NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 29 May 2009

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Friday, May 29, 2009

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

An awesome day: After 10+ years of steady growth in Earth orbit, the station today transitioned to the new era of 6-crew operations. For the first time, crewmembers from all partner nations -- USA, Russia, Japan, Europe & Canada -- are joined in space.

Yest kasaniye! Soyuz TMA-15/19S docked successfully at the FGB nadir port at 8:34am EDT, two minutes ahead of time (meanwhile, Soyuz TMA-14/18S is docked at the SM/Service Module aft port, Progress 33P at the DC-1/Docking Compartment nadir port). TMA-15 delivered Exp-20 crewmembers FE-3 Roman Romanenko, FE-4 Robert Thirsk (Canada/CSA) and FE-5 Frank DeWinne (Belgium/ESA). After about 40 min. spent in Soyuz on pre-transfer activities, the crews opened hatches at 9:14am and transferred to the ISS. This was followed by the traditional joyful welcome event and the installation of the BZV QD (quick disconnect) clamps by Romanenko and Padalka. [After "kasaniye" (contact), automatic "sborka" (closing of Soyuz & FGB port hooks & latches) took place shortly thereafter while ISS was in free drift. Attitude control authority had been handed over to the Russian MCS (Motion Control System) at ~4:45am and was returned to US CMG control at ~9:40am. For the 19S docking, Russian thrusters were disabled during Soyuz volume pressurization and clamp installation; they were afterwards returned to active attitude control. Before hatch opening, the crew performed leak checks of the Soyuz modules and the Soyuz/FGB interface vestibule. They then doffed their Sokol suits and set them up for drying, deactivated the Atmosphere Purification Unit (BOA) in the Descent Module (SA), replaced the Soyuz ECLSS LiOH cartridges, equalized Soyuz/ISS pressures, and put the spacecraft into conservation mode on ISS integrated power. Romanenko, Thirsk & DeWinne have joined Exp-19 CDR Padalka, FE-1 Barratt & FE-2 Wakata, thus beginning Exp-20. Koichi Wakata remains on the station until June when he is replaced by U.S. Astronaut Timothy Kopra, on STS-127/2JA.]

The FE-2 continued his third session of sleep logging for the experiment SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) from his Actiwatch to the HRF-1 (Human Research Facility 1) laptop as part of a week-long session. [To monitor the crewmember's sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, Koichi wears a special Actiwatch device which measures the light levels encountered by them as well as his patterns of sleep and activity throughout the Expedition and uses the payload software for data logging and filling in questionnaire entries in the experiment's laptop session file on the HRF-1 laptop. The log entries are done within 15 minutes of final awakening for seven consecutive days.]

Well before the docking, the ISS crew completed a number of scheduled tasks, starting with CDR Padalka terminating bladder compression & leak check of the empty Progress 33P Rodnik BV2 tank shell, closing the KN2 valve. [Urine transfer to the BV1 tank was conducted on 5/20. Each of the spherical Rodnik tanks BV1 & BV2 consists of a hard shell with a soft membrane (bladder) composed of elastic fluoroplastic. The bladder is used to expel water from the tank by compressed air pumped into the tank volume surrounding the membrane and is leak-tested before urine transfers. With empty tanks, the bladders are expanded against the tank walls and checked for hermeticity.]

Steps by the ISS crew leading up to the Soyuz docking included:
Powering down the amateur/ham radio equipment to prevent RF interference with Soyuz/KURS prox ops,
Closing the protective window shutters in the Lab (Barratt) & Kibo (Wakata),
Padalka & Barratt checking out the RS (Russian Segment) video system, which uses the SONY HDV camera for transmitting over the MPEG-2 (Moving Pictures Expert Group 2) encoder from FGB & SM to downlink via U.S. OpsLAN and Ku-band in "streaming video" packets [deactivated and taken down later in the day by Barratt],
Configuring & activating the A31p SSC (Station Support Computer) laptop for the TV conversion to NTSC and Ku-band, by the FE-1 [later, Mike removed the downlink test equipment and disconnected the hook-up of the UOP DCP (utility outlet panel/display & control panel) power bypass cable at the CUP RWS (Cupola Robotic Work Station)],
Activating the video equipment for covering the Soyuz approach & docking (CDR),
Configuring the station comm (STTS) for the docking (Padalka) [plus reconfiguring it afterwards for the nominal post-docking hardline mode (MBS)],
Turning on the KSPZ-RLS "Istochnik-M" (source, spring) telemetry reception & recording system (SPR TMI) system in the SM (Padalka), configured to receive telemetry directly from the approaching Soyuz spacecraft [at the time of ISS maneuvering to docking attitude (~6:40am), the system was turned off again], and
Monitoring approach and final docking of Soyuz from the SM (all crew).

After the successful docking at the FGB nadir port --
FE-1 Barratt downlinked recorded docking video via Ku-band,
CDR Padalka & FE-3 Romanenko conducted the ~1 hr FGB interface leak check,
Gennady switched hatch KVDs (Pressure Equalization Valves) between FGB and Soyuz to electric control mode,
The crew opened the Soyuz-FGB transfer tunnel hatches (~9:14am),
Both crews then joined for the obligatory Safety Briefing of the newcomers by CDR Padalka, followed by the Crew Safety Handover, to familiarize them with procedures and escape routes in case of an emergency [the Safety Handover included safety-related items such as emergency actions (egress path to the Soyuz vehicles, procedures, annunciations, isolation equipment, safety equipment, depressurization and leak repair, fire, toxic release), visiting vehicles docking/undocking, evacuation vehicles, crew life support system status, computers, communications, medical equipment, IVA hazards (e.g., sharp edges, protrusions, touch temperatures), stowage, and current hardware status.],
FE-3 Romanenko set up the three Sokol spacesuits and their gloves for drying out, and he also
Deactivated the Soyuz "orbitalniy polyot" (spacecraft).

FE-2 Wakata updated the English & Russian copies of the E-18/E-19 Crew Handover Book with new uplinked pages, trashing the old pages.

CDR Padalka collected the periodic readings of potentially harmful atmospheric contaminants in the SM, using the CMS (Countermeasure System), a component of the SKDS GANK-4M Real-Time Harmful Contaminant Gas Analyzer suite, today looking for Formaldehyde and Carbon Monoxide (CO). [CMS uses preprogrammed microchips to measure for numerous contaminants such as O-Xylol (1,2-Dimethylbenzol, C8H10), Hydrogen Chloride (HCl), Formaldehyde, Isopropanol, Methanol, Toluene, Mercaptan, Sulphur dioxide, Hydrogen cyanide, Phosgene, etc.]

For the subsequent situational & procedural familiarization of the newcomers with the station, their schedules provided for almost 7 hrs of total handover time.

FE-1 Barratt retrieved and stowed the four passive FMK (Formaldehyde Monitoring Kit) sampling assemblies deployed by Wakata on 5/27 in the Lab (at P3, below CEVIS) and 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.]

Koichi had ~70 min set aside for more equipment gathering, prepacking & cargo staging, itemized in an uplinked list (Prepack Message #2) for return on STS-127/Endeavour (2J/A) in June.

Mike completed the periodic maintenance & visual inspection of the ARED (Advanced Resistive Exercise Device) and its VIS (Vibration Isolation System) rails & rollers, greasing the Y- and Z-axis rails & rollers and also evacuating its cylinder flywheels to maintain proper vacuum condition and sensor calibration.

After setting up video coverage of the TVIS (Treadmill with Vibration Isolation & Stabilization) worksite, Wakata continued troubleshooting the critical exercise device, first deactivating the three remaining TVIS stabilizers (pulling their power cable plug), then conducting a standard exercise run on the treadmill. Barratt later downlinked the video & audio for ground inspection. [The stabilizers, which had been "overdriven", bumping their throw masses into the frame structure, were deactivated in order to relieve the stress on them. Koichi was to provide feedback on how TVIS performed in this configuration. Engineers will need some time to analyze the data before a GO can be given for further treadmill exercise.]

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-1), TVIS (FE-2), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-1, FE2) and VELO cycle ergometer with bungee cord load trainer (CDR). [The TVIS continues to be evaluated and is not yet cleared for normal usage. On the CEVIS, the actual loads remain slightly lower than the commanded loads, but this was expected. A manual correction of the pertinent calibration coefficient via the control panel touch screen will be done at a later time when the new value has been determined.]

Later, Wakata transferred the exercise data file to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) for downlink, including the daily wristband HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) data of the workouts on ARED, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).

The CDR completed the periodic data collection on the long-term BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("Plants-2") experiment, copying data from its built-in control computer to a PCMCIA memory card for subsequent downlink to the ground via OCA. [Rasteniya-2 researches growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in the LADA-15 greenhouse from IBMP (Institute of Bio-Medical Problems, Russian: IMBP). The payload hardware includes a module (MIS/Module for the Investigation of Substrates), the MIS control unit (BU), a nitrogen purge unit (BPA) and other accessories. During its operation, the experiment requires regular daily maintenance of the experiment involving monitoring of seedling growth, humidity measurements, moistening of the substrate if necessary, and photo/video recording. LADA consists of a wall-mounted growth chamber that provides long-term, ready access for crewmember interaction. It provides light and root zone control but relies on the cabin environmental control systems for humidity, gas composition, and temperature control. Cabin air is pulled into the leaf chamber, flows over the plants and vents through the light bank to provide both plant gas exchange and light bank cooling.]

After having doffed the CCISS HM2 (Cardiovascular Control on Return from the ISS Holter Monitor-2) and Actiwatches after yesterday's completion of the 24-hour Heart Rate Study, Mike Barratt today had time set aside to troubleshoot the anomalous HM2, using the HRF1 PC (Human Research Facility 1 Portable Computer). [The uplinked procedure had Mike first verify the original HiFi CF Card (#5) with a new HM2 (#1001), then check out the original HM2 (*#1003) with a new HiFi CF Card (#6).]

Gennady completed 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.]

Mike took care of 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).

The newcomers had their first PMCs (Private Medical Conferences) via S- & Ku-band audio/video, Bob Thirsk at ~11:45am, Frank DeWinne ~12:30pm, Roman Romanenko at ~1:25pm EDT.

Shortly before sleeptime, FE-4 Thirsk & FE-5 DeWinne prepared for their first sleep logging for the experiment SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) by donning their Actiwatches, which Mike Barratt had initialized on 5/15. [To monitor the crewmember's sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, Bob & Frank wear a special Actiwatch device which measures the light levels encountered by them as well as their patterns of sleep and activity throughout the Expedition and use the payload software for data logging and filling in questionnaire entries in the experiment's laptop session file on the HRF-1 laptop. The log entries are done within 15 minutes of final awakening for seven consecutive days.]

WRM Update: A new WRM (Water Recovery Management) "cue card" was uplinked last night to the crew for their reference, updated with yesterday's CWC (Collapsible Water Container) water audit. [The new card (19-0025K) lists 45 CWCs (~1,282.4 L total) for the four types of water identified on board: 1. technical water (31 CWCs with 865.3 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 283.2 L currently off-limits because used as CWC-I from WPA, 405.9 L for flushing only due to Wautersia bacteria & 176.2 L in 4 clean bags, 2. potable water (8 CWCs with 349.6 L, of which 221.3 L (5 bags) are currently off-limit pending ground analysis results), 3. condensate water (3 CWCs, all empty), 4. waste/EMU dump and other (3 CWCs with 67.5 L). Wautersia bacteria are typical water-borne microorganisms that have been seen previously in ISS water sources. These isolates pose no threat to human health.]

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Bigach Impact Crater, Kazakhstan (weather was predicted to be clear over this 8 km diameter impact structure. CEO researchers suggested beginning to take overlapping, nadir viewing frames as ISS approached, passed over, and departed the target area. Lake Zhaysang to the east of the crater presents a useful landmark feature), East Haruj Megafans, Libya (ISS passed over the southeastern portion of the East Haruj megafans -- large cones of sediment caused by Araye River channels sweeping across the region more than 8000 years ago. Looking for sinuous discontinuous channels on the flat Saharan lowlands. Nadir viewing, overlapping frames taken along track were requested), Mount Vesuvius, Italy (looking to the left of track for this famous volcano, located between modern Naples and the ruins of ancient Pompeii. Detailed imagery of the volcano's summit and flanks was requested for use with lower resolution satellite imagery), and Mississippi Delta Region, Gulf of Mexico (partly cloudy conditions may have existed at the time of the ISS overpass. Context photography of the upper delta region was requested for general assessment of land use and urbanization patterns. Overlapping nadir viewing frames, taken along track, were requested).

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, 3:48am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude -- 349.8 km
Apogee height -- 356.4 km
Perigee height -- 343.3 km
Period -- 91.53 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0009704
Solar Beta Angle -- -1.9 deg (magnitude peaking)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.73
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 66 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 60298

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
06/03/09 -- Orlan Suited Dry-Run (training)
06/05/09 -- Russian EVA-22
06/10/09 -- Russian EVA-23
06/13/09 -- STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch - JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD (7:12am)
06/29/09 -- STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A landing (12:18am EDT, KSC)
07/17/09 -- Progress M-02M/33P undock & deorbit
07/20/09 -- Soyuz TMA-14/18S relocation (from SM aft 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) launch -- tentative
09/07/09 -- H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) berth
09/30/09 -- Soyuz TMA-16/20S launch
10/02/09 -- Soyuz TMA-16/20S docking (SM aft, until MRM-2 w/new port)
10/08/09 -- H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) unberth
10/11/09 -- Soyuz TMA-14/18S undock
10/15/09 -- Progress 35P launch
11/10/09 -- 5R/MRM-2 (Russian Mini Research Module 2) on Proton -- tentative
11/12/09 -- STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 - ELC1, ELC2
12/07/09 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S launch
12/26/09 -- Progress 36P launch
02/03/10 -- Progress 37P launch
02/XX/10 -- STS-130/Endeavour/20A -- Node-3 + Cupola -- tentative
02/11/10 -- STS-131/Atlantis/19A -- MPLM(P), LMC -- tentative
03/05/10 -- Progress 38P launch
04/02/10 -- Soyuz TMA-18/22S launch
04/08/10 -- STS-132/Discovery/ULF4 -- ICC-VLD, MRM-1 -- tentative
04/30/10 -- Progress 39P launch
05/30/10 -- Soyuz TMA-19/23S launch
06/30/10 -- Progress 40P launch
07/29/10 -- STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 -- ELC3, ELC4 -- tentative
07/30/10 -- Progress 41P launch
09/30/10 -- Soyuz TMA-20/24S launch
10/30/10 -- Progress 42P launch
11/??/10 -- ATV2 -- Ariane 5 (ESA)
12/??/11 -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA -- on Proton

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