October 18, 2009
ISS On-Orbit Status 10/18/09

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Sunday – Ahead: Week 2 of Increment 21.

Crew sleep cycle adjustment calls fort a work-free day today:
  • Sleep this morning at 9:00am EDT
  • Wake tomorrow morning at 2:00am.

Yest kasaniye! At 9:40pm EDT, Progress M-03 (35P) docked successfully to the DC-1 (Docking Module) 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 ~10:01pm. Control authority returned to US Momentum Management at ~10:50pm. Russian thrusters were disable temporarily during clamps install and leak check.

For monitoring 35P rendezvous & docking, FE-1 Suraev & FE-3 Romanenko activated the FGB-based A31p SSC (Station Support Computer) laptop for the TV conversion to NTSC and Ku-band of the RS (Russian Segment) video signal from the SONY HDV camera via the MPEG-2 (Moving Pictures Expert Group 2) encoder from FGB & SM, in order to downlink “streaming video” packets via U.S. OpsLAN and Ku-band.

After the cargo ship’s successful docking, activities by Maxim Suraev & Roman Romanenko included –
  • Shutting off the TORU teleoperated rendezvous & docking system, used as manual standby, and reconfiguring the STTS telephone/telegraph subsystem to normal ops [the "Voskhod-M" STTS enables telephone communications between the SM, FGB, DC-1 and USOS, and also with users on the ground over VHF channels selected by an operator at an SM comm panel, via STTS antennas on the SM’s outside. There are six comm panels in the SM with pushbuttons for accessing any of three audio channels, plus an intercom channel. Other modes of the STTS include telegraphy (teletype), EVA voice, emergency alarms, Packet/Email, and TORU docking support];
  • Conducting the standard one-hour leak checking of the docking vestibule and fuel/oxidizer transfer line interface between Progress and DC-1;
  • Opening the hatches (~1:20am) and installing the QD (quick disconnect) screw clamps (BZV) of the docking & internal transfer mechanism (SSVP) to rigidize the coupling;
  • Performing the standard air sampling inside Progress with the Russian AK-1M air sampler;
  • Taking two photos of the internal part of the DC-1 nadir port’s SSVP-StM docking cone to obtain digital imagery of the scratch or scuff mark left by the head of the active docking probe on the internal surface of the passive drogue (docking cone) ring, now rotated out of the passageway and the hatch closed down;
  • Powering down the spacecraft and installing the ventilation/heating air duct (~2:30am);
  • Dismantling & removing (with Frank) the video/MPEG equipment for the TV Ku-band downlink of the docking;
  • Dismantling the docking mechanism (StM, Stykovochnovo mekhanizma) between the cargo ship and the DC-1 (~2:35am-3:35am) [the StM is the "classic" probe-and-cone type, consisting of an active docking assembly (ASA) with a probe (SSh), which fits into the cone (SK) on the passive docking assembly (PSA) for initial soft dock and subsequent retraction to hard dock. The ASA is mounted on the Progress' cargo module (GrO), while the PSA sits on the docking ports of the SM, FGB and DC-1], and
  • Transferring two Russian high priority payloads to the ISS and setting them up in the SM,- the BTKh-42 Struktura (Structure) with its Luch-2 kit, and the TKhN-9 Kristallizator (Crystallizer).

After wakeup last evening (~5:30pm) and before sleeptime this morning (~9:00am) –

FE-4 Thirsk supported once again the weekly U.S. “Bisphosphonates” biomedical countermeasures experiment, ingesting an Alendronate pill before breakfast. [The Bisphosphonates study should determine whether antiresorptive agents (that help reduce bone loss) in conjunction with the routine in-flight exercise program will protect ISS crewmembers from the regional decreases in bone mineral density documented on previous ISS missions. Two dosing regimens are being tested: (1) an oral dose of 70 mg of Alendronate taken weekly starting 3 weeks prior to flight and then throughout the flight and (2) an intravenous (IV) dose of 4 mg Zoledronic Acid, administered just once approximately 45 days before flight. The rationale for including both Alendronate and Zoledronic Acid is that two dosing options will maximize crew participation, increase the countermeasure options available to flight surgeons, increase scientific opportunities, and minimize the effects of operational and logistical constraints. The primary measurement objective is to obtain preflight and postflight QCT (Quantitative Computed Tomography) scans of the hip. The QCT scans will provide volumetric bone density information of both cortical and trabecular (spongy) bone regions of the hip.]

Bob, Jeff & Frank filled out their 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.]

Jeff Williams had Day 4 of the sleep shift sequence for the Reaction Self Test (Psychomotor Vigilance Self Test on the ISS), which is performed 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 the sleep shift.

De Winne, Stott, Thirsk & Williams took the periodic O-OHA (On-Orbit Hearing Assessment) test, a 30-min NASA environmental health systems examination to assess the efficacy of acoustic countermeasures, using a special software application on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) laptop. [The O-OHA audiography test involves minimum audibility measurements for each ear over a wide range of frequencies (0.25-10 kHz) and sound pressure levels, with the crewmembers using individual-specific Prophonics earphones, new Bose ANC headsets (delivered on 30P) and the SLM (sound level meter). To conduct the testing, the experimenter is supported by special EarQ software on the MEC, featuring an up/down-arrow-operated slider for each test frequency that the crewmember moves to the lowest sound pressure level at which the tone can still be heard. The baseline test is required not later than about Flight Day 14 for each new Expedition and is then generally performed once per month. Note: There have been temporary hearing deficits documented on some U.S. and Russian crewmembers, all of which recovered to pre-mission levels.]

FE-2 Stott & CDR De Winne completed a 90-min OBT (Onboard Training) review of data & procedures for HTV (H-II Transfer Vehicle) unberthing & release next week (10/30). [This morning’s (3:30am) review, the first of a series of OBTs prepared by ground teams for the HTV departure, was to familiarize Nicole & Frank with the latest version of the departure monitoring procedures and RWS (Robotic Workstation) overlay data. After the HTV has been unberthed and backed away with the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System), it must be reactivated within 90 seconds after release from the SSRMS (snares open). Failure to do so could lead to an HTV abort. ISS thrusters are inhibited prior to HTV release to provide lower ISS attitude rates and a more stable release. HTV release is scheduled for 12:05pm on 10/30, HTV thruster activation (HCP retreat command) at 12:05:30pm, followed by four flightpath control maneuvers.]

Nicole worked in the US Lab on the FIR (Fluids Integrated Rack), removing the upper & lower rack door launch hardware and engaging pins to lock the Optics Bench in place. [FIR is a complementary fluid physics research facility designed to host investigations in areas such as colloids, gels, bubbles, wetting and capillary action, and phase changes including, boiling and cooling.]

In the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), Williams undertook his first (FD15) ICV (Integrated Cardiovascular) Resting Echo session as Subject, assisted by Stott as CMO (Crew Medical Officer). [Wearing electrodes, ECG (Electrocardiograph) cable & VOX, Jeff underwent the ultrasound scan for the Resting Echo mode of ICV, with video being recorded from the HRF (Human Research Facility) Ultrasound and COL cabin camera. After confirmed file transfer, the gear was powered down and stowed.]

Jeff later downloaded his ICV Ambulatory Monitoring data from three Actiwatches and two HM2 (Holter Monitor 2) HiFi CF cards to the HRF (Human Research Facility) laptop.

CDR, FE-2, FE-4 & FE-5 had their weekly PFCs (Private Family Conferences), via S-band/audio and Ku-band/MS-NetMeeting application (which displays the uplinked ground video on an SSC laptop), Nicole at ~5:30pm, Bob at ~9:15pm and again at ~5:15am, Frank at ~7:00am, Jeff at ~8:15am.

At ~5:48pm last night, Williams powered up the SM's amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and at ~5:53pm conducted a ham radio session with JOTA (Jamboree On The Air) of Boy Scouts of America HQ in Irving, TX. [The JOTA is an annual event during which Scouts throughout the world meet each other through amateur radio contacts. JOTI (Jamboree On The Internet) is another event where Scouts make contacts using computers and the Internet. Thousands of amateur radio stations around the world participate.]

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

Afterwards, Frank De Winne transferred the exercise data files to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) 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).

No CEO (Crew Earth Observations) photo targets uplinked for today.

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 8:50am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude -- 344.5 km
Apogee height – 349.3 km
Perigee height – 339.6 km
Period -- 91.43 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.00018999
Solar Beta Angle -- -16.2 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.75
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 124 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 62538

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time, some changes possible!):
10/27/09 -- Ares I-X Flight Test
10/29/09 -- HTV1 hatch closing
10/30/09 -- HTV1 unberthing (12:05pm EDT)
11/04/09 -- HTV1 reentry (destructive)
11/10/09 -- 5R/MRM-2 (Russian Mini Research Module 2) launch 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