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November 21, 2011
ISS On-Orbit Status 11/21/11

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Underway: Week 1 of Increment 30 (three-person crew).

Crew Wake/Sleep cycle shift: To accommodate Soyuz 27S undock tonight at ~6:00pm EST, crew wake/sleep cycle changes are in effect, featuring a late wake-up and turn-in today, plus a free day tomorrow (all times EST):

  • Today: Wake – 6:30am; Sleep – 1:00am (11/22)
  • Tomorrow (11/22): Free Day
  • Wednesday (11/23): Wake – 1:00am; Sleep – 4:30pm (regular)

After wakeup, FE-1 Shkaplerov performed the routine inspection of the SM (Service Module) PSS Caution & Warning panel as part of regular Daily Morning Inspection.

FE-2 Ivanishin conducted the weekly checkup behind ASU/toilet panel 139 in the SM on a fluid connector (MNR-NS) of the SM-U urine collection system, looking for potential moisture.

Also at wakeup, CDR Burbank completed his 2nd post-sleep session of the Reaction Self Test (Psychomotor Vigilance Self Test on the ISS) protocol. [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. 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.]

Next, the new CDR performed the daily service of the BCAT-6 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-6)-Phase Separation experiment, checking the running BCAT-6 payload for camera & flashlight battery charge. The Nikon D2Xs camera with EarthKAM software running with the Intervalometer on SSC-18 (Station Support Computer 18) is taking automated flash photography of Sample 3. [After starting on 11/10, the camera is operating for a total of 7 days, taking one photo every 2 hrs. Camera battery change and Intervalometer restart is done three times a day. Objective of BCAT-6 Phase Separation: to gain unique insights into how gas and liquid phases separate and come together in microgravity. These fundamental studies on the underlying physics of fluids could provide the understanding needed to enable the development of less expensive, longer shelf-life household products, foods, and medicines.]

FE-5 Furukawa packed up all INTEGRATED IMMUNE saliva and blood samples in an insulated sample pouch and stowed them, with Sergey Volkov’s help, aboard the Soyuz SA/Descent Module at ambient temperature for return to the ground.

Satoshi also closed the protective shutters of the USOS windows, in the Lab, Node-3/Cupola & Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module) to prevent their contamination from Soyuz thruster effluents.

Anatoly Ivanishin performed the periodic (every Monday) verification of the automatic IUS AntiVirus program on the Russian VKS auxiliary network laptops RSS1, RSS2, RSK1-T61p & RSK2, as well as the manual update on the non-network laptops RSE-Med & RSE1. [Antivirus update procedures have changed since the SSCV4 software update. Before the installation (on 8/8) of the new automated procedure, the refresh was done manually on Mondays on RSS2, copying the files to the RSS2 service folder, then launching update scripts on the network laptops RSS1, RSK1-T61p & RSK2 and finally manually updating non-network laptops RSE-Med & RSE1. On Tuesdays, the anti-virus scanning results are regularly verified on all laptops. Nominally, Russian network laptops have software installed for automatic anti-virus update; fresh data is copied on RSK1-T61p & RRSK2 every time a computer is rebooted with a special login, and on RSS1 once daily. On Russian non-network laptops antivirus definition file update is done by the crew once every two weeks on Monday.]

Shkaplerov set up the battery of the GFI-1 “Relaksatsiya” (Relaxation) Earth Observation experiment for charging. Later, at ~7:00pm EST, Anton will configure the equipment at SM window #9 for observing the reentry of the Soyuz 27S descent capsule at ~8:59pm-9:02pm (between altitudes 140 & 100 km). [By means of the GFI-1 UFK “Fialka-MV-Kosmos” ultraviolet camera, SP spectrometer and SONY HVR-Z7 HD (High Definition) camcorder, the experiment observes the Earth atmosphere and surface from window #9, with spectrometer measurements controlled from Laptop 3. “Relaxation”, in Physics, is the transition of an atom or molecule from a higher energy level to a lower one, emitting radiative energy in the process as equilibrium is achieved.]

Afterwards, Anton & Anatoly worked together to perform the periodic (monthly) functional closure test of the Vozdukh CO2 (carbon dioxide) removal system’s spare AVK emergency vacuum valves, in the spare parts kit. [The AVKs are crucial because they close the Vozdukh's vacuum access lines in the event of a malfunction in the regular vacuum valves (BVK) or a depressurization in the Vozdukh valve panel (BOA). Access to vacuum is required to vent CO2 during the regeneration of the absorbent cartridges (PP).]

Burbank started a sampling run with the AQM (Air Quality Monitor), his first, deactivating the system ~5 hrs later. [Consisting of the EHS GC/DMS (Environmental Health Systems Gas Chromatograph / Differential Mobility Spectrometer), the system is controlled with “Sionex” expert software from the SSC (Station Support Computer)-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.]

Next, Dan set up ER8 (EXPRESS Rack 8) for future experiment work, removing the Amine Swingbed payload from its current location in ER8 Lockers 3 & 4, clearing the Lockers’ backplate of all gray tape and installing the Amine Swingbed Locker in ER8. [This will be the first test of the Amine Swingbed payload. Its purpose is to determine if a vacuum-regenerated amine system can effectively remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the ISS atmosphere using a smaller more efficient vacuum regeneration system. A similar technology (amine-based pressure swing adsorption) was used on the Shuttle Extended Duration Orbiter, in the form of the RCRS (Regenerative Carbon Dioxide Removal System). The Amine Swingbed payload uses an amine with a significantly greater capacity for CO2 than the RCRS. Amines are organic compounds and functional groups that contain a basic nitrogen atom with two “lone pair” electrons. They are derivatives of ammonia (NH3) wherein one or more of the hydrogen atoms (H) have been replaced by a substituent such as an alkyl or aryl group. Important amines include amino acids, biogenic amines, trimethylamine, and aniline. Inorganic derivatives of ammonia are also called ammonia, such as chloramine (NClH2).]

After reviewing VIABLE OBT (Onboard Training) material, Burbank serviced the VIABLE experiment (eValuatIon And monitoring of microBiofiLms insidE the ISS), touching and blowing the top of each of 4 VIABLE bags in the FGB (loc. 409) where they are stowed to collect environment samples.

Anton & Anatoly performed Day 5 service on the 28S-delivered Russian bioengineering experiments, transferring the remaining kits to the Soyuz spacecraft where Sergey loaded them into the SA Descent Capsule:
· BTKh-26 KASKAD Bioreactor,
· BTKh-40 BIF, from the KRIOGEM-03 cooler (+4 degC),
· BTKh-14 BIOEMULSIYA, from KRIOGEM-03 (+4 degC),
· BTKh-42 STRUKTURA (Structure), with its Luch-2 kit (Progress 45P-delivered), and
· BIO-8 PLAZMIDA, from KRIOGEM-03cooler (+4 degC).

Later, FE-2 Ivanishin performed routine maintenance on the SM SRVK-2M system by replacing its BKO multifiltration unit with a spare, discarding the old unit and updating the IMS (Inventory Management System). (Last time done: 6/6/11). [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.]

FE-2 also completed the daily routine servicing of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS) in the SM, his first. [Regular daily SOZh maintenance consists, among else, of checking the ASU toilet facilities, replacement of the KTO & KBO solid waste containers, replacement of EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine containers and filling EDV-SV, KOV (for Elektron), EDV-ZV & EDV on RP flow regulator.]

The CDR performed routine maintenance on the WRS (Water Recovery System) using the LFTP (Low Flow Transfer Pump) to transfer one CWC-I (-Iodine) to the WPA (Water Processor Assembly) and offloading it, using a particulate filter. [Estimated offload time: ~2 hrs; max. allowed quantity: 87%].

Burbank also serviced the FPEF MS (Fluid Physics Experiment Facility / Marangoni Surface) payload in the JAXA Kibo laboratory by removing & replacing 5 HDs (hard disks) of the IPU VRU (Image Processing Unit / Video Recording Unit),- #1032, #1033, #1034, #1035, #1036. [The replaced VRU disks (#1027, #1028, #1029, #1030, #1031) were put in a Ziploc bag for return to SSIPC (Space Station Integration & Promotion Center/Tsukuba)].

Later, Dan conducted his first periodic (approx. weekly) WRS (Water Recovery System) sampling in Node-3 using the TOCA (Total Organic Carbon Analyzer), after first initializing the software and priming (filling) the TOCA water sample hose, followed by the periodic changeout of the TOCA WWB (Waste Water Bag). [After the approximately 2 hr TOCA analysis, results were transferred to the SSC-5 (Station Support Computer 5) laptop via USB drive for downlink, and the data were also logged.]

FE-4 Volkov had another 3 hrs for loading remaining return & excess cargo on the Soyuz spacecraft.

At ~11:25am, Sergey downlinked the usual “Loading Complete” report via S-band.

FE-4 then also photographed the external surface of the Soyuz Descent Capsule/Orbital Module (SA/BO) hatch and its cover for subsequent downlink via OCA.

Shkaplerov configured the Russian STTS onboard comm system to its “undocked” mode.

Preparations for tonight’s undocking will pick up momentum at ~1:15pm with Volkov & Shkaplerov performing a communications check from the 27S spacecraft to RGS (Russian Groundsite) via VHF (Very High Frequency) and the the activation of the Soyuz spacecraft at ~1:25pm.

Russian thrusters will be disabled from ~2:25pm-4:05pm due to load constraints for hatch closure and the removal, by Volkov, of the QD (quick disconnect) screw clamps (BZV) of the docking & internal transfer mechanism (SSVP) which rigidized the joint at the MRM1 nadir port (2:25pm-2:45pm).

The Elektron O2 (oxygen) generator will be shut down by ground control from RGS at ~2:55pm.

After Crew Farewell, Sergey, Mike & Satoshi will enter the Soyuz at ~2:45pm-3:05pm, covered by live PAO TV.

Next, with the Soyuz spacecraft’s gas analyzer (GA) running, Shkaplerov inside MRM1 and Volkov outside close MRM1 & Soyuz hatches. The departing Soyuz crew then starts the standard one-hour leak check on the Soyuz-to-Rassvet vestibule.

After attitude control authority handover to the RS MCS (Russian Segment Motion Control System) at ~5:05pm, the ISS will maneuver to undock attitude. The returning crew will then perform Sokol suit leak checks and depressurize the BO Orbital Module by 150 mmHg for leak checking the SA-BO hatch. Next, they will don their Kentavr g-suits, biomed belts and Sokol space suits.

ISS goes into Free Drift at 5:56pm-6:01pm for MRM1 hooks opening and Soyuz undocking at ~6:00pm. Attitude control returns to US Momentum Management with CMGs (Control Moment Gyros) at ~9:40pm EST.

With the undocking of Soyuz 27S, Increment 29 ends and Inc-30 begins.

When hooks have opened and 27S has been pushed out by spring force (delta-V ~0.12 m/s), Soyuz CDR Sergey Volkov will activate the RODK for its test, perform the first manual separation burn at ~15-20m (10 s, ~0.35 m/s) and begin stationkeeping at ~50 m for the RODK test (start 6:05pm). The 2nd manual sep burn follows at ~6:10pm (20 s; ~0.70 m/s), with two DPO-B1 thrusters. Later, ISS will return to duty attitude (LVLH/ Local Vertical Local Horizontal) at 9:05pm. [The RODK test will check out the Manual Attitude Control in Digital Mode of TMA-02M, the second Soyuz with digital controls. RODK provides automated LVLH (Local Vertical-Local Horizontal) attitude control. For the Descent Timeline, see below. Back in March, the post-undocking testing of the first digital Soyuz, TMA-01M/24S, also included the ROAK (Manual Attitude Control in Analog Mode).]

Activities scheduled for FE-1 Shkaplerov immediately after undocking are –
  • Monitoring 27S departure and shooting photography of the Soyuz Docking Assembly from SM window #7 after separation, for ground inspection for cleanliness (i.e., no seal debris),
  • Manually closing the KVD/PEV (Pressure Equalization Valve) between the MRM1 “Rassvet” module and its nadir docking port vestibule,
  • Downlinking the videos taken by him of the Soyuz/MRM1 hatch interface prior to hatch closure and of the hatch closing,
  • Conducting the periodic task of tightening the BZV quick release screw clamps of the SSVP docking mechanism on the MRM1/FGB docking interface, and
  • The periodic checkout & performance verification of IP-1 airflow sensors in the various RS (Russian Segment) 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 GA-MRM1, FGB PGO–FGB GA, and FGB GA–Node-1], and
  • Returning the STTS comm system to its post-undocking configuration.

FE-2 Ivanishin meanwhile will take two photos of the internal part of the MRM1 docking port’s SSVP-StM docking cone to obtain digital imagery of the scratch or scuff mark left by the head of the Soyuz active docking probe on the internal surface of the passive drogue (docking cone) ring, a standard practice after Russian dockings. Anatoly subsequently downlinks the pictures via OCA assets. [These images are used to refine current understanding of docking conditions. The objective is to take photo imagery of the scratch or scuff marks left by the head of the docking probe on the internal surface of the drogue (docking cone, ASP) ring, now rotated out of the passageway. Before shooting the picture, the cosmonaut highlights the scuffmark with a marker and writes the date next to it. As other crewmembers before him, Anatoly used the Nikon D2X digital still camera to take the pictures with the hatch partially closed.]

Of the remaining ISS residents, only Dan Burbank worked out with the regular 2-hr physical exercise protocol on the CEVIS cycle ergometer with vibration isolation and ARED advanced resistive exercise device.

Conjunction Advisory: NASA/MCC-H is tracking a conjunction with Object 31907 (Fengyun 1C satellite debris) with TCA (Time of Closest Approach) tomorrow (11/22) at 2:17pm EST, about 20 hours after today’s scheduled undocking of Soyuz 27S. The conjunction is currently classified as Low Concern, primarily because this object has not been seen for the last ~15 days

27S Descent Timeline Overview:
If everything proceeds nominally, the return to Earth of the “digital” TMA-02M spacecraft tonight will proceed along the following approximate event sequence (all times EST):
  • ISS Control Handover to RS --- 5:05pm;
  • Orbital (local) Sunset --- 5:27pm;
  • Orbital (local) Sunrise --- 5:59:50pm;
  • Undock --- 6:00pm;
  • RODK Test --- 6:05pm; (RODK = Manual Attitude Control in Digital Mode)
  • Deorbit Burn start (delta-V 115.2 m/sec) --- 8:32:21pm;
  • Deorbit Burn complete --- 8:36:37pm (delta-V 115.2 m/s);
  • Trimodule Separation (~140 km alt) --- 8:59:13pm;
  • Atmospheric entry (101.6.1 km alt, with ~170 m/sec) --- 9:02:05pm;
  • Entry Guidance start (81.1 km alt) --- 9:03:50pm;
  • Maximum G-load (33.3 km alt) --- 9:08:50pm
  • Parachute deploy command (10.8 km alt) --- 9:10:43pm;
  • 27S Landing (DO1) --- 9:25pm EST; 06:25am Moscow (11/22); 8:25am local Kazakhstan; (loc. 51deg N, 67deg 10min E; northeast of the Arkalyk).
Note: Kazakhstan time = GMT+6h; = EST+11h. Moscow time = EST+9h.]

What the Soyuz TMA-02M/27S crew will experience during their reentry/descent tonight:
  • For the reentry, Sergey, Mike & Satoshi will wear the Russian Kentavr anti-G suit under their Sokol suits. [The Kentavr garment is a protective anti-g suit ensemble to facilitate the return of a long-duration crewmember into the Earth gravity. Consisting of shorts, gaiters, underpants, jersey and socks, it acts as countermeasure for circulatory disturbance, prevents crewmember from overloading during descent and increases orthostatic tolerance during post-flight adaptation. Russian crewmembers are also advised to ingest fluid-electrolyte additives, viz., three sodium chloride tablets during breakfast and after the midday meal, each time with 300 ml of fluid, and two pills during the meal aboard Soyuz before deorbit.]
  • Before descent:
    Special attention will be paid to the need for careful donning of the medical belt with sensors and securing tight contact between sensors and body. ECG electrodes are applied with paste. Kentavr suits must have snug fit in lower body and calves.
    During preparation for descent, before atmosphere reentry, crewmembers settle down comfortably in the Kazbek couches, fasten the harness belts, securing tight contact between body and the seat liner in the couch.
  • During de-orbit:
    • Dust particles starting to sink in the Descent Module (SA) cabin is the first indication of atmosphere reentry and beginning of G-load effect. From that time on, special attention is required as the loads increase rapidly.
    • Under G-load effects during atmosphere reentry the crew expects the following experience:
      Sensation of G-load pressure on the body, heaviness of the body, labored breathing and speech. These are normal sensations, and the advice is to "take them coolly". In case of the feeling of a lump in the throat, this is no cause to "be nervous". This is frequent and should not be fought. Best is to "try not to swallow and talk at this moment". Crew should check vision and, if any disturbances occur, create additional tension of abdominal pressure and leg muscles (strain abdomen by pulling in), in addition to the Kentavr anti-G suit.
    • During deployment of pilot parachute (0.62 & 4.5 square meters), drogue chute (16 sq.m.) and main (518 sq.m.) chutes the impact accelerations will be perceived as a "strong jolt". No reason to become concerned about this but one should be prepared that during the parachutes deployment and change ("rehook") of prime parachute to symmetrical suspension, swinging and spinning motion of the SA occurs, which involves vestibular (middle ear) irritations.
  • It is important to tighten restrain system to fasten pelvis and pectoral arch.
    Vestibular irritation can occur in the form of different referred sensations such as vertigo, hyperhidrosis, postural illusions, general discomfort and nausea. To prevent vestibular irritation the crew should "limit head movement and eyes movement", as well as fix their sight on a stationary object.
  • Just before the landing (softened by six small rocket engines behind the heat shield):
    Crew will be prepared for the vehicle impact with the ground, with their bodies fixed along the surface of the seat liner in advance and braced for ground impact. "Special attention should be paid to arm fixation to avoid the elbow and hand squat" (instruction). Landing speed: ~9.9 m/sec.
  • After landing:
    Crew should not get up quickly from their seats to leave the SA. They were advised to stay in the couch for several minutes and only then stand up. In doing that, they should limit head and eyes movement and avoid excessive motions, proceeding slowly. Their body should not take up earth gravity in the upright position too quickly.

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

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 7:21am EST [= epoch])
  • Mean altitude – 392.1 km
  • Apogee height – 413.0 km
  • Perigee height – 371.3 km
  • Period -- 92.40 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
  • Eccentricity -- 0.0030826
  • Solar Beta Angle -- -38.6 deg (magnitude decreasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.58
  • Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours – 210 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 74,547
  • Time in orbit (station) – 4749 days
  • Time in orbit (crews, cum.) – 4036 days

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
11/21/11 -- Soyuz TMA-02M/27S undock/landing (End of Increment 29) (~6:00pm/9:25pm)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
12/21/11 -- Soyuz TMA-03M/29S launch – O.Kononenko (CDR-31)/A.Kuipers/D.Pettit --- (Target Date)
12/23/11 -- Soyuz TMA-03M/29S docking (MRM1) --- (Target Date)
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
TBD -- Progress M-13M/45P undock
TBD -- Progress M-14M/46P launch
TBD -- Progress M-14M/46P docking (DC-1)
xx/xx/12 -- SpaceX Falcon 9/Dragon --- (Under Review)
02/29/12 -- ATV3 launch readiness
TBD -- Soyuz TMA-22/28S undock/landing (End of Increment 30)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
03/xx/12 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/30S launch – G.Padalka (CDR-32)/J.Acaba/K.Volkov --- (Target Date)
04/xx/12 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/30S docking (MRM2) --- (Target Date)
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
05/05/12 -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – launch on Proton (under review)
05/06/12 -- Progress M-14M/46P undock
05/07/12 -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) – docking (under review)
05/xx/12 -- Soyuz TMA-03M/29S undock/landing (End of Increment 31)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/xx/12 – Soyuz TMA-05M/31S launch – S.Williams (CDR-33)/Y.Malenchenko/A.Hoshide
05/xx/12 – Soyuz TMA-05M/31S docking
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
09/xx/12 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/30S undock/landing (End of Increment 32)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
10/xx/12 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/32S launch – K.Ford (CDR-34)/O.Novitskiy/E.Tarelkin
10/xx/12 – Soyuz TMA-06M/32S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
11/xx/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/31S undock/landing (End of Increment 33)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/xx/12 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/33S launch – C.Hadfield (CDR-35)/T.Mashburn/R.Romanenko
12/xx/12 – Soyuz TMA-07M/33S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
03/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/32S undock/landing (End of Increment 34)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
03/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-08M/34S launch – P.Vinogradov (CDR-36)/C.Cassidy/A.Misurkin
03/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-08M/34S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
05/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-07M/33S undock/landing (End of Increment 35)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-09M/35S launch – M.Suraev (CDR-37)/K.Nyberg/L.Parmitano
05/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-09M/35S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
09/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-08M/34S undock/landing (End of Increment 36)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
09/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-10M/36S launch – M.Hopkins/TBD (CDR-38)/TBD
09/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-10M/36S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
11/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-09M/35S undock/landing (End of Increment 37)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-11M/37S launch – K.Wakata (CDR-39)/R.Mastracchio/TBD
11/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-11M/37S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
03/xx/14 – Soyuz TMA-10M/36S undock/landing (End of Increment 38)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------