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March 16, 2010
ISS On-Orbit Status 03/16/10

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

At wake-up, FE-4 Kotov performed 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.]

Kotov also conducted 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 ~4:45pm EDT 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: 2/22 &2/23).]

FE-1 Suraev underwent Part 2 of his fifth & final training session of the Russian MO-5 MedOps protocol of cardiovascular evaluation in the below-the-waist reduced-pressure device (ODNT, US: LBNP) on the Russian VELO ergometer, assisted by Kotov as CMO (Crew Medical Officer). The pre-return-to-gravity activity was then closed out. [The 1.5-hour assessment, a repetition of yesterday’s Part 1, supported by ground specialist tagup via S-band, uses the Gamma-1 ECG equipment with biomed harness, skin electrodes and a blood pressure and rheoplethysmograph cuff wired to the cycle ergometer's instrumentation panels. HR (Heart Rate) & BP (Blood Pressure) readings were reported to the ground specialist. The Chibis ODNT provides gravity-simulating stress to the body’s cardiovascular/circulatory system for evaluation of Romanenko’s orthostatic tolerance (e.g., the Gauer-Henry reflex) after several months in zero-G. The preparatory training generally consists of first imbibing 150-200 milliliters of water or juice, followed by two cycles of a sequence of progressive regimes of reduced (“negative”) pressure, set at -20, -25, -35, and -40 mmHg for five min. each, then -25, -30, and -40 mmHg (Torr) for 5 min. each plus 30mmHg for 5 min. while shifting from foot to foot at 10-12 steps per minute, while wearing a sphygmomanometer to measure blood pressure. The body’s circulatory system interprets the pressure differential between upper and lower body as a gravity-like force pulling the blood (and other liquids) down. Chibis data and biomed cardiovascular readings are recorded. The Chibis suit (not to be confused with the Russian “Pinguin” suit for spring-loaded body compression, or the "Kentavr" anti-g suit worn during reentry) is similar to the U.S. LBNP facility (not a suit) used for the first time on Skylab in 1973/74, although it appears to accomplish its purpose more quickly.]

In the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), FE-6 Creamer completed Day 2 of the ESA cardiological experiment CARD (Long Term Microgravity: A Model for Investigating Mechanisms of Heart Disease), closing out the 24-hr urine collection protocol, performing the fourth & fifth rebreathing sessions and completing the blood draw in two tubes which he then centrifuged in the RC (Refrigerated Centrifuge). Afterwards, Timothy stowed the PFS (Pulmonary Function System), saved all the HLTA BP (Holter Arterial Blood Pressure) data on a PCMCIA memory card and reconnected the MPPL (Multi Purpose Payload Laptop) to its 120VDC outlet. [After the second centrifugation, the two tubes were placed into the MELFI (Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for the ISS) at -80 degC. CARD includes three double rebreathing sessions yesterday plus two double rebreathings today. Between these two rebreathings, the CDL HTA was activated to take BP measurements. CARD was performed for the first time by ESA crewmember Thomas Reiter in November 2006. Astronauts experience lowered blood volume and pressure during space missions due to relaxation of the cardiovascular system in microgravity which may be a result from decreased fluid and sodium in the body. CARD examines the relationship between salt intake and the cardiovascular system when exposed to the microgravity environment and explores whether blood pressure & volume can be restored to the same levels that were measured during groundbased measurements by adding additional salt to the crew’s food. Results from this may lead to new health safety measures for astronauts to protect them on long duration missions.]

Creamer, Noguchi & Kotov took the periodic O-OHA (On-Orbit Hearing Assessment) test, a 30-min NASA environmental health systems examination to assess the efficacy of acoustic countermeasures, using a special software application on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) laptop. [The O-OHA audiography test involves minimum audibility measurements for each ear over a wide range of frequencies (0.25-10 kHz) and sound pressure levels, with the crewmembers using individual-specific Prophonics earphones, new Bose ANC headsets (delivered on 30P) and the SLM (sound level meter). To conduct the testing, the experimenter is supported by special EarQ software on the MEC, featuring an up/down-arrow-operated slider for each test frequency that the crewmember moves to the lowest sound pressure level at which the tone can still be heard. The baseline test is required not later than about Flight Day 14 for each new Expedition and is then generally performed once per month. Note: There have been temporary hearing deficits documented on some U.S. and Russian crewmembers, all of which recovered to pre-mission levels.]

FE-1 Suraev completed his 6th session with the Russian behavioral assessment TIPOLOGIA (MBI-20), setting up the workstation, connecting equipment, suiting up and launching the program on the RSK1 laptop. [Kotov was available to assist in donning the electrode cap, preparing the head for the electrodes and applying electrode gel from the Neurolab-RM2 kit. Data were recorded on a PCMCIA memory card and downlinked via OCA comm. MBI-20 studies typological features of operator activity of the ISS crews in long-term space flight phases, with the subject using a cap with EEG (electroencephalogram) electrodes. The experiment, which records EEGs, consists of the Lüscher test, “adaptive biological control” training, and the games Minesweeper and Tetris. The Lüscher color diagnostic is a psychological test which measures a person's psychophysical state, his/her ability to withstand stress, to perform and to communicate. It is believed to help uncover the cause of psychological stress, which can lead to physical symptoms. An EEG measures and records the electrical activity of the brain.]

Maxim also broke out and set up the hardware for the Russian MBI-21 PNEVMOKARD experiment, then conducted the 1h15m session, his 7th, which forbids moving or talking during data recording. The experiment is controlled from the RSE-med A31p laptop and uses the TENZOPLUS sphygmomanometer to measure arterial blood pressure. The experiment, supported by ground specialist tagup, was then closed out and the test data downlinked via OCA. [PNEVMOKARD (Pneumocard) attempts to obtain new scientific information to refine the understanding about the mechanisms used by the cardiorespiratory system and the whole body organism to spaceflight conditions. By recording (on PCMCIA cards) the crewmember’s electrocardiogram, impedance cardiogram, low-frequency phonocardiogram (seismocardiogram), pneumotachogram (using nose temperature sensors), and finger photoplethismogram, the experiment supports integrated studies of (1) the cardiovascular system and its adaptation mechanisms in various phases of a long-duration mission, (2) the synchronization of heart activity and breathing factors, as well as the cardiorespiratory system control processes based on the variability rate of physiological parameters, and (3) the interconnection between the cardiorespiratory system during a long-duration mission and the tolerance of orthostatic & physical activities at the beginning of readaptation for predicting possible reactions of the crewmembers organism during the their return to ground.]

Williams downloaded the ICV (Integrated Cardiovascular) data from his recent (3/5) Ambulatory Monitoring session, using a relatively new ICV procedure to download data from all devices directly to the HRF (Human Research Facility) PC1. [Jeff downloaded his Actiwatch data (from 2 Actiwatches), copied data from the HM2 (Holter Monitor 2) HiFi CF Cards (two), and downloaded Cardiopres data to the HRF PC.]

The CDR initiated (later terminated) another 5-hr sampling run (the 78th) 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 also sampled the PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) water using the TOCA (Total Organic Carbon Analyzer) in Node-3, after first initializing the software and priming (filling) the TOCA water sample hose. [After the approximately 2 hr TOCA analysis, results were transferred to an SSC (Station Support Computer) via USB drive for downlink, and the data were also logged. TOCA was relocated to Node-3 on 3/1 and since successfully leak-tested.]

TJ Creamer assisted FE-5 Noguchi in taking documentary photography of Soichi in the JPM working with the Japanese “Space Poem” DVD activity in front of the science window (with open shutter) in daylight, using the final poem. Afterwards, the gear was disassembled and stowed away. [The Space Poem Chain is being composed as a universal message of Life in the Universe and on Earth. Approximately 1000 people have joined in the composition of the Space Poem Chain, transcending nationalities, cultural backgrounds, genders, specialties, and age. Koichi has been invited to write poem No. 25 from space. A Japanese poet, Shuntaro Tanikawa-san, has penned pen poem No.26, as the final poem. Poems are in five lines, free format, in Japanese and clear & big letters for photography by the JEM internal camera.]

Afterwards FE-5 performed maintenance in the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), relocating two pivot fittings from JPM loc. A1 (left & right) to the JLP (JEM Logistics Pressurized Segment), loc. A1.

In ESA’s COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), Soichi removed the two CCFs (Centralized Cabin Filters), replacing them with spare units, and packed them in the large Ziploc bags prepared yesterday, sealed with Kapton tape and then stowed in foam padding for return to Earth.

Later, Noguchi worked in the US A/L (Airlock), disconnecting & removing the A/L contingency secondary
Shell heater.

Soichi also had another hour set aside for pre-packing cargo to be returned to Earth on 19A.

TJ performed the periodic status check on the MERLIN (Microgravity Experiment Research Locker Incubator) Galley fridge, looking for any internal condensation moisture which would require replacing desiccants. [MERLIN, the Galley fridge, is used for cold storage of crew food and drink. If TJ found moisture, a change-out of the desiccant will be scheduled.]

In the SM (Service Module), FE-4 Kotov loaded the Russian RSS1 laptop with a software patch/upgrade for communicating with the BSMM (Multi-Channel Matching Unit) payload computer delivered last year on Soyuz TMA-16/20S, followed by a comm check between RSS1 & BSMM using the RSC-Energia PingMaster application.

With the RSS1-BSMM comm link verified, Kotov copied accumulated EXPOSE-R science data from the BSMM to a PCMCIA memory card in the RSS1 laptop. [The European EXPOSE-R experiment contains plant seeds and spores of bacteria & fungi. It was mounted outside the SM during the Russian EVA-21A on 3/11/09 after some earlier problems.]

In preparation for Soyuz 20S undocking in two days, Oleg also dismounted the Russian science payloads BTKh-8/BIOTREK, BTKh-29/Zhenshen-2/Ginseng-2 and BIO-2/BIORISK from the SM and transferred them to the 20S Descent Module for return. [BTKh-29: Study of new plants for biological products and genotypes with increased biological activity; BTKh-8: Influence of heavy charged particles of space radiation on the generic properties of cells producing biologic active substances; BIO-2: Accommodation & exposure of "passive" samples of structural materials and "microorganisms - substrates" systems to space environment inside the ISS SM.]

FE-1 Suraev worked in the 20S Orbital Module (BO), dismantling and removing 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 for stowage and re-use (now no longer required since BO will be jettisoned during 20S reentry).

Maxim also undertook the periodic service of downloading data files from the BU (Control Unit) of the running BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("Plants-2") experiment in the SM for archiving on a PCMCIA memory card and downlinking NIKON D2X photographs of the growing plants in the LADA greenhouse. [The archiving can take up to 1 hr. 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.]

Next, Suraev deactivated the Plants-2 hardware in both modules A & B, then carefully harvested the space-grown Mizuna lettuce plants from their root modules, placing them in special Ziploc bags in MELFI-1 (Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS 1) for preservation.

Working with Oleg Kotov, the FE-1 stowed the RBO-3-2 radiation payload suite “Matryoshka-R”’s AST Spectrometer, dismounted & wrapped yesterday by Oleg, in the 20S Descent Module in the payload container currently fastened to the right (unoccupied) Kazbek seat.

Suraev also collected air samples in the SM in the area of the worktable, using the usual Russian air sampling equipment, i.e., the IPD-NH3 Draeger tube sampler for checking for ammonia, and the AK-1M absorber, taking air specimen. Samples were stowed in the TMA-16 SA for return to Earth.

Jeff & Max again had time set aside for regular crew departure preparations, working on the standard end-of-increment cleanup preparatory to their return. [It is usual for crewmembers to be granted reduced workdays for making their departure preparations, as their return date approaches.]

The CDR performed the monthly inspection of the T2/COLBERT treadmill system and its components, checking pin alignment, rack centering and the snubber jam nut witness marks. [Witness marks (12 total) are applied to the X-, Y- & Z-axis jam nuts on each (of four) snubber arm. Their inspection serves to determine to what degree and which jam nuts are backing off.]

Noguchi serviced the ARED (Advanced Resistive Exercise Device), evacuating its cylinder flywheels to maintain proper vacuum condition and sensor calibration.

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

In the SM, Kotov also 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.]

Oleg Valerievich & Maxim Victorovich again had time reserved for the traditional Russian preparation of commemorative (“symbolic”) items of their residency aboard. [The Simvolika items consist of 60 envelopes which the Expedition 22 crewmembers signed according to an enclosed template, then stamped using a current date stamp of the Russian Post. The items were packed in the Soyuz 20S Descent Module for return. Flashback: The very first “postmaster in space”, stamping envelopes, was Soviet cosmonaut Dr. Georgi Grechko on Salyut 6 in 1977, who also made the first Orlan spacewalk.]

With ISS command now being transferred from Jeff Williams to Oleg Kotov for Increment 23, beginning this week, the two Russian Flight Engineers (at ~6:05am EDT) signed two copies of the formal Russian handover protocol document certifying RS handover/acceptance, including the contents of Progress 35P & 36P, both currently docked to the station. [The first copy remains on ISS, the second copy will be returned to the ground on Soyuz TMA-16.]

FE-1, FE-4 & FE-6 had their periodic PMCs (Private Medical Conferences), via S- & Ku-band audio/video, TJ at ~8:15am, Oleg at ~10:20am, Maxim at ~1:25pm EDT.

At ~6:20am, Suraev & Kotov engaged in a PAO phone interview via S-band with Ekaterina Beloglazova, Editor of Rossiyskiy Kosmos Magazine, and an old friend of ISS cosmonauts. [“Maxim, you are getting ready for descent – please, tell us about the resources which will help you adapting to Earth. Please summarize the work you’ve done on the station. What are you going to pack in Soyuz (samples, plants, etc.? Oleg: Tell us about the station activity plan after Soyuz undocking.”]

At ~7:34am EDT, Timothy powered up the SM's amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and at 7:39am conducted a ham radio session with students at Dimotiko Scholeio Peristeriou, Peristeri (Athens), Greece.

At ~3:00pm, Creamer is to have his weekly PFC (Private Family Conference) via S-band/audio and Ku-band/MS-NetMeeting application (which displays the uplinked ground video on an SSC laptop).

At 3:20pm, Williams is scheduled to conduct the periodic VHF-1 emergency communications proficiency check over NASA’s VHF (Very High Frequency) stations, today at the Wallops VHF site (3:21:21pm-3:28:36pm), 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).]

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Thimphu, Bhutan (this capital city of about 100,000 is located on the south side of the crest of the Himalayas in the high, deforested valley of the Wang Chuu River. As ISS approached the Himalayas and Brahmaputra River from the SW during midday in fair weather, the crew was to look near nadir at map of the deforested valleys to acquire this target), Simon's Bay, Cape Point, S. Africa (HMS Beagle Site: Darwin and the Beagle stopped here in June, 1836. The most important aspect of this stop appears to have been Darwin's visit to the noted astronomer Sir John Herschel who lived near Cape Town. Darwin called this "the most memorable event which, for a long period, I have had the good fortune to enjoy." Both Darwin and Herschel had read the Lyell's famous Principles of Geology. Their discussion is not recorded, but they were thinking along similar lines: a few months earlier Herschel had written to Lyell praising the Principles as "a complete revolution in [its] subject, … altering entirely the point of view" in which scientists would think about geology; and as opening a way for bold speculation on "that mystery of mysteries, the replacement of extinct species by others." ISS approached the South African coast from the SW at mid-morning with fair weather expected and this target just right of track), Islamabad, Pakistan (the crew had a near-nadir pass at midday and clear weather over the Pakistani capital of almost 2 million. As they approached the foothills of the Karakoram from the SW, they were to look for this carefully laid-out city), East Haruj Megafans, Libya (the nadir, midday pass over this target area was in clear weather. These megafans are in southern Libya to the north of the Tibesti Mountains. After tracking over the western part of the mountains, looking just left of track for the very dark patch of the Waw an Namus volcano. Then, looking nadir for the subtle erosional features to the south and east. Trying for a detailed, nadir mapping strip), Bissau, Guinea-Bissau (ISS should have had nearly ideal conditions for a nadir view of this target in clear weather at midday as it approached the African coast from the SW. This capital city of nearly half a million is located on the north bank of the Geba River Estuary), and Castries, St. Lucia (as ISS tracked northeastward over the southern West Indies at midday, the crew had a near-nadir view of this target in fair weather. This tiny capital city of less than 12,000 is located on the northwest coast of the island nation of Saint Lucia).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 10:50am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 347.2 km
Apogee height – 352.4 km
Perigee height – 342.1 km
Period -- 91.48 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.65 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0007649
Solar Beta Angle -- -7.7 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.74
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 148 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) – 64,889

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
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 Increment 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.