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December 23, 2011
ISS On-Orbit Status 12/23/11

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

· Sleep Cycle Shift: To accommodate the arrival of Soyuz 29S, the crew got up ~3h30m later this morning, at 4:30am EST. Sleeptime starts tonight also 3h30m later, at 8:00pm, to shift back to normal tomorrow, with wakeup at 4:30am, sleep at 4:30pm, making for a short workday.

Yest kasaniya! Soyuz TMA-03M/29S docked successfully this morning at 10:19am EST at the MRM1 “Rassvet” module, 4 minutes ahead of schedule, right at orbital sunset. Docking hooks were driven closed at ~10:30am. At “hooks closed” signal, SM (Service Module) returned to active attitude control. The arrival doubles the station crew size to 6 persons and brings the total number of currently docked Russian VVs (visiting vehicles) to 3:
  • Soyuz TMA-22/28S (#232)@ MRM2 “Poisk” zenith,
  • Soyuz TMA-03M/29S (#703) @ MRM1 “Rassvet”
  • Progress M-13M/45P (#413) @ DC-1 nadir
This is the 118th mission to the ISS and Russia’s 78th (plus 1 failed). Since the first launch, by the FGB “Zarya” module on a Proton-K (1A/R) on 11/20/1998, there also have been a total of 36 US missions, 2 European missions (ATV-1, ATV-2) and 2 Japanese missions (HTV1, HTV2).

TMA-03M delivered Oleg Kononenko (Russia, Soyuz 29S CDR, ISS-30/31 FE, ISS-31 CDR), Don Pettit (USA, ISS-30/31 FE) and Andre Kuipers (ESA, ISS-30/31 FE) for a stay of 147 days (return: 5/16/2012). They joined Exp-30 crewmembers CDR Dan Burbank, FE-1 Anton Shkaplerov and FE-2 Anatoly Ivanishin (return: 3/16/2012). [All three newcomers have been on ISS before.]

Welcome aboard, Oleg, Don and Andre!

After wakeup, Shkaplerov performed the routine inspection of the SM PSS Caution & Warning panel as part of regular Daily Morning Inspection.

Later, Shkaplerov prepared the BTKh-43 KONSTANTA payload and executed experiment session #6 using Cassette #2-6, with documentary photography with the NIKON D2X and HVR-Z7E video camcorder and tagging up with ground specialist.[Objective: To identify if there is an effect of the space environment on the activity of a model enzyme relative to a specific substrate,- with two sessions.]

Before the Soyuz terminal approach maneuvers & docking, CDR Burbank deactivated the amateur/ham radio stations in SM and COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory) to prevent RF interference with the spacecraft and its KURS system. Later in the day, the ham equipment was turned back on.

Also in preparation for the rendezvous & docking, Burbank closed the protective shutters of the Lab, Cupola and JPM (JEM Pressurized Module) windows to prevent their contamination from thruster effluents.

Afterwards, Dan stowed the CIR (Combustion Integrated Rack) hardware items after completion of the ground-controlled experiment activities.

Next, the CDR 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. [The current card (29-0008B) lists 32 CWCs (490.7 L total) for the five types of water identified on board: 1. Silver technical water (6 CWCs with 199.5 L, for Elektron electrolysis, all containing Wautersia bacteria; 2. Condensate water (3 CWCs with 19.1 L), 7 empty bags; 3. Iodinated water (11 CWCs with 186.4 L; also 3 expired bags with 59.1 L); 4. Waste water (1 bag with 6.4 L EMU waste water); and 5. Special fluid (1 CWC with 20.2 L, hose/pump flush). Other CWCs are stowed behind racks and are currently not being tracked due to unchanging contents. Wautersia bacteria are typical water-borne microorganisms that have been seen previously in ISS water sources. These isolates pose no threat to human health.]

For covering the docking, Anton Shkaplerov & Dan Burbank activated the Ku-band video “scheme” for converting (encoding) the RS (Russian Segment) 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. FE-1 checked out the MPEG-2 coder during a streaming test from the RSS1 laptop and then monitored the transmission of the docking coverage to the ground. [The image was monitored on the SSC-1 (Station Support Computer 1) at the SM CP (Central Post). Using the NASA MPEG2 VIEWER and ESA MPEG2 ENCODR software, the SSC provided both decoding (viewing) and encoding (converting) during the operation.]

Burbank activated the A31p laptop for the video conversion from Russian PAL to US NTSC format for downlink.

FE-2 Ivanishin switched the STTS onboard communications system to pre-docking mode and activated the Soyuz 29S TV monitoring assets.

Then, starting at ~8:30am, Anatoly & Anton observed the final rendezvous & approach phase of the spacecraft until its docking at the MRM1 port on DO3 (Daily Orbit 3) at 10:19am, on Soyuz Orbit 34.

For the docking, ISS attitude control authority was handed over to RS thrusters at 8:20am. At 10:22am, the station was moded to Free Drift until ~10:30am. Attitude control handover back to US CMG (Control Moment Gyroscope) momentum management was at 11:20am.

After the docking, Spacecraft CDR Oleg Kononenko conducted the leak checking on the Soyuz side (by evacuating the Orbital Module and watching pressure readings).

RS thrusters on the ISS were inhibited from 11:45am-1:50pm during the leak checking and BZV clamp installation.

The spacecraft’s BZV quick disconnect screw clamps of the SSVP (Docking & Internal Transfer Mechanism) were installed by Kononenko for rigidizing the joint.

Hatch opening took place at 12:43pm, followed by Crew Welcome, transmitted to the ground live on PAO TV.

Afterwards, the three newcomers, FE-4 Kononenko, FE-5 Kuipers & FE-6 Pettit, joined FE-1 Shkaplerov & FE-2 Ivanishin for the obligatory Safety Briefing by CDR Burbank (~1:35pm-2:20pm), to familiarize them with the potential hazards and available safety measures on-board the ISS. [The joint crew reviewed plans for emergency actions, roles, and, responsibilities in response to depressurization, fire, and toxic release hazards. Each crewmember had to practice the emergency egress route from all station modules, and hatches were inspected for the presence of objects preventing them from being closed, such as cables and air ducts routed through hatches (a special Drag-Through Configuration schematic for the period 29S Docking – 12/31/11 was prepared by the ground for the crew). Each crewmember also reviewed emergency equipment locations in their Soyuz vehicle.]

Activities conducted by CDR Burbank before the hatch opening were –
  • Deploying four passive FMK (Formaldehyde Monitoring Kit) sampling assemblies in the Lab (at bay P3, below CEVIS) and SM (at the most forward handrail, on panel 307) for two days, to catch any atmospheric formaldehyde on a collector substrate for subsequent analysis on the ground; [two monitors each are usually attached side by side, preferably in an orientation with their faces perpendicular to the direction of air flow],
  • Installing a cap on the UPA (Urine Processor Assembly) recycle tank currently stowed in the JAXA JLP (JEM Logistics Pressurized Segment),
· Starting another sampling run with the AQM (Air Quality Monitor) and 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],
· Checking on the KUBIK-3 & KUBIK-6 thermostatic containers in COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory) to verify their correct temperatures at +37 degC,
· Printing out the cue card for the ROALD2 (Role of Apoptosis in Lymphocyte Depression 2) experiment, and
· After cargo handover from Kononenko, transferring the ROALD2 hardware quickly to COL for storage in KUBIK-3 in order to preserve the scientific samples,

Later in the day, Burbank is scheduled to –
  • Collect air samples with GSCs (Grab Sample Containers) in the SM, Lab and JPM, timed to be done 1-3 hrs after AQM start,
  • Dismantle the Ku-band streaming video transmission “scheme”,
  • Power up the amateur/ham radio stations in SM and COL, and
  • Disconnect the DCP (Display & Control Panel) bypass cable at the Cupola RWS (Robotic Workstation).

After hatch opening and crew welcome Anatoly Ivanishin was to –
  • Turn the BRTK TVS video system off and subsequently downlinked its footage,
  • Reconfigure STTS station comm for the nominal post-docking hardline mode (MBS),
  • Switch the hatch KVDs (PEVs) between MRM1 & Soyuz back to Electric control mode,
  • Take two photos of the internal part of the MRM1 docking port’s SSVP-StM docking cone to obtain digital imagery of the scratch or scuff mark left by the head of the Soyuz active docking probe on the internal surface of the passive drogue (docking cone) ring, a standard practice after Russian dockings. Anatoly subsequently downlinks the pictures via OCA assets; [these images are used to refine current understanding of docking conditions. The objective is to take photo imagery of the scratch or scuff marks left by the head of the docking probe on the internal surface of the drogue (docking cone, ASP) ring, now rotated out of the passageway. Before shooting the picture, the cosmonaut highlights the scuffmark with a marker and writes the date next to it. As other crewmembers before him, Anatoly used the Nikon D2X digital still camera to take the pictures with the hatch partially closed],
  • Download the new batch of post-docking TEKh-22 “Identifikatsiya” structural dynamics measurements,
  • Take 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), and
  • Perform 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.]

Kuipers is scheduled to service the 3 Sokol intravehicular spacesuits, setting them up for drying out. He & Oleg will also put up the Sokol gloves for drying.

Afterwards, a high priority activity for FE-5 Andre Kuipers & FE-6 Don Pettit is to prepare and get settled in their CQ (Crew Quarters). [Activity steps probably included inspection of the CQ and cleaning if needed, retrieving personnel clothing and sleeping bag CTBs (Cargo Transfer Bags), installing the sleeping bag on the sleep wall and setting up & securing personnel effects.]

Later tonight, Anton Shkaplerov will activate the GA/gas analyzer in the Soyuz TMA-22/28S (#232), docked at MRM2 Poisk.[The GA’s are activated periodically to check the cabin air in the Descent Modules.]

After deactivating his Soyuz spacecraft, Oleg Kononenko will start cargo unloading from 29S, with IMS logging, for which he has ~55 min reserved.

With Anatoly taking documentary photography, Oleg will transfer the ESA SOLO PCBA (Sodium Loading in Microgravity / Portable Clinical Blood Analyzer) payload kits and hand them over to Dan Burbank.

Next, with FE-2 taking photos, FE-4 transfers the 29S-delivered MATRYOSHKA-R RBO radiation hardware, handing over 17 PADLES (Passive Area Dosimeter for Lifescience Experiment in Space) radiation dosimeters to Don Pettit who will install them on the walls of the JPM and JLP modules, then take a photo of each dosimeter installed.

After receiving the consumables kit for the SOLO PCBA from Oleg, Burbank will stow the measurement pouches 1 & 2 in MELFI-1 (Dewar 4/Tray B) in the Lab.

Kononenko also transfers the BTKh-41 BACTERIOPHAGE experiment from Soyuz to the SM for stowage behind panel 328, with documentary photography and imagery downlinking to TsUP/Moscow via OCA.

FE-5 Kuipers is scheduled to perform his daily task of filling out his Space Headache questionnaire which he started after Soyuz launch and continues on ISS (on an SSC/Station Support Computer) for his first week in space. He also is to take photos of the two questionnaires from his time on Soyuz and downlink them to the ground.

FE-5 & FE-6 are scheduled for their first PMCs (Private Medical Conferences) after arrival via S- & Ku-band audio/video, Andre Kuipers at ~3:35pm, Don Pettit at ~3:50pm EST.

Dan Burbank has another time slot reserved for making entries in his electronic Journal on his personal SSC (Station Support Computer). [Required are three journaling sessions per week.]

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.]

At ~6:40am EST, Burbank, Ivanishin & Shkaplerov held the regular (nominally weekly) tagup with the Russian Flight Control Team (GOGU/Glavnaya operativnaya gruppa upravleniya), including Shift Flight Director (SRP), at TsUP-Moscow via S-band/audio, phone-patched from Houston and Moscow.

At ~6:55am, Anton & Anatoly linked up with TsUP-Moscow stowage specialists via S-band to conduct the weekly IMS tagup, discussing inventory & stowage issues, equipment locations and cargo transfers.

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

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).

WRM Update: A new WRM (Water Recovery Management) “cue card” was uplinked to the crew for their reference, updated with their latest CWC (Contingency Water Container) water audit. [The new card (29-0008C) lists 31 CWCs (480.7 L total) for the five types of water identified on board: 1. Silver technical water (5 CWCs with 179.5 L, for Elektron electrolysis, all containing Wautersia bacteria; 2. Condensate water (3 CWCs with 19.1 L), 7 empty bags; 3. Iodinated CWCs with 186.4 L; also 3 expired bags with 59.1 L); 4. Waste water (1 bag with 6.4 L EMU waste water); and 5. Special fluid (1 CWC with 20.2 L, hose/pump flush). Other CWCs are stowed behind racks and are currently not being tracked due to unchanging contents. Wautersia bacteria are typical water-borne microorganisms that have been seen previously in ISS water sources. These isolates pose no threat to human health.]

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) targets uplinked for today were Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis (ISS had a nadir pass over the capital city of Basseterre located in the extreme northeastern Caribbean Sea. The ISS pass over St. Kitts and Nevis will be in the mid-afternoon light with partly cloudy skies. The city is located on the southwestern coast of St. Kitts Island, and is one of the oldest towns in the eastern Caribbean region. Overlapping mapping frames of the urban area were requested),San Salvador, El Salvador (ISS had a nadir-viewing pass over the capital city of El Salvador. The city is located between the San Salvador volcano to the west and Lake Illopango [also of volcanic origin] to the east. Overlapping mapping frames of the urban and surrounding rural areas were requested), and Wellington, New Zealand (looking nadir for this capital city of New Zealand. Wellington is located on the southern coast of the North Island, and is situated on Cook Strait, which separates the two islands that make up New Zealand (Figure 8). Fairly cloudy weather was expected).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 8:20am EST [= epoch])
· Mean altitude – 391.9 km
· Apogee height – 408.6 km
· Perigee height – 375.3 km
· Period -- 92.40 min.
· Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
· Eccentricity -- 0.0024589
· Solar Beta Angle -- -1.0 deg (magnitude bottoming out)
· Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.58
· Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 146 m
· Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 75,046
· Time in orbit (station) -- 4781 days
· Time in orbit (crews, cum.) -- 4068 days

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
--------------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-------------