May 12, 2009
ISS On-Orbit Status 05/12/09

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

Yest kasaniye! At 3:25pm EDT, Progress M-02M (33P) docked smoothly at the DC1 (Docking Compartment) nadir port under automatic KURS control, followed by a final DPO post-contact thrusting burn, docking probe retraction and hook closure (“sborka”) after motion damp-out while the ISS was in free drift for ~20 min. At “hooks closed” signal, the SM (Service Module) returned to active attitude control, maneuvering the ISS to LVLH TEA (local vertical/local horizontal Torque Equilibrium Attitude) at ~3:43pm. Control authority returned to US Momentum Management at ~4:30pm.

CDR Padalka began the day with the regular status check of the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("Plants-2") experiment which researches growth and development of plants (barley) under spaceflight conditions.

Afterwards, Padalka completed the periodic data collection on the BIO-5 experiment, copying data from its built-in control computer to a PCMCIA memory card for subsequent downlink to the ground via OCA. [Rasteniya-2 researches growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in the LADA-14 greenhouse from IBMP (Institute of Bio-Medical Problems, Russian: IMBP). The payload hardware includes a module (MIS/Module for the Investigation of Substrates), the MIS control unit (BU), a nitrogen purge unit (BPA) and other accessories. During its operation, the experiment requires regular daily maintenance of the experiment involving monitoring of seedling growth, humidity measurements, moistening of the substrate if necessary, and photo/video recording. LADA consists of a wall-mounted growth chamber that provides long-term, ready access for crewmember interaction. It provides light and root zone control but relies on the cabin environmental control systems for humidity, gas composition, and temperature control. Cabin air is pulled into the leaf chamber, flows over the plants and vents through the light bank to provide both plant gas exchange and light bank cooling.]

FE-2 Wakata started his workday in the ESA COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory) where he supported ground-commanded leak isolation and tightness testing on the BLB (BIOLAB) facility.

In the JAXA JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), Wakata then reoriented the FACET cell 2 in the SCOF (Solution Crystallization Observation Facility) for ground observation, photo documenting the final configuration inside the facility. [FACET is an investigation of the mechanism of faceted cellular array growth. In order to investigate the phenomena at the solid-liquid interface in facet growth, in-situ observation of concentration and temperature diffusion field with two wavelength interferometer are carried out using transparent organic materials under microgravity condition. Results can provide the useful data on the optimization of the crystal growth condition not only in space but also on earth.]

FE-1 Barratt successfully conducted the periodic WPA (Water Processor Assembly) sample analysis in the TOCA (Total Organic Carbon Analyzer), after first priming (filling) the TOCA water sample hose. After the approximately 2 hr TOCA analysis, results were transferred to SSC-7 (Station Support Computer 7) via USB drive for downlink, and the data were also logged for calldown. [The current procedure is a work-around for TOCA’s failed catalyst.]

Later, Barratt completed the regular service on the WPA (Water Processor Assembly), first offloading the WPA into one of the new CWC-I (Contingency Water Containers-Iodine, #1019) with the common H2O Transfer Hose (which took about 26 min) from the PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) Auxiliary Port, then flushing the system.

In the SM, CDR Padalka transitioned Russian computers to the new version of the US/RS (US/Russian Segment) common onboard LAN (Local Area Network) by upgrading them to BRI Smart Switch Router (SSR) software vers. 3.2 and US ER software vers. 2.8. [The upgrade, from the RSS1 laptop, replaced the BRI configuration file with vers. 3.2, updated the RSC-Energia PingMaster user table on all Russian network laptops (RSS1, RSS2 and RSK1), installed new automatic pinging software on RSS2 to ensure guaranteed automatic updates of the anti-virus database from MCC-Houston, and dumped the BRI log file from RSS1 for review.]

Continuing the extended leak integrity checking of the spare BZh Liquid Unit (#056) for the Elektron O2 generator, the CDR charged the unit once again with pressurized N2 from the BPA Nitrogen Purge Unit (#23) to 1 atm (1 kg/cm2). The last test pressurization test to monitor for leakage was on 4/5. [Objective of the monthly checkout of the BZh, which has been in stowage for about 2 years, is to check for leakage and good water passage through the feed line inside of the BZh (from ZL1 connector to the buffer tank) and to check the response of the Electronics Unit’s micro switches (signaling “Buffer Tank is Empty” & “Buffer Tank is Full”. During Elektron operation, the inert gas locked up in the BZh has the purpose to prevent dangerous O2/H2 mixing. A leaking BZh cannot be used.]

The FE-2 installed the new drivers for the EHS GC/DMS (Environmental Health System - Gas Chromatograph/Differential Mobility Spectrometer) in the SSC-4 laptop, then set up the AQM (Air Quality Monitor) in the Lab and started a sampling session from SSC-4. After a status check during the first sample run, Wakata terminated the session and powered down the AQM.

After conducting an introductory teleconference with the CIR (Combustion Integrated Rack) Payload Developer, Koichi worked on the CIR MDCA (Multi-user Drop Combustion Apparatus), removing and replacing one fuel reservoir, which required temporary opening the front end cap and removing the fuel supply bypass QD (Quick Disconnect). [Wakata’s job included isolating a suspected leaky QD on the MDCA supply hose, cycling the QD and inspecting other QDs for proper configuration.]

The FE-2 also opened the upper and lower doors of the FCF (Fluids & Combustion Facility) rack. Later in the day, the facility was reconfigured for remote control and the doors closed again.

Mike Barratt completed the daily procedure of flushing the PWD (Potable Water Dispenser) ambient line with ~50mL of water (into a towel/Ziploc bag). PWD water is currently cleared only for hygienic use. [The last PWD ambient line sample results showed 6 CFUs (Colony Forming Units) per mL (milliliter). The previous sample was 100 CFU per ml. Current results are indicative of the normal organism fluctuations anticipated by microbiologists. The next sampling is on 5/20.]

The FE-1 conducted a run with the MedOps experiment WinSCAT (Spaceflight Cognitive Assessment Tool for Windows), his second onboard session, by logging in on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) laptop and performing the psychological evaluation exercise on the PC-based WinSCAT application. [WinSCAT is a monthly time-constrained questionnaire test of cognitive abilities, routinely performed by astronauts aboard the ISS every 30 days before or after the PHS (periodic health status) test or on special CDR's, crewmembers or flight surgeons request. The test uses cognitive subtests that measure sustained concentration, verbal working memory, attention, short-term memory, spatial processing, and math skills. The five cognitive subtests are Coding Memory - Learning, Continuous Processing Task (CPT), Match to Sample, Mathematics, and Coding Delayed Recall. These WinSCAT subtests are the same as those used during NASA’s long-duration bed rest studies.]

Mike had time set aside for locating and gathering all necessary tools for the upcoming valve removal IFM (In-Flight Maintenance) on the UPA (Urine Processing Assembly).

Gennady collected the periodic readings of potentially harmful atmospheric contaminants in the SM, using the CMS (Countermeasure System), a component of the SKDS GANK-4M Real-Time Harmful Contaminant Gas Analyzer suite, today using preprogrammed microchips to measure for Ammonia (NH3) and Carbon Monoxide (CO).

Afterwards, the CDR performed regular maintenance work on the powered-down Russian SRVK-2M water condensate processor, removing & replacing its life-expired FGS gas-liquid mixture filter with a new one. The old unit was discarded and the IMS (Inventory Management System) updated.

Mike Barratt conducted another session with the BCAT-4 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-4) science payload. [Activities included setting up the video camcorder to record his activities, then checking for crystals in samples 8, 9, and 10, with crystal photography using MFAs (Multiple Flash Angles). Afterwards, sample 5 was initialized by mixing/homogenizing and photographed for test. Sample 5 will now run with automated EarthKAM photography for several days.]

CDR Padalka completed the periodic transfer of US condensate water from a CWC (Contingency Water Container, #1065) to the RS for the periodic (about twice a month) replenishing of the Elektron’s water supply for electrolysis, filling the designated KOV EDV container. Once filled, the EDV was connected to the BPK transfer pump for processing through the BKO. [The 40-minute procedure is specially designed to prevent air bubbles larger than ~10 mm from getting into the BZh Liquid Unit where they could cause Elektron shutdown.]

Gennady completed 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 and replacement of EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine containers.]

The CDR also conducted 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).

Wakata, Padalka and Barratt had their PMCs (Private Medical Conferences) via S- & Ku-band audio/video, Koichi at ~10:35am, Gennady at ~11:20am, Mike at ~12:20pm EDT.

The crew completed their regular daily 2.5-hr. physical workout program (about half of which is used for setup & post-exercise personal hygiene) on the TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-1, FE-2) and ARED advanced resistive exercise device (FE-1, FE-2) and VELO ergometer cycle with bungee cord load trainer (CDR).

Afterwards, the FE-1 downloaded the exercise data file to the MEC for downlink, including the daily wristband HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) data of the workouts on ARED, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).

The crew went through the usual preparations for the subsequent docking of the Progress 33P cargo ship, including –
· Testing of the RS video system, which uses the SONY HDV camera for transmitting over the MPEG-2 (Moving Pictures Expert Group 2) encoder from FGB & SM to downlink via U.S. OpsLAN and Ku-band in “streaming video” packets [deactivated and disassembled later in the day by Fincke],
· Configuring & activating the A31p SSC (Station Support Computer) laptop for the TV conversion to NTSC and Ku-band,
· Activating the video equipment for covering the Progress approach & docking at the DC1 Docking Compartment,
· Configuring the Russian STTS telephone/telegraph subsystem to docking ops and later restoring its normal settings,
· Powering down the amateur/ham radio equipment to prevent RF interference with Progress prox ops, and
· Monitoring approach and final docking of 33P from the SM.

Leak checking and hatch opening are scheduled first thing tomorrow morning.

WRM Update: A new WRM (Water Recovery Management) “cue card” was uplinked to the crew for their reference, updated with the latest CWC water audit. [The new card (19-0025E) lists 43 CWCs (~1,316.7 L total) for the four types of water identified on board: 1. technical water (29 CWCs with 888.6 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 203.5 L currently off-limits pending sample analysis on the ground & 685.1 L for flushing only due to Wautersia bacteria), 2. potable water (8 CWCs with 349.6 L, of which 221.3 L are currently off-limit pending ground analysis results), 3. condensate water (3 CWCs with 11.0 L), 4. waste/EMU dump and other (3 CWCs with 67.5 L). 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) photo targets uplinked for today were Patagonian Glaciers, South America (ISS passed over the southernmost ice fields of Patagonia. Overlapping, nadir viewing frames, taken along track were requested to capture imagery of both the larger valley glaciers and higher elevation icefields), Port Desire, Patagonia, Argentina (Beagle Site. Charles Darwin first visited this port in 1833. Context imagery taken to the left should have captured the port), and Cape Tres Montes, Chile (Beagle Site. Looking to the right of track as ISS approached the Chilean coastline for this point of land visited by Charles Darwin in 1834. Overlapping frames, taken along the coastline, should have captured the Cape).

CEO photography can be studied at this “Gateway” website:
http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov (as of 9/1/08, this database contained 770,668 views of the Earth from space, with 324,812 from the ISS alone).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 4:54am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude -- 351.1 km
Apogee height – 357.2 km
Perigee height -- 344.9 km
Period -- 91.56 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0009133
Solar Beta Angle -- 68.9 deg (magnitude peaking)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.73
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 48 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 60031

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
05/18/09 -- Progress M-01M/32P deorbit (~3:00pm EDT)
05/27/09 -- Soyuz TMA-15/19S launch
05/29/09 -- Soyuz TMA-15/19S docking (FGB nadir)
Six-person crew on ISS
06/05/09 -- Russian EVA-22
06/10/09 -- Russian EVA-23
06/13/09 -- STS-127/Endeavour/2J/A launch - JEM EF, ELM-ES, ICC-VLD
07/17/09 – Progress M-02M/33P undock & deorbit
07/20/09 -- Soyuz TMA-14/18S relocation (from SM aft to DC1)
07/24/09 -- Progress 34P launch
07/26/09 -- Progress 34P docking (SM aft)
08/06/09 -- STS-128/Discovery/17A – MPLM (P), LMC
09/01/09 -- H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) launch – tentative
09/07/09 -- H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) berth
09/30/09 -- Soyuz TMA-16/20S launch
10/02/09 -- Soyuz TMA-16/20S docking (SM aft, until MRM2 w/new port)
10/08/09 -- H-IIB (JAXA HTV-1) unberth
10/11/09 – Soyuz TMA-14/18S undock
10/15/09 -- Progress 35P launch
11/10/09 -- 5R/MRM2 (Russian Mini Research Module, MIM2) on Proton -- tentative
11/12/09 -- STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 - ELC1, ELC2
12/07/09 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S launch
12/26/09 -- Progress 36P launch
02/03/10 -- Progress 37P launch
02/??/10 -- STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola -- tentative
02/11/10 -- STS-131/Atlantis/19A – MPLM(P), LMC -- tentative
04/02/10 -- Soyuz TMA-18/22S launch
04/08/10 -- STS-132/Discovery/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM1 -- tentative
04/27/10 -- Progress 38P launch
05/29/10 -- Soyuz TMA-19/23S launch
05/31/10 -- STS-133/Endeavour/ULF5 – ELC3, ELC4 -- tentative
06/??/10 – ATV2 – Ariane 5 (ESA)
06/25/10 -- Progress 39P launch
08/11/10 -- Progress 40P launch
09/29/10 -- Soyuz TMA-20/24S launch
12/??/11 -- Proton 3R/MLM w/ERA.
10/19/10 -- Progress 41P launch
12/??/11 – 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – on Proton