June 29, 2009
ISS On-Orbit Status 06/29/09

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Ahead: Week 6 of Increment 20.

Upon wakeup (~2:00am EDT), FE-1 Barratt, FE-4 Thirsk & FE-5 DeWinne began another session of the experiment SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight), logging data from their Actiwatch to the HRF-1 (Human Research Facility 1) laptop as part of a week-long session. [To monitor the crewmember’s sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, the crewmembers wear a special Actiwatch device which measures the light levels encountered by them as well as their patterns of sleep and activity throughout the Expedition and use 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.]

FE-2 Wakata & FE-4 Thirsk started the day with the extended “Bisphosphonates” biomedical countermeasures experiment for which Wakata & Thirsk ingested an Alendronate pill before breakfast. [The Bisphosphonates study should determine whether antiresorptive agents (that help reduce bone loss) in conjunction with the routine in-flight exercise program will protect ISS crewmembers from the regional decreases in bone mineral density documented on previous ISS missions. Two dosing regimens will be tested: (1) an oral dose of 70 mg of Alendronate taken weekly starting 3 weeks prior to flight and then throughout the flight and (2) an intravenous (IV) dose of 4 mg Zoledronic Acid, administered just once approximately 45 days before flight. The rationale for including both Alendronate and Zoledronic Acid is that two dosing options will maximize crew participation, increase the countermeasure options available to flight surgeons, increase scientific opportunities, and minimize the effects of operational and logistical constraints. The primary measurement objective is to obtain preflight and postflight QCT (Quantitative Computed Tomography) scans of the hip. The QCT scans will provide volumetric bone density information of both cortical and trabecular (spongy) bone regions of the hip.]

Bob Thirsk reviewed the following EPO (Educational Payload Operation) session and set up the camcorder for recording the Demo, showing Wakata & Barratt working with the SLAMMD (Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device) payload.

Meanwhile, Mike set up the SLAMMD hardware and checked it out. Along with Koichi, Bob and Frank, he then used it to measure their body masses. It was Koichi’s second, Mike’s fourth, and Bob & Frank’s first time. [SLAMMD, performed first on Expedition 12 in December 2005, provides an accurate means of determining the on-orbit mass of humans spanning the range from the 5th percentile Japanese female and the 95th percentile American male. The procedure, in accordance with Newton’s 2nd Law of Motion, finds the mass by dividing force, generated by two springs inside the SLAMMD drawer, by acceleration measured with a precise optical instrument that detects the position versus time trajectory of the SLAMMD guide arm and a micro controller which collects the raw data and provides the precise timing. The final computation is done via portable laptop computer with SLAMMD unique software. To calculate their mass, crewmembers wrap their legs around a leg support assembly, align the stomach against a belly pad and either rest the head or chin on a head rest. For calibration, an 18-lbs. mass is used at different lengths from the pivot point, to simulate different mass values. Crew mass range is from 90 to 240 lbs.]

Gennady Padalka set up the equipment for his third session with the Russian experiment MBI-18 DYKHANIE (“Respiration”) and undertook the test, controlled from the RSE-Med laptop and supported by ground specialist tagup. Gennady then closed down the hardware and stowed it. [Dykhanie-1 uses two body belts (PG-T/thoracic, PG-A/abdominal), a calibrator, resistor, mouthpiece, etc., to study fundamental physiological mechanisms of the external breathing function of crewmembers under long-duration orbital flight conditions. During the experiment, physiological measurements are taken and recorded with a pneumotachogram, a thoracic pneumogram, an abdominal pneumogram, and pressure data in the oral cavity. All experimentally derived plus salient environmental data along with personal data of the subject are recorded on PCMIA card for return to the ground at end of the Expedition. Objectives include determining the dynamics of the relationship between thoracic (pectoral) and abdominal breathing function reserves and their realization potential during spontaneous breathing, the coordinated spontaneous respiratory movements in terms of thoracic and abdominal components of volumetric, time & rate parameters of spontaneous respiratory cycle, identification of the features of humoral-reflex regulation of breathing by dynamics of ventilation sensitivity of thoracic and abdominal components to chemoreceptor stimuli, etc. Overall, the experiment is intended to provide a better understanding of the basic mechanisms of pulmonary respiration/gas exchange gravitational relations of cosmonauts.]

FE-3 Romanenko, with the CDR joining in, completed the periodic (monthly) functional closure test of the Vozdukh CO2 (carbon dioxide) removal system’s spare emergency vacuum valves (AVK), 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).]

Later, Roman conducted an audit of all hardware items connected to the power outlets in the RS (Russian Segment), logging equipment items & locations in an uplinked listing of plug-ins.

Early in the morning, FE-1 Barratt removed the alignment guides on the FCF (Fluids & Combustion Facility) in the CIR (Combustion Integrated Rack) in the Lab to allow PaRIS (Passive Rack Isolation System) activation for FCF operations requiring a microgravity environment. Later, near the end of the workday, the guides were re-installed to lock down the PaRIS.

The FE-5 conducted the monthly FDS PEP (Fire Detection & Suppression/Portable Emergency Provisions) safety inspection/audit in the ISS modules. [The 30-min IMS-supported inspection involves verification that PFEs (Portable Fire Extinguishers), PBAs (Portable Breathing Apparatus), QDMAs (Quick-Don Mask Assemblies) and EHTKs (Extension Hose/Tee Kits) are free of damage to ensure their functionality, and to track shelf life/life cycles on the hardware. QDMA harness inspection was not required today.]

FE-1 Barratt & FE-2 Wakata conducted the second set (after 6/25) of ultrasound scans for the HMS (Health Maintenance System) biomedical BRASLET-M/Anketa ("bracelet/questionnaire") test procedure with ultrasound and echocardiographic electrodes, documented with still & video imagery. Mike was the operator, Koichi the subject. Afterwards, the equipment was stowed away. [Prior to the session, the protocol had called for no BRASLET cuff within 24 hrs, no caffeine within 12 hrs, no heavy meals within 4 hrs, no food or exercise at all within 2 hrs, and no liquids within 30 min. Background: BRASLET (Validation of On-Orbit Methodology for the Assessment of Cardiac Function and Changes in the Circulating Volume Using Ultrasound and BRASLET-M Occlusion Cuffs) is SDTO 17011, sponsored by NASA and FSA/IBMP (Russian Federal Space Agency/Institute of Bio-Medical Problems, Russian: IMBP, Dr. Valery Bogomolov). BRASLET is testing the performance of occlusion cuffs in modifying fluid shifts that occur early during physiological transition into the space environment. Understanding the effects of this countermeasure on cardiovascular function will be useful for both medical operations and future research. The goal of this investigation is to establish a valid ultrasound methodology for assessing a number of aspects of central and peripheral hemodynamics and cardiovascular function, specifically in rapid changes in intravascular circulating volume. The SDTO uses BRASLET-M occlusion cuffs, which are a Russian-made operational countermeasure already pre-calibrated and available onboard for each ISS crewmember. BRASLET uses multiple modes of ultrasound imaging and measurements, in combination with short-term application of BRASLET-M occlusive cuffs and cardiopulmonary maneuvers (Valsalva, Mueller) to demonstrate and to evaluate the degree of changes in the circulating volume on orbit. This is accomplished by performing echocardiographic examinations in multiple modes (including Tissue Doppler mode), ultrasound measurements of lower extremity venous and arterial vascular responses to BRASLET-M device under nominal conditions and also during cardiopulmonary Mueller and Valsalva maneuvers. Identical measurements are being repeated without BRASLET-M, with BRASLET-M applied, and immediately after releasing the occlusion device.]

Koichi transferred the accumulated ECG (Electrocardiogram) data of his recent (6/18) EPM (European Physiology Module) Cardiolab Holter session to the ELT (Experiment Laptop Terminal) and downlinked the G1 video-recorded cardio graphs by bit packet via POIC (Payload Operations Integration Center/Huntsville) to SSIPC (Space Station Integration & Promotion Center)/Tsukuba.

Roman unstowed the hatch cover assembly removed on 6/10 in the SM PkhO (Service Module Transfer Tunnel) during EVA-23 and took documentary photographs of its external & internal surfaces with the Nikon D2X for subsequent downlink via OCA.

In the U.S. Lab, Bob Thirsk started (later terminated) another 5-hr automatic sampling run, the eleventh, with the new EHS GC/DMS (Environmental Health System Gas Chromatograph/Differential Mobility Spectrometer), also known as AQM (Air Quality Monitor), controlled with “Sionex” expert software from the SSC-4 (Station Support Computer 4) laptop. [The AQM demonstrates COTS (Commercial Off-the-Shelf) technology for identifying volatile organic compounds, similar to the VOA (Volatile Organics Analyzer). Today’s data will again to be compared with VOA and GSC (Grab Sample Container) measurements. This evaluation will continue over the course of several months as it helps to eventually certify the GC/DMS as nominal CHeCS hardware.]

CDR Padalka had several hours set aside for preparing the spacecraft for its undocking. To get the uncrewed cargo ship ready for departure, Gennady –
  • Dismantled and removed 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 from inside the ship for recycling,
  • Worked with Roman Romanenko in the spacecraft to finish packing and tying down trash and excess cargo while logging moves in the IMS (Inventory Management System),
  • Called down his Loading Complete report to TsUP-Moscow,
  • Activated the spacecraft’s electronics and taking out the ventilation/heating air duct to the DC-1 Docking Compartment,
  • Took out an SD1-7 double-light fixture for re-use,
  • Removed the QD (quick disconnect) screw clamps (BZV) of the docking & internal transfer mechanism (SSVP) which rigidized the joint [during clamp removal and leak checking, Russian thrusters were inhibited from 1:20pm to 3:05pm EDT due to load constraints],
  • Closed the hatches between 33P & DC-1 (~1:45pm);
  • Started the standard one-hour leak checking of the SU docking vestibule and fuel/oxidizer transfer line interface between Progress and DC1 (~2:05pm), and
  • Downloaded the video which recorded the close-out activities, for review by ground specialists.
[Undocking is scheduled for ~2:30pm EDT tomorrow. Progress M-02M will remain in orbit on independent flight and attempt a re-rendezvous on 7/12 (dependent on solar constraints).]

In the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), FE-4 Thirsk performed his second ICV (Integrated Cardiovascular) Resting Echo session as Subject, assisted by FE-5 DeWinne as CMO (Crew Medical Officer). [Most of the configuration for the ultrasound part of the assessment had been set up earlier today for the Braslet experiment. Wearing the electrodes, ECG cable & VOX, Bob underwent the ultrasound scan for the Resting Echo mode of ICV, with video being recorded from the HRF (Human Research Facility) Ultrasound and COL cabin camera. After confirmed file transfer, the gear was powered down and stowed. The ultrasound echo experiment uses the Image Collector software on the laptop and requires VOX/Voice plus RT Video downlink during the activity. Goal of the ICV experiment is to quantify the extent, time course, and clinical significance of cardiac atrophy and identify its mechanisms. The primary objective of the accompanying CCISS experiment is to maximize the information about changes in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular function that might compromise the ability of astronauts to meet the challenge of return to an upright posture on Earth.]

After setting up and connecting the UOP DCP (Utility Outlet Panel/Display & Control Panel) power bypass cable at the Lab RWS (Robotic Workstation), the FE-2 & FE-5 conducted the usual one-hour POC DOUG (Portable Onboard Computers/Dynamic Onboard Ubiquitous Graphics) software review for tomorrow’s scheduled SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) activities. [On 6/26, ground controllers moved the SSRMS from Node-2 to the MBS (Mobile Base System) cart. Tomorrow’s activities will consist of OCRs (On-orbit Checkout Requirements) in preparation for HTV capture. The SSRMS will then be returned to Node-2 by ground control for Flight 2J/A.]

FE-1 Barratt performed the periodic N2 (nitrogen) pressure check on the MELFI (Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for the ISS) to ascertain if it is within acceptable range.

In the US Airlock, Mike initiated maintenance discharge of the #2076 EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) battery in the BC3 BSA (Battery Stowage Assembly), using BC3 (Battery Charger 3). [The discharge will take approximately 23 hrs.]

The FE-3 did the daily IMS 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).

FE-3 also performed the periodic checkup behind ASU panel 139 in the SM on a fluid connector (MNR-NS) of the SM-U urine collection system, looking for potential moisture.

Padalka 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 and replacement of EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine containers.]

At ~5:20pm, just before sleep time, Roman will set up the Russian MBI-12 SONOKARD payload and start his third experiment session, 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. [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.]

FE-1, FE-2 & FE-5 had their periodic PMCs (Private Medical Conferences), via S- & Ku-band audio/video, Frank at ~4:20am, Mike at ~3:40pm & Koichi at ~3:55pm EDT.

The crew completed their regular daily 2.5-hr. physical workout program on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-4), TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation (CDR, FE-1, FE-3, FE-5), RED resistive exercise device (FE-1, FE-2, FE-4, FE-5) and VELO cycle ergometer with bungee cord load trainer (CDR, FE-3). [The interim RED has been declared Go for nominal use until the ARED (Advanced RED) has had its damaged VIS (Vibration Isolation System) dashpot replaced and can be put back in service.]

Later, Bob Thirsk transferred the exercise data file to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) for downlink, including the daily wristband HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) data of the workouts on ARED, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).

TVM “Glitch”: The Russian TVM Terminal Computer System suffered a minor software-related “glitch”, losing its second string (of three subsets). No impact on operations, and straightforward to fix.

CEO photography can be studied at this “Gateway” website:
http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov (as of 9/1/08, this database contained 770,668 views of the Earth from space, with 324,812 from the ISS alone).

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
06/30/09 -- Progress 33P undocking (~2:30pm EDT)
07/02/09 -- Soyuz TMA-14/18S relocation (from SM aft to DC1 nadir; 5:29pm – 5:54pm EDT)
07/11/09 -- STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch - JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD; (7:39am EDT)
07/12/09 -- Progress 33P Re-rendezvous attempt (based on solar constraints)
07/13/09 -- STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A docking (if launched nominally 7/11)
07/24/09 -- Progress 34P launch
07/25/09 -- STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A undocking
07/27/09 -- STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A landing (KSC, ~12:16pm EDT)
07/29/09 -- Progress 34P docking (would be able to dock as early as July 27 depending on STS-127)
08/18/09 -- STS-128/Discovery/17A – MPLM (P), LMC (~4:25am EDT)
09/01/09 -- H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) launch – tentative
09/07/09 -- H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) berth
09/30/09 -- Soyuz TMA-16/20S launch
10/02/09 -- Soyuz TMA-16/20S docking (SM aft, until MRM-2 w/new port)
10/08/09 -- H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) unberth
10/11/09 -- Soyuz TMA-14/18S undock
10/15/09 -- Progress 35P launch
11/10/09 -- 5R/MRM-2 (Russian Mini Research Module 2) on Soyuz-U
11/12/09 -- STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 - ELC1, ELC2
12/07/09 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S launch
12/26/09 -- Progress 36P launch
02/03/10 -- Progress 37P launch
02/04/10 -- STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola
03/18/10 -- STS-131/Discovery/19A – MPLM(P), LMC
04/02/10 -- Soyuz TMA-18/22S launch
04/27/10 -- Progress 38P launch
05/14/10 -- STS-132/Atlantis/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM-1
05/29/10 -- Soyuz TMA-19/23S launch
06/25/10 -- Progress 39P launch
07/29/10 -- STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 – ELC4, MPLM
08/11/10 -- Progress 40P launch
09/16/10 -- STS-134/Discovery/ULF6 – ELC3, AMS
09/29/10 -- Soyuz TMA-20/24S launch
10/19/10 -- Progress 41P launch
12/??/11 -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – on Proton