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November 16, 2012
ISS On-Orbit Status 11/16/12

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

  • Due to the early Soyuz 31S MCS (Motion Control System) thruster test (12:32am EST), CDR Williams & FE-4 Malenchenko started their day 90 min earlier (last night at 11:30pm) and will begin their sleep period this afternoon at 3:00pm instead of 4:30pm.

With the protective shutters of the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), Lab and Cupola windows closed, Yuri Malenchenko & Sunita Williams prepared for Soyuz 31S undocking & deorbit on Sunday (11/18) by spending an hour in the TMA-05M/31S Descent Module (SA) on MRM1 Rassvet, supporting, at 11:55pm-12:55am EST, a ground-commanded thruster test and checkout of the Soyuz MCS (SUDN Mode 2/“Docked”) which included pressurization of the KDU (Combined Propulsion System) Section 2 and Tank 2, a test of the pilot’s rotational & translational hand controllers (RUD & RUO), and a hot firing of the DPO braking thrusters while ISS was in free drift. DPO retrograde thrusters were not fired. [For the RST (rasstjkovkoy / undocking) test, station attitude was handed over to Russian thruster control at 12:27am. The one-minute firing started at 12:32am on Daily Orbit 3 during an RGS (Russian Groundsite) pass at 12:32am-12:48am. Attitude control was returned to the USOS (U.S. Segment) at 1:10am.]

At his wakeup (at regular time, 1:00am), FE-6 Hoshide conducted another post-sleep session of the Reaction Self-Test (Psychomotor Vigilance Self-Test on the ISS) protocol, his 39th. [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.]

After wakeup, FE-4 Malenchenko performed the routine inspection of the SM (Service Module) PSS Caution & Warning panel as part of regular Daily Morning Inspection.

Yuri also completed the daily reboot of the Russian RS1 & RS2 laptops.

After the Soyuz thruster test, FE-4 activated the ASU toilet facility in the 31S spacecraft.

In addition, Yuri worked in the TMA-05M spacecraft’s Orbital Module (BO), disconnecting & taking out the electronic LKT local temperature sensor commutator (TA251MB) of the BITS2-12 onboard telemetry measurement system and its PZU-1M ROM (read-only memory) unit, for stowage and recycling in a future vehicle.

Later in the day, the three 31S crewmembers, Malenchenko, Williams & Hoshide, teamed up in the Soyuz SA Descent Module for the 3-hr nominal descent drill, a standard training exercise for every crew returning on this spacecraft. Results of the exercise, which strictly forbids any command activation (except for switching the InPU display on the Neptun-ME console), were subsequently reported to ground control at TsUP/Moscow. [Undocking from MRM1 Rassvet is currently planned for 11/18 at ~5:26pm EST. The session included a review of the pertinent ODFs (operational data files), specifically the books on Soyuz Ascent & Descent Procedures, Emergency Descents, and Off-Nominal Situations, crew responsibilities when executing the flight program, visual crew recognition of SUS (Entry Control System) failures, spacesuit procedures, etc., with special emphasis on operations with the Neptune-ME cockpit console. The training uses a Descent Simulator application (Trenasher Spusk =descent trainer”) on the RSK1 laptop.]

Deferred from yesterday, Kevin Ford conducted his 2nd session with the RFx (Reversible Figures) experiment payload in COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), first adjusting the VCA1 (Video Cameras Assembly 1) for coverage, then connecting the RFx hardware to the ESA MPLT (Multipurpose Payload Laptop), followed by performance of the science protocol in free-floating position. Session data were then copied to PCMCIA memory card, and the hardware stowed. [RFx is an ESA experiment designed to investigate the adaptive nature of the human neuro-vestibular system in the processing of gravitational information related to 3D visual perception. Previous research suggests that the reliance on linear perspective cues for three dimensional visual perception decreases when subjects are tilted relative to gravity and in microgravity during parabolic and orbital flight. Based on this observation, it is likely that the adaptive changes in the processing of gravitational information by the neuro-vestibular system during spaceflight may alter 3D visual perception. The RFx (Reversible Figures) investigation involves comparisons of pre-flight, in-flight, and post-flight perceptions with regards to ambiguous perspective-reversible figures to assess the influence of micro-G. The question is whether the perception of ambiguous perspective-reversible figures (figures that can normally be seen in 1g to change in perspective or orientation in two different ways) is affected by micro-G. A comparison of the perceived reversals during visualization of the figures in crewmembers occurs before, during and after long-term exposure to microgravity. It is expected that measurable, perceptual differences can expand our understanding of human cognitive-perception dynamics by examining the differences that exist between the micro-G environment of the ISS and that of the Earth’s surface. The hypothesis that the perceived reversal of 2D figures is not affected in micro-G is to be verified by determining for all phases of the spaceflight: (1) the time for first reversal and the number of perceived reversals of 3D and 2D reversible figures in a given time frame; and (2) the probability for seeing each view/reversal within a figure.]

In the MRM2 module, with Oleg taking documentary photography, FE-2 Tarelkin ran another session with the Russian BTKh-35 MEMBRANA (Membrane) biotechnology payload, unstowing and installing its thermostatic container with Kit #2, then activating the heating cycle for the 3rd onboard run after vigorously shaking each capsule. Afterwards Evgeny removed the Kit #2 sample capsules from the thermostatic-controlled container for storage, closed out the experiment and dismantled the equipment. [Objective of Membrane: Study of new technological capabilities to generate a porous structure with a high degree of uniformity of spatial distribution and working pore sizes based on the convection-turbulent-free process of phase changes in microgravity in a polymer solution. Expected outcome is the production of porous polymeric materials. These are filtering elements, membranes, sorbents having a high degree of structural homogeneity of working pores, acting as "molecular sieves" and possessing the improved selectivity characteristics (selective rejection) when they are used in the separation processes of complex mixtures of macromolecules. An example would be during extraction of valuable organic and bioorganic preparations in ground-based production.]

Aki Hoshide conducted maintenance on MELFI-2 (Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS 2), cleaning and disinfecting its Dewar 2.

Kevin replaced the desiccant in ambient dewar(s) of MELFI-2 (done every 6 months). [Since Dewar 2 was just cleaned by Aki, Ford did not access that Dewar during this activity.]

Suni Williams continued the job of preparing Ice Brick units for upcoming preservative storage needs, today retrieving 5 green (-32 degC) Bricks from stowage and inserting them in MELFI-3 Dewar 2 in the Lab for chill-down. The CDR also temporarily stowed the adhesive syringe in MELFI-3 which Kevin used on 11/14 for installing the sensor kit of the UBNT (Ultrasonic Background Noise Test) in the Lab.

In preparation for his return to gravity on Sunday evening (5:26pm EST), FE-4 Yuri Malenchenko undertook Part 2 of his 5th and final exercise/training session of the Russian MO-5 MedOps protocol of cardiovascular evaluation in the below-the-waist reduced-pressure device (ODNT, US: LBNP) on the TVIS treadmill with FE-2 Tarelkin assisting as CMO (Crew Medical Officer). [The assessment, lasting 90 min., supported by ground specialist tagup (VHF) and telemetry monitoring from Russian ground sites, uses the Gamma-1 ECG equipment with biomed harness, skin electrodes and a blood pressure and rheoplethysmograph cuff wired to the cycle ergometer's instrumentation panels. The Chibis ODNT provides gravity-simulating stress to the body’s cardiovascular/circulatory system for evaluation of the crewmembers’ orthostatic tolerance after several months in zero-G. The closeout exercise generally consists of first imbibing 150-200 milliliters of water or juice, followed by two cycles of a sequence of progressive regimes of reduced (“negative”) pressure, set at -20, -25, -35, -40 mmHg (Torr) for 5 min. each, followed by -10 mmHg for 1 min., -20, -35, -40 mmHg for 10 min. each, and a final 30 mmHg for 5 min. and drop to 0 mmHg, while shifting from foot to foot at 10-12 steps per minute, while wearing a sphygmomanometer to measure blood pressure, medically monitored with the Gamma-1M hardware. The body’s circulatory system interprets the pressure differential between upper and lower body as a gravity-like force pulling the blood (and other liquids) down. Chibis data and biomed cardiovascular readings are recorded. The Chibis suit (not to be confused with the Russian “Pinguin” suit for spring-loaded body compression, or the "Kentavr" anti-g suit worn during reentry) is similar to the U.S. LBNP facility (not a suit) used for the first time on Skylab in 1973/74, although it appears to accomplish its purpose more quickly.]

Kevin Ford unstowed five potable water samples collected on 11/5 from the PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) for inflight analysis with the CWQMK (Colorimetric Water Quality Monitoring Kit), first establishing a Total Iodine standard, then completing the Silver standard and analysis. [Afterwards, data were downloaded on a T61p laptop and the CWQMK kit stowed temporarily in the CWQMK Nomex pouch.]

Later, with the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) activated, Ford powered on the InSPACE and InSPACE3 (Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions 3) hardware for its 4th operational session and conducted several runs of the experiment. [Steps included turning on MSG video cameras & monitor, verifying optical alignment of the cameras, and configuring the MSG video recorders. Then, after switching the magnetic field to STEADY mode, Kevin swept & focused the field of view, later removed & stowed the video tapes from the MSG video recorders and inserted new blank tapes for another run. After the last run of the day, the hardware and video drawers were deactivated.]

While the ground is investigating an issue with the acoustic dosimeters used by Hoshide in the last three days, Aki unpowered the dosimeters, removed their batteries, and stowed them. [Files already saved on the dosimeters were not lost when the power was removed.]

In the FGB, Novitskiy replaced the expired GERMETIK leak repair kit (55842R) containing Germetall-1 and Anaterm-1u sealant, with a new kit (58818R) delivered on Progress 49P.

Afterwards, Oleg supported the overnight test of the TEKh-39 LCS (Laser Communications System, Russian: SLS) in the SM by copying the test data collected overnight from the RSE-SLS A31p laptop to the RSS2 laptop for data downlink and log file dump.

Tarelkin continued the current round of periodic preventive maintenance of RS (Russian Segment) ventilation systems by changing out the cartridges of the four dust filters (PF1-PF4) in the SM and discarding the used cartridges.

Later, Evgeny collected regular air samples for return on Soyuz, using a Russian AK-1M absorber in the SM for air & Freon, plus IPD-CO Draeger tubes, on a cartridge belt with a pump, to check the SM cabin air for CO (Carbon Monoxide) and subsequently also for NH3 (Ammonia).

As Kevin Ford observed & assisted for familiarization/handover, Sunita used the Velocicalc instrument for IMV (Inter Module Ventilation) air flow velocity measurements in the JAXA JPM (JEM Pressurized Module) at IMV Ovhd Aft inlet, IMV Stbd Aft inlet, IMV Stbd Fwd Outlet & IMV Port Fwd outlet (to JPM), after cleaning the grilles with the vacuum cleaner where found necessary. [The Velocicalc in its Thermal Anemometer setting is equipped with Thermal/Pitot tube sensors for taking air flow readings. The sensors are so sensitive that breathing too close by could skew the data.]

Aki Hoshide had ~1h set aside to support troubleshooting the failed T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill, configuring SSC-18 and connecting it to the T2 RIP (Rack Interface Panel) via the debug breakout cable to allow remote troubleshooting of the comm card by the ground.

Evgeny Tarelkin took care of 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.]

Oleg Novitskiy meanwhile 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).

Sunita serviced the NanoRack payload for the last time, activating mixing tubes 2 (#1005) and 9 (#1006), then deactivating & shaking the mixing tubes and stowing Module 9 for return to Earth.

In preparation for upcoming SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites) operations, Kevin went looking for the SPHERES beacons in JPM to verify their availability.

Afterwards, FE-3 Ford completed his weekly task of filling out his SHD (Space Headache) questionnaire which he started after Soyuz launch on a daily basis and continues on ISS on an SSC (Station Support Computer) for every week after his first week in space.

Working on the CEVIS cycle ergometer exercise machine, Hoshide removed the current HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) receiver from its control panel and installed a new HRM receiver in its place.

In Node-2, FE-6 finished up with the JSL (Joint Station LAN/Local Area Network) BelAir WAP (Wireless Access Point) transition, reconfiguring the ISL (Integrated Station LAN) router by swapping two JSL Ethernet lines to match the configuration of the portside router. [

Evgeny used the standard ECOSFERA equipment, set up yesterday, to conduct microbial air sampling runs, Part 2, for the MedOps SZM-MO-21 experiment, with the POTOK Air Purification System temporarily powered down, taking Kit 1 samples from cabin surfaces along with samples from crewmembers for sanitation and disease studies. The Petri dishes with the samples were then stowed in the KRIOGEM-03 thermostatic container and subsequently packed for return in Soyuz 31S. Later, the ECOSFERA battery was set to recharge, for tomorrow’s 2nd MO-21 stage. [The equipment, consisting of an air sampler set, a charger, power supply unit, and incubation tray for Petri dishes, determines microbial contamination of the ISS atmosphere, specifically the total bacterial and fungal microflora counts and microflora composition according to morphologic criteria of microorganism colonies. Because the Ecosphere battery can only support 10 air samples on one charge at one given time, the sample collection must be performed in two stages.]

Before Presleep (~2:30pm EST), FE-3 Ford powers up the MPC (Multi-Protocol Converter) and starts 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, Suni 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, Kevin swaps out the battery of the EarthKAM (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students) equipment at the Lab WORF (Window Observation Research Facility) rack, then re-activates the NIKON D2Xs plus software. [This is the 5th use of the NIKON D2Xs camera by EKAM and the 4th time that any images are being taken from the WORF. EKAM will have a week-long session (until 11/17) which started on 11/12 with system checkout and targeting calibration. Students around the world, anxiously awaiting use of the higher resolution images, will begin taking their images today by remote commanding. D2Xs batteries (3 per day) need to be fully charged for camera operation.]

Oleg Novitskiy had several hours reserved for using the SONY HVR-Z7E video camera to film more onboard scenes for Roskosmos TV Studio’s joint project with News Channel “Russia 24”, producing its weekly program on cosmonautics.

Yuri & Suni again had an hour set aside each for personal crew departure preparations which is standard pre-return procedure for homecoming crewmembers.

Williams & Hoshide had their pre-descent PMCs (Private Medical Conferences), via S- & Ku-band audio/video, Suni at ~6:30am, Aki at ~7:35am EST (deferred from yesterday).

At ~3:15am EST, Malenchenko, Novitskiy, Tarelkin, Williams, Ford & Hoshide held the regular (nominally weekly) tagup with the Russian Main Flight Control Team (GOGU/Glavnaya operativnaya gruppa upravleniya), including Shift Flight Director (SRP), at TsUP-Moscow via S-band/audio, phone-patched from Houston and Moscow.

At ~5:00am, Yuri, Evgeny & Oleg linked up with TsUP-Moscow stowage specialists via S-band to conduct the weekly IMS tagup, discussing inventory & stowage issues, equipment locations and cargo transfers.

At ~1:00pm, Sunita powered up the SM's amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and conducted a ham radio session with students at Flagler Palm Coast Amateur Radio Club, Palm Coast, FL.

At ~2:40pm, the crew is scheduled for their regular weekly tagup with the Lead Flight Director at JSC/MCC-Houston.

The crew worked out on the CEVIS cycle ergometer with vibration isolation & stabilization (FE-3), TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation & stabilization (CDR, FE-1, FE-4/2x, FE-6), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (FE-2, FE-3, FE-6), and VELO ergometer bike with load trainer (FE-1, FE-2). [CDR & FE-6 are on the special experimental SPRINT protocol which diverts from the regular 2.5 hrs per day exercise regime and introduces special daily sessions involving resistive and aerobic (interval & continuous) exercise, followed by a USND (Ultrasound) leg muscle self scan in COL. No exercise is being timelined for Suni on Friday, for Aki on Thursday. If any day is not completed, Suni & Aki pick up where they left off, i.e., they would be finishing out the week with the last day of exercise on her off day. Suni’s protocol for today showed TVIS (int., 4 min.), with no exercise tomorrow, ARED/T2 (cont.) and T2 (2 min) for the next 3 days. Aki’s protocol for today showed ARED/TVIS (cont.), with T2 (int. 2 min.) and ARED/CEVIS on the following 2 days. Explanation: After 10 min. warmup (active, i.e., motorized): Aerobic “T2 30 sec” (passive, i.e., nonmotorized) = 7-8 sets of exercise at HRmax (max. heart rate) for 30 sec, with 15 sec rest in between. Aerobic “T2 2 min” (motorized) = 6 sets of 2 min each at 70%, 80%, 90%, 100%, 90%, 80% HRmax. Aerobic “T2 4 min” (motorized) = 4 sets of 4 min, with 3 min rest period in between. ]

Tasks listed for FE-4 Malenchenko on the Russian discretionary “time permitting” job for today were –
  • 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), and
  • 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.

WRM Update: A new WRM (Water Recovery Management) “cue card” was uplinked to the crew for their reference, updated with their latest CWC (Contingency Water Container) water audit. [The new card (32-0005I) lists 20 CWCs (254.13 L total), including 1 empty bag, for the five types of water identified on board: 1. Silver technical water (3 CWCs with 98.1 L); 2. Condensate water (3 CWCs with 14.0 L; plus 1 empty bag); 3. Iodinated water (11 CWCs with 129.85 L); 4. Waste water (1 CWC with 9.68 L bag EMU waste water), and 5. Special Fluid (OGS) (1 CWC with 2.5 L). Other CWCs are stowed behind racks and are currently not being tracked due to unchanging contents. Wautersia bacteria are typical water-borne microorganisms that have been seen previously in ISS water sources. These isolates pose no threat to human health.]

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

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
-------------- Inc-33: Six-crew operations -------------
11/18/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/31S undock/deorbit/landing – 5:26pm/7:58pm/8:53pm EST (local: 11/19, 7:53am) End of Increment 33)
-------------- Inc-34: 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
-------------- Inc-34: Six-crew operations -------------
02/11/13 – Progress M-16M/48P undocking
02/12/13 – Progress M-18M/50P launch
02/14/13 – Progress M-18M/50P docking
03/15/13 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/32S undock/landing (End of Increment 34)
-------------- Inc-35: 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
04/23/13 -- Progress M-18M/50P undock/landing
-------------- Inc-35: Six-crew operations -------------
05/16/13 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/33S undock/landing (End of Increment 35)
-------------- Inc-36: 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
-------------- Inc-36: Six-crew operations -------------
09/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-08M/34S undock/landing (End of Increment 36)
-------------- Inc-37: 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
-------------- Inc-37: Six-crew operations -------------
11/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-09M/35S undock/landing (End of Increment 37)
-------------- Inc-38: 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
-------------- Inc-38: Six-crew operations -------------
03/xx/14 -- Soyuz TMA-10M/36S undock/landing (End of Increment 38)
-------------- Inc-39: Three-crew operations -------------