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July 11, 2012
ISS On-Orbit Status 07/11/12

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

After breakfast, FE-2 Revin performed the routine inspection of the SM (Service Module) PSS Caution & Warning panel as part of regular Daily Morning Inspection.

FE-3 Acaba serviced the running EarthKAM (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students) payload in the Lab WORF (Window Observation Research Facility) rack, replacing D2Xs camera batteries several times during nighttime passes, with the camera temporarily shut down. [For running EKAM, SSC (Station Support Computer)-11 had been switched from wired to wireless operation, using the new EarthKAM software which replaced the early version used for the KODAK DCS 760 camera. This is the 4th use of the NIKON D2Xs camera by EKAM and the 3rd time that any images will be taken from the WORF. EK has a week-long session starting with system checkout and targeting calibration. Students around the world, anxiously awaiting use of the higher resolution images, began their image taking today by remote commanding (121 schools/groups were already signed up to participate). D2Xs batteries (3 per day) need to be fully charged for camera operation. Also, Joe will change the lens tomorrow (7/11), and students/teachers will capture images until EK deactivation on 7/14 (Saturday).]

CDR Padalka performed his first session with the MBI-29 IMMUNO (Neuroendocrine & Immune Responses in Humans During & After Long Term Stay at ISS) equipment, using the SALIVA-I IMMUNO kit and the Plazma-03 Centrifuge to collect saliva and, with help by Sergei Revin, venous blood samples which were then processed in the centrifuge and stored by Joe Acaba in MELFI-1 (Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS 1), Dewar 2, Tray B/sect. 3-4, for return to Earth on Soyuz 30S. Gennady also conducted the MBI-29 stress test and filled out the associated questionnaire. [Later, FE-2 Revin prepared the equipment for his own IMMUNO session tomorrow.]

In the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), FE-3 Acaba continued working with TNSC (Tanegashima Space Center, Japan) on checking out the PROX/Proximity Communication System in the ICS (Inter-Satellite Communication System) Rack for the HTV3 (H-II Transfer Vehicle 3). [After enabling a selfcheck of the HCP (HTV Control Panel) by pushing a button, the checkout focused on PROX Baseband function performance and the command transmission from HCP to the HTV Simulator at the TNSC ground station, with Joe checking LED (light-emitting diode) light and backlight on the panel while the ground commanded the checkout procedure.]

Also in the JAXA JPM, after reviewing reference material for the SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites) Test Session 32, Joe Acaba relocated an SSC laptop to the Kibo module for running SPHERES, set up the Panasonic 3DA1 camcorder with fresh batteries for recording 3D video and then conducted the session which included Systems Characterization, ZR (Zero Robotics), Visual Inspection and Swarm Motion, with 2 satellites and 5 beacons. [Afterwards, the satellites were deactivated, the 3D imagery copied over to the SSC for downlink via OCA, the 3DA1 turned off, the battery packs checked and removed, the beacons powered off, the LPTX antenna disconnected, and the gear stowed. SPHERES was originally developed to demonstrate the basics of formation flight, autonomous docking and other multi-spacecraft control algorithms, 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. Per applicable Flight Rule, SPHERES operations have no CO2 output constraints if the CDRA (CO2 Removal Assembly) is operating in dual-bed or single-bed mode.]

Performing IFM (Inflight Maintenance) in the SM on the Vozdukh CO2 removal assembly of the SOA (Atmosphere Purification System), Padalka removed & replaced the vacuum pump which was diagnosed by RSC-Energia engineers to have been the cause of the machine’s shutdown last Friday (7/6).

Continuing the current round of periodic preventive maintenance of RS (Russian Segment) ventilation systems, FE-2 Revin worked in the FGB (Funktsionalnyi-Grusovoi Blok) cleaning the grilles of interior panels 201, 301, 401, 116, 316, 231 & 431 plus the GZhT-1,-2,-3 gas-liquid heat exchanger screens.

Afterwards, Sergei performed the periodic transfer of U.S. condensate water from a CWC (Contingency Water Container, #1085) to the RS for the periodic (about twice a month) replenishing of the Elektron’s water supply for electrolysis, filling the designated KOV EDV container (#823). Once filled, the EDV is 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.]

The CDR continued the regular window inspection in the RS, today focusing on windows 2, 13 & 14 in the SM. [Objective of the inspection, which uses a digital still camera (Nikon D2X w/SB-28DX flash) and voice recorder, is to assess the pane surfaces on RS for any changes (new cavities, scratches, new or expanded old stains, bleed lines or discolorations affecting transparency properties) since the last inspection. The new assessment will be compared to the earlier observations. Defects are measured with the parallax method which uses eyeball-sighting with a ruler and a right isosceles triangle to determine the defects' size and position with respect to the window's internal surface (parallax being the apparent change in an object's position resulting from changing the observer's position).]

Padalka also performed 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 GA-MRM1, FGB PGO–FGB GA, and FGB GA–Node-1].

Revin completed the routine daily servicing of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS) in the SM. [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.]

In the SM, FE-2 took documentary snapshots of BITS2-12 TLM (telemetry) cables behind Panel 430 to check for damage of their branches connected to temperature sensors T107 & T108 of the two 800A batteries #7 and #8.

Joe Acaba completed his 2nd OOHA (On-Orbit Hearing Assessment) test, a 30-minute NASA environmental health systems examination to assess the efficacy of acoustic countermeasures and monitor crew hearing status on-orbit, using a special software application on the SSC (Station Support Computer) laptop. [The self-administered OOHA test is a variation of conventional audiometric testing, in which the crewmember determines minimum audibility for tones, over a wide range of frequencies (0.25-10 kHz) and sound pressure levels, in each ear. While wearing custom-made Prophonics earphones and Bose active noise reduction headsets, the crewmember uses special EarQ software on the SSC to determine the lowest sound pressure level at which the tone can still be heard. The first on-orbit test is required not later than about Flight Day 14 for each new Expedition and is then generally performed once per 45 days thereafter. Results are then reviewed by medical personnel and compared to pre-flight OOHA data and also to previous on-orbit OOHA results. Note: There have been temporary shifts in hearing sensitivity documented on some crewmembers, most of which have recovered to pre-mission levels.]

Before Presleep, FE-3 will turn on the MPC (Multi-Protocol Converter) and start the Ku-band data flow of video recorded during the day to the ground, with POIC (Payload Operations & Integration Center) routing the onboard HRDL (High-Rate Data Link). After about an hour, Joe turns MPC routing off again. [This is a routine operation which regularly transmits HD onboard video (live or tape playback) to the ground on a daily basis before sleeptime.]

Before sleeptime, Sergei will set up the battery of the GFI-1 “Relaksatsiya” (Relaxation) Earth Observation experiment for overnight charging. [By means of the GFI-1 UFKFialka-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.]

Also before sleep, Gennady will prepare the Russian MBI-12 payload and start a session with the 3rd Sonokard experiment, 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. Sergei will take documentary photography. [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.]

The crew worked out with their regular 2-hr physical exercise protocol on the TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation & stabilization (CDR, FE-2), ARED advanced resistive exerciser (CDR, FE-3), T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (FE-3) and VELO ergometer bike with load trainer (FE-2).

Tasks listed for Revin & Padalka on the Russian discretionary “time permitting” job for today were –
  • A ~30-min. session for Russia's EKON Environmental Safety Agency, making observations and taking KPT-3 aerial photography of environmental conditions on Earth using the NIKON D3X camera with the RSK-1 laptop,
  • Earth photography of current flooding conditions in the Russian Kuban region, and
  • More preparation & downlinking of reportages (written text, photos, videos) for the Roskosmos website to promote Russia’s manned space program (max. file size 500 Mb).

ATV Cabin Fan: After yesterday’s replacement, by Padalka, of the ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle)-3 cabin fan with the single remaining spare, the fan was shut down by automatic FDIR (Fault Detection, Isolation & Recovery) about 30 sec after start-up. Ground teams assessed the data and determined the fan had switched off due to a faulty transducer that measures the pressure difference between the fan’s inlet and outlet. After inhibiting the sensor, the fan was restarted and monitored by ground teams for 2.5 hours. ATV-CC (Control Center/Toulouse) is investigating.

ISSAC Update: Joe Acaba yesterday completed the troubleshooting of the ISSAC (ISS Agricultural Camera) laptop. An error was found in the BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) settings, which has now been corrected. The laptop was successfully recovered and is now available to support nominal ISSAC operations. ISSAC takes frequent images of vegetated areas in the northern Great Plains region of the United States.

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) targets uplinked for today were Prague, Czech Republic (CAPITAL CITIES COLLECTION SITE: The Czech capital of about 1.3 million has been an important European city for over a millennium. It may have been partly cloudy on this mid-morning pass approaching from the WSW. Prague is situated on a great looping bend in the Vltava River), Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (CAPITAL CITIES COLLECTION SITE: ISS had an early afternoon pass in fair weather with approach from the WNW. This capital city of at least 1.25 million with its grid-like pattern is located in the fertile and agriculturally active Chui River Valley near the country’s northern border with Kazakhstan. At this time, with the large, long Lake Balkhash on the left, the crew was to begin looking nadir for this urban area), Vienna, Austria (CAPITAL CITIES COLLECTION SITE: The renowned Austrian capital is located in the eastern part of the country on a gentle arc in the Danube River about 40 miles west of Bratislava, Slovakia. ISS had a fair weather, midday pass today with the city just left of track. At this time, as it approached from the WNW, the crew was to find the Danube and then try to capture this urban area within a single frame), Niwot Ridge Tundra, Colorado (LONG TERM ECOLOGICAL RESEARCH (LTER) Site: The crew had a near-nadir view of this target area in early morning light with fair weather anticipated. This LTER site is located in north-central Colorado within the alpine areas above 3,000m just west of Boulder. As ISS tracked northeastward over the Colorado Rockies, before reaching the plains to the east, the crew was to try for contextual mapping of the ridge and its surroundings), Slate Islands Impact Crater, Ontario (ISS had a fair weather mid-morning pass for this target as it approached from the WSW. The Slate Islands are located near the northernmost coast of Lake Superior. The islands mark the center of a 30 kilometer in diameter impact structure that was formed approximately 450 million years ago. At this time as ISS tracked along the north coast of Lake Superior, the crew was to look near nadir for detailed views), and Fraser River Flooding, BC, Canada (DYNAMIC EVENT: This request was in response to an International Charter activation for flooding on the Fraser River in British Colombia dated 06/24/12. Weather has finally improved enough for views of this region along the lower Fraser River valley where the worst flooding was reported. ISS had a mid-morning pass in fair weather with the area of interest to the right of track. At this time as ISS began tracking over northwestern Vancouver Island, the crew was to look right of track, first for sediment plumes in the Straits of Georgia, and then try for a mapping strip along the course of the Fraser River inland from the city of Vancouver).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 9:14am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 399.0 km
Apogee height – 404.1 km
Perigee height – 393.9 km
Period -- 92.54 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0007551
Solar Beta Angle -- -28.5 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.56
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 78 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) – 78,180
Time in orbit (station) -- 4982 days
Time in orbit (crews, cum.) -- 4269 days.

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
07/12/12 -- Progress 47P propellant purging
07/14/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/31S launch – 10:40:03pm EDT -- S.Williams (CDR-33)/Y.Malenchenko/A.Hoshide
07/17/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/31S docking -- ~12:50am EDT
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
07/18/12 -- ATV/ISS reboost
07/20/12 -- HTV3 launch (~10:18pm EDT)
07/22/12 -- Progress M-15M/47P undock #1 ~4:22pm EDT
07/23/12 -- Progress M-15M/47P Kurs-NA Test
07/23/12 -- Progress M-15M/47P re-docking ~9:55pm EDT
07/27/12 -- HTV3 docking
07/30/12 -- Progress M-15M/47P undocking #2 ~2:11pm EDT
08/01/12 -- Progress M-16M/48P launch [4-orbit RDVZ] ~3:35pm EDT
08/01/12 -- Progress M-16M/48P launch [34-orbit RDVZ] ~3:38pm EDT
08/01/12 -- Progress M-16M/48P docking [4-orbit RDVZ] ~9:24pm EDT
08/03/12 -- Progress M-16M/48P docking [34-orbit RDVZ] ~6:14pm EDT
08/16/12 -- Russian EVA-31
08/30/12 -- US EVA-18
09/06/12 -- HTV3 undocking
09/08/12 -- HTV3 reentry
09/17/12 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/30S undock/landing (End of Increment 32)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
09/25/12 -- ATV3 undocking
10/15/12 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/32S launch – K.Ford (CDR-34)/O.Novitsky/E.Tarelkin
10/17/12 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/32S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
11/01/12 -- Progress M-17M/49P launch
11/03/12 -- Progress M-17M/49P docking
11/12/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/31S undock/landing (End of Increment 33)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
12/05/12 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/33S launch – C.Hadfield (CDR-35)/T.Mashburn/R.Romanenko
12/07/12 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/33S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
12/26/12 -- Progress M-18M/50P launch
12/28/12 -- Progress M-18M/50P docking
03/19/13 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/32S undock/landing (End of Increment 34)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
04/02/13 -- Soyuz TMA-08M/34S launch – P.Vinogradov (CDR-36)/C.Cassidy/A.Misurkin
04/04/13 -- Soyuz TMA-08M/34S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
05/16/13 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/33S undock/landing (End of Increment 35)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/29/13 -- Soyuz TMA-09M/35S launch – M.Suraev (CDR-37)/K.Nyberg/L.Parmitano
05/31/13 -- 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-------------