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December 17, 2010
ISS On-Orbit Status 12/17/10

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

Yest kasaniya! Soyuz TMA-20/25S docked successfully at 3:11pm EST at the MRM1 “Rassvet” module, 1 min ahead of schedule, on Soyuz orbit #33 (DO2), 5 min after local sunset. This doubles the station crew size to 6 persons and brings the total number of currently docked Russian VVs (visiting vehicles) to 4:
  • Soyuz TMA-01M/24S (#701) @ MRM2 “Poisk” zenith,
  • Soyuz TMA-20/25S (#229) @ MRM1 “Rassvet”
  • Progress M-08M/40P (#408) @ DC-1 nadir
  • Progress M-07M/39P (#407) @ SM aft.

It was also the 69th Russian flight to ISS (out of a total of 105 missions).

TMA-20/25S delivered Exp-26/27 crewmembers FE-4 Dmitri Kondratyev, FE-5 Paolo Nespoli & FE-6 Dr. Catherine (Cady) Coleman. [For Kondratyev, it is the first spaceflight, for Nespoli, who flew on STS-120, it is the second, and for Coleman, past crewmember of STS-73 & STS-93, it is the third.]
Welcome aboard, Dmitri, Paolo and Cady!

The newcomers joined CDR Scott Kelly, FE-1 Alexander “Sasha” Kaleri & FE-2 Oleg Skripochka. After about 3 hrs spent in Soyuz on pre-transfer activities, hatches will be opened at ~6:05pm, and the crew will transfer to the ISS. This will be followed by the traditional welcome event and the installation of the BZV QD (quick disconnect) clamps of the docking & internal transfer mechanism (SSVP) by Kondratyev, to rigidize the joint. [The Soyuz TV system was activated at ~2:30pm EST (10 km); final approach on automatic KURS pilot began at ~3:03pm. Shortly after "kasaniya" (contact), automatic "sborka" (closing of Soyuz & MRM1 nadir hooks & latches) took place at ~3:12pm with ISS in free drift. Attitude control authority had been handed over to the Russian MCS (Motion Control System) thrusters at ~11:45am and will be returned to US CMG (Control Moment Gyroscope) control at ~4:30pm. For the docking, Russian thrusters will be disabled during Soyuz volume pressurization & clamp installation (4:50pm-6:55pm) and afterwards returned to active attitude control. Before hatch opening, the crew performs leak checks of the Soyuz modules and the Soyuz/MRM1 interface vestibule. They then doff their Sokol suits, and Kondratyev set suits and gloves up for drying. Dmitri also deactivates the BOA/Atmosphere Purification Unit in the SA/Descent Module, replaces the Soyuz ECLSS LiOH cartridges, equalizes Soyuz/ISS pressures, and puts the spacecraft into conservation mode on ISS integrated power.]

Sleep cycle shift: To accommodate the arrival of Soyuz TMA-20/25S, crew wake/sleep cycle changes are in effect, featuring today a 4-hr “nap” & 30-min “snack”, and a no-activity Saturday.
  • Wake – 1:00am EST (this morning, regular)
  • Lunch – 7:00am
  • Midday nap – 8:00am-12:00pm
  • Snack – 5:05pm-5:35pm
  • Sleep – 1:00am (tomorrow morning, 12/18) for a very long “sleep”
  • Wake – 12:59am (Sunday, 12/19)
  • Sleep – 4:30pm (Sunday 12/19)
  • Wake – 1:00am (Monday, 12/20, returning to “normal”).

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). [Before sleeptime tomorrow morning, FE-1 Kaleri will inspect the filters again, 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 third 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.]

In the “digital” Soyuz TMA-01M/24S (#701) spacecraft, docked at the MRM2 “Poisk” at FGB nadir, FE-1 Kaleri activated the GA gas analyzer in the SA/Descent Module, a periodic checkup of the cabin air.

Then, Kaleri set up the new Russian experiment KPT-10 “Kulonovskiy Kristall” (Coulomb Crystal) with its electromagnetic unit and replaceable container for another run and initiated operation. After about 1h20m, the hardware was disassembled & stowed, and the video footage, obtained with two SONY HVR-Z1J camcorders, was downlinked. [KPT-10 studies dynamic and structural characteristics of the Coulomb systems formed by charged dispersed diamagnetic macroparticles in the magnetic trap, investigating the following processes onboard the ISS RS (Russian Segment): condensed dust media, Coulomb crystals, and formation of Coulomb liquids due to charged macroparticles. Coulomb systems are structures following Coulomb’s Law, a law of physics describing the electrostatic interaction between electrically charged particles. It was essential to the development of the theory of electromagnetism.]

CDR Kelly relocated three filled EDV-U urine containers (#958, #939, # 965) from Node-3 Port Endcone to the DC-1 Docking Compartment.

Alex Kaleri then configured the usual pumping equipment (Kompressor-M #41, hoses, adapters) and transferred the urine from the three USOS (US Segment) EDV-U containers to the 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.]

With all urine pumped over, the CDR returned the empty EDV-Us to their stowage sites in Node-3.

Oleg Skripochka & Scott Kelly worked in the MRM1 “Rassvet” module to clear it out for the Soyuz 25S docking, relocating US & Russian food containers from behind MRM1 panels to designated stowage areas in Node-1, Node-2, FGB & MRM1.

After their 4-hr “nap”, which took from 8:00am to 12:00pm EST, Kelly & Kaleri set up the Ku-band video “scheme” for covering the Soyuz docking. [Scott activated the FGB-based A31p SSC (Station Support Computer) laptop for the TV conversion to NTSC & Ku-band of the RS (Russian Segment) video signal from the SONY HDV camera via the MPEG-2 (Moving Pictures Expert Group 2) encoder from FGB & SM (Service Module), in order to downlink “streaming video” packets via U.S. OpsLAN and Ku-band. Oleg meanwhile set up and checked out the RSS1 (SSC-1) laptop at the TsP (Central post) for monitoring the imagery during the MPEG-2 channel transmission.]

Skripochka activated & verified proper operation of the Russian TEKh-15/DAKON-M IZGIB (“Bend”) experiment in the SM for taking structural dynamics data during the Soyuz docking. [IZGIB has the objective to help update mathematical models of the ISS gravitation environment, using accelerometers of the Russian SBI Onboard Measurement System, the GIVUS high-accuracy angular rate vector gyrometer of the SUDN Motion Control & Navigation System and other accelerometers for unattended measurement of micro-accelerations at science hardware accommodation locations - (1) in operation of onboard equipment having rotating parts (gyrodynes, fans), (2) when establishing and keeping various ISS attitude modes, and (3) when performing crew egresses into space and physical exercises.]

Afterwards, FE-2 Skripochka –
  • Set up the BRTK TVS video equipment to receive video from Soyuz and transmit it via the Ku-band “scheme”,
  • Configured STTS/station communications for the docking, and
  • Monitored, with Kaleri, the approach and final docking of Soyuz (3:11pm).

After the Soyuz docking at MRM1, Oleg’s activities will included –
  • Switching hatch KVDs (Pressure Equalization Valves/PEVs) between MRM1 & Soyuz back to Electric control mode,
  • Downlinking the TEKh-15/DAKON-M IZGIB (“Bend”) structural dynamics measurements and closing out the data take, and
  • Reconfiguring STTS station comm for the nominal post-docking hardline mode (MBS).

Kaleri will turn off the BRTK TVS video system for subsequent downlinking of footage.

RS thrusters will be inhibited from 4:50pm-6:55pm EST for the leak check and clamps installation. Soyuz CDR Kondratyev will conduct the leak checking on the Soyuz side from ~4:50pm-6:05pm, followed by hatch opening and Crew Welcome, expected to take place at about 6:05pm-6:35pm EST, to be transmitted to the ground live on PAO TV.

Afterwards, Kondratyev will install the interface-rigidizing SSVP BZV quick-disconnect clamps at ~6:35pm-6:55pm.

The newcomers, FE-4 Dmitri Kondratyev, FE-5 Paolo Nespoli & FE-6 Catherine Coleman, then join CDR Scott Kelly, FE-1 Alex Kaleri & FE-2 Oleg Skripochka for the obligatory Safety Briefing by Scott (~7:20pm-8:05pm), to familiarize them with procedures and escape routes in case of an emergency.

Other pre-sleeptime activities by the (now six) crewmembers will include –
  • Coleman & Nespoli preparing their CQs (Crew Quarters) in Node-2 and JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), their choice (e.g., inspection, cleaning as required, retrieving clothing & sleeping bag CTBs, installing sleeping bag on wall, setting up personal effect, etc.),
  • Kondratyev deactivating his docked Soyuz TMA-20 “orbitalniy polyot” (spacecraft),
  • Kelly, with Dmitri’s help, completing the ambient transfer of the 25S-delivered SOLO PCBA (Sodium Loading in Microgravity / Portable Clinical Blood Analyzer) bag with two measurement pouches and stowing them in MELFI-1 (Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS 1), Dewar 4, Tray C/Sect.2,
  • Kaleri installing the ID-3MKS dosimeter assemblies of the RBO-3-2 Matryoshka radiation payload in the #2 Kabin (crew quarters) on the RL protective curtain, and
  • Scott, Paolo & Cady joining for about an hour for the first crew handover session, to familiarize the newcomers with immediate duties.

At ~11:10pm EST, FE-6 Coleman is scheduled for her first PMC (Private Medical Conference), via S- & Ku-band audio/video.

The crew worked out on today’s reduced physical exercise protocol on the TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation & stabilization (FE-1, FE-2), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (CDR), and T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (CDR). [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 Kerguelen Is., S. Indian Ocean (significant breaks in cloud cover are predicted over the Kerguelen archipelago at the time of ISS overpass. Looking to the left of track for the islands. Glaciers and ice fields on the western half of the largest island are of particular interest for photography), Aurora Borealis, and Woollya Cove, Chile (HMS Beagle Site. Looking to the right of track for Woollya Cove in Tierra del Fuego. Charles Darwin visited the Cove in 1833. Some cloud cover was likely present. Overlapping frames of the Cove were requested).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 8:04am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 349.2 km
Apogee height – 354.7 km
Perigee height – 343.8 km
Period -- 91.52 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.65 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0008084
Solar Beta Angle -- 26.3 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.73
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours – 107 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) – 69,231.

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
12/20/10 -- SPDM (Robotics) Test
12/22/10 -- ISS Reboost (11:25am EST; 18min 54sec; delta-V 2.50 m/s)
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