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12-22-2009
December 22, 2009
ISS On-Orbit Status 12/22/09

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

>>>Sleep Cycle Shift: Crew wake period has been lengthened by 3.5 hrs to accommodate Soyuz docking (5:54pm EST), i.e., from 1:00am-3:00am (12/23), but with a 4hr nap included, starting today at 9:00am, followed by a snack (1:00pm). Sleep tomorrow: 3:00am-1:00am (12/24), thus back to normal.

Flight Engineer Suraev started 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.]

Afterwards, Suraev performed the periodic maintenance of the active Russian BMP Harmful Impurities Removal System by starting the "bake-out" cycle to vacuum on absorbent bed #1 of the regenerable dual-channel filtration system. The process will be terminated tonight at ~4:05pm EST before the docking, followed tomorrow by Bed #2 regeneration. (Last time done: 12/2-12/3). [Regeneration of each of the two cartridges takes about 12 hours and is conducted only during crew awake periods. The BMP�s regeneration cycle is normally done every 20 days.]

Commander Williams 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.]

Using the TOCA (Total Organic Carbon Analyzer), the CDR performed the periodic WRS (Water Recovery System) sample analysis, after first initializing the software and priming (filling) the TOCA water sample hose. [After the approximately 2 hr TOCA analysis, results were transferred to an SSC (Station Support Computer) via USB drive for downlink, and the data were also logged.]

FE Suraev had another 2 hrs set aside to perform the periodic Russian SPOPT Fire Detection & Suppression System maintenance, today in the DC-1 Docking Compartment, by carefully dismantling its IDZ-2 smoke detectors, cleaning their ionizing needles and then reinstalling the sensors. [Part of the job is to inspect surrounding areas behind panels and to clean those surfaces with microbial growth wipes.]

The FE also collected air samples in the SM (Service Module) in the area of the worktable, using the usual Russian air sampling equipment, i.e., the IPD-CO Draeger tube sampler for checking for carbon monoxide, and the AK-1M absorbers, taking air specimen in the SM and FGB. Samples were then stowed for return to Earth.

Williams printed out uplinked Safety Briefing Procedures and made P&I (Pen & Ink) updates in the USOS (US Segment) Handover Document. [The procedures will be used tonight for the safety briefing following 21S docking.]

Also in preparation for the Soyuz arrival, the CDR mated the QDs (Quick Disconnects) of the drag-through cables from the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module) into Node-2. [After connections were made, the ground powered on the MELFI rack and configured appropriate C&W (Caution & Warning) settings.]

Afterwards, Jeff powered off and relocated the JPM PCS (Portable Computer System laptop to a different JPM UOP (Utility Outlet Panel), under PL MDM (Payload Multiplexer/Demultiplexer) control, so that it can be used as the MELFI-2 (Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS 2) laptop. [After turning the PCS on, the CDR verified its commanding capability to MELFI2 by testing EU LEDs (Electronic Unit Light-Emitting Diodes) from the PCS.]

Later, Jeff used the WRS FTP (Water Recovery System / Fluid Transfer Pump) to transfer stored water to supplement the WPA (Water Processor Assembly) Waste Water Tank, a periodic job.

As part of the power-downs required for the Soyuz docking (solar array feathered to prevent thruster plume contamination), Williams turned off GLAs (General Luminaire Assemblies) in the JPM and JLP (JEM Logistics Pressurized Segment) via their SRCAs (System on/off Remote Control Assemblies) at JPM1A0 & JLP1F0.

Later today before the docking, William also shuts down the ABRS (Advanced Biological Research System) facility hardware after removing its spent ORU (Orbit Replaceable Unit) air filters.

Postponed from yesterday, Jeff will initiate (later terminate) the 5-hr sampling run (the 54th) with the EHS GC/DMS (Environmental Health System Gas Chromatograph/Differential Mobility Spectrometer) after the docking. Also known as AQM (Air Quality Monitor), the system is controlled with �Sionex� expert software from the SSC-4 laptop. [Today�s run will be the planned Clean Run, instead of the usual automatic run. The current GC/DMS is the backup unit which has not run for over a year. A Clean Run initiates 3 hours of heating & cooling cycles, to ensure that all of the internal components are cleaned. Each cycle heats the box to a different temperature and cools it back down. The AQM demonstrates COTS (Commercial Off-the-Shelf) technology for identifying volatile organic compounds, similar to the VOA (Volatile Organics Analyzer). This evaluation will continue over the course of several months as it helps to eventually certify the GC/DMS as nominal CHeCS (Crew Health Care Systems) hardware.]

FE Suraev conducted the periodic service of downloading 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 downlinking NIKON D2X photographs of the growing plants in the LADA greenhouse. [The archiving can take up to 5 hrs. 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 FE 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].

Well before the docking by Creamer, Kotov & Noguchi, Jeff & Maxim will be completing a number of scheduled tasks. Steps by the ISS crew leading up to the Soyuz docking include:
  • Powering down the amateur/ham radio equipment to prevent RF interference with Soyuz/KURS prox ops,
  • Verifying that the protective window shutters in the Lab & Kibo were closed (to remain closed until ~10:15pm tomorrow night),
  • Maxim turning on & checking out the Russian TEKh-15/DAKON-M IZGIB (�Bend�) experiment hardware in the SM to take structural dynamics data during the docking operation [afterwards, DAKON will be deactivated again and its data transmitted to the ground];
  • Checking out the RS (Russian Segment) video system, which uses the SONY HDV camera for transmitting over the MPEG-2 (Moving Pictures Expert Group 2) encoder from FGB & SM to downlink via U.S. OpsLAN and Ku-band in �streaming video� packets [deactivated and taken down by Williams after the docking and video downlink],
  • Configuring & activating the SSC (Station Support Computer) A31p laptop for the TV conversion to NTSC and Ku-band, by the FE-1 [later, Jeff is to remove the downlink test equipment and disconnect the hook-up of the UOP DCP (utility outlet panel/display & control panel) power bypass cable at the CUP RWS (Cupola Robotic Work Station)],
  • Suraev setting up the BRTK TVS video equipment for covering the Soyuz approach & docking, and later deactivating it,
  • Maxim also configuring the station comm (STTS) for the docking [plus reconfiguring it afterwards for the nominal post-docking hardline mode (MBS)], and
  • Both crewmembers monitoring approach and final docking of Soyuz.

After the successful docking at the FGB nadir port �
  • Jeff will downlink the recorded docking video via Ku-band,
  • Kotov & Creamer conduct the ~1 hr FGB nadir vestibule interface leak check, supported by Suraev,
  • Maxim switches the hatch KVDs (Pressure Equalization Valves) between FGB and Soyuz to electric control mode;
  • The crew opens the Soyuz-FGB transfer tunnel hatches (approximately 7:35pm) for the Welcome ceremony, transmitted to the ground by HDTV (High Definition Television).
  • Both crews then join for the obligatory Safety Briefing of the newcomers by CDR Williams (~7:55pm), who will lead them through all modules. Part of this is the Crew Safety Handover, to familiarize them with procedures and escape routes in case of an emergency [Safety Handover includes safety-related items such as emergency actions (egress path to the Soyuz vehicles, procedures, annunciations, isolation equipment, safety equipment, depressurization and leak repair, fire, toxic release), visiting vehicles docking/undocking, evacuation vehicles, crew life support system status, computers, communications, medical equipment, IVA hazards (e.g., sharp edges, protrusions, touch temperatures), stowage, and current hardware status.],
  • Oleg Kotov deactivates the Soyuz �orbitalniy polyot� (spacecraft),
  • CDR Williams & FE-5 Creamer are then scheduled for 1 hr of handover/familiarization activities, followed by another hour of
  • Suraev, Kotov, Creamer & Noguchi making the first cargo transfers from the Soyuz spacecraft to the ISS, guided by an uplinked listing of 76 items (43 Roskosmos, 32 NASA, 1 ESA).

After the transfers, Maxim will 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 later configures the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) for Standby and power down its A31p laptop.

With the station crew increased from two to five, Jeff will also support ground-commanded activation of the US CDRA (Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly) by hooking up the regular ITCS LTL (Internal Thermal Control System/Low Temperature Loop) coolant jumper connection to the LAB1D6 rack to provide cooling. [CDRA will be activated over the usual five-hour period from 9:45pm � 2:45am EST.]

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

Later, Jeff transfers 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 Bangui, Central African Republic (cloud-related weather systems [of the Intertropical Convergence] have shifted far south so that the crew may have had an opportunity to image this capital city. Looking left of track on the Oubangui River, the most important north-bank tributary of the Congo River. Visual cue is the river and a major bend in the river; the city appears as a light-toned wedge at the bend. The city [pop.~630,000] was founded in 1889 as the main city of the French colony Oubangui-Chari, a part of French Equatorial Africa, with rapid communication possible by boat downstream to Brazzaville near the mouth of the Congo River), Mauna Loa Volcano, Hawaii (nadir pass. Mauna Loa is the largest volcano on Earth in terms of volume and area covered, and one of five volcanoes that form the Island of Hawaii. It is an active shield volcano. Mauna Loa's massive size and elevation [13,677 feet or 4169 m] contrasts with low K�lauea, the next target, which rises only 4091 feet [1247 m] above sea level, and thus appears as a broad shelf of uplands well beneath the long profile of occasionally snow-capped Mauna Loa, 15 miles [24 km] distant. The volcano has probably been erupting for at least 700,000 years. It may have emerged above sea level only about 400,000 years ago), and Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii (nadir pass immediately after the previous target. Kilauea is one of five shield volcanoes that together form the Island of Hawaii. K�lauea is said to be the most active volcano on the Earth [lava has been streaming continuously from one of the vents since 1983]. The word k�lauea means "spewing" or "much spreading", in reference to the frequent outpouring of lava).

Soyuz TMA-17/21S is scheduled to dock today at 5:54:30pm EST. Flight Day 3 (12/22) post-sleep activities are: DV4 (~3:52pm); KURS-A heaters activated (~4:17pm); data for automated rendezvous uplinked; crew dons Sokols; SOA deactivated in BO and activated in SA; crew ingresses SA, closes BO-SA hatch and dons harnesses for docking; DV5 burn (~4:37pm); automated rendezvous & docking at FGB nadir port via KURS-P in ISS & KURS-A in Soyuz; docking (5:54:30pm); pressure equalized between Soyuz and ISS; crew transfers. For the linkup, ISS attitude control authority will be handed over to RS MCS (Motion Control System)/thrusters at 2:50pm, which will maneuver the station to docking attitude at 3:40pm. For the physical docking, to allow motions to dampen out, the station will go into free drift for 20 min at 5:54pm, then maneuver to TEA (Torque Equilibrium Attitude). Attitude control will return to US momentum management at 7:15pm.

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 7:53am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude � 339.3 km
Apogee height � 344.7 km
Perigee height � 333.9 km
Period -- 91.32 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0007994
Solar Beta Angle -- 6.8 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.77
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 66 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) � 63,563

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
12/22/09 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S docking at FGB nadir -- 5:54:30pm with O. Kotov (CDR-23)/S. Noguchi/T.J. Creamer
--------------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