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12-24-2009
December 24, 2009
ISS On-Orbit Status 12/24/09

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Christmas Eve. >>> 41 years ago today at ~5:00am ET in the morning, the crew of Apollo 8, Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders, fired the Service Module Propulsion System for 4 min 6.5 sec behind the Moon (i.e., out of our sight), beginning the first orbit (a 312 x 112 km ellipse) of their historical 10-orbit circumlunar exploration, humanity’s greatest adventure of modern times. At 9:31pm in the evening (85h 40min Mission Elapsed Time), the crew took turns in reading opening passages from Genesis: “In the beginning God created heavens and the earth.....and God saw that it was good.”<<<<

The two Russian Flight Engineers, Maksim Suraev & Oleg Kotov (who has been on ISS before, on Increment 15 in 2007), started the day with the regular daily checkup of the aerosol filters at the Elektron O2 generator. [The filters were installed by Suraev 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 & Kotov performed the periodic maintenance of the active Russian BMP Harmful Impurities Removal System, starting the "bake-out" cycle to vacuum on absorbent bed #2 of the regenerable dual-channel filtration system. The process will be terminated at ~4:15pm EST before sleep time. Bed #1 regeneration was performed on 12/22. [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. (Last time done: 12/2-12/3).]

Commander Jeff Williams completed another Reaction Self Test (Psychomotor Vigilance Self Test on the ISS) protocol. He was joined today by FE-5 Soichi Noguchi & FE-6 TJ Creamer for their first RST session. [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.]

The five-member crew joined for the obligatory 2-hr Crew Safety Handover (brifing po bezopasnosti), which included a 20-min audio/teleconference with ground specialists, to familiarize them with procedures and escape routes in case of an emergency plus clarify emergency roles & responsibilities. [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.],

Williams & Creamer then had ~80 min to retrieve, update and restow the on-board Emergency Books, replacing pages with freshly printed updates in EMER-1 and making commensurate P&I (Pen & Ink) changes to the contents pages in both EMER-1 & EMER-2 books. [There are 6 ODS EMER-1 (Operational Data System Emergency 1) books with immediate response procedures, for the SM (Service Module), Soyuz (2), Lab, FGB & Node-2, plus 3 EMER-2 books with follow-up procedures, in SM, Lab & FGB.]

Similarly, Max Suraev had 2 hrs reserved to prepare existing onboard RODF (Russian Operations Data File) books with new procedures and updates delivered on 21S. [The updates, separate sheets and cards, involve the books on Handover (RPS) Ops, Space Suit Ops, Orlan EVAs from DC-1, EVA-24, TORU, Medical Experiments, Technical Experiments, and Geophysics Experiments.]

FE-4 Kotov worked in the RS (Russian Segment), familiarizing himself with its current communications network configuration and computer systems, supported by ground specialist tagup. [Oleg’s review covered the Russian portion of the JSL (Joint Station LAN) which comprises 3 SSC (Station Support Computer) laptops, a printer plus 4 ABP/WAP (Wireless Access Points), the various laptops with their locations, functions and maintenance requirements, preparation of the RRS1 laptop for operation with the BSMM (Multi-Channel Matching Unit) payload computer, labeling SSC2 & SSC3 power units, loading an AntiVirus update on RSK1, etc. Background: Crew support laptops are RSK1 (photo processing, SIGMA BNO Ballistics & Navigation Program), RSK2 (ham radio, photo processing, SIGMA BNO), EGE2 (SIGMA BNO). System & Special Crew Support Laptops are RSS2 (file exchange with TsUP-Moscow via REGUL, file downlink via BSR-TM in BITS sessions), RSE-med (medical examinations & experiments), RSS1 (BSMM activity), RSE2 (only for Zveno comm activity).]

Later, Oleg continued the integration of the newly arrived Soyuz TMA-17 into the station systems by installing the LKT local temperature sensor commutator (TA251M1B) of the BITS2-12 onboard telemetry system and its ROM/read-only memory unit (PZU TA765B) in the spacecraft, both kept in storage from an earlier Soyuz.

Williams, with Creamer for familiarization, conducted 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.]

Later, Jeff conducted the weekly 10-min. CWC (Collapsible Water Container) 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 (22-0003C) 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.]

The CDR performed the monthly inspection of the T2/COLBERT treadmill system and its components, today also the weekly inspection of the snubber jam nut witness marks. [Witness marks (12 total) are applied to the X-, Y- & Z-axis jam nuts on each (of four) snubber arm. Their inspection serves to determine to what degree and which jam nuts are backing off.]

Later, Jeff spent ~2 hrs with TJ on regular handover/familiarization activities, with Soichi participating for about an hour.

In the JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), FE-5 Noguchi prepared US video assets (G1 camcorder, MPC/Multiple-Protocol Converter with 16V power supply, Lavaliere microphone) and then recorded an hour-long “tour” through the Japanese Kibo segment for ground audiences. Afterwards, the video was downlinked via Ku-band and the activity closed out.

Also in Kibo, Soichi closed out the SLT2 (System Laptop Terminal 2) troubleshooting by disconnecting the SLT2 and reconnecting the RLT (Robotic Laptop Terminal).

In the US Lab, FE-5 Noguchi replaced a burnt-out light bulb and Locker 5 failed power indicator in ER6 (EXPRESS Rack 6). [The activity required temporary deactivation of PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) power.]

Creamer initiated (later terminated) the 5-hr sampling run (the 55th) with the freshly cleaned-out EHS GC/DMS (Environmental Health System Gas Chromatograph/Differential Mobility Spectrometer). Also known as AQM (Air Quality Monitor), the system is controlled with “Sionex” expert software from the SSC-12 laptop. [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.]

TJ also took down the UOP DCP (Utility Outlet Panel/Display & Control Panel) power bypass cable at the Lab RWS (Robotic Workstation), used for video coverage of the Soyuz docking yesterday with the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) camera system.

Oleg Kotov conducted the periodic transfer of U.S. condensate water from CWCs (#1072/4L, #1008/40L) to the RS for the periodic (about twice a month) replenishing of the Elektron’s water supply for electrolysis into oxygen & (waste) hydrogen, 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. If bubbles are detected in the EDV, they are separated (by centrifugation) into another EDV. 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.]

Kotov later 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-4 also conducted the periodic checkout & performance verification of IP-1 airflow sensors in the various RS hatchways. [Inspected IP-1s are in the passageways PrK (SM Transfer Tunnel)–RO (SM Working Compartment), PkhO (SM Transfer Compartment)–RO, PkhO–DC1, PkhO–FGB PGO, PkhO-MRM2, FGB PGO–FGB GA, and FGB GA–Node-1.]

In the SM, FE-1 Suraev performed a health check on the power circuit of the 3SPN1 condensate pump (N2) of the RS thermal control loops, supported by ground specialist tagup, using coolant jumpers and the Elektronika MMTs-01 Multimeter for continuity/resistance measurements.

Oleg, TJ and Soichi each had an hour to themselves for general orientation (station familiarization & acclimatization) as is standard daily rule for fresh crewmembers for the first two weeks after starting residence, if they choose to take it.

The three newcomers also had their first regular PMCs (Private Medical Conferences), via S- & Ku-band audio/video, Oleg at ~10:15amm TJ at ~11:25am, Soichi at ~11:55am EST.

At ~3:25am, 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 ~3:40am, Max & Oleg linked up with TsUP/Moscow stowage specialists via S-band to conduct the weekly IMS (Inventory Management System) tagup, discussing inventory & stowage issues, equipment locations and cargo transfers.

Williams & Suraev performed their regular 2-hr physical exercise on the TVIS treadmill (FE-1), ARED advanced resistive exerciser (CDR), T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (CDR), and VELO ergometer bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1).

Later, Jeff 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).

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Mogadishu, Somalia (this capital city lies on the coast left of track. It can be difficult to detect: visual cues are a slight bend in the orientation of the coast and the end of a long line of sand dune patches. Wider views of the swampy terrain inland from the city—a long-term monitoring site — were also requested), Windhoek, Namibia (looking left. Windhoek [pop. 306,000] is the capital city, established during the “Scramble for Africa” by Germany in 1890 on the foundations of an earlier abandoned settlement. The rift in which the city lies generates hot springs), and Matavai Bay, Tahiti, French Polynesia (HMS Beagle site. Looking left on the north coast of Tahiti, the largest island. Darwin stopped on Tahiti’s north coast in November 1835 at Matavai Bay, near the present capital city, Papeete. In Darwin’s words: “ …we landed to enjoy all the delights of the first impressions produced by a new country … — Crowds of men, women & children were collected on the memorable point Venus ready to receive us…” [this was the site where Captain Cook in HMS Endeavour observed the transit of Venus on 3 June1769]. Darwin climbed a narrow river gorge heading towards the central peak of the island, remarking “These precipices must have been some thousand ft high; the whole formed a mountain gorge far more magnificent than anything I had ever beheld.”

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 8:39am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 339.1 km
Apogee height – 344.5 km
Perigee height – 333.8 km
Period -- 91.32 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0007927
Solar Beta Angle -- 14.1 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.77
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 72 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) – 63,595

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
01/05/10 -- PMA-3 relocation
01/11-12/10 -- ESP-3 relocation
01/14/10 -- Russian EVA-24
01/21/10 -- 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