Text Size

12-13-2009
December 13, 2009
ISS On-Orbit Status 12/13/09

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Sunday – crew rest day. Ahead: Week 3 of Increment 22.

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.]

Williams terminated his fourth collection session with the NUTRITION w/Repository experiment, after 24 hours of collecting & sample placing in MELFI (Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS). This closed out the session, and the hardware was stowed. [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.]

Jeff also 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.]

FE Suraev performed the routine daily servicing of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS) in the SM (Service Module), including the weekly collection of the toilet flush (SP) counter and water supply (SVO) readings for calldown to TsUP-Moscow. [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.]

Additionally, Maxim (Maksim) checked the Russian POTOK-150MK (150 micron) air filter unit of the SM’s SOGS air revitalization subsystem, gathering weekly data on total operating time & “On” durations for reporting to TsUP.

Jeff conducted the daily status check of the APEX (Advanced Plant Experiments on Orbit) hardware, looking 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).]

Williams then performed the periodic status check on the MERLIN (Microgravity Experiment Research Locker Incubator) Galley fridge, replacing its two desiccants after a 24-hr bake-out of the unit commanded from the ground, to help prevent moisture getting into the sensors. [MERLIN is used for cold storage of crew food and drink.]

Working off the Russian discretionary task list, FE Suraev spent his free time on –
  • Performing the regular status check of the running BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("Plants-2") experiment in the SM [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.],
  • Completing another session for Russia's EKON Environmental Safety Agency, making observations and taking KPT-3 aerial photography of environmental conditions on Earth using the Nikon D3X,
  • Conducting a photography session for the DZZ-13 “Seiner” ocean observation program, using an HDV (high-definition video) camcorder at a specific time to record bio-luminescent glow of high production zones in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. [The glow can be observed as light spots having a weak greenish tint. It is mandatory for Maxim to record his voice commentary while filming, giving information on the exact time when bioluminescence is detected, glow variations depending on cloud pattern, and his recommendations as to what procedure to use for observation.] and
  • Tightening the ZVB quick-release screw clamps on the docking mechanism between SM AO Assembly Compartment and Soyuz TMA-16/20S.

Jeff Williams’ “job jar” list of voluntary tasks due today had the periodic USOS (US Orbital Segment) hatch seal inspection. [This is regularly performed with a vacuum cleaner/brush plus other tools on the hatches at Node-1 Forward, Aft & Starboard, Node 2 (Aft, Starboard, Port & Forward), Lab Aft & Forward, Airlock (intravehicular hatch), COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory, Port), JPM (JEM Pressurized Module, Starboard & Zenith), and JLP (JEM Logistics Pressurized Segment, Nadir).]

At ~10:15am EST, the FE downlinked another segment of Rusalka video footage as part of his (now regular) "Live on ISS" program for the Russian Channel TVTs, via US assets (S-band & Ku-band). [“Hello everybody from ISS! Here are “News from zero-g environment” and me, Maxim Suraev!” (Simulating “Rusalka” (“Mermaid”) experiment with demonstration of the equipment engaged, showing equipment, how they set it up and the way data passes). “I’ve been tuning Rusalka facilities solar calibration. This week we have an opportunity for equipment calibration: We had a fully insolated orbit up here, on ISS, i.e. when the Station goes beyond Earth’s shadow. As a result, the Sun was right in front of the starboard cabin so I’ve been calibrating the equipment carefully, with no rush, in the cabin. Calibration data with the Sun used as reference source will help ground specialists to retrieve actual spectra of CO2 (carbon dioxide) and CH4 (methane) worked out through previous experiments conducted together by Roman and me. Speaking about any conclusions regarding the agent catalyzing CO2 and CH4 atmospheric level, I can say that Rusalka equipment was delivered to ISS exactly to serve that purpose – to get down to it. This new generation equipment is very sensitive, and we are at the very beginning of our work. Cosmonauts are tasked to take measurements per uplinked schedule, and as for the scientists, they should analyze all the data expertly.”]

At ~2:10pm, the crew is scheduled for the (normally weekly) teleconference with ISS Program Management at JSC/Houston via Ku-band/video & S-band/audio.

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

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

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 7:45am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 340.3 km
Apogee height – 345.6 km
Perigee height – 335.0 km
Period -- 91.34 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0007872
Solar Beta Angle -- -34.0 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.76
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 56 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) – 63,421

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 at FGB nadir -- 5:55pm (flight duration: 2d 1h 03min)
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