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July 09, 2010
ISS On-Orbit Status 07/09/10

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

At wake-up, FE-5 Yurchikhin 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-5 will inspect the filters again before bedtime, currently a daily requirement per plan, with photographs to be taken if the filter packing is discolored.]

FE-2 Caldwell-Dyson, FE-4 Doug Wheelock & FE-6 Shannon Walker continued their current week-long session of the post-wakeup experiment SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight), Tracy’s 5th, 1st for Wheels & Shannon, transferring data from their Actiwatches to the HRF-1 (Human Research Facility 1) laptop. [To monitor his/her sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, the crewmember wears a special Actiwatch device which measures the light levels encountered by him/her as well as their patterns of sleep and activity throughout the Expedition, using the payload software for data logging and filling in questionnaire entries in the experiment’s laptop session file on the HRF-1 laptop. The log entries are done within 15 minutes of final awakening for seven consecutive days.]

Also at wake-up, Walker continued her 2nd (FD30) Pro K session with the urine pH spot test and the Pro K monitored diet protocol, eating whatever she likes but having to log all food and drink consumed over the next four days. [Under Pro K, the crewmember measures and logs the pH value of a urine sample, collected the same time of day every day for 5 days. The crewmember also prepares a diet log and then annotates quantities of food packets consumed and supplements taken during the day.]

The CDR initiated his final experiment session with the KPT-21 Plasma Crystal-3+ (Plazmennyi-Kristall/PK-3+) payload by activating the turbopump in the MRM2 “Poisk” module for keeping the vacuum chamber (EB) evacuated. Later, after configuring the STTS comm system for his stay in Poisk, Alex conducted experiment ops in automatic mode, then closed the session out, copying & downloading data from the hard drive, followed by deactivation & teardown of the experiment equipment. [PK-3+ research had four parts: First, study of a dusty (complex) plasma with high densities of particles 9.2 �m in size and high RF power in argon at a pressure of 80 Pa (Pascal). Second, study of the agglomeration of particles 9.2 �m in size at an argon pressure of 80 Pa when exposed to a low-frequency electrical field. Third, study of a dusty (complex) plasma consisting of a mixture of particles 9.2 �m and 3.4 �m in size, including mutual penetration, oscillations and self-induced oscillations, as well as the relaxation of such a plasma. Four, study of the process of agglomeration of particles 14.9, 6.8, and 2.5 �m in size at an argon pressure of 80 Pa when exposed to a low-frequency electrical field. The session is conducted in the automatic mode.]

At ~4:30am EDT, the crew held their first joint fire drill/OBT (on-board training), a mandatory periodic one-hour exercise (including subsequent 15-min ground debrief conference) to practice initial crew actions in response to an onboard fire. [Primary goal of this Russian-led interactive exercise is to maintain crew skills in responding to a fire and to provide the station residents with the most realistic emergency training possible. The drill is always conducted with the support of all MCCs (TsUP-Moscow, TsUP-Kazakhstan, MCC-Houston, COL-CC, SSIPC/Tsukuba) in close coordination. It should be performed every 2.5 months, but not later than 1 month prior to end of Increment. OBT objectives are to (a) practice fire response procedures (FRPs) and all incorporated actions for the case of a software-detected fire to locate, extinguish, and verify extinguishing attempts; (b) browse through RS laptop and the Signal-VM fire detection system displays as well as the automated software (algorithms) response to the fire event; (c) practice crew communication necessary to perform emergency FRPs; (d) ensure familiarization with support equipment (CSA-CP compound specific analyzer-combustion products, PBAs portable breathing assemblies, PFE/OSP-4 portable fire extinguishers, and IPK-1M gas masks to be used for fire suppression). These exercises do not actually use any fire equipment but simulate such actions with comm channels, PBAs, CSA-CP and laptop displays to the maximum extent possible. The Emergency Procedures OBT concluded with a 15-min. debrief with Russian/U.S. ground specialists at ~6:55am via S-band.]

FE-6 Wheelock retrieved the two Ziploc bags with 8 JAXA 2D Nano Template sample bags which Caldwell-Dyson had stored in MELFI-2 (Dewar 3, Tray C, Sect. 1&2) on 6/10 at +2 degC, and used them for today’s 2D Nano experiment activity. [Science objective of the experiment is to fabricate large 2D nano peptide arrays of high quality in micro-G, i.e., through suppression of convection, sedimentation, and buoyancy. The arrays develop on SiC (silicon carbide) & mica substrates in a peptide solution. The substrate will be used as a template for electronic materials. Doug Wheelock removed clips from the eight bags to allow mixing of the two solutions NaOH (sodium hydroxide) & concentrated peptide in the bag. After mixing the solutions, the bags were re-clipped, photographed and returned to MELFI. After 90-105 days, they will be retrieved for photos and returned to MELFI. The samples will be returned to the ground on ULF5 in a DCB (Double Coldbag).]

In Node-3, FE-5 Yurchikhin performed a functionality test on all RPSs (Rack Power Switches) to verify their correct wiring, after first connecting the ARS (Atmosphere Revitalization Systems) data umbilical at the ARS UIP (Utility Interface Panel), loc. A4. The umbilical was later removed again. [The primary purpose of the test was to determine which RPS will power off which racks in Node-3. All racks powered off nominally.]

Afterwards, Fyodor conducted another 60-min session of the GFI-8 "Uragan" (hurricane) earth-imaging program at SM window 9 with the NIKON D2X digital camera with 800mm telelens, targeting Shatsky, Gomelsky and the Streletskaya Steppe Wild Park.

FE-6 Walker retrieved the two passive FMK (Formaldehyde Monitoring Kit) monitors deployed yesterday by FE-2 in the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory) at Bay D1, between the air duct return grids, and replaced them with two new monitors in the same location. Purpose: to catch any formaldehyde exuded by the acoustic foam padding removed later from the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) by Tracy. [Two monitors are usually attached side by side, preferably in an orientation with their faces perpendicular to the direction of air flow.]

In COL, FE-2 Caldwell-Dyson prepared the Genara-A (Gravity Regulated Genes in Arabidopsis A) experiment, which was deferred on 7/7. With the VCA1 camcorder set up, Tracy was to configure the MWA (Maintenance Work Area) and H-Strap, then prepare the EMCS (European Modular Cultivation System) for experiment operation by inserting ECs (Experiment Containers). [Steps included manually opening the EMCS gas valves (required 24 hrs before EMCS power-up by ground commanding), preparing 4 EMCS ECs for Genara culture chambers (four for each EC) and replacing two RECs (Reference ECs) on Rotor A and two RECs on Rotor B with ECs to perform the experiment. Background: Genara-A, a collaborative effort between COL-CC (Columbus Control Center/Oberpfaffenhofen) and POIC (Payload Operations Integration Center/Huntsville), seeks to provide an understanding of microgravity-induced altered molecular activities which will help to find plant systems that compensate the negative impact on plant growth in space, an aspect of special importance for the application of plant based systems in life support systems or as food source for long-duration space flights beyond low Earth orbit. Genara-A addresses the existence of gravity regulated genes, which affect the mechanism of gravisensing and the redistribution of plant growth hormones. For this purpose the growth of Arabidopsis will be followed by optical observation of 1g reference samples and samples grown under microgravity. In transgenic Arabidopsis plants, several biomonitors will report the distribution of IAA (Indole-3-Acetic Acid, a plant hormone auxin) and ABA (Abscisic Acid, a plant hormone) at the tissue level in microgravity or in the 1-g centrifuge. Arabidopsis thaliana (thale cress), is one of the model organisms used for studying plant biology and the first plant to have its entire genome sequenced. Changes in thale cress are easily observed, making it a very useful model.]

After yesterday’s final run of the CSLM-2 (Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures 2) experiment in COL, Caldwell-Dyson today worked on restoring the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) to nominal operating conditions, by carefully removing the inside foam padding from the activated MSG work volume, later deactivating the Glovebox again. [The foam inside the walls was installed for acoustic dampening, and on 6/10 Tracy had reported that small pieces of the acoustic foam were coming from the outside of the MSG work volume. Investigation on the ground found that the foam indeed tends to stay in chunks when damaged, rather than disintegrate. It also can release minute amounts of formaldehyde.]

CDR Skvortsov & FE-3 Kornienko again had an hour set aside for unloading Progress 38P and transferring its cargo to the ISS for stowage, with commensurate BCR (Bar Code Reader) updating of the IMS (Inventory Management System).

Continuing the current round of the monthly preventive maintenance of RS (Russian Segment) ventilation systems, Skvortsov used the vacuum cleaner & soft brush to clean the detachable VT7 fan screens 1, 2 & 3 of the three SOTR gas-liquid heat exchangers (GZhT4) in the FGB (Funktsionalnyi-Grusovoi Blok).

Shannon Walker downloaded and saved the ECG (Electrocardiograph) data recorded for the last 24 hrs from her first session, started yesterday, with the JAXA biomedical experiment BIORHYTHMS (Biological Rhythms) and its body-worn digital Walk Holter ECG (Electrocardiograph).

Working in the Lab, FE-6 prepared loc. S1 for the temporary installation of the Node-3 ARS Rack by installing a K-BAR (Knee-Brace Assembly Replacement) Capture Fitting & Pivot Fitting. [The ARS “musical chairs” relocation is scheduled to start early next week. Sabatier installation/activation will eventually require an active ARS rack in Node-3, but the Lab ARS Rack, currently installed in Node-3 without umbilicals mated, cannot be activated in Node-3. So the Node-3 & Lab ARS racks must be swapped back to their original locations. Next week’s task moves the Node-3 ARS from Lab D6 to Lab S1 as a temporary location, for which Shannon prepared the K-BAR today. The second rack, i.e. the Lab ARS rack, will then be moved from Node-3 A4 to Lab D6, and the Node-3 ARS rack will lastly be transferred from Lab S1 to its final location at Node-3 A4.]

FE-3 Kornienko worked in the MRM1 Rassvet module, after temporarily reconfiguring its ventilation system to provide intermodular ventilation between FGB, MRM1 and Soyuz 23S since the module’s TsV1, TsV2 & TsV3 fans had to be turned off, at the PPS4 power panel. [Mikhail switched connections & remated two cable assemblies at the BSK-50V (Blok silovoiy kommutatsii) power switching unit and then reset power switches at the RShchP Power Distribution Panel. Afterwards, the MRM1 internal ventilation system was restored to nominal and its own three fans were turned back on.]

After conferring with the ground on the upcoming X2R9 software transition, Doug Wheelock loaded (“ghosted”) three POC HDDs (Portable Onboard Computer Hard Disk Drives) with the PCS R13 software in preparation for the transition. [MCC-Houston will be transitioning the C&C MDMs (Command & Control Multiplexer/Demultiplexers), Node-1 MDMs and Payload MDMs to new software versions from 7/12 to 7/14. The C&C MDMs will be transitioned to vers. R9, the Node-1 MDMs to R4, the Payload MDMs to R9. The PCS (Portable Computer System) laptops will step up to PCS R13.]

FE-4 also completed the weekly 10-min. CWC (Contingency Water Container) inventory as part of the 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 for recording changes. [The current card (24-0007D) does not require any changes. It lists 125 CWCs (2,933.8 L total) for the five types of water identified on board: 1. technical water (27 CWCs with 1,127.6 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 712.7 L in 17 bags containing Wautersia bacteria, 134.2 L in 3 clean bags for contingency use, 129.4 L in 3 bags still requiring sample analysis, 128.3 L in 3 bags for flushing only with microbial filter, and 23.0 L in 1 bag for flushing only; 2. potable water (5 CWCs with 215.4 L, of which 1 bag with 43.6 L requires sample analysis, 1 bag with 42.5 L are to be used with microbial filter & 129.3 L in 3 bags are good for contingency use; 3. iodinated water (84 CWCs with 1,550.1 L for reserve; 4. condensate water (1 bag with 20.5 L to be used with microbial filter & 6 empty bags; and 5. waste/EMU dump and other (1 CWC with 20.2 L & 1 empty bag). Wautersia bacteria are typical water-borne microorganisms that have been seen previously in ISS water sources. These isolates pose no threat to human health.]

Afterwards, Wheels supported the ground (POIC/Huntsville) by readying the CIR FCF (Combustion Integrated Rack Fluids & Combustion Facility) for calibration of the CIR FOMA (Fuel/Oxidizer Management Assembly) on RPC (Remote Power Controller). [After ensuring that the two (main & aux) RPCs were open, touch temperatures were within limits, switches were turned off and the VES rack isolation valve was closed, FE-4 opened the upper & lower FCF doors to access the CIR Optics Bench, by translating it out & rotating it down. After removing & replacing the FOMA calibration unit, steps were reversed and setup for FOMA calibration by the ground finished.]

After FE-6 Walker first connected the UOP DCP (Utility Outlet Panel/Display & Control Panel) power bypass cable at the Cupola RWS (Robotic Workstation) and video cameras were configured,, Shannon & Tracy “walked off” the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) from the Lab to the MBS PDGF-3 (Mobile Base System Power & Data Grapple Fixture 3). [The MBS MT (Mobile Transporter) was translated yesterday by ground controllers from WS-4 (Worksite 4) to WS-6 in preparation for the upcoming RPCM (Remote Power Controller Module) swap with the SPDM (Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator). The translation was delayed by about 1h due to a communication problem during SPDM powerdown, but functionality was restored by cycling RWS power. Otherwise, system performance was nominal.]

Shannon Walker’s schedule for today again listed her demo session with experiment series called “Kids in Micro-G”, assisted by Tracy with video & photo documentation, which was deferred a second time on 7/6 [The “Kids in Micro-G” suite of experiments was developed and written by 5th grade students to demonstrate Newton’s Laws of Motion both on ISS and in the classroom.]

Fyodor did the daily IMS 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).

Mikhail 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.]

Tracy Caldwell-Dyson filled out her weekly FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire) 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.]

At ~4:00am EDT, the crew held the regular (nominally weekly) tagup with the Russian Flight Control Team (GOGU), including Shift Flight Director (SRP), at TsUP via S-band/audio, phone-patched from Houston and Moscow.

At ~3:10pm, the crew is scheduled for their regular weekly tagup with the Lead Flight Director at JSC/MCC-H.

At ~3:30pm, Wheels will hold his weekly PFC (Private Family Conference) via S-band/audio and Ku-band/MS-NetMeeting application (which displays the uplinked ground video on an SSC laptop).

The crew worked out on today’s 2-hr physical exercise protocol on the CEVIS cycle ergometer with vibration isolation (FE-6), TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation & stabilization (CDR, FE-3, FE-5), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-2, FE-4, FE-6), T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (FE-2, FE-4) and VELO ergometer bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-3, FE-5). [T2 snubber arm inspection is no longer needed after every T2 session but must be done after the last T2 session of the day.]

Before her workout on the ARED, Tracy was asked to verify completion of the periodic X-rotation dashpot of the machine.

TORU Testing Update: The repeat of the two-part TORU testing by Skvortsov & Yurchikhin originally scheduled for today was cancelled.

WHC Update: After the failure of the WHC (Waste & Hygiene Compartment) toilet facility was traced to the MNR-NS pump/separator, the crew replaced the unit with a Russian spare from FGB stowage which recovered the system. The WHC is now working nominally and Go for use. According to the near-term plan, the WHC remains configured for internal EDV-U use for waste collection. Its re-integration with the UPA (Urine Processor Assembly) will require additional investigation. [The only US spare unit on board is currently “lost” and cannot be found.]

CDRA Update: The crew completed the reinstallation of the CDRA (Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly) component groups and re-mounted CDRA in the AR1 (Atmosphere Revitalization) Rack 1. Due to limited time, CDRA utilities were not connected up to make it operational. That procedure will be completed next week. The rack relocations that will result in two operational CDRAs have been deferred to later in the month.

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 Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Irrawaddy River Delta, Burma (the Irrawaddy River begins in the high mountains of northern Burma. It is one of southeastern Asia's 5 major rivers [Yangtze, Red, Mekong, Salween, and Irrawaddy] whose source regions are all very close together in the Folded Ranges. ISS had an afternoon pass in partly cloudy weather with the delta just right of track. After tracking over the southern Bay of Bengal, the crew approached this target from the SW), Yellow River Delta (the Yellow River has a dynamic delta system in eastern China on the Bo Sea. ISS approach to this target area was from the SW in mid-afternoon light with fair weather expected. Looking just right of track for this target and continuing the documentation of changes in this feature), Epsilon Aurigae & Comet McNaught (looking left of track, above the limb of the Earth to observe the brightness of this star, as compared to other stars in the Auriga constellation, described above. Because of the current seasonal lighting conditions, during the northern portion of each of the orbits, the crew had about 10-minute windows today for viewing the star. The uplinked times were near the beginning of this one window), Lake Nasser, Toshka Lakes, Egypt (the Toshka Lakes formed in the late 1990’s when record high water in the Nile River and Lake Nasser spilled out into desert depressions to the west. Since then the lakes have persisted, but continue to slowly dry up. The crew was asked to update CEO researchers’ monitoring record of this event with nadir context views of the lakes), 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 southwestern Caspian Sea. ISS approach was from the SW at mid-afternoon with fair weather. As the crew approached the coast of the Caspian Sea, they were to look nadir for this city of over 2 million), and Athens, Greece (the capital of Greece is an ancient city that dominates the south coast of region known as Attica in the southeastern part of the mainland. The crew had a mid-afternoon pass in fair weather over this sprawling urban area of more than 3 million. As ISS tracked over southern Greece from the SW, they were to look nadir for this target below).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 11:06am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 352.3 km
Apogee height – 359.2 km
Perigee height – 345.4 km
Period -- 91.59 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.65 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0010253
Solar Beta Angle -- 20.4 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.72
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours – 36 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) – 66,700

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
--------------Six-crew operations-----------------
07/26/10 -- Russian EVA-25 (Yurchikhin/Kornienko) – MRM1 outfitting (~11:25pm-5:25am)
09/07/10 -- Progress M-06M/38P undock
09/08/10 -- Progress M-07M/39P launch
09/10/10 -- Progress M-07M/39P docking
09/24/10 -- 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
11/01/10 -- STS-133/Discovery launch (ULF5 – ELC4, PMM) ~4:33pm EDT“target”
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
02/02/11 -- STS-134/Endeavour (ULF6 – ELC3, AMS-02) ~4:19pm EDT“target”
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