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May 15, 2012
ISS On-Orbit Status 05/15/12

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

>>>Today 25 years ago (1987), the Soviet Union launched the super-heavy launch vehicle Energia at Baikonur, carrying demo mockup satellite Polus as payload.  The Energia, developed at RSC-Energia under Valentin Glushko, was the short-lived replacement of the super-heavy N-1 rocket which flew (and failed) four times.  The second and final flight of Energia carried the Soviet unmanned space shuttle Buran on its successful (and only) orbital flight.<<<

· Soyuz TMA-04M/30S launched last night on time at 11:01pm EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, with Gennady Ivanovich Padalka (Roskosmos/Russia; ISS-31 Flight Engineer, ISS-32 Commander, Soyuz TMA-04M CDR), Sergey Nikolaevich Revin (Roskosmos/Russia; ISS-31/32 FE, Soyuz TMA-04M FE), and Joseph Michael Acaba (NASA/USA; ISS-31/32 FE, Soyuz TMA-04M FE).  Docking at the MRM2 Poisk module will be on Thursday, 5/17, at ~12:39am EDT, for a four-month stay, returning on 9/17.
>>>This is the 123rd 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 37 US missions, 81 Russian missions (+ 1 failed), 3 European missions (ATV-1, ATV-2, ATV-3) and 2 Japanese missions (HTV1, HTV2). It is also the 3rd post-Shuttle manned launch.<<<

Upon wakeup, FE-5 André Kuipers & FE-6 Don Pettit each completed another post-sleep session of the Reaction Self-Test (Psychomotor Vigilance Self-Test on the ISS) protocol, their 40th. [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.]

After breakfast, CDR Kononenko performed the routine inspection of the SM (Service Module) PSS Caution & Warning panel as part of regular Daily Morning Inspection.

Also during the morning inspection, Kononenko conducted the periodic checkup of the circuit breakers & fuses in the MRM1 Rassvet & MRM2 Poisk module. [The monthly checkup in DC1, MRM1 & MRM2 looks at AZS circuit breakers on the BVP Amp Switch Panel (they should all be On) and the LEDs (light-emitting diodes) of 14 fuses in fuse panels BPP-30 & BPP-36. MRM2 & MRM1 were derived from the DC1 concept and are very similar to it.]

Kuipers continued his current extended session of the ESA ENERGY experiment. No urine or water sampling scheduled today, but required were the special ENERGY breakfast plus logging of all ISS food & drinks consumed during ENERGY experiment performance from lunch and dinner on Day 1 until breakfast on Day 10. [André wears an armband monitor, positioned on the right triceps where it started automatically on skin contact. The instrument must be worn for the entire 10-day ENERGY measurement period and removed only during showers or if needed during blood draws. Activities without the armband monitor on the triceps must be carefully logged. The monitor will be removed at the end of the 10-day period, then data will be downloaded from the device. Background: The observed loss of astronauts’ body mass during space flight is partly due to the systematic ongoing negative energy balance in micro-G, in addition to disuse. Unfortunately, the reason for such unbalanced match between intake and output is not clear, but appealing data suggest a relation between the degree of energy deficit and the exercise level prescribed as a countermeasure. Purpose of the ENERGY experiment is (1) to measure changes in energy balance during long term space flight, (2) to measure adaptations in the components of the Total Energy Expenditure TEE (consumption), and (3) to derive an equation for the energy requirements of astronauts. TEE is the sum of resting metabolic rate (RMR, measured), diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT, measured oxygen-uptake minus RMR) and activity-related energy expenditure (AEE, calculated).]

The CDR terminated his 6th experiment session, started last night, for the long-term Russian sleep study MBI-12/Sonokard, taking the recording device from his Sonokard sports shirt pocket and later copying the measurements to the RSE-Med laptop for subsequent downlink to the ground. [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.]

Oleg also conducted the periodic maintenance of the active Russian BMP Harmful Impurities Removal System, starting the “bake-out” cycle to vacuum on absorbent bed #2 of the regenerable dual-channel filtration system. Oleg will terminate the process at ~4:45pm EDT. Bed #1 regeneration was performed yesterday. (Done last: 4/23 & 4/24). [Regeneration of each of the two cartridges takes about 12 hrs and is conducted only during crew awake periods. The BMP’s regeneration cycle is normally done every 20 days.]

Afterwards, the CDR completed his 6th session with the Russian behavioral assessment TIPOLOGIA (MBI-20), setting up the workstation, connecting equipment, suiting up and launching the program on the RSK1 laptop. [Ivanishin stood by to assist Oleg in donning the electrode cap, preparing the head for the electrodes and applying electrode gel from the Neurolab-RM2 kit plus taking documentary photography. Data were recorded on a PCMCIA memory card and downlinked via OCA comm. MBI-20 studies typological features of operator activity of the ISS crews in long-term space flight phases, with the subject using a cap with EEG (electroencephalogram) electrodes. The experiment, which records EEGs, consists of the Lüscher test, “adaptive biological control” training, and the games Minesweeper and Tetris. The Lüscher color diagnostic is a psychological test which measures a person's psychophysical state, his/her ability to withstand stress, to perform and to communicate. It is believed to help uncover the cause of psychological stress, which can lead to physical symptoms. An EEG measures and records the electrical activity of the brain.]

FE-5 Kuipers conducted periodic water sampling activities for Week 3, including –
  • The approximately weekly WRS (Water Recovery System) sampling using the TOCA (Total Organic Carbon Analyzer), after first initializing the software and priming (filling) the TOCA water sample hose; [after the approximately 2-hr TOCA analysis, results were transferred to an SSC (Station Support Computer) laptop via USB drive for downlink, and the data were also logged],
  • “Week 3” water sample collecting in Node-3 from the PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) Ambient & Hot ports for microbial inflight & TOCA analysis plus a post-flight sample for return on SpX-Demo (Dragon) & Soyuz 29S    [from Ambient:  1 TOCA in-flight sample (250 mL), 2 post-flight samples (500 & 1000 mL) & 1 microbial in-flight sample (125 mL); from Hot: 1 post-flight sample (1000 mL). The in-flight samples were subsequently processed in the MCD (Microbial Capture Device) and CDB (Coliform Detection Bag) from the U.S. WMK (water microbiology kit) for treatment/processing after no more than 6 hours of the collection. After the approximately 2-hr TOCA analysis, results were transferred to the SSC-5 (Station Support Computer 5) laptop via USB drive for downlink, and the data were also logged], and
· “Week 3” water sampling from the WRS potable water in the SM for chemical & microbial analysis, using a specific water sample collection packet from stowage; [collected were two 500 mL post-flight samples from the SVO-ZV & SVO-K ports for return on 29S, and three 125 mL microbial in-flight samples from the SVO-ZV and SRV-K Hot & Warm ports].

FE-6 Pettit set up the USND (Ultrasound) with video camcorder and MPC (Multi-Protocol Converter), placed reference markers on the thigh and calf of his right leg and donned the SPRINT thigh and calf guides and then performed a SPRINT leg scan with remote guidance from ground teams, his 6th. [SPRINT (Integrated Resistance and Aerobic Training Study) evaluates the use of high intensity, low volume exercise training to minimize loss of muscle, bone, and cardiovascular function in ISS crewmembers during long-duration missions.]

FE-6 also re-installed the three PaRIS (Passive Rack Isolation System) lock-down alignment guides on the CIR (Combustion Integrated Rack) at Lab bay S3, engaged the snubber pins and locked safety pins to protect its ARIS (Active Rack Isolation System) from external loading (dynamic disturbances).

Later, Don supported the ground in swapping the THC CCAA (Temperature & Humidity Control / Common Cabin Air Assembly) air conditioner in the U.S. Lab from port to starboard by closing off the P6 MFCV (Manual Flow Control Valve) and opening the S6 MFCV. This allowed the swapover from the CCAA port channel (P6) to the alternate system on starboard (S6), resetting it to where it was before the swap on 5/13 for the SIGI GPS-1 (Space Integrated GPS/Inertial Navigation System / Global Positioning System 1) replacement (GPS-1 is up and running well). [The CCAA is a network of ducting that draws in the air through filters, delivers it for conditioning, and returns it to the modules. The swap-over between the CCAA channels is generally done by the ground once a month, with crew support, to dry out the heat exchanger of the deactivated side. MCC-H flight controllers command the required systems configurations for the dryout via S-band. On 5/10, GPS-1 locked up and stopped producing attitude information, potentially due to an internal hardware issue. Controllers on the ground power-cycled it twice (turned it off/on), but it did not come back on. GPS-1 is drawing power but is not communicating with the GNC MDM (Guidance, Navigation & Control Multiplexer/Demultiplexer) computer. There is another good spare onboard for an R&R (removal & replacement), as well as a degraded spare.]

André Kuipers had another 1h15m set aside for ATV-3 (Automated Transfer Vehicle 3) cargo operations (unloading & unpacking into stowage) and bag cleaning, i.e., stowing discarded bags and foam packing material in “Edoardo Amaldi”, including a tagup with the ground at ~2:15pm EDT for a status report.

Oleg Kononenko conducted a search for “missing” TVIS treadmill equipment, i.e., a TVIS transmission unit (#1013) and a TVIS flywheel assembly (#1008), to be handed over to the USOS crew for return on SpX Dragon.

Preparatory to the arrival of Soyuz 30S on 5/17, CDR Kononenko 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 (Russian Segment). This test used the TVS Klest signal from the Orbit Module of the docked Soyuz 29S 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 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 Oleg, but the setup remained in place.]

FE-6 had 2.5 hrs set aside for extended IFM (Inflight Maintenance) in Node-2, cleaning the Overhead CQ (Crew Quarters) by removing all closeout panels and using vacuum cleaner and disinfectant wipes.

The CDR completed 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).

Kononenko also took care of 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, Pettit 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, Don turns 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 ~7:45am EDT, André conducted the weekly ESA crew conference via phone with the EAC (European Astronaut Center) near Cologne /Germany.

CDR & FE-5 had their regular weekly PMCs (Private Medical Conferences) scheduled, via S- & Ku-band audio/video, André at ~6:15am, Oleg at ~12:25pm EDT.

The crew worked out with their regular 2-hr physical exercise protocol on the TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation & stabilization (CDR), ARED advanced resistive exerciser (CDR, FE-5, FE-6), and T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (FE-5, FE-6).  [FE-6 is on the special experimental SPRINT protocol which diverts from the regular 2.5 hrs per day exercise regime and introduces special daily sessions, followed by a USND (Ultrasound) leg muscle self scan in COL. No exercise is being timelined for Fridays. If any day is not completed, Don picks up where he left off, i.e., he would be finishing out the week with his last day of exercise on his off day.  Today’s exercise called for ARED+T2 (resistive+aerobic), with CEVIS & ARED+T2 following in the next 2 days. If any day is not completed, Don picks up where he left off, i.e., he would be finishing out the week with his last day of exercise on his off day.]

Tasks listed for Kononenko on the Russian discretionary “time permitting” job for today were –
· A ~30-min. session for Russia's EKON Environmental Safety Agency, making observations and taking KPT-3 aerial photography of environmental conditions on Earth using the NIKON D3X camera with the RSK-1 laptop, and
· 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).

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) targets uplinked for today were Chandragup Mud Volcanoes, Pakistan (active mud volcanoes are found along the coast of Pakistan.  If the crew blanketed the coastline from nadir rightward of track they you will have acquired images of several of these relatively small mounds.  Mud volcanoes are common features in regions of mountain building such as the coast of Pakistan.  Here the Arabian tectonic plate [the seafloor in this area] is moving northward and impinging on the complex Asian plate [Pakistani coast]), Ljubljana, Slovenia (CAPITAL CITIES COLLECTION.     Looking left of track for a light-toned valley floor occupied by this small capital city [273,000]), Jerusalem, Israel (CAPITAL CITIES COLLECTION.   Looking right as ISS crossed the coast at Haifa.  Like most cities during daylight passes, Jerusalem is difficult to detect.  It lies just uptrack of the Dead Sea.  CEO used the crew’s recent excellent context imagery [short focal length lenses] in this request), and Amman, Jordan (CAPITAL CITIES COLLECTION.   Looking right as ISS crossed the River Jordan for the large gray mass of this city.  CEO used the crew’s recent excellent context [short focal length lenses] imagery in this request).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 9:48am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 398.9 km
Apogee height – 406.0 km
Perigee height – 391.8 km
Period -- 92.54 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0010478
Solar Beta Angle -- -26.3 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.56
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 71 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 77,293
Time in orbit (station) -- 4925 days
Time in orbit (crews, cum.) -- 4212 days

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/17/12 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/30S docking (MRM2)  (~12:39am EDT)
05/19/12 -- SpaceX Falcon/Dragon launch (4:55am EDT)
05/22/12 -- SpaceX Dragon capture (~9:11am EDT)
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
07/01/12 -- Soyuz TMA-03M/29S undock/landing (End of Increment 31)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
07/15/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/31S launch – S.Williams (CDR-33)/Y.Malenchenko/A.Hoshide
07/17/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/31S docking
07/20/12 -- HTV3 launch (~10:18pm EDT)
07/22/12 -- Progress M-15M/47P undock
07/24/12 -- Progress M-15M/47P re-docking
07/30/12 -- Progress M-15M/47P undocking/deorbit
07/31/12 -- Progress M16M/48P launch
08/02/12 -- Progress M16M/48P docking
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
09/17/12 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/30S undock/landing (End of Increment 32)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
10/15/12 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/32S launch – K.Ford (CDR-34)/O.Novitsky/E.Tarelkin
10/17/12 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/32S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
11/01/12 -- Progress M-17M/49P launch
11/03/12 -- Progress M-17M/49P docking
11/12/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/31S undock/landing (End of Increment 33)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
12/05/12 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/33S launch – C.Hadfield (CDR-35)/T.Mashburn/R.Romanenko
12/07/12 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/33S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
12/26/12 -- Progress M-18M/50P launch
12/28/12 -- Progress M-18M/50P docking
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-------------