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12-11-2009
December 11, 2009
ISS On-Orbit Status 12/11/09

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below.

FE Suraev started out with the regular daily checkup of the aerosol filters at the Elektron O2 generator, 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.]

CDR Williams continued his current week-long session of the experiment SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight), logging data from his Actiwatch 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.]

CDR Williams terminated his fourth session with the NUTRITION w/Repository experiment with the blood draw rescheduled from 12/7 due to an anomaly.  Maxim Suraev stood by to assist with the phlebotomy from an arm vein as required.  Later, Williams set up the equipment for his 24-hour urine collections of the NUTRITION protocol which begin tomorrow. [After the phlebotomy, Jeff’s blood samples were first allowed to coagulate in the Repository for 20-30 minutes, then spun in the HRF RC (Human Research Facility/Refrigerated Centrifuge) and finally placed in MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS). No thruster activity was allowed during the blood drawing. The RC was later powered off after a temperature reset to limit wear on the compressor, and cleaned.  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.].

The Russian Flight Engineer concluded the checkout of the KRIOGEM-03 thermostatic container in the DC1 (Docking Compartment, panel 403).    [After using the IVA-6A thermohygrometer for a final verification of the KRIOGEM’s temperature set to -10 degC last night, Suraev turned the device off, removed it and stowed it.]

As part of the Russian education program OBR-3 (Obrazovanie -3, Education 3), Maxim completed Stage 2 of the fifth onboard run of the Russian SSTV (Slow Scan TV) equipment for the MAI-75 experiment, today first setting up the hardware with the RSK-2 laptop and JPG photos with Earth views for transmittal, then contacting Star City’s GCTC (Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center) ham group radio station RK3DZB (“Roman Konstantin 3 Dimitry Zinaida Boris”), leading off with a conference with Star City schoolchildren on the voice loop and then transmitting the imagery.  The station’s onboard ham radio station is RS0ISS (“Roman Sergey 0 Ivan Sergey Sergey”).     [MAI-75 is essentially a ham radio set-up with Kenwood TM D700 Transceiver and Kenwood VS-N1 (Visual Communicator) gear for downlinking photographic images of the overflown terrain to ground stations, including one at MAI (Moscow Aviation Institute), Kursk, Star City and others. Later in the day, the radio session was terminated and the equipment closed out.  This concluded the second of two back-to-back sessions started 12/9.  The payload is named after the renowned MAI whose reputation is based on the large number of famous aviators and rocket scientists that received their academic education here. Among the alumni are Academicians and Corresponding Members of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Over 100 General and Chief Designers earned their degree at MAI, with famous rocket scientists like Makeyev, Mishin, Nadiradze and Yangel. MAI also fostered 20 Pilot-Cosmonauts, almost 100 famous test pilots, Heroes of the Soviet Union and Russia. The amateur radio (ham) equipment aboard the ISS for downlinking SSTV imagery is a MAI product.]

Williams worked with ground personnel on the reload activities for the Exp-21 OpsLAN transition to T61p laptops, focusing on reloading the A31p FS (File Server), configuring two T61p laptops as ISS Servers and reloading all A31p SSC (Station Support Computer) Clients.  The work is expected to be complete this evening.    [The activities will take a total of about 18 hrs, involving 2.5 hrs crew time & 15.5 hrs ground time (subject to Ku-band coverage). The plan is to transition SSC laptops in stages, resulting in a “mixed fleet” configuration of A31p and T61p platforms for at least 1 year, after which all laptops will be T61p’s.  Jeff’s support today consisted of backing up data on the A31p FS, reloading the A31p FS and power on the two T61p ISS Server 1 & 2, plus cleanup.]

The CDR conducted the periodic inspection of PEPS (Portable Emergency Provisions) on board, checking PFEs (Portable Fire Extinguishers, PBAs (Portable Breathing Apparatus) and EHTKs (Extension Hose Tee Kits).  No audit or QDMA (Quick-Don Mask Assembly) harness inspections were required today. [PFEs: 2 in Node-1, 1 in A/L, 2 in Lab,1 in Node-2, 2 in JPM, 2 in COL.  PBA O2 Bottles: 1 in Node-1, 2 in A/L, 2 in Lab, 2 in Node-2, 2 in JPM, 2 in COL. QDMAs: 1 in Node-1, 5 in A/L, 2 in Lab, 2 in Node-2, 2 in JPM, 2 in COL. EHTKs: 1 in Node-1, 2 in Lab, 2 in Node-2.]

Williams inspected an ESA ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle) spare duct smoke detector (#D0095) in the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), including its mounting clamp.    [As part of the next COL OSS (Optical Smoke Sensor) 2 inspection & cleaning activity, the unit’s mounting clamp will be removed & replaced.  The selected spare mounting clamp is the one currently used on the D0095 detector.].

Jeff also conducted the daily status check of the APEX (Advanced Plant Experiments on Orbit) hardware, checking for health and color of the plants, since the Cambium plants are removed from the ABRS (Advanced Biological Research System), necessitating henceforth a daily status check & weekly photo session).     [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 provides NASA & the ISS community a permanent controlled environment capability to support growth of various organisms (i.e. whole plants).]

After yesterday’s equipment preparation, Max Suraev performed a 2-hr maintenance job on the #1 loop (KOB-1) of the Russian SOTR Thermal Control System, checking free gas cavity volumes of the PDVK refill panel and compensator, then refilling the loop with coolant.  Afterwards, cavity volumes were re-measured and pressures checked for leak tightness at various valve settings.    [The two KOB thermal loops of the SOTR control the removal of metabolic heat and heat emitted by working equipment; they also establish specific temperature conditions for the cabin atmosphere. The excess heat is passed from the coolant through liquid-liquid heat exchangers (ZhZhT) into the active external thermal control system (KOKh) for subsequent radiation into open space. Each loop contains 118 liters of "Triol" coolant fluid, i.e., water with a 30 percent solution of glycerin (to lower the freezing point to 7 degC) plus biocide and UV-light-sensitive additives to aid in leak detection. One liter of Triol, which is nontoxic and poses no hazard to the crew, can absorb about 14 cubic cm of air. Each of the two KOB loops is served by two nominally redundant pump panels (SPN), each equipped with two redundant replaceable electric micropumps (ENA).]

The FE downloaded data files from the BU (Control Unit) of the running BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("Plants-2") experiment in the SM (Service Module) for archiving on a PCMCIA memory card and downlinked NIKON D2X photographs of the growing plants in the LADA greenhouse.  [Rasteniya-2 researches growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in the LADA-16 greenhouse from IBMP (Institute of Bio-Medical Problems, Russian: IMBP), currently planted with Mizuna seeds. Mizuna (Brassica rapa nipposinica) is a tasty variety of Japanese mustard greens, also known as California Peppergrass, eaten as a salad.]

The CDR performed the periodic inspection of the WPA (Water Processing Assembly) waste water flex hose and QD (quick disconnection) connectors between the WPA WW ORU (Waste Water Orbit Replaceable Unit) and the Pump/Separator ORU.    [Jeff reported no anomalies and stated that the QD was clean.  Photos of the flex hose and QD will be downlinked today for further assessment by the ground team.  As part of the ongoing WPA low MLS (Mostly Liquid Separator) inlet pressure investigation, there appears to be a potential obstruction in the WPA line between the WW Tank ORU and the MLS within the Pump/Sep ORU.  Today’s inspection was the first step in identifying and clearing possible sources of that obstruction.]

Suraev completed the routine daily servicing of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS) in the SM.  [This includes 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.]

Working off the Russian discretionary task list, Maxim also 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),

In Node-1, Williams used the already installed 5-ft ISA VAJ (Internal Sampling Adapter / Vacuum Access Jumper) with a calibrated ISA Scopemeter pressure probe at the PMA-3 (Pressurized Mating Adapter 3) for taking a final leak check, then tore down and stowed the setup (the latter as as a voluntary item from his “job jar” task list for today).     [Further leak checks are not required.  The data from Jeff’s previous leak checks have confirmed that the bulkhead feedthroughs are holding pressure well enough that the more stringent “bell jar” leak tests are not required.  Today’s reading at the current solar Beta value (i.e., thermal condition) was one last data point.]

At ~3:10am, the crew held the regular (nominally weekly) tagup with the Russian Flight Control Team (GOGU), including Shift Flight Director (SRP), at TsUP via S-band/audio, phone-patched from Houston and Moscow.

At ~7:25am, Max linked up with TsUP stowage specialists via S-band to conduct the weekly IMS tagup, discussing inventory & stowage issues, equipment locations and cargo transfers. [Topics today included 3 hardware items reportedly stowed in the Progress ship.]

At ~11:30am, Jeff had his periodic IMS stowage conference with stowage specialists at MCC-Houston.

At ~11:55am, the FE downlinked the remaining Rusalka video footage which he had recorded for the "Live on ISS" program for the Russian TVTs channel.    [“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.”]

At ~2:10pm, Williams & Suraev will conduct their regular weekly tagup with the Lead Flight Director at JSC/MCC-H via S-band/audio. [S/G-2 (Space-to-Ground 2) phone patch via SSC (Station Support Computer).]

At ~2:45pm, the crew is scheduled for their weekly teleconference with ISS Program Management at JSC/Houston via S-band/audio.

Jeff & Max performed their regular 2-hr physical exercise on the ARED advanced resistive exerciser (CDR, FE) and T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (CDR, FE).

Later, the CDR 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).

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Ganges Plains Aerosol, India (looking half left for oblique views of predicted smog haze in the Ganges valley [visibility on 12/10 in Delhi was1.4 miles!].  Altitude of the smog upper surface should have been easily documented against the backdrop of the Himalayan Mountain wall.  The crew was asked to include the limb in some shots), Male, Maldives (looking left for Malé), Djibouti, Djibouti (looking just right on the coastline.  Djibouti lies on a major inlet off the Gulf of Aden), South Tibesti Megafans, Chad (looking left, the apparently featureless country between track and the black mass of the Tibesti Mountains is very interesting as Mars-analog territory:  ancient rivers flowed off the mountains leaving a subtle tracery of now defunct channels.  The channels have since been partly “overprinted” by strong easterly winds [during the geologically recent arid Saharan climate].  This is a likely sequence of events recognized on Mars.  Overlapping 400 mm images, taken over 60 seconds, may even allow stereoscopic viewing), Havana, Cuba (looking right on the north coast of Cuba), and Kingston, Jamaica (looking just right, on the south coast of Jamaica, on a major bay).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 8:32am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 340.4 km
Apogee height – 345.8 km
Perigee height – 335.1 km
Period -- 91.34 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.000798
Solar Beta Angle -- -43.8 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.76
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 69 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 63390

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
12/20/09 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S launch -- O. Kotov/S. Noguchi/T.J. Creamer – 4:52pm
12/22/09 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S docking @ FGB nadir  -- 5:58pm
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)
05/15/10 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S undock/landing
05/29/10 -- Progress M-04M/36P undock
05/30/10 -- Soyuz TMA-19/23S launch
06/xx/10 – Russian EVA-25
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
09/15/10 -- Soyuz TMA-18/22S undock/landing
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/xx/10 -- Russian EVA-26
10/26/10 -- Progress M-07M/39P undock
10/27/10 -- Progress M-09M/41P launch
10/29/10 -- Progress M-09M/41P docking
11/15/10 -- Soyuz TMA-19/23S undock/landing
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