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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 28 September 2009

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2009

image All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Underway: Week 18 of Increment 20. Off-duty day for the crew (“payback” for hard work on Labor Day).

FE-4 Robert Thirsk started out with the weekly U.S. “Bisphosphonates” biomedical countermeasures experiment, 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 are being 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.]

CDR Padalka completed the periodic maintenance of the active Russian BMP Harmful Impurities Removal System by starting the "bake-out" cycle to vacuum on absorbent bed #1 of the regenerable dual-channel filtration system. The process will be terminated tomorrow at ~4:05am before crew sleep, followed tomorrow by Bed #2 regeneration. (Last time done: 9/7-9/8). [Regeneration of each of the two cartridges takes about 12 hours and is conducted only during crew awake periods. The BMP’s regeneration cycle is normally done every 20 days.]

For their departure on Soyuz TMA-14/18S next week, Gennady Padalka & Mike Barratt spent two hours conducting the Soyuz Spusk (descent) training exercise, standard procedure for each returning cosmonaut crew. The exercise, which does not involve any command activation, uses a simulator application (“Trenasher Spusk”) on the RSK1 laptop with a descent hand controller (RUS) to set up reentry conditions and switch between modes. It was supported by a tagup and discussions with a ground instructor at TsUP/Moscow via S-band. [The onboard training (OBT) session included a review of the pertinent RODF (Russian Operations Data Files), specifically the books on Soyuz Insertion & Descent Procedures, Emergency Descents, and Off-Nominal Situation Procedures such as manual undocking. Nominal undock of Soyuz 18S with Padalka, Barratt and the Canadian SFP Laliberte is scheduled for 10/10 (Eastern), with landing on 10/11.]

Later, all crewmembers conducted a joint review of Emergency OBT for the post-HTV ingress configuration of the station, which will involve a 9-day period of three Soyuz spacecraft docked to ISS (18S on DC nadir, 19S on FGB nadir, 20S on SM (Service Module) aft). [After 18S departure, there will also be a period with only 5 crewmembers on the ISS (until arrival of STS-129/Atlantis) and just two crewmembers in late November/early December, between 19S departure and 21S arrival.]

With the MCA (Major Constituents Analyzer) still inactive, FE-4 Thirsk again used the hand-held CDMK (Carbon Dioxide Monitoring Kit, #1002) to take CO2 readings in the Lab at mid-module, recording time, CO2 percentage and CDM battery ticks.

For further assurance, Bob checked CO2 levels in the Lab also with the CSA-O2 (Compound Specific Analyzer-Oxygen) instrument (#1046).

In support of the pending activation of the MCA by ground commanding, FE-2 Stott disconnected and stowed the MCA vacuum jumper (dubbed ”Anaconda” for its snaked-like appearance) used for the evacuation (vacuum pumpout) preceding AR (Atmosphere Revitalization) Rack activation.

Gennady conducted the periodic health check of the KhSA Cooler/Dehumidifier Assembly’s V1 fan in the Soyuz 18S spacecraft’s DM (Descent Module) by turning the V2 fan off and the V1 fan on, then checking air flow. [On 6/25, a planned replacement of the apparently faulty fan in the Soyuz 18S DM with a new unit proved to be not necessary after Padalka configured a jumper bypass which successfully recovered functionality of the air conditioner fan. Today’s activity was to check up on the fix.]

For next week’s installation of the T2 (Treadmill 2) COLBERT in Node-2, FE-5 De Winne began by routing supply, return, power & data jumpers through Node-2 into the T2 location at D5. The cabling will be completed tomorrow. [The Node-2 D5 location for T2 is only temporary since COLBERT will later be moved to Node-3 (loc. F5).]

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.]

FE-1, FE-2 & FE-5 had their periodic PMCs (Private Medical Conferences), via S- & Ku-band audio/video, Frank at ~7:15am, Nicole at ~11:45am, Mike at ~1:45pm EDT./

At ~12:50pm, Nicole also had her weekly PFC (Private Family Conference), via S-band/audio and Ku-band/MS-NetMeeting application (which displays the uplinked ground video on an SSC laptop).

At ~4:15am, Romanenko & Padalka downlinked PAO TV greetings to TsUP/Moscow, addressing four upcoming Russian public events. [These are (1) the 65th Anniversary of the Vladimir Branch of the Russian Federation President’s Public Service Academy for management training in Vladimir Oblast; (2) the 16th Tae Kwon Do World Championship at Yubileyniy Sports Palace in St. Petersburg on 10/10; (3) the 8th International Research & Workshop Conference on “Manned Space Flight” on 10/28-29 at GCTC (Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center) in Star City with participation of Roskosmos head A. N. Perminov and other leading FSA enterprise managers; and (4) the opening of the cultural & recreational Club “Up&Down” in Moscow on 10/9, an international network of cultural and recreational complexes for members of the political elite and the Diplomatic Corps, with wide Russian & foreign mass media coverage expected.]

At ~4:30pm, Bob Thirsk will power up the SM's amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and at ~4:35pm conduct a ham radio session with students at the R.T. Alderman Middle School in Calgary, Alberta Canada.

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

Later, Barratt 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).

SPDM Commissioning: Starting today and running through 9/30, ground specialists are performing SPDM (Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator) commissioning activities which include maneuvering to grasp an RMCT (Robo Micro Conical Tool) with each of its Arms, performing a checkout of the tools using both the primary & backup OTCM (ORU Tool Changeout Mechanism) electronics, and finally remove both RMCTs from the THA (Tool Holster Assembly). At the end of these operations, “Dextre” will be parked with RMCTs in hand, ready to proceed with the planned RPCM (Remote Power Controller Module) removal & replacement planned several months in the future.

Soyuz TMA-16 Update: Preparations continue at the Baikonur/Kazakhstan launch site for the launch of Soyuz TMA-16/20S. The rollout of the Soyuz spacecraft from the assembly-test facility to the launch site was completed this morning, and the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle with the Soyuz spacecraft was erected on the launch pad. Operations under the L-2 day program have begun.

No CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today.

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, 7:35am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude -- 346.2 km
Apogee height – 352.0 km
Perigee height -- 340.3 km
Period -- 91.46 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0008683
Solar Beta Angle -- -36.2 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.74
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 54 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 62222

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) -- J. Williams/M. Suraev/G. Laliberte
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 -- O. Kotov/S. Noguchi/T.J. Creamer
12/23/09 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S (FGB nadir)
01/??/10 -- Soyuz 20S relocation (from SM aft to MRM-2)
02/03/10 -- Progress 36P launch
02/04/10 -- STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola
02/05/10 -- Progress 36P docking
03/18/10 -- STS-131/Discovery/19A – MPLM(P), LMC
04/02/10 -- Soyuz TMA-18/22S launch
04/28/10 -- Progress 37P launch
05/14/10 -- STS-132/Atlantis/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM-1
05/30/10 -- Soyuz TMA-19/23S launch
06/30/10 -- Progress 38P launch
07/27/10 -- Progress 39P launch
07/29/10 -- STS-133/Endeavour (ULF5 – ELC4, MPLM) or STS-134/Discovery (ULF6 – ELC3, AMS)
08/31/10 -- Progress 40P 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
10/27/10 -- Progress 41P launch
11/30/10 -- Soyuz TMA-21/25S launch
12/21/10 -- ATV2 – Ariane 5 (ESA)
02/09/11 -- Progress 42P launch
03/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-22/26S launch
xx/xx/11 -- Progress 43P launch
05/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-23/27S launch
12/??/11 -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – on Proton

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