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November 24, 2009
ISS On-Orbit Status 11/24/09

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Flight Day 9 of STS-129/ULF3. Nicole “has left the house”. After hatch closure (1:12pm EST), five station occupants remain (Frank, Maxim, Roman, Bob & Jeff).

ISS crew sleep cycle: Wake 2:00am; Sleep 5:30pm EST (returning tomorrow to normal: 1:00am-4:30pm).

FE-1 Suraev 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-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.]

FE-2 Stott performed her third INTEGRATED IMMUNE liquid saliva collection (after the second one on 11/22), starting right after wake-up. CDR De Winne, FE-4 Thirsk & FE-5 Williams joined in the activity with their first collection. Saliva samples are taken every other day for the next six days, with the final one on the morning of the blood draw, and the samples are stored at ambient temperature. [Along with NUTRITION (Nutritional Status Assessment), 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 to the ground 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.]

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 a sleep shift.]

Suraev continued his outfitting work in the Poisk MRM2 (Mini Research Module 2, Russian: MIM-2, for Maliy Issledovatel’ny Modul-2), today troubleshooting a non-functioning ventilation fan (V2) by checking cable connectors for continuity and circuit resistances with the Elektronika MMTs-01 Multimeter tester on the BVP Amp Switch Panel.

Also in the MRM2, Maxim removed, repositioned & remounted a fan unit (52YuV2), then installed a light fixture (SSD 305).

In the SM (Service Module), FE-3 Romanenko collected KAV condensate water samples from the SRV-K2M Condensate Water Recovery System upstream of the FGS gas/liquid mixture filter/separator, a periodic check on the performance of the FGS.

After relocating the IFM MWA (Inflight Maintenance / Maintenance Work Area) from the Lab to Node-2, FE-4 Thirsk retrieved the prepacked failed OGS (Oxygen Generation System) Water ORU (Orbit Replaceable Unit) from its JLP (JEM Logistics Pressurized Segment) stowage location and worked several hours to remove its inlet screen/filter, which he then stowed on ULF3 for return to Earth. Mike Forman assisted as required. [The re-assembled Water ORU plus tools were secured at the MWA for additional future IFM work (pump ORU filter installation on 11/29).]

FE-5 Williams & MS1 Melvin packed payload samples from MELFI (Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS) in a DCB (Double Cold Bag) and two Icepac Belts for return on ULF-3, transferring the highly valuable samples to the Shuttle’s GLACIER (General Laboratory Active Cryogenic ISS Experiment Refrigerator). Transfers were completed at ~6:12 am. [Samples include frozen HRP blood vial bags, HRP urine bags, RadSilk egg cases, Lada VPU plant samples, SOLO & CARD science samples, and the three dead mice from the MDS (Mice Drawer System).]

More samples and Icepacs were later transferred by FE-4 Thirsk & CDR De Winne in two DCBs.

Nicole Stott had 4-5 hours blocked out to set up the video camcorder, reconfigure the Italian MDS for descent operations and transfer it to the Shuttle. [The MDS was powered off in the ER4 (EXPRESS Rack 4), transferred & installed in the Orbiter Middeck and immediately powered up again to "survival" operating mode. Two stowed Middeck Lockers then took the place of the MDS in the ER4.]

Nicole also doffed her SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) Actiwatch. It remains on ISS, and its data will be downlinked at the next SLEEP download/initialization activity.

Jeff Williams worked on the four new CSA-CP (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products) units (#1052, #1042, #1056, #1049) at their Kibo JPM location, performing zero calibration again after they had time for “offgassing” any contaminations.

In preparation for his return to gravity next week, Romanenko completed another preliminary (shortened) orthostatic hemodynamic endurance test session with the Russian Chibis suit 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 55-min session by ground specialist tagup via VHF at 5:32am. [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. The preparatory training generally consists of first imbibing 150-200 milliliters of water or juice, followed by one cycle of 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, while 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.]

Also in preparation for the return on Soyuz 19S on 11/30, Romanenko, De Winne & Thirsk joined in fit-checking & adjusting their Kentavr anti-G suits, supported by a PMC (Private Medical Conference) with ground specialists at ~4:18am. [The Kentavr (Centaur) garment is a protective anti-g suit ensemble to facilitate the return of a long-duration crewmember into the Earth gravity. Consisting of shorts, gaiters, underpants, jersey and socks, it acts as countermeasure for circulatory disturbance, prevents crewmembers from overloading during descent and increases orthostatic tolerance during post-flight adaptation. Russian crewmembers are also advised to ingest fluid-electrolyte additives, viz., three sodium chloride tablets during breakfast and after the midday meal, each time with 300 ml of fluid, and two pills during the meal aboard Soyuz before deorbit.]

With Frank assisting in A/L (Airlock) Avionics Rack rotation for access, Jeff Williams performed R&R (removal & replacement) of three BCMs (Battery Charger Modules, completing the activity at ~7:13am. Later, after the midday break, FE-5 checked out the BCMs for proper charging function, indicated by an LED (Light-emitting Diode). [The old BCM-3 & BCM-4 were removed and replaced with two new BCMs, delivered on ULF3; the BCM-4 module was then installed in the empty BCM-1 location.]

Frank De Winne worked with Charlie Hobaugh tearing down the equipment used to provide O2 (oxygen) from the Shuttle to the ISS for EVA prebreathe.

FE-3 completed the periodic checkout & performance verification of IP-1 airflow sensors in the various RS (Russian Segment) hatchways. [Skipping the Soyuz hatch to DC1, 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, PkhO-MRM2, FGB PGO–FGB GA, and FGB GA–Node-1.]

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.]

The FE-3 spent two more hours on preparing equipment slated for stowage on the Soyuz TMA-15/19S vehicle, based on an uplinked itemized list.

Roman again had an hour set aside for regular crew departure preparations, working on the standard end-of-increment cleanup preparatory to his return to Earth on 19S. [It is usual for crewmembers to be granted reduced workdays for making their departure preparations, as their return date approaches.]

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

Afterwards, Jeff 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).

After completing all transfer operations, at ~8:00am EST the Exp-21 & STS-129 crewmembers held the traditional Joint Crew News Conference with U.S. media at NASA centers, Russian media at TsUP-Moscow, Canadian media at CSA HQ in St. Hubert, Quebec, and reporters of Channel TF1 in Paris.

At ~8:40am, the 12 ISS/Shuttle occupants joined for the customary crew photo, followed at ~10:00am by the “Change of Command” ceremony, marking the transfer of the baton from Expedition 21 to Expedition 22, with Frank De Winne remaining in charge as ISS CDR.

The traditional Crew Farewell ceremony took place at ~12:30pm EST, with lots of hugs for the departing Nicole, followed by air duct removal and hatch closure (1:12pm), handled on the ISS side by De Winne, on the Orbiter side by Hobaugh & Bresnik. [Afterwards, with the Shuttle already controlling attitude of the mated stack with Orbiter ORB control, Mike & Randy initiated the standard one-hour leak check on the ODS (Orbiter Docking System).]

Afterwards, Suraev checked out the proper function of the Russian TEKh-15/DAKON-M IZGIB (“Bend”) experiment hardware in the SM to take structural dynamics data during the subsequent activities.

Reboost Update: This morning at ~5:07am EST, the Shuttle performed a nominal reboost for the Shuttle/ISS stack. Delta-V: 2.54 ft/sec (1.1 m/s); mean altitude increase: ~1 nm (1.5 km).

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

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
11/24-11/30 ---> five-member crew
11/25/09 -- STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 undock (FD10) – 4:57am
11/27/09 -- STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 land/KSC – 9:47am
11/30/09 – Soyuz TMA-15/19S undock – 10:53pm
12/01/09 -- Soyuz TMA-15/19S land – 2:16am (Kazakhstan: 1:16pm)
11/30-12/23 ---> 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