October 15, 2009
ISS On-Orbit Status 10/15/09

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

  • At Baikonur, the new cargo ship Progress M-03/35P was launched successfully last night at 9:14:37pm EDT on a Soyuz-U rocket. Ascent was nominal, and all spacecraft systems are nominal. Docking to the ISS at the DC1 (Docking Compartment) is planned for 10/17 (Saturday) at ~9:41pm. 35P carries about 2.4 tons of water, food, gases, propellants, consumables & scientific equipment.

Before breakfast & exercise, FE-1 Suraev, FE-2 Stott & FE-5 Williams each completed a 10-min session with the periodic Russian MedOps test "Hematokrit" (MO-10), which measures the red cell count of the blood, with one of them acting as CMO (Crew Medical Officer, Russian: “Examiner”). It was the first session for the three of them. [The blood samples were drawn from a finger with a perforator lancet, then centrifuged in two microcapillary tubes in the M-1100 kit's minicentrifuge, and its hematocrit value was read off the tubes with a magnifying glass. It is a well-known phenomenon of space flight that red blood cell count (normal range: 30-45%) tends to go down over time. After the exam, the data were saved in the IFEP software (In-Flight Examination Program) on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer).]

FE-4 Thirsk did Day 2 of his fourth ICV (Integrated Cardiovascular) Ambulatory Monitoring session. Upon reaching the midpoint, the FE-4 ended the Cardiopres/BP (blood pressure) data collection, changed out the HM2 (Holter Monitor 2) HiFi CF Card and AA Battery, and began the next 24-hour data collection, using the CEVIS cycle ergometer to meet the ICV heart rate requirement. [ICV activities consist of two separate but related parts over a one-week time period: an ultrasound echo scan & an ambulatory monitoring session. During the first 24 hrs (while all devices were worn), ten minutes of quiet, resting breathing are timelined to collect data for a specific analysis. The nominal exercise includes at least 10 minutes at a heart rate ≥120 bpm (beats per minute). After 24 hrs, the Cardiopres was doffed and the HM2 HiFi CF Card and AA Battery were changed out to allow continuation of the session for another 24 hours, with the Makita batteries switched as required. After data collection is complete, the Actiwatches and both HM2 HiFi CF Cards are downloaded to the HRF PC1, while Cardiopres data are downloaded to the EPM (European Physiology Module) Rack and transferred to the HRF PC1 via a USB key for downlink. The sessions are scheduled at or around FD14, FD30, FD75, FD135 and R-15 (there will be fewer sessions if mission duration is less than six months). The FD75 echo scan will include an exercise component with a second scan (subset of the first) completed within 5 minutes after the end of exercise. The primary objective of the accompanying CCISS (Cardiovascular Control on return from the ISS) experiment is to maximize the information about changes in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular function that might compromise the ability of astronauts to meet the challenge of return to an upright posture on Earth.]

For Jeff Williams, it was the first day of the sleep shift sequence for the Reaction Self Test (Psychomotor Vigilance Self Test on the ISS), which is performed twice daily for 3 days prior to the sleep shift, the day(s) of the sleep shift and 5 days following the sleep shift. [The experiment consists of a 5-min reaction time task that will allow the subject 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.]

The crew conducted their first joint fire drill/OBT (on-board training), a mandatory periodic one-hour exercise (including subsequent 15-min ground debrief conference) to practice initial crew actions in response to an onboard fire. [Primary goal of this Russian-led interactive exercise is to maintain crew skills in responding to a fire and to provide the station residents with the most realistic emergency training possible. The drill is always conducted with the support of all MCCs (TsUP-Moscow, TsUP-Kazakhstan, MCC-Houston, COL-CC, SSIPC/Tsukuba) in close coordination. It should be performed every 2.5 months, but not later than 1 month prior to end of Increment. OBT objectives are to (a) practice fire response procedures (FRPs) and all incorporated actions for the case of a software-detected fire to locate, extinguish, and verify extinguishing attempts; (b) browse through RS laptop and the Signal-VM fire detection system displays as well as the automated software (algorithms) response to the fire event; (c) practice crew communication necessary to perform emergency FRPs; (d) ensure familiarization with support equipment (CSA-CP compound specific analyzer-combustion products, PBAs portable breathing assemblies, PFE/OSP-4 portable fire extinguishers, and IPK-1M gas masks to be used for fire suppression). These exercises do not actually use any fire equipment but simulate such actions with comm channels, PBAs, CSA-CP and laptop displays to the maximum extent possible. The Emergency Procedures OBT concluded with a 15-min. debrief with Russian/U.S. ground specialists at ~10:50am EDT via S-band.]

FE-1 Suraev set up the hardware of the GFI-1 “Relaksatsiya” (Relaxation) Earth Observation experiment at SM (Service Module) window #9, then launched the experiment and performed a measurement session. Afterwards, the experiment was closed out and the equipment torn down for stowage. [Using the GFI-1 UFKFialka” ultraviolet camera, SP spectrometer and VKJ camcorder, controlled from Laptop3, the activity dealt with observing and recording hyperspectral observations of the Earth atmosphere and surface. “Relaxation”, in Physics, is the transition of an atom or molecule from a higher energy level to a lower one, emitting radiative energy in the process as equilibrium is achieved.]

Later, Maxim configured the SONY HVR-Z1J video camcorder to record operation of the BTkh-43 KONSTANTA experiment with the Rekomb-K bioreactor, study #2. FE-3 Romanenko took still photography of Suraev running the activity. [Bioreactors are specialized hardware for growing, cells, tissues, and microorganisms.]

FE-2 Stott had 2.5 hrs reserved for conducting the periodic inspection & audit of PEPS (Portable Emergency Provisions) on board, checking PFEs (Portable Fire Extinguishers, PBAs (Portable Breathing Apparatus) and EHTKs (Extension Hose Tee Kits) and QDMA (Quick-Don Mask Assembly) harnesses. [PFEs: 2 in Node-1, 1 in A/L, 2 in Lab,1 in Node-2, 2 in JPM, 2 in COL, 1 in HTV. PBA O2 Bottles: 1 in Node-1, 2 in A/L, 2 in Lab, 2 in Node-2, 2 in JPM, 2 in COL, 1 in HTV. QDMAs: 1 in Node-1, 5 in A/L, 2 in Lab, 2 in Node-2, 2 in JPM, 2 in COL, 1 in HTV. EHTKs: 1 in Node-1, 2 in Lab, 2 in Node-2.]

After yesterday’s transfer of the JRSR2 (JEM Resupply Stowage Rack 2) from the HTV (H-IIB Transfer Vehicle) to the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), today the excessed CHeCS (Crew Health Care Systems) Rack took the reverse tour, removed by Nicole & Jeff in JPM (loc. A5) and packed in the HTV (loc. F1) for disposal. The activity was recorded by video and still imagery. [The CHeCS rack was moved on 8/13 from its original place in the US Lab temporarily to the JPM to make room in the Lab.]

Roman Romanenko set up the hardware for the Russian MBI-21 PNEVMOKARD experiment (run yesterday by Max), then conducted the 1h15m session, his fifth, which forbids moving or talking during data recording. The experiment is controlled from the RSE-med A31p laptop, equipped with new software, and uses the TENZOPLUS sphygmomanometer to measure arterial blood pressure. The experiment, supported by ground specialist tagup, was then closed out and the test data downlinked via OCA. [PNEVMOKARD (Pneumocard) attempts to obtain new scientific information to refine the understanding about the mechanisms used by the cardiorespiratory system and the whole body organism to spaceflight conditions. By recording (on PCMCIA cards) the crewmember’s electrocardiogram, impedance cardiogram, low-frequency phonocardiogram (seismocardiogram), pneumotachogram (using nose temperature sensors), and finger photoplethismogram, the experiment supports integrated studies of (1) the cardiovascular system and its adaptation mechanisms in various phases of a long-duration mission, (2) the synchronization of heart activity and breathing factors, as well as the cardiorespiratory system control processes based on the variability rate of physiological parameters, and (3) the interconnection between the cardiorespiratory system during a long-duration mission and the tolerance of orthostatic & physical activities at the beginning of readaptation for predicting possible reactions of the crewmembers organism during the their return to ground.]

In preparation for the arrival of Progress 35P on Saturday, CDR De Winne worked with Romanenko to configure & test the TV downlink from the Soyuz TMA-15/19S and SM over the MPEG-2 (Moving Pictures Expert Group 2) encoder via U.S. OpsLAN and Ku-/band in “streaming video” packets. [The setup involves the designated A31p laptop at the Lab RWS (Robotic Workstation) for converting analog-to-digital video, the video connection from the SONY HVR-Z1J digital high-definition camcorder and the ZVK LIV Experimental Video Complex in the SM over the MPEG-2 encoder. After the test, with the RSCE PingMaster application, Frank deactivated the A31p again. The KL-211 MPEG-2 Encoder uses the RSS1 A31p laptop (for monitoring the digital video) and a U.S. SSC (Station Support Computer) A31p laptop (for converting analog TV from Russian PAL mode to U.S. NTSC). The video hardware connection is checked with a network ping test. The digital video transmission is carried over JSL(Joint Station LAN)/Ethernet plus OCA/Ku-Band to MCC-Houston and from there to Moscow via the ESA Gateway for COL-CC/Oberpfaffenhofen transmission to TsUP-Moscow, plus transfer of the USOS analog video of the RS ISS video downlink via Streambox 2 to NISN (i.e., the Moscow Ostankino communication hub).]

CDR De Winne performed a 2-hr repair job on the MELFI-2 (Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS 2), attempting to replace its EU (Electronics Unit) with a new spare. [On 10/12, MELFI-2 had suffered an anomaly which resulted in shutdown of the Brayton motor. All indications pointed to the motor driver electronics. MELFI-2 is needed 3½ weeks before ULF3 to provide ice bricks for sample return. During today’s attempt to replace the EU, a QD (quick disconnect) did not seal properly, spilling about half a gallon of ITCS (Internal Thermal Control System) coolant fluid (~19% of an ITCS accumulator). The crew isolated the leak and wiped up the coolant. ITCS is stable and is providing cooling to all loads. Forward work will include further QD troubleshooting & reconnection, completion of the EU R&R, MELFI-2 reactivation, and ITCS reconfiguration with return to Single LTL (Low Temperature Loop) configuration.]

After getting a spare H2 (hydrogen) sensor from stowage, Bob Thirsk worked on the OGS (Oxygen Generator System) in the Lap, removing & replacing the old H2 sensor. Frank De Winne later configured the sensor for operation and closed out the OGS.

In the JPM, the FE-4 collected corrosion-generated material from the manual TCA (Thermal Control Assembly) L gas-trap bypass valve for later analysis and cleaned/sealed the valve to prevent further corrosion.

Bob also unpacked bacteria/charcoal filters in the HTV, transferred 5 of them to the JAXA JLP (JEM Logistics Pressurized Segment) for stowage and used the others for R&R (removal & replacement) of the bacterial filters in the Node-1’s THC (Temperature & Humidity Control) system. The old filters were trashed in HTV.

Later, FE-4 completed the weekly 10-min. CWC (Contingency Water Container) inventory as part of 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. [The current card (20-0055V) lists 79 CWCs (~1,823.0 L total) for the four types of water identified on board: 1. technical water (66 CWCs with 1,438.8 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 225.9 L for flushing only due to Wautersia bacteria & 176.2 L in 4 clean bags for contingency use, 2. potable water (8 CWCs with 323.1 L, of which 194.8 L (5 bags) are currently off-limit pending ground analysis results), the remainder good for contingency use, 3. condensate water (3 CWCs, empty), 4. waste/EMU dump and other (2 CWCs with 61.1 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.]

FE-5 Williams completed the now regular transfer of pre-treated Russian urine directly from EDV-U container into the Lab UPA (Urine Processor Assembly) for processing, done each morning for about 5 minutes.

In the Kibo JPM module, the CDR copied the log file of the SLT (System Laptop Terminal) for subsequent troubleshooting.

Bob Thirsk set up, checked out and conducted his third test with the French/CNES neuroscientific research experiment “3D Space” (SAP) as Subject #5, while free-floating, using the ESA Multipurpose Laptop with a prepared HDD (Hard Disk Drive), data storage on a PCMCIA memory card, and an electronic pen table connected to it. [3D Space, which involves distance, writing and illusion exercises, is designed to test the hypothesis that altered visual perception affects motor control. To do this, the subject is asked to reproduce shapes or text on an electronic pen pad (Wacom Intuos3 A4). The test person is asked to reproduce shapes or text on the pen tablet which allows researchers to record and analyze the reactions both on earth and in space.]

The regular crew support of the MDS (Mice Drawer System) facility was performed today by Thirsk who replaced the exhausted FEV food envelopes for the three remaining live mice, in cages 1, 2, and 5, with new ones and placing the old FEVs in a containment bag for stowage. [The three dead mice are kept in cold storage in MELFI-1.]

FE-2 Stott had time set aside for filling out her regular weekly FFQs (Food Frequency Questionnaires) on the MEC. [On the FFQs, NASA astronauts keep a personalized log of their nutritional intake over time on special MEC software. Recorded are the amounts consumed during the past week of such food items as beverages, cereals, grains, eggs, breads, snacks, sweets, fruit, beans, soup, vegetables, dairy, fish, meat, chicken, sauces & spreads, and vitamins. The FFQ is performed once a week to estimate nutrient intake from the previous week and to give recommendations to ground specialists that help maintain optimal crew health. Weekly estimation has been verified to be reliable enough that nutrients do not need to be tracked daily.]

The FE-3 performed the periodic switch of the Russian Regul/Paket email (radiogram) channel from the primary string to String 2.

Romanenko also set up & conducted a sun-glint observation session with the Russian DZZ-12 RUSALKA (“Mermaid”) experiment, using the hand-held spectrometer (without the TIUS three-stage rate sensor) from SM window #9 and later downlinking data. [RUSALKA is a micro spectrometer for collecting detailed information on observed spectral radiance in the near IR (Infrared) waveband for measurement of greenhouse gas concentrations in the Earth atmosphere. RUSALKA ops involve calibration and tests of research equipment relating to the Sun and the Earth's limb at sunset (atmosphere lighted). Being tested are the procedure for remote determination of Methane (CH4) & Carbon Dioxide (CO2) content in the atmosphere (in the First Phase), measurement of CH4 & CO2 content in the atmosphere and reception of data on NI2 and NI4 content over the territories subjected to natural and technogenic effects, reception of sufficient data on seasonal dependencies of tropospheric parameters being studied (in the Second Phase). Equipment used: RUSALKA monoblock, Nikon D2X(s) digital photo camera; AF VR Nikkor ED 80-400f/4.5-5.6D lens with ultraviolet filter, bracket for attachment to the window, and RUSALKA-Accessories set. Support hardware: Device TIUS DKShG/PNSK, Laptop RSK1, and Software Package loading disk.]

Jeff Williams & Max Suraev each had an hour to themselves again for general orientation (station familiarization & acclimatization) as is standard daily rule for fresh crewmembers for the first two weeks after starting residence, if they choose to take it.

Continuing ACO (Activation & Checkout) activities on the COLBERT T2 treadmill, CDR De Winne conducted a high-speed short-duration test of the exercise device.

Romanenko did 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).

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

The crew completed their regular daily 2.5-hr. physical workout program on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (FE-2, FE-4), TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation (CDR, FE-1, FE-3, FE-5), ARED advanced resistive exerciser (CDR, FE-2, FE-3, FE-4, FE-5) and VELO cycle ergometer with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1).

Jeff later transferred the exercise data files to the MEC for downlink.

At ~12:25pm, Frank powered up the SM's amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and at ~12:30pm conducted a ham radio session with students at the UNICEF Hands Washing Day for the Catholic School in the city Gao, chief city of the administrative Region of the Republic of Mali in Western Africa. [The Gao Region is in Northern Mali, as are Tombouctou and Kidal. Population is mainly Sonrhaï, Peulh, Bozo, Touareg and Arabs. Predominant religion is Islam. The Hands Washing Day is coordinated by UNICEF-Mali with the Ministry of Education and support from UNICEF Belgium. The school, founded in September 1952, is open to children from six to eighteen years old, without racial or religious discrimination. It has a computer room, a library, a conference room, a basketball ground and a green playground. Since 2008, the school participates to the UNICEF educational programme for hygiene at school. In school year 2008-2009, there are 1088 pupils, 500 girls and 588 boys, in 18 classes tended by 24 male and 3 female teachers.]

At ~4:05am EDT, the crew held the regular (nominally weekly) tagup with the Russian Flight Control Team (GOGU), including Shift Flight Director (SRP), at TsUP via S-band/audio, phone-patched from Houston and Moscow.

At ~4:20am, Roman & Max 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.

At ~1:45pm, Frank De Winne participated in a major PAO TV event set up by ESA and the German DLR at the famous Charité Clinic in Berlin/Germany. With Astronaut Thomas Reiter as moderator, VIPs in attendance were Germany’s Minister of Economics & Technology Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director of Human Spaceflight Simonetta Di Pippo, the CEO of the Charité Karl Max Einhäupl, and the President of the University of Paris-Descartes Axel Kahn. [Subject of the interchange centered on medical research on ISS, specifically on Columbus. Example: “The Charité has four campuses on ground and the ISS is our fifth campus. The Charité has already conducted three experiments on ISS. The hardware was funded by the German Ministry of Economics & Technology via the German Aerospace Center DLR. We also lead the science team. Can you explain the hardware developed?”]

At ~3:30pm, the ISS crew is scheduled for their regular weekly tagup with the Lead Flight Director at JSC/MCC-H via S-band/audio. [S/G-2 (Space-to-Ground 2) phone patch via SSC (Station Support Computer).]

CEO (Crew Earth Observations) photo targets uplinked for today were Lake Eyre, Australia (CEO observers do not often get a chance to have imagery taken of Lake Eyre. For this pass they wanted the crew to document the water levels, which imagery from last May shows it nearly full. Water levels in this basin do fluctuate significantly with seasonal rainfall. Looking slightly right of track), Hyderabad, India (overlapping mapping frames, taken along-track, were requested as ISS approached, passed over, and then departed the metropolitan area. This will provide a rural-urban-rural transect useful for tracking land use/land cover change), B.P. Structure, Impact Crater, Libya (the B.P. Structure is the first impact crater the ISS crossed at this time. It is small and it is a very challenging target. The crater is 2 km in diameter [similar in diameter to Meteor Crater in Arizona] and its age has been dated at less than 120 million years. The crater should have been close to right of track. Mapping pass was requested), Oasis Impact Crater, Libya (Oasis impact crater is larger than B.P. [18 km in diameter] and probably a little easier to recognize. The age has been dated as less than 120 million years. Mapping pass along the orbit track was requested), Northern Isle of France, Mauritius (Beagle Site. Charles Darwin landed on the northern portion of what is now known as the island of Mauritius. The island is also famous as the home of the dodo, a large flightless bird driven to extinction - directly or indirectly - by humans during the 17th century. Looking to the right of track for the island; overlapping frames of the island were requested), and Megafans, South West Algeria (good analogs for Mars features lie well right of track. The crew was to shoot a mapping pass of this flat, apparently featureless country for about 60 seconds).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 7:27am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude -- 344.9 km
Apogee height – 350.0 km
Perigee height – 339.7 km
Period -- 91.43 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0007654
Solar Beta Angle -- -29.6 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.75
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 20 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 62490

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
10/17/09 -- Progress M-03/35P docking (DC-1, ~9:41pm)
10/27/09 -- Ares I-X Flight Test
10/29/09 -- HTV1 hatch closing
10/30/09 -- HTV1 unberthing
11/04/09 -- HTV1 reentry (destructive)
11/10/09 -- 5R/MRM-2 (Russian Mini Research Module 2) on Soyuz-U
11/12/09 -- 5R/MRM-2 docking (SM zenith)
11/12/09 -- STS-129/Atlantis/ULF3 launch (ELC1, ELC2)
12/01/09 – Soyuz TMA-15/19S undock
12/21/09 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S launch -- O. Kotov/S. Noguchi/T.J. Creamer
12/23/09 -- Soyuz TMA-17/21S (FGB nadir)
01/??/10 -- Soyuz 20S relocation (from SM aft to MRM-2)
02/03/10 -- Progress M-04/36P launch
02/04/10 -- STS-130/Endeavour/20A – Node-3 + Cupola
02/05/10 -- Progress M-04/36P docking
03/18/10 -- STS-131/Discovery/19A – MPLM(P), LMC
04/02/10 -- Soyuz TMA-18/22S launch
04/28/10 -- Progress 37P launch
05/14/10 -- STS-132/Atlantis/ULF4 – ICC-VLD, MRM-1
05/30/10 -- Soyuz TMA-19/23S launch
06/30/10 -- Progress 38P launch
07/27/10 -- Progress 39P launch
07/29/10 -- STS-134/Endeavour (ULF6 – ELC3, AMS-02)
08/31/10 -- Progress 40P launch
09/16/10 -- STS-133/Discovery (ULF5 – ELC4, PLM)
09/30/10 -- Soyuz TMA-20/24S launch
10/27/10 -- Progress 41P launch
11/30/10 -- Soyuz TMA-21/25S launch
02/09/11 -- Progress 42P launch
03/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-22/26S launch
xx/xx/11 -- Progress 43P launch
05/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-23/27S launch
12/??/11 -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – on Proton