Text Size

December 15, 2010
ISS On-Orbit Status 12/15/10

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

>>>>Today 45 years ago (1965), NASA’s Gemini 6A, with Wally Schirra & Tom Stafford, was launched from Cape Kennedy, FL. Four orbits later, it achieved the first space rendezvous of a crewed spacecraft with Gemini 7, piloted by Frank Borman & Jim Lovell.<<<<

FE-2 Skripochka conducted the regular daily early-morning check of the aerosol filters at the Russian Elektron O2 generator which Maxim Suraev had installed on 10/19/09 in gaps between the BZh Liquid Unit and the oxygen outlet pipe (filter FA-K) plus hydrogen outlet pipe (filter FA-V). [Oleg will inspect the filters again before bedtime tonight, currently a daily requirement per plan, with photographs to be taken if the filter packing is discolored.]

CDR Kelly continued his current week-long activity with the post-wakeup experiment SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight), Scott’s 4th session, transferring data from his Actiwatch to the HRF-1 (Human Research Facility 1) laptop. [To monitor their sleep/wake patterns and light exposure during a SLEEP session, US crewmembers wear a special Actiwatch device which measures the light levels encountered by him/her as well as their patterns of sleep and activity throughout the Expedition, using 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.]

Also at wake-up, Kelly performed another session of the Reaction Self Test (Psychomotor Vigilance Self Test on the ISS) protocol, his second day of the upcoming sleep shift sequence. [The RST is done 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 (therefore, for the next sleep shift sequence RST is scheduled twice daily. The experiment consists of a 5-minute reaction time task that allows crewmembers to monitor the daily effects of fatigue on performance while on ISS. The experiment provides objective feedback on neurobehavioral changes in attention, psychomotor speed, state stability, and impulsivity while on ISS missions, particularly as they relate to changes in circadian rhythms, sleep restrictions, and extended work shifts.]

FE-1 Kaleri conducted 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 ~2:00pm EST before sleep time. Bed #1 regeneration was performed on 12/13 by Alex. [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: 11/22-11/23).]

Afterwards, FE-1 performed periodic service of the RS (Russian Segment) radiation payload suite “Matryoshka-R” (RBO-3-2), inspecting eight Bubble dosimeters (A21-A28) for bubbles size & quantity, then taking documentary photography for subsequent downlink to the ground via OCA. [The complex Matryoshka payload suite is designed for sophisticated radiation studies. Note: Matryoshka is the name for the traditional Russian set of nested dolls.]

FE-2 Skripochka meanwhile worked with the PILLE-MKS radiation dosimeters, collecting 11 of the units from their exposure locations, taking readings from them and leaving them on the PILLE Reader tray (except for dosimeter A0306 which was redeployed as duty sensor).

Skripochka completed his 3rd 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. [Kaleri, who did MBI-20 yesterday, assisted in donning the electrode cap, preparing the head for the electrodes, applying electrode gel from the Neurolab-RM2 kit and taking documentary photography. 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 Lüscher test, “adaptive biological control” training, and the games Minesweeper and Tetris. The Lüscher 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.]

With a new EDV-U container in the WHC (Waste & Hygiene Compartment), CDR Kelly reconnected the WHC from backflow back to feeding the UPA (Urine Processor Assembly), then reported the flush counter, a periodic activity.

Other activities completed by Scott Kelly included –
  • Performing another sampling run with the EHS GC/DMS (Environmental Health Systems Gas Chromatograph / Differential Mobility Spectrometer); deactivating the system ~5 hrs later. [This was the 2nd session with the newly replaced GC/DMS unit #1004, after the previous instrument (#1002) was used for approximately 7 runs. Also known as AQM (Air Quality Monitor), the system is controlled with “Sionex” expert software from the SSC (Station Support Computer)-12 laptop (due to a software glitch, the software needs to be opened, closed, and then reopened in order to ensure good communication between GC/DMS and SSC-12). 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.],
  • Installing the 3 PaRIS (Passive Rack Isolation System) lock-down alignment guides on the FCF (Fluids & Combustion Facility) in the CIR (Combustion Integrated Rack) at Lab loc. S3 to protect the rack from external loading events such as dockings & reboosts,
  • Conducting the periodic (~weekly) inspection & maintenance, as required, of the CGBA-4 (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus 4) and CGBA-5 payloads in their ERs (EXPRESS Racks), and
  • Gathering two 50ft video cables from the BPSMU (Battery Powered Speaker Microphone Unit) setup in Node-2 for use during the 25S Hatch Opening event.

Working in the DC1 Docking Compartment, Alex Kaleri configured the usual pumping equipment (Kompressor-M #41, hoses, adapters), then initiated urine transfer from four EDV-U containers (#445, #375, #437, #416) to the empty BV1 Rodnik storage tank of Progress 40P (#408), docked at DC1 Nadir. [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.]

Alex terminated the overnight (10-hr) charging of the Piren battery for the Russian KPT-2 payload with its BAR science instruments suite, then was joined by Oleg to run another 3 hr-session with the Russian KPT-2 BAR payload, inspecting microconditions of SM (Service Module) surface areas with identified signs of microflora growth on the structural elements, in particular in the areas of panels 202, 204 & 205. [The crewmembers used the new Piren-B Pyro-endoscope instrument with the RSE1 laptop. The measurements are required to forecast the rate of local shell micro-destruction and to develop measures to extend station life. Afterwards, the crew cleaned up, closed out, and Alex started recharging the Piren battery. Piren-B, a video-endoscope with pyrosensor, is part of the methods & means being used on ISS for detecting tiny leaks in ISS modules which could lead to cabin depressurization. Objective of the Russian KPT-12/EXPERT science payload is to measure environmental parameters (temperature, humidity, air flow rate) and module shell surface temperatures behind SM panels and other areas susceptible to possible micro-destruction (corrosion), before and after insolation (day vs. night). Besides Piren-B, the payload uses a remote infrared thermometer (Kelvin-Video), a thermohygrometer (Iva-6A), a heat-loss thermoanemometer/thermometer (TTM-2) and an ultrasound analyzer (AU) to determine environmental data in specific locations and at specific times. Activities include documentary photography with the NIKON D2X camera and flash.]

After setting up the video camcorder for live coverage of HTV RWS (H-II Transfer Vehicle / Robotic Workstation) overlays, Scott again supported JAXA ground-commanded HTV PROX (Proximity Operations) equipment checkouts in the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module). [Today’s activities: switching off PROX rack power, disassembling & stowing the HCP (Hardware Command Panel) and HCP power/data cabling, consolidating spare HCP cables, updating CTB (Cargo Transfer bag) labels and taking documentary closeout photography.]

Preparatory to the arrival of Soyuz 25S on Friday (12/17), Kelly & Kaleri set up the Ku-band video “scheme” for a communications test of converting the RS (Russian Segment) video signal from the SONY HDV camera to U.S. NTSC format and Ku-band from FGB & SM, for downlinking “streaming video” packets via U.S. OpsLAN and Ku-band. [For the test, Scott configured the SSC-1 (Station Support Computer 1) A31p laptop in the FGB and activated the VWS (Video Streaming Workstation) laptop for both the conversion and the “streaming” MPEG2 (Moving Pictures Expert Group 2) encoding, with Sasha running the video test from the RS.]

FE-2 undertook the periodic checkout & performance verification of IP-1 airflow sensors/meters in the various RS hatchways, skipping the Soyuz hatch. [Inspected IP-1s are in the passageways PrK (SM Transfer Tunnel)–RO (SM Working Compartment), PrK–Progress, PkhO (SM Transfer Compartment) – RO, PkhO–FGB PGO, PkhO-MRM2, FGB GA-MRM1, FGB PGO–FGB GA, and FGB GA–Node-1.]

After conferring with SPHERES PD (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites / Payload Developer) Jacob Katz at ~3:40am EST, Scott had ~2h30m reserved for taking SSC-5 (Station Support Computer 5) with the SPHERES GUI (Graphic User Interface) application from the Lab to the JPM, setting up the equipment, cameras & beacons in the Kibo work areas and conducting another dry run of the SPHERES Zero Robotics experiment. With dimmed GLAs (General Luminaire Assemblies), the satellite(s) were programmed & deployed and then commanded through their tests from the SSC-5 laptop. [The Zero Robotics game is part of the “HelioSPHERES” 2010 ISS Competition conducted by 10 highschool student groups. Inspired by the problem of assembling a large solar power station in Earth orbit, the competition has three phases: Searching for a (virtual) solar panel that is lost in the test volume, flying to the panel & docking to it by aligning its Velcro face in a specific orientation, and returning with the panel to a (virtual) station and docking. SPHERES was originally developed to demonstrate the basics of formation flight and autonomous docking, using beacons as reference for the satellites, to fly formation with or dock to the beacon. A number of programs define various incremental tests including attitude control (performing a series of rotations), attitude-only tracking, attitude and range tracking, docking with handheld and mounted beacons, etc. The payload consists of up to three self-contained 8-inch dia. free-floating satellites which perform the various algorithms (control sequences), commanded and observed by the crew members which provide feedback to shape algorithm development. Each satellite has 12 thrusters and a tank with CO2 for propellant. The first tests, in May 2006, used only one satellite (plus two beacons – one mounted and one hand-held); a second satellite arrived on ULF1.1, the third on 12A.1. Formation flight and autonomous docking are important enabling technologies for distributed architectures.]

Alex took care of 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).

At ~1:50pm EST, Scott Kelly tagged up with Houston stowage specialists for their regular IMS stowage conference.

The crew worked out on today’s 2-hr physical exercise protocol on the TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation & stabilization (FE-1, FE-2), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (CDR), T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (CDR), and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1, FE-2). [T2 snubber arm inspection is no longer needed after every T2 session but must be done after the last T2 session of the day.]

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) targets uploaded today were Lilongwe, Malawi (looking to the right of track for this capital city. Lilongwe is located on the Lilongwe River and the major north-south M1 highway that traverses Malawi. Overlapping mapping frames of the urban area and surrounding region were requested), East India Coastline at Night (weather was predicted to be mostly clear over the east coastline of India during this night time overpass. The ascending orbit track will parallel the coastline, giving the crew an opportunity to collect a mapping pass of city lights at night. The starting time of the mapping pass began just to the SW of Sri Lanka, and the crew should have had a good nadir view of the city lights of Colombo. After passing Sri Lanka, looking to the left of track for the India coastline and collect overlapping frames for approximately 8 minutes; this gave them good views of the Chennai and Kolkata [Calcutta] metropolitan areas in India, and Dhaka in Bangladesh), and Matavai Bay, Tahiti (HMS Beagle Site. ISS had a near-nadir viewing pass over the island of Tahiti, providing an opportunity for high-resolution imagery of Matavai Bay [to the right of track]. The Bay is located on the northern coastline of the island. Charles Darwin visited Tahiti in 1835 and examined coral reefs and inland geomorphology. Overlapping mapping frames of the Bay and adjacent urban land cover were requested).

Soyuz TMA-20/25S Launch Preparations: At Baikonur, countdown of the Soyuz-FG launcher for TMA-20 is continuing nominally, for this afternoon’s launch at 2:09pm EDT with Dmitriy Yurievich Kondratiev (Russia), Paolo Angelo Nespoli (ESA/Italy) & Catherine (Cady) Coleman (USA). Docking is scheduled for Friday, 12/17, at ~3:12pm.

  • Flight Day 1 Preview (EST):
  • 2:09:25pm: Launch (ISS phase angle 262 deg)
  • 2:11:17pm: Launch Escape System jettison; ~46 km altitude, ~115 km downrange
  • 2:11:18pm: First stage (4 strap-ons) separation; ~49 km; ~118 km; 1.76 km/s velocity
  • 2:12:03pm: Launch shroud jettison; ~84 km; ~165 km; 2.04 km/s
  • 2:14:10pm: Second stage (core) separation; ~167 km; ~288 km; ~3.88 km/s
  • 2:14:22pm: Third stage lower skirt jettison;
  • 2:18:10pm: Third stage shutdown; orbital insertion; ~202 km; ~520km; 7.50 km/s
  • 2:18:13pm: Spacecraft separation from third stage; perigee ~195 km; apogee ~239km
  • 2:18:21pm: Program 4: Deployment of solar arrays & antennas.

After orbital insertion:
  • Pressurization of prop tanks and filling of Soyuz manifolds;
  • Docking probe extended;
  • Leak check by crew of BO & SA modules;
  • KURS self tests;
  • Test of BDUS angular rate sensors (2);
  • Attitude established (OSK =LVLH);
  • Crew opens BO-SA hatch, ingresses BO and doffs Sokol suits;
  • Test of RUO rotational hand controller;
  • Soyuz put in ISK (sun spinning/«barbecue») mode;
  • Data for DV1 & DV2 burns uplinked;
  • SOA air purification system activated in BO and deactivated in SA;
  • DV1 burn (6:02:57pm);
  • DV2 burn (6:39:43pm);
  • Soyuz back in ISK attitude;
  • Crew clean & dry Sokols;
  • Crew sleep (~9:53pm ES).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 8:51am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 349.5 km
Apogee height – 354.9 km
Perigee height – 344.1 km
Period -- 91.53 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.65 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0007998
Solar Beta Angle -- 22.6 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.73
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours – 109 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) – 69,200.

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
12/15/10 -- Soyuz TMA-20/25S launch – Kondratyev (CDR-27)/Coleman/Nespoli (2:09pm)
12/17/10 -- Soyuz TMA-20/25S docking (MRM1) (~3:12pm)
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
12/20/10 -- SPDM (Robotics) Test
12/22/10 -- ISS Reboost
01/20/11 -- HTV2 launch
01/21/11 -- Russian EVA-27
01/24/11 -- Progress M-08M/40P undock
01/27/11 -- HTV2 berthing (Node-2 zenith)
01/28/11 -- Progress M-09M/41P launch
01/31/11 -- Progress M-09M/41P docking (DC1)
02/03/10 -- STS-133/Discovery launch – ~1:34am --- NET (no earlier than)
02/21/11 -- Russian EVA-28
02/15/11 -- ATV-2 “Johannes Kepler” launch
02/19/11 -- Progress M-07M/39P undock
02/24/11 -- HTV2 unberthing (Node-2 nadir)
02/26/11 -- ATV-2 “Johannes Kepler” docking (SM aft)
03/16/11 -- Soyuz TMA-01M/24S undock/landing (End of Increment 26)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
03/20/11 -- Soyuz TMA-21/26S launch – A. Borisienko (CDR-28)/R.Garan/A.Samokutayev
03/22/11 -- Soyuz TMA-21/26S docking (MRM2)
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
04/01/11 -- STS-134/Endeavour (ULF6 – ELC3, AMS-02) launch – ~3:15am --- NET
04/26/11 -- Progress M-09M/41P undock
04/27/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P launch
04/29/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P docking (DC1)
05/xx/11 -- Russian EVA-29
05/16/11 -- Soyuz TMA-20/25S undock/landing (End of Increment 27)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-22/27S launch – M. Fossum (CDR-29)/S. Furukawa/S. Volkov
06/01/11 -- Soyuz TMA-22/27S docking (MRM1)
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
06/04/11 -- ATV-2 “Johannes Kepler” undock (SM aft)
06/21/11 -- Progress M-11M/43P launch
06/23/11 -- Progress M-11M/43P docking (SM aft)
08/29/11 -- Progress M-11M/43P undocking
08/30/11 -- Progress M-12M/44P launch
09/01/11 -- Progress M-12M/44P docking (SM aft)
09/16/11 – Soyuz TMA-21/26S undock/landing (End of Increment 28)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
09/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-23/28S launch – D.Burbank (CDR-30)/A.Shkaplerov/A.Ivanishin
10/02/11 – Soyuz TMA-23/28S docking (MRM2)
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
10/25/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P undocking
10/26/11 -- Progress M-13M/45P launch
10/28/11 -- Progress M-13M/45P docking (DC-1)
11/16/11 -- Soyuz TMA-22/27S undock/landing (End of Increment 29)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-24/29S launch – O.Kononenko (CDR-31)/A.Kuipers/D.Pettit
12/02/11 -- Soyuz TMA-24/29S docking (MRM1)
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
12/??/11 -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – on Proton.
12/26/11 -- Progress M-13M/45P undock
12/27/11 -- Progress M-14M/46P launch
12/29/11 -- Progress M-14M/46P docking (DC-1)
03/05/12 -- Progress M-12M/44P undock
03/16/12 -- Soyuz TMA-23/28S undock/landing (End of Increment 30)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
03/30/12 -- Soyuz TMA-25/30S launch – G.Padalka (CDR-32)/J.Acaba/K.Valkov
04/01/12 -- Soyuz TMA-25/30S docking (MRM2)
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
05/15/12 -- Soyuz TMA-24/29S undock/landing (End of Increment 31)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/29/12 – Soyuz TMA-26/31S launch – S.Williams (CDR-33)/Y.Malenchenko/A.Hoshide
05/31/12 – Soyuz TMA-26/31S docking
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
09/09/12 -- Soyuz TMA-25/30S undock/landing (End of Increment 32)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
09/23/12 -- Soyuz TMA-27/32S launch – K.Ford (CDR-34)/O. Novitskiy/E.Tarelkin
09/25/12 – Soyuz TMA-27/32S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
10/07/12 -- Soyuz TMA-26/31S undock/landing (End of Increment 33)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/xx/12 -- Soyuz TMA-28/33S launch – C.Hadfield (CDR-35)/T.Mashburn/R.Romanenko
11/xx/12 – Soyuz TMA-28/33S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
03/xx/12 -- Soyuz TMA-27/32S undock/landing (End of Increment 34)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
03/xx/12 – Soyuz TMA-29/34S launch.
03/xx/12 – Soyuz TMA-29/34S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------

To send holiday greetings to the crew and get more information about the space station, visit http://www.nasa.gov/station