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December 18, 2009
ISS On-Orbit Status 12/18/09

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 undertook the periodic noise measurement protocol by deploying three acoustic dosimeters side by side at the SM (Service Module) Central Post and taking photos of the devices for subsequent downlink via SSC (Station Support Computer). Later today (~1:30pm EST), the CDR retrieves the dosimeters and calls down the measurements or enters them into the IPV (International Procedures Viewer), then stows the devices.

After configuring the usual pumping equipment (compressor #41, hoses, adapters), Suraev initiated the transfer of urine from 5 EDV-U containers to the empty BV1 Rodnik storage tank of the Progress M-03M/35P at the DC1 nadir port, lasting over a period of about two hours. [Each of the spherical Rodnik tanks BV1 & BV2 consists of a hard shell with a soft membrane (bladder) composed of elastic fluoroplastic. The bladder is used to expel water from the tank by compressed air pumped into the tank volume surrounding the membrane and is leak-tested before urine transfers, i.e., with empty tanks, the bladders are expanded against the tank walls and checked for hermeticity.]

The FE also had his third session with the Russian behavioral assessment TIPOLOGIA (MBI-20), setting up the workstation, connecting equipment, suiting up and launching the program on the RSK1 laptop. [Williams was available to assist in donning the electrode cap, preparing the head for the electrodes and applying electrode gel from the Neurolab-RM2 kit. Data were recorded on a PCMCIA memory card and downlinked via OCA comm. MBI-20 studies typological features of operator activity of the ISS crews in long-term space flight phases, with the subject using a cap with EEG (electroencephalogram) electrodes. The experiment, which records EEGs, consists of the L├╝scher test, “adaptive biological control” training, and the games Minesweeper and Tetris. The L├╝scher color diagnostic is a psychological test which measures a person's psychophysical state, his/her ability to withstand stress, to perform and to communicate. It is believed to help uncover the cause of psychological stress, which can lead to physical symptoms. An EEG measures and records the electrical activity of the brain.]

Williams & Suraev completed the regular monthly session (their second) of the CHeCS (Crew Health Care Systems) emergency medical operations OBT (On-Board Training) drill, a 30-min. exercise to refresh their CMO acuity in a number of critical health areas. The video-based proficiency drill today focused on eye treatment for Jeff & Maxim. [The HMS (Health Maintenance Systems) hardware, including ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) equipment, may be used in contingency situations where crew life is at risk. To maintain proficiency, crewmembers spend one hour per month reviewing HMS and ACLS equipment and procedures via the HMS and ACLS CBT (computer-based training). The training drill, each crewmember for him/herself, refreshes their memory of the on-orbit stowage and deployment locations, equipment etc. and procedures.]

Jeff serviced the prime CSA-CP (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products) unit #1042 at its Kibo JPM location, swapping its battery for a new one (#1311).

FE Suraev conducted another photography session for the DZZ-13 “Seiner” ocean observation program, using the NIKON D2X digital camera (80-400 mm lens) and the HDV (high-definition video) camcorder at a specific time to obtain data on color bloom patterns and current cloud cover conditions over the Californian Upwelling and the Galapagos Islands. [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.]

Suraev also –
  • 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], and
  • 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).

Williams conducted a new session (his second) with the MedOps experiment WinSCAT (Spaceflight Cognitive Assessment Tool for Windows), logging in on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) laptop and performing the psychological evaluation exercise on the PC-based WinSCAT application. [WinSCAT is a monthly time-constrained questionnaire test of cognitive abilities, routinely performed by astronauts aboard the ISS every 30 days before or after the PHS (periodic health status) test or on special CDR's, crewmembers or flight surgeons request. The test uses cognitive subtests that measure sustained concentration, verbal working memory, attention, short-term memory, spatial processing, and math skills. The five cognitive subtests are Coding Memory - Learning, Continuous Processing Task (CPT), Match to Sample, Mathematics, and Coding Delayed Recall. These WinSCAT subtests are the same as those used during NASA’s long-duration bed rest studies.]

Jeff had several hours for servicing the IMV (Intermodule Ventilation) in the Lab (cleaning the aft port fan) and in Node-1 (cleaning its aft port fan inlet), moving the Galley table out of the way as necessary.

The CDR then used the electronic Velocicalc instrument to take airflow measurements at the Lab aft port outlet to check on the cleaning effectiveness.

Afterwards, Williams also cleaned the fan filter assembly of the PWD (Potable Water Dispenser).

Other routine activities completed by Williams today included –
  • Performing the periodic tape exchange on both VDS VTRs (Video Distribution System/Video Tape Recorders), VTR1 & VTR2, stowing the old tapes for later return to Houston,
  • Hooking up the UOP DCP (Utility Outlet Panel/Display & Control Panel) power bypass cable at the Lab RWS (Cupola Robotic Work Station) for coverage of the 2A solar arrays with the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) cameras during the DTF (Dedicated Thruster Firing),
  • Completing 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, daily status checks & weekly photo session are necessary),
  • Setting up the SLAMMD (Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device) equipment temporarily, but without doing the control/calibration run today,
  • Conducting the periodic status & screen check on the running payload CGBA-5 (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus), located in the ER-2 (EXPRESS Rack 2) [CGBA-5 is currently activated for DTN (Delay Tolerant Network) activities that are acting as a test bed for NASA HQ-sponsored communications research. DTN software transmits messages between ISS and Mission Control Centers, and most of its operations run from the ground. The DTN software sends CGBA-5 payload data to the ground, and automatic acknowledgement messages are generated by the ground to be passed back to the payload], and
  • Performing the regular weekly maintenance on the TVIS (Treadmill with Vibration Isolation & Stabilization), primarily inspecting the condition of the SLDs (Subject Loading Devices), SLD cables and SPDs (Subject Positioning Devices), lubricating as required, plus recording time & date values.

Sat 9:48am EST, with the protective shutters of the Lab & JPM (JEM Pressurized Module) science windows closed by Williams, Russian thrusters performed the DTF (Dedicated Thruster Firing). IWIS (Internal Wireless Instrumentation System) structural dynamics data were taken during the firings. [To obtain quiescence for the solar arrays, the station went into free drift at 9:45am for 3 minutes, followed by 5 thruster firings, separated by 200 sec. Attitude control authority handover to Russian MCS (Motion Control System) occurred at ~10:05am and returned to US momentum management at 10:41am after ISS had maneuvered back to duty attitude. Background: As a result of the 2A BGA (Beta Gimbal Assembly) failing to unlatch during 19S undocking, the 2A photovoltaic array experienced several cycles of longeron shadowing that may have exceeded the buckling limits. The DTF was performed in order to check on this by characterizing the state of the P4-2A array structure. During the test, bend patterns and trends on the 2A array were photogrammetrically monitored. The rate of bend was to be observed for structural frequencies and compared to baselines to identify any deformation. To support the test, both SARJs (Solar Alpha Rotary Joints) plus BGAs 2A, 2B, 4A and 4B were locked. All other BGAs were in Directed Position.]

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

The CDR later transferred the exercise data files to the MEC 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).

At ~3:05am EST, 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 ~3:20am, Maxim linked up with TsUP stowage specialists via S-band to conduct the weekly IMS tagup, discussing inventory & stowage issues, equipment locations and cargo transfers.

At ~9:05am, both crewmembers joined up for their standard bi-weekly teleconference with the JSC Astronaut Office (Steve Lindsey), via S-band S/G-2 audio & phone patch.

At ~12:10pm, Jeff had his own periodic IMS stowage conference with stowage specialists at MCC-Houston.

At ~2:30pm, CDR & FE were scheduled for 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).]

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 (22-0003C) lists 89 CWCs (~2,150.9 L total) for the five types of water now identified on board: 1. technical water (20 CWCs with 728.9 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 206.2 L in 8 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 22.7 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.]

MSG Remaining On: The Microgravity Science Glovebox will not be powered off as it normally would be on Friday. By having it run through the weekend, ESA payload operators want to accomplish as much SODI (Selectable Optical Diagnostics Instrument) science as possible prior to the Holidays.

Soyuz TMA-17/21S Launch Preparations: At Baikonur/Kazakhstan, preparations continue for the launch of Soyuz 21S to the ISS. The Soyuz-FG with the spacecraft was rolled out this morning and erected on the launch pad. L-2 operations are underway.

For the curious:
U.S. On-Orbit Food Variety: U.S. crew food supplies on board come in the following categories –
  • Beverages & Straws (B&S)
  • Breads & Rehydratable Meats (BRM)
  • Eggs & Fruits (EF)
  • Meats in Pouches & Cans (MPC)
  • Soups & Cereals (SC)
  • Side Dishes (SD)
  • Sweets, Snacks & Yogurt (SSY)
  • Vegetables & Condiments (VC).

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (weather was predicted to be clear during this nadir overpass of the capital city of Saudi Arabia. Situated on a large plateau, Riyadh is a megacity with over 6 million people in the metropolitan area. Overlapping frames, taken along track, of the urban area were requested), Port Louis, Mauritius (Port Louis is the capital city of the island nation of Mauritius. Looking to the right of track for the island; the urban area is located along the northwestern coastline. Overlapping mapping frames of the urban area were requested), Soufriere Hills Volcano, Caribbean (ISS had a nadir overpass over this active volcano. Some cloud cover may have been present. Activity over the past week has included the generation of pyroclastic flows, mainly on the north side of the summit. Imagery of the summit region and northern flanks of the volcano was requested), Bridgetown, Barbados (weather was predicted to be mostly clear over the capital city of Barbados. Bridgetown is located along the southwestern coast of the island, and is the largest metropolitan area. Overlapping mapping frames of the urban area were requested), and Panama City, Panama (the capital city of the Republic of Panama is located at the southern end of the Panama Canal [Pacific Ocean side]. ISS had a nadir pass over the urban area; overlapping mapping frames were requested).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 8:20am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 339.7 km
Apogee height – 345.1 km
Perigee height – 334.4 km
Period -- 91.33 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0007935
Solar Beta Angle -- -10.3 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.77
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 153 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) – 63,500

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)
--------------Five-crew operations-------------------------
01/05/10 -- PMA-3 relocation
01/12/10 -- ESP-3 relocation
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