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March 16, 2011
ISS On-Orbit Status 03/16/11

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. First full day of Increment 27.

Yest posadka! (We have Landing!) Welcome back home, Scott, Alex & Oleg! After 179 days in space (177 docked to ISS), Soyuz TMA-01M/24S, carrying Exp-26 crewmembers Alexander Kaleri, Oleg Skripochka (both Russia), and Scott Kelly (USA), landed successfully at 3:54am EDT this morning (local time: 1:54pm) in central Kazakhstan, 86 km north of the city of Arkalyk, under severe winter conditions. The descent capsule fell on its side, and the crew, which was in excellent condition, was quickly extracted by SAR (Search & Recovery) personnel. [TMA-01M (#701), the first fully “digital” Soyuz, undocked from the MRM2 (Mini Research Module 2) Poisk port early this morning at 12:26am EDT, after the crew had performed leak checks of the vestibule area between the MRM2 and the Soyuz spacecraft, of their Sokol suits and of the hatch between the Descent Module (SA) and Orbital Module (BO). Three minutes after physical undocking, Soyuz performed the first manual separation burn. This was followed at ~12:33am by the planned test of the new RODK Manual Attitude Control in Digital Mode which provides automated LVLH (Local Vertical-Local Horizontal) attitude control. After a second manual sep burn (~12:39am), Kaleri performed the planned test of the ROAK Manual Attitude Control in Analog Mode, which involved the three new orbit-installed rate sensors (“micro ammeters”), designed to provide the crew with information on roll rate & roll angle (officials later pronounced both tests successful). At about 2:56am, the crew activated the spacecraft’s VTsVK MCS (Motion Control System) “Chaika”. The actual de-orbit burn of 4 min 17 sec duration came at 3:03am, resulting in a 115.2 m/sec deceleration. Tri-module separation occurred at 3:28am. 16 sec after the separation command, software pitched the PAO (Instrumentation/Propulsion Module) in the rear to a specific angle (-78.5 deg from reference axis) which, if PAO would have remained connected to the SA/Descent Module, would have resulted in enough heating on the connecting truss to melt it, thus ensuring separation. Atmospheric entry followed at 3:31am and nominal parachute deployment at 3:40am. Following initial observation by Russian SAR personnel in two helicopters, the Soyuz vehicle landed in snow at 3:54am, tipping over in the wind. Because of local weather conditions (snow, wind, deep cold), the medical tent was not pitched this time. The crew was whisked by ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) to their helos and flown to Kustanai where Scott Kelly boarded the waiting NASA-992 Gulfstream-III airplane which today is bringing him back to Houston (with 2 refueling stops),- the 4th direct return for USOS crewmembers. Sasha Kaleri & Oleg Skripochka meanwhile were flown on the GCTC Tu-134 back to Chkalovsky airfield of the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center at Zvezdniy Gorodok (Star City). During their mission, the Exp-26 crewmembers worked on more than 150 microgravity experiments in human research; biology and biotechnology; physical and materials sciences; technology development; and Earth & space sciences. They also supported the arrival of a fleet of international space vehicles – the Japanese HTV2 (H-II Transfer Vehicle 2) “Kounotori” (white stork), Russia’s cargo ship Progress 41P, the European ATV2 (Automated Transfer Vehicle 2) “Johannes Kepler”, and the Space Shuttle Discover/ULF5 on its final mission, delivering more than 11 tons of supplies necessary for working and living aboard the station. Kaleri has logged over 770 total days in space, Scott Kelly over 180 days, Skripochka 159 days (his first mission).]

Remaining on board for Increment 27 are CDR Dmitri “Dima” Kondratyev (Russia), FE-5 Paolo Nespoli (Italy) & FE-6 Cady Coleman (USA). They are having a free day today, getting back on regular wake/sleep cycle tomorrow (Thursday, 3/17). A new “troika” of Exp-27 flight engineers, Andrej Borisenko, Alexander Samokutyaev (both Russia) & Ron Garan (USA), will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on the non-digital Soyuz TMA-21/26S early in April.

Robonaut Addendum: Before Crew Farewell yesterday (i.e., earlier than scheduled), Paolo Nespoli & Cady Coleman completed the unpacking & deployment of Robonaut 2 (R2) at a rack for subsequent photo & video sessions by all crewmembers. The first human-like robot to fly in space was unveiled at ~6:21pm EDT last evening and now awaits the next SSC (Station Support Computer) software load (~May 2011) before he/she/it? can be deployed and activated.

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 8:16am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 350.5 km
Apogee height – 354.5 km
Perigee height – 346.4 km
Period -- 91.55 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.65 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0006040
Solar Beta Angle -- -51.7 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.73
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 147 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) – 70,631

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
Begin of Increment 27
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
03/18/11 -- ATV2 Reboost (~00:05am EDT)
03/28/11 -- HTV2 unberth (~12:00pm EDT)
03/29/11 -- HTV2 deorbit (~12:00am EDT)
TBD /11 -- Soyuz TMA-21/26S launch – A. Borisenko (CDR-28)/R.Garan/A.Samokutayev
TBD /11 -- Soyuz TMA-21/26S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
04/19/11 -- STS-134/Endeavour launch ULF6 (ELC-3, AMS) ~7:48pm EDT NET
04/21/11 -- STS-134/Endeavour docking (NET)
04/26/11 -- Progress M-09M/41P undock
04/27/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P launch
04/29/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P docking (DC-1 nadir)
05/01/11 -- STS-134/Endeavour undock
05/03/11 -- STS-134/Endeavour landing
05/16/11 – Soyuz TMA-20/25S undock/landing (End of Increment 27)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-02M/27S launch – M. Fossum (CDR-29)/S. Furukawa/S. Volkov
06/01/11 -- Soyuz TMA-02M/27S docking (MRM1)
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
06/04/11 -- ATV-2 “Johannes Kepler” undock (SM aft) – under review
06/21/11 -- Progress M-11M/43P launch
06/23/11 -- Progress M-11M/43P docking (SM aft)
06/28/11 -- STS-135/Atlantis launch ULF7 (MPLM) -- ~3:30pm EDT NET
08/29/11 -- Progress M-11M/43P undocking
08/30/11 -- Progress M-12M/44P launch
09/01/11 -- Progress M-12M/44P docking (SM aft)
09/16/11 – Soyuz TMA-21/26S undock/landing (End of Increment 28)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
09/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-03M/28S launch – D.Burbank (CDR-30)/A.Shkaplerov/A.Ivanishin
10/02/11 – Soyuz TMA-03M/28S docking (MRM2)
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
10/25/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P undocking
10/26/11 -- Progress M-13M/45P launch
10/28/11 -- Progress M-13M/45P docking (DC-1)
11/16/11 -- Soyuz TMA-02M/27S undock/landing (End of Increment 29)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/29S launch – O.Kononenko (CDR-31)/A.Kuipers/D.Pettit
12/02/11 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/29S docking (MRM1)
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
12/??/11 -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – on Proton.
12/26/11 -- Progress M-13M/45P undock
12/27/11 -- Progress M-14M/46P launch
12/29/11 -- Progress M-14M/46P docking (DC-1)
03/05/12 -- Progress M-12M/44P undock
03/16/12 -- Soyuz TMA-03M/28S undock/landing (End of Increment 30)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
03/30/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/30S launch – G.Padalka (CDR-32)/J.Acaba/K.Volkov
04/01/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/30S docking (MRM2)
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
05/xx/12 – 3R Russian Proton -- Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA
05/16/12 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/29S undock/landing (End of Increment 31)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/29/12 – Soyuz TMA-06M/31S launch – S.Williams (CDR-33)/Y.Malenchenko/A.Hoshide
05/31/12 – Soyuz TMA-06M/31S docking
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
09/18/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/30S undock/landing (End of Increment 32)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
10/02/12 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/32S launch – K.Ford (CDR-34)/O.Novitskiy/E.Tarelkin
10/04/12 – Soyuz TMA-07M/32S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
11/16/12 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/31S undock/landing (End of Increment 33)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/30/12 -- Soyuz TMA-08M/33S launch – C.Hadfield (CDR-35)/T.Mashburn/R.Romanenko
12/02/12 – Soyuz TMA-08M/33S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
03/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/32S undock/landing (End of Increment 34)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
03/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-09M/34S launch – P.Vinogradov (CDR-36)/C.Cassidy/A.Misurkin
03/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-09M/34S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
05/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-08M/33S undock/landing (End of Increment 35)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-10M/35S launch – M.Suraev (CDR-37)/K.Nyberg/L.Parmitano
05/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-10M/35S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
09/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-09M/34S undock/landing (End of Increment 36)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
09/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-11M/36S launch – M.Hopkins/TBD (CDR-38)/TBD
09/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-11M/36S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
11/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-10M/35S undock/landing (End of Increment 37)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-12M/37S launch – K.Wakata (CDR-39)/R.Mastracchio/TBD
11/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-12M/37S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
03/xx/14 – Soyuz TMA-11M/36S undock/landing (End of Increment 38)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------