September 29, 2011
ISS On-Orbit Status 09/29/11

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below.        >>>>Today at 9:16am EDT, China launched its first space station complex, TianGong-1 (Heavenly Palace), from the Jinquan Satellite Launch Center, on a Long March 2F/G rocket.  Launch was on live TV, with top political dignitaries present, and appeared to have been successful.  Consisting of two modules (a 3.35m diameter experimental module & a 2.8m diameter resource module) the 10.4 m long orbital station will reportedly serve for tech/ops developments.  Next up (early November):  Shenzhou-8 (SZ-8, “Divine Vessel-8”), an unmanned capsule, to attempt automated docking with TianGong-1.<<<<

At wake-up, CDR Mike Fossum & FE-5 Satoshi Furukawa completed another post-sleep session of the Reaction Self Test (Psychomotor Vigilance Self Test on the ISS) protocol. [RST is done 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.]

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.

Afterwards, Sergei completed 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).]

Mike 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 conducted Part 3 of the periodic personal acoustic measurement protocol, downloading the recorded data from the acoustic dosimeters from the SMK (Sound Measurement Kit) deployed yesterday
for static measurements in the station, then stowing the recorders.      [#1011 in SM above TVIS treadmill; #1012 in SM at panel 404 near air conditioner; #1013 in Node-2 at P5.]

Afterwards, Furukawa performed the periodic (monthly) battery check and reboot of the COL PWS (Columbus Orbital Laboratory Portable Workstation) laptops, recording the battery SOC (state of charge) of each of them and checking their performance.

In the Lab, Satoshi went looking for a CTB (Cargo Transfer Bag, #1207) that was reported missing on 9/12.

Mike Fossum filled out his weekly FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire) on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer). [On the FFQs, USOS 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 ~4:40am, the CDR closed the protective shutters of the Lab, Node-3/Cupola and Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module) in preparation for the DAM (Debris Avoidance Maneuver)/Reboost burn at 12:44pm.

Later, Fossum had ~2h20m set aside for configuring the Lab camcorder to provide live view of his subsequent work on the FIR FCF (Fluids Integrated Rack / Fluids & Combustion Facility), followed by another session with the PACE (Preliminary Advanced Colloids Experiment) hardware for which he installed a new PACE sample (#2001) for processing.  [PACE is a Technology experiment, designed to investigate the capability of conducting high magnification colloid experiments with the LMM (Light Microscopy Module) for determining the minimum size particles which can be resolved with it. Today’s activity steps included opening the AFC front door, rotating the LMM SBA (Light Microscopy Module Spindle Bracket Assembly) from the Operate to Service position and cleaning the oil from the LMM inside the AFC, installing the sample, and replacing the LMM monochrome camera to obtain realtime video with the camera zoomed in for view into the left window of LMM AFC. The LMM Spindle Bracket Assembly was then rotated to the Operate position. Mike closed the upper & lower FCF doors, turned on two switches and notified POIC (Payload Operations Integration Center) that the rack is prepared for command on RPC (Remote Power Controller).]

Later, Fossum also set up the CIR (Combustion Integrated Rack) for another ground-controlled experiment/research run.  With the Lab camcorder configured to view CIR from the Node-1 side, and after verifying the main & auxiliary RPCs (Remote Power Controllers) to be open and touch temperatures within limits, Mike removed/replaced a manifold bottle on one of four manifolds (B) in front of the Optics Bench. [Steps included opening the upper doors, removing CIR manifold bottle B (#2024) containing 40% O2 (oxygen), 60% N2 (nitrogen), with 505 psia pressure remaining, and replacing it with manifold bottle B (#2017) containing 40% O2, 60% He (helium)., then placing the manual vent valve in VENT position, GIP valve lever in Up (open) position, closing the upper rack doors again, turning on two switches, and notifying POIC of rack readiness.]

Afterwards, Mike conducted 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. Today, there were no changes to the current card. [The current card (29-0002A) lists 117 good CWCs (2,698.8 L total) for the five types of water identified on board: 1. technical water (30 CWCs with 1,249.2 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 942.9 L in 24 bags containing Wautersia bacteria and 129 L in 3 clean bags for contingency use; 2. Silver potable water (no CWCs); 3. Iodinated water (74 CWCs with 1,333.6 L (also 33 expired bags with 603.2 L); 4. condensate water (79.3 L in 7 bags, plus 4 empty bags); and 5. waste/EMU dump and other (37.0 L in 2 CWCs, incl. 20.2 L from hose/pump flush). Wautersia bacteria are typical water-borne microorganisms that have been seen previously in ISS water sources. These isolates pose no threat to human health.]

FE-4 Volkov performed the periodic switch of the two Russian Regul/Paket email (radiogram) channels, today from Regul-OC String 1 to backup String 2.

After configuring the usual pumping equipment (Compressor-M, A8A hose, adapters), Sergei Volkov used about 4-5 liters of water from an EDV-OR (#955) container to flush the transfer connection to the BV1 Rodnik tank of Progress M-10M/42P, readying it for subsequent bladder check and urine transfer activities.   [Each of the spherical Rodnik tanks BV1 & BV2 consists of a hard shell with a soft membrane (bladder) composed of elastic fluoroplastic. The bladder is used to expel water from the tank by compressed air pumped into the tank volume surrounding the membrane and is leak-tested before urine transfers, i.e., with empty tanks, the bladders are expanded against the tank walls and checked for hermeticity.]

At ~9:50am EDT, Furukawa conducted a teleconference with Japanese ground specialists to discuss the upcoming JAXA EPO (Educational Payload Operation) INK BALL 2.         [INK BALL, which creates ink flow patterns/”marbling” on the Aquasphere water ball, then transferring the marbling from the water ball to handmade Japanese papers for recording, is one of the eight initiatives of the Japanese EPO program.  The others are: Life in the Universe (study of space environment effects on living things for educational purpose); Space Poem Chain (poems by famous poets and general public composed & recorded before the launch on a DVD, played and stored on ISS); Microgravity Clay (sculpting in clay to express the inspiration of human space flight); Aquasphere (recording the motion of a water sphere after external oscillations in micro-G environment with an HDTV camera, making various water shapes by vibration); Art (images taken with the HDTV camera on the ISS); Space Clothes (studying new clothing designs in space); and Photographing the Moon (images taken of the Moon from the station).]

In the JAXA JPM, Furukawa continued the activation & checkout (commissioning) of the MSPR (Multi Purpose Small Payload Rack). [Satoshi first powered up MSPR components, i.e., the VRU (Video Recording Unit)/Hub, MPC (Multi Protocol Converter) & MSPR laptop and ran a virus check on the USB memory stick from SSC-15 (Station Support Computer 15), then checked out the USB communication line in MSPR.  Afterwards, the rack components were turned off.]

Next, Satoshi rebooted the SLT (System Laptop Terminal) laptop in JPM.

Other activities conducted by Satoshi Furukawa were –
  • Gathering a number of cables required for the upcoming ISL (Integrated Station LAN) Router R&R (remove & replace) and securing them in a Ziploc bag;  [2 ISL Router RS-232 interface cables, 2 T61p USB-to-Serial cables, 2 ISL Ethernet cables],
  • Servicing the CSI-05 PHAB (Science Insert 5 / Plant Habitat) in CGBA-5 (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus) by removing 6 used germination flasks from the temporarily deactivated & decabled insert, planting 6 new germination flasks, and closing up CGBA after recabling & reactivating CSI-05;   [the CSI-05 plant experiment focuses on characteristics associated with successful germination in space. On Earth, the roots and shoots of a young plant respond to light, gravity and mechanical stimuli. However, because of the ever presence of gravity on Earth, it is difficult to determine which of these three factors impact roots and shoots the most. This is important to know for crops grown in zero-G. This educational experiment utilizes the seed from the Brassica plant (mustard family)], and
  • Collecting USOS (US Segment) trash and excessed gear for Sergei Volkov to load on Progress 42P (docked at DC1), guided by an uplinked trash list.

Volkov had ~2h40m reserved for transferring and loading cargo on Progress 42P for disposal.

Fossum used the two CSA-O2 (Compound Specific Analyzer-Oxygen) units along with the CDM (Carbon Dioxide Monitor) to take simultaneous readings in SM and COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), both at mid-module, for subsequent report, with activity time, to MCC-Houston. [For the monitoring, a blue filter needed to be installed on the CDM.]

Working on ER8 (EXPRESS Rack 8) in the US Lab, Mike rearranged two power & data umbilicals, J46 & J47, demating and then remating them to correct their looping.

FE-4 performed 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.]

Sergei also took care of 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).

With the FSS Photospectrograph battery freshly charged overnight, Volkov used the Russian GFI-8 "Uragan" (hurricane) earth-imaging program with FSS science hardware at SM window #9 during a one-hour segment, taking pictures of targets along the flight track and focusing on volcanoes: Santa Maria, Fuego, San Cristobal, Arenal, Poás, and Reventador. [The FSS (Fotospektralnaya sistema) consists of an image recording module with lens and a spectroradiometer module with an electronics module. FSS includes the ME Electronics Module & MRI Image Recording Module.]

Before “Presleep” period tonight, the CDR turns on the MPC 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, Mike 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.]

At ~3:45am EDT, Sergei Volkov had his periodic exercise-oriented PMC (Private Medical Conference) via S- & Ku-band audio/video.

At ~4:05am, FE-5 Furukawa conducted the regular tagup with Japanese Program Management at SSIPC/Tsukuba via S-band/audio. [This conference is scheduled once every week, between the ISS crewmembers and SSIPC (Space Station Integration & Promotion Center).]

At ~5:10am, the three crewmembers joined up for a Russian PAO TV downlink, responding to questions from the winners of a Bashkortostan Children’s Drawing Contest.       [The Republic of Bashkortostan held a great number of events this year dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the first human flight to space.  A visit to the Baikonur cosmodrome, a children’s drawing competition “My Space World” and “I want to become a Cosmonaut” are among these events.  Today, the wife of the President of the Republic of Bashkortostan, winners of children’s drawing competition winners and Bashkir media journalists were present at the comm session with ISS crew.    “Is there a difference between simulation and space station activity?  How many times a day do you eat?  What is the ration?  What is your gustatory perception when you take your meal during the flight?  What is your favorite meal in space, and what is your preference after the flight?  What possible space discoveries may occur in the nearest future, and how will they impact people’s life?  Do you feel lonely when you have a prolong stay on the station? What do you miss the most?  Would you agree to leave the Earth for the sake of discovery of another, new planet?  What is the most uncomfortable thing to do in low gravity? What do you miss to for comfort? How would you like to improve living condition on the space station?  What do you think, does space tourism have any future?  Recently I read an ad, that the Moon and Stars are being sold as earth lots. What do you think, is it a good money investment? Is it possible for space to be a commodity for buying-selling?  Name pluses and minuses in your profession.  Do you believe in UFO? Do you have instructions for the encounter with Aliens?”]

At ~11:30am, Mike Fossum conducted his regular IMS stowage conference with Houston stowage specialists.

At ~11:55am, Fossum powered up the SM's amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and at 12:00pm conducted a ham radio session with students at Lompoc High School, Lompoc, California.

The crew worked out with their regular 2-hr physical exercise protocol on the TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation & stabilization (FE-4), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-4, FE-5), and T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (CDR, FE-5).

Conjunction Avoidance-cum-Reboost Update:   Since today’s 3:02pm EDT conjunction with Object 23335 (S/L-4 Rocket Body) remained in the Red zone early this morning, US and Russian flight controllers agreed to perform the DAM (Debris Avoidance Maneuver) discussed earlier, in the process also replacing the reboost originally planned at 10/5, since the same targeting for downstream constraints (Progress 45P phasing) had to be used as for the 10/5 maneuver.  The maneuver was conducted at 12:44 pm EDT with the SM KD engines for a delta-V of 2.53 m/s, 169 sec duration and 4.6 km altitude increase, and was nominal.  It also took care of another upcoming conjunction, with Object 30188 (Fengyun 1C Debris), on 10/2

ACT Test:   An ACT (American Contingency Telemetry) test by MCC-Houston and TsUP-Moscow is scheduled for tonight, with commanding to and telemetry from ISS through Russian assets.  On DO3 (Daily Orbit 3, 8:45pm-9:09pm EDT) and DO4 (10:21pm-10:45pm), command radio link & telemetry systems will be configured for real-time command uplink & receipt of ACT via RGS (Russian Ground Sites), assuming no S-band command capability.  For the tests, U.S. PPCP (PrePlanned Command Package) and U.S. real-time commanding from MCC-H will be uplinked via RGS via TsUP and RGS.

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) targets uplinked for today included opportunities to take images of Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis (since Autumnal Equinox is behind) which were fired up by the CME (coronal mass ejection) from the Sun that hit Earth’s magnetic field around noon time 9/26.  Reports are that people in Scandinavia could see auroras through rain clouds.  Other targets for today were Wells Creek Impact Crater, TN (ISS had a nadir pass over this challenging impact crater in Tennessee.  The crater is 12 km in diameter and is estimated to be about 200 million years old.  ISS CEO was able to capture this crater in a context view earlier in this increment.  The ground requested overlapping context views with a longer lens), and Tropical Storm Ophelia, Atlantic Ocean (DYNAMIC EVENT:  Tropical Storm Ophelia after forming in the Atlantic last week had weakened to only a tropical wave over the weekend.  However, on 9/27 the remnants of the system began reorganizing near the northern Leeward Islands and became a tropical depression.  In the morning of 9/28 the depression regenerated into Tropical Storm Ophelia with 45kt winds.  It was forecast to continue moving slowly north-northwest and gradually become a Category 1 Hurricane near Bermuda.  For this pass it should have had about 50kt winds and be somewhat better organized.  As the crew approached the island of Haiti from the NW, they were to look obliquely left of track and try for short-lens, context views of the overall cloud pattern).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 5:47am EDT [= epoch])
  • Mean altitude – 382.6 km
  • Apogee height – 389.5 km
  • Perigee height – 375.7 km
  • Period -- 92.20 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
  • Eccentricity -- 0.0010189
  • Solar Beta Angle -- 4.2 deg (magnitude increasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.62
  • Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 210 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 73,718
  • Time in orbit (station) -- 4696 days
  • Time in orbit (crews, cum.) -- 3983 days

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
--------------Three-crew operations (Increment 29)-------------
10/19/11 -- 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-------------

Find this article at: