NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 25 November 2008


All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Flight Day 12 (FD12) of STS-126/ULF-2. ISS crew work cycle today: Wake 8:55am EST; sleep 11:25am; Shuttle crew: 11:55am (both until 7:55am tomorrow, i.e., one hour earlier).

Mission ULF-2’s EVA-4 was completed successfully last night by Steve Bowen & Shane Kimbrough in 6h 7min, accomplishing all of its objectives.
[During the spacewalk, (EV2) & Kimbrough (EV3) –

  • Completed Stbd SARJ (Solar Alpha Rotary Joint) maintenance: cleaning, lubricating & installing the final TBA (Trundle Bearing Assembly) #3 (deferred from EVA-3);
  • Installed MLI (Multi-Layer Insulation) Covers 17 & 18 (deferred from EVA-3);
  • Lubricated the Port SARJ as preventive maintenance;
  • Installed an ETVCG (External TV Camera Group) camera at CP-7 (Camera Position 7) on the S0/P1 truss interface (2 of 3 bolts engaged); camera is required for JAXA HTV (H-II Transfer Vehicle) berthing in Sept. 2009;
  • Manually Retracted Structural Latch 1 of the JAXA EFBM (External Facility Berthing Mechanism); completion confirmed by Fincke from unlit LED (Light Emitting Diodes) on internal BCDU (Berthing Mechanism Control & Driver Unit);
  • Re-installed EFBM center cover after EVA-1 temporary stow; and
  • Installed GPS (Global Positioning System) Antenna A on Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module).

The EVA, originally planned for 6:30h, was cut short by 23 min, again due to elevated CO2 (carbon dioxide) level (3.99 mmHg) in Shane Kimbrough’s EMU. Not completed were:

  • Installation of JEM GPS Antenna B;
  • Infrared imagery of S1 Radiator & P1 Radiator (get-aheads).

Official start time of the spacewalk was 1:24pm EST, and it ended at 7:31m. Total EVA duration (PET = Phase Elapsed Time) was 6h 7min. It was the 118th spacewalk for ISS assembly & maintenance and the 90th from the station (66 from Quest, 24 from Pirs, plus 28 from Shuttle) totaling 557h 07m, the fourth EVA for Expedition 18 and the 18th so far this year (including two Russian Orlan EVAs). It was the third spacewalk for Bowen (19h 56m tot.) and the second for Kimbrough (12h 52m tot.). After today's EVA, a total of 157 spacewalkers (121 NASA astronauts, 25 Russians, and 11 astronauts representing Japan-1, Canada-4, France-1, Germany-2 and Sweden-3) have logged 745h 29min outside the station on building, outfitting & servicing. It was the 138th spacewalk involving U.S. astronauts.

After the spacewalkers’ ingress (7:31pm EST), post-EVA activities by MS4 Kimbrough, MS2 Bowen, FE-2 Chamitoff, CDR Fincke & CDR Ferguson in the A/L consisted of --

  • Recharging the EMU/spacesuits with water from PWR (Payload Water Reservoir),
  • Reconnecting the LTAs (Lower Torso Assemblies) to the EMUs
  • Capping the UIA (Umbilical Interface Assembly,
  • Initiating battery charging in the A/L BSA (Battery Stowage Assembly),
  • Taking photographs of the EMU gloves for downlink and inspection,
  • Downlinking EVA photography.

Today, Shuttle crewmembers Bowen, Kimbrough and Stefanyshyn-Piper are working on reconfiguring the EMUs (Extravehicular Mobility Units) and other EVA equipment/tools for transfer to the MPLM and the Middeck.

FE-2-18 Sandra Magnus photographed and labeled the returned GPS-B antenna and stowed it in a bag in the JPM. [The GPS B antenna will be installed on the JPM during a future EVA. Both antennas are required for HTV docking in Sept. 2009.]

WRS/WPA (Water Recovery System/Water Processing Assembly) Update: CDR Fincke is continuing to work on the WRS/WPA which has been operating nominally since yesterday (two nominal runs over four hours each). [After re-filling the UPA (Urine Processing Assembly) with EDV-pretreated urine, Mike checked again today for leaks. Later, he will collect water samples of the WPA’s second run (one purge bag, one post-flight analysis packet, one TOCA sample), before transferring the recycled water from the WPA to CWCs (Contingency Water Containers, #1017 & 1018) with iodine, using a common H2O hose, conduct an in-flight chemistry/microbiology analysis of a sample with the U.S. WMK (water microbiology kit), then temporarily stow the equipment. Background: Two additional fasteners were installed yesterday on the WRS DA (Distillation Assembly) structural mounting plate, followed by retorquing of all DA fasteners. In addition, Fincke & Pettit installed an IWIS RSU (Internal Wireless Instrumentation System/Remote Sensor Unit) to obtain structural vibrational data from the activated UPA (required for subsequent engineering analysis and assessment with respect to any impacts on micro-G science payloads and other station systems). The UPA is running continuously today, and at one time reportedly generated a “washing machine” noise, as expected due to the hard (undampened) mounting. If no further anomalies occur until 3:00pm EST today (cutoff for MPLM stowage), there is no need for the DA to return to Earth.]

The TOCA (Total Organic Carbon Analyzer) is operating nominally after yesterday’s troubleshooting (removal of trapped air bubbles by flushing a re-circulating section of the liquid pump via “dead-heading”). A sample from the WRS was obtained and successfully run through the TOCA, followed by data downlink to MCC-Houston for analysis. A second sample is being analyzed today.

FE-2-18 Sandra Magnus is completing the installation of the Galley’s PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) standoff hose from the LAB1S7 rack location along the LAB1P4 & LAB1O4 racks. [The work includes taking documentary photography of the installation, followed by activation & checkout of the hose, first flushing it from an iodine-treated CWC (#1059), followed by vacuum-backfilling and then using about 2 L of ambient water (~2 L) for flushing, in small increments (to gain flight data on WPA accumulator pressure range).]

Greg Chamitoff & Don Pettit prepared the spare JEM CBM CPA-4 (Common Berthing Mechanism/Controller Panel Assembly 4) by carefully removing its MLI cover (there are two ground wires between MLI & CPA), then installed the spare at the Node-2 nadir CBM in place of the failed CPA-4. [This allows MCC-Houston to prepare the Node-2 Nadir CBM during crew sleep for tomorrow’s (11/26) MPLM demating.]

Chamitoff and Magnus had more time reserved for standard joint “handover” activities, to be continued through the docked period ahead.

FE-1 Lonchakov started a new round of the periodic preventive maintenance of RS (Russian Segment) ventilation systems in the FGB (Funktsionalnyi-Grusovoi Blok), cleaning the grille of the TsV1 fan.

Afterwards, the FE-1 worked his way through an extensive five-hour teardown of the Russian MATRYOSHKA-R (RBO-3-2) radiation suite in the SM (Service Module). [Yuri dismantled the antroph-amorphous (human torso) "Phantom" and removed its PILLE radiation detectors, five NTDPs (Nuclear Track Detector Packages) and 356 TLDs (Thermoluminescent Detectors) from its torso layers. The detectors will then be pre-packed for return to Earth and handed over to the Shuttle crew, while the Matryoshka hardware is to be temporarily stowed in the FGB.]

Later tonight, Lonchakov will conduct the routine maintenance of the SOZh/ECLSS system, including ASU toilet facilities systems/replaceables. [Regular daily SOZh maintenance consists of replacement of the KTO & KBO solid waste containers, replacement of an EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine container, and processing U.S. condensate water as it becomes available in a filled CWC from the Lab humidifier].

Also on Yuri’s schedule for today is the periodic (currently daily) checkout/verification of IP-1 airflow sensors in the various RS (Russian Segment) hatchways, including the passageways PrK (SM Transfer Compartment)–PrK–RO (SM Working Compartment), PkhO (SM Transfer Tunnel)–RO, PkhO–DC1, PkhO–FGB PGO, FGB PGO–FGB GA, FGB GA–Node-1. [This checkup is especially important when the ventilation/circulation system has to cope with a larger crew on board, currently ten persons, and one of the two Russian SKV air conditioners off (SKV-1).]

As an addition to his discretionary “as time permits” task list for today, Yuri will complete the periodic 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).

The “scavenging” of MPLM (Multipurpose Logistics Module) GLAs (General Luminaire Assemblies) for use as spares on the ISS, deferred from yesterday’s schedule, is one of Sandy’s jobs today.

Afterwards, the FE-2-18 is to inspect the MPLM hatch seal for any possible damage following the rack translations of the preceding days.

Preparatory to today’s scheduled combined waste water dump from the Shuttle, Mike Fincke verified closure of the protective window shutters in the Kibo JPM. Then, at ~11:20am, CDR Ferguson maneuvered the ISS/Shuttle stack into the proper attitude, and at ~11:38am the venting commenced (in retrograde direction). Later, –XVV attitude (Shuttle bottom facing opposite to flight direction for TPS protection) was restored with Shuttle thrusters (ORB mode) at ~1:05pm and taken over by CMG Momentum Management. [The water vent (from Orbiter, CWC 1076 & PWR 1025) had been coordinated with Russian specialists who require a 5-day separation between the dump and the arrival of Progress 31P.]

At ~5:05pm EST, the combined crew is scheduled for three PAO interviews with KARE-TV, Minneapolis, MN (Diana Pierce, Pat Evans), KPAM-AM Radio, Portland, OR (Terry Travis) and WTXF-TV, Philadelphia, PA (Sabrina Wolman).

At ~9:22pm, CDR Fincke will power up the SM's amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and conduct, at 9:27pm, a ham radio exchange with Wairarapa Home School Association, Carterton, Wairarapa, New Zealand. [The Association is a support group for many of the Home Schoolers in the Wairarapa province located about 90 km Northeast on Highway 2 from the Capital City, Wellington. The organization provides a point of communication for events and resources that are in the Wairarapa and for parents to plan events that will provide for educational and social activities for our families. The Wairarapa in Maori means “sea of sparkling waters” from Lake Wairarapa, a fresh water lake in the province. It is a rural community consisting of dairying, cattle, sheep, timber, cropping and some fruit growing industries. Some families live in remote areas in the farming community and others live in the eight country towns; Masterton is the main town in the province. The children who will be asking the questions are schooled by their parents from a Correspondence curriculum, the ages of the children range from 5 to 14 years--many come from big families, where English is their first language. Questions to Mike were uplinked beforehand. “What made you want to be an astronaut?”; “How long do you go into space for, and what are you doing up there?”; “Have you gone outside the space station yet?”; “What can you see out the window?”; “What does the Milky Way and other planets look like from the space station?”; “Have you ever seen a shooting star, and what did it look like from the space station?”; “How do you exercise in space?”; “Is the cabin pressurized so you can eat food like we do on earth, or do you float around like they do on movies and have to drink pureed food?”; “What happens if there is a fire on the space station?”; “How do you handle it when two of you have an argument on the space station?”; “What is the operating system for your computers on board the space station?”]

The ISS crew completed their physical workout program (about half of which is used for setup & post-exercise personal hygiene) on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-1, FE-2), TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-2), RED (CDR, FE-2-18), and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1).

Transfers: MPLM (Multi-Purpose Logistics Module) cargo transfers are being completed today. Middeck transfers are on schedule. 22 lbs of O2 (oxygen) was transferred from the Shuttle today. [As of this morning, Middeck cargo transfers were 69% complete, MPLM 96%, total 89%.]

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, 5:17am EST [= epoch]):
Mean altitude -- 354.1 km
Apogee height -- 358.8 km
Perigee height -- 349.4 km
Period -- 91.62 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.000704
Solar Beta Angle -- 8.0 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours – 126 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) – 57390.

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible.):
11/26/08 -- Progress M-66/31P launch
11/28/08 -- STS-126/Endeavour/ULF-2 undocking (~9:47am);
11/30/08 -- STS-126/Endeavour/ULF-2 landing (KSC, ~1:18pm);
11/30/08 -- Progress M-66/31P docking – DC1 Nadir (~7:23am)
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).

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