disturbances.

First cargo transfers from the Shuttle middeck to the ISS are scheduled for Chris, Donald, Heidemarie, Steve, Sandra & Gregory to begin at ~8:30pm.

Later, Mike Fincke and Shuttle crewmembers Don, Eric & Shane will be working the Robotics arms to hand over the grappled OBSS (Orbiter Boom Sensor System) from the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) to the SRMS (Shuttle RMS) and then "park" the SSRMS in MPLM "Leonardo" viewing position.

Yuri and Sandy will be inspecting new SOKOL pressure suits, conducting the standard leak checks.

Before sleep time, FE-2 Chamitoff has ~45 min reserved for deploying the new Emergency Warning books & C&W (Caution & Warning) cue cards for the ULF-2 docked period in the Lab, Soyuz, SM, A/L (normally located in Node-2), Airlock, and Node-2.

At ~10:30pm, Sandra Magnus is scheduled for her first weekly PMC (Private Medical Conferences) via S- & Ku-band audio/video as ISS crewmember.

ISS Crew Sleep Shift Planning: To synchronize the ISS crew's timeline with STS-126/ULF-2 docking and subsequent docked activities, Mike's, Yuri's and Greg's wake/sleep cycle is undergoing a number of shifts which started last night (11/14). The early undock time (10:32am) drives crew wakeup 2.5 hrs earlier, to 7:00am by FD14. The shift is completed by moving crew sleep 30 min earlier on FD4 and then one hour earlier each day on FD12 and FD13. For the first seven days, the wake/sleep shift schedule is as follows (all times EST):


Wake: 9:30am (11/16) -12:56am (11/17)
Sleep: 12:56am - 9:26am (11/17)


Wake: 9:26am -12:26am (11/18)
Sleep: 12:26am - 8:56am


Wake: 8:56am (11/18) - 12:26am (11/19)
Sleep: 12:26am - 8:56am


Wake: 8:56am (11/19) -12:26am (11/20)
Sleep: 12:26am - 8:56am


Wake: 8:56am -12:26am (11/21)
Sleep: 12:26am - 8:56am


Wake: 8:56am -12:26am (11/22)
Sleep: 12:26am - 8:56am


Wake: 8:56am -12:26am (11/23)
Sleep: 12:26am - 8:56am

STS-126 Mission Highlights:

  • MPLM "Leonardo" will be installed on Node-2 on FD4; ingress same day just before Presleep. MPLM transfers start FD5 with four racks, followed on FD6 by 8 racks, including the Galley (/ER6).
  • Focused Orbiter inspection is nominally planned for FD6. However, since the installed MPLM will obstruct a small area on the lower starboard wing for Focused inspection, MPLM berthing could be delayed to FD5 if the Debris Assessment Team, in reviewing the RPM imagery on the evening of FD3, identifies an area of concern associated with the starboard wing. Late inspection will be completed in its entirety after the Shuttle undocks on FD14. Endeavour will be undocking with the OBSS (Orbiter Boom Sensor System) on the SRMS (Shuttle Remote Manipulator System) in preparation for that inspection.
  • Generic face-to-face handover time between Chamitoff & Magnus will be 12 hrs max; Gregory will remain on the ISS until the day before undocking and will be scheduled as an ISS crewmember.
  • Endeavour will be powered by the SSPTS (Station-Shuttle Power Transfer System) from post-docking to just before undocking. During the mated mission when ISS solar arrays are feathered for attitude maneuvers and EVA operations, SSPTS may be powered off to maintain station power margin.
  • 30 hrs are required for transfer ops to/from the Shuttle middeck and 105 hours for MPLM. With all the timelined activities and rack transfers scheduled, ULF2 will be a highly choreographed transfer mission. The Shuttle crew has been thoroughly trained on the details of the choreography. In addition, each day a transfer message will be uplinked, listing specific items that need to be transferred that day due to operations requiring the items.

No CEO photo targets uplinked for today.

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 morning, 9:15am EST [= epoch]):
Mean altitude -- 351.3 km
Apogee height -- 354.1 km
Perigee height -- 348.5 km
Period -- 91.57 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0003921
Solar Beta Angle -- 32.5 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 48 hours -- 55 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 57251

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible.):
11/20/08 -- ISS 10 Years
11/26/08 -- Progress M-66/31P launch (nom.)
11/27/08 -- STS-126/Endeavour/ULF-2 undocking; 10:40am
11/29/08 -- STS-126/Endeavour/ULF-2 landing; ~2:10pm
11/30/08 -- Progress M-66/31P docking (nom.) - DC1 Nadir
12/07/08 -- Progress M-65/30P reentry (after 3 weeks autonomous flight for geophysical experiments)
12/18/08 -- Russian EVA-21
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/Endeavour/15A launch - S6 truss segment
02/14/09 -- STS-119/Endeavour/15A docking
02/24/09 -- STS-119/Endeavour/15A undocking
02/26/09 -- STS-119/Endeavour/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
05/27/09 -- Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
Six-person crew on ISS
07/30/09 -- STS-128/Atlantis/17A - MPLM (P), last crew rotation
10/15/09 -- STS-129/Endeavour/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/Endeavour/ULF4 - ICC-VLD, MRM1 (contingency)
05/31/10 -- STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 - ELC3, ELC4 (contingency).

// end //

More status reports and news releases or top stories.

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.