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December 23, 2009
ISS On-Orbit Status 12/23/09

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

Full rest day for the crew. Sleep/rest period began this morning at 3:00am EST and extends until tomorrow at the usual 1:00am.

Yest kasaniye! Soyuz TMA-17/21S docked successfully last evening at 5:48pm EST at the FGB nadir port, 6 minutes ahead of schedule. Additionally, Soyuz TMA-16/20S is docked at SM (Service Module) Aft port, Progress 35P at DC-1 Nadir. TMA-17 delivered Exp-22 crewmembers FE-6 TJ Creamer (USA), FE-4 Oleg Kotov (Russia) & FE-5 Soichi Noguchi (Japan). After about 1h 42 min spent in Soyuz on pre-transfer activities, hatches were opened at 7:30pm and the crew transferred to the ISS. This was followed by the traditional joyful welcome event and the installation of the BZV QD (quick disconnect) clamps of the docking & internal transfer mechanism (SSVP) by Suraev, to rigidize the joint. [Shortly after "kasaniye" (contact), automatic "sborka" (closing of Soyuz & FGB port hooks & latches) took place while ISS was in free drift. Attitude control authority had been handed over to the Russian MCS (Motion Control System) at ~2:50pm and was returned to US CMG control at ~7:15pm. For the docking, Russian thrusters were disabled during Soyuz volume pressurization & clamp installation; they were afterwards returned to active attitude control. Before hatch opening, the crew performed leak checks of the Soyuz modules and the Soyuz/FGB interface vestibule. They then doffed their Sokol suits and set them up for drying, deactivated the BOA/Atmosphere Purification Unit in the SA/Descent Module, replaced the Soyuz ECLSS LiOH cartridges, equalized Soyuz/ISS pressures, and put the spacecraft into conservation mode on ISS integrated power.]

ISS Crew Planning/Look-ahead: For Roskosmos & RSC–Energia, the successful TMA-17 mission represents a significant record-breaking event: Four Soyuz launches & dockings (18S-21S) in a year exceed the best in the Soviet days. Another four launches are planned for 2010 (22S-25S). With CDR Williams and FE-1 Suraev, we now have five crewmembers on board for the next 74 days. After Williams & Suraev return on 3/18/10 on 20S, Creamer, Kotov & Noguchi will remain alone for another 17 days, until they are joined by Skvortsov, Kornienko & Caldwell, arriving on 4/4 on Soyuz 22S. Kotov, Noguchi & Creamer will then depart on 5/31 on 21S, leaving a crew size of three until arrival of Wheelock, Yurchikhin & Walker on 6/16 on 23S.

After the successful docking at the FGB nadir port –
  • CDR Williams downlinked recorded onboard video via MPC (Multiple-Protocol Converter) and Ku-band;
  • FE-1 Suraev, working off his discretionary task list, transmitted the crew arrival video to the ground, and also
  • Switched hatch KVDs (Pressure Equalization Valves) between FGB and Soyuz back to electric control mode;
  • The crew opened the Soyuz-FGB transfer tunnel hatches (~7:30pm);
  • Both crews then joined for the obligatory Safety Briefing of the newcomers by Jeff Williams, to familiarize them with procedures and escape routes in case of an emergency;
  • FE-4 Kotov set up the three Sokol spacesuits and their gloves for drying out, and he also
  • Deactivated the Soyuz “orbitalniy polyot” (spacecraft);
  • The CDR spent about an hour with TJ & Soichi on handover activities, i.e., situational & procedural familiarization of the newcomers with the station,
  • Max Suraev downlinked TEKh-15/DAKON-M IZGIB (“Bend”) structural dynamics measurements and closed out the data take; and
  • Oleg, Soichi & Max worked about an hour on the first cargo transfers from the spacecraft to the station;

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

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 7:38am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 339.2 km
Apogee height – 344.7 km
Perigee height – 333.7 km
Period -- 91.32 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0008244
Solar Beta Angle -- 10.6 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.77
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 108 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) – 63,579

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
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
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
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
04/04/10 -- Soyuz TMA-18/22S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-----------------
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)
05/10/10 -- Progress M-04M/36P undock
05/31/10 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S undock/landing
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
06/14/10 -- Soyuz TMA-19/23S launch – Wheelock (CDR-25)/Walker/Yurchikhin
06/16/10 -- Soyuz TMA-19/23S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-----------------
07/xx/10 -- US EVA-15
07/xx/10 -- Russian EVA-25
06/28/10 -- 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