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November 22, 2011
ISS On-Orbit Status 11/22/11

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Increment 30 First Day, with the three-member crew of CDR Dan Burbank, FE-1 Anton Shkaplerov & FE-2 Anatoly Ivanishin.

Yest posadka! (We have Landing!) Welcome back home, Sergey, Mike & Satoshi! After 167 days in space (165 days on ISS), Soyuz TMA-02M/27S carrying Exp-29 crewmembers Mike Fossum, Sergey Volkov & Satoshi Furukawa landed successfully last night at 9:26pm EST in central Kazakhstan, not far from the bauxite mining town of Arkalyk near the Russian border in below-freezing weather. The Descent Capsule tipped over, and the crew, which was in excellent condition, was quickly extracted by SAR (Search & Rescue) personnel. Local time of touchdown was 8:26am on 11/22. [TMA-02M (#702) undocked from the MRM1 (Mini Research Module 1) Rassvet nadir port last night at 6:00pm EST, after the crew had closed hatches at ~2:41pm and performed leak checks of the vestibule area between MRM1 and the Soyuz spacecraft, of their Sokol suits and of the hatch between the Descent Module (SA) and Orbital Module (BO). About 3 min after physical undocking, 27S performed the first manual separation burn. This was followed at ~6:05pm by the planned test of an upgraded version of the new RODK Manual Attitude Control in Digital Mode which provides automated LVLH (Local Vertical-Local Horizontal) attitude control. After a second manual sep burn, the crew activated the spacecraft’s VTsVK MCS (Motion Control System) “Chaika”. The actual de-orbit burn of 4 min 16 sec duration came at 8:32pm, resulting in 115.2 m/sec deceleration. Tri-module separation occurred at 8:59pm. 16 sec after the separation command, software pitched the PAO (Instrumentation/Propulsion Module) in the rear to a specific angle (-78.5 deg from reference axis) which, if PAO would have remained connected to the SA, would have resulted in enough heating on the connecting truss to melt it, thus ensuring separation. Atmospheric entry followed at 9:03pm and nominal parachute deployment at 9:10pm. Following initial observation by Russian SAR (Search & Rescue) personnel in their fixed-wing Antonov plane and helicopters plus receipt of radio comm from the crew, the capsule landed at 9:26pm, falling on its side. SAR was there within 2 minutes. After the usual stopover in the medical tent, the crew was flown by helo to Kostanai where Mike & Satoshi boarded the waiting NASA-990 Gulfstream-III airplane which today is bringing them back to Houston/Ellington AFB (with 2 refueling stops),- the 7th direct return for USOS crewmembers. Sergey Volkov, son of a veteran cosmonaut, meanwhile was flown on the GCTC Tu-134 back to Chkalovsky airfield of the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center at Zvezdniy Gorodok (Star City).]

After yesterday’s Soyuz undocking at 6:00pm, activities by CDR Dan Burbank included –
  • Relocating the emergency equipment.
  • Completing the regular INTEGRATED IMMUNE (Validating Procedures for Monitoring Crew member Immune Function) Health Survey and emailing the file to the PI (Principal Investigator),
  • Performing his regular computerized Journal entry for today,
  • Uninstalling 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,
  • Powering up the amateur/ham stations in the SM (Service Module) and COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory),
  • Completing the daily service of the BCAT-6 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-6)-Phase Separation experiment,
  • Doing the pre-sleep part of the Reaction Self Test (Psychomotor Vigilance Self Test on the ISS) protocol, and
  • Activating the MPC (Multi Protocol Converter) and starting 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, Dan turned MPC routing off again.

With its battery freshly charged in the course of the day, FE-1 Anton Shkaplerov installed & started the equipment of the GFI-1 “Relaksatsiya” (Relaxation) Earth Observation experiment at SM window #9 for another run, using it to catch observations of the deorbit burn and atmospheric entry of the Soyuz 27S spacecraft. Later, Anton dismantled the equipment again and dumped the data via the RSS1 terminal. [By means of the GFI-1 UFK “Fialka-MV-Kosmos” ultraviolet camera, SP spectrometer and SONY HVR-Z7 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.]

Shkaplerov also supported the ground-commanded reactivation of the Elektron-VM O2 generator, first performing the usual buffer volume compression, then monitoring the external temperature of its BD secondary purification unit for the first 10 minutes of operations to ensure that there was no overheating. Elektron-VM had been turned off by the ground yesterday at ~2:55pm EST. [The gas analyzer used on the Elektron during nominal operations for detecting hydrogen (H2) in the O2 line (which could cause dangerous overheating) is not included in the control algorithm until 10 minutes after Elektron startup.]

FE-2 Ivanishin meanwhile –
  • Returned the Russian STTS communications system to undocking mode and later, after landing, to nominal mode,
  • Turned off the thermostatic containers Kriogem-03, TBU and TBU-V, now no longer needed, to let them attain ambient temperature,
  • Readied, activated/monitored and later closed out the Russian “Istochnik-M” (source, spring) telemetry reception & recording (SPR TMI) system in the SM during the Soyuz re-entry for the trimodule separation at 8:59pm; [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], and
  • Conducted the routine verification of yesterday’s refreshes of the IUS AntiVirus program on all Russian VKS auxiliary network laptops RSS1, RSS2, RSK1-T61p & RSK2.

Sleep/rest period began for the Exp-30 crew this morning at 1:00am and extends through all day today until 1:00am tomorrow morning (11/23).

Russian Prop Transfer: TsUP/Moscow-controlled propellant transfer begins tonight at 5:01pm-5:11pm, the FGB K3 tank to the SM BG1 fuel tank. No crew involvement required.

No CEO (Crew Earth Observation) targets uplinked today.

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 6:14am EST [= epoch])
  • Mean altitude – 392.0 km
  • Apogee height – 412.8 km
  • Perigee height – 371.2 km
  • Period -- 92.40 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
  • Eccentricity -- 0.0030787
  • Solar Beta Angle -- -33.9 deg (magnitude decreasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.58
  • Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours – 183 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 74,562
  • Time in orbit (station) – 4750 days
  • Time in orbit (crews, cum.) – 4037 days

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
12/21/11 -- Soyuz TMA-03M/29S launch – O.Kononenko (CDR-31)/A.Kuipers/D.Pettit --- (Target Date)
12/23/11 -- Soyuz TMA-03M/29S docking (MRM1) --- (Target Date)
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
TBD -- Progress M-13M/45P undock
TBD -- Progress M-14M/46P launch
TBD -- Progress M-14M/46P docking (DC-1)
xx/xx/12 -- SpaceX Falcon 9/Dragon --- (Under Review)
02/29/12 -- ATV3 launch readiness
TBD -- Soyuz TMA-22/28S undock/landing (End of Increment 30)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
03/xx/12 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/30S launch – G.Padalka (CDR-32)/J.Acaba/K.Volkov --- (Target Date)
04/xx/12 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/30S docking (MRM2) --- (Target Date)
--------------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/xx/12 -- Soyuz TMA-03M/29S undock/landing (End of Increment 31)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/xx/12 – Soyuz TMA-05M/31S launch – S.Williams (CDR-33)/Y.Malenchenko/A.Hoshide
05/xx/12 – Soyuz TMA-05M/31S docking
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
09/xx/12 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/30S undock/landing (End of Increment 32)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
10/xx/12 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/32S launch – K.Ford (CDR-34)/O.Novitskiy/E.Tarelkin
10/xx/12 – Soyuz TMA-06M/32S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
11/xx/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/31S undock/landing (End of Increment 33)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/xx/12 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/33S launch – C.Hadfield (CDR-35)/T.Mashburn/R.Romanenko
12/xx/12 – Soyuz TMA-07M/33S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
03/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/32S undock/landing (End of Increment 34)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
03/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-08M/34S launch – P.Vinogradov (CDR-36)/C.Cassidy/A.Misurkin
03/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-08M/34S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
05/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-07M/33S undock/landing (End of Increment 35)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-09M/35S launch – M.Suraev (CDR-37)/K.Nyberg/L.Parmitano
05/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-09M/35S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
09/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-08M/34S undock/landing (End of Increment 36)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
09/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-10M/36S launch – M.Hopkins/TBD (CDR-38)/TBD
09/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-10M/36S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
11/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-09M/35S undock/landing (End of Increment 37)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-11M/37S launch – K.Wakata (CDR-39)/R.Mastracchio/TBD
11/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-11M/37S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
03/xx/14 – Soyuz TMA-10M/36S undock/landing (End of Increment 38)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------