ISS On-Orbit Status 04/07/09
All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Day 11 of joint E18/19 operations. Last day in space for CDR Fincke, FE-1 Lonchakov, and SFP Simonyi.
The crew’s work/sleep cycle remains shifted for the Soyuz undocking: Wake-up – 12:00 Noon EDT (from 2:00am this morning), sleep – 3:45am tomorrow morning (until 2:00am on 4/9).
For the biomed experiment INTEGRATED IMMUNE (Validating Procedures for Monitoring Crew member Immune Function), CDR Fincke performed his final Liquid Saliva collection, then stowed the kit with the saliva sample pouches on the Soyuz for return to ground. FE-1-19 Barratt also collected one liquid saliva sample (samples need to be collected in the morning before eating, drinking, or brushing teeth). [IMMUNE protocol requires the collection to occur first thing post-sleep, before eating, drinking and brushing teeth, and all samples are stored at ambient temperature. Along with NUTRITION (Nutritional Status Assessment), INTEGRATED IMMUNE samples & analyzes participant’s blood, urine, and saliva before, during and after flight for changes related to functions like bone metabolism, oxidative damage and immune function to develop and validate an immune monitoring strategy consistent with operational flight requirements and constraints. The strategy uses both long and short duration crewmembers as study subjects.]
FE-2 Wakata continued the extended “Bisphosphonates” biomedical countermeasures experiment, today again ingesting an Alendronate pill before breakfast. [The Bisphosphonates study should determine whether antiresorptive agents (that help reduce bone loss) in conjunction with the routine in-flight exercise program will protect ISS crewmembers from the regional decreases in bone mineral density documented on previous ISS missions. Two dosing regimens will be tested: (1) an oral dose of 70 mg of Alendronate taken weekly starting 3 weeks prior to flight and then throughout the flight and (2) an intravenous (IV) dose of 4 mg Zoledronic Acid, administered just once approximately 45 days before flight. The rationale for including both Alendronate and Zoledronic Acid is that two dosing options will maximize crew participation, increase the countermeasure options available to flight surgeons, increase scientific opportunities, and minimize the effects of operational and logistical constraints. The primary measurement objective is to obtain preflight and postflight QCT (Quantitative Computed Tomography) scans of the hip. The QCT scans will provide volumetric bone density information of both cortical and trabecular (spongy) bone regions of the hip.]
Later, Col. Mike will perform his last in-flight SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) activity by taking off his Actiwatch device. Its accumulated data will be downloaded later by the Expedition 19 crew. [To monitor the crewmember’s sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, participating crewmembers wear a special Actiwatch device which measures the light levels encountered by him as well as his patterns of sleep and activity throughout the Expedition. The log entries into the HRF1 laptop are done within 15 minutes of final awakening for seven consecutive days, as part of the crew’s discretionary “job jar” task list.]
After wakeup, CDR-19 Padalka collected the periodic readings of potentially harmful atmospheric contaminants in the SM (Service Module), using the CMS (Countermeasure System), a component of the SKDS GANK-4M Real-Time Harmful Contaminant Gas Analyzer suite, today using preprogrammed microchips to measure for Ammonia (NH3) and Carbon Monoxide (CO).
Gennady performed 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.]
Padalka was also scheduled for 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, the CDR-19 will conduct the periodic (currently daily) checkout & performance 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 six persons, and one of the two Russian SKV air conditioners is off (SKV-1) because it is beyond its service life.]
Mike Barratt, the new FE-1, is timelined for doing the monthly 30-min PEP (Fire Detection & Suppression/Portable Emergency Provisions) safety inspection/audit in the ISS modules. [The IMS-supported inspection involves verification that PFEs (Portable Fire Extinguishers), PBAs (Portable Breathing Apparatus) and EHTKs (Extension Hose/Tee Kits) are free of damage to ensure their functionality, and to track shelf life/life cycles on the hardware. QDMA (Quick-Don Mask Assembly) harness inspection was not required today.]
The crew completed an adjusted physical workout program (about half of which is used for setup & post-exercise personal hygiene) on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-1-19, FE-2), TVIS treadmill (CDR), and ARED resistive exercise device (FE-2).
Barratt will also conduct the daily status check on the BCAT-4 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-4) science payload, running by itself since 4/3. [The status check, conducted on the last image taken by the DCS 760 digital still camera which is controlled by EarthKAM software on an A31p laptop, is to verify proper image focus and camera alignment. The SSC (Station Support Computer) is taking photography of the phase separation occurring in the BCAT Sample 3, with the photo flash going off every half hour.]
FE-1 Lonchakov will swap PLC (POLCA) & GVG (GRAVIGEN) biocontainers of the ESA payload BIO-4 in the KUBIK3 thermostat container, later close out the experiment and stow it on Soyuz 17S for return. Afterwards, Padalka reconnects the KUBIK3 data cable, copies remaining data to memory storage, then deactivates the thermostats and stows the equipment in the FGB.
Yuri & Gennady are to close out & transfer the last Russian biotech payloads for return on TMA-13. [Specifically: BTKh-14/BIOEMULSION, BTKh-26/KASKAD (Cascade), BTKh-10/KONYUGATSIYA (Conjugation), TKhN-9 (KRISTALLIZATOR/Crystallizer), and STRUCTURE.]
Wakata is scheduled to use the D2Xs digital camera for taking a series of photographs of the Moon from the JPM (JEM Pressurized Module) window (1A8) for subsequent downloading on an SSC (Station Support Computer).
Afterwards, Koichi will close the protective window shutters in the Lab and Kibo module in preparation for the Soyuz departure tonight, and ensure that the ham radio equipment in the SM & FGB is deactivated, to prevent RF interference with the Soyuz radio comm.
With Soyuz TMA-13 no longer available as contingency CRV (Crew Return Vehicle) for the coming Increment, Padalka will transfer its three Emergency Procedures ODF (DAS EhP) books to the new CRV, TMA-14, docked at the SM aft port. This will be the last transfer.
Afterwards (~6:06pm), Yuri Lonchakov will close out the two listings of equipment items to be returned in the Soyuz Descent Module and of excessed cargo stowed in the Orbital Module, then report loading completion status to TsUP-Moscow via S-band.
Preparations for undocking will begin at about 7:25pm with the traditional Crew Farewell between the departing E18 crewmembers Fincke, Lonchakov & Simonyi and the new E19 station crew of Padalka, Barratt & Wakata.
Scheduled VC-16 activities for SFP Charles Simonyi today include –
Fincke enters the 17S Descent Module at ~7:35pm and performs the standard pre-undocking communications check, as Padalka in the SM configures the STTS comm system for undocking.
With the returning crewmembers all ingressed in the Soyuz spacecraft, Mike & Yuri will activate the spacecraft (~7:40pm-8:40pm), followed by closing the Soyuz & FGB hatches, assisted by Gennady and Dr. Mike. The departing Soyuz crew then starts the standard one-hour leak check on the Soyuz-to-FGB GA vestibule.
After hatch closure, Koichi will reconfigure the camera which recorded the event, then downlink the TV recording to the ground.
For the Soyuz departure, CDR Padalka will check the active DAKON-M hardware of the Russian experiment TEKh-15/IZGIB (“Bend”) for its proper function during the undocking. [IZGIB has the objective to help update mathematical models of the ISS gravitation environment, using accelerometers of the Russian SBI Onboard Measurement System, the GIVUS high-accuracy angular rate vector gyrometer of the SUDN Motion Control & Navigation System and other accelerometers for unattended measurement of micro-accelerations at science hardware accommodation locations - (1) in operation of onboard equipment having rotating parts (gyrodynes, fans), (2) when establishing and keeping various ISS attitude modes, and (3) when performing crew egresses into space and physical exercises.]
Shortly before the undocking (11:55pm), Gennady will also power up the new “Istochnik-M” (“spring”, “source”) system for receiving telemetry from onboard the reentering Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft, allowing ISS-based (and relayed-to-the-ground) monitoring of the tri-module separation event. [The equipment, including Istochnik TM station, power amplifiers, power supply, USB software sticks and cables, was brought up on Progress 32P. Also, to monitor the critical Soyuz tri-module separation during reentry, a NASA specialist team has deployed to the overflight zone in Israel.]
After the departure, the station crew will complete a number of post-undocking tasks, such as –
The return to Earth of the TMA-13/17S spacecraft tonight will proceed along the following general event sequence (all times EDT):
What the Soyuz TMA-13 crew will experience during their reentry/descent tonight:
Conjunction Advisory: A new conjunction with space debris (Object 29822, Chinese Fengyun-1C debris) is being tracked for a close approach on 9/9 (Thursday); TCA (Time of Closest Approach): 7:59am EDT. Miss distance overall: 14.9 km; radial: 0.3 km. Go/NoGo decision time for DAM (Debris Avoidance Maneuver): 4/8 8:29am EDT). [The temporal proximity of the 17S undocking to the TCA is of some concern since final tracking of the ISS after the perturbations may not be complete at decision time.]
CEO (Crew Earth Observations) photo targets uplinked for today were Barringer Impact Crater, Arizona (this small [1.2 km diameter] crater is young and therefore pristine. It lies in a light-toned plain, near nadir just right of track: visual cues are the margin between dark volcanic countryside and light-toned plains. A small finger of dark volcanic riosk points towards the crater), and Redoubt Volcano, Alaska (Dynamic event. This Saturday the volcano produced seven powerful ash explosions, with plumes rising 25,000-50,000 feet. Earthquakes are continuing. The volcano is receiving much media attention. The site was well north of track. Major breaks were expected in the cloud cover: visual cues are coastlines, especially Cook Inlet, which Redoubt overlooks).
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, 10:04am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude -- 353.2 km
Apogee height – 359.4 km
Perigee height -- 347.0 km
Period -- 91.60 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0009183
Solar Beta Angle -- -38.8 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 45 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 59484
Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
04/07/09 -- Soyuz TMA-13/17S undocking (11:55pm EDT)
04/08/09 -- Soyuz TMA-13/17S deorbit burn (2:24am); landing (~3:16am EDT, ~10:16am Moscow, ~1:16pm Kazakhstan)
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
05/27/09 -- Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
05/29/09 -- Soyuz TMA-15/19S docking (FGB nadir)
06/13/09 -- STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch - JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD
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.
Note: The daily ISS On-Orbit Status reports can also be found at