NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 20 April 2011

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

Upon wake-up, FE-1 Samokutyayev performed the regular daily check of the aerosol filters at the Russian Elektron O2 (oxygen) generator. [Maxim Suraev installed these filters on 10/19/09 in gaps between the BZh Liquid Unit and the oxygen outlet pipe (filter FA-K) plus hydrogen outlet pipe (filter FA-V). Alexandr inspects the filters again before bedtime tonight, currently a daily requirement per plan, with photographs to be taken if the filter packing is discolored.]

CDR Kondratyev & Samokutyayev spent several hours on preparing Progress M-09M/41P (#409) for its undocking next Friday (4/22). Today they -

* Stowed remaining disposable cargo and trash on the drone ship, while logging moves in the IMS (Inventory Management System) database,
* Removed & and temporarily stowed the two handles (ruchek, singlr.: ruchka) from 41P's external hatch surface, and
* Installed the docking mechanism (StM, Stykovochnovo mekhanizma) between the cargo ship and the DC1 nadir port [the StM is the "classic" probe-and-cone type, consisting of an active docking assembly (ASA) with a probe (SSh), which fits into the cone (SK) on the passive docking assembly (PSA) for initial soft dock and subsequent retraction to hard dock. The ASA is mounted on the Progress' cargo module (GrO), while the PSA sits on the docking ports of the SM, FGB, MRM2 and DC1.]

Afterwards, Dmitri continued the urine transfer to 41P, started on 4/15, using the usual pumping equipment (compressor #41, hoses, adapters) to pump the contents of EDV-U container #829 to the BV2 Rodnik storage tank of the Progress. [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, i.e., with empty tanks, the bladders are expanded against the tank walls and checked for hermeticity.]

FE-3 Borisenko terminated his 2nd session of the standard 24-hour ECG (electrocardiograph) recording under the Russian MedOps PZE MO-2 protocol. [After the ECG recording and BP (blood pressure) measurements with the Kardiomed system, Sasha doffed the five-electrode Holter harness that read his dynamic (in motion) heart function from two leads over the past 24 hours, recording data on the "Kardioregistrator 90205" unit. The examination results were then downloaded from the Holter ECG device to the RSE-Med laptop, controlled by the Kardiomed application. The data were downlinked as a compressed .zip-file via OCA.]

In preparation for his subsequent IFM (Inflight Maintenance) on the REGUL system, requiring deactivation of the BITS2-12 onboard measurement telemetry system, Andrey performed a nominal shutdown of the Elektron-VM oxygen generator, i.e., without nitrogen purging and with the manual valve VN2 of the BZh (Liquid Unit) open.

Afterwards, Borisenko had ~4.5 hrs blocked out for performing major maintenance on the Regul-OS radio subsystem, first setting up tools & equipment, then demating the BITS2-12 telemetry connectors (after turning off VD-SU control mode), finally uninstalling the third-string transmitter unit SA325-III, supported by ground specialist tagup as required. [After SA325 removal, the demated cables were combined into three bundles of telemetry cables, low-frequency cables & antenna feeder cables, then rolled up in one coil and stowed behind panel 338. Located in the Service Module (SM), the Regul-OS is a subsystem of the RSUS Radio Control & Comm System of the RS (Russian Segment) for handling two-way voice communication, digital command/program information, and telemetry transmission via Russian RGS (Groundsites). Regul is the nominal uplink channel for all Russian commands; operating at a low data rate, it is equivalent to the US S-band system. The SA325 block removed today is one of three redundant units, each containing a transceiver (PPA) and Digital Processor (UtsO).]

With the BITS2-12 system still off, Alex Samokutyayev checked it out on both of its channels (A & B), using the Elektronika Multimeter MMTs-01 for voltage measurements before and during commands issued to the system by TsUP-Moscow.

Later, Kondratyev & Borisenko supported the ground-commanded reactivation of the Elektron-VM O2 generator, first performing the usual buffer volume compression, then monitoring the external temperature of its BD secondary purification unit for the first 10 minutes of operations to ensure that there was no overheating. [The gas analyzer used on the Elektron during nominal operations for detecting hydrogen (H2) in the O2 line (which could cause dangerous overheating) is not included in the control algorithm until 10 minutes after Elektron startup.]

During the Elektron shutdown, the ISS cabin air was refreshed for about an hour with O2 from Progress 41P tankage.

At day's begin, FE-5 Nespoli powered up the SDRM (SpaceDRUMS/Space Dynamically Responding Ultrasonic Matrix) payload, turning it off again about 4.5 hrs later after resource tracking by POIC (Payload Operations & Integration Center), which is an unattended activity to track power, medium rate data, and analog video usage. [SpaceDRUMS suspends a baseball-sized solid or liquid sample using 20 acoustic beam emitters during combustion or heat-based synthesis. Materials can be produced in microgravity with an unparalleled quality of shape and composition. SpaceDRUMS will support scientific understanding of processes like combustion synthesis and self-propagating high temperature synthesis and also provide direct commercial benefits from materials processing. Advanced ceramics, polymer, and colloids can be processed in SpaceDRUMS.]

Garan & Coleman had more time allotted to ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle) cargo ops, Ron ~1.5 hrs, Cady ~1 hr., now concerned with gathering items from the ISS to bring to "Johannes Kepler" for disposal. At ~1:50pm EDT, Coleman was scheduled for the daily tagup with MCC-Houston to debrief on today's ATV cargo transfers.

Meanwhile, FE-5 Nespoli worked for about 3 hrs on more cargo prepacking for STS-134/ULF6.

Other activities completed by Paolo Nespoli included -

* Printing out a new procedure for quick action if cooling is lost in Node-3 [Node-3 ITCS (Internal Thermal Control System) was transitioned today from Dual to Contingency MT (Moderate Temperature) Mode for tomorrow's scheduled AmiA (Antimicrobial Applicator) treatment. Since the FDIR (Fault Detection, Isolation & Recovery) system in that mode would not power down some active Node-3 ECLSS equipment if cooling should be lost due to pump failure, the new stop-gap procedure was uplinked],
* Removing the 4 alignment guides on the CIR (Combustion Integrated Rack) in the US Lab to allow PaRIS (Passive Rack Isolation System) to be activated before begin of CIR operations requiring a microgravity environment,
* Rebooting the SLT (System Laptop Terminal) in the JAXA JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), a periodic task, and
* Filming a video tour of the station with the CANON G1 camcorder for the STS-134/ULF6 visitors, emphasizing the stowage situation.

FE-3 Garan conducted the regular (~weekly) inspection & maintenance, as required, of the CGBA-4 (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus 4) and CGBA-5 payloads in their ERs (EXPRESS Racks).

In the ESA COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), Ron set up the PPFS (Portable Pulmonary Function System) hardware, including MBS (Mixing Bag System), for his first session with the VO2max assessment, integrated with Thermolab, scheduled tomorrow. [The experiment VO2max uses the PPFS, CEVIS ergometer 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 consists of a 2-min rest period, then three 5-min stages at workloads eliciting 25%, 50% & 75% of aerobic capacity as measured pre-flight, followed by a 25-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 cool down period follows at the 25% load. Rebreathing measurements are initiated by the subject during the last minute of each stage. Constraints are: no food 2 hrs prior to exercise start, no caffeine 8 hrs prior to exercise, and must be well hydrated.]

Cady Coleman conducted the T+5 day visual microbial (bacterial & fungal) analysis & data recording of surface & air samples collected by her on 4/15 at selected sites in Node-1, Node-2, Node-3 and JPM with the Microbiology SSK (Surface Sampling Kit) and MAS (Microbial Air Sampler). [The colony growth on the sampling slides is inspected visually after five days of incubation, using a special procedure to analyze the SSK media slides for bacterial & fungal colony growths.]

Later, FE-6 worked for about 2 hrs in the Lab on the AR (Atmosphere Revitalization) rack, removing the TCCS (Trace Contaminant Control System)'s expended charcoal bed and replacing it with a fresh spare. Cady also uninstalled & removed the DCA (Data & Control Assembly) from the MCA (Mass Constituents Analyzer) chassis to preposition it for future maintenance.

Afterwards, Cady adjusted the internal EWIS (External Wireless Instrumentation System) antenna, which has not been communicating clearly with any of the RSUs (Remote Sensing Units), i.e., between the EWIS NCU (Network Control Unit) and IWIS (Internal WIS) RSUs, except the one in the Lab. [Today's antenna repositioning by means of the articulated antenna "Bogen" arm was to provide a clearer RF (radio frequency) path between the device antennas. The final position and surrounding area was then photo documented for the ground.]

Dmitri, Paolo & Cady each undertook another ~30 min Shuttle RPM (R-bar Pitch Maneuver) photography training session, to practice in-cabin shooting using an Orbiter tile diagram cutout. While Paolo wielded the NIKON D2Xs digital still camera with 800mm lens and Cady the 400 mm lens, Dmitri also used the 800mm mapping pattern but simulated the field of view of the D3X camera with 1000mm lens, to be employed for the first time for the RPM. [The RPM drill prepares crewmembers for the bottom-side mapping of the Orbiter at their arrival at the ISS, currently STS-134/Endeavour/ULF6, to be arriving 5/1. During the RPM at ~600 ft from the station, the "shooters" have only ~90 seconds for taking high-resolution digital photographs of all tile areas and door seals on Endeavour, to be downlinked for launch debris assessment. Thus, time available for the shooting will be very limited, requiring great coordination between the two headset-equipped photographers and the Shuttle pilot.]

Coleman later downlinked the RPM imagery to the ground for review by TPS (Thermal Protection System) and photography specialists.

Ron Garan filled out his 2nd 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.]

The CDR downloaded the Sony HVR-Z7E camcorder footage shot yesterday by Samokutyayev during the first test session of the OBR-5 (Obrazovanie-5, Education 5) program for Russian PAO TV, called "Great Beginning". [The captured scenes feature close-ups of Dmitri Kondratyev performing operations with the Uragan equipment in the SM, such as removing the FSS (Fotospektralnaya sistema) from storage, installing mounting brackets at SM window #9, demonstrating camera swiveling, showing FSS taking recordings, transferring data to a digital map and winding up, after about 10-12 minutes, with session finish.]

Alex Samokutyayev 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, replacement of EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine containers and filling EDV-SV, KOV (for Elektron), EDV-ZV & EDV on RP flow regulator.]

Sasha also handled the daily IMS 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).

Ron Garan spent ~1 hr with Cady in another handover session, the 7th, during which Cady familiarized her crewmate with USOS (US Segment) activities.

Another crew handover session of ~1h with Nespoli followed for Ron, the 2nd, to familiarize him with Paolo's work regime.

The three newcomers, Sasha, Andrey & Ron, again had their free time for general orientation (adaptation, station familiarization & acclimatization) as is standard daily rule for fresh crewmembers for the first two weeks after starting residence, if they choose to take it.

Later tonight, before "Presleep", Cady will power on the MPC (Multi-Protocol Converter) and start the data flow of video recorded during the day to the ground, with POIC routing the onboard HRDL (High-Rate Data Link). After about an hour, MPC will be turned off again. [This is a routine operation which regularly transmits HD onboard video (live or tape playback) to the ground on a daily basis before sleeptime.]

At ~10:25am EDT, Dmitri Kondratyev & Andrey Borisenko supported a Russian PAO TV event, downlinking a message of greetings to the participants of the Finale of the Russian "Star Relay" contest in the GCTC (Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center) in Star City on 4/22. [From October 1, 2010 to April 30, 2011, the annual contest of scientific technical and art projects "Star Relay" is taking place in the GCTC. The 2011 "Star Relay" is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight by Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin. Contest participants include representatives of the Ukraine, Latvia, the Republic of Buryatia, the Republic of Bashkortostan, the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic, the Republic of Mari-El, the Krasnodar Territory, the Regions of Smolensk, Vologda, Vladimir, Nizhny Novgorod, Tyumen, Tula, and Tver, and the cities Omsk, Norilsk and others of Russia. The final competition of the contest will take place on 4/22 at GCTC, an "Open Door Day" for young contestants, their academic advisors as well as parents and guests. The Ministry of Education & Science of the Russian Federation on an annual basis presents the contest winners with vouchers to the All-Russia Children's Center "Orlyonok" (Eaglet) to participate in the specialized aerospace session "United by Space".]

FE-3 & FE-6 had their weekly PMCs (Private Medical Conferences), via S- & Ku-band audio/video, Ron at ~11:00am, Cady at ~2:00pm EDT.

At ~5:00pm, Ron Garan is also scheduled for his 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).

Early in the morning, Cady Coleman set up the video equipment in Node-3 to capture all crewmembers' exercise sessions on the ARED (Advanced Resistive Exercise Device), a monthly requirement for biomechanical evaluation of the crewmembers and evaluation of the hardware status. [After Kondratyev finished his ARED run as last user, Garan stowed the camcorder at its nominal location.]

The crew worked out with their regular 2-hr physical exercise on the CEVIS cycle ergometer with vibration isolation (FE-3, FE-6), TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-2), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-1, FE-2, FE-3, FE-5, FE-6), T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (FE-5) and VELO ergometer bike with load trainer (FE-1).

Kobairo Rack Update: Yesterday's replacement by FE-3 Garan of the MMA RSU (Microgravity Measurement Apparatus / Remote Sensing Unit) in the JPM with a spare did not recover communication to the JAXA Kobairo RSU. The failure is now suspected with the 7.2m MMA power cable. Its replacement will be scheduled next week.

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) targets uplinked for today were Harare, Zimbabwe (ISS had a mid-afternoon pass in partly cloudy weather for this capital city located in north-central Zimbabwe. Harare is the administrative and commercial center of the country of Zimbabwe with a population of nearly 2 million. As ISS approached the dissected highlands south of the lakes of the Zambezi River, the crew was to look near nadir for this rather low-contrast target), Buenos Aires, Argentina (ISS had a mid-afternoon pass in clear weather for this sprawling capital city of nearly 3 million located on the southwest shore of the broad estuary of the Rio de la Plata. As the crew approached the coast for the southwest, they were to look just left of track and attempt to capture the urban area in a single frame), and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (HMS Beagle Site: Darwin and the Beagle arrived in the vicinity of Rio de Janeiro, presently a city of more than 7 million, in April of 1832 and undertook an expedition inland. ISS had a nadir pass in mid-afternoon light with partly cloudy conditions expected. The crew was asked to map the urban area around the prime visual cue, Guanabara Bay).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 7:12am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude - 348.2 km
Apogee height - 350.2 km
Perigee height - 346.2 km
Period -- 91.50 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0003004
Solar Beta Angle -- 58.0 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.74
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 150 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) - 71,181

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
04/22/11 -- Progress M-09M/41P undock ~7:41am EDT
04/26/11 -- Progress M-09M/41P deorbit ~9:15am
04/27/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P launch
04/29/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P docking (DC-1 nadir)
04/29/11 -- STS-134/Endeavour launch ULF6 (ELC-3, AMS) ~3:47:49pm EDT
05/01/11 -- STS-134/Endeavour docking ~1:31pm
05/11/11 -- STS-134/Endeavour undocking ~6:23am
05/13/11 -- STS-134/Endeavour landing (KSC) ~9:28am
05/16/11 - Soyuz TMA-20/25S undock/landing (End of Increment 27)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-02M/27S launch - M. Fossum (CDR-29)/S. Furukawa/S. Volkov
06/01/11 -- Soyuz TMA-02M/27S docking (MRM1)
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
06/xx/11 -- ATV-2 "Johannes Kepler" undock (SM aft)
06/21/11 -- Progress M-11M/43P launch
06/23/11 -- Progress M-11M/43P docking (SM aft)
06/28/11 -- STS-135/Atlantis launch ULF7 (MPLM) ~3:30pm EDT NET
06/30/11 -- STS-135/Atlantis docking ULF7 (MPLM) NET
07/27/11 - Russian EVA #29
08/29/11 -- Progress M-11M/43P undocking
08/30/11 -- Progress M-12M/44P launch
09/01/11 -- Progress M-12M/44P docking (SM aft)
09/16/11 - Soyuz TMA-21/26S undock/landing (End of Increment 28)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
09/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-03M/28S launch - D.Burbank (CDR-30)/A.Shkaplerov/A.Ivanishin
10/02/11 - Soyuz TMA-03M/28S docking (MRM2)
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
10/25/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P undocking
10/26/11 -- Progress M-13M/45P launch
10/28/11 -- Progress M-13M/45P docking (DC-1)
11/16/11 -- Soyuz TMA-02M/27S undock/landing (End of Increment 29)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/29S launch - O.Kononenko (CDR-31)/A.Kuipers/D.Pettit
12/02/11 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/29S docking (MRM1)
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
12/26/11 -- Progress M-13M/45P undock
12/27/11 -- Progress M-14M/46P launch
12/29/11 -- Progress M-14M/46P docking (DC-1)
02/29/12 -- ATV3 launch readiness
03/05/12 -- Progress M-12M/44P undock
03/16/12 -- Soyuz TMA-03M/28S undock/landing (End of Increment 30)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
03/30/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/30S launch - G.Padalka (CDR-32)/J.Acaba/K.Volkov
04/01/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/30S docking (MRM2)
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
05/05/12 -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA - launch on Proton (under review)
05/06/12 -- Progress M-14M/46P undock
05/07/12 -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) - docking (under review)
05/16/12 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/29S undock/landing (End of Increment 31)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/29/12 - Soyuz TMA-06M/31S launch - S.Williams (CDR-33)/Y.Malenchenko/A.Hoshide
05/31/12 - Soyuz TMA-06M/31S docking
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
09/18/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/30S undock/landing (End of Increment 32)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
10/02/12 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/32S launch - K.Ford (CDR-34)/O.Novitskiy/E.Tarelkin
10/04/12 - Soyuz TMA-07M/32S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
11/16/12 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/31S undock/landing (End of Increment 33)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/30/12 -- Soyuz TMA-08M/33S launch - C.Hadfield (CDR-35)/T.Mashburn/R.Romanenko
12/02/12 - Soyuz TMA-08M/33S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
03/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/32S undock/landing (End of Increment 34)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
03/xx/13 - Soyuz TMA-09M/34S launch - P.Vinogradov (CDR-36)/C.Cassidy/A.Misurkin
03/xx/13 - Soyuz TMA-09M/34S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
05/xx/13 - Soyuz TMA-08M/33S undock/landing (End of Increment 35)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/xx/13 - Soyuz TMA-10M/35S launch - M.Suraev (CDR-37)/K.Nyberg/L.Parmitano
05/xx/13 - Soyuz TMA-10M/35S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
09/xx/13 - Soyuz TMA-09M/34S undock/landing (End of Increment 36)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
09/xx/13 - Soyuz TMA-11M/36S launch - M.Hopkins/TBD (CDR-38)/TBD
09/xx/13 - Soyuz TMA-11M/36S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
11/xx/13 - Soyuz TMA-10M/35S undock/landing (End of Increment 37)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/xx/13 - Soyuz TMA-12M/37S launch - K.Wakata (CDR-39)/R.Mastracchio/TBD
11/xx/13 - Soyuz TMA-12M/37S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
03/xx/14 - Soyuz TMA-11M/36S undock/landing (End of Increment 38)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------

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