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11-30-2009
November 30, 2009
ISS On-Orbit Status 11/30/09

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Underway: Week 1 of Increment 22. Last day onboard for Romanenko, Thirsk and De Winne.

To accommodate tonight’s late Soyuz undocking (10:56pm EST), the crew today has two wake periods:
  • Wake 1: 2:30am – 11:00am
  • Wake 2: 3:00pm – 2:30am (12/1)
Tuesday, 12/1, will be sleep/rest all day for Suraev & Williams until 1:00am on Wednesday, 12/2, thus returning to normal schedule.

FE-1 Suraev did the regular daily early-morning check of the aerosol filters at the Russian Elektron O2 generator which Maxim 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-4 Thirsk supported (for the last time) the weekly U.S. “Bisphosphonates” biomedical countermeasures experiment, ingesting an Alendronate pill before breakfast. [The Bisphosphonates study should determine whether antiresorptive agents (that help reduce bone loss) in conjunction with the routine in-flight exercise program will protect ISS crewmembers from the regional decreases in bone mineral density documented on previous ISS missions. Two dosing regimens are being tested: (1) an oral dose of 70 mg of Alendronate taken weekly starting 3 weeks prior to flight and then throughout the flight and (2) an intravenous (IV) dose of 4 mg Zoledronic Acid, administered just once approximately 45 days before flight. The rationale for including both Alendronate and Zoledronic Acid is that two dosing options will maximize crew participation, increase the countermeasure options available to flight surgeons, increase scientific opportunities, and minimize the effects of operational and logistical constraints. The primary measurement objective is to obtain preflight and postflight QCT (Quantitative Computed Tomography) scans of the hip. The QCT scans will provide volumetric bone density information of both cortical and trabecular (spongy) bone regions of the hip.]

For the biomed experiment INTEGRATED IMMUNE (Validating Procedures for Monitoring Crew member Immune Function), Bob Thirsk, Jeff Williams & Frank De Winne performed their final Liquid Saliva collection, followed by the Blood Collection for all, assisting each other for the blood draws. The Saliva Return Pouches and Blood Sleeves were then stored at ambient temperature on the Soyuz for return to ground. [IMMUNE protocol requires the collection to occur first thing post-sleep, before eating, drinking and brushing teeth, and all samples are stored at ambient temperature. Along with NUTRITION (Nutritional Status Assessment), INTEGRATED IMMUNE 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.]

Suraev & Romanenko conducted the MO-22 Sanitary-Epidemiological Status check, part of the Russian MedOps program done usually before Soyuz departures. [To monitor for microflora, Maxim & Roman collected samples from surface areas of interior panels and hardware at various places in the SM (Service Module), and the FB, also from each other, using cotton swabs and special test tubes which were then stowed in 19S for return to the ground.]

The FE-1 transferred the contents of log file directories for the last 5 days from the Russian RS1 laptop to a USB stick and from there to OCA for downlink to TsUP-Moscow.

On the RSE2 laptop, Maxim installed a software update (Vers. 08.03) for the BVS Onboard Computer System, which was uplinked via the “Zveno” comm channel, and also burned a CD-RW disk with it for stowage.

Afterwards, Suraev performed the periodic update of the AntiVirus program in the Russian VKS auxiliary laptops (RSS2, RSK1, RSK2, RSE1, RSE2), which are not loaded from the ground, from a new uplinked program copy of Norton AV on the FS (File Server) laptop, first scanning the latter, then transferring the database by flash-card to the other computers and scanning them one by one.

Also in the SM, Suraev conducted periodic maintenance on the deactivated Russian IK0501 GA (Gas Analyzer) of the SOGS Pressure Control & Atmospheric Monitoring System behind panel 449 by replacing its CO2 filter assembly (BF) with a new unit from FGB stowage (done last: 10/19), then reactivating the unit for a calibration check with its IG-3 oxygen (O2) sensor unit, supported by tagup with ground specialists. [IK0501 is an automated system for measuring CO2, O2, and H2O in the air, as well as the flow rate of the gas being analyzed.]

Afterwards, CDR Williams activated the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) for ground-controlled payload operations.

FE-4 Thirsk checked and photographed the new Sample 7 of the BCAT-5 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-5) Crystal experiment in the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module). Afterwards, Bob had some time with Jeff to “hand over” the payload to the CDR.

Later, Bob serviced the CGBA-5/CSI-03R (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus 5/CGBA Science Insert 3R) habitat payload, deactivating & decabling the unit, feeding the next generation of butterfly larvae with nectar, and then recabling and reactivating it. [This had to be done with care since all butterflies are now in chrysalides, attached to the habitat wall, and expected to emerge in the coming week.]

In the A/L (Airlock), Thirsk cleaned the airduct smoke detector.

Also in the A/L, CDR Williams –
  • Terminated the maintenance charge/discharge cycle on the EVA batteries, then stowed them,
  • Inspected 3 BRTs (Body Restraint Tethers) for loose base mount screws, to allow manifesting new hardware if required [“All screws flush and tight”],
  • Checked all Safety and Waist Tethers plus D-ring Extenders for structural integrity, to allow manifesting new hardware if required. Early inspection allows manifesting of new hardware on next flight if required,
  • Restowed remaining tools and equipment used for the ULF3 EVAs, and
  • Terminated regeneration on METOX (Metal Oxide) canisters #0007 & 0011, started yesterday.

Frank De Winne started (later terminated) another 5-hr automatic sampling run, the 50th, with the EHS GC/DMS (Environmental Health System Gas Chromatograph/Differential Mobility Spectrometer), also known as AQM (Air Quality Monitor), controlled with “Sionex” expert software from the SSC-4 (Station Support Computer 4) laptop. [The AQM demonstrates COTS (Commercial Off-the-Shelf) technology for identifying volatile organic compounds, similar to the VOA (Volatile Organics Analyzer). Today’s data will again to be compared with VOA and GSC (Grab Sample Container) measurements. This evaluation will continue over the course of several months as it helps to eventually certify the GC/DMS as nominal CHeCS (Crew Health Care Systems) hardware.]

De Winne also completed the periodic (once monthly) reboot of all active US PCS (Portable Computer System) and COL PWS (Columbus Orbital Laboratory Portable Workstation) laptops and recorded the battery state-of-charge for each active PC. [A/L: 84%, LAB: 93%, CUP: 45%, JEM: 88%, COL: 86%.]

Afterwards, Frank retrieved & stowed the four passive FMK (Formaldehyde Monitoring Kit) sampling assemblies deployed by CDR Williams yesterday in the Lab (at P3, below CEVIS) and SM (at the most forward handrail, on panel 307), to catch any atmospheric formaldehyde on a collector substrate for subsequent analysis on the ground. [Two monitors each are usually attached side by side, preferably in an orientation with their faces perpendicular to the direction of air flow.]

Frank also closed the protective shutters of the Lab & JPM science windows.

In their second wake period, after their midday rest (11:00am-3:00pm), the crew will focus on the undocking & departure of Romanenko, Thirsk & De Winne in Soyuz TMA-15/19S.

Final payload transfers to the 19S SA (Descent Module) by Maxim & Roman will involve the science experiments BTKh-42 STRUKTURA, BTKh-43 KONSTANTA, and TKhN-9 KRISTALLIZATOR, in addition to a ~1h 45min time slot for transferring & stowing other cargo slated for return to Earth. At ~6:05pm EST, Romanenko will call down the customary “Soyuz Loading Complete” report via S-band.

Roman & Frank then enter the Descent Module to activate the spacecraft and perform the standard pre-undocking communications check, as Suraev in the SM configures the STTS comm system for undocking.

For the departure, FE-1 also will activate the DAKON-M hardware of the Russian experiment TEKh-15/IZGIB (“Bend”) for its proper function during the undocking. [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.]

With the JPM CQ (Crew Quarters) not required anymore after 19S departure, Jeff Williams demated the QDs (quick disconnects) of the hatch drag-through data cable and removed it.

Shortly before the undocking (9:56pm), Suraev will also power up the new “Istochnik-M” (“spring”, “source”) system for receiving telemetry from onboard the reentering TMA-13 spacecraft, allowing ISS-based (and relayed-to-the-ground) monitoring of the tri-module separation event. [The equipment, including Istochnik TM station, power amplifiers, power supply, USB software sticks and cables, was brought up on Progress 32P.]

Subsequent hatch closure will be preceded by the traditional Crew Farewell between the departing Exp-21 crewmembers and the Exp-22 station crew of Jeff Williams & Maxim Suraev. With the returning crewmembers all ingressed in the spacecraft, Romanenko & De Winne will then close the Soyuz and FGB nadir hatches (7:30pm-7:50pm), assisted by Maxim & Jeff in the FGB. The departing Soyuz crew then starts the standard one-hour leak check on the Soyuz-to-FGB vestibule.

After the departure, Suraev & Williams will complete a number of post-undocking tasks, such as –
  • Photographing the docking interface of the receding Soyuz to ensure clean separation from the docking port,
  • Reconfiguring the ISS STTS onboard communications links,
  • Downlinking all documentary photo/video of the undocking,
  • Switching the FGB GA-to-Soyuz PEV (Pressure Equalization Valve, Russian: KVD) manually to its Closed position, a standard post-undocking procedure,
  • Monitoring the Soyuz reentry with the Istochnik-M system, and
  • Restoring nominal comm config after the Soyuz landing.

At ~10:00am EST, Maxim had his periodic PMC (Private Medical Conferences), via S- & Ku-band audio/video.

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

Later, Jeff transferred the exercise data files to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) for downlink, including the daily wristband HRM data of the workouts on ARED, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).

19S Neptune Panel Anomaly: During their Descent Training on 11/27, the crew reported that the telemetry display on the Neptune panel in the Soyuz Descent Module remained blank but came back with nominal TM indications after a reboot (power down/up) of the panel. Prior to 19S launch, the Neptune panel also had a display problem, but it did not repeat during two separate on-orbit tests. If it re-occurs during the landing phase of flight, the crew is either to reboot the panel or to repeat any commands that fail to get accepted by the panel. 19S was cleared for return this morning by the IMMT (ISS Mission Management Team).

Soyuz TMA-15/19S Ground Team Support: Headed by the NASA coordinator for the 19S landing, Joel Montalbano, all fifteen (15) 19S Ground Support team members, including teams from CSA, ESA, and NASA, are stationed and ready in Kustanai/Kazakhstan for the landing operations (see below).

19S Descent Timeline Overview:
If everything proceeds nominally, the return to Earth of the TMA-15 spacecraft during Monday night will proceed along the following approximate event sequence (all times EST):
  • ISS attitude control handover to RS --- 9:00pm (11/30);
  • ISS in free drift for FGB hooks open --- 9:19pm;
  • ISS to free drift for undocking --- 10:52pm
  • Hooks Open command (DO15) --- 10:53pm;
  • Separation springs action/physical sep (delta-V ~0.12 m/sec) --- 10:56pm;
  • Separation burn #1 (15 sec, ~0.543 m/sec) --- 10:59pm;
  • ISS attitude control handover to US --- 23:51pm;
  • Deorbit Burn start (delta-V 115.2 m/sec) --- 1:25:28am (12/1);
  • Deorbit Burn complete --- 1:29:53am;
  • Tri-Module separation (140.0 km) --- 1:49:34am;
  • Atmospheric entry (101.9 km, with ~170 m/sec) --- 1:52:30am;
  • Max G-load (41.1 km alt) --- 1:58:07am;
  • Parachute deploy command (10.7 km alt) --- 2:00:55am;
  • 19S Landing (DO1) --- 2:16am EST; 10:16am Moscow DMT; 1:16pm local Kazakhstan;
  • Local Sunset --- 6:28am (5:28pm local).
[Note: Kustanai time = GMT+6h; = EST+11h. Moscow DMT = EST+8h.]

What the Soyuz TMA-15 crew will experience during their reentry/descent tonight:
  • For the reentry, Romanenko, Thirsk and De Winne will wear the Russian Kentavr anti-G suit. [The Kentavr 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 crewmember 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.]
  • Before descent:
    Special attention will be paid to the need for careful donning of the medical belt with sensors and securing tight contact between sensors and body.
    During preparation for descent, before atmosphere reentry, crewmembers settle down comfortably in the Kazbek couches, fasten the belts, securing tight contact between body and the seat liner in the couch.
  • During de-orbit:
    Dust particles starting to sink in the Descent Module (SA) cabin is the first indication of atmosphere reentry and beginning of G-load effect. From that time on, special attention is required as the loads increase rapidly.
    Under G-load effect during atmosphere reentry the crew expects the following experience:
    Sensation of G-load pressure on the body, burden in the body, labored breathing and speech. These are normal sensations, and the advice is to "take them coolly". In case of the feeling of a lump in the throat, this is no cause to "be nervous". This is frequent and should not be fought. Best is to "try not to swallow and talk at this moment". Crew should check vision and, if any disturbances occur, create additional tension of abdominal pressure and leg muscles (strain +abdomen by pulling in), in addition to the Kentavr anti-G suit.
    During deployment of pilot parachute (0.62 & 4.5 square meters), drogue chute (16 sq.m.) and main (518 sq.m.) chutes the impact accelerations will be perceived as a "strong snatch". No reason to become concerned about this but one should be prepared that during the parachutes deployment and change ("rehook") of prime parachute to symmetrical suspension, swinging and spinning motion of the SA occurs, which involves vestibular (middle ear) irritations.
  • It is important to tighten restrain system to fasten pelvis and pectoral arch.
    Vestibular irritation can occur in the form of different referred sensations such as vertigo, hyperhidrosis, postural illusions, general discomfort and nausea. To prevent vestibular irritation the crew should "limit head movement and eyes movement", as well as fix their sight on motionless objects.
  • Just before the landing (softened by six small rocket engines behind the heat shield):
    Crew will be prepared for the vehicle impact with the ground, with their bodies fixed along the surface of the seat liner in advance. "Special attention should be paid to arm fixation to avoid the elbow and hand squat" (instruction). Landing speed: ~9.9 m/sec.
  • After landing:
    Crew should not get up quickly from their seats to leave the SA. They were advised to stay in the couch for several minutes and only then stand up. In doing that, they should limit head and eyes movement and avoid excessive motions, proceeding slowly. They and their body should not take up earth gravity in the upright position too quickly.

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

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 9:03am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 341.2 km
Apogee height – 346.2 km
Perigee height – 336.2 km
Period -- 91.36 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.65 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0007429
Solar Beta Angle -- -65.9 deg (magnitude peaking)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.76
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 79 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 63217

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
11/30/09 – Soyuz TMA-15/19S undock – 10:56pm EST
12/01/09 -- Soyuz TMA-15/19S land – 2:16am (Kazakhstan: 1:16pm)
11/30-12/23 ---> two-member crew
12/07/09 -- Progress M-MRM2 (Poisk) PAO (Propulsion/Service Module) jettison – 7:16pm
12/21/09 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S launch -- O. Kotov/S. Noguchi/T.J. Creamer
12/23/09 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S (FGB nadir)
01/14/10 -- Russian EVA-24
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