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March 18, 2010
ISS On-Orbit Status 03/18/10

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. First day of Increment 23. Crew light-duty day.

Crew sleep cycle shift to support Soyuz 20S departure returns to “normal”: Sleep began 9:30am today, and crew will report back to duty tomorrow morning at 2:00am EDT, i.e., back on regular schedule.

Yest posadka! (We have Landing!) Welcome back home, Jeff and Max! After 169 days 4 hrs 9 min in space (167d docked to ISS), Soyuz TMA-16/20S, carrying Exp-22 crewmembers Maxim Suraev (Russia) and Jeff Williams (USA), landed successfully this morning at 7:24am EDT (local time 5:24pm) in the snow-bound steppes of southern Kazakhstan northeast of the town of Arkalyk, with the crew in excellent condition. The descent capsule toppled on its side. See photo below. [TMA-16 (#226) undocked from its MRM2 port this morning at 4:03am EDT. Before undock, the crew performed leaks checks of the vestibule area between the MRM2 and the Soyuz spacecraft, of their suits and of the hatch between the Descent Module (SA) and Orbital Module (BO). There were 3 Longeron Shadowing cautions for the ISS during the preparation for undock, but these were quickly cleared because the vehicle was in planned (verified) configuration & attitudes. The Undock command was issued at 4:00am, followed by separation at 4:03am. Three minutes thereafter, Soyuz performed a 15 sec separation burn. The actual de-orbit burn of 4 min 16 sec duration came at 6:33am, resulting in a 115.2 m/sec deceleration. Tri-module separation occurred at 6:57am. 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 the 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 7:00am and nominal parachute deployment at 7:08am. Following initial observation by Russian SAR (Search & Recovery) personnel, the Soyuz vehicle landed at 7:24am. Due to the snow-covered ground, the ATV (All Terrain Vehicles) did not arrive in time, and the crew was flown out nominally in the helos to Kustanai, from there aboard the GCTC Tu-154 to Chkalovsky airfield of the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center at Zvesdniy Gorodok (Star City).]

Before entering the spacecraft for his return, Jeff Williams acted for the last time as CMO (Crew Medical Officer)/Operator for drawing TJ Creamer’s blood in support of the biomed experiment INTEGRATED IMMUNE (Validating Procedures for Monitoring Crew member Immune Function). [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.]

FE-6 Creamer later completed the INTEGRATED IMMUNE Health Survey for the PI (Principal Investigator) team to provide it with a comprehensive understanding when interpreting the data.

At wake-up last night, 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 inspected the filters before bedtime this morning, currently a daily requirement per plan, with photographs to be taken if the filter packing is discolored.]

Before the undocking, Oleg Kotov, the new ISS Commander, set up the Russian TEKh-15/DAKON-M IZGIB (“Bend”) experiment hardware in the SM (Service Module), then activated it for taking structural dynamics data during the 20S undocking activities. Later, the dynamics measurements were downlinked to the ground and the data take closed out. [IZGIB has the objective to help update mathematical models of the ISS gravitation environment, using accelerometers of the Russian SBI Onboard Measurement System, the GIVUS high-accuracy angular rate vector gyrometer of the SUDN Motion Control & Navigation System and other accelerometers for unattended measurement of micro-accelerations at science hardware accommodation locations - (1) in operation of onboard equipment having rotating parts (gyrodynes, fans), (2) when establishing and keeping various ISS attitude modes, and (3) when performing crew egresses into space and physical exercises.]

Also before undock, FE-5 Noguchi closed the external shutters of the Lab, Kibo and Cupola windows to protect them against thruster exhaust plume contamination.

After Soyuz departure, Kotov manually closed the KVD/PEV (Pressure Equalization Valve) between the MRM2 “Poisk” module and its docking port vestibule and later restored the onboard communications system (STTS) setup which he had configured for Soyuz undocking and descent, including the VHF comm link from the TMA-16 SA to TsUP via RGS (Russian Ground Site).

During the Soyuz re-entry flight, Oleg monitored Soyuz telemetry with the Russian “Istochnik-M” (source, spring) telemetry reception & recording (SPR TMI) system in the SM. [Istochnik-M enables the ISS to receive data telemetered from Soyuz spacecraft during return to Earth and record it on the SPR telemetry system. The equipment, including the Istochnik TM station, power amplifiers, power supply, USB software sticks and cables, captures the telemetry through the Sputnik amateur (ham) radio antenna and transfers it to a laptop display where the crew is able to immediately tell if a good separation of the three Soyuz modules occurred during Soyuz descent operations].

FE-5 Noguchi & FE-6 Creamer completed another Reaction Self Test (Psychomotor Vigilance Self Test on the ISS) protocol. [The RST is performed twice daily (after wakeup & before bedtime) for 3 days prior to the sleep shift, the day(s) of the sleep shift and 5 days following a sleep shift. Originally planned for a total of 121 RST runs, Jeff will actually have completed 108 runs by the time of his return. The experiment consists of a 5-minute reaction time task that allows crewmembers to monitor the daily effects of fatigue on performance while on ISS. The experiment provides objective feedback on neurobehavioral changes in attention, psychomotor speed, state stability, and impulsivity while on ISS missions, particularly as they relate to changes in circadian rhythms, sleep restrictions, and extended work shifts.]

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, Kotov 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.]

The CDR also 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).

Creamer conducted the weekly 10-min. CWC (Contingency Water Container) 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 (22-0003O) lists 95 CWCs (2,390.9 L total) for the five types of water now identified on board: 1. technical water (20 CWCs with 781.3 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 87.5 L in 4 bags containing Wautersia bacteria, 134.2 L in 3 clean bags for contingency use, 559.6 L in 13 bags still requiring sample analysis, 2. potable water (9 CWCs with 366.7 L, of which 1 bag with 23.0 L contains Wautersia, 1 bag with 43.6 L requires sample analysis & 129.3 L in 3 bags are good for contingency use, 3. iodinated water (58 CWCs with 1089.1 L), 4. condensate water (1 bag with 28.1 L [known leaker], 1 empty CWC, 4 bags with 101.4 L) and 5. waste/EMU dump and other (2 CWCs with 24.3 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.]

On the CIR (Combustion Integrated Rack) in the Lab, TJ later removed the alignment guides to allow activation of the PaRIS (Passive Rack Isolation System) by the ground for FCF (Fluids & Combustion Facility) operations requiring a microgravity environment.

Timothy & Soichi filled out their weekly FFQs (Food Frequency Questionnaires) on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer). [On the FFQs, NASA astronauts keep a personalized log of their nutritional intake over time on special MEC software. Recorded are the amounts consumed during the past week of such food items as beverages, cereals, grains, eggs, breads, snacks, sweets, fruit, beans, soup, vegetables, dairy, fish, meat, chicken, sauces & spreads, and vitamins. The FFQ is performed once a week to estimate nutrient intake from the previous week and to give recommendations to ground specialists that help maintain optimal crew health. Weekly estimation has been verified to be reliable enough that nutrients do not need to be tracked daily.]

The crewmembers performed abbreviated physical exercise workouts on the ARED advanced resistive device (CDR, FE-5, FE-6) and T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (FE-5, FE-6).

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Yangtze River Delta (the Yangtze is the world’s third longest river and reaches the East China Sea at Shanghai. The delta region is one of the most densely populated areas on Earth. This pass was at midday with fair weather expected. As the crew approached the Chinese coast from the SW, they were to look just right of track for this target, trying for context mapping of the area), 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 at midday in fair weather, the crew was to look nadir and map the deforested valleys to acquire this target), Gaborone, Botswana (this capital city of about 200,000 is located near the southeastern border of the country on the Notwane River. This pass was in mid-morning with partly cloudy conditions expected. As ISS tracked northeastward over the northern hills of the Republic of South Africa, looking nadir for the city just north of a sizeable reservoir), and Bissau, Guinea-Bissau (again, the crew should have had nearly ideal conditions for a nadir view of this target in clear weather at midday as ISS 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).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 2:35am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 347.0 km
Apogee height – 352.2 km
Perigee height – 341.8 km
Period -- 91.48 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.65 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0007732
Solar Beta Angle -- -16.6 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.74
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 146 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) – 64,915

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
--------------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
--------------Six-crew operations-----------------
04/05/10 -- STS-131/Discovery/19A – MPLM(P), LMC – launch 6:21:21am
04/07/10 -- STS-131/Discovery/19A – MPLM(P), LMC – docking 3:46am
04/16/10 -- STS-131/Discovery/19A – MPLM(P), LMC – undocking 4:01am
04/18/10 -- STS-131/Discovery/19A – MPLM(P), LMC – land/KSC 8:35am
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.