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11-25-2009
November 25, 2009
ISS On-Orbit Status 11/25/09

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Flight Day 10 of STS-129/ULF3.

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

ISS and STS-129/Atlantis are flying in separate orbits again. [After hatch closure yesterday at 1:12pm EST, Atlantis undocked this morning at 4:53am from PMA-2 (Pressurized Mating Adapter 2). After separation, PLT Barry Wilmore completed a 270-deg station flyaround, and the Orbiter crew obtained photo/video imagery of the ISS. Final sep burn was at 6:36am, posigrade. Landing at KSC is expected on Friday (11/27) at ~9:47am. For Nicole Stott, this will conclude a 91d 9h 48m stay in space.]

For the ISS crew, now reduced to five persons, a role change has taken place after Shuttle hatch closure. With Expedition 21 ending and Expedition 22 beginning, the Soyuz TMA-15/19S crew of Romanenko, De Winne & Thirsk has become the non-prime crew, slated to depart on 11/30, and the Soyuz TMA-16/20S crew of Suraev & Williams are now prime, with Jeff Williams having taken over the role of ISS CDR from Frank De Winne. The crew has conducted their commensurate briefing on prime/non-prime emergency procedures, and the appropriate emergency procedure books have been transferred to their respective Soyuz vehicles. With this, Expedition 22 is off to a great start!

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-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-1 Suraev verified proper operation of the running Russian TEKh-15/DAKON-M IZGIB (“Bend”) experiment in the SM (Service Module) for taking structural dynamics data during the Shuttle undocking. Afterwards, Maxim downlinked the measurement data to the ground. [IZGIB has the objective to help update mathematical models of the ISS gravitation environment, using accelerometers of the Russian SBI Onboard Measurement System, the GIVUS high-accuracy angular rate vector gyrometer of the SUDN Motion Control & Navigation System and other accelerometers for unattended measurement of micro-accelerations at science hardware accommodation locations - (1) in operation of onboard equipment having rotating parts (gyrodynes, fans), (2) when establishing and keeping various ISS attitude modes, and (3) when performing crew egresses into space and physical exercises.]

FE-4 Thirsk made sure that the protective shutters of the Lab and Kibo science windows were closed for the undocking.

Before & during the Orbiter undocking, CDR Williams stood by at the Cupola RWS (Robotics Workstation) A31p laptop with a stopwatch to monitor the proper performance of automatic undocking software for the PMA-2 departure under Russian thruster attitude control. Later, Frank powered down the laptop. [The procedure provides for the crewmember to take over the automatic operational attitude control sequence manually if the software does not resume control after the period of free drift a few minutes after physical separation. Free drift is employed to prevent a conflict between the control systems of the two vehicles (ISS & Shuttle) and to “limp” (unload) the docking mechanisms.]

Afterwards, Williams –
  • Detached & removed the temporary ventilation air duct in Node-2, and
  • Used the NIKON digital camera and PD-100 camcorder to document the undocking, backing away & separation of the Atlantis.

After the undocking, Frank De Winne depressurized the PMA-2 to prevent humidity condensation and pressure fluctuations. Leak checking followed for the standard one hour. Afterwards, the necessary testing equipment was torn down.

De Winne restored the RS/USOS communication system to its nominal post-undocking setup and deconfigured the BPSMU (Battery Powered Speaker Microphone Unit) and its long twin drag-through cables, used during the docked phase, stowing the equipment.

Maxim Suraev completed a number of routine maintenance tasks, including –
  • Completing the periodic water sampling in the RS (Russian Segment) from the SM SVO-ZV Water Supply System and from the BRPM water distribution & heating unit into Russian drink bags,
  • Performing air sampling in the SM & FGB using the Russian AK-1M absorber,
  • Checking for CO (Carbon Monoxide) in the SM with the IPD Draeger tubes sampler, and
  • Conducting the periodic transfer of U.S. condensate water from CWC (Collapsible Water Container, #1081) to the RS for the periodic (about twice a month) replenishing of the Elektron’s water supply for electrolysis, filling the designated KOV EDV container. Once filled, the EDV was connected to the BPK transfer pump for processing through the BKO water purification (multifiltration) unit. [The 40-minute procedure is specially designed to prevent air bubbles larger than ~10 mm from getting into the BZh Liquid Unit where they could cause Elektron shutdown. BKO contains five purification columns to rid the condensate of dissolved mineral and organic impurities. It has a service lifetime of ~450 liters throughput. The water needs to be purified for proper electrolysis in the Elektron O2 generator.]

Suraev also did 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.]

Romanenko meanwhile –
  • Performed 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),
  • Conducted the periodic checkout & performance verification of IP-1 airflow sensors in the various RS 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], and
  • Completed 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].

FE-3 conducted his eleventh 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.]

With the Italian MDS (Mice Drawer System) now returning to Earth aboard the Atlantis, Bob Thirsk disassembled the MDS PGD (Portable Glovebox), after setting up the video camcorder equipment to document the activities.

De Winne relocated the PBA (Portable Breathing Apparatus, #1019) with attached QDM (Quick-Don Mask) from the A/L (Airlock) to COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), now no longer needed to support the ULF3 EVAs.

FE-4 performed the periodic status & screen check on the running payload CGBA-5 (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus), located in the ER-2 (EXPRESS Rack 2).

Continuing his support of the new APEX-C (Advanced Plant Experiments on Orbit-Cambium) payload, Jeff Williams used a syringe to inject water in the ERC-2 (Environmental Research Chamber 2), - 5 mL for each of the 18 plants. On ERC-1 of the ABRS (Advanced Biological Research System), Jeff cleared an internal cooling loop air bubble. [When completed, the APEX-Cambium payload in conjunction with the NASA-sponsored TAGES will determine the role of gravity in Cambium wood cell development (providing the pulp & paper and construction industries insight into the fundamental mechanisms of wood cell formation) and demonstrate non-destructive reporter gene technology & investigate spaceflight plant stress. APEX-Cambium will provide NASA & the ISS community a permanent controlled environment capability to support growth of various organisms (i.e. whole plants). Also, as a result of the TAGES experiment GFP (Green Florescent Protein) imager development, ISS partners will benefit from a modern biological analysis capability that can provide real time non-destructive gene expression data which can ultimately optimize ISS microgravity biological experimentation and greatly reduce required specimen downmass.]

Roman, Bob & Frank again had an hour each 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.]

Immediately before his bedtime, Bob Thirsk will take an eye test with the PanOptic experiment, which requires application of eye drops causing eye dilation for subsequent ophthalmic examination performed by Jeff Williams as CMO (Crew Medical Officer). [The procedure, guided by laptop software, captures still & video images of the eye, including the posterior poles, macula & optic disc with the optic nerve, for downlink and expert analysis.]

The crew performed their regular 2-hr physical exercise on the TVIS treadmill (FE-1, FE-3/2x), ARED advanced resistive exerciser (CDR, FE-1, FE-4, FE-5), and T2 treadmill (CDR, FE-4, FE-5).

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).

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

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 5:39am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 341.8 km
Apogee height – 347.0 km
Perigee height – 336.6 km
Period -- 91.37 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.65 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0007766
Solar Beta Angle -- -42.8 deg (magnitude peaking)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.76
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 63135

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
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 (~6:30am EST)
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 (~1:30pm EST)
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 (~2:00pm EST)
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) (~7:30am EST)
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, PMM) (~12:01pm EST)
09/18/10 -- STS-133/Discovery (ULF5 – ELC4, PMM) docking
09/22/10 -- STS-133/Discovery (ULF5 – ELC4, PMM) 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