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December 03, 2009
ISS On-Orbit Status 12/03/09

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

Exp-22 Flight Engineer Suraev terminated his fourth experiment session, started last night, for the long-term Russian sleep study MBI-12/SONOKARD, by taking the recording device from his SONOKARD sports shirt pocket and later copying the measurements to the RSE-MED laptop for subsequent downlink to the ground. [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.]

Suraev then performed the periodic maintenance of the active Russian BMP Harmful Impurities Removal System, starting the "bake-out" cycle to vacuum on absorbent bed #2 of the regenerable dual-channel filtration system. The process will be terminated at ~3:30pm EST before sleep time. Bed #1 regeneration was performed yesterday. [Regeneration of each of the two cartridges takes about 12 hours and is conducted only during crew awake periods. The BMP’s regeneration cycle is normally done every 20 days. (Last time done: 11/9-11/10).]

After moving the IFM MWA (Inflight Maintenance / Maintenance Work Area) from COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory) to the JPM (JEM Pressurized Module) location, CDR Williams worked on the NASA-sponsored TAGES payload (Transgenic Arabidopsis Gene Expression System), performing Harvesting part 1A prime, then swapping the full TAGES memory cards for two new ones and initiating grow-out for Harvest 1B. [The TAGES investigation is one in a pair of investigations that use the ABRS (Advanced Biological Research System) facility. TAGES uses Arabidopsis thaliana (thale cress), with sensor promoter-reporter gene constructs that render the plants as “biomonitors” (an organism used to determine the quality of the surrounding environment) of their environment using real-time nondestructive GFP (Green Fluorescent Protein) imagery and traditional postflight analyses. The first group of biomonitors for TAGES consists of plants with ADH (alcohol dehydrogenase) sensor promoter and GUS (beta-glucuronidase) reporter gene constructions. The second group of biomonitor plants incorporates the GFP (Green Fluorescent Protein) reporter gene construction. The harvesting involves both GUS & GFP reporter gene plants. Swapping memory cards enables the science team on the ground to see images in near real-time for run 1B. The first harvest, 1A, of both GUS & GFP reporter gene plants was performed on 11/21, to capture the effects of stress incurred during ascent.]

Williams serviced the prime CSA-CP (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products) unit #1042 at its Kibo JPM location, swapping its battery for a new one (#1077).

Afterwards, Jeff replaced the TOCA WWB (Total Organic Carbon Analyzer / Waste Water Bag) with a new bag (#1030) and subsequently performed the periodic WRS (Water Recovery System) sample analysis in the TOCA, after first initializing the software and priming (filling) the TOCA water sample hose. [After the approximately 2 hr TOCA analysis, results were transferred to SSC-5 (Station Support Computer 5) via USB drive for downlink, and the data were also logged.]

The CDR also continued the deployment of the new T61p laptops as PCS (Portable Computer System) platforms, finishing up the transition job. [Jeff deployed 3 more T61p laptops: two, along with new 1553 PCMCIA cards, were placed at both of the RWS (Robotic Workstation) locations in the US Lab, and one replaced the T61p PCS in the Airlock for future deployment in the SM (Service Module). The new PCSs were then powered on so that the ground could start patching them right away. The two removed A31p laptops were stowed as spares.]

Maxim Suraev terminated the recharge of the DZZ-13 battery (AIP-01), initiated yesterday, and later conducted another sun-glint observation session with the new Russian DZZ-13 RUSALKA (“Mermaid”) science experiment, using the hand-held spectrometer (without use of the TIUS three-stage rate sensor) from SM window #2 and later downlinking data. Two separate solar observations were performed – at 4:00am-4:20am EST and at 5:30am-5:50am EST. [RUSALKA ops involve calibration and tests of research equipment relating to the Sun and the Earth's limb at sunset (atmosphere lighted). To be tested are the procedure for remote determination of Methane (CH4) & Carbon Dioxide (CO2) content in the atmosphere (in the First Phase), measurement of CH4 & CO2 content in the atmosphere and reception of data on NI2 and NI4 content over the territories subjected to natural and technogenic effects, reception of sufficient data on seasonal dependencies of tropospheric parameters being studied (in the Second Phase). Equipment used: Rusalka monoblock, Nikon D2X(s) digital photo camera; AF VR Nikkor ED 80-400f/4.5-5.6D lens with ultraviolet filter, bracket for attachment to the window, and Rusalka-Accessories set. Support hardware: Device TIUS /DKShG/PNSK, Laptop RSK1, and Software Package loading disk.]

The FE conducted another photography session for the DZZ-13 “Seiner” ocean observation program, obtaining data on oceanic water blooms, then copying the images to the RSK-1 laptop,

Suraev then used the NIKON D2X to take several photographs of the internal surface of the ASP-GB2 docking assembly in the SM PkhO (Transfer Compartment) where MLI (Multilayer Insulation) was removed, to inspect the surface for remains of film or adhesive. The images were transferred to OCA for downlink. [The MRM2 (Mini-Research Module 2) is docked at the PkhO zenith docking port.]

Maxim also took the periodic photos of the running BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("Plants-2") experiment in the SM for subsequent downlink of the images of the growing plants in the LADA greenhouse. [Rasteniya-2 researches growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in the LADA-16 greenhouse from IBMP (Institute of Bio-Medical Problems, Russian: IMBP), currently planted with Mizuna seeds. Mizuna (Brassica rapa nipposinica) is a tasty variety of Japanese mustard greens, also known as California Peppergrass, eaten as a salad.]

As part of regular systems maintenance, the FE also –
  • Did 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],
  • Performed 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),
  • Conducted the periodic checkout & performance verification of IP-1 airflow sensors in the various RS (Russian Segment) hatchways [skipping the Soyuz hatch to SM aft, 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 PGO–FGB GA, and FGB GA–Node-1],
  • Completed the periodic transfer of U.S. condensate water from CWC (Collapsible Water Container, #1081) 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 [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. BKO contains five purification columns to rid the condensate of dissolved mineral and organic impurities. It has a service lifetime of ~450 liters throughput. The water needs to be purified for proper electrolysis in the Elektron O2 generator], and
  • Continued the extended leak integrity checking of the spare BZh Liquid Unit (#056) for the Elektron O2 generator, recharged on 11/18 with nitrogen (N2) to 1 atm (1 kg/cm2), by conducting the usual pressure check and repressing it to verify the unit’s hermeticity. [Objective of the monthly checkout of the spare BZh, which has been in stowage since March 2007, is to check for leakage and good water passage through the feed line inside of the BZh (from ZL1 connector to the buffer tank) and to check the response of the Electronics Unit’s micro switches (signaling “Buffer Tank is Empty” & “Buffer Tank is Full”. During Elektron operation, the inert gas locked up in the BZh has the purpose to prevent dangerous O2/H2 mixing. A leaking BZh cannot be used.]

Starting a new round of periodic preventive maintenance of RS ventilation systems, Maxim worked in the DC1 (Docking Compartment), cleaning the VD1 & VD2 air ducts.

In the US Airlock, CDR Williams –
  • Continued restowing EVA tools from the ULF3 spacewalks [a 12mm socket and a 3/8 socket were not found.], and
  • Terminated the discharge started yesterday on two EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) batteries, #2083 & #2084, in BCM3 (Battery Charger Module 3) & BCM4 of the BSA (Battery Stowage Assembly). The 16-Volt discharge took about 13 hrs [the periodic (85-day) battery maintenance consists of fully discharging and then recharging the storage units to prolong their useful life. After end of the maintenance cycle, Jeff will restore the SSC (Station Support Computer) laptop, which is used in DOS mode for the automated discharge procedure, to nominal ops. In the early ISS years, these battery discharges/recharges had to be done manually.]

In the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), Williams performed the regular check and photography of the new Sample 7 of the BCAT-5 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-5) Crystal experiment.

The CDR also completed the weekly 10-min. CWC inventory as part of on-going WRM (Water Recovery & Management) assessment of onboard water supplies. Updated “cue cards” based on the crew’s water calldowns are sent up every other week. [The current card (22-0003) lists 88 CWCs (~2,240.8 L total) for the five types of water now identified on board: 1. technical water (20 CWCs with 814.3 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 115.9 L in 3 bags for flushing only, 175.7 L in 5 bags containing Wautersia bacteria,134.2 L in 3 clean bags for contingency use, 388.5 L in 9 bags still requiring sample analysis, 2. potable water (9 CWCs with 366.7 L, of which 66.6 L in 2 bags require sample analysis & 129.3 L in 3 bags are good for contingency use, 3. iodinated water (54 CWCs with 982.1 L), 4. condensate water (1 CWC with ~31.8 L, 2 empty CWCs), and 5. waste/EMU dump and other (2 CWCs with 45.9 L). Wautersia bacteria are typical water-borne microorganisms that have been seen previously in ISS water sources. These isolates pose no threat to human health.]

At 10:00am EST, the CDR conducted the periodic VHF-1 emergency communications proficiency check over NASA’s VHF (Very High Frequency) stations, today at the VHF sites at Dryden (10:04am-10:11am), White Sands (10:05:17am-10:12:22am), and Wallops (10:13:25am-10:17:37am), talking with Houston/Capcom, MSFC/PAYCOM (Payload Operation & Integration Center Communicator), Moscow/GLAVNI (TsUP Capcom), EUROCOM/Munich and JCOM/Tsukuba in the normal fashion via VHF radio from a handheld microphone and any of the USOS ATUs (Audio Terminal Units). [Purpose of the test is to verify signal reception and link integrity, improve crew proficiency, and ensure minimum required link margin during emergency (no TDRS) and special events (such as a Soyuz relocation).]

At ~11:05am EST, Jeff Williams conducted a one-hour video-based training session on the exciting new CSL (Crew Support Local Area Network) capabilities and hardware. [Crew Support LAN Phase 1 will provide live Internet access to the ISS crew (initially only USOS crewmembers) as safely, securely and reliably as possible whenever Ku-band is available. The access will be accomplished by connecting to a remote desktop session on a remote server (Citrix server) located on the ground, which hosts the virtual desktops, and the crew sees only an image of the remote desktop which does the Internet surfing. Video and audio can be received (but may be choppy or sometimes out of sync). The CSL, a virtual network completely separate from the station-wide Ops LAN, will use existing IBM A31p laptops and existing network hardware. Initially, there will be only one CSL laptop (Client 1) and one CSL server (CREWLAN SERVER) both set up in Node-2. After the initial testing, the CSL will be expanded to include up to four clients.]

At ~1:30pm, Jeff had his periodic PMC (Private Medical Conferences), via S- & Ku-band audio/video.

The two crewmembers performed their regular daily 2.5-hr. physical workout program on the ARED advanced resistive exercise device (CDR, FE) and T2 advanced treadmill (CDR, FE).

Afterwards, the CDR transferred the exercise data files 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).

BGA 2A Latch Failure Update: BGA 2A (Beta Gimbal Assembly 2A) remains latched at 81.5 deg and cannot be unlatched at this time. Port SARJ (Solar Array Rotary Joint) is parked at 15 deg. There are no associated power issues: load requirements are being supported adequately by channel 3A. Analysis is continuing, and further actions are being deferred until after the MRM2 PAO (Propulsion/Service Module) jettisoning on 12/7 evening.

MRM2 C&W Panel Update: The Caution & Warning panel of the MRM2 continues to malfunction. RSC-Energia has identified the root cause during ground testing and determined that the problem is internal to the panel. No other spacecraft systems are involved.

No CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today.

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 6:54am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 341.0 km
Apogee height – 346.0 km
Perigee height – 336.0 km
Period -- 91.35 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- -51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0007417
Solar Beta Angle -- -73.7 deg (magnitude peaking)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.76
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 56 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 63263

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
12/07/09 -- MRM2 PAO (Propulsion/Service Module) jettison for destructive reentry – 7:16pm
12/21/09 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S launch -- O. Kotov/S. Noguchi/T.J. Creamer
12/23/09 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S (FGB nadir)
01/14/10 -- Russian EVA-24
01/20/10 -- Soyuz TMA-16/20S relocation (from SM aft to MRM-2)
02/03/10 -- Progress M-04M/36P launch
02/05/10 -- Progress M-04M/36P docking
02/07/10 -- STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 “Tranquility”+Cupola (target date)
03/18/10 -- Soyuz TMA-16/20S undock/landing
03/18/10 -- STS-131/Discovery/19A – MPLM(P), LMC (~1:30pm EST)
04/02/10 -- Soyuz TMA-18/22S launch
04/27/10 -- Progress M-03M/35P undock
04/28/10 -- Progress M-05M/37P launch
04/30/10 -- Progress M-05M/37P docking
05/14/10 -- STS-132/Atlantis/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM-1 (~2:00pm EST)
05/29/10 -- Progress M-04M/36P undock
05/30/10 -- Soyuz TMA-19/23S launch
06/30/10 -- Progress M-06M/38P launch
07/02/10 -- Progress M-06M/38P docking
07/26/10 -- Progress M-05M/37P undock
07/27/10 -- Progress M-07M/39P launch
07/29/10 -- Progress M-07M/39P docking
07/29/10 -- STS-134/Endeavour (ULF6 – ELC3, AMS-02) (~7:30am EST)
08/30/10 -- Progress M-06M/38P undock
08/31/10 -- Progress M-08M/40P launch
09/02/10 -- Progress M-08M/40P docking
09/16/10 -- STS-133/Discovery (ULF5 – ELC4, PMM) (~12:01pm EST)
09/18/10 -- STS-133/Discovery (ULF5 – ELC4, PMM) docking
09/22/10 -- STS-133/Discovery (ULF5 – ELC4, PMM) undock
09/30/10 -- Soyuz TMA-20/24S launch
10/26/10 -- Progress M-07M/39P undock
10/27/10 -- Progress M-09M/41P launch
10/29/10 -- Progress M-09M/41P docking
11/30/10 -- Soyuz TMA-21/25S launch
12/15/10 -- Progress M-08M/40P undock
02/08/11 -- Progress M-09M/41P undock
02/09/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P launch
02/11/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P docking
03/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-22/26S launch
xx/xx/11 – Progress M-11M/43P launch
05/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-23/27S launch
12/??/11 -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – on Proton