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December 17, 2009
ISS On-Orbit Status 12/17/09

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

Flight Engineer Suraev began the day with the regular daily checkup of the aerosol filters at the Elektron O2 generator. [The filters were 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.]

Commander Williams conducted another periodic manual filling of the U.S. WHC (Waste & Hygiene Compartment) flush water tank (EDV-SV), during which the WHC was unavailable for use.

The two crewmembers performed the mandatory one-hour OBT (onboard training) emergency egress practice for the case of rapid cabin depressurization, with Russian & US specialists standing by at both control centers for crew questions or comments, followed by a 10-min debrief with ground specialists. [Background: Purpose of the drill is to (a) familiarize the station residents with the location of hardware and the positions of valves used in emergency situations, (b) work through the Russian Segment (RS) hardware deactivation procedures, (c) practice crew emergency joint activities, and (d) identify crew comments and suggestions that arise during training regarding crew procedures and equipment. In the RS, the crew usually translates along the emergency egress paths to the SM aft port (where Soyuz 20S is currently docked), checking hardware such as the Sokol suits, cable cutters, fire extinguisher (OKR), gas masks (IPK), emergency procedures books, valve settings, hatch rubber seal & restraint integrity, etc. In the US Segment (USOS) the inspection usually focuses on fireports being unblocked in the Lab {21}, with other US modules to be checked by future crews), readiness of CSA-CP (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products), ISS leak kit, PBA (portable breathing assembly) and PFE (portable fire extinguisher), emergency procedures books, valve settings, integrity of hatch rubber seals, presence of hatch handrails, etc. The checks also include Node-2, COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), JLP (Japanese Experiment Module Experiment Logistics Module Pressurized Section) and Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module). The exercise was topped off by a debrief with the ground via S-band. During the session, the crew simulated executing the planned emergency procedures while moving about the station. For the case of an onboard fire and for emergency descent, there are other mandatory emergency drill OBTs.]

In the JAXA Kibo module, Williams set up and configured the SLT2 (System Laptop Terminal 2) computer for more troubleshooting (after a first round on 7/1). Jeff’s task will be to perform a file system check for a number of times (~5) over several days. [SLT2 experienced a communications loss with the JCP (JEM Control Processor) on 6/30 and has not activated properly since then. SSIPC (Space Station Integration & Promotion Center)’s troubleshooting is being performed with a stand-alone SLT2 and consists essentially of checking/verifying correct activation of four different Operating Systems on the laptop (SLT, MKAM, BDAS & Windows XP.]

With the U.S. CDRA (Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly) deactivated by the ground last night (~8:00pm-1:00pm), Jeff demated and took down the ITCS LTL (Internal Thermal Control System/Low Temperature Loop) jumper at the CDRA-supporting LAB1D6 rack.

Maxim Suraev performed the periodic (monthly) functional closure test of the Vozdukh CO2 (carbon dioxide) removal system’s spare AVK emergency vacuum valves, in the spare parts kit. [The AVKs are crucial because they close the Vozdukh's vacuum access lines in the event of a malfunction in the regular vacuum valves (BVK) or a depressurization in the Vozdukh valve panel (BOA). Access to vacuum is required to vent CO2 during the regeneration of the absorbent cartridges (PP).]

In the Russian MRM2 (Mini Research Module 2) “Poisk”, Suraev deactivated the MPI Multifunction Indicator Panel.

In preparation for another session of the BAR experiment, set up in the FGB, Maxim started charging the battery for the KPT-2 TTM-2 payload, terminating the activity later in the day and performing a functional checkout, then stowing the equipment. [Objective of the Russian BAR-EXPERT science payload is to measure environmental parameters (temperature, humidity, air flow rate) and module shell surface temperatures behind SM panels and other areas susceptible to possible micro-destruction (corrosion), before and after insolation (day vs. night). The payload uses a remote infrared thermometer (Kelvin-Video), a thermohygrometer (Iva-6A), a heat-loss anemometer/thermometer (TTM-2) and an ultrasound analyzer (AU) to determine environmental data in specific locations and at specific times. Activities include documentary photography with the NIKON D2X camera and flash.]

Afterwards, the FE had 2h 50m for undertaking his third onboard session with the Russian biomedical MBI-15 "Pilot-M"/NEURO signal response experiment after setting up the workplace and equipment. Later, the Pilot-M & Neurolab-2000M gear was disassembled & stowed away, and Suraev reported to TsUP-Moscow on his run. [MBI-15 requires the Multipurpose Hardware Bench as a table, ankle restraint system, eyeball electrodes for an EOG (electrooculogram), and two hand controllers (RUO & RUD) for testing piloting skill in “flying” simulations on a laptop (RSK1) with software (v. 2.0) under stopwatch control, as well as for studying special features of the psychophysiologic response of cosmonauts to the effects of stress factors in flight.]

In the US Airlock, Williams set up the EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Units) #3009 with its SCUs (Service & Cooling Umbilicals) and initiated the standard one-hour scrubbing process on the spacesuit’s cooling water loops, filtering ionic & particulate matter (via a 3-micron filter). Jeff then reconfigured the cooling loops and started the ~2h biocide filtering (after adjusting the EMU temperature control valve to ensure loop temperature remains within the correct range to allow adequate iodination). Scrubbing termination, disassembly of the EMU water processing kit and stowing the equipment followed. Two other EMUs (#3010, #3018)) were scrubbed on 12/4. [Loop scrubbing, incl. iodination of the LCVGs (Liquid Cooling & Ventilation Garments) for biocidal maintenance, is done to eliminate any biomass and particulate matter that may have accumulated in the loops.]

The FE conducted the periodic transfer of U.S. condensate water from CWC (Collapsible Water Container, #1072) 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.]

The CDR completed the daily status check of the APEX-Cambium hardware, looking for health and color of the plants. Because the Cambium plants were removed from the ABRS (Advanced Biological Research System) and ground-based monitoring, a daily status check & weekly photo session are necessary. [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 conducted the 5th session of 8 SWAB (Comprehensive Characterization of Microorganisms and Allergens in Spacecraft: Surface, Water and Air Biocharacterization) water evaluation sessions, collecting two water samples, allowing the hot sample to cool prior to stowing. [SWAB uses advanced molecular techniques to comprehensively evaluate microbes on board the space station, including pathogens (organisms that may cause disease). This study will allow an assessment of the risk of microbes to the crew and the spacecraft. Surface & Air samples have been collected in previous Increments. Sampling will occur every 4 weeks (±1 week). Water samples (~800 mL) are collected from the PWD Hot and Ambient lines.]

Later, Jeff re-installed the PaRIS (Passive Rack Isolation System) lock-down alignment guides on the FCF (Fluids & Combustion Facility) in the CIR (Combustion Integrated Rack) which he had removed on 12/14 to allow PaRIS activation for ground-commanded FCF ops in micro-G. [The PaRIS lock down is in preparation for tomorrow’s scheduled dedicated thruster firing (for solar array structural dynamics analysis) at ~9:48am-10:05am.]

Maxim 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.]

The FE 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),

Jeff conducted the weekly 10-min. CWC inventory as part of on-going WRM (Water Recovery & Management) assessment of onboard water supplies. Updated “cue cards” based on the crew’s water calldowns are sent up every other week. [The current card (22-0003B) lists 89 CWCs (~2,187.1 L total) for the five types of water now identified on board: 1. technical water (20 CWCs with 741.9 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 69.7 L in 3 bags for flushing only, 149.3 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.]

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

The CDR later 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).

TVIS Update: The TVIS treadmill is back up and running. [Yesterday’s maintenance work by Williams & Suraev was successfully completed, including replacement of both Gyroscope Wire Ropes, installation of two replacement blue bumpers, vacuuming screens, checking fastener witness marks on the Clamp Rope Brackets, and installation of a new EB (Electronics Box) battery. Some minor clean-up steps to be completed before the next exercise session included closing the two circuit breakers, verifying LEDs are illuminated after closing them, and setting the date and time on the Control Panel.]

Software Transition Update: The successful loading of the Airlock MDM (Multiplexer/Demultiplexer) with the ALSYS R3 software yesterday completed three days of MDM transitions, with the S1P1 R4 loads on the S1-1 & P1-2 MDMs on 12/14, and the S3P3 R3 loads onto the S3-2 & P3-1 MDMs on 12/15. All EXT R6 software loads are done.

WPA Update: After the Water Processor Assembly maintenance this week, the WPA processed about 28 liters of water, i.e., no improvement in WPA performance has been identified

DTF Update: Tomorrow’s Dedicated Thruster Firing is scheduled for 9:48am-10:05am EST for the purpose of exciting structural dynamics in the 2A solar array. [The PSARJ (Port Solar Alpha Rotary Joint), which had been “parked” since the 2A BGA (Beta Gimbal Assembly) stall, was returned to Autotrack mode last night (i.e., automatic tracking of the sun). Although returned to operations, the 2A array is considered to be degraded until completion of the modal survey with photogrammetry via the DTF and subsequent analysis of the observations/measurements.]

Soyuz TMA-17/21S Launch Preparations: At Baikonur/Kazakhstan, mating of the Soyuz-FG and its upper stage with the TMA-17 spacecraft has been completed. A meeting of the State Commission and technical management, chaired by RSC-Energia President V.A. Lopota, today approved the rollout of the launch vehicle and its preparation for launch on 12/21 (12/20 Eastern).

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Muscat, Oman (looking slightly to the right of track as ISS approached the easternmost point of the Arabian Peninsula for the capital city of Oman. The city is located along the coast of the Gulf of Oman but does not stand out from its surroundings, so the crew was to take overlapping mapping frames of the coastline as the station passed near the target area), South Tibesti Megafans, Chad (weather was predicted to be clear during this overpass of these inland deltas or megafans. Looking for large fanlike regions of overlapping stream channels to the south of the dark-colored Tibesti Mountains; orbit track passed directly over the Ke River megafan. Overlapping mapping frames, taken along track were requested to enable detailed mapping of stream networks), Faso-Ouagadougou, Burkina (ISS had a nadir pass over the capital city of Burkina Faso; a landlocked nation in West Africa. The urban area is built around Lake Ouagadougou, and is recognizable by its street grid pattern), Kerguelen Island, South Indian Ocean (weather was predicted to be mostly clear over this glaciated island. Looking to the right of track for the island. Imagery of the Cook Glacier on the western half of the island is of particular interest), and Villarrica Volcano, Chile (ISS had a near-nadir pass over this large Andean volcano. Overlapping frames of the volcano summit and flanks were requested to map snow cover and surface geomorphology).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 7:57am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 339.9 km
Apogee height – 345.1 km
Perigee height – 334.6 km
Period -- 91.33 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0007838
Solar Beta Angle -- -14.9 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.77
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 124 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) – 63,484

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
12/20/09 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S launch -- O. Kotov (CDR-23)/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 – Skvortsov (CDR-24)/ Caldwell/Kornienko
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 – Wheelock (CDR-25)/Walker/Yurchikhin
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 – Kelly (CDR-26)/Kaleri/Skripochka
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 – Kondratyev (CDR-27)/Coleman/Nespoli
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