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December 21, 2011
ISS On-Orbit Status 12/21/11

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

· Soyuz TMA-03M/29S launched this morning on time at 8:16am EST (7:16pm local) from the snow-covered steppe of Baikonur Cosmodrome, with Oleg Kononenko (Russia, Soyuz 29S CDR, ISS-30/31 Flight Engineer, ISS-31 CDR), Don Pettit (USA, ISS-30/31 FE) and Andre Kuipers (ESA, ISS-30/31 FE). Docking at the MRM1 Rassvet module will be on Friday, 12/23, at ~10:23am EST, for a stay of 147 days. 29S is also carrying 172 kg of cargo, totaling 117 items (35 Russian, 57 NASA, 21 ESA, 4 JAXA).
>>>This is the 118th mission to the ISS. With the first launch of the FGB “Zarya” module on a Proton-K (1A/R) on 11/20/1998, there have been a total of 36 US missions, 78 Russian missions (+ 1 failed), 2 European missions (ATV-1, ATV-2) and 2 Japanese missions (HTV1, HTV2). It is also the 2nd post-Shuttle manned launch.<<<

After wakeup, FE-1 Anton Shkaplerov performed the routine inspection of the SM (Service Module) PSS Caution & Warning panel as part of regular Daily Morning Inspection.

FE-2 Anatoly Ivanishin concluded his 2nd session of the standard 24-hr. ECG (electrocardiogram) recording under the Russian MedOps PZE MO-2-2 protocol, started yesterday. [After the ECG recording and blood pressure measurements with the Kardiomed system, FE-1 doffed the five-electrode Holter harness that read his dynamic (in motion) heart function from two leads over the past 24 hours, recording data on the “Kardioregistrator 90205” unit. The examination results were then downloaded from the Holter ECG device to the RSE-Med laptop, controlled by the Kardiomed application. Later, the data were downlinked as a compressed .zip-file via OCA.]

CDR Dan Burbank relocated a number of stowage bags and set up food containers in preparation for the Pro K experiment protocol. [Under the Pro K protocol, the crewmember measures and logs the pH value of a urine sample, to be 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.]

Afterwards, Burbank restored the US A/L (Airlock) from its decrewing configuration back to nominal.

Then, the CDR undertook regular maintenance work on EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) equipment, today on EMUs #3010 and #3011, configuring the spacesuits for the periodic loop scrub, i.e., setting them up with their SCUs (Service & Cooling Umbilicals) and initiating the standard one-hour scrubbing process on the EMU’s & A/L’s cooling water loops, filtering ionic and particulate matter (via a 3-micron filter), then reconfiguring the cooling loops and starting the ~2hr biocide (iodination) filtering. [The activity met the periodic maintenance requirements of the EMUs; no checkout steps were required. 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.]

In between the A/L activities, Dan returned to the FIR (Fluids Integrated Rack), configured the Lab camcorder to provide live viewing of his work on the FCF (Fluids & Combustion Facility), then changed out the PACE (Preliminary Advanced Colloids Experiment) sample, removing the old sample (#2001) and starting the processing of tissue sample #2004. [PACE is an interesting 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 FIR doors, then removing PACE sample #2001 from the PACE Test Target, retrieving tissue sample #2004, mounting PACE test target and installing sample. The AFC front door was closed and the oil started to be dispensed onto the sample. The LMM Spindle Bracket Assembly was then rotated to the Operate position and the rack doors were closed. The new experiment run, which uses the newly installed PACE LED (Light-Emitting Diode) Base to allow illumination from below the samples (or trans-illumination), will enable the ground to use the LMM microscope to examine tissue and particle samples and also characterize the microscope for ACE (Advanced Colloids Experiment) scheduled to begin in 2012. ACE Objective: To remove gravitational jamming and sedimentation so that it is possible to observe how order arises out of disorder and to learn to control this process. Small colloidal particles can be used to model atomic systems and to engineer new systems. Colloids are big enough (in comparison to atoms) to be seen and big enough that their evolution can be recorded with a camera. With a confocal microscope, templates, and grids, we can observe this process in 3-D and learn to control it.]

Ivanishin had another ~2.5 hrs to continue the longer-term outfitting task, started on 12/19, of phasing out old generation lights in the RS (Russian Segment) and replacing them with new lights and light panel fuses. [Ten currently installedSSD305 lights were to be removed in the SM (to be trashed), as well as the two SSD301 lights from Soyuz 28S before its undocking (to become spares). More SSD307 lights will be delivered on the next Progress.]

In the SM, Shkaplerov continued with the installation of the ATV PCE (Automated Transfer Vehicle / Proximity Communications Equipment; Russian: MBRL) hardware, started on 12/19. The outfitting activities were supported by ground specialist tagup via S-band. [Today, Anton installed and connected the ATV Hand Controller, then hooked up cables to theMBRL box. With Ivanishin taking documentary photography, FE-1 then mated the telemetry lines of the Hand Controller,BUAB (Antenna Switching Controller) box and PCE Z3300 prox comm box to the BITS2-12 onboard telemetry measurement system. For the BITS2-12 connections, the SKV air conditioners, Elektron oxygen generator and VD-SU control mode had to be powered down temporarily as usual. Afterwards, they were reactivated nominally.]

Anton & Anatoly undertook the periodic (generally monthly) health test with the cardiological experiment PZEh MO-1 (“Study of the Bioelectric Activity of the Heart at Rest”) on exercise equipment, their first. [Equipment used was VPG/Temporal Pulsogram and 8-channel ECG/Electrocardiogram Data Output Devices (USI). The test took place during an RGS (Russian Groundsite) overflight window (~5:52am EST) via VHF for data downlink from the VPG and Gamma-1M ECG for about 5-6 minutes.]

With its KPT-2 Piren pyro-endoscope battery charged overnight, a 10-hr activity, Shkaplerov & Ivanishin spent ~2 hrs with the KPT-2 payload with its BAR science instruments suite, checking out micro conditions of the SM surface in areas with identified signs of microflora growth on the pressurized shell surface and measuring local temperatures with the Piren-V. The work will be continued tomorrow. [Problem area monitoring is necessary to predict shell micro-destruction rate and to develop measures to extend station life. Data were copied to the RSE1 laptop for downlink to Earth via OCA, with photographs, and the activities were supported by ground specialist tagup as required. Objective of the Russian KPT-2/BARscience payload is to measure environmental parameters (temperature, humidity, air flow rate) and module shell surface temperatures behind RS (Russian Segment) panels and other areas susceptible to possible micro-destruction (corrosion), before and after insolation (day vs. night). Piren-V is a video-endoscope with pyrosensor, part of the methods & means being used on ISS for detecting tiny leaks in ISS modules which could lead to cabin depressurization. Besides KPT-2 Piren-V, the payload uses a remote infrared thermometer (Kelvin-Video), a thermohygrometer (Iva-6A), a heat-loss thermoanemometer/thermometer (TTM-2) and an ultrasound analyzer (AU-1) to determine environmental data in specific locations and at specific times. Activities include documentary photography with the NIKON D2X camera and flash.]

Preparatory to the arrival of Soyuz 29S on 12/23, Dan Burbank & Anton Shkaplerov set up the usual Ku-band video “scheme” for a communications test of converting (encoding) the RS docking video signal from the SONY HVR-Z7E camera and external Klest Kl-154 “+X” camera to U.S. NTSC format and Ku-band from SM, to downlink “streaming video” packets via U.S. OpsLAN and Ku-band. [This activity tested MPEG2 (Moving Pictures Expert Group 2) encoding capability using the JSL (Joint Station LAN)-connected T61p SSC-2 (Station Support Computer) in the RS (SSC-2 was restored to operation yesterday by Anatoly by replacing a frayed Ethernet cable). This test used the TVS Klest signal from the Orbit Module of the docked Soyuz 28S and the SSC-2 located at the SM CP (Command Post), for encoding and decoding (viewing) SSC during the test (it can perform both operations simultaneously with NASA MPEG2 VIEWER and ESA MPEG2 ENCODER). The activities were monitored on the T61p laptop at the CP with the NVIEWER application. The A31p of the RWS (Robotic Workstation) in the Node-3/Cupola, set up by Dan earlier today, was used for both the conversion from PAL to NTSC and the “streaming” MPEG2 (Moving Pictures Expert Group 2) encoding for downlink via Ku-Band. The analog signal version of the digital Ku-band downlink was then sent to TsUP-Moscow via ESA Gateway at COL-CC (Columbus Orbital Laboratory Control Center) on a Tandberg Decoder. After the test, the T61p was powered down by Burbank, but the setup remained in place.]

Working from the Russian discretionary “time permitting” task list, Anton took care of 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).

Anatoly 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.]

Before Presleep, Burbank will turn on the MPC (Multi Protocol Converter) and start 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 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.]

Before sleeptime, Shkaplerov will prepare the Russian MBI-12 payload and start his 3rd Sonokard experiment session, using a sports shirt from the Sonokard kit with a special device in the pocket for testing a new method for acquiring physiological data without using direct contact on the skin. Measurements are recorded on a data card for return to Earth. [Sonokard objectives are stated to (1) study the feasibility of obtaining the maximum of data through computer processing of records obtained overnight, (2) systematically record the crewmember’s physiological functions during sleep, (3) study the feasibility of obtaining real-time crew health data. Investigators believe that contactless acquisition of cardiorespiratory data over the night period could serve as a basis for developing efficient criteria for evaluating and predicting adaptive capability of human body in long-duration space flight.]

At ~11:30am EST, Burbank had his standard weekly PMC (Private Medical Conference) via S- & Ku-band audio/video.

At ~2:05pm, the two Russian Flight Engineers jointly supported two Russian PAO TV events, downlinking messages of greetings and Happy New Year wishes to (1) Kazan-Zvezda TV Channel viewers and (2) the Russian Eastward Airlines employees and airliner crews. [(1) On 12/25, the Kazan TV/Radio company will review the results of their TV show “They are cosmonaut material”, produced with GCTC (Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center). By casting their votes, viewers will select the “Cosmonaut No. 1 in Kazan”. (2) The aviation/engineering company is celebrating its 50th Anniversary.]

The crew worked out with their regular 2-hr physical exercise protocol on the TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation & stabilization (FE-1, FE-2), ARED advanced resistive exerciser (CDR), T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (CDR), and VELO ergometer bike with load trainer (FE-1, FE-2).

The Russian discretionary “time permitting” task list for FE-1 & FE-2 for today suggested more preparation & downlinking of reportages (written text, photos, videos) for the Roskosmos website to promote Russia’s manned space program (max. file size 500 Mb).

JEMRMS Ground Control Demos: JAXA’s Robotics Team (KIBOTT) has successful concluded all three ground-control demonstrations of the JEM Robotic Maneuvering System at the Kibo JPM. The fourth demo is scheduled at a later date during the HTV3 mission. The first three demos served as the technical verification for JEMRMS unloaded maneuvering by Ground Control, the fourth demo for the verification of JEMRMS loaded maneuvering. JEMRMS is now in the stowed configuration.

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) targets uplinked for today were Johannesburg, South Africa (Capital City Target: As ISS tracked NE over South Africa, the crew was to look just left of track for this capital city. Johannesburg is one of the 40 largest metropolitan areas in the world; 180 mm lens imagery of the metro area will provide useful context for higher resolution photographs), Asmara, Eritrea (Capital City Target: As ISS tracked NE toward the Red Sea from Africa, the crew was to look right of track for this capital city. Asmara, the Eritrean capital city of nearly 600,000, lies at elevation of 7,628 ft near a great escarpment that marks the edge of the Eritrean Highlands with the shores of the Red Sea just 50 miles to the east), andConakry, Guinea (Capital City Target: ISS had a nadir pass over the capital and largest city of Guinea. Conakry is a port city that has an estimated population of about 2 million. The city is situated on Kaloum Peninsula, with Tombo Island near the end of the peninsula).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 8:41am EST [= epoch])
· Mean altitude – 392.2 km
· Apogee height – 408.9 km
· Perigee height – 375.5 km
· Period -- 92.40 min.
· Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
· Eccentricity -- 0.0024642
· Solar Beta Angle -- 7.0 deg (magnitude decreasing)
· Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.58
· Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 120 m
· Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 75,015
· Time in orbit (station) -- 4779 days
· Time in orbit (crews, cum.) -- 4066 days

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
12/23/11 -- Soyuz TMA-03M/29S docking (MRM1) --- 10:23am EST
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
01/18/12 -- ISS Reboost (set up phasing for 46P)
01/24/12 -- Progress M-13M/45P undock
01/25/12 -- Progress M-14M/46P launch
01/27/12 -- Progress M-14M/46P docking (DC-1)
02/07/12 -- SpaceX Falcon 9/Dragon launch --- (target date)
02/10/12 -- SpaceX Falcon 9/Dragon berthing --- (target date)
02/14/12 -- Russian EVA
02/23/12 -- SpaceX Falcon 9/Dragon unberth --- (target date)
03/09/12 -- ATV3 launch --- (target date)
03/16/12-- Soyuz TMA-22/28S undock/landing (End of Increment 30)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
03/30/12 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/30S launch – G.Padalka (CDR-32)/J.Acaba/K.Volkov --- (Target Date)
04/01/12 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/30S docking (MRM2) --- (Target Date)
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
TBD -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – launch on Proton (under review)
04/24/12 -- Progress M-14M/46P undock
04/25/12 -- Progress M-15M/47P launch
04/27/12 -- Progress M-15M/47P docking
TBD -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) – docking (under review)
05/16/12 -- Soyuz TMA-03M/29S undock/landing (End of Increment 31)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/30/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/31S launch – S.Williams (CDR-33)/Y.Malenchenko/A.Hoshide
06/01/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/31S docking
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
09/12/12 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/30S undock/landing (End of Increment 32)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
09/26/12 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/32S launch – K.Ford (CDR-34)/O.Novitskiy/E.Tarelkin
09/28/12 – Soyuz TMA-06M/32S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
11/12/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/31S undock/landing (End of Increment 33)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/26/12 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/33S launch – C.Hadfield (CDR-35)/T.Mashburn/R.Romanenko
11/28/12 – Soyuz TMA-07M/33S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
03/19/13 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/32S undock/landing (End of Increment 34)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
04/02/13 – Soyuz TMA-08M/34S launch – P.Vinogradov (CDR-36)/C.Cassidy/A.Misurkin
04/04/13 – Soyuz TMA-08M/34S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
05/16/13 – Soyuz TMA-07M/33S undock/landing (End of Increment 35)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/29/13 – Soyuz TMA-09M/35S launch – M.Suraev (CDR-37)/K.Nyberg/L.Parmitano
05/31/13 – 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-------------