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June 01, 2010
ISS On-Orbit Status 06/01/2010

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

Crew Sleep Cycle Shift: To accommodate tonight’s Soyuz TMA-17/21S undocking (8:04 pm EDT), crew workday began at 9:30am & ends with sleep at 12:30am. Tomorrow: Wake - 9:30am, sleep - 5:30pm, returning to normal.

At wake-up, FE-3 Kornienko performed the regular daily early-morning check of the aerosol filters at the Russian Elektron O2 generator which Maxim Suraev had installed on 10/19/09 in gaps between the BZh Liquid Unit and the oxygen outlet pipe (filter FA-K) plus hydrogen outlet pipe (filter FA-V). [FE-3 again inspected the filters before bedtime, currently a daily requirement per plan, with photographs to be taken if the filter packing is discolored.]

FE-6 Creamer had the last day of his Pro K (Dietary Intake Can Predict and Protect against Changes in Bone Metabolism during Spaceflight and Recovery) medical protocol, measuring and logging the pH value of an early-morning urine sample.

With FE-5 Noguchi assisting as Operator, TJ also underwent his pre-undocking blood sample collections for the (first ever) combined INTEGRATED IMMUNE/NUTRITION w/Repository/Pro K blood protocols, nine sample tubes in all, centrifuged in the RC (Refrigerated Centrifuge), then either stored temporarily in MELFI (Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS) or in case of INTEGRATED IMMUNE, at ambient temperature on Soyuz 21S.

At day’s begin, FE-2 Caldwell-Dyson completed another session with the 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. 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.]

CDR Skvortsov & FE-1 Kotov conducted the MO-22 Sanitary-Epidemiological Status check, part of the Russian MedOps program done usually before Soyuz departures. [To monitor for microflora, Alexander & Oleg collected samples from surface areas of interior panels and hardware at various places in the SM (Service Module), FGB, MRM1, MRM2, DC1 and also from each other, using cotton swabs and special test tubes which were then stowed in TMA-17 for return to the ground.]

Other pre-undocking activities by the new ISS CDR included –
  • Terminating the flushing of the BK BKV purification columns of the BKV water conditioning unit installed yesterday, replacing the old unit,
  • Taking documentary photography of the TKhN-9 CRYSTALLIZER JAXA PCG (Protein Crystal Growth) experiment handover & stowage, consisting of two container bags with TKhN-9 payload [which were removed from the PCRF (Protein Crystallization Research Facility) by Creamer and handed over to Kotov for stowage in 21S (PCRF cables were then reconnected and the facility closed out)],
  • Placing ice packs & the BTKh-26 KASKAD Bioreactor from the TBU Universal Bioengineering Thermostat in MRM2 into the BIOCONT-T container for stowage in 21S for return, and
  • Setting up the onboard communications system (STTS) for Soyuz undocking, including the VHF comm link from the TMA-17 SA to TsUP via RGS (Russian ground Site).

After yesterday’s first sample retrieval of the new JAXA experiment Ferulate (Regulation by Gravity of Ferulate Formation in Cell Walls of Rice Seedlings) in the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module) FE-2 Caldwell-Dyson today conducts the same operation for the second and third ferulate sample, one in the morning, the other in the afternoon. [Exacting activity steps include retrieving the rice seedling sample holder from MEU (Measurement Experiment Unit) detached from CBEF IUs (Cell Biology Experiment Facility Incubator Units) for Micro-G & 1G, inserting the ferulate samples in MELFI-2, and attaching the MEUs again in CBEF IU-Micro-G and -1G units. Ferulates are compounds of ferulic acid, an organic substance which is an abundant phenolic phytochemical found in plant cell walls. The salt sodium ferulate is a drug used in traditional Chinese medicine for treatment of cardiovascular & cerebrovascular diseases and to prevent thrombosis. The ISS experiment Ferulate tests the hypothesis that microgravity decreases the mechanical strength of cell walls of rice plants by modifying the levels of abscisic acid. The polysaccharide composition of the cell wall in gramineous plants, such as rice, maize, wheat, and barley, is distinguished from that in dicotyledons, such as Arabidopsis, pea, and mung bean, which have been used in many space experiments.]

Later, Tracy’s activity list called for her to –
  • Close the protective window shutters in Lab, Kibo & Node-3 Cupola to prevent exhaust plume contamination from the departing Soyuz spacecraft,
  • Replace the battery in the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) A31p laptop with a fresh one,
  • Move the NLP (National Lab Pathfinder) Cells stowage bag from the CGBA-4 (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus 4) to CGBA-5 and stow the items inside the CGBA pockets,
  • Tear down, clean & stow the equipment used for TJ’s blood & urine sample collections,
  • Initiate “bake-out” regeneration of two METOX (Metal Oxide) CO2 absorption canisters (#0005, #0015) in the US Airlock’s oven, and
  • Unstow & set up the PPFS (Portable Pulmonary Function System) hardware in the Lab for a software update from the ground and her next VO2max session, scheduled on Thursday (6/3) [the VO2max experiment uses the PPFS, CEVIS ergometer cycle, PFS (Pulmonary Function System) gas cylinders, mixing bag system and other subsystems to measure oxygen uptake, cardiac output, and more. The exercise protocol comprises 5-min stages at workloads eliciting 25%, 50% & 75% of aerobic capacity as measured pre-flight, followed by a 250-watt increase in workload every minute until the crewmember reaches maximum exercise capacity. At that point, CEVIS workload increase is stopped, and a 5-min cooldown period follows at the 25% load. Constraints are: no food 2 hrs prior to exercise start, no caffeine 8 hrs prior to exercise, and must be well hydrated.]

FE-3 Kornienko meanwhile transferred BTKh-6/ARIL, BTKh-7/OChB, BTKh-41/BACTERIOFAG and BTKh-40/BIF payloads from the TBU thermostat-controlled incubator (at +29 degC) to the Soyuz spacecraft for FE-1 Kotov to stow the containers for return.

Later, Kornienko deactivated the KRIOGEM-03 refrigerator in the DC1 & the TBU Universal Bioengineering Thermostatic Container in the MRM2 and moved both items to stowage locations in the FGB PGO (Instrumentation Cargo Compartment).

In preparation for the Soyuz reentry tonight, Mikhail set up the hardware of the GFI-1 “Relaksatsiya” (Relaxation) Earth Observation experiment at SM window #9, with the intent to observe & measure the high-rate interaction spectra of the Earth’s upper atmosphere with Soyuz thruster plumes. Planned are first a calibration run at ~7:10pm-7:40pm, then the actual reentry measurement session from 10:28pm-10:41pm EDT. [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.]

FE-3 then completed the routine daily servicing of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS) in the SM. [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.]

For his last onboard maintenance job, FE-5 Noguchi worked in the Lab on the OGS (Oxygen Generation System) rack, removing & replacing its expired ACTEX (Activated Carbon/Ion Exchange) filter cartridge.

FE-5 also powered down the amateur/ham radio equipment to prevent RF interference with Soyuz during proximity ops.

Afterwards, along with TJ Creamer, Noguchi had several hours set aside for completing final crew departure preparations. [Soichi’s personal bags have already been returned on ULF4. Remaining activities included vacating personal “dresser drawers” in the Lab (loc. P1 rack) and getting those locations prepped for Doug Wheelock & Shannon Walker, auditing some items to compare against the IMS (Inventory Management System) database, trashing used shoes, deerskin gloves, sleeping bag, comfort kit etc., providing the ground with counts for hygiene and other crew utensils, etc. Departure preps also involved restowing exercise equipment to be used by the 23S crew later this month.]

As his last activity on board, TJ doffed his SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy and Light Exposure During Spaceflight) Actiwatch and stowed it for future use.

At ~3:30pm, Soyuz CDR Oleg Kotov will begin activating the 21S spacecraft, docked at the SM aft port, and check out its communications system.

At ~4:30pm, Oleg is expected to uninstall the QD (quick disconnect) screw clamps (BZV) of the SSVP docking & internal transfer mechanism, unrigidizing the coupling. [Other preparations are being 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, entering undock settings, and issuance of ballistics forms for the return flight.]

Closure of SM-side & Soyuz-side hatches (leaving the vestibule in-between) is scheduled for ~4:50pm, followed by the standard one-hour vestibule leak check.

Before the undocking, Sasha Skvortsov, the new ISS Commander, sets up the Russian TEKh-15/DAKON-M IZGIB (“Bend”) experiment hardware in the SM, then activates it for taking structural dynamics data during the 21S undocking. Later, the dynamics measurements will be 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.]

After Soyuz departure (8:04pm EDT), Skvortsov will manually close the KVD/PEV (Pressure Equalization Valve) between the SM and the aft docking port vestibule (~8:35pm).

Kornienko will later restore the STTS onboard communications system setup which he had configured for the undocking earlier today.

During the Soyuz re-entry flight, Sasha will be monitoring 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].

Some of the crew completed today’s 2-hr. physical workout protocol on ARED advanced resistive exerciser (CDR, FE-2, FE-3), and T2/COLBERT treadmill (FE-2).

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

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 8:03am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 344.3 km
Apogee height – 350.4 km
Perigee height – 338.3 km
Period -- 91.42 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.65 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0009003
Solar Beta Angle -- -25.4 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.75
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 131 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) – 66,100

21S Descent Timeline Overview:
If everything proceeds nominally, the return to Earth of the TMA-17 spacecraft tomorrow, 6/1,
will proceed along the following approximate event sequence (all times EDT):
  • ISS attitude control handover to RS --- 6:35pm;
  • ISS to free drift for undocking --- 8:00pm;
  • Undock command --- 8:01pm;
  • Separation springs action/physical sep (delta-V ~0.12 m/sec) --- 8:04pm;
  • Separation burn #1 (15 sec, ~0.53 m/sec) --- 8:07pm;
  • ISS maneuvers to Relaxation experiment attitude --- 10:15pm;
  • ISS maneuvers to duty attitude – 10:41pm;
  • ISS attitude control handover to US --- 11:30pm;
  • Deorbit Burn start (delta-V 115.2 m/sec) --- 10:34:40pm;
  • Deorbit Burn complete --- 10:39:01pm;
  • Tri-Module separation (140 km alt) --- 10:58:36pm;
  • Atmospheric entry (100 km alt, with ~170 m/sec) --- 11:01:43pm;
  • Entry Guidance start (80.8 km alt) --- 11:03:17 pm;
  • Max G-load (36.2 km alt) --- 11:07:43pm;
  • Parachute deploy command (10.8 km alt) --- 11:09:45pm;
  • 21S Landing (DO1) --- 11:24:04pm EDT; 6:24:04am Moscow DMT; 9:24:04am local Kazakhstan; (loc. 47deg 21min N, 69deg 35min E)
[Note: Kazakhstan time = GMT+6h; = EDT+10h. Moscow DMT = EDT+7h.]

What the Soyuz TMA-17 crew will experience during their reentry/descent on Tuesday evening:
  • For the reentry, Kotov, Noguchi & Creamer 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. 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):
--------------Six-crew operations-----------------
06/01/10 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S undock/landing (8:04pm/11:24pm EDT) (End of Increment 23)
-------------- Three-crew operations -------------
06/15/10 -- Soyuz TMA-19/23S launch – Wheelock (CDR-25)/Walker/Yurchikhin
06/17/10 -- Soyuz TMA-19/23S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-----------------
06/28/10 -- Soyuz TMA-19/23S relocation (SM Aft to MRM1 @ FGB nadir)
06/30/10 -- Progress M-06M/38P launch
07/02/10 -- Progress M-06M/38P docking
07/08/10 -- US EVA-15 (Caldwell/Wheelock)
07/23/10 -- Russian EVA-25 (Yurchikhin/Kornienko)
09/07/10 -- Progress M-06M/38P undock
09/08/10 -- Progress M-07M/39P launch
09/10/10 -- Progress M-07M/39P docking
09/16/10 -- STS-133/Discovery launch (ULF5 – ELC4, PMM)
09/22/10 -- STS-133/Discovery undock
09/24/10 -- Soyuz TMA-18/22S undock/landing (End of Increment 24)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
10/10/10 -- Soyuz TMA-20/24S launch – Kelly (CDR-26)/Kaleri/Skripochka
10/12/10 -- Soyuz TMA-20/24S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
10/26/10 -- Progress M-05M/37P undock
10/27/10 -- Progress M-08M/40P launch
10/29/10 -- Progress M-08M/40P docking
11/xx/10 -- STS-134/Endeavour (ULF6 – ELC3, AMS-02)
11/10/10 -- Russian EVA-26
11/17/10 – Russian EVA-27
11/26/10 -- Soyuz TMA-19/23S undock/landing (End of Increment 25)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
12/10/10 -- Soyuz TMA-21/25S launch – Kondratyev (CDR-27)/Coleman/Nespoli
12/12/10 -- Soyuz TMA-21/25S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
12/15/10 -- Progress M-07M/39P undock
12/xx/10 -- Russian EVA-28
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)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
03/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-22/26S launch – A. Borisienko (CDR-28)/R, Garan/A.Samokutayev
04/01/11 -- Soyuz TMA-22/26S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
04/26/11 -- Progress M-09M/41P undock
04/27/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P launch
04/29/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P docking
05/16/11 -- Soyuz TMA-21/25S undock/landing (End of Increment 27)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/31/11 -- Soyuz TMA-23/27S launch – M. Fossum (CDR-29)/S. Furukawa/S. Volkov
06/01/11 -- Soyuz TMA-23/27S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
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
09/16/11 – Soyuz TMA-22/26S undock/landing (End of Increment 28)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
09/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-24/28S launch
10/02/11 – Soyuz TMA-24/28S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
10/21/11 -- Progress M-13M/45P launch
10/23/11 -- Progress M-13M/45P docking
11/16/11 -- Soyuz TMA-23/27S undock/landing (End of Increment 29)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-25/29S launch
12/02/11 -- Soyuz TMA-25/29S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
12/??/11 -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – on Proton.
12/26/11 -- Progress M-13M/45P undock
01/xx/12 -- ATV-3 launch– Ariane 5 (ESA) U/R

On a Sad Note: Pavel M. Vorobiev has passed away.
With his passing, the ISS Program has suffered the loss of one of its best engineer/managers. Pavel worked for RSC-Energia since 1957, hired by Sergei Korolev, the chief designer of the Soviet space program, and we all came to know, respect and love him during the pioneering Shuttle-Mir Program and the subsequent ISS development years. For Shuttle-Mir, Pavel was instrumental in developing new approaches to joint manifesting, cargo traffic scheduling, and cargo deliveries by the Shuttle to the Mir station,- unique techniques which later proved highly valuable for making the extremely complex ISS development a success. For ISS, Pavel again and again stood up as our foremost fighter for Crew Safety issues which he pushed for with unrelenting insistence, tenacity and unmistakable vocal power and eloquence.