NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 10 November 2009

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2009

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

  • At Baikonur, the new MRM2 (Mini Research Module 2) "Poisk" (Search, Quest), ISS-5R, was successfully launched on time (9:22am EST) as a Progress spacecraft on a Soyuz-U rocket. Eight minutes later, 5R achieved orbital insertion after nominal ascent. All antennas and solar arrays deployed without issue. Docking at the ISS SM zenith port is scheduled for 11/12 at ~10:43am EST. [MRM2 (Russian: MIM-2), a copy of the DC1 "Pirs" Docking Compartment, will serve as an additional docking port for Soyuz & Progress spacecraft and as an airlock for spacewalks. Poisk will also provide extra space for scientific experiments as well as power-supply outlets and data-transmission interfaces for two external scientific payloads to be developed by the Russian Academy of Sciences. The mass of the module is 4,000 kg, its diameter 2.6 m and its length 4.6 m, providing 12.5 cubic meter of internal volume.]

FE-3 Romanenko did the regular daily early-morning check of the aerosol filters at the Russian Elektron O2 generator which Suraev had installed on 10/19 in gaps between the BZh Liquid Unit and the oxygen outlet pipe (filter FA-K) plus hydrogen outlet pipe (filter FA-V). [FE-3 again inspects the filters tonight at bedtime, currently a daily requirement per plan, with photographs to be taken if the filter packing is discolored.]

FE-1 Suraev had his second session with the Russian behavioral assessment TIPOLOGIA (MBI-20), setting up the workstation, connecting equipment, suiting up and launching the program on the RSK1 laptop. [Romanenko assisted in donning the electrode cap, preparing the head for the electrodes, applying electrode gel from the Neurolab-RM2 kit and taking photographs. Data were recorded on a PCMCIA memory card and downlinked via OCA comm. MBI-20 studies typological features of operator activity of the ISS crews in long-term space flight phases, with the subject using a cap with EEG (electroencephalogram) electrodes. The experiment, which records EEGs, consists of the Luescher test, "adaptive biological control" training, and the games Minesweeper and Tetris. The Luescher color diagnostic is a psychological test which measures a person's psychophysical state, his/her ability to withstand stress, to perform and to communicate. It is believed to help uncover the cause of psychological stress, which can lead to physical symptoms. An EEG measures and records the electrical activity of the brain.]

Later, Maxim also undertook his first training session of the Russian MO-5 MedOps protocol of cardiovascular evaluation in the below-the-waist reduced-pressure device (ODNT, US: LBNP) on the Russian VELO ergometer, assisting by Roman as CMO (Crew Medical Officer). [The 50-min assessment, supported by ground specialist tagup (VHF) and telemetry monitoring from Russian ground site (DO15, 6:49am-7:06am), uses the Gamma-1 ECG equipment with biomed harness, skin electrodes and a blood pressure and rheoplethysmograph cuff wired to the cycle ergometer's instrumentation panels. The Chibis ODNT provides gravity-simulating stress to the body's cardiovascular/circulatory system for evaluation of Romanenko's orthostatic tolerance (e.g., the Gauer-Henry reflex) after several months in zero-G. The preparatory training generally consists of first imbibing 150-200 milliliters of water or juice, followed by a sequence of progressive regimes of reduced ("negative") pressure, set at -20, -25, -30, and -35 mmHg for five min. each while shifting from foot to foot at 10-12 steps per minute, wearing a sphygmomanometer to measure blood pressure. The body's circulatory system interprets the pressure differential between upper and lower body as a gravity-like force pulling the blood (and other liquids) down. Chibis data and biomed cardiovascular readings are recorded. The Chibis suit (not /to be confused with the Russian "Pinguin" suit for spring-loaded body compression, or the "Kentavr" anti-g suit worn during reentry) is similar to the U.S. LBNP facility (not a suit) used for the first time on Skylab in 1973/74, although it appears to accomplish its purpose more quickly.]

Romanenko 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 ~3:50pm EST 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: 10/19-10/20).]

FE-2 Stott began Day 1 of her third session with the NASA/JSC experiment NUTRITION w/Repository, starting with urine collections and the blood draw. Frank De Winne assisted with the phlebotomy from an arm vein. Later, Nicole continued her 24-hour urine collections of the NUTRITION protocol. [After the phlebotomy, Nicole's samples were first allowed to coagulate in the Repository for 20-30 minutes, then spun in the HRF RC (Human Research Facility/Refrigerated Centrifuge) and finally placed in MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS). No thruster activity was allowed during the blood drawing. The RC was later powered off after a temperature reset to limit wear on the compressor, and cleaned. The NUTRITION project is the most comprehensive in-flight study done by NASA to date of human physiologic changes during long-duration space flight. It includes measures of bone metabolism, oxidative damage, nutritional assessments, and hormonal changes, expanding the previous Clinical Nutritional Assessment profile (MR016L) testing in three ways: Addition of in-flight blood & urine collection (made possible by supercold MELFI dewars), normative markers of nutritional assessment, and a return session plus 30-day (R+30) session to allow evaluation of post-flight nutrition and implications for rehabilitation.]

FE-5 Williams did Day 2 of his second ICV (Integrated Cardiovascular) Ambulatory Monitoring session. Upon reaching the midpoint, Jeff ended the Cardiopres/BP (blood pressure) data collection, changed out the HM2 (Holter Monitor 2) HiFi CF Card and AA Battery, and began the next 24-hour data collection, using the CEVIS cycle ergometer to meet the ICV heart rate requirement. [ICV activities consist of two separate but related parts over a one-week time period: an ultrasound echo scan & an ambulatory monitoring session. During the first 24 hrs (while all devices were worn), ten minutes of quiet, resting breathing are timelined to collect data for a specific analysis. The nominal exercise includes at least 10 minutes at a heart rate >=120 bpm (beats per minute). After 24 hrs, the Cardiopres was doffed and the HM2 HiFi CF Card and AA Battery were changed out to allow continuation of the session for another 24 hours, with the Makita batteries switched as required. After data collection is complete, the Actiwatches and both HM2 HiFi CF Cards are downloaded to the HRF PC1, while Cardiopres data are downloaded to the EPM (European Physiology Module) Rack and transferred to the HRF PC1 via a USB key for downlink. 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.]

FE-4 Thirsk set up, checked out and conducted his fourth test with the French/CNES neuroscientific research experiment "3D Space" (SAP) as Subject #5, while free-floating, using the ESA MPPL (Multipurpose Laptop) with a prepared HDD (Hard Disk Drive), data storage on a PCMCIA memory card, and an electronic pen table connected to it. [3D Space, which involves distance, writing and illusion exercises, is designed to test the hypothesis that altered visual perception affects motor control. To do this, the subject is asked to reproduce shapes or text on an electronic pen pad (Wacom Intuos3 A4). The test person is asked to reproduce shapes or text on the pen tablet which allows researchers to record and analyze the reactions both on earth and in space.]

Later, Thirsk set up all PPFS (Portable Pulmonary Function System) hardware and then performed his second session of the VO2Max assessment. Afterwards, he cleaned the mixing bag system, reconfigured portions of the equipment and secured all hardware out of the "traffic" path but leaving it unstowed to cut down on the next setup time. [The experiment VO2Max uses the PPFS, CEVIS cycle, PFS gas cylinders and mixing bag system, plus multiple other pieces of hardware to measure oxygen uptake, cardiac output, and more. The exercise protocol comprises 5-min stages at workloads eliciting 25%, 50% & 75% of aerobic capacity as measured pre-flight, followed by a 250-watt increase in workload every minute until the crewmember reaches maximum exercise capacity. At that point, CEVIS workload increase is stopped, and a 5-min cooldown period follows at the 25% load. Constraints are: no food 2 hrs prior to exercise start, no caffeine 8 hrs prior to exercise, and must be well hydrated.]

FE-5 Williams had an hour reserved in the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module) for prepacking the EDSU (External Data Storage Unit) for return on STS-129/ULF3.

Afterwards, Williams collected the regular samples from the WRS PWD (Water Recovery System / Potable Water Dispenser) for subsequent TOCA & C-SPE inflight & ground analysis. [Collected were samples from PWD Ambient & PWD Hot for microbial inflight processing, TOCA (Total Organic Carbon Analyzer) analysis, C-SPE (Colorimetric Solid-Phase Extraction) spectrophotometry and post-flight sample for return on ULF3.]

Subsequently, the FE-5 performed the inflight water sample analyses with the WMK MCD (Water Microbiology Kit/Microbial Capture Devices) for microbial traces, and the CDB (Coliform Detection Bag) for inflight coliform indications (Magenta for Positive, Yellow for Negative). The activity must be conducted within 6 hrs after water collection from the PWD line. [As usual, the flush water was reclaimed by evaporation, by releasing it into a towel which was then allowed to dry in the cabin atmosphere.]

CDR De Winne complemented the periodic water analysis program by collecting samples from the SVO-ZV in the SM (Service Module) for the T+2d in-flight microbial, TOCA & C-SPE analysis plus return on ULF3 for ground analysis.

In preparation for tomorrow's arrival of the new Progress M-MRM2 "Poisk" module, the two Russian flight engineers spent about an hour with an in-depth review of uplinked MRM2 Activation procedures, supported by ground specialist tagup. [Preparation, Docking, First Ingress & Activation steps will be spread over three days, from 11/11 – 11/13.]

Maxim set up and conducted another session of the GFI-1 "Relaksatsiya" (Relaxation) Earth Observation experiment at SM window #13 observing the Earth ionosphere. Roman assisted by adjusting SPM (Spectrometer) modes & settings and taking documentary photography. Afterwards, the experiment was closed out and the equipment torn down for stowage. [Using the GFI-1 UFK "Fialka" ultraviolet camera, SPM spectrometer and VKJ camcorder, controlled from Laptop3, the experiment usually deals with observing and recording hyperspectral observations of the Earth atmosphere and surface. "Relaxation", in Physics, is the transition of an atom or molecule from a higher energy level to a lower one, emitting radiative energy in the process as equilibrium is achieved.]

Nicole Stott conducted another periodic manual filling of the WHC (Waste & Hygiene Compartment) flush water tank (EDV-SV), during which the WHC was unavailable for use.

FE-3 performed the periodic inspection of the SRV-K2M Condensate Water Processor's sediment trap insert (VU). [The Russian SRVK-2M converts collected condensate into drinking water and dispenses the reclaimed potable water].

In the Soyuz TMA-15/19S crew return vehicle, Romanenko, Thirsk & De Winne conducted the standard 30-min. fit check of the Kazbek couches, the contoured shock absorbing seats in the Descent Module (SA) of the spacecraft docked at the FGB Nadir Port. [For the fit check, crew members remove their cabin suits and don Sokol KV-2 suit and comm caps, get into in their seats and assess the degree of comfort & uniform body support provided by the seat liner. Using a ruler, they then measure the gap between the top of the head and the top edge of the structure facing the head crown. The results are reported to TsUP-Moscow. Kazbek-UM couches are designed to withstand g-loads during launch and orbital insertion as well as during reentry and brake-rocket-assisted landing. Each seat has two positions: cocked (armed) and noncocked. In cocked position, they are raised to allow the shock absorbers to function during touchdown. The fit check assures that the crewmembers, whose bodies gain in length during longer-term stay in zero-G, will still be adequately protected by the seat liners for their touchdown in Kazakhstan, either emergency or regular return.]

Preparatory to tomorrow's spacecraft docking, the CDR re-installed the PaRIS (Passive Rack Isolation System) lock-down alignment guides on the FCF (Fluids & Combustion Facility) in the CIR (Combustion Integrated Rack) in the US Lab, which were removed on 11/8 to allow PaRIS activation for ground-commanded ops in micro-G.

Afterwards, Frank activated the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) for ground-controlled payload operations.

Also in the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), De Winne supported an ESA test of the BLB LSM (Biolab Life Support Module) tightness by opening, later closing, the LSM GN2 (gaseous nitrogen) gas bottle valve.

In the FGB, Roman terminated charging the battery for the KPT-2 Kelvin-Video experiment of the Russian BAR payload initiated yesterday.

FE-3 also completed the periodic checkout & performance verification of IP-1 airflow sensors in the various RS hatchways. [Skipping the Soyuz hatches to FGB & SM aft , inspected IP-1s are in the passageways PrK (SM Transfer Tunnel)–RO (SM Working Compartment), PkhO (SM Transfer Compartment)–RO, PkhO–DC1, PkhO–FGB PGO, FGB PGO–FGB GA, and FGB GA–Node-1.]

Thirsk undertook his first session with the JAXA experiment "Biological Rhythms", for which he donned the electrodes of the DWH (Digital Walk Holter) for ECG (Electrocardiogram) recording, then started the data take for the next 24 hrs.

The FE-3 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.]

Near the end of his work day, Romanenko will conduct his tenth data collection for the psychological MBI-16 Vzaimodejstvie ("Interactions") program, accessing and completing the computerized study questionnaire on the RSE-Med laptop and saving the data in an encrypted file. [The software has a "mood" questionnaire, a "group & work environment" questionnaire, and a "critical incidents" log. Results from the study, which is also mirrored by ground control subjects, could help to improve the ability of future crewmembers to interact safely and effectively with each other and with Mission Control, to have a more positive experience in space during multi-cultural, long-duration missions, and to successfully accomplish mission activities.]

At ~9:30am EST, Frank De Winne tagged up with ground specialists to debrief on IMS (Inventory Management System) issues with 17A cargo transfers.

FE-1, FE-3 & FE-4 had their periodic PMCs (Private Medical Conferences), via S- & Ku-band audio/video, Maxim at ~9:15am, Roman at ~11:40am, Bob at ~12:00pm EST.

Stott conducted the periodic maintenance of the ARED (Advanced Resistive Exercise Device) and its VIS (Vibration Isolation System) rails & rollers, greasing the Y- and Z-axis rails & rollers.

The crew performed their regular 2-hr physical exercise on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-2, FE-4, FE-5), TVIS treadmill (FE-1, FE-3), ARED advanced resistive exerciser (CDR, FE-2, FE-3, FE-4, FE-5), T2 treadmill (CDR), and VELO cycle ergometer with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1).

Later, Bob transferred the exercise data files to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) for downlink, including the daily wristband HRM 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 Northern Isle of France, Mauritius (HMS Beagle Site: As the ISS track entered the Indian Ocean from the SW the crew should have noted the large island of Madagascar, well left of track, followed by the small island of Reunion, just left of track, and then quickly Mauritius near nadir. Charles Darwin and the Beagle landed at Port Louis on the northern portion of what is now known as the island of Mauritius on April 29, 1836. The island is also famous as the home of the dodo, a large flightless bird driven to extinction - directly or indirectly - by humans during the 17th century. This pass was in early afternoon light with fair weather expected. Concentrating on the Port Louis area located on the northern coast), Moroni, Comoros (this small capital city of just over 60,000 is in the Comoro archipelago located in northern Mozambique Channel between Madagascar and the mainland of Africa. The mid-afternoon pass offered a near-nadir pass in fair weather over this target. As ISS crossed the northern coast of Mozambique, the crew was to look for the target on the west coast of the large volcanic island of Comoro), St. Helena Island, Atlantic Ocean (HMS Beagle Site [and place of Napoleon's exile]: Darwin and the Beagle arrive at St. Helena Island on July 8, 1836 and remained for 5 days to explore its geology. ISS approach to this remote island target was from the SW at early afternoon with fair skies expected. The crew was to begin looking at this target a little early, if possible. Due to its remoteness and small size [47 square miles], there were no visual cues of the island during ISS approach except perhaps in the cloud pattern near the island), Bamako, Mali (the capital of Mali is a rapidly growing city approaching 2 million in population. It is situated on the Niger River in the southwestern part of the country. ISS approach was from the SW in mid-afternoon under fair skies and offered a nadir view of the target), and Georgetown, Guyana (the capital city of Guyana has a population of about a quarter of a million people and is located on the coast on the east side of the mouth of the Demerara River. ISS approached the coast from the SW in mid-afternoon with fair weather expected. The smaller Demerara estuary is located 25 – 30 miles east of the much larger Essequibo estuary).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 7:01am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 341.3 km
Apogee height – 345.5 km
Perigee height – 337.2 km
Period -- 91.36 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0006217
Solar Beta Angle -- 24.6 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.76
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 324 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 62900

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
11/12/09 -- 5R/MRM2 "Poisk" docking (SM zenith) – 10:43am EST
11/16/09 -- STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 launch (ELC1, ELC2) – 2:28pm EST
11/18/09 -- STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 dock – 11:56am
11/25/09 -- STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 undock – 4:57am
11/27/09 -- STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 land/KSC – 9:47am
12/01/09 – Soyuz TMA-15/19S undock
12/01-12/23 ---> two-member crew
12/21/09 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S launch -- O. Kotov/S. Noguchi/T.J. Creamer
12/23/09 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S (FGB nadir)
01/20/10 -- Soyuz TMA-16/20S relocation (from SM aft to MRM-2)
02/03/10 -- Progress M-04M/36P launch
02/04/10 -- STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 "Tranquility" + Cupola
02/05/10 -- Progress M-04M/36P docking
03/18/10 -- Soyuz TMA-16/20S undock/landing
03/18/10 -- STS-131/Discovery/19A – MPLM(P), LMC
04/02/10 -- Soyuz TMA-18/22S launch
04/27/10 -- Progress M-03M/35P undock
04/28/10 -- Progress M-05M/37P launch
04/30/10 -- Progress M-05M/37P docking
05/14/10 -- STS-132/Atlantis/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM-1
05/29/10 -- Progress M-04M/36P undock
05/30/10 -- Soyuz TMA-19/23S launch
06/30/10 -- Progress M-06M/38P launch
07/02/10 -- Progress M-06M/38P docking
07/26/10 -- Progress M-05M/37P undock
07/27/10 -- Progress M-07M/39P launch
07/29/10 -- Progress M-07M/39P docking
07/29/10 -- STS-134/Endeavour (ULF6 – ELC3, AMS-02)
08/30/10 -- Progress M-06M/38P undock
08/31/10 -- Progress M-08M/40P launch
09/02/10 -- Progress M-08M/40P docking
09/16/10 -- STS-133/Discovery (ULF5 – ELC4, PLM)
09/18/10 -- STS-133/Discovery (ULF5 – ELC4, PLM) docking
09/22/10 -- STS-133/Discovery (ULF5 – ELC4, PLM) undock
09/30/10 -- Soyuz TMA-20/24S launch
10/26/10 -- Progress M-07M/39P undock
10/27/10 -- Progress M-09M/41P launch
10/29/10 -- Progress M-09M/41P docking
11/30/10 -- ATV2 launch– Ariane 5 (ESA)
11/30/10 -- Soyuz TMA-21/25S launch
12/15/10 -- Progress M-08M/40P undock
12/17/10 -- ATV2 docking
02/08/11 -- Progress M-09M/41P undock
02/09/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P launch
02/11/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P docking
03/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-22/26S launch
xx/xx/11 – Progress M-11M/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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