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March 25, 2010
ISS On-Orbit Status 03/25/10

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

At wake-up, CDR Oleg Kotov performed the regular daily early-morning check of the aerosol filters at the Russian Elektron O2 generator which Maxim 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.]

CDR Kotov, FE-5 Noguchi & FE-6 Creamer joined up in the Soyuz 21S spacecraft (docked at the FGB Nadir port) for the standard 3-hrs Soyuz Emergency Descent Drill, regular procedure for each station crew. The exercise, which does not involve any command activation, uses computer simulation (Trenasher Spusk/”descent trainer”) on the RSK1 laptop with a descent hand controller (RUS) in manual mode to set up reentry conditions and switch between modes. [The onboard training (OBT) session, supported by TsUP instructor tagup, included a review of the pertinent RODF (Russian Operations Data Files), specifically the books on Soyuz Insertion & Descent Procedures, Emergency Descents, and Off-Nominal Situation Procedures such as manual undocking.]

After tearing down & removing the previously installed hardware of the GFI-1 “Relaksatsiya” (Relaxation) Earth Observation experiment at SM (Service Module) window #9 and closing the window’s interior protective cover for the duration of the Emergency Descent Drill, Kotov re-installed the gear for another experiment run, charging the battery for the SONY HVR-Z1J camcorder, then recording the planned GFI-1 activities, supported by ground specialist tagup. The gear was then closed out and removed. [Using the GFI-1 UFKFialka” ultraviolet camera, SP spectrometer and HD (High Definition) camcorder, the experiment observes the Earth atmosphere and surface from window #9, with spectrometer measurements controlled from Laptop 3. “Relaxation”, in Physics, is the transition of an atom or molecule from a higher energy level to a lower one, emitting radiative energy in the process as equilibrium is achieved.]

Timothy Creamer continued his major IFM (Inflight Maintenance) task on the CDRA (Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly)’s bed #2 (202) started yesterday, supporting a sensor check by MCC-H ground commanding by removing the pin kit jumpers installed yesterday, then removing Bed #2 and installing new pin kit jumpers. [Objective of today’s activity was to avoid using LiOH (Lithium Hydroxide) canisters for CO2 absorption. Temperature sensor B of CDRA Bed 202 in the ARS (Atmosphere Revitalization Systems) Rack #2 located at LAB1D6 has shown some “out-of-family” temperature data. After yesterday’s task to bypass sensor B, only sensors A and C remained, but A showed a large bias and C is probably not connected, i.e., the bypass failed. Today’s task was to remove the jumpers, verify functionality of the sensors in their original configuration and then install new jumpers (22 gauge pin/socket) to connect Bed 202 sensors A & C while omitting temperature sensor B.]

In the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), TJ worked on the BLB (Biolab), removing the spent silica gel dehumidifier bags from TCU1 (Temperature Control Unit 1) & TCU2 and replaced them with fresh ones.

In the MSL (Materials Science Laboratory), Creamer exchanged the used LGF SCA-5 (Low Gradient Furnace Sample Cartridge Assembly 5) with the next test sample (CETSOL #1). [The ESA/NASA MSRR-1 (Material Science Research Rack 1) provides a powerful multi-user MSL with diverse EMs (Experiment Modules) so that many material types, such as metals, alloys, polymers, semiconductors, ceramics, crystals, and glasses, can be studied in micro-G to discover new applications for existing materials and new or improved materials. MSRR experiments are coordinated by international teams that share different parts of the samples. There are 25 investigators on three research teams participating in the first of these investigations. CETSOL (Columnar-to-Equiaxed Transition in Solidification Processing) and MICAST (Microstructure Formation in Casting of Technical Alloys under Diffusive & Magnetically Controlled Convective Conditions) are two complementary material science projects, which carry out research into the formation of microstructures during the solidification of metallic alloys. The goal of MICAST is to study the formation of microstructures during casting of technical alloys. In space, buoyancy convection is eliminated and the dendritic solidification of the alloys can be quantitatively studied under purely diffusive conditions. The objective of CETSOL is then to study the transition from columnar growth to equiaxed growth that occurs when crystals start to nucleate in the melt and grow independently. Results of these experiments will help to optimize industrial casting processes.]

Soichi Noguchi had another 2h15m reserved for 19A cargo gathering & prepacking.

FE-6 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 (23-0003) lists 95 CWCs (2,366.8 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 (4 bags with 105.4 L; 2 empty CWCs), 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.]

In the SM, the Russian Commander 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.]

Working off his discretionary “time permitting” task list, 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).

At ~3:25am EDT, Oleg Kotov supported two PAO TV downlinks: (1) a message of congratulatory greetings for the 5th Anniversary of the Moscow Power Supply Company (“Thank you for reliable and uninterrupted power supply to Star City and Mission Control Center outside Moscow… Happy fifth anniversary to your company and its branches, one of them sharing the same Russian acronym MKS (Moscow Cabling Network) with our station…”); and (2) a Q/A exchange with schoolchildren currently participating in Russia’s social-science program “Step into the Future” at Bauman Moscow State Technological University (MGTU).

At ~3:41am, Soichi powered up the SM's amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and at 3:46am conducted a ham radio session with students at Shiogama Daini Junior High School, Shiogama, Japan. [The school, WITH about 400 students and about 30 staff, was established as the second junior high school of Shiogama-city in 1947. Shiogama fish market is famous for a large quantity of bigeye tuna called "Higashimono". As Shiogama is a port city, there are a lot of people who engage in fishery and who utilize radio communication. Therefore there are many radio stations on the slightly elevated hill where people can look down at Matsushima-gulf.]

At ~12:00pm, FE-5 had his periodic PMC (Private Medical Conferences), via S- & Ku-band audio/video.

The crew completed their regular daily 2.5-hr. physical workout program on the ARED advanced resistive exerciser (FE-5, FE-6), T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (CDR, FE-5, FE-6) and VELO ergometer bike with bungee cord load trainer (CDR).

ISS Reboost: Yesterday at 5:15am, Progress M-04/36P (at SM Aft port) performed a nominal single-burn reboost of the ISS with its 8 DPO (Rendezvous & Docking) thrusters, assisted by Progress M-03/35P (at DC1 Nadir port). The burn consumed 142 kg of propellant, about 3 kg of which was for attitude control before & after the burn. 36P mid-ring thrusters controlled ISS pitch & yaw and also provided the translation delta-V of 0.97 m/s (3.18 fps), while the radially docked 35P controlled ISS roll. Mean altitude gain was 1.7 km (0.8 nm). Purpose of the reboost was to set up phasing for the Soyuz 22S, 19A Shuttle launch, and Progress 37P launch.

WPA Update: On 3/22, the Water Processor Assembly, a sophisticated, complex system comprising the WWT (Waste Water Tank), various filters for particulates & contaminants, a gas/liquid separator, a catalytic reactor (to oxidize organics), an ion exchange bed (to remove reactor by-products), a heat exchanger, pumps, etc. to produce potable water from Lab waste water, went on Standby due to low temperatures in the preheater, probably due to cold water contacting the latter that the heaters could not compensate for. A subsequent attempt to bring the WPA’s catalytic reactor back up to temperature did not succeed. Also, it was noticed that the WWT was slowly losing contents (~3 lbm/day), indicating a possible leak somewhere. Valves within the WPA were closed to isolate the leak source overnight and the WPA was then fully deactivated and powered down. The plan is for the crew to go on a “hide-and-seek” tomorrow (3/26) in Node-3 to see where water may be leaking (rack umbilicals, internal to the rack?), which will require rotating the WRS-1 (Water Recovery System 1) and WRS-2 racks. While the WPA is down, the crew is using the Russian SRVK condensate processor for drinking water.

METOX Update: The METOX (Metal Oxide) regeneration initiated on 3/23 on the last remaining unregenerated METOX canister aboard appears to have completed successfully. This suggests that the two failed regenerations on 3/1 & 3/8 were likely due to those canisters being installed in the regeneration unit with the O-ring seals not fully seated (which allowed the heating gas to partially bypass the canisters and be ported into the regeneration unit enclosure, giving an erroneous temperature reading). The canister installation procedure will be updated accordingly.

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Yaounde, Cameroon (CEO staff has neither photography nor cloud-free satellite imagery of this target. However, rare combination of early morning timing and only hazy skies may permit views of this capital city of one and half million. As ISS tracked northeastward over the coast of Cameroon, the crew was to begin a nadir mapping strip to try and capture this city located inland within a rolling forested area of the country), Jerusalem, Israel (ISS had a mid-morning pass in fair weather over the Israeli capital located near the country’s center and less than 20 miles from the north end of the Dead Sea. This is a very low-contrast target. As ISS approached the Dead Sea from the SW, the crew was to look nadir for this city of three quarters of a million in the wooded hill country west of the northern Dead Sea), Baku, Azerbaijan (the capital city of Azerbaijan is located in the extreme eastern part of the country and situated on the south side of the Abseron Peninsula which juts into the southeastern Caspian Sea. ISS approach was from the SW in late morning with fair weather. As the station approached the coast of the Caspian Sea, the crew was to look nadir for this city of over 2 million), Megafans Central Algeria (this target area lies primarily to the left of track between two areas of darker rock northwest of the Hoggar highland area of southeastern Algeria. As ISS tracked northeastward over the northwestern Hoggar at mid-morning in clear weather, the crew was to try for context views of the megafan area left of track), and Tripoli, Libya (this capital city of 1.69 million has been occupied since its founding in the 7th century BC. It lies on a gentle bulge in the Libyan coastline. As the crew approached the Mediterranean coast from the SW at mid-morning in fair weather, they should have found this low-contrast target right on the coast at nadir).

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.