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12-06-2009
December 06, 2009
ISS On-Orbit Status 12/06/09

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Sunday – crew rest day. Ahead: Week 2 of Increment 22.

CDR Williams terminated his third urine collection session with the NUTRITION w/Repository experiment, after 24 hours of collecting & sample placing in MELFI (Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS). Later Williams broke out and set up the NUTRITION hardware for his blood draw, scheduled tomorrow. Suraev will assist with the phlebotomy from an arm vein. [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.]

Williams supported 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.]

Jeff also completed 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. A total of 121 RST runs are assigned to Jeff for the duration of his orbital stay.]

With the U.S. CDRA (Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly) deactivated by the ground last evening (~2:30pm-7:30pm) after the conclusion of Williams’ SPHERES VolSci (Voluntary Weekend Science) session, Jeff today demated and took down the ITCS LTL (Internal Thermal Control System/Low Temperature Loop) jumper at the CDRA-supporting LAB1D6 rack. [With ppCO2 (Carbon Dioxide partial pressure) remaining below 2.5 mmHg and Vozdukh back up running, CDRA is not required.]

The FE 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.]

The Russian Elektron O2 generator was reactivated by ground commanding, with Suraev monitoring the external temperature of its secondary purification unit (BD) for the first 10 minutes of operations to ensure that there was no overheating. Elektron (and for a while also Vozdukh) had been turned off due to the higher-than-usual temperatures inside the SM (Service Module) during the recent extremely high Beta-angle period. [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 BITS & VD-SU were off.]

Maxim also did the regular daily checkup of the aerosol filters at the Elektron, installed by him 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). [Photographs are to be taken if the filter packing is discolored.]

After yesterday’s SPHERES activities, Jeff today removed the video tapes in the two VDS VTRs (Video Distribution Subsystem / Video Tape Recorders) and replaced them with fresh ones. The old recordings were labeled and stowed in Node-2 for eventual return.

It was time again for the Russian Flight Engineer for recharging the Motorola Iridium-9505A satellite phone located in Soyuz TMA-16/20S (at SM aft), a monthly routine job and Maxim’s third time. [After retrieving it from its location in the spacecraft Descent Modules (BO), Maxim initiated the recharge of the lithium-ion battery, monitoring the process every 10-15 minutes as it took place. Upon completion, the phone was returned inside its SSSP Iridium kits and stowed back in the BO’s ODF (operational data files) container. The satphone accompanies returning ISS crews on Soyuz reentry & landing for contingency communications with SAR (Search-and-Rescue) personnel after touchdown (e.g., after an “undershoot” ballistic reentry, as happened during the 15S return). The Russian-developed procedure for the monthly recharging has been approved jointly by safety officials. During the procedure, the phone is left in its fire-protective fluoroplastic bag with open flap. The Iridium 9505A satphone uses the Iridium constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites to relay the landed Soyuz capsule's GPS (Global Positioning System) coordinates to helicopter-borne recovery crews. The older Iridium-9505 phones were first put onboard Soyuz in August 2003. The newer 9505A phone, currently in use, delivers 30 hours of standby time and three hours of talk, up from 20 and two hours, respectively, on the older units.]

Maxim also downlinked the recorded "Live on ISS" video tour for the Russian TVTs channel, which he had prepared in the last 2-3 days as part of his discretionary task list. The downlink was via US assets (Ku-band) from a SONY HVR-Z1JU camcorder. [Narration (example): “Hello, everyone. This is Maxim Suraev with news from zero gravity from the International Space Station. Today I will talk about what we are breathing here and how we get air in space. It is obvious that vacuum does not contain air. Air is brought to the station on cargo vehicles (showing air ducts, filters, ventilation system, function principles). The station does not have any odor. Powerful ventilation system and numerous filters are doing a good job. Yes, of course, there are exceptions. For example, my colleague exercising on a treadmill (Jeff on a treadmill). In zero gravity the sense of smell becomes very acute, and the arrival of the cargo vehicle becomes almost a ritual. We all assemble near the hatch before it opens, (showing Progress and hatches) to enjoy the air delivered from Earth. This week, again, I have been collecting data on greenhouse gases in atmosphere. This is the experiment with a beautiful name, Rusalka (Mermaid), (showing equipment, how it is set up, where data goes). On December 3, I recalibrated Rusalka hardware using the sun. This week was very suitable for hardware calibration. The station was in “Solar Orbit”, this is when the station is not in the Earth’s shadow. As a result, the sun is practically peeking into the starboard crew quarter, and since I am all alone in the Russian Segment, I took my time to perform hardware calibration in a very thorough way in the crew quarter where Roman Romanenko lived just few days ago. Calibration data will be helpful on the ground to recover (based on a reference source, i.e., the Sun) actual spectra of carbon dioxide and methane obtained in the earlier studies, which Roman and I performed together. As far as any conclusions are concerned regarding the growing levels of carbon dioxide and methane in atmosphere, that’s the reason we have Rusalka hardware delivered to the ISS, to get to the bottom of this issue. This is new-generation hardware, it is very sensitive, and we are only at the beginning of our journey on this subject. Our objective is to perform all the measurements per developed plan, and the scientists will have to study our results very thoroughly.”]

The crew had their weekly PFCs (Private Family Conferences), via S-band/audio and Ku-band/MS-NetMeeting application (which displays the uplinked ground video on an SSC laptop), Maxim at ~6:00am, Jeff at ~2:45pm EST.

Williams & Suraev also performed their regular 2-hr physical exercise on the ARED advanced resistive exerciser (CDR), T2 advanced treadmill (CDR, FE) and VELO ergometer bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE).

TVIS Update: IFM (Inflight Maintenance) of the TVIS treadmill, scheduled for 12/16, will include Gyro Wire Rope & Blue Bumper R&R (removal & replacement), R&R of 4 loose Clamp Rope fasteners, vacuuming ventilation screens on avionic units, and replacing EB battery. Crew Time estimate is 4:45 minutes for both crewmembers for all tasks. Flywheel R&R is not included.

TVIS Agreement: NASA and Moscow have agreed on Russian use of the TVIS for the time period from 12/1/09 through 12/31/11. [Among many specifics, the agreement calls for NASA to provide spares, sustaining engineering expertise on the ground plus training for all Russian crewmembers and one USOS crewmember as a backup per Increment. It does not include upmass/shipping, stowage or on-orbit crew time. Also, no warranties or guarantees are associated with TVIS condition.]

WRM Update: A new WRM (Water Recovery Management) “cue card” was uplinked to the crew for their reference, updated with their latest CWC (Collapsible Water Container) water audit. [The new card (22-0003A) lists 89 CWCs (~2,213.3 L total) for the five types of water now identified on board: 1. technical water (20 CWCs with 768.1 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 69.7 L in 3 bags for flushing only, 175.7 L in 5 bags containing Wautersia bacteria, 134.2 L in 3 clean bags for contingency use, 388.5 L in 9 bags still requiring sample analysis, 2. potable water (9 CWCs with 366.7 L, of which 66.6 L in 2 bags require sample analysis & 129.3 L in 3 bags are good for contingency use, 3. iodinated water (55 CWCs with 1000.8 L), 4. condensate water (1 CWC with ~31.8 L, 2 empty CWCs), and 5. waste/EMU dump and other (2 CWCs with 45.9 L). Wautersia bacteria are typical water-borne microorganisms that have been seen previously in ISS water sources. These isolates pose no threat to human health.]

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

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 10:51am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 340.8 km
Apogee height – 346.0 km
Perigee height – 335.7 km
Period -- 91.35 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- -51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0007662
Solar Beta Angle -- -68.6 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.76
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 51 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 63312

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
12/07/09 -- MRM2 PAO (Propulsion/Service Module) jettison for destructive reentry – 7:16pm
12/20/09 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S launch -- O. Kotov/S. Noguchi/T.J. Creamer – 3:51pm
12/22/09 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S docking @ FGB nadir -- 4:58pm
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
02/05/10 -- Progress M-04M/36P docking
02/07/10 -- STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 “Tranquility”+Cupola (target date)
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
05/29/10 -- 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