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September 26, 2011
ISS On-Orbit Status 09/26/11

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Underway: Week 2 of Increment 29 (three-person crew).

FE-4 Sergei Volkov performed the routine checkup of the SM (Service Module) PSS Caution & Warning panel as part of the regular Daily Morning Inspection.

First thing in post-sleep, CDR Fossum & FE-5 Furukawa undertook their 16th weekly U.S. “Bisphosphonates” biomedical countermeasures session, ingesting an Alendronate pill before breakfast. The required ~10h fast period started for them last night. This is usually done on Mondays. [The Bisphosphonates study should determine whether antiresorptive agents (that help reduce bone loss) in conjunction with the routine in-flight exercise program will protect ISS crewmembers from the regional decreases in bone mineral density documented on previous ISS missions. Two dosing regimens are being tested: (1) an oral dose of 70 mg of Alendronate taken weekly starting 3 weeks prior to flight and then throughout the flight and (2) an intravenous (IV) dose of 4 mg Zoledronic Acid, administered just once approximately 45 days before flight. The rationale for including both Alendronate and Zoledronic Acid is that two dosing options will maximize crew participation, increase the countermeasure options available to flight surgeons, increase scientific opportunities, and minimize the effects of operational and logistical constraints. The primary measurement objective is to obtain preflight and postflight QCT (Quantitative Computed Tomography) scans of the hip. The QCT scans will provide volumetric bone density information of both cortical and trabecular (spongy) bone regions of the hip.]

Fossum also serviced the running BCAT-5 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-5) experiment, checking camera operations during the day and changing the camera battery in the morning and before sleeptime (change required after 8 hrs). [The new experiment session is with a Harvard University phase separation sample using a different setup than for the recent crystal samples 9 & 10, mainly requiring an SSC (Station Support Computer) laptop with EarthKAM timing software, power cables and camera USB cable. For illumination, the Mini-MagLite and Flash batteries do not need to be changed yet, but the camera will need a freshly charged battery. After Mike started the run on 9/21 by mixing the sample (#4) for phase separation and taking test photos, the EarthKAM (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students) software on the SSC-13 laptop began taking pictures of Sample 4 for 13 days at different intervals throughout the run. This requires camera battery changes twice a day and image check with a battery change once per day. BCAT-5 is operating in the JPM (JEM Pressurized Module) because some time ago the crew deemed the US Lab too crowded for running it.]

Satoshi started another sampling run with the AQM (Air Quality Monitor), deactivating the system ~5 hrs later. [Consisting of the EHS GC/DMS (Environmental Health Systems Gas Chromatograph / Differential Mobility Spectrometer), the system is controlled with “Sionex” expert software from the SSC (Station Support Computer)-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.]

In the JAXA Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), Furukawa serviced the FPEF MS (Fluid Physics Experiment Facility / Marangoni Surface) payload by removing & replacing 5 HDs (hard disks) of the IPU VRU (Image Processing Unit / Video Recording Unit),- #1086, #1087, #1088, #1089, #1090. [The replaced VRU disks (#1081, #1082, #1083, #1084, #1085) were put in a Ziploc bag for return to SSIPC (Space Station Integration & Promotion Center/Tsukuba)].

Volkov completed the periodic cleaning of the screen of the BVN air heater fan assembly in the Orbital Module (BO) of the Soyuz TMA-02M/27S (#702, docked at MRM1) spacecraft.

Afterwards, Sergei started a new round of periodic preventive maintenance of RS (Russian Segment) ventilation systems, today cleaning the numerous Group A ventilator fans & grilles in the SM, after photographing all fan screens for ground inspection and then changing out the cartridges of the four dust filters (PF1-4), discarding the used cartridges.

The CDR performed routine service on the WRS (Water Recovery System) using the LFTP (Low Flow Transfer Pump) to transfer one CWC-I (Contingency Water Container-Iodine) to the WPA (Water Processor Assembly) and offloading it entirely, using a particulate filter. [Estimated offload time: ~8 hrs; max. allowed quantity: 87%.]

In the ESA COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), Fossum temporarily removed stowage in front of the HRF1 (Human Research Facility 1) to gain access to the rack, then configured the PPFS (Portable Pulmonary Function System) hardware including MBS (Mixing Bag System). For the next 3-4 hrs, Mike repeated his 4th session with the VO2max assessment, integrated with Thermolab (head sensors), which was terminated prematurely last week (9/19) when the CEVIS display locked up, causing science loss. After the session, Mike powered down, cleaned up & partially stowed the equipment, and downloaded the data to a PCS laptop. The relocated stowage bags were then returned to their nominal location. [The experiment VO2max uses the PPFS, CEVIS ergometer cycle with vibration isolation, PFS (Pulmonary Function System) gas cylinders and mixing bag system, plus multiple other pieces of hardware to measure oxygen uptake, cardiac output, and more. The exercise protocol consists of a 2-min rest period, then three 5-min stages at workloads eliciting 25%, 50% & 75% of aerobic capacity as measured pre-flight, followed by a 25-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 cool down period follows at the 25% load. Rebreathing measurements are initiated by the subject during the last minute of each stage. Constraints are: no food 2 hrs prior to exercise start, no caffeine 8 hrs prior to exercise, and must be well hydrated.]

In the JPM, FE-5 Furukawa prepared for another JAXA EPO (Educational Payload Operation) demo, gathering and readying the LEGO Brick equipment, and then reviewed procedures for another “LEGO Brick Building” taping, scheduled tomorrow.

Afterwards, Satoshi worked for several hours in the U.S. A/L (Airlock) to perform protective maintenance on EMUs (Extravehicular Mobility Units) 3010 & 3011 with their SCUs (Service & Cooling Umbilicals), first emptying and refilling the suits’ feedwater tanks, relocating their ORU (Orbit Replaceable Unit) tools while the tanks were dumping, and then setting the EMUs up and starting an extended scrubbing process on the spacesuits’ cooling water loops, filtering ionic and particulate matter (via a 3-micron filter), followed by reconfiguring the cooling loops and starting biocide filtering for ~3 hrs. This activity met the periodic maintenance requirements for the EMUs. [Loop scrubbing, incl. iodination of the LCVGs (Liquid Cooling & Ventilation Garments) for biocidal maintenance is done to eliminate any biomass and particulate matter that may have accumulated in the loops. The three-hour iodination instead of two-hour was introduced in order to put the A/L and the two EMUs in good posture in the event of ISS decrewing.]

Other activities completed by FE-4 Sergei Volkov included –
  • The daily inspection of the recently activated Russian BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("Plants-2") payload with its LADA-01 greenhouse, verifying proper watering of the KM A32 & A24 root modules and taking the weekly documentary photography of setup & activities; [Rasteniya-2 researches growth and development of plants (currently wheat) under spaceflight conditions in the LADA greenhouse from IBMP (Institute of Bio-Medical Problems, Russian: IMBP)],
  • Another 30-min. photography session for the DZZ-13 “Seiner” ocean observation program, obtaining HDV (Z1) camcorder footage of bio-luminescent glow of high-production zones in the Indian Ocean, then copying the images to the RSK-1 laptop,
  • 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, replacement of EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine containers and filling EDV-SV, KOV (for Elektron), EDV-ZV & EDV on RP flow regulator],
  • The daily IMS (Integrated 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),
  • The periodic (~monthly) maintenance on the temporarily deactivated Russian IK0501 GA (Gas Analyzer) of the SOGS Pressure Control & Atmospheric Monitoring System behind SM panel 449 by replacing its CO2 filter assembly (BF) with a new spare (done last: 8/15). The old unit was discarded on Progress 42P and the IMS updated; [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], and
  • Purging & inerting the SrPK (air supply tankage) Section 2 of Progress M-10M/42P undocking by charging it with N2 (nitrogen). [42P is scheduled for undocking on 10/29.]

The CDR uninstalled the three alignment guides from CIR (Combustion Integrated Rack) at Lab bay S3 to allow the PaRIS (Passive Rack Isolation System) to be activated before begin of ground-commanded CIR operations requiring a microgravity environment.

At ~10:25am EDT, CDR Fossum supported a PAO TV event, downlinking a deferred release message for the USO (United Service Organization)’s 70th Anniversary Gala to be held in Washington, DC, on 10/6. [USO is a private, nonprofit organization that provides morale and recreational services to members of the U.S. military, with programs in 140 centers worldwide. Since 1941, it has worked in partnership with the DOD, and has provided support and entertainment to U.S. armed forces, relying heavily on private contributions and on funds, goods, and services from DOD. Although congressionally chartered, it is not a government agency.]

Before “Presleep” period tonight, FE-5 turns on the MPC (Multi Protocol Converter) and starts the Ku-band data flow of video recorded during the day to the ground, with POIC (Payload Operations & Integration Center) routing the onboard HRDL (High-Rate Data Link). After about an hour, Satoshi will turn MPC routing off again. [This is a routine operation which regularly transmits HD onboard video (live or tape playback) to the ground on a daily basis before sleeptime.]

The crew worked out with their regular 2-hr physical exercise protocol on the CEVIS cycle ergometer with vibration isolation (CDR, FE-5), TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation & stabilization (FE-4), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-5), and VELO ergometer bike with loads trainer (FE-4).

Soyuz 27S Inspection Update: Sergei Volkov’s inspection yesterday of the 27S SA Descent Module structural ring showed that the structure appeared nominal, without the two temporary screws which had been discovered on 26S after the landing, instead of having been removed before launch.

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

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 9:01am EDT [= epoch])
  • Mean altitude – 383.2 km
  • Apogee height – 390.0 km
  • Perigee height – 376.3 km
  • Period -- 92.22 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
  • Eccentricity -- 0.0010158
  • Solar Beta Angle -- -9.0 deg (magnitude decreasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.61
  • Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 74 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 73,673
  • Time in orbit (station) -- 4693 days
  • Time in orbit (crews, cum.) -- 3980 days

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
--------------Three-crew operations (Increment 29)-------------
10/05/11 -- ISS Reboost
10/29/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P undocking
10/30/11 -- Progress M-13M/45P launch
11/01/11 -- Progress M-13M/45P docking
11/14/11 -- Soyuz TMA-03M/28S launch – D.Burbank (CDR-30)/A.Shkaplerov/A.Ivanishin
11/16/11 -- Soyuz TMA-03M/28S docking (MRM2)
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
11/22/11 -- Soyuz TMA-02M/27S undock/landing (End of Increment 29)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/30/11 -- SpaceX Falcon 9/Dragon --- Target date
12/26/11 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/29S launch – O.Kononenko (CDR-31)/A.Kuipers/D.Pettit --- (date “on or about”)
12/28/11 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/29S docking (MRM1) --- (date “on or about”)
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
TBD -- Progress M-13M/45P undock
TBD -- Progress M-14M/46P launch
TBD -- Progress M-14M/46P docking (DC-1)
02/29/12 -- ATV3 launch readiness
TBD -- Soyuz TMA-03M/28S undock/landing (End of Increment 30)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
03/30/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/30S launch – G.Padalka (CDR-32)/J.Acaba/K.Volkov
04/01/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/30S docking (MRM2)
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
05/05/12 -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – launch on Proton (under review)
05/06/12 -- Progress M-14M/46P undock
05/07/12 -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) – docking (under review)
05/16/12 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/29S undock/landing (End of Increment 31)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/29/12 – Soyuz TMA-06M/31S launch – S.Williams (CDR-33)/Y.Malenchenko/A.Hoshide
05/31/12 – Soyuz TMA-06M/31S docking
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
09/18/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/30S undock/landing (End of Increment 32)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
10/02/12 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/32S launch – K.Ford (CDR-34)/O.Novitskiy/E.Tarelkin
10/04/12 – Soyuz TMA-07M/32S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
11/16/12 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/31S undock/landing (End of Increment 33)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/30/12 -- Soyuz TMA-08M/33S launch – C.Hadfield (CDR-35)/T.Mashburn/R.Romanenko
12/02/12 – Soyuz TMA-08M/33S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
03/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/32S undock/landing (End of Increment 34)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
03/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-09M/34S launch – P.Vinogradov (CDR-36)/C.Cassidy/A.Misurkin
03/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-09M/34S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
05/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-08M/33S undock/landing (End of Increment 35)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-10M/35S launch – M.Suraev (CDR-37)/K.Nyberg/L.Parmitano
05/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-10M/35S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
09/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-09M/34S undock/landing (End of Increment 36)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
09/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-11M/36S launch – M.Hopkins/TBD (CDR-38)/TBD
09/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-11M/36S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
11/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-10M/35S undock/landing (End of Increment 37)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-12M/37S launch – K.Wakata (CDR-39)/R.Mastracchio/TBD
11/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-12M/37S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
03/xx/14 – Soyuz TMA-11M/36S undock/landing (End of Increment 38)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------