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June 23, 2010
ISS On-Orbit Status 06/23/10

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. >>>Begin of Epsilon Aurigae Eclipse Watch (see below).<<<

CDR Skvortsov began the day with 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). [The CDR again inspected the filters before bedtime, currently a daily requirement per plan, with photographs to be taken if the filter packing is discolored.]

At wake-up, FE-2 Tracy Caldwell-Dyson continued her current session of 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.]

With Part 2 of the periodic personal acoustic measurement protocol done yesterday, FE-6 Shannon Walker today worked on completing the session today with Part 3 (of 3), downloading data from the three static acoustic dosimeters set up yesterday in the WHC (Waste & Hygiene Compartment), Node-2 and MRM1 Rassvet module. Two of the dosimeters could not download data before timing out. Troubleshooting by FE-6 includes checking and, if necessary, replacing batteries. [Acoustic data must be taken twice per Increment, each time for the duration of the 16-hour crew workday.]

FE-3 Kornienko used the CMS (Countermeasure System), a component of the SKDS GANK-4M suite, to perform the monthly standard check on the SM (Service Module) cabin air, today looking for Carbon Monoxide, Acetic Acid and Nitrous Gases. [CMS uses preprogrammed microchips to measure for numerous contaminants such as O-Xylol (1,2-Dimethylbenzol, C8H10), Hydrogen Chloride (HCl), Formaldehyde, Isopropanol, Methanol, Toluene, Mercaptan, Sulphur dioxide, Hydrogen Cyanide, Phosgene, etc.],

Afterwards, Mikhail conducted periodic (monthly) maintenance on the deactivated Russian IK0501 GA (Gas Analyzer) of the SOGS Pressure Control & Atmospheric Monitoring System behind panel 449 by replacing its CO2 filter assembly (BF) with a new unit from FGB stowage (done last: 5/11). [IK0501 is an automated system for measuring CO2, O2, and H2O in the air, as well as the flow rate of the gas being analyzed.]

CDR Skvortsov configured the hardware for the Russian MBI-21 PNEVMOKARD experiment, then conducted the 1h15m session, his 3rd, 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 was then closed out and the test data were 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.]

Alexander performed the periodic checkout of the Russian MedOps MO-2 protocol’s Kardiomed equipment and its TLM (telemetry) comm cable connections via BITS2-12 onboard telemetry measurement system, downlinking test data to RGS (Russian Groundsite) at 10:34am EDT via VHF. [Kardiomed (Cardiomed) uses ECG (Electrocardiograph) and blood pressure measurements, with a five-electrode Holter harness that reads dynamic (in motion) heart function from two leads over a span of time and records data on the “Kardioregistrator 90205” unit.]

Afterwards, Sasha moved to the Soyuz TMA-18/22S crew return vehicle, docked at the MRM2 “Poisk” at FGB nadir, to turn off the GA gas analyzer in the SA/Descent Module, a periodic atmosphere checkup. [GA has run since 6/21.]

FE-5 Yurchikhin meanwhile had 2h50m reserved for doing his first onboard session with the Russian biomedical MBI-15 "Pilot-M"/NEURO signal response experiment after setting up the workplace and equipment, assisted by Mikhail Kornienko as CMO (Crew Medical Officer). Later, the Pilot-M & Neurolab-2000M gear was disassembled & stowed away, data files were downloaded, and Fyodor reported to TsUP on his run. [MBI-15 requires the Multipurpose Hardware Bench as a table, ankle restraint system, eyeball electrodes for an EOG (electrooculogram), and two hand controllers (RUO & RUD) for testing piloting skill in “flying” simulations on a laptop (RSK1) with software (v. 2.0) under stopwatch control, as well as for studying special features of the psychophysiologic response of cosmonauts to the effects of stress factors in flight.]

After configuring the Lab video camcorder for live monitoring of his activities on the CIR (Combustion Integrated Rack), FE-4 Wheelock set up an experiment run on the FCF (Fluids & Combustion Facility) with a new fuel reservoir, ground-assisted by POIC (Payload Operations Integration Center/Huntsville). [Steps included powering down the rack, opening the upper & lower rack doors and the front-end cap plus temporarily stowing the fuel supply bypass QD (quick disconnect). This was followed by removal of one fuel reservoir of the MDCA (Multi-user Droplet Combustion Apparatus) in loc. 2 and its replacement with a new reservoir (#2009) containing Heptane as fuel, re-closing the facility, configuring valve positions and switching two CIR & EPCU control unit power switches to On for subsequent ground commanding via RPC (Remote Power Controller). Afterwards, Doug closed the front-end cap and the lower/upper doors. Activities were somewhat delayed by the unplanned removal of the TEPC (Tissue Equivalent Proportional Counter) which was found to be attached to the front of CIR instead of FIR (Fluids Integrated Rack). ]

FE-2 Caldwell-Dyson had ~30 min set aside for US cargo transfers from Soyuz TMA-19/23S, unpacking & stowing in ISS, going by an uplinked Cargo Unpack list. [US equipment items delivered on 23S include a new eBox (electronics box) for the KUBIK-3, a medical accessory kit, prescription eyewear, ear plug sets (Etymotics & Prophonics), EMU gloves, LED headlamp, book clip & crew preference bag.]

Later, FE-2 worked on the KUBIK-3 thermostatic container, connected to the EDR (European Drawer Rack), and replaced its thermal eBox with the new unit, followed by a functional checkout of its LEDs (light emitting diodes) and displays, then disconnected KUBIK from the EDR and stowed it.

Tracy unpacked several HMS IMAKs (Health Maintenance System ISS Medical Accessory Kits) delivered on 23S, containing personal medical items for Walker, Wheelock & Caldwell-Dyson. [The IMAK kits can subsequently be used for personal storage as desired.]

Caldwell-Dyson also started another sampling run with the EHS GC/DMS (Gas Chromatograph/Differential Mobility Spectrometer), deactivating the system ~5 hrs later. [This was the 5th session with the new GC/DMS unit (#1004), after the previous instrument (#1002) was used for approximately 100 runs. 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.]

Afterwards, Tracy performed the regular 30-day inspection of the AED (Automated External Defibrillator) in the CHeCS (Crew Health Care Systems) rack. [The AED is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the potentially life threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia in a patient. It then can treat them through defibrillation, i.e., the application of electrical therapy which stops the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to re-establish an effective rhythm. AEDs are generally either held by trained personnel who will attend events or are public access units which can be found in places including corporate and government offices, shopping centers, airports, restaurants, casinos, hotels, sports stadiums, schools and universities, community centers, fitness centers, health clubs and any other location where people may congregate.]

Additionally, FE-2 conducted the first on-orbit remote sampling of the cabin air using the new VCAM (Vehicle Cabin Atmosphere Module) instrument. [This involves collecting an air sample in a special air sampling bag from a location away from the VCAM unit (Part 1) and then using VCAM to analyze the sample (Part 2. It is done by one crewmember per Increment as practice run, should it ever become necessary to test suspicious air from locations in the station (away from open food or uncapped highlighter pens). The JPL-developed VCAM identifies gases that are present in minute quantities in the ISS breathing air that could be harmful to crew health. If successful, instruments like VCAM could accompany crewmembers during long-duration exploration missions. Similar to the earlier employed VOA (Volatile Organic Analyzer), VCAM can provide a means for monitoring the air within enclosed environments, using a miniature preconcentrator, GC (gas chromatograph), and mass spectrometer for unbiased detection of a large number of organic species. VCAM's software can identify whether the chemicals are on a targeted list of hazardous compounds and their concentration. A VCAM calibration gas is used periodically to check how the instrument’s components are actually performing. The raw data, calibration data, and analysis results are all sent to the ground for further assessment to validate the instrument’s detection, identification, and quantification results.]

FE-6 Shannon Walker wrapped up the Lab science window outfitting with WORF (Window Observation Research Facility) started by Wheelock & her yesterday, today connecting remaining umbilicals and installing a T61p laptop on the WORF Rack, finishing up with a 5-min checkup by the ground via S-band.

Afterwards, Tracy Caldwell-Dyson reinstalled the CEVIS cycle ergometer exercise machine in the Lab, which had been moved out of the way yesterday for the WORF outfitting.

Walker performed her first onboard session with the MedOps experiment WinSCAT (Spaceflight Cognitive Assessment Tool for Windows), logging in on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) laptop and going through the psychological evaluation exercise on the PC-based WinSCAT application. [WinSCAT is a monthly time-constrained questionnaire test of cognitive abilities, routinely performed by astronauts aboard the ISS every 30 days before or after the PHS (periodic health status) test or on special CDR's, crewmembers or flight surgeons request. The test uses cognitive subtests that measure sustained concentration, verbal working memory, attention, short-term memory, spatial processing, and math skills. The five cognitive subtests are Coding Memory - Learning, Continuous Processing Task (CPT), Match to Sample, Mathematics, and Coding Delayed Recall. These WinSCAT subtests are the same as those used during NASA’s long-duration bed rest studies.]

Afterwards, Shannon went through the regular monthly session (her first) of the CHeCS (Crew Health Care Systems) emergency medical operations OBT (On-Board Training) drill, a 30-min. exercise to refresh her CMO (Crew Medical Officer) acuity in a number of critical health areas. The video-based proficiency drill today focused on Nosebleed. [The HMS (Health Maintenance Systems) hardware, including ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) equipment, may be used in contingency situations where crew life is at risk. To maintain proficiency, crewmembers spend one hour per month reviewing HMS and ACLS equipment and procedures via the HMS and ACLS CBT (computer-based training). The training drill, each crewmember for him/herself, refreshes their memory of the on-orbit stowage and deployment locations, equipment etc. and procedures.]

Using the SLAMMD (Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device) equipment, which Caldwell-Dyson set up with its appropriate software, Tracy, Wheels & Shannon each completed a body mass measurement (BMM). [The required control run was performed by Tracy beforehand, after setting up the calibration arm and attaching the calibration mass. Afterwards, FE-6 powered off, dismantled and temporarily stowed the SLAMMD gear, then replaced the cargo bags in front of the HRF1 (Human Research Facility 1) rack which had to be removed by Tracy to access SLAMMD. Background: 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 preparation for Progress M-06M/38P docking on 7/2, CDR Skvortsov & FE-3 Kornienko conducted the standard 40-min. vehicle-to-vehicle TORU test between the SM and the docked Progress-M-05M/37P, closely monitored by ground personnel on DO15 (Daily Orbit 15, 12:09pm-12:22pm EDT). Progress thrusters (DPO) were inhibited and not involved. [TORU lets an SM-based crewmember perform the approach & docking of automated Progress vehicles manually in case of failure of the KURS radio-based autopilot.]

Wheelock, Walker & Caldwell-Dyson had ~10 min set aside to familiarize themselves with procedures associated with CQ QD (Crew Quarters Quick Disconnect) drag-through operations in the JAXA JPM (JEM Pressurized Module). [With Shannon’s CQ located in JPM but connected to Node-2, there is a jumper “hatch drag-through” requiring a special waiver which now allows for the continued use of the drag-through until the end of the ULF-4 stage (currently Sept. 2010).]

In the Lab, Shannon removed & replaced the three HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) bacteria filters on a standoff which were expended.

Kornienko performed the periodic audit/inventory of the Russian SSVP (Docking & Internal Transfer System) accessories, checking contents of kits, noting presence/absence of components, filling in an uplinked log table and transferring the resulting inventory file to TsUP via OCA.

Skvortsov meanwhile completed the periodic audit/inventory of the food supply subsystem (SPP), verifying contents (with utensils) in two containers stowed in the FGB.

The Russian crewmembers had another joined 1.5h session dedicated to E23/E24 crew handover activities.

FE-4, FE-5 & FE-6 again had several hours set aside for crew onboard orientation & adaptation. [The first two weeks after their arrival, a new ISS crew will have 1 hour a day to adjust to living in space. Additional time is allotted for getting around in the – by now – extensive new “home in space” and working with its valuable research equipment.]

Mikhail terminated battery charging for the BAR KELVIN KPT-2 payload and started the process on the battery of the TTM-2 instrument, later terminating it.

FE-3 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.]

Misha also did 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).

Immediately before his sleep time, Wheels is scheduled for the PanOptic eye test which requires application of eye drops (Tropicamide [Mydriacyl]) causing eye dilation for subsequent ophthalmic examination performed by Tracy as CMO (Crew Medical Officer) with an ophthalmoscope. [The procedure, guided by special software on the T61p RoBOT laptop (#1026), captures still & video images of the eye, including the posterior poles, macula & optic disc with the optic nerve, for downlink and expert analysis.]

Tracy set up the video equipment on a bracket in Node-3 for subsequently recording her exercise session on the ARED exerciser, as required every 30 days. [The video was to capture a full body side view with feet toward the bottom of the frame.]

The full crew completed today’s 2-hr. physical workout protocol on TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-3, FE-5), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-2, FE-4, FE-5 FE-6), and T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (FE-2, FE-4, FE-6). [For his TVIS workout, Yurchikhin used the TVIS SPDs (Subject Positioning Devices) tailored for him. The protective SPDs are required for new crewmembers for the first seven TVIS sessions for safety. This was Fyodor’s 3rd session.]

FE-4 & FE-6 had their 5th PMCs (Private Medical Conferences) after arrival, via S- & Ku-band audio/video, Wheels at ~11:05am, Shannon at ~12:15pm EDT.

At ~8:55am, Tracy powered up the SM's amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and at ~9:00am conducted a ham radio session with pupils & students from Asahi Manabiya, a volunteer club in the city of Owariasahi, Aichi, Japan.

High Beta Angle Power Restrictions: Due to the current high solar Beta angle regime (ISS always in sunlight), the SARJ (Solar Alpha Rotary Joint) for the portside array wing was feathered this morning (2:39am EDT) for thermal reasons, turning the solar panels away from the sun and thus reducing the output of the photovoltaic cells. The reduced power requires carefully orchestrated power management by the ISS partners within assigned levels of an agreed-upon powerdown plan for onboard systems, which started this morning and runs through 6/29. Special events such as 23S thruster test, 23S relocation & 38P docking may require additional powerdown considerations.

CEO (Crew Earth Observation): Over the next week or so there will be fewer CEO targets in the target list. This is due to the crew’s daylight/awake orbits paralleling the terminator. This phenomenon occurs at least twice a year, sometimes more – during the high-Beta angle period. During this time the sun elevations for nadir targets will be too low to meet requirements for many, but not all, of the targets. The crew sees darkness if they look to the left of the orbit tracks; to the right they see sunlight. This typically lasts for about a week before sun angles improve for CEO nadir targets. For the station, high Beta also means critically increased solar thermal input.

Epsilon Aurigae Eclipse Observation: ISS is participating in a significant astronomical observation program just getting underway, followed by thousands of amateur & professional astronomers: the Epsilon Aurigae Eclipse. A specific star in the Constellation Auriga (Charioteer) called Epsilon Aurigae undergoes an eclipse (being occulted) every 27.1 years. This has puzzled astronomers for nearly 200 years. The eclipse lasts nearly two years which, with the 27.1 year period, means the eclipsing body must be gigantic. There may be a temporary brightening at mid-eclipse. There have been no satisfactory explanations to date for this. Is it a giant cloud of gas with a doughnut-like hole, permitting the star to brighten during mid-eclipse? The Sun’s proximity to Epsilon Aurigae, as seen from the ground, prevents observations by ground-based astronomers during mid-eclipse, but astronauts on the ISS, having a different aspect angle, can observe and note changes in relative brightness, as suggested by the AAVSO (American Association of Variable Star Observers) following a talk by NASA-Astronaut John Grunsfeld. The method used by the crew is to compare the brightness of Epsilon Aurigae weekly with three other nearby stars of known & unchanging brightness.

CEO photo targets uplinked for today were Epsilon Aurigae Eclipse Brightness (looking left of track, slightly above the limb of the Earth, to observe the brightness of this star as compared to other stars in the Auriga constellation. Currently, at the northern portion of each orbit the crew has about a 25 minute window to view the star; uplinked were additional viewing times for today), and Polar Mesospheric Clouds/PMCs (the peak of PMCs occurs about 20 days after the summer solstice. Our northern hemisphere summer solstice occurred 6/21. PMCs exist high in the Earth’s atmosphere [about 80 km] at the edge of space and sometimes become visible just after sunset).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 8:01am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 353.3 km
Apogee height – 359.5 km
Perigee height – 347.0 km
Period -- 91.60 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.65 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0009323
Solar Beta Angle -- 68.7 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours – 28 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) – 66,446

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
--------------Six-crew operations-----------------
06/28/10 -- Soyuz TMA-19/23S relocation (SM Aft to MRM1 @ FGB nadir; 1:58pm-2:23pm)
06/30/10 -- Progress M-06M/38P launch (870kg props, 50kg O2, 100kg H2O, 1210kg dry cargo)
07/02/10 -- Progress M-06M/38P docking
07/26/10 -- Russian EVA-25 (Yurchikhin/Kornienko) – MRM1 outfitting
08/05/10 -- US EVA-15 (Caldwell/Wheelock)
08/17/10 -- US EVA-16 (Caldwell/Wheelock)
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) - ~11:40am
09/22/10 -- STS-133/Discovery undock
09/24/10 -- Soyuz TMA-18/22S undock/landing (End of Increment 24)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
10/08/10 -- Soyuz TMA-20/24S launch – Kelly (CDR-26)/Kaleri/Skripochka
10/10/10 -- 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-------------
10/20/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P undocking
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