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October 23, 2012
ISS On-Orbit Status 10/23/12

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

· Soyuz TMA-06M/32S launched this morning on time at 6:51:11am EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome (4:51:11pm local), with Kevin Ford (NASA/USA, ISS-33 FE, ISS-34 CDR), Oleg Novitskiy (Roskosmos/Russia, ISS-33/34 FE, Soyuz TMA-06M CDR) & Evgeny Tarelkin (Roskosmos/Russia, ISS-33/34 FE). Docking at the MRM2 Poisk module will be on Thursday, 10/25, at ~8:40am EDT, until its return in March 2013. Launch took place from Site 31, its first use in 28 years.
>>>This is the 129th 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/Shuttle missions, 84 Russian missions (1 failed), 3 European missions (ATV-1, ATV-2, ATV-3), 3 Japanese missions (HTV1, HTV2, HTV3) and 2 commercial missions (SpX-D, SpX-1). It is also the 5th post-Shuttle manned launch.<<<

Before breakfast and other Postsleep activities, FE-4 Yuri Malenchenko set up the Russian spectrometry experiment MBI-28 Xromatomass (Chromatomass) and conducted his 4th session of collecting saliva and blood. MBI-28 was closed out afterwards.

Afterwards, Malenchenko performed the routine inspection of the SM (Service Module) PSS Caution & Warning panel as part of regular Daily Morning Inspection.

FE-4 also completed the periodic (daily) reboot of the Russian RSS1 & RSS2 laptops.

CDR Williams worked on the CDRA (Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly) in Node-3, disconnecting, lubricating and reconnecting the leaking 104 Hydraflow ASV (Air Selector Valve), for which she had to remove the TCCS (Trace Contaminant Control System) temporarily. [Following the Node-3 CDRA valve installations on 9/24, the ground has noted what appears to be a small leak in one of the Hydraflow couplings. Because of this, the Node-3 CDRA has been restricted to single bed operations to prevent air venting overboard.]

Later, Sunita had ~1.5 hrs to set up the exciting ESA METERON (Multi-purpose End-To-End Robotic Operations Network) payload and conduct an initial Operations & Communications Test Part 1 (OPSCOM-1) of the Rover Control Software, time-sequenced with an actual rover on the ground in Germany (constrained to a 2.5-hr battery life). [Future deep-space exploration missions might involve robots/androids on the surface of celestial bodies remotely operated from orbit by astronauts who would be supported in turn by control centers on Earth. METERON’s objective is to perform in-orbit testing and validation of communication strategies that could be used in such scenarios. Today’s OPSCOM-1, the first step of the METERON project, is to validate the operational set-up and DTN (Delay Tolerant Networking) connection between the ISS and ESOC (European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany). Such DTN connections use automated store-and-forward techniques to compensate for the intermittent link connectivity typical of space missions. OPSCOM-1 involves teleoperation of a small robotic rover located at ESOC via Rover Control Software on the DTN laptop in COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory). The movements of the rover will be displayed on a map as well as pictures that will be taken automatically at the end of each movement. The activity is closely followed via COL VAC1 cabin video, and crew calls are used for status as well as brief descriptions of the pictures sent by the rover. The latter is part of an exploration analogue: it could be seen as the astronaut describing what he/she sees on the explored celestial body. As such there is no right or wrong answer. In two to three years, an experimental robot on Earth will faithfully mimic the movements of an astronaut on the Space Station who will wear an exoskeleton – a combination of arm and glove with electronic aids to reproduce the sensations a human hand would feel – so that a distant operator can work as though he/she were there.]

Malenchenko performed the routine verification of yesterday’s automated refreshes of the IUS AntiVirus program on all Russian VKS auxiliary network laptops RSS1, RSS2, RSK1-T61p & RSK2. [Antivirus update procedures have changed since the SSCV4 software update some time ago. Before the installation on 8/8/11 of the new automated procedure, the refresh was done manually on Mondays on RSS2, copying the files to the RSS2 service folder, then launching update scripts on the network laptops RSS1, RSK1-T61p & RSK2 and finally manually updating non-network laptops RSE-Med & RSE1. On Tuesdays, the anti-virus scanning results are regularly verified on all laptops. Nominally, Russian network laptops have software installed for automatic anti-virus update; fresh data is copied on RSK1-T61p & RSK2 every time a computer is rebooted with a special login, and on RSS1 once daily. On Russian non-network laptops antivirus definition file update is done by the crew once every two weeks on Monday.]

Yuri 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. FE-4 will terminate the process at ~5:15pm EDT. Bed #1 regeneration was performed yesterday. (Done last: 10/2 & 10/3). [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.]

In COL, FE-6 Hoshide configured the PPFS (Portable Pulmonary Function System) hardware with power, data, front panel, and gas connections plus MBS (Mixing Bag System), and then conducted his 4th session with the Sprint VO2max (Evaluation of Maximal Oxygen Uptake & Submaximal Estimates of VO2max before, during and after long-duration space station missions) assessment, including software & instrument calibrations, checking instruments, exercise protocol, cessation, and data downlink. These activities were executed several times. After the session, FE-6 powered down, cleaned up & partially stows the equipment, then downloaded the data to a PCS laptop. [The experiment Sprint VO2max uses the PPFS, CEVIS ergometer cycle with vibration isolation, PFS (Pulmonary Function System) gas cylinders and mixing bag system, plus multiple other pieces of hardware to measure oxygen uptake, cardiac output, and more. Sprint VO2max is a test that measures oxygen uptake, ventilatory threshold, and other physiological parameters for evaluation of Sprint exercise prescription. The in-flight exercise protocol consists of multiple stages. Both the VO2max and Sprint experiments require monthly max tests in-flight, but each use a different protocol to obtain the data. Joint VO2max/Sprint subjects use the VO2max protocol. Suni is performing the VO2max protocol, Aki the Sprint Max protocol. Suni is the last VO2max subject. Aki is the first Sprint subject not also participating in VO2max. The Sprint protocol requires less Portable PFS accessory hardware than the VO2max protocol. However, for consistency, both crewmembers will complete the full hardware setup.]

In preparation for her VO2max session tomorrow, Sunita replaced the BP (blood pressure) microphone arm cuff of her PPFS equipment.

Suni also serviced the VIABLE experiment (eValuatIon And monitoring of microBiofiLms insidE the ISS), touching and blowing the top of each of 4 VIABLE bags in the FGB (loc. 409) where they are stowed to collect environment samples. She also took documentary photography of the VIABLE setup. [This investigation evaluates microbial biofilm development on space materials. Objectives are to determine the microbial strain producing the anti-biofilm product, evaluate the chemical nature of the anti-biofilm product, study the innovative materials which are chemo-physically treated, and address the biological safety issues associated with microbial biofilms. Background: Most surfaces are covered with microorganisms under natural conditions. The process by which a complex community of microorganisms is established on a surface is known as biofilm formation. Microbial biofilms can exist in many different forms by a wide range of microorganisms. The process of biofilm formation is a prerequisite for substantial corrosion and/or deterioration of the underlying materials to take place. VIABLE samples are composed by both metallic and textile space materials either conventional or innovative (Aluminum, Armaflex and Betacloth). They are placed inside four foam lined Nomex bags, specifically: Pouch 1 - untreated space materials; Pouch 2 - space materials pre-treated with biosurfactants; Pouch 3 - space materials pre-treated with hydrogen peroxide; Pouch 4 - space materials chemo-physically pre-treated with silica and silver coating.]

FE-4 conducted 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.]

Yuri also took care of the daily IMS (Inventory Management System) maintenance, working from the Russian discretionary “time permitting” task list, 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).

Sunita & Akihiko joined up for a 30-min OBT (Onboard Training) session to review SpX-1 Dragon departure procedures and rendezvous sheets, followed by a 30-min teleconference with ground personnel to discuss any additional products or info that they would like to have for the release, the Cupola configuration (any laptops required?), and to assure that there is mutual understanding of key points. [A 2nd study session is planned for later, including Robotics/DOUG (Dynamic Onboard Ubiquitous Graphics) material and SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) crew coordination.]

Later, Malenchenko, Hoshide & Williams donned their intravehicular Sokol pressure suits and performed another standard fit-check in their body-contoured Kazbek-U couches in the TMA-05M/31S spacecraft, docked at MRM1 Rassvet, a 30-min job. [This required them to get in their shock-absorbing seats and use a ruler to measure the gap between the top of the head and the top edge of the structure facing the head. The results were to be reported to TsUP. Kazbek-U couches are designed to withstand g-loads during launch and orbital insertion as well as during reentry and brake-rocket-assisted landing. Each seat has two positions: cocked (armed) and non-cocked. In the cocked position, they are raised to allow the shock absorbers to function during touchdown. The fit check assures that the crewmember whose body gains in length during longer-term stay in zero-G, will still be adequately protected by the seat liners for their touchdown in Kazakhstan. 31S return is scheduled for 11/19.]

In preparation for Soyuz TMA-06M/32S arrival on 10/25, Malenchenko set up the Ku-band video “scheme” for a 40-min communications test of converting the RS (Russian Segment) video signal from the SONY HDV camera to U.S. NTSC format from SM & Node-3/Cupola. [Purpose: for downlinking as analogue signal, encoded to MPEG-2 (Moving Pictures Expert Group 2) Multicast “streaming video” packets via U.S. OpsLAN and Ku-band. Both the standard scheme (using the MPEG2 Video Server2 application on the Central Post SSC2 laptop) and the backup scheme (using the ESA Klest-211 MPEG2 Encoder) were tested. This serves to “ship” the TV signal for docking/undocking of Russian piloted and resupply vehicles when out of RGS (Russian Ground Site) range. Steps included connecting the SM TVS (television system) to the T61p SSC-2 (Station Support Computer 2) laptop at the SM CP (Central Post), activating Soyuz TVS, turning on MPEG-2 Video Server 2, and monitoring the SM’s TV signal from the ground (Moscow) via Ku-band and the Cupola RWS (Robotic Workstation). The analog signal version of the digital Ku-band downlink is sent to TsUP-Moscow via ESA Gateway at COL-CC (Columbus Orbital Laboratory Control Center) on a Tandberg Decoder.]

Later, Yuri continued the current round of the periodic preventive maintenance of RS ventilation systems, today working in the SM for about 2h30m for cleaning its numerous Group A ventilator fans & grilles.

In the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), after setting up the G1 camcorder for live video coverage of activities, Aki serviced the new JAXA RT/Resist Tubule experiment (Mechanisms of Gravity Resistance in Plants – From Signal Transformation & Transduction to Response). [Hoshide used KFTs (KSC Fixation Tubes) for fixing two micro-G samples & two 1G samples and then deposited the four KFTs afterwards in MELFI-1 (Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS 1) box module in Dewar 4, Tray C, Tray Section 3,4 at +2 degC. Activities included performing KFT leak checks, then detaching two MEU Bs (Measurement Experiment Units B) from the CBEF (Cell Biology Experiment Facility) Micro-g IU (Incubator Unit) and retrieving two RT Chamber Bs for fixing the samples in RT Glutaraldehyde Formaldehyde KFTs, followed by the same steps for two 1G samples from CBEF IU 1G.]

Suni meanwhile went on a search for missing SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites) hardware to be returned to Earth on SpX-1 Dragon in Ziploc bags. [These items (14 empty CO2 tanks plus 3 SPHERES cover plates) were previously reported as “not found”. The gas bottles will be refurbished and re-flown to ISS.]

Later, the CDR performed the periodic maintenance of the ARED advanced resistive exercise machine of evacuating its cylinder flywheels to re-establish proper vacuum condition & sensor calibration.

FE-4 had ~30 min for unstowing and gathering CMS (Crew Medical Systems) physical exercise hardware intended for his soon-to-arrive crewmates Oleg Novitskiy & Evgeny Tarelkin. [The equipment consists of items such as HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) component kits, treadmill harnesses, SPD (Subject Positioning Device) top assemblies, TVIS PCMCIA memory cards, Ergometer shoes, athletic shoes, etc.]

Later, Yuri broke out and set up the equipment for another session with the Russian crew health monitoring program's medical assessment MO-9/Biochemical Urinalysis, scheduled tomorrow. [MO-9 is conducted every 30 days (and also before and after EVAs) and is one of five nominal Russian medical tests adopted by NASA for U.S. crewmembers for IMG PHS (Integrated Medical Group/Periodic Health Status) evaluation as part of the "PHS/Without Blood Labs" exam, also conducted today. The analysis uses the sophisticated in-vitro diagnostic apparatus Urolux developed originally by Boehringer (Mannheim/Germany) for the Mir program. Afterwards, the data are entered in the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer)’s /special IFEP software (In-Flight Examination Program).]

At ~4:05pm EDT, Williams is scheduled for the periodic VHF-1 emergency communications proficiency check of the Russian RTK VHF (Very High Frequency) radio over NASA’s VHF stations, today with the VHF site at DRY/Dryden (4:05:21pm-4:11:36pm), WHI/White Sands (4:05:25pm-4:13:54pm) & WAL/Wallops (4:12:22pm-4:19:40pm) for a voice check with Houston/Capcom, MSFC/PAYCOM (Payload Operation & Integration Center Communicator), Moscow/GLAVNI (TsUP Capcom), EUROCOM/Munich and JCOM/Tsukuba in the normal fashion via VHF radio from a handheld microphone and any of the USOS ATUs (Audio Terminal Units). [Purpose of the test is to verify signal reception and link integrity, improve crew proficiency, and ensure minimum required link margin during emergency (no TDRS) and special events (such as a Soyuz relocation).]

Before Presleep (~3:40pm), Sunita will power up the MPC (Multi-Protocol Converter) 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, Suni 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 ~7:00am EDT, Aki Hoshide powered up the SM's amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and conducted a ham radio session with students at Meikei High School, Tsukuba, Japan.

At ~10:00am, Yuri Malenchenko used the SM's amateur radio station to conduct a ham radio session with students and faculty at the Kiev College of Communication.

At ~3:30pm, FE-4 Malenchenko is scheduled for his regular weekly PMC (Private Medical Conference), via S- & Ku-band audio/video.

The crew worked out on the CEVIS cycle ergometer with vibration isolation (FE-6), TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation & stabilization (FE-4/2x), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (FE-6), and T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (CDR). [CDR & FE-6 are on the special experimental SPRINT protocol which diverts from the regular 2.5 hrs per day exercise regime and introduces special daily sessions involving resistive and aerobic (interval & continuous) exercise, followed by a USND (Ultrasound) leg muscle self scan in COL. No exercise is being timelined for Suni on Friday, for Aki on Thursday. If any day is not completed, Suni & Aki pick up where they left off, i.e., they would be finishing out the week with the last day of exercise on her off day. Suni’s protocol for today showed T2 (int., 30 sec.), with ARED/CEVIS (VO2max), and T2 (int., 4 min.) for the next 2 days. Aki’s protocol for today showed ARED/CEVIS (VO2max), with T2 (int., 4 min.) tomorrow.]

Tasks listed for FE-4 Malenchenko on the Russian discretionary “time permitting” job for today were –
  • 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),
  • 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
  • A ~30-min. run of the GFI-8 "Uragan" (hurricane) earth-imaging program with the NIKON D3X digital camera with Sigma AF 300-800mm telelens and PI emission platform using the SKPF-U (Photo Image Coordinate Reference System) to record target sites on the Earth surface.

Conjunction Alert: Flight Controllers are tracking a conjunction with Object 19581 (Thorad Agena D Debris) with multiple TCAs tomorrow, 10/24. PCs (Probabilities of Collision) are currently low enough to stand down from DAM (Debris Avoidance Maneuver) planning.

Debris Cloud Monitoring: As reported by the IMMT (ISS Mission Management Team), a rocket booster’s 2nd stage that had been on orbit for several months fragmented into numerous pieces last week. Data collected to date show that there is a debris cloud on orbit, believed not to be insignificant. It is being tracked and monitored carefully for any potential impacts to ISS or Soyuz.

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 10:04am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 413.8 km
Apogee height – 425.2 km
Perigee height – 402.5 km
Period -- 92.84 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.65 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0016672
Solar Beta Angle -- -9.8 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.51
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 154 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 79,796
Time in orbit (station) -- 5086 days
Time in orbit (crews, cum.) -- 4373 days.

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
-------------- Inc-33: Three-crew operations -------------
10/25/12 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/32S docking – (K.Ford (CDR-34)/O.Novitsky/E.Tarelkin; ~8:47am EDT)
-------------- Inc-33: Six-crew operations -------------
10/28/12 -- SpX-1 Dragon SSRMS release (~9:08am, de-orbit 10/28 2:28pm, splashdown ~3:20pm)
10/31/12 -- Progress M-17M/49P launch (3:41am EDT)
10/31/12 -- Progress M-17M/49P docking (~9:40am EDT)
11/01/12 -- US EVA-20
11/19/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/31S undock/landing (End of Increment 33)
-------------- Inc-34: 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
-------------- Inc-34: Six-crew operations -------------
02/11/13 -- Progress M-16M/48P undocking
02/12/13 -- Progress M-18M/50P launch
02/14/13 -- Progress M-18M/50P docking
03/15/13 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/32S undock/landing (End of Increment 34)
-------------- Inc-35: 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
04/23/13 -- Progress M-18M/50P undock/landing
-------------- Inc-35: Six-crew operations -------------
05/16/13 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/33S undock/landing (End of Increment 35)
-------------- Inc-36: 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
-------------- Inc-36: Six-crew operations -------------
09/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-08M/34S undock/landing (End of Increment 36)
-------------- Inc-37: 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
-------------- Inc-37: Six-crew operations -------------
11/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-09M/35S undock/landing (End of Increment 37)
-------------- Inc-38: 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
-------------- Inc-38: Six-crew operations -------------
03/xx/14 -- Soyuz TMA-10M/36S undock/landing (End of Increment 38)
-------------- Inc-39: Three-crew operations -------------