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November 20, 2009
ISS On-Orbit Status 11/20/09

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Flight Day 5 of STS-129/ULF3. Today 11 years ago, FGB Zarya (Dawn) was launched, to become the first element of the ISS.

Crew sleep cycle: Wake 4:30am; Sleep 7:00pm EST.

FE-1 Suraev did the regular daily early-morning check of the aerosol filters at the Russian Elektron O2 generator which he 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-1 again inspects the filters tonight at bedtime, currently a daily requirement per plan, with photographs to be taken if the filter packing is discolored.]

CDR De Winne, FE-2 Stott, FE-4 Thirsk & FE-5 Williams continued the current week-long session of the experiment SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight), donning their Actiwatches, from which to log data to the HRF-1 (Human Research Facility 1) laptop. [To monitor the crewmembers’ sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, the crewmembers sometimes wear a special Actiwatch device which measures the light levels encountered by them as well as their patterns of sleep and activity throughout the Expedition and use the payload software for data logging and filling in questionnaire entries in the experiment’s laptop session file on the HRF-1 laptop. The log entries are done within 15 minutes of final awakening for seven consecutive days.]

FE-5 Williams started the day with another Reaction Self Test (Psychomotor Vigilance Self Test on the ISS) protocol. [The RST is performed twice daily (after wakeup & before bedtime) for 3 days prior to the sleep shift, the day(s) of the sleep shift and 5 days following the sleep shift.]

After wakeup, FE-2 Stott performed her fifth liquid saliva collection of the biomed experiment INTEGRATED IMMUNE, storing the samples at ambient temperature. [INTEGRATED IMMUNE (Validating Procedures for Monitoring Crew member Immune Function) samples & analyzes participant’s blood, urine, and saliva before, during and after flight for changes related to functions like bone metabolism, oxidative damage and immune function to develop and validate an immune monitoring strategy consistent with operational flight requirements and constraints. The strategy uses both long and short duration crewmembers as study subjects. The saliva is collected in two forms, dry and liquid. The dry samples are collected at intervals during the collection day using a specialized book that contains filter paper. The liquid saliva collections require that the crewmember soak a piece of cotton inside their mouth and place it in a salivette bag; there are four of the liquid collections during docked operations. The on-orbit blood samples are collected right before undocking and returned on the Shuttle so that analysis can occur with 48 hours of the sampling. This allows assays that quantify the function of different types of white blood cells and other active components of the immune system. Samples are secured in the MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS). Also included are entries in a fluid/medications intact log, and a stress-test questionnaire to be filled out by the subject at begin and end. Urine is collected during a 24-hour period, conventionally divided into two twelve-hour phases: morning-evening and evening-morning.]

Suraev terminated his third experiment session, started last night, for the long-term Russian sleep study MBI-12/SONOKARD, by taking the recording device from his SONOKARD sports shirt pocket and later copying the measurements to the RSE-MED laptop for subsequent downlink to the ground. [SONOKARD objectives are stated to (1) study the feasibility of obtaining the maximum of data through computer processing of records obtained overnight, (2) systematically record the crewmember’s physiological functions during sleep, (3) study the feasibility of obtaining real-time crew health data. Investigators believe that contactless acquisition of cardiorespiratory data over the night period could serve as a basis for developing efficient criteria for evaluating and predicting adaptive capability of human body in long-duration space flight.]

FE-3 Romanenko completed his fourth orthostatic hemodynamic endurance test session with the Russian Chibis suit in preparation for his return to gravity on 12/1 with Soyuz 19S (along with De Winne & Thirsk), conducting the MedOps MO-4 exercise protocol in the below-the-waist reduced-pressure device (ODNT, US: LBNP/Lower Body Negative Pressure) on the TVIS treadmill. With Suraev acting as CMO (Crew Medical Officer), Roman was supported in his one-hour session by ground specialist tagup via VHF at 8:44am-9:04am EST. [The Chibis 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 his long-term stay in zero-G. Data output includes blood pressure readings.]

Continuing the outfitting of the new MRM2 Poisk module, Suraev & Romanenko –
  • Installed BITS2-12 onboard telemetry measurement system cabling in MRM2 and mated TLM connectors (with Elektron, BITS & VD-SU mode off),
  • Installed an IP-1 flow meter on the MRM2-to-SM (Service Module) hatch,
  • 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.], and
  • Supported the ground-commanded activation of the Elektron oxygen generator by monitoring the external temperature of its secondary purification unit (BD) 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 overheating) is not included in the control algorithm until 10 minutes after Elektron startup. Elektron had to be turned off while BITS2-12 & VD-SU were off.]

Maxim & Roman also spent some time with Symbolika (symbolic activity) for Roskosmos, commemorating Expedition 22. [After removing envelopes with documents and letter envelopes from MRM2, all crewmembers signed the material. Maxim & Roman cancelled stamped envelopes with Russia’s Post postmark, packed the envelopes and stowed them in Soyuz TMA-15.]

FE-4 Thirsk transferred the newly arrived ABRS (Advanced Biology Research Facility) from the Atlantis to the ISS, a time-critical task since ABRS could not remain unpowered and unconnected to ISS MTL (Moderate Temperature Loop) cooling for more than 30 minutes.

FE-2 Stott took on the task of operating the Shuttle-delivered Spinal Elongation experiment, setting up the Spinal TAP (Tracking Anthropometric Posture Assembly) and other equipment assemblies on the Shuttle Commander’s seat and later collecting data from FE-5 Williams and the Shuttle crewmembers, assisted by MS3 Mike Forman as second operator.

CDR De Winne set up the equipment for his and Bob Thirsk’s 24-hour urine collections for the NASA/JSC experiment NUTRITION. [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.]

After temporarily moving the ARED exercise device in Node-1 on its platform into stowage position at the Node’s “ceiling” to create working room, FE-5 Williams & CDR De Winne continued outfitting Node-1 for the Alcove hardware modifications required for Node-3 “Tranquility”, routing cables and hoses from Node-1 Port to Node-1 Nadir, completing connections of Potable Water, ISL & 1553 data cabling, and installing IMV ducting, cables and hoses in the Node-1 Alcove. Afterwards, ARED was restored in its nominal operational position.

Thirsk meanwhile downloaded the ICV (Integrated Cardiovascular) data from Nicole’s recent session using a new ICV procedure to download data from all devices directly to the HRF (Human Research Facility) PC1.

Due to a misalignment of the T2/COLBERT treadmill, Bob also performed a procedure to realign the T2 to ensure that the rack remains isolated and continues to operate properly. T2 operations were suspended until this activity was successfully completed and photos were analyzed. COLBERT is now Go again.

With Bob operating the G1 video camera, Frank performed another ESA educational program, LES-2 on Capillarity, to be shown on ESA educational web pages. [The capillarity phenomenon can be often observed in nature and is connected to the property of liquids, for example water, of wetting solid surfaces. We observe this phenomenon in a piece of paper that absorbs water or when ground water rises along the walls of a house. The same phenomenon allows plants to absorb water from the ground. Due to capillarity a substance can draw a liquid into it when the intermolecular forces between the liquid and the substance are stronger than the intermolecular forces inside the liquid.]

After completing, earlier in the day, A/L EL (Airlock Equipment Lock) configuration for the second spacewalk tomorrow and conducting a joint review of EVA-2 timeline & procedures with all crewmembers tonight at ~3:25pm-4:25pm, the two spacewalkers, Mike Forman (EV1) & Randy Bresnik (EV2), began their “campout” in the “Quest” A/L, starting mask prebreathe with Nicole assisting, while configuring EVA tools, then closing hatches and initiating depressurization of the CL (Crewlock) from 14.7 to 10.2 psi. Sleep for them commenced at 7:30pm, for the ISS crew at ~7:00pm. [The overnight Campout (nachalo desaturatsiy = desaturation start) in the A/L CL (Crewlock) for denitrogenation/pre-breathe at 10.2 psi lasts about 8.5 hrs. Before, the two spacewalkers will perform PBA (Portable Breathing Apparatus) mask prebreathe for denitrogenation, while readying their tools & equipment, then depress the CL from 14.7 to 10.2 psi for their sleep period, to last until ~3:30am ES tomorrow. The CL hatch will then be cracked (i.e., temporarily repressurized) for a hygiene break/with mask prebreathe for Forman & Bresnik. Around 5:15am, the hatch will be closed again for EVA preps in 10.2 psi, followed by EMU purge (~6:45am) & prebreathe (~7:00am). Afterwards, Stott & Wilmore will support CL depressurization until egress.]

EVA-2, beginning tomorrow nominally at ~8:20am EST, will last an estimated 6h 30min, i.e., ending at 2:50pm.
---EVA-2 main objectives are:
  • Install GATOR (Grapple Adaptor To On-Orbit Railing),
  • Deploy S3 Zenith Inboard PAS (Payload Attachment System),
  • Relocate FPMU (Floating Potential Measurement Unit,
  • Install WETA (Wireless Video System External Transceiver Assembly), and
  • Cleanup & Ingress.

False Alarms Issue: False ISS depressurization alarms annunciated last night. It was verified that no leak occurred. The cause is under investigation. The false depressurization alarms caused the ISS ventilation system to shut down. This is believed to have allowed dust settling in COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory) to trigger a false fire alarm. All systems have been returned to nominal configuration. Shuttle did not receive the ISS alarms. The cause is under investigation.

WPA Update: The Water Processing Assembly produced about 8 Liters yesterday while running at a low rate (about 10 lbs/hr). The WPA speed is being increased incrementally.

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

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
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 -- Soyuz TMA-21/25S launch
12/15/10 -- Progress M-08M/40P undock
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