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March 08, 2010
ISS On-Orbit Status 03/08/10

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Underway: Week 15 of Increment 22. International Women’s Day, a Russian holiday.

At wake-up, FE-4 Kotov did the regular daily early-morning check of the aerosol filters at the Russian Elektron O2 generator which Suraev had installed on 10/19 in gaps between the BZh Liquid Unit and the oxygen outlet pipe (filter FA-K) plus hydrogen outlet pipe (filter FA-V). [FE-4 again inspects the filters tonight before bedtime, currently a daily requirement per plan, with photographs to be taken if the filter packing is discolored.]

CDR Williams & FE-1 Suraev started out with the periodic before-breakfast session of the Russian biomedical routine assessment PZEh-MO-8/Body Mass Measurement using the IM mass measurement device. Maxim set up the IM and later stowed it away again. [For determining body mass in zero-G, where things are weightless but not massless, the Russian IM "scales" for MO-8 measure the inertial forces that arise during the oscillatory motion of a mass driven by two helical metering springs with known spring constants. By measuring the time period of each oscillation of the unknown mass (the crewmember) and comparing it to the period of a known mass, the crewmember’s mass is calculated by the computer and displayed.]

Afterwards, Jeff & Max spent time in the Soyuz TMA-16/20S, donning their Sokol pressure suits and performing leak checks on the protective garments in preparation for their return to Earth on 3/18. Later, the Sokols were put up for drying out, including the gloves.

Suraev & Kotov continued their troubleshooting of the STTS intermodular communication channel (MBS) between the FGB and Soyuz TMA17/21S. [Activities involved using the Elektronika MMTs-01 Multimeter to measure resistances between pin contacts. The troubleshooting concerns a hard-line communications problem encountered between the two Soyuz spacecraft during the Depress Emergency OBT (Onboard Training) on 3/3. In preparation for today’s work, on 3/5 Suraev had cleared access to Zone 30B behind FGB panel #421. ]

In the US A/L (Airlock), Williams set up the video equipment to allow ground monitoring of METOX (Metal Oxide) regeneration, then initiated another try at regenerating METOX canisters #15 & #16 in the bake-out oven. [During regeneration on 3/1-3/2, an under-temperature “fault” message was annunciated, indicating that the heater in the oven had not achieved a minimum temperature of 225 F by 2 hrs into the regeneration cycle. All inputs to the regenerator (airflow temperature, voltage, current) were normal. Since this is classified as an “over-rideable error”, i.e., holding no risk to the regenerator or ISS, regeneration is being re-attempted today. If the error recurs during today’s run, it can be overridden, allowing the regenerator to continue attempting to heat up and complete the regeneration cycle. The error may or may not recur, but if the regenerator goes through a successful cycle, then the canisters are fully regenerated and another activity will be scheduled to attempt to regenerate the final canister. If the regeneration is not successful, engineers will review the data collected during this attempt and continue their analysis.]

Also in the A/L, Jeff terminated the maintenance discharge on EMU battery #2088 in the BSA (Battery Stowage Assembly) and started the process on the second batch, #2086 in BC3 (Battery Charger 3) and #2087 in BC4. [The periodic 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.]

The CDR initiated (later terminated) another 5-hr sampling run (the 75th) with the EHS GC/DMS (Environmental Health System Gas Chromatograph/Differential Mobility Spectrometer). [Also known as AQM (Air Quality Monitor), the system is controlled with “Sionex” expert software from the SSC-12 laptop. The AQM demonstrates COTS (Commercial Off-the-Shelf) technology for identifying volatile organic compounds, similar to the VOA (Volatile Organics Analyzer). This evaluation will continue over the course of several months as it helps to eventually certify the GC/DMS as nominal CHeCS (Crew Health Care Systems) hardware.]

Jeff conducted the visual T+2 Day microbial (bacterial & fungal) analysis of the potable water samples collected on 3/6 by Soichi Noguchi from the PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) Hot and Ambient lines from each port in a small waste water bag, using the MCDs (Microbial Capture Devices) and CDBs (Coliform Detection Bags).

Max & Oleg dismantled and removed the docking mechanism (StM, Stykovochnovo mekhanizma) from the MRM2 “Poisk” module’s ASA-G transfer hatch for disposal in the Orbital Module of Soyuz 20S on 3/18. [The StM is the "classic" probe-and-cone type, consisting of an active docking assembly (ASA) with a probe (SSh), which fits into the cone (SK) on the passive docking assembly (PSA) for initial soft dock and subsequent retraction to hard dock. The ASA is mounted on the Progress' cargo module (GrO), while the PSA sits on the docking ports of the SM (Service Module), FGB and DC-1. With the MRM2 permanently docked at the SM zenith port, StM is no longer required.]

The FE-4 worked on the inlet (upstream) side of the SRV-K2M Condensate Water Processor (water recovery system), completing the periodic replacement of the sediment trap insert and its FGS gas-liquid mixture filter/separator.

Kotov took water samples from the SVO-ZV store in Russian drink bags for return on 20S, and changed out the PF1-4 dust filter cartridges in the SM, pre-packing the old units for return.

In addition, Oleg performed the periodic (monthly) functional closure test of the Vozdukh CO2 (carbon dioxide) removal system’s spare AVK emergency vacuum valves, 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).]

With the Kibo JEMAL (JEM Airlock) activated by SSIPC (Space Station Integration & Promotion Center) ground control, Noguchi & Creamer performed a lengthy checkout of the Airlock, first installing components intended to recover the air pumped out during the subsequent checkout depressurization, to be later used for the later repressurization, then performing the Airlock depress & repress in Auto mode, both procedures accompanied by repeated pressure checks by Soichi. [Installed components were VPDR (Vacuum Pump Driver), AL Vacuum Pump, and AL Muffler. Preparations for the planned transfer of the SFA (Small Fine Arm) through the JEMAL and its subsequent external installation on the SSE (SFA Stowage Equipment) on the JEF (JEM Exposed Facility) “porch” using the JEMRMS MA (Robotic Manipulator System Main Arm) will continue through 3/12. ]

After Jeff had relocated and set up the High Definition TV gear (G1 camcorder, MPC/Multipurpose Converter, IPU/Image Processing Unit), for recording the JAXA Dewey’s Forest payload, FE-5 Noguchi worked on the EPO (Educational Payload Operations), creating the garden by removing PUs (plant units) from the PU Case and setting up connecting PUs. The HD video was then downlinked via high-rate ICS (Inter-Orbit Communication System) data link.

Performing the periodic maintenance & visual inspection of the ARED (Advanced Resistive Exercise Device), FE-6 Creamer checked out the rails & rollers, greased the Y- and Z-axis rails & rollers and evacuated its cylinder flywheels to maintain proper vacuum condition and sensor calibration.

In Node-3, Creamer afterwards set up the FSS (Fluid System Servicer), connected its power to an UOP (Utility Outlet Panel) via extension cable, then cleaned up the FSS by draining and purging it and its jumpers, used last on 2/17 for charging the Cupola ITCS (Internal Thermal Control System) with ammonia coolant.

Kotov collected & downloaded the periodic sensor readings of the Russian “Pille-MKS” (MKS = ISS) radiation dosimetry experiment which has 14 sensors placed at various locations in the RS (DC1, SM starboard & port cabin windows, ASU toilet facility, control panel, MRM2, etc.), with one, the “duty” dosimeter, in the Reader. Today’s readings were taken from all 14 dosimeters, and dose data were logged and reported to TsUP-Moscow. [The dosimeters take their readings automatically every 90 minutes.]

FE-4 also initiated (later terminated) another refresh of the ISS cabin atmosphere with pressurized O2 from Progress M-04M/36P oxygen storage for about an hour.

In the SM, Oleg did the routine daily servicing of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS). [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.]

Max Suraev 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).

After charging the battery of the DZZ-13equipment for several hours, the FE-1 prepared the Russian DZZ-13 RUSALKA (“Mermaid”) science experiment, then conducted another sun-glint observation session, using the hand-held spectrometer (without use of the TIUS three-stage rate sensor) from SM window #9, later downlinking data and removing the hardware. [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.]

Maxim also completed the regular weekly maintenance on the TVIS (Treadmill with Vibration Isolation & Stabilization), primarily inspecting the condition of the SLDs (Subject Loading Devices) in contingency configuration, SLD cables for fraying and SPDs (Subject Positioning Devices), lubricating as required, plus recording time & date values.

After activating the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox), Jeff continued the ongoing troubleshooting of the SODI (Selectable Optical Diagnostics Instrument), today removing its hardware from the MSG and inspecting/photographing fine “pigtail” wiring connectors underneath, then stowing the hardware prior to reassembly. [After the successful IVIDIL (Influence of Vibration on Diffusion in Liquids) experiment, the hardware has not rebooted properly since being configured for the DSC (Diffusion Soret Coefficient) experiment. One possible cause is that connectors, particularly for the IPU (Image Processing Unit), have come loose or are bent. For their inspection, the SODI gear had to be removed, to be reinstalled on another day.]

The CDR also spent time on reviewing procedures for executing the upcoming TROPI2 (Tropism in Plants) experiment sample processing.

Additionally, Jeff prepared the MELFI-2 (Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS 2) for receiving samples, by first retrieving twelve 20A-delivered ice bricks at +4 degC and inserting two each in sections of Dewar 4, then retrieving fourteen +4 degC ice bricks more for insertion in Dewar 3.

Jeff & Max had an hour each reserved for regular crew departure preparations, working on the standard end-of-increment cleanup preparatory to their return to Earth on 3/18. [It is usual for crewmembers to be granted reduced workdays for making their departure preparations, as their return date approaches.]

The crewmembers worked out with their regular 2-hr physical exercise on the CEVIS cycle ergometer with vibration isolation (CDR), TVIS treadmill (FE-1/2x, FE-4), ARED advanced resistive device (CDR, FE-4, FE-5, FE-6), and T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (FE-5, FE-6).

Oleg Kotov’s workout on ARED was observed by the ground and video-recorded during LOS (loss of signal) periods for biomechanical evaluation and clearance by ground specialists.

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

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 6:58am EST [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 348.2 km
Apogee height – 353.4 km
Perigee height – 343.0 km
Period -- 91.50 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.65 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0007777
Solar Beta Angle -- 26.7 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.74
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 77 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) – 64,761

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
03/12/10 -- Dedicated Thruster Firing for TMA-16/20S
03/14/10 -- Daylight Saving Time begins (EDT)
03/18/10 -- Soyuz TMA-16/20S undock/4:03am; landing/7:25am, (M. Suraev/J. Williams)- End of Inc. 22
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
04/02/10 -- Soyuz TMA-18/22S launch – Skvortsov (CDR-24)/Caldwell/Kornienko – 12:04:34am EDT
04/04/10 -- Soyuz TMA-18/22S docking – ~1:28am
04/05/10 -- STS-131/Discovery/19A – MPLM(P), LMC
--------------Six-crew operations-----------------
04/27/10 -- Progress M-03M/35P undock
04/28/10 -- Progress M-05M/37P launch
04/30/10 -- Progress M-05M/37P docking
05/10/10 -- Progress M-04M/36P undock
05/12/10 -- Soyuz 21S relocation (FGB Nadir to SM Aft)
05/14/10 -- STS-132/Atlantis/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM-1 “Rassvet”
06/02/10 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S undock/landing (End of Increment 23)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
06/14/10 -- Soyuz TMA-19/23S launch – Wheelock (CDR-25)/Walker/Yurchikhin
06/16/10 -- Soyuz TMA-19/23S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-----------------
06/28/10 -- Progress M-06M/38P launch
06/30/10 -- Progress M-06M/38P docking
07/07/10 -- US EVA-15 (Caldwell/Wheelock)
07/23/10 -- Russian EVA-25 (Yurchikhin/Kornienko)
07/26/10 -- Progress M-05M/37P undock
07/29/10 -- STS-134/Endeavour (ULF6 – ELC3, AMS-02)
08/30/10 -- Progress M-06M/38P undock
08/31/10 -- Progress M-07M/39P launch
09/02/10 -- Progress M-07M/39P docking
09/16/10 -- Soyuz TMA-18/22S undock/landing (End of Increment 24)
09/16/10 -- STS-133/Discovery (ULF5 – ELC4, PMM)
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 – Kelly (CDR-26)/Kaleri/Skripochka
10/xx/10 -- Russian EVA-26
10/27/10 -- Progress M-08M/40P launch
10/29/10 -- Progress M-08M/40P docking
11/26/10 -- Soyuz TMA-19/23S undock/landing (End of Increment 25)
12/10/10 -- Soyuz TMA-21/25S launch – Kondratyev (CDR-27)/Coleman/Nespoli
12/15/10 -- Progress M-07M/39P undock
12/26/10 -- Progress M-08M/40P undock
12/27/10 -- Progress M-09M/41P launch
12/29/10 -- Progress M-09M/41P docking
03/16/11 -- Soyuz TMA-20/24S undock/landing (End of Encrement 26)
03/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-22/26S launch – A. Borisienko (CDR-28)/R, Garan/A.Samokutayev
04/01/11 -- Soyuz TMA-22/26S docking
04/27/11 -- Progress M-09M/41P undock
04/28/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P launch
04/30/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P docking
05/17/11 -- Soyuz TMA-21/25S undock/landing (End of Increment 27)
05/31/11 -- Soyuz TMA-23/27S launch – M. Fossum (CDR-29)/S. Furukawa/S. Volkov
06/02/11 -- Soyuz TMA-23/27S docking
06/21/11 -- Progress M-11M/43P launch
06/23/11 -- Progress M-11M/43P docking
08/30/11 -- Progress M-12M/44P launch
09/01/11 -- Progress M-12M/44P docking
09/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-24/28S launch
10/28/11 -- Progress M-13M/45P launch
10/30/11 -- Progress M-13M/45P docking
11/25/11 -- Soyuz TMA-25/29S launch
11/27/11 -- Soyuz TMA-25/29S docking
12/??/11 -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – on Proton.