NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 12 March 2009


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

With last night’s launch scrub of STS-119/Discovery and slip to NET 3/15, the crew’s wake period remains at the current stage (wake 9:00am, sleep 12:30am EDT next day). The launch slip is used to provide the crew with time off, i.e., and the next few days will be half-duty days.

After yesterday’s successful RS Orlan EVA-21A, CDR Fincke & FE-1 Lonchakov conducted final post-EVA clean-up operations, in particular –

  • Returning the emergency medical kits from the DC1 (Docking Compartment) to their nominal stowage locations. [This involved the NP-2 First Aid Kit 2, SS Cardiovascular Remedies Kit and AB Onboard First Aid Kit from the Soyuz TMA-13/17S];
  • De-installing the BNP Portable Air Repress bottle in the SM RO (Service Module Work Compartment) and stowing it;
  • Starting discharging the Pack 1 of the 825M3 Orlan batteries,
  • Setting the Orlan spacesuits up for drying out, and
  • Performing the SM atmosphere repress from Progress 32P SrPK air supply tankage.

Fincke & Lonchakov also re-opened the Progress M-66/32P at the DC1 nadir port for access by –

  • Starting the standard one-hour leak checking of the SU docking vestibule and fuel/oxidizer transfer line interface between Progress and DC1,
  • Opening the DC1-SU (Transfer Vestibule) and SU-32P transfer hatches,
  • Installing the rigidizing QD (quick disconnect) screw clamps (BZV) of the docking & internal transfer mechanism (SSVP) [during leak checking and initial clamp installation, Russian thrusters were inhibited due to load constraints], and
  • Deactivating the Progress cargo ships electronics.

In the US Airlock, FE-2 Magnus terminated the recharge of REBA (Rechargeable EVA Battery) #1009, currently installed in EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) 3005, then started the recharge process on REBA #1006 from PSA (Power Supply Assembly) utility outlet.

CDR Fincke checked out three BRTs (Body Restraint Tethers) for the 15A spacewalks, performing the usual sharp-edge test with a swatch. If time permitted, he was also to inspect two MUT (Multi-Use Tether) end effectors (not required for 15A).

In ESA’s COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), Sandra Magnus repositioned the US DC power cable of the ERNObox payload underneath the gap closure and secured the gap closure over it. [The gap closure protects against inadvertent access to the free space between the D1 Rack and the standoff. The ERNO (Entwicklungsring Nord) box contains various radiation devices, including LEON-2 CPU (Central Processing Unit) developed by ATMEL/France and ESA, new memory devices, large SRAM (Static Random Access Memory)-based FPGAs (Field-Programmable Gate Arrays), and MEMS (Microelectromechanical Systems) sensors. The radiation-hardened LEON-2 microprocessor chip is the first implementation of a LEON CPU-core in silicon, with SPARC compliance. SPARC (Scalable Processor Architecture), invented by Sun Microsystems Inc., is an open set of technical specifications that any person or company can license and use to develop microprocessors and other semiconductor devices based on published industry standards.]

The FE-2 conducted the weekly 10-min. CWC (Contingency Water Container) inventory as part of on-going WRM (Water Recovery & Management) assessment of onboard water supplies. Updated “cue cards” based on the crew’s water calldowns are sent up every other week. [The current card (18-0006P) lists 37 CWCs (~1,081.0 L total) for the four types of water identified on board: technical water (640.3 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 110.6 L currently off-limits, filled from WPA and pending sample analysis on the ground), potable water (390.1 L, incl. 174.6 L currently off-limit because of Wautersia bacteria), condensate water (0.0 L), waste/EMU dump and other (50.6 L, including the new CWC-I with 3.9 L from PWD flushes). Wautersia bacteria are typical water-borne microorganisms that have been seen previously in ISS water sources. These isolates pose no threat to human health.]

Later, Sandy retrievedand stowed the four passive FMK (Formaldehyde Monitoring Kit) sampling assemblies deployed by her on 3/10 in the Lab (at P3, below CEVIS) and Service Module (SM, at the most forward handrail, on panel 307), to catch any atmospheric formaldehyde on a collector substrate for subsequent analysis on the ground. [Two monitors each are usually attached side by side, preferably in an orientation with their faces perpendicular to the direction of air flow.]

Afterwards, the FE-2 will perform 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.]

Sandy will also to conduct the regular daily IMS (Inventory Management System) maintenance task by updating/editing the IMS standard “delta file” including stowage locations for the regular weekly automated export/import to its three databases on the ground (Houston, Moscow, Baikonur).

At ~12:20am EDT, just before sleep time, Lonchakov will set up the Russian MBI-12 SONOKARD (Sonocard) payload and start his 10th 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.]

The station residents completed their regular daily 2.5-hr. physical workout program (about half of which is used for setup & post-exercise personal hygiene) on the TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-1/2.5h, FE-2), and ARED advanced resistive exerciser (CDR, FE-2).

At ~11:47am EDT, the CDR powered up the ISS amateur radio equipment and at 11:52am conducted a ham radio session with students of Sewickley Academy, Sewickley, PA. [Founded in 1838, Sewickley Academy is Pittsburgh’s oldest independent school, enrolling approximately 800 students prekindergarten through grade 12. A premier coeducational, college-preparatory day school, the Academy prepares its students for a lifetime
of success by inspiring them to reach their full potential as curious, courageous and compassionate learners. Questions to Mike Fincke were uplinked beforehand.Do you see clouds move in the air from space?”; “How do you control yourself when there isn’t any gravity?”; “How do you prepare to go from Earth to space and then back?”, “How do you exercise and how long do you exercise?”; “Have you ever seen something undiscovered by humans in space?”; “Who inspired you to be an astronaut?”; “Is there electricity in space and how do you get the energy?”; “Can you explain how you prepare for a space walk?”; “When new parts are being sent into space, how do you attach them to the Space Center?”; “What does it feel like to float in space?”; “What does it feel like to sleep on the wall and can you tell that you are not lying flat down?”]

At ~6:10pm, the ISS crew is scheduled for their regular weekly tagup with the Lead Flight Director at JSC/MCC-H via S-band/audio. [S/G-2 (Space-to-Ground 2) phone patch via SSC (Station Support Computer).]

VolSci Preview: For the Voluntary Science program on days 3/14 & 3/15, another session with LOCAD-PTS (Lab-On-A-Chip Application Development – Portable Test System) has been suggested to the crew, at their discretion. [Objective of the LOCAD-PTS session is to perform Phase 1 surface sampling with media slide preparation using an LAL cartridge, two Glucan cartridges, and a Gram+ cartridge.]

Conjunction: At 12:39pm EDT, the ISS had a conjunction with a small piece of orbital debris (Object #25090, PAM-D debris) which passed by the station inside the Red Threshold. Due to late notification, which was well beyond the timeline for maneuvering, a DAM (Debris Avoidance Maneuver) could not be performed. As a precaution, the three crewmembers withdrew to the Soyuz 17S capsule at 12:35pm, leaving the spacecraft’s hatch open (in case the Soyuz itself was struck). The crew returned to the ISS at ~12:45pm. [The late notification was due to the high uncertainty of the object’s location on its low-perigee (154 km), high eccentricity orbit, which resulted in an error in solar radiation pressure prediction. Subsequent correction of this value brought the object into the Red box.]

STS-119/Discovery/15A: Launch is now expected NET 3/15. If this date can be met, the mission will lose two docked days and EVA-4. Launch dates of either Monday 3/16 or Tuesday 3/17 will decrease the number of EVAs to one, and the main EVA objective then is to install the S6 truss. This may drive the need for Stage EVAs. Other primary mission objectives are crew rotation and return of water samples.

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, 8:49am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude -- 354.8 km
Apogee height -- 361.3 km
Perigee height -- 348.3 km
Period -- 91.64 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.000968
Solar Beta Angle -- 40.4 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.71
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 53 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 59074

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
03/15/09 NET -- STS-119/Discovery/15A launch – S6 truss segment --- 7:43:40pm EDT
03/26/09 -- Soyuz TMA-14/18S launch (7:49am EDT)
03/28/09 -- Soyuz TMA-14/18S docking (SM aft port; 9:14am EDT)
04/07/09 -- Soyuz TMA-13/17S undocking (1:02am) & landing (4:20am EDT)
05/06/09 -- Progress 32P undocking & deorbit
05/07/09 -- Progress 33P launch
05/12/09 -- STS-125/Atlantis Hubble Space Telescope Service Mission 4 (SM4)
05/12/09 -- Progress 33P docking
05/15/09 -- STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch - JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD
05/27/09 -- Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
05/29/09 -- Soyuz TMA-15/19S docking (FGB nadir)
Six-person crew on ISS
07/17/09 -- Progress 33P undock & deorbit
07/20/09 -- Soyuz TMA-14/18S relocation (to DC1)
07/24/09 -- Progress 34P launch
07/26/09 -- Progress 34P docking (SM aft)
08/06/09 -- STS-128/Discovery/17A – MPLM (P), LMC
09/01/09 -- H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) -- tentative
11/10/09 -- Soyuz 5R/MRM2 (Russian Mini Research Module, MIM2) on Soyuz -- tentative
11/12/09 -- STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 - ELC1, ELC2
12/10/09 -- STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola -- tentative
02/11/10 -- STS-131/Atlantis/19A – MPLM(P), LMC -- tentative
04/08/10 -- STS-132/Discovery/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM1 -- tentative
05/31/10 -- STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 – ELC3, ELC4 -- tentative
12/XX/11 -- Proton 3R/MLM w/ERA.

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