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December 12, 2012
ISS On-Orbit Status 12/12/12

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

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

Evgeny also performed maintenance on the BRI smart switch router (SSR), checking its temperature via DeviceControl on the RSS1 laptop to ensure nominal operation. [The BRI fan module consists of 4 individual fans. If one or several of these exhibit malfunction or rotation speed decreases, a combined warning is sent to the DeviceControl application on the RSS1 laptop to generate an emergency message and telemetry signal, “BRI1”. The fan module is an ORU (On-orbit Replaceable Unit).]

FE-1 Novitskiy rebooted the Russian RS1 & RS2 and RSS1 & RSS2 laptops.

CDR Ford conducted the periodic relocation of the EHS IV-TEPC (Environmental Health System Intra-Vehicular Tissue Equivalent Proportional Counter), the primary radiation measurement tool in the ISS, today from Node-2 (P3) to COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), loc. A2, then activating it and testing communications & data transfer from the radiation instrument to an SSC (Station Support Computer) for later downlink to the ground (Crew downlink: “No joy - tripped J01 on SUP1 {Standard Utility Panel 1}). [TEPC Audio Alarm was disabled. The amateur/ham radio equipment in COL was also unplugged and will remain so. The new setup was photo-documented.]

Ford also performed troubleshooting on the T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill, re-launching its software after a rack power cycle (off/on), then performed his exercise run on it.

Oleg & Evgeny teamed up for another session with the KPT-2 payload suite of BAR science instruments for 2h30m, using the AU-1 Ultrasound Analyzer of the BAR instrument suite to take acoustic readings at locations (behind-the-panels spaces) in the FGB, checking for tiny leaks. The measurements are made by placing a microphone at the front part of the object at a distance of 50 cm. Documentary photography was taken with the NIKON D2X camera with SB 800 flash. [KPT-2 monitors problem areas, necessary to predict shell micro-destruction rate and to develop measures to extend station life. Data are copied to the RSE1 laptop for downlink to Earth via OCA, with photographs, and the activities are supported by ground specialist tagup as required. Objective of the Russian KPT-2/BAR science payload is to measure environmental parameters (temperature, humidity, air flow rate) and module shell surface temperatures behind RS panels and other areas susceptible to possible micro-destruction (corrosion), before and after insolation (day vs. night). Piren-V is a video-endoscope with pyrosensor, part of the methods & means being used on ISS for detecting tiny leaks in ISS modules which could lead to cabin depressurization. Besides KPT-2 Piren-V, 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-1) to determine environmental data in specific locations and at specific times (AU-1 Ultrasound readings can be used for detecting tiny leaks to vacuum). Activities include documentary photography with the NIKON D2X camera and flash.]

After reviewing procedural briefing material, Kevin gathered & staged hardware items and tools for tomorrow’s scheduled IFM (In-Flight Maintenance) in the Lab on the CIR (Combustion Integrated Rack) to replace the MDCA (Multi-user Droplet Combustion Apparatus) Fiber Arm and both MDCA Igniter tips. Ford then prepared the MWA WSA (Maintenance Work Area Work Surface Area) to restrain the CIA (Chamber Insert Assembly) during the replacement. [Steps include entering the CIR Combustion Chamber and completely removing the MDCA CIA. Its Fiber Arm with crossed fibers will then be removed because it is dirty with combustion by-products. Next, both MDCA Igniter Tips will be replaced for preventive maintenance, and finally a new Fiber Arm with cross fibers will be installed on the CIA. Afterwards, ground personnel can continue with MDCA FLEX-2 Convective Flow and Quiescent test points.]

Tarelkin continued the current round of periodic preventive maintenance of RS (Russian Segment) ventilation systems, today working in the DC1 Pirs compartment to change out the PF1 & PF2 dust filter cartridges and to clean the V1 & V2 fan screens, the VD1 & VD2 air ducts and the V3 fan screen, using a vacuum cleaner and soft brush.

FE-1 Novitskiy had an hour reserved for his 2nd round of filming onboard “Chronicle” newsreel footage using the SONY HVR-Z7E camcorder and the NIKON D2X & D3 still cameras, part of the ongoing effort to create a “Life on the Station” photo & video documentary database on the flight of ISS-34 (“Flight Chronicles”) for Telecanal Roskosmos. [Footage subjects generally include running experiments, current activities at the station, repair activities behind panels, exercise, cosmonauts looking out the window at the Earth, Earth surface, station interior, cosmonaut in zero gravity, leisure, life on orbit, personal hygiene, meals, station exterior, comm. passes with the ground, ham radio passes, station cleaning, spacesuits, space hardware, MRM1, MRM2, DC1, FGB, Soyuz & Progress, intermodular passageways, meeting a new crew, crewmember in space, medical experiments, handover activities, crew return preparations, farewell ceremonies, etc. The photo/video imagery is saved digitally on HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) for return to Earth on Soyuz.]

Afterwards, Oleg configured the usual pumping equipment (electrical compressor #41, hoses, adapters), flushed the BV1 Rodnik tank of Progress M-16M/48P at DC1 Nadir with disinfectant from an EDV-OR container, and then initiated the transfer of urine from three EDV-U containers (#953, #1057, #1064) to the BV1 storage tank. Bladder compression and leak checking on BV1 were performed on 12/7. [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.]

In the JAXA JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), Kevin Ford had 1.5 hrs set aside to prepare for Test Session 35 of the SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites) experiment, setting up the Panasonic 3DA1 camcorder with fresh batteries for recording 3D video and other equipment. The CDR then had another 2.5 hrs for a quick checkout and then to conduct the session which used 1 satellite. The following Smartphone IVA (Intravehicular) Survey test of about 8 min duration was to be repeated about 8 times. Afterwards, during an additional 20 min, the satellite was 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. [The session involved cameras, 1 satellite, 5 beacons, a beacon tester, 2 Smartphones, 3 handrail extenders, battery packs, CO2 tanks and the primary LPTX antenna. The IVA Survey Test was to demonstrate ground command of the satellite through the Smartphone. The ground controller conducted video surveys with the Smartphone mounted on the satellite by running several different search patterns in order to locate two targets: a second wall-mounted Smartphone and the IVA Test Target. At the end of each survey search pattern, the SPHERES test terminated, and Kevin needed to restart the test so the ground controller could run the next survey. 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.]

Oleg performed his 4th collection session for the psychological MBI-16 Vzaimodejstvie (“Interactions”) program, accessing and completing the computerized study questionnaire on the RSE-Med laptop and saving the data in an encrypted file. [The software has a “mood” questionnaire, a “group & work environment” questionnaire, and a “critical incidents” log. Results from the study, which is also mirrored by ground control subjects, could help to improve the ability of future crewmembers to interact safely and effectively with each other and with Mission Control, to have a more positive experience in space during multi-cultural, long-duration missions, and to successfully accomplish mission activities.]

Evgeny took on the daily routine job of servicing 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.]

Working from the Russian voluntary “time permitting” task list, FE-2 also 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).

Later, Evgeny Tarelkin set up the hardware for the Russian earth observation experiment TEKh-52 “Vizir” (Viewfinder) for another data take at SM window #6 and activated it for a validation run, followed by data downlink via RSPI high-speed data link and ground specialist tagup. [For today’s run, Tarelkin used easily identifiable earth targets for obtaining images which will then be processed by the ground for equipment alignment and precision characterization. Vizir uses the new SKPF-U hardware, a photo image coordinate reference system using ultrasound sensors, a NIKON D3X photo camera with AF300-800mm lens with PI emission platform for general target views, and the RSK1 T61p laptop with new software (Vers. 3.4), installed on 8/13.]

At ~8:40am EST, the three 32S crewmembers held a 30-min. Handover audio conference via S-band with the next Soyuz crew (33S), C.Hadfield, T. Mashburn & R. Romanenko. [Purpose: To start the process of passing on the lessons learned through audio- & videocons plus data exchanges to the upcoming Expedition crew.]

At ~2:15pm, the CDR will hold his standard weekly PMC (Private Medical Conference), via S- & Ku-band audio/video (Evgeny & Oleg had theirs yesterday).

Before Presleep (~2:30pm EST), 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, Kevin 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.]

The three crewmembers worked out on the TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation & stabilization (FE-1, FE-2), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-2), T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (CDR) and VELO ergometer bike with load trainer (FE-1).

Tasks listed for Evgeny & Oleg 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),
  • A ~30-min. run of the GFI-8 "Uragan" (hurricane) earth-imaging program with the NIKON D3X digital camera with Sigma AF 300-800mm telelens and PI emission platform using the SKPF-U to record target sites on the Earth surface, 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.

Reboost Preview: Tomorrow morning at ~9:28am EST, the ISS will perform a reboost maneuver to test the new PDAM procedure and to set up orbital phasing angle for the upcoming launches of Soyuz 33S and Progress 50P. The 7m 51s maneuver, performed by the 48P mid-ring thrusters, is expected to provide a delta-V of 0.5 m/sec and a mean altitude increase delta-h of 0.88 km, yielding a mean altitude of 422.2. km, with 427.1 km apogee height and 395.3 km perigee height.

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) targets uplinked for today were City Lights – Time-Lapse (Time-Lapse Photography: The crew started out with the first city lights time-lapse photography target over the northwestern and central United States. There were some cloud over the Pacific NW, but as ISS continued its descending pass over the Great Plains, the clouds began to clear. The crew mounted the camera to look up-track and follow the prescribed procedure to acquire at least 3 second intervals between their automated frames), Bujumbura, Burundi (Capital Cities Collection: Some scattered clouds may have been present at the time of the ISS pass over this capital city, which was left of track. The city is located on the northeastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Overlapping mapping frames of the urban and surrounding rural area were requested with a long lens, if possible), and Kampala, Uganda (Capital Cities Collection: The Ugandan capital city of nearly 1.7 million is located in the south central part of the country near the north shore of Lake Victoria. ISS had an early afternoon pass today with partly cloudy weather expected as it approached from the SW. At this time, as they neared Lake Victoria, the crew was to look left of track for this target and try for views of the entire city within a single frame).

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
-------------- Inc-34: Three-crew operations -------------
12/13/12 -- ISS Reboost, including PDAM (Pre-Determined Debris Avoidance Maneuver) test,
12/19/12 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/33S launch – 7:12:35am ESTC.Hadfield (CDR-35)/T.Mashburn/R.Romanenko
12/21/12 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/33S docking – ~9:18:41am EST
-------------- 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 -------------
03/28/13 -- Soyuz TMA-08M/34S launch – P.Vinogradov (CDR-36)/C.Cassidy/A.Misurkin
03/30/13 -- Soyuz TMA-08M/34S docking
04/15/13 – Progress N-17M/49P undock
04/18/13 -- ATV4 launch
04/23/13 -- Progress M-18M/50P undock
04/24/13 – Progress M-19M/51P launch
04/26/13 – Progress M-19M/51P docking
05/01/13 -- ATV4 docking
-------------- Inc-35: Six-crew operations -------------
05/14/13 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/33S undock/landing (End of Increment 35)
-------------- Inc-36: Three-crew operations -------------
05/28/13 -- Soyuz TMA-09M/35S launch – M.Suraev (CDR-37)/K.Nyberg/L.Parmitano
05/30/13 -- Soyuz TMA-09M/35S docking
-------------- Inc-36: Six-crew operations -------------
07/23/13 – Progress M-19M/51P undock
07/24/13 – Progress M-20M/52P launch
07/26/13 -- Progress M-20M/52P docking
09/11/13 -- Soyuz TMA-08M/34S undock/landing (End of Increment 36)
-------------- Inc-37: Three-crew operations -------------
09/25/13 -- Soyuz TMA-10M/36S launch – M.Hopkins/O.Kotov(CDR-38)/S.Ryanzansky
09/27/13 -- 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/M.Tyurin
11/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-11M/37S docking
12/18/13 -- Progress M-20M/52P undock
-------------- Inc-38: Six-crew operations -------------
03/xx/14 -- Soyuz TMA-10M/36S undock/landing (End of Increment 38)
-------------- Inc-39: Three-crew operations -------------