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December 30, 2009
ISS On-Orbit Status 12/30/09

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

FE-1 Maksim Suraev started the day with the regular daily checkup of the aerosol filters at the Elektron O2 generator. [The filters were installed by FE-1 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.]

CDR Williams & FE-6 Creamer continued their week-long session of the experiment SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight), TJ’s first, logging overnight data from their Actiwatches to the HRF-1 (Human Research Facility 1) laptop. [To monitor the crewmembers’ sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, the crewmembers sometimes wear a special Actiwatch device which measures the light levels encountered by them as well as their patterns of sleep and activity throughout the Expedition and use the payload software for data logging and filling in questionnaire entries in the experiment’s laptop session file on the HRF-1 laptop. The log entries are done within 15 minutes of final awakening for seven consecutive days.]

FE-6 Kotov terminated his first experiment session, started last night, for the long-term Russian sleep study MBI-12/SONOKARD, by taking the recording device from his SONOKARD sports shirt pocket and later copying the measurements to the RSE-MED laptop for subsequent downlink to the ground. [SONOKARD objectives are stated to (1) study the feasibility of obtaining the maximum of data through computer processing of records obtained overnight, (2) systematically record the crewmember’s physiological functions during sleep, (3) study the feasibility of obtaining real-time crew health data. Investigators believe that contactless acquisition of cardiorespiratory data over the night period could serve as a basis for developing efficient criteria for evaluating and predicting adaptive capability of human body in long-duration space flight.]

Before breakfast & first exercise, all five crewmembers took a full session with the Russian crew health monitoring program's medical assessment MO-9/Biochemical Urinalysis. Afterwards, Suraev closed out and stowed the Urolux hardware. [MO-9 is conducted every 30 days (and also before and after EVAs) and is one of five nominal Russian medical tests adopted by NASA for U.S. crewmembers for IMG PHS (Integrated Medical Group/Periodic Health Status) evaluation as part of the "PHS/Without Blood Labs" exam, also conducted today. The analysis uses the sophisticated in-vitro diagnostic apparatus Urolux developed originally for the Mir program. Afterwards, the data are entered in the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer)’s special IFEP software (In-Flight Examination Program).

Later, Williams, Creamer & Noguchi undertook the periodic US PHS (Periodic Health Status)/Without Blood Labs exam, assisting each other in turn as CMO (Crew Medical Officer). Soichi later logged the data and stowed the equipment. A subjective evaluation was part of the test. [The assessment used the AMP (Ambulatory Medical Pack), stethoscope, oral disposable thermometer and ABPC (Automatic Blood Pressure Cuff) from the ALSP (Advanced Life Support Pack). All data were then logged on the MEC and the hardware stowed. The PHS exam is guided by special IFEP (In-Flight Examination Program) software on the MEC laptop.]

Suraev & Williams joined up in the Soyuz 20S spacecraft (docked at SM/Service Module Aft) for the standard 3-hrs Soyuz emergency descent drill, regular procedure for each station crew. The exercise, which does not involve any command activation, uses computer simulation (Trenasher Spusk) on the RSK1 laptop with a descent hand controller (RUS) in manual mode to set up reentry conditions and switch between modes. [The onboard training (OBT) session, supported by TsUP instructor tagup, included a review of the pertinent RODF (Russian Operations Data Files), specifically the books on Soyuz Insertion & Descent Procedures, Emergency Descents, and Off-Nominal Situation Procedures such as manual undocking.]

Afterwards, the FE-1 worked on the RSK1 laptop, installing a software upgrade (Vers. 2.2) for Progress-M TORU, Progress-M-MRM2 simulator applications, and Soyuz spacecraft relocation. [Steps included copying all RSK1 content, installing a new hard drive plus DVD in the UltraBay slots, then transferring the new programs to the main hard drive.]

Kotov did the routine daily servicing of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS) in the SM (Service Module). [Regular daily SOZh maintenance consists, among else, of 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.]

Oleg also completed 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).

FE-5 Noguchi set up the hardware for a session with the BISE (Bodies in the Space Environment) experiment, then TJ Creamer worked through the protocol while Soichi took photographs of him. [The CSA (Canadian Space Agency)-sponsored BISE experiment studies how astronauts perceive Up and Down in microgravity, investigating the relative contributions of internal & external cues to self-orientation during and after micro-G exposure. BISE data collection must be performed at least one hour after any exercise. The specific objective of the BISE project is to conduct experiments during long-duration micro-G conditions to better understand how humans first adapt to micro-G and then re-adapt to normal gravity conditions upon return to earth. This experiment involves comparisons of preflight, flight, and post-flight perceptions and mental imagery, with special reference to spaceflight-related decreases in the vertical component of percepts. The test involves having subjects view a computer screen through a cylinder that blocks all other visual information. The astronauts are being presented with background images with different orientations relative to their bodies.]

Afterwards, Creamer worked in the JAXA Kibo laboratory on the new DECLIC payload (Device for the Study of Critical Liquids & Crystallization) in ER-4 (EXPRESS Rack 4), removing the DSI (Directional Solidification Insert), which was installed in the EL (Experiment Locker) since 11/27/09, and replacing it with the HTI (High-Temperature Insert). [The French (CNES)/NASA-sponsored DECLIC, taking up two lockers, is a multi-user facility to investigate low & high temperature critical fluids behavior, chemical reactivity in supercritical water, directional solidification of transparent alloys, and more generally transparent media under micro-gravity environment. DECLIC uses the standard infrastructure offered by the ER-4 rack. Typical experiments for DECLIC include fluids (CO2, SF6) close to their near ambient critical point engineered in a dedicated insert (ALI), directional solidification of transparent materials (succinonitrile alloy) engineered in the dedicated DSI insert, high temperature, and high pressure critical fluids (H2O, NH3, etc.) engineered in the dedicated HTI insert. DECLIC is designed for remote science control, commonly called "Telescience". Operation capabilities offer scientists the possibility to remotely visualize and modify their selected experiment conditions in the ISS from User Home Base through the CADMOS User Support & Operation Centre.]

Williams, in a handover activity with Creamer, conducted the periodic manual filling of the U.S. WHC (Waste & Hygiene Compartment) flush water tank (EDV-SV), during which the WHC was unavailable for use.

Noguchi initiated (later terminated) another 5-hr sampling run (the 57th) with the 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.]

As a standard task for each Increment, Soichi took POSSUM (Payload On-orbit Still Shots for Utilization and Maintenance) digital photography of all US payload racks to document their current configurations. [This includes: in the Lab – ER1 (EXPRESS Rack 1), ER2, ER6, FCF FIR (Fluids & Combustion Facility / Fluids Integrated Rack), FCF CIR (Combustion Integrated Rack), MELFI2 (Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS 2) & MSRR (Materials Science Research Rack), in COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory) – HRF1 (Human Research Facility 1), HRF2, ER3 & MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox), and in JPM (JEM Pressurized Module) – ER4, ER5 & MELFI1. POSSUM is a regular payload photo activity that obtains formal electronic situational still shots of any subrack & locker payload that has been moved or reconfigured.]

In the JAXA JPM, the FE-6 relocated the MELFI1 laptop with power supply & 1553 cable from UOP (Utility Outlet Panel) b1 J3 (AD2) to UOP a3 J3 (FD6), connected it and powered it on. [Since at this location the laptop is under C&C MDM (Command & Control Multiplexer/Demultiplexer) control, it can be used nominally as JEM PCS (Portable Computer System).]

Starting a new round of RS (Russian Segment) ventilation system maintenance, Maxim worked in the DC1 (Docking Compartment), cleaning V1 & V2 fan grilles. Later, in the FGB (Funktsionalnyi-Grusovoi Blok), he also replaced the PS1 & PS2 dust filters, discarding the old ones and updating the IMS.

Noguchi & Creamer filled out their weekly FFQs (Food Frequency Questionnaires) on the MEC, the second time for TJ and Soichi. [On the FFQs, NASA astronauts keep a personalized log of their nutritional intake over time on special MEC software. Recorded are the amounts consumed during the past week of such food items as beverages, cereals, grains, eggs, breads, snacks, sweets, fruit, beans, soup, vegetables, dairy, fish, meat, chicken, sauces & spreads, and vitamins. The FFQ is performed once a week to estimate nutrient intake from the previous week and to give recommendations to ground specialists that help maintain optimal crew health. Weekly estimation has been verified to be reliable enough that nutrients do not need to be tracked daily.]

At ~4:20pm EST, just before sleep time, Suraev will set up the Russian MBI-12 Sonokard payload and start his sixth experiment session, using a sports shirt from the Sonokard kit with a special device in the pocket for testing a new method for acquiring physiological data without using direct contact on the skin. Measurements are recorded on a data card for return to Earth. [Sonokard objectives are stated to (1) study the feasibility of obtaining the maximum of data through computer processing of records obtained overnight, (2) systematically record the crewmember’s physiological functions during sleep, (3) study the feasibility of obtaining real-time crew health data. Investigators believe that contactless acquisition of cardiorespiratory data over the night period could serve as a basis for developing efficient criteria for evaluating and predicting adaptive capability of human body in long-duration space flight.]

All five crewmembers worked out with their regular 2-hr physical exercise on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-6), TVIS treadmill (FE-1, FE-4), ARED advanced resistive exerciser (CDR, FE-4, FE-5, FE-6), T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (CDR, FE-5), and VELO ergometer bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1). It was the first full-time workout for the newcomers.

Later, Jeff 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).

Kotov, Creamer & Noguchi each had an hour to themselves again 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.

FE-5 & FE-6 underwent their regular PMCs (Private Medical Conferences), via S- & Ku-band audio/video, Soichi at ~12:55pm, TJ at ~1:40pm EST.

At ~3:40am, Noguchi conducted a teleconference with ground personnel at SSIPC (Space Station Integration & Promotion Center/Tsukuba, Japan), discussing plans for the SFA (Small Fine Arm) assembly & checkout next week, and upcoming attempts of repairing the Marangoni payload. [During the initial checkout of MI (Marangoni Inside), liquid leakage was observed through holes for the three TC (Thermocouple) ports on the Cooling Disk. Planned repairs will use Kapton masking tape, Elmer’s Glue and a flat-tipped tool.]

At ~7:40am, the two Russian Flight Engineers received a phone call (audio only) from Energia, TsUP and IMBP (Institute of Medico-Biological Problems) management with greetings for the New Year.

At ~9:10am, Williams, Creamer & Noguchi joined in two PAO TV interview events (10 min each) with Wisconsin Public Radio (Mike Simonson), and the Washington Post On-live Service (Rocci Fisch).

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Windhoek, Namibia (there was a chance of seeing this capital city before afternoon thunderstorms flare up. Looking right in Namibia’s central rift valley. Other visual cues are a small but prominent mountain range at right angles to the rift margins; and the international airport near track), and Kerguelen Islands, South Indian Ocean (there was a chance of seeing these islands before heavier clouds move in. Looking left for images of glacier tongues. Images of these islands are needed as a data point on glacier change since very few mid-latitude glaciers exist in the southern hemisphere. The long thin valleys radiating from the permanent ice cap [“Cook Glacier”] were eroded by moving ice, showing that glaciers have reached down to sea level in the recent geological past [i.e. during the ice ages of the last 1.7 million years]).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 7:33am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 338.7 km
Apogee height – 344.1 km
Perigee height – 333.4 km
Period -- 91.31 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0007943
Solar Beta Angle -- 27.8 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.77
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 47 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) – 63,689

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
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
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