NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 29 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.

CDR Padalka performed the periodic maintenance of the active Russian BMP Harmful Impurities Removal System, starting the "bake-out" cycle to vacuum on absorbent bed #2 of the regenerable dual-channel filtration system. The process will be terminated at ~3:45pm EDT before sleep time. Bed #1 regeneration was performed yesterday. [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. (Last time: 8/20-8/21).]

FE-3 Romanenko conducted the periodic status checks on the Russian BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("Plants-2") experiment in the SM (Service Module). [Rasteniya-2 researches growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in the LADA-16 greenhouse from IBMP (Institute of Bio-Medical Problems, Russian: IMBP), currently planted with Mizuna seeds. Mizuna (Brassica rapa nipposinica) is a tasty variety of Japanese mustard greens, also known as California Peppergrass, eaten as a salad.]

FE-1 Barratt, FE-2 Stott, FE-4 Thirsk & FE-5 De Winne continued the extensive task of putting together & installing the new COLBERT treadmill (T2) in Node-2. Today’s installation steps, spanning several hours, included –

  • Removing the bumpout & temporarily stowing the T2 rack at the Node-2 forward end cone,
  • Continuing routing, begun yesterday, of supply, return, power & data jumpers throughout Node-2 into the D5 location,
  • Installing new FDS (Fire Detection & Suppression) Panel & jumper P-clamps,
  • Preparing the T2 rack hardware, including central rack brackets, in Node-2 for installation, and
  • Accessing the D5 location and replacing port & starboard deck central rack brackets.

In the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), Nicole Stott undertook her second (& FD30) ICV (Integrated Cardiovascular) Resting Echo session as Subject, assisted by Mike Barratt as CMO (Crew Medical Officer). [Wearing electrodes, ECG (Electrocardiograph) cable & VOX, Nicole underwent the ultrasound scan for the Resting Echo mode of ICV, with video being recorded from the HRF (Human Research Facility) Ultrasound and COL cabin camera. After confirmed file transfer, the gear was powered down and stowed. The ultrasound echo experiment uses the Image Collector software on the laptop and requires VOX/Voice plus RT Video downlink during the activity. Goal of the ICV experiment is to quantify the extent, time course, and clinical significance of cardiac atrophy and identify its mechanisms. The experiment consists of two separate but related activities over a one-week time period: an ultrasound echo scan & an ambulatory monitoring session. The sessions are scheduled at or around FD14, FD30, FD75, FD135 and R-15 (there will be fewer sessions if mission duration is less than six months). The FD75 echo scan will include an exercise component with a second scan (subset of the first) completed within 5 minutes after the end of exercise. The primary objective of the accompanying CCISS (Cardiovascular Control on return from the ISS) experiment is to maximize the information about changes in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular function that might compromise the ability of astronauts to meet the challenge of return to an upright posture on Earth.]

For FE-5 De Winne it was Day 3 of Session 2 with the SOLO (Sodium Loading in Microgravity) experiment, i.e., its high-salt diet block, kept on a daily log. Today, Frank also set up the SLAMMD (Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device) and took his measurements with the BMM (Body Mass Measurement) software. The gear was then again temporarily stowed. [SOLO runs in two blocks of six days each. During the Session 1 block, the FE-5 followed a special low-salt diet, during the next Session 2 a high-salt diet. 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.]

For tomorrow’s SOLO activity, the FE-2 took the PCBA (Portable Clinical Blood Analyzer)’s measurement pouch from the MELFI (Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS) for stowage at ambient temperature.

Nicole also spent several hours with continued HTV (H-IIB Transfer Vehicle) cargo transfer & stowage operations, following an uplinked “choreography”, part of which involving ISS-to-HTV transfers of approved trash items. Afterwards, items completed were to be reported to the ground.

Barratt performed the periodic status check on the MERLIN (Microgravity Experiment Research Locker Incubator) Galley fridge, looking for any internal condensation moisture which would require replacing desiccants. [MERLIN is used for cold storage of crew food and drink.]

Afterwards, the FE-1 started (later terminated) another 5-hr automatic sampling run (the 33rd) with the EHS GC/DMS (Environmental Health System Gas Chromatograph/Differential Mobility Spectrometer), also known as AQM (Air Quality Monitor), controlled with “Sionex” expert software from the SSC-4 (Station Support Computer 4) laptop. [The AQM demonstrates COTS (Commercial Off-the-Shelf) technology for identifying volatile organic compounds, similar to the VOA (Volatile Organics Analyzer). Today’s data will again to be compared with VOA and GSC (Grab Sample Container) measurements. This evaluation will continue over the course of several months as it helps to eventually certify the GC/DMS as nominal CHeCS (Crew Health Care Systems) hardware. Yesterday, the AQM suffered a temporary “crash” in the middle of the run but was subsequently restored with a reboot (power-cycle). There is a possible loss of some scientific data.]

Barratt also set up the usual equipment to downlink Russian analog video signals from the RS (Russian Segment) via streaming video on US Ku-band, and then, with CDR Padalka, checked it out with a network “ping” test. The A31p laptop was turned off afterwards. Purpose of the video setup is to cover the Soyuz TMA-16/20S arrival on Friday (10/2). [The equipment involves the KL-211 MPEG-2 Encoder, the RSS1 A31p laptop (for monitoring the digital video) and a U.S. SSC (Station Support Computer) laptop (for converting the analog TV from Russian PAL mode to U.S. NTSC). Transmission tests with the ground followed (10:10am–10:40am EDT), checking out connections and the digital video transmission over JSL/Ethernet plus OCA/Ku-Band to MCC-Houston and from there to Moscow via the ESA Gateway for COL-CC/Oberpfaffenhofen transmission to at TsUP-Moscow, plus transfer of the USOS analog video of the RS ISS video downlink via Streambox 2 to NISN (i.e., the Moscow Ostankino communication hub).]

Immediately before bedtime, Mike Barratt will take an eye test with the PanOptic experiment, which requires application of eye drops causing eye dilation for subsequent ophthalmic examination performed by Bob Thirsk. [The procedure, guided by laptop software, captures still & video images of the eye, including the posterior poles, macula & optic disc with the optic nerve, for downlink and expert analysis.]

Gennady Padalka set up the educational experiment OBR-1/Fizika-Obrazovaniye and started a session with the “Physics-Phase” demo, several times taking photographs of the experiment. Romanenko recorded the activity on video. [Obrazovaniye (Education) is a suite of three educational demonstrations of physics in micro-G, viz., OBR-1-1/”Fizika-LT” (Motion), OBR-1-2/”Fizika-Faza” (Phase) and OBR-1-3/”Fizika-Otolit”. The current “Phase” demo studies a complete gas-liquid phase separation of fine dispersion particles in micro-G with diffusion and surface tension of the fluid. The experiment is conducted over several days, documented with photography.]

Preparatory to the return flight of the Soyuz TMA-16/20S vehicle, docked at the DC1 nadir port, Romanenko performed the periodic cleaning of the screen of the BVN air heater fan assembly in the spacecraft’s Orbital Module (BO).

In the COL, FE-5 De Winne reconfigured the PWS1 (Portable Workstation 1) laptop for the recent C12 (Cycle 12) software transition, then reconnected PWS1 to the COL LAN (Local Area Network) and activated the laptop with the LAPAP Mark 2 application. [Frank modified the PWS1 BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) settings for C12 compliance, then loaded the new C12 image (file structure) into the PC. After a reboot, the FE-5 performed a telecommand & telemetry checkout to verify functionality.

FE-4 Thirsk made P&I (Pen & Ink) changes in all copies of the EMER-1 emergency procedures book, involving HTV updates due to the change to commanded activation of 50V HTV heaters.

Bob also handled the periodic deployment of four passive FMK (Formaldehyde Monitoring Kit) sampling assemblies in the Lab (at P3, below CEVIS) and SM (at the most forward handrail, on panel 307) for two days, 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.]

Later, Thirsk collected air samples at the center of the Lab, SM and COL with US GSCs (Grab Sample Containers) #1010, #1011 & #1031.

In sequence with the GSC collections (i.e., at the same time), Romanenko performed the standard collection of air samples with the Russian AK-1M adsorber in the SM and FGB.

Using the CMS (Countermeasure System), a component of the SKDS GANK-4M suite, the CDR performed the standard check on the SM cabin air for Vinyl Chloride, Ethanol, and Ethylene Oxide. [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.],

The FE-3 conducted the periodic transfer of U.S. condensate water from CWCs (Collapsible Water Containers, #1021/27L, #1073/44L) to the RS for the periodic (about twice a month) replenishing of the Elektron’s water supply for electrolysis, filling the designated KOV EDV container. Once filled, the EDV will be connected to the BPK transfer pump for processing through the BKO. [The 40-minute procedure is specially designed to prevent air bubbles larger than ~10 mm from getting into the BZh Liquid Unit where they could cause Elektron shutdown.]

Romanenko 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 also 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.]

Padalka performed the periodic inspection of the SRV-K2M Condensate Water Processor’s sediment trap insert. [The Russian SRV-K2M converts collected condensate into drinking water and dispenses the reclaimed potable water].

Frank De Winne completed the periodic WPA (Water Processor Assembly) sample analysis in the TOCA (Total Organic Carbon Analyzer), after first priming (filling) the TOCA water sample hose. After the approximately 2 hr TOCA analysis, results were transferred to SSC-7 (Station Support Computer 7) via USB drive for downlink, and the data were also logged for calldown. [The current procedure is a work-around for TOCA’s failed catalyst.]

In preparation for the arrival and on-orbit stay of the next SFP/VC-17(Space Flight Participant/Visiting Cosmonaut 17) Guy Laliberte, Padalka & Romanenko conducted a 90-min. review of Laliberte’s projected timeline and then, joined by De Winne, tagged up with ground specialists to discuss the planned VC-17 activity program. [VC-17 will be performed, from 9/30-10/11, for 10 days (10/2-10/11) in the ISS RS. The SFP has access to USOS resources for email, IP Phone, and HD video downlink. US crewmembers will operate the camera during some daily recordings & privatized conversations (one with Canadian Astronaut Julie Payette). The program entails –
  • Three live TV conferences between RS and TsUP-Moscow,
  • Additional videoconferences via the USOS (US Segment), TBD
  • Taking pictures & shooting video footage inside the RS,
  • Commemorative activities,
  • 1-2 times/day (morning) tagups with the advisory group (via Russian comm),
  • Daily (afternoon) private conferences using VOIP (TBD), and
  • Daily (afternoon) E-mail (TBD).]

During the VC-17 period, the SFP will help Russian cosmonauts similar to Charles Simonyi (VC-16). Expedition 21 experiments during VC-17 include:
  • SFP Crystal Growth Experiment
  • SFP Photography of the Earth
  • KASKAD (BTKh-26),
  • LAKTOLEN (BTKh-5) & OChB (BTKh-7),
  • ARIL (BTKh-6),
  • SONOKARD (MBI-12),
  • PILOT-M (MBI-15) pilot acuity,

Gennady & Mike again had an hour each 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.]

The crew completed their regular daily 2.5-hr. physical workout program on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-1, FE-2), TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation (CDR/2h, FE-3, FE-4, 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, Barratt transferred the exercise data files 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).

CDR, FE-3 & FE-4 had their periodic PMCs (Private Medical Conferences), via S- & Ku-band audio/video, Bob at ~8:35am, Roman at ~12:00pm, Gennady at ~12:25pm EDT.

At ~9:10am, Belgian flight engineer Frank De Winne conducted a PAO TV exchange with about 300 students (both Dutch & Belgian) at Delft University of Technology in Delft, Netherlands, moderated on the ground by ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers.

At ~2:05pm, Canadian flight engineer Bob Thirsk tagged up with the CSA (Canadian Space Agency) staff in Canada. [This conference is normally scheduled once every week, between ISS crewmembers and CSA via S/G2 (Space-to-Ground 2) audio.]

SPDM Commissioning: After yesterday’s start, Canadian robotics specialists are continuing SPDM (Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator) commissioning activities. These 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). The activities will run through tomorrow (9/30). At the end, “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 State Commission held its meeting this morning, approving the primary and backup crews for TMA-16 and confirming the readiness of the space launcher system for tomorrow’s takeoff.

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo target uplinked for today was Tenoumer Impact Crater, Mauritania (ISS had a nadir viewing pass over this 2 km-diameter impact crater. The crater is located between two large linear dune fields, and appears as a well-defined ring of outcrops against the surrounding desert. Overlapping mapping frames, taken along track, of the crater 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, 7:59am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude -- 346.1 km
Apogee height – 352.0 km
Perigee height -- 340.2 km
Period -- 91.46 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.000878
Solar Beta Angle -- -40.4 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.74
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 70 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 62238

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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