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March 17, 2010
ISS On-Orbit Status 03/17/10

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Last day of Increment 22.

Crew sleep cycle shift to support Soyuz 20S undocking at 4:03am EDT tomorrow): Today’s workday: from 11:00pm last night through 10:00am this morning, with a “snack” at 4:10am. Next wake period: from 8:00pm tonight through 9:30am tomorrow. Normal wake cycle returns on 3/19 (Friday) at 2:00am.

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.]

For the biomed experiment INTEGRATED IMMUNE (Validating Procedures for Monitoring Crew member Immune Function), CDR Williams performed his final Blood Collection shortly before sleeptime, assisted by FE-6 Creamer as Operator. Earlier in the day, Jeff & Timothy also collected the last Liquid Saliva sample after wake-up, followed by Dry Saliva collections throughout the wake period in five one-minute activities, with FE-5 Noguchi shooting documentary photographs of the saliva samplings. The Saliva Return Pouches and Blood Sleeves were then stored at ambient temperature for return to ground. [IMMUNE protocol requires the collection to occur first thing post-sleep, before eating, drinking and brushing teeth, and all samples are stored at ambient temperature. Along with NUTRITION (Nutritional Status Assessment), INTEGRATED IMMUNE samples & analyzes participant’s blood, urine, and saliva before, during and after flight for changes related to functions like bone metabolism, oxidative damage and immune function to develop and validate an immune monitoring strategy consistent with operational flight requirements and constraints. The strategy uses both long and short duration crewmembers as study subjects. The saliva is collected in two forms, dry and liquid. The dry samples are collected at intervals during the collection day using a specialized book that contains filter paper. The liquid saliva collections require that the crewmember soak a piece of cotton inside their mouth and place it in a salivette bag; there are four of the liquid collections during docked operations. The on-orbit blood samples are collected right before undocking and returned to the ground so that analysis can occur within 48 hours of the sampling. This allows assays that quantify the function of different types of white blood cells and other active components of the immune system. Samples are normally (not before undocking) secured in the MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS). Also included are entries in a fluid/medications intact log, and a stress-test questionnaire to be filled out by the subject at begin and end. Urine is collected during a 24-hour period, conventionally divided into two twelve-hour phases: morning-evening and evening-morning.]

In preparation for Soyuz departure, FE-1 Suraev uninstalled the internal SD1-5M lighting fixture from the Soyuz Orbital Module (BO) for later reuse. [After spacecraft departure, the BO will be jettisoned (at ~6:57am) for atmospheric destruction.]

Afterwards, Maxim worked in the MRM2 “Poisk” module, to which 20S is docked, and uninstalled the QD (quick disconnect) screw clamps (BZV) of the SSVP docking & internal transfer mechanism, unrigidizing the coupling. The activities were recorded, and the resulting video was then downlinked to TsUP-Moscow for evaluation. [Further preparations were conducted throughout the day by TsUP via KRL (Command Radio Link) during RGS (Russian Groundsite) passes: Pressurization of the Soyuz KDU (Combined Propulsion System) manifolds, charging of the BB & RB batteries in Soyuz from ISS (if required), entering undock settings, and issuance of ballistics forms for the return flight.]

Suraev & Kotov conducted the MO-22 Sanitary-Epidemiological Status check, part of the Russian MedOps program done usually before Soyuz departures. [To monitor for microflora, Max & Oleg collected samples from surface areas of interior panels and hardware at various places in the SM (Service Module), FGB, and MRM2, also from each other, using cotton swabs and special test tubes which were then stowed in 20S for return to the ground.]

It was TJ Creamer’s turn for the US PFE (Periodic Fitness Evaluation) protocol as subject, a monthly 1.5-hr. procedure which checks up on BP (blood pressure) & ECG (electrocardiogram) during programmed exercise on the CEVIS cycle ergometer in the US Lab. Readings were taken with the BP/ECG instrument and the HRM (heart rate monitor) watch with its radio transmitter. Soichi Noguchi acted as Operator/CMO. [BP/ECG provides automated noninvasive systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurements while also monitoring and displaying accurate heart rates on a continual basis at rest and during exercise.]

With TJ having prepared MELFI 2 (Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS 2) for cold sample storage yesterday, Jeff today worked on MELFI 1, preparing it for sample preservation by inserting 4 “ice bricks” (-32degC), two each into sections of Dewar 1/Trays C & D.

Using the SLAMMD (Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device) equipment and appropriate software, CDR Williams & FE-6 Creamer each completed a body mass measurement (BMM). [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 to 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.]

In the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), FE-5 Noguchi continued the ongoing troubleshooting on the IPU (Image Processing Unit), today removing the VRU3 (Video Recording Unit 3)’s hard disk (#1051) and replacing it with a new spare (#1065).

Later, the FE-5 conducted the first inspection of the starboard & nadir port hatch seals in Node-3 “Tranquility” as part of ACS (Atmospheric Control System) maintenance, using a special vacuum cleaner and other tools.

Soichi also continued the ongoing prepacking of equipment for STS-131/Discovery/19A, currently still scheduled to arrive on 4/7.

Max Suraev & Oleg Kotov had another ~3.5h each for prepacking and stowing cargo for return and for disposal on Soyuz 20S. [Return cargo was stowed in the SA/Descent Module, trash & excessed equipment in the BO/Orbital Module (which will be jettisoned for incineration during the reentry of the spacecraft). Cargo to be disposed includes 4 solid waste containers, a vacuum pump control unit, a VK-316M absolute pressure gauge, cables and the no longer needed docking mechanism of the MRM2 “Poisk” module.]

Williams conducted the periodic status checks and necessary maintenance of the CGBA-5 (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus 5) payload.

Jeff & Max again had an hour each 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.]

With the UPA (Urine Processor Assembly) continuing to run nominally, producing water from urine, Timothy performed another fill of the UPA WSTA (Wastewater Storage Tank Assembly), from a Russian EDV-U (urine collector-water container), using an electric pump.

In the SM, FE-1 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.]

Kotov meanwhile 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).

The crewmembers performed their physical exercise workouts on the TVIS treadmill (FE-1), ARED advanced resistive device (CDR, FE-5, FE-6), T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (CDR, FE-5) and VELO ergometer bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-4).

At 2:00am EDT, Expedition 22 CDR Williams & Expedition 23 CDR Kotov conducted the dedicated Commander Handover and subsequent conference with all Control Centers. The emergency books have been swapped out and the Soyuz 21S crew is now the prime crew for emergency response procedures.

At ~3:35am, Noguchi performed his regular tagup with the Japanese Flight Control Team at SSIPC (Space Station Integration & Promotion Center)/Tsukuba via S-band/audio. [This conference is scheduled once every week, between the Japanese ISS crewmember and SSIPC.]

At ~3:55am, Soichi had his periodic PMC (Private Medical Conference), via S- & Ku-band audio/video

At ~8:45am, before sleeptime, the traditional PAO-televised “Change of Command” ceremony took place with all crewmembers, officially marking the transfer of the baton from Increment 22 to Increment 23.

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Sakura-jima Volcano, Japan (ISS had an early afternoon pass in fair weather over one of Japan’s most active volcanoes. As the station approached the south coast of the major island of Kyushu from the SW, the crew was to look nadir for detailed views of the volcano at the head of Kagoshima Bay), Dushanbe, Tajikistan (ISS had an early afternoon pass in fair weather for this target, approaching the agricultural features of the greater Amu Darya River valley from the SW. The capital city of Tajikistan is located in the valley of the Kafirnigan River south of the Gissar Range in the western part of the country. Looking nadir on the north side of the valley for this city of almost 700,000), Villarrica Volcano, Chile (the crew had a mid-morning nadir pass over this large, snow-capped volcano in northern part of Chile’s lakes region. As ISS crossed the coast from the SW in clear weather, they were to look for this conical volcanic peak. Overlapping frames of the volcano summit and flanks were requested to map snow cover and surface geomorphology), Brasilia, Brazil (some scattered clouds may be present over the capital city of Brazil on this late-morning pass as you approach from the SW. Brasilia is considered a prime example of 20th century urban planning. It was developed in 1956 and became the capital in 1960. Trying for a nadir, context view of the city and its surroundings), Rabat, Morocco (this capital city of over 600,000 is on the Atlantic coast of the northern part of this African nation. It was early afternoon in fair weather as ISS began to track along the northwest coast of Africa after passing the Canary Islands. The crew also passed over the much larger coastal city of Casablanca first. Continuing looking nadir for a good view of the Moroccan capital), and Monaco, Monaco (the tiny Principality of Monaco is a sovereign city-state of just over three-fourths of a square mile in area. It is located on eastern part of the French Cote d’ Azure, between Nice and the Italian border. The ISS nadir pass over this portion of the NW Mediterranean coast was in mid-afternoon with fair weather expected. Looking for the waterfront airport for Nice and carefully map along the coast to catch the coastal strip of Monaco to the E-NE.

ISS Orbit (as of this noon, 12:41am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 347.1 km
Apogee height – 352.2 km
Perigee height – 341.9 km
Period -- 91.48 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.65 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0007609
Solar Beta Angle -- -12.2 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.74
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 161 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) – 64,906

20S Descent Timeline Overview:
If everything proceeds nominally, the return to Earth of the TMA-16 spacecraft early tomorrow morning will proceed along the following approximate event sequence (all times EDT):
  • Crew activates Soyuz (incl. BOA BO/ECLSS) --- ~11:40pm;
  • Crew closes Soyuz & MRM2 hatches --- ~12:53am;
  • Crew reports on vestibule leak check --- ~1:45am;
  • Soyuz crew transfers to SA Descent Module, activates BOA SA, closes SA/BO hatch --- ~2:15am;
  • ISS attitude control handover to RS --- 3:00am;
  • ISS to free drift for undocking --- 3:59am;
  • Undock command --- 4:00am;
  • Separation springs action/physical sep (delta-V ~0.12 m/sec) --- 4:03am;
  • Separation burn #1 (15 sec, ~0.53 m/sec) --- 4:06am;
  • ISS attitude control handover to US --- 5:10am;
  • Deorbit Burn start (delta-V 115.2 m/sec) --- 6:32:59am;
  • Deorbit Burn complete --- 6:37:15am;
  • Tri-Module separation (139.9 km alt) --- 6:57:16am;
  • Atmospheric entry (101.8 km alt, with ~170 m/sec) --- 7:00:11am;
  • Entry Guidance start (80.4 km alt) --- 7:01:53am;
  • Max G-load (35.2 km alt) --- 7:06:38am;
  • Parachute deploy command (10.7 km alt) --- 7:08:41am;
  • 20S Landing (DO1) --- 7:23:14am EDT; 2:23:14pm Moscow DMT; 5:23:14pm local Kazakhstan; (loc. 50deg 38min N, 67deg 20min E)
  • Local Sunset --- 9:37am (7:37pm local).
[Note: Kazakhstan time = GMT+6h; = EDT+10h. Moscow DMT = EDT+7h.]

What the Soyuz TMA-16 crew will experience during their reentry/descent tonight:
  • For the reentry, Suraev & Williams will wear the Russian Kentavr anti-G suit under their Sokol suits. [The Kentavr garment is a protective anti-g suit ensemble to facilitate the return of a long-duration crewmember into the Earth gravity. Consisting of shorts, gaiters, underpants, jersey and socks, it acts as countermeasure for circulatory disturbance, prevents crewmember from overloading during descent and increases orthostatic tolerance during post-flight adaptation. Russian crewmembers are also advised to ingest fluid-electrolyte additives, viz., three sodium chloride tablets during breakfast and after the midday meal, each time with 300 ml of fluid, and two pills during the meal aboard Soyuz before deorbit.]
  • Before descent:
    Special attention will be paid to the need for careful donning of the medical belt with sensors and securing tight contact between sensors and body.
    During preparation for descent, before atmosphere reentry, crewmembers settle down comfortably in the Kazbek couches, fasten the belts, securing tight contact between body and the seat liner in the couch.
  • During de-orbit:
    Dust particles starting to sink in the Descent Module (SA) cabin is the first indication of atmosphere reentry and beginning of G-load effect. From that time on, special attention is required as the loads increase rapidly.
    Under G-load effect during atmosphere reentry the crew expects the following experience:
    Sensation of G-load pressure on the body, burden in the body, labored breathing and speech. These are normal sensations, and the advice is to "take them coolly". In case of the feeling of a lump in the throat, this is no cause to "be nervous". This is frequent and should not be fought. Best is to "try not to swallow and talk at this moment". Crew should check vision and, if any disturbances occur, create additional tension of abdominal pressure and leg muscles (strain +abdomen by pulling in), in addition to the Kentavr anti-G suit.
    During deployment of pilot parachute (0.62 & 4.5 square meters), drogue chute (16 sq.m.) and main (518 sq.m.) chutes the impact accelerations will be perceived as a "strong snatch". No reason to become concerned about this but one should be prepared that during the parachutes deployment and change ("rehook") of prime parachute to symmetrical suspension, swinging and spinning motion of the SA occurs, which involves vestibular (middle ear) irritations.
  • It is important to tighten restrain system to fasten pelvis and pectoral arch.
    Vestibular irritation can occur in the form of different referred sensations such as vertigo, hyperhidrosis, postural illusions, general discomfort and nausea. To prevent vestibular irritation the crew should "limit head movement and eyes movement", as well as fix their sight on motionless objects.
  • Just before the landing (softened by six small rocket engines behind the heat shield):
    Crew will be prepared for the vehicle impact with the ground, with their bodies fixed along the surface of the seat liner in advance. "Special attention should be paid to arm fixation to avoid the elbow and hand squat" (instruction). Landing speed: ~9.9 m/sec.
  • After landing:
    Crew should not get up quickly from their seats to leave the SA. They were advised to stay in the couch for several minutes and only then stand up. In doing that, they should limit head and eyes movement and avoid excessive motions, proceeding slowly. They and their body should not take up earth gravity in the upright position too quickly.

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
03/18/10 -- Soyuz TMA-16/20S undock/4:03am; landing/7:23am, (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.