NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 24 September 2009

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Friday, September 25, 2009

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

Before breakfast & first exercise, all six crewmembers took a full session with the Russian crew health monitoring program's medical assessment MO-9/Biochemical Urinalysis. Afterwards, the FE-3 closed out and stowed the Urolux hardware. [MO-9 is conducted every 30 days (and also before and after EVAs) and is one of five nominal Russian medical tests adopted by NASA for U.S. crewmembers for IMG PHS (Integrated Medical Group/Periodic Health Status) evaluation as part of the "PHS/Without Blood Labs" exam. The analysis uses the sophisticated in-vitro diagnostic apparatus Urolux developed originally for the Mir program. Afterwards, the data are entered in the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer)’s special IFEP software (In-Flight Examination Program).]

FE-2 Stott & FE-5 De Winne worked with the JEMRMS (JEM Robotic Manipulator System) in the Kibo module to grapple & transfer both Japanese payloads from the EP (Exposed Pallet) to their EFU (Exposed Facility Unit) locations on the EF “veranda”,- fist HREP (HICO/Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean & RAIDS/Remote Atmospheric and Ionospheric Detection System), then SMILES (Superconducting Submillimeter-wave Limb-emission Sounder). [After the last ungrappling, the RMS was maneuvered to the SMILES back-off position and deactivated. The 50-ft drag-thru cable from Node-2 for feeding an additional video monitor was removed.]

CDR Padalka set up the equipment for his fifth session with the Russian experiment MBI-18 DYKHANIE (“Respiration”) and undertook the test, controlled from the RSE-Med laptop. Gennady then downlinked the test data files using OCA, closed down the hardware, and stowed it. [Dykhanie-1 uses two body belts (PG-T/thoracic, PG-A/abdominal), a calibrator, resistor, mouthpiece, etc., to study fundamental physiological mechanisms of the external breathing function of crewmembers under long-duration orbital flight conditions. During the experiment, physiological measurements are taken and recorded with a pneumotachogram, a thoracic pneumogram, an abdominal pneumogram, and pressure data in the oral cavity. All experimentally derived plus salient environmental data along with personal data of the subject are recorded on PCMIA card for return to the ground at end of the Expedition. Objectives include determining the dynamics of the relationship between thoracic (pectoral) and abdominal breathing function reserves and their realization potential during spontaneous breathing, the coordinated spontaneous respiratory movements in terms of thoracic and abdominal components of volumetric, time & rate parameters of spontaneous respiratory cycle, identification of the features of humoral-reflex regulation of breathing by dynamics of ventilation sensitivity of thoracic and abdominal components to chemoreceptor stimuli, etc. Overall, the experiment is intended to provide a better understanding of the basic mechanisms of pulmonary respiration/gas exchange gravitational relations of cosmonauts.]

FE-3 Romanenko conducted the periodic session with the Russian biomedical MBI-15 "Pilot-M"/NEURO signal response experiment after setting up the workplace and equipment. CDR Padalka provided assistance. It was Roman’s fourth MBI-15 run. Afterwards, the Pilot-M & Neurolab-2000M gear was disassembled and stowed away, and Romanenko discussed the session in a teleconference with ground personnel. [MBI-15 requires a table, ankle restraint system, eyeball electrodes for an EOG (electrooculogram), and two hand controllers (RUO & RUD) for testing piloting skill in “flying” simulations on a laptop (RSK1) under stopwatch control, as well as for studying special features of the psychophysiologic response of cosmonauts to the effects of stress factors in flight.]

After Nicole Stott retrieved the PCBA (Portable Clinical Blood Analyzer) from the MELFI (Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS) for him, FE-5 De Winne completed Day 4 of Session 1 of his daily diet monitoring for the SOLO (Sodium Loading in Microgravity) experiment. [SOLO runs in two blocks of six days each. Today, Frank conducted measurements and sampling of body mass, blood (with PCBA/Portable Clinical Blood Analyzer), and urine. Samples were stowed in the MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS). De Winne also used the SLAMMD (Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device) for determining his body mass, then temporarily stowed the device. During the current Session 1 block, the FE-5 follows a special low-salt diet, during the subsequent Session 2 a high-salt diet (normal ISS cuisine). For both diets, specially prepared meals are provided onboard. All three daily meals are logged on sheets stowed in the PCBA Consumable Kit in the MELFI along with control solution and cartridges for the PCBA. SOLO, an ESA/German experiment from the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Cologne/Germany, investigates the mechanisms of fluid and salt retention in the body during long-duration space flight. Background: The hypothesis of an increased urine flow as the main cause for body mass decrease has been questioned in several recently flown missions. Data from the US SLS1/2 missions as well as the European/Russian Euromir `94 & MIR 97 missions show that urine flow and total body fluid remain unchanged when isocaloric energy intake is achieved. However, in two astronauts during these missions the renin-angiotensin system was considerably activated while plasma ANP concentrations were decreased. Calculation of daily sodium balances during a 15-day experiment of the MIR 97 mission (by subtracting sodium excretion from sodium intake) showed an astonishing result: the astronaut retained on average 50 mmol sodium daily in space compared to balanced sodium in the control experiment.]

FE-1 Barratt had Day 1 of his fourth two-day session with the CCISS (Cardiovascular & Cerebrovascular Control on Return from ISS) experiment, using the HRF PC1 (Human Research Facility Portable Computer 1) and two Actiwatches (wrist & ankle). [Mike set up the hardware, including installing new Lithium batteries in the Actiwatches, then began his 24-hr. on-orbit session with the CCISS experiment (with FE-4 Thirsk acting as operator and photographer) by donning the HM2 (Holter Monitor 2) and the CBPD (Continuous Blood Pressure Device), performing the Baro Study, and starting the 24-hr passive heart rate data collection. Data were recorded on a PCMCIA memory card, with the HRF (Human Research Facility) rack laptop for control. CCISS studies the effects of long-duration spaceflight on crewmembers' heart functions and their blood vessels that supply the brain (= “cerebrovascular”). Learning more about the changes in cardiovascular & cerebrovascular systems in zero-G could lead to specific countermeasures that might better protect future space travelers. For the Baro study of CCIS, heart rate and blood pressure are being recorded for resting and timed breathing for 5 min, with no caffeine or food (water is acceptable) allowed two hours before the start of the Baro Study and no exercise prior to the Baro Study.]

CDR Padalka started the third onboard run of the Russian SSTV (Slow Scan TV) equipment of the MAI-75 experiment as part of OBR-3 (Obrazovanie-3, Education 3) ops, essentially a ham radio set-up with Kenwood TM D700 Transceiver and Kenwood VS-N1 (Visual Communicator) gear for downlinking photographic images of the overflown terrain to ground stations, including one at MAI (Moscow Aviation Institute). Later in the day, the radio session was terminated and the equipment closed out. The second of the back-to-back sessions is scheduled tomorrow. [The payload is named after the renowned MAI whose reputation is based on the large number of famous aviators and rocket scientists that received their academic education here. Among the alumni are Academicians and Corresponding Members of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Over 100 General and Chief Designers earned their degree at MAI, with famous rocket scientists like Makeyev, Mishin, Nadiradze and Yangel. MAI also fostered 20 Pilot-Cosmonauts, almost 100 famous test pilots, Heroes of the Soviet Union and Russia. The amateur radio (ham) equipment aboard the ISS for downlinking SSTV imagery is a MAI product.]

Afterwards, Gennady & Mike fit-checked & adjusted their Kentavr anti-G suits for the return on 10/10, supported by tagup with ground specialists. [The Kentavr (Centaur) garment is a protective anti-g suit ensemble to facilitate the return of a long-duration crewmember into the Earth gravity. Consisting of shorts, gaiters, underpants, jersey and socks, it acts as countermeasure for circulatory disturbance, prevents crewmembers from overloading during descent and increases orthostatic tolerance during post-flight adaptation. Russian crewmembers are also advised to ingest fluid-electrolyte additives, viz., three sodium chloride tablets during breakfast and after the midday meal, each time with 300 ml of fluid, and two pills during the meal aboard Soyuz before deorbit.]

With the MCA (Major Constituents Analyzer) currently still inactive, Barratt used the hand-held CDMK (Carbon Dioxide Monitoring Kit) to take CO2 readings in the Lab at mid-module, recording time, CO2 percentage and CDM battery ticks.

For further assurance, Mike checked CO2 levels in the Lab also with the CSA-O2 instrument (#1002).

In the JAXA JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), Bob Thirsk performed troubleshooting on the PLT (Payload Laptop Terminal), running two separate disk scans, photographing the display after each scan, rebooting the machine and checking out its software and performance.

Nicole Stott continued her work on the MDS (Mice Drawer System), using the ISS vacuum cleaner to finish up cleaning the other half of the MDS volume and replacing the second waste filter. More specifics about containment of the waste and possibly cleaning the vacuum cleaner before its next use are being developed. [The activity to clean the filters and extract the second dead mouse took longer than expected, partially due to the wrong length glove being installed in the PGB (Portable Glovebox). During the planned removal of the waste filter, the filters were not in an expected condition. However, the unattached waste was contained within the PGB, and the specimen cages are so designed that the filtered (contaminated) air is not recycled through them. Specialists are reviewing the differences between the ground and ISS versions of the MDS which was provided by the Italian Space Agency (ASI). This is the first time that mice have been flown for long duration (as opposed to rats).].

Romanenko, with photographic assist from Padalka, had ~3 hrs set aside for the periodic RS (Russian Segment) window inspection & photography in the SM (Service Module), using a tool kit with ruler, adhesive tape, 90-deg equilateral triangle & measuring tape, the NIKON D2 X digital camera with 28-70 mm lens, a flash attachment, and sketches of the windows under scrutiny (2, 13, 14 and 26 in SM with previous detected flaws marked and flaw tables. [Purpose of the activity is to assess the condition of the window panes for deterioration as compared to the data from previous increments (appearance of new cavities, scratches, discolorations, or spots reducing transparency, or an increase in the size of old flaws), plus photography. Then images and data tables were stored on the RSK1 laptop for subsequent downlink via OCA.]

FE-5 De Winne conducted the periodic maintenance & visual inspection of the ARED (Advanced Resistive Exercise Device) and its VIS (Vibration Isolation System), guide rails & rollers, greasing the Y- and Z-axis rails & rollers and also evacuating its cylinder flywheels to maintain proper vacuum condition and sensor calibration.

Gennady did 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).

Roman 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.]

Bob filled out his regular weekly FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire) on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer). [On the FFQs, NASA astronauts keep a personalized log of their nutritional intake over time on special MEC software. Recorded are the amounts consumed during the past week of such food items as beverages, cereals, grains, eggs, breads, snacks, sweets, fruit, beans, soup, vegetables, dairy, fish, meat, chicken, sauces & spreads, and vitamins. The FFQ is performed once a week to estimate nutrient intake from the previous week and to give recommendations to ground specialists that help maintain optimal crew health. Weekly estimation has been verified to be reliable enough that nutrients do not need to be tracked daily.]

Barratt & Thirsk had several hours set aside to continue HTV (H-IIB Transfer Vehicle) unloading & cargo transfers, including 15 min for reporting progress to the ground.

Padalka worked ~75 min on prepacking of equipment to be loaded on Soyuz TMA-14/187S for return.

Both Gennady & Mike again had an hour set aside for regular crew departure preparations, working on the standard end-of-increment cleanup preparatory to their return to Earth on Soyuz 18S, along with Canadian SPF (Spaceflight Participant) Guy Laliberte. [It is usual for crewmembers to be granted reduced workdays for making their departure preparations, as their return date approaches.]

FE-4 Thirsk completed 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 (20-0055R) lists 81 CWCs (~1,920.9 L total) for the four types of water identified on board: 1. technical water (68 CWCs with 1,513.5 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 300.6 L for flushing only due to Wautersia bacteria & 176.2 L in 4 clean bags for contingency use, 2. potable water (8 CWCs with 323.1 L, of which 194.8 L (5 bags) are currently off-limit pending ground analysis results), the remainder good for contingency use, 3. condensate water (3 CWCs with 27 L), 4. waste/EMU dump and other (2 CWCs with 57.3 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.]

At ~5:20pm, just before sleep time, the FE-3 will set up the Russian MBI-12 SONOKARD payload and start his eighth 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.]

At ~1:30pm EDT, the FE-1 & FE-2 downlinked two PAO TV messages of greetings to PAO TV events, one for the NASCAR race in Homestead (Miami) Florida on 11/22 ("The Championship Race"), the other for the “International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) 2009” on 10/21-22 in Las Cruces, NM.

At ~2:00pm, Mike Barratt talked with ground specialists interested in operational features & observations of using the U.S. WHC (Waste & Hygiene Compartment).

At ~3:00pm, the FE-1 conducted the periodic VHF-1 emergency communications proficiency check over NASA’s VHF (Very High Frequency) stations, today at the Dryden (3:01:11pm-3:08:37pm) and White Sands (3:01:02pm-3:06:23pm) VHF sites, talking with Houston/Capcom, MSFC/PAYCOM (Payload Operation & Integration Center Communicator), Moscow/GLAVNI (TsUP Capcom), EUROCOM/Munich and JCOM/Tsukuba in the normal fashion via VHF radio from a handheld microphone and any of the USOS ATUs (Audio Terminal Units). [Purpose of the test is to verify signal reception and link integrity, improve crew proficiency, and ensure minimum required link margin during emergency (no TDRS) and special events (such as a Soyuz relocation).]

At ~3:05pm, Canadian flight engineer Bob Thirsk powered up the SM's amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and at ~3:15pm conducted a ham radio session with students at Cedarview Middle School, Ottawa, ON, Canada.

At ~4:30pm, Mike is scheduled for a ham radio pass with students at the WHEELS Idaho Historical Museum (Garfield Elementary), Boise, ID.

The crew completed their regular daily 2.5-hr. physical workout program on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-1, FE-2, FE-4), TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation (CDR/2h, FE-3, FE-5), ARED advanced resistive exerciser (FE-1, FE-2, FE-4, FE-5) and VELO cycle ergometer with bungee cord load trainer (FE-3).

Later, Thirsk transferred the exercise data files to the MEC 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).

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Lahore, Pakistan (ISS had a nadir pass just after midday over Pakistan’s second largest city. However, even though the area was expected to be clear of clouds, hazy dusty conditions near the surface did not allow good views of the city until the crew was directly overhead. Trying to map the urban area in detail, beginning at the margins and working inward), Urumqi, China (the crew had a nadir, early afternoon pass in clear weather, with their approach from the SW. This desert agricultural region is rapidly transitioning to the focus of China’s petroleum and natural gas exploration. The city itself is located at the southern edge of the Junggar Basin near a pass between the Erenhaberg and Bogda Ranges. Trying for detailed mapping of this challenging target area), Paraty, Brazil (HMS Beagle Site (special - “Darwin the Adventure” Workshop, Sep 20 -26, 2009): The crew’s mid-afternoon pass over this target was likely to be mostly cloudy. However with a break in the clouds they may have found it just left of track), and Tenoumer Impact Crater, Mauritania (looking just left of track for this target area as ISS approached from the SW near midday, under clear skies. This well-defined, young impact crater in Mauritania is less than 2 km wide. Researchers suggested beginning overlapping, mapping frames on ISS approaching, flying over and departing the target area, for the best chance to acquire the impact).

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, 3:08am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude -- 346.5 km
Apogee height – 352.8 km
Perigee height -- 340.2 km
Period -- 91.47 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0009309
Solar Beta Angle -- -17.8 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.74
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 104 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 62156

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
09/30/09 -- Soyuz TMA-16/20S launch (3:14:42am, Baikonur: 1:14:42pm, Moscow DMT: 10:14:42am)
10/02/09 -- Soyuz TMA-16/20S docking (SM aft, until MRM-2 w/new port) (~4:37am)
10/10/09 -- Soyuz TMA-14/18S undock (9:05pm)
10/11/09 -- Soyuz TMA-14/18S land (~00:30am; Kazakhstan: ~10:30am)
10/14/09 -- H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) unberth (under review)
10/15/09 -- Progress 35P launch
10/27/09 -- Ares I-X Flight Test
11/10/09 -- 5R/MRM-2 (Russian Mini Research Module 2) on Soyuz-U
11/12/09 -- 5R/MRM-2 docking (SM zenith)
11/12/09 -- STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 launch (ELC1, ELC2)
12/01/09 – Soyuz TMA-15/19S undock
12/21/09 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S launch
12/23/09 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S (FGB nadir)
12/26/09 -- Progress 36P launch
02/03/10 -- Progress 37P launch
02/04/10 -- STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola
03/05/10 -- Progress 38P launch
03/18/10 -- STS-131/Discovery/19A – MPLM(P), LMC
04/02/10 -- Soyuz TMA-18/22S launch
04/30/10 -- Progress 39P launch
05/14/10 -- STS-132/Atlantis/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM-1
05/29/10 -- Soyuz TMA-19/23S launch
06/30/10 -- Progress 40P launch
07/29/10 -- STS-133/Endeavour (ULF5 – ELC4, MPLM) or STS-134/Discovery (ULF6 – ELC3, AMS)
07/30/10 -- Progress 41P launch
09/16/10 -- STS-133/Endeavour (ULF5 – ELC4, MPLM) or STS-134/Discovery (ULF6 – ELC3, AMS)
09/30/10 -- Soyuz TMA-20/24S launch
12/21/10 -- ATV2 – Ariane 5 (ESA)
12/??/11 -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – on Proton

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