All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below. Day 97 in space for the Increment 7 crew.
Early in the morning, before breakfast, CDR Malenchenko concluded the third part of his current MBI-8 "Profilaktika" (countermeasures) fitness session. Today he conducted the blood test part, which determines lactate and creatine kinase levels in the blood with the AccuSport equipment, followed by the physical exercise session on the TVIS treadmill. FE/SO Lu assisted as CMO (crew medical officer). [The TVIS test is identical to the MO-3 test performed on the treadmill in idling mode with free choice of speeds within a certain specified range. In addition to the nominal test procedure, MBI-8/Part 3 calls for the use of the TEEM-100M gas analyzer during the test, the blood lactate measurements, and subjective evaluation of physical exertion levels during the test. At the end of the creatine kinase tests, the results were logged and recorded in Cardiocassette-2000 for subsequent downlink to the ground.]
The crew set up and reviewed the DOUG (dynamic operations ubiquitous graphics) software version for tomorrow's SSRMS/Robotics operations, using data files uplinked overnight. [DOUG is a periodically updated software program on the MSS (mobile service system) laptops that provides a birdseye-view graphical image of the external station configuration and the SSRMS (space station remote manipulator system) arm, showing its real-time location and configuration on a laptop during its operation. The purpose of tomorrow's (7/31) Robotics ops is to provide the crew with some proficiency time with the system. Also, the ground is using the ops as an opportunity to satisfy some external viewing objectives. The arm is based on MBS PDGF 1 (mobile base system power and data grapple fixture #1), and will start out at the PDGF 3 pre-grapple position, then grapple the PDGF, followed by immediate release and back-out to the 5 ft. start position. The arm will then be maneuvered in single-joint mode to a position where the Tip LEE (latching end effector) and Tip Elbow cameras can see an “H-fixture” on the zenith side of the S1 truss and maneuver the Tip LEE camera in closer to that H-fixture for video taping.]
Malenchenko conducted another experiment session with the Russian/German Plasma Crystal-3 (PK-3) payload, activating the evacuation turbopump, tagging up with ground specialists and starting the evacuation of the vacuum chamber (ZB) and PK-3 operations. [The experiment is performed on plasma, i.e., fine particles charged and excited by RF/radio frequency power inside the evacuated work chamber. Today, Yuri monitored two parts of the experiment, viz., auto search for conditions promoting strong particle agglomeration (6 minutes), and auto search for conditions creating “void-free” structures while varying HF discharge energy, chamber pressure, and number of particles involved (75 minutes).]
The CDR continued troubleshooting the Russian ASN satellite navigation antenna system, today checking out electrical continuity of PM2 channel connections.
Ed Lu completed sample collection with the SSK (surface sample kit) and colony growth for analysis, followed by collecting samples with the MAS (microbial air sampler). He then opened the MAS valve in the Lab for purging, later to be closed again.
Malenchenko performed his regular daily inspection of the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("Plants-2") experiment which researches growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in the Lada-2 greenhouse.
The Science Officer was scheduled to perform the long-awaited EPO (educational payloads operations) demonstration of musical instruments on the ISS. [The three instruments on board are a Pu'ili flute from Hawaii, a Didgeridoo from Australia, and a large keyboard. The simple sound demonstrations are expected to have great science-educational impact for middle school students, the majority of which apparently believes that sound, its production and properties, will be different in microgravity. Clearing up this misconception is expected to heighten the youngster's understanding of the ISS environment as well as of the physics of sound. The payload is sponsored and supported by five of Hawaii's premiere museums and science centers. The Pu'ili, used on Hawaii as part of traditional dances, is made of split bamboo. The Didgeridoo originated with Aborigines, stemming from tree trunks hollowed out by termites and, when wind-blown, creating haunting sounds. It is considered to be one of the oldest wind instruments on Earth (and now in space).]
During the preparation of the SPU-1 (sample processing unit #1) sample of the MSG CSLM (Microgravity Science Glovebox / Coarsening in Solid/Liquid Mixtures-2) experiment yesterday, the humidity level was measured to be 91%. This high level caused the planned venting activity to be aborted. POC (Payload Operations Center) does not know the cause for the high humidity level at this time. The CSLM experiment activity will stand down until Friday. [At that time the crew will replace the SPU-1 sample with the SPU-6 sample and prepare for processing on 8/4. POC has developed a plan that will enable installation of the SPU-6 sample (which, as reported before, has a warped base plate) for processing.]
The CDR attended to the daily routine maintenance of the SM's SOZh environment control & life support system as well as the daily preparation of the IMS "delta" file, while Ed Lu conducted the regular status checkup of the autonomous Lab payloads.
Yuri was scheduled to perform a continuity check of the pump membrane limit contacts on the BRPK-1 condensate separation and pumping unit. The inspection also involved hose connections between the BRPK-1 and the SKV-1 air conditioner, to determine why that system was providing full tank indications and shut down the SKV-1 last week. No problems have been found so far. Before sleep time, Malenchenko was to install the utility outlet panel (UOP)-to-display & control panel (DCP) power bypass cable for tomorrow's robotics/MSS (mobile service system) activities.
The crew was congratulated on their "great job" with yesterday's PAO events (TV-GLOBO and 1000 days manned occupancy).
The new XPOP attitude, which will be in effect for about a week, should significantly improve the crew's email synching, since it results in much longer Ku passes. [The 12-min. translation was performed under SM thruster control and used 4.7 kg of propellant. The propellant consumption is consistent with previous maneuvers.]
Today's CEO (crew earth observation) targets, limited in the current XPOP attitude by flight rule constraints on the use of the Lab nadir/science window, and including the targets of the Lewis & Clark 200-year memorial locations, were Industrialized SE Africa (good pass along the Great Escarpment of SE Africa: views left of the plateau; views right of the coastal plain; nadir views of the Drakensberg Mountain chain, with the highest point in southern Africa. Air quality differences should be visible in these three regions), Patagonian Glaciers (southernmost part of the south ice field should be clear), Peru - Machu Picchu (oblique view slightly right), Macau, China (oblique left), Xianggang (Hong Kong), China (oblique left), Alexandria, Egypt (nadir and a touch left), Nile River Delta (good pass for a near oblique of land use in the delta, to compare with good prior images. Suggested a detailed swath of overlapping views from edge to edge), Tel Aviv, Israel (broad views right of track), and Madrid, Spain (nadir pass). CEO images can be viewed at the websites
See also the website "Space Station Challenge" at http://voyager.cet.edu/iss/