October 30, 2009
ISS On-Orbit Status 10/30/09

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

Sayonara, HTV! The Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle was successfully unberthed at 11:18am EDT and released from the Canadian robot arm at 1:32pm. Deorbit burn: 2:11pm.

FE-1 Suraev did the regular daily early-morning check of the new aerosol filters at the Russian Elektron O2 generator which he installed on 10/19 in gaps between the BZh Liquid Unit and the oxygen outlet pipe (filter FA-K) plus hydrogen outlet pipe (filter FA-V). [FE-1 again inspects the filters tonight at bedtime, currently a daily requirement per plan, with photographs to be taken if the filter packing is discolored.]

CDR De Winne, FE-2 Stott, FE-4 Thirsk & FE-5 Williams continued their current week-long session of the experiment SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight), wearing their Actiwatches, from which to log data to the HRF-1 (Human Research Facility 1) laptop. [To monitor the crewmembers’ sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, the crewmembers sometimes wear a special Actiwatch device which measures the light levels encountered by them as well as their patterns of sleep and activity throughout the Expedition and use the payload software for data logging and filling in questionnaire entries in the experiment’s laptop session file on the HRF-1 laptop. The log entries are done within 15 minutes of final awakening for seven consecutive days.]

FE-5 Williams began Day 1 of his second session (FD30) with the NASA/JSC experiment NUTRITION w/Repository, focusing on the blood draw. Bob Thirsk assisted with the phlebotomy from an arm vein. Later, Jeff set up the equipment for his 24-hour urine collections of the NUTRITION protocol which begin tomorrow. [After the phlebotomy, Jeff’s samples were first allowed to coagulate in the Repository for 20-30 minutes, then spun in the HRF RC (Human Research Facility/Refrigerated Centrifuge) and finally placed in MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS). No thruster activity was allowed during the blood drawing. The RC was later powered off after a temperature reset to limit wear on the compressor, and cleaned. The NUTRITION project is the most comprehensive in-flight study done by NASA to date of human physiologic changes during long-duration space flight. It includes measures of bone metabolism, oxidative damage, nutritional assessments, and hormonal changes, expanding the previous Clinical Nutritional Assessment profile (MR016L) testing in three ways: Addition of in-flight blood & urine collection (made possible by supercold MELFI dewars), normative markers of nutritional assessment, and a return session plus 30-day (R+30) session to allow evaluation of post-flight nutrition and implications for rehabilitation.]

FE-3 Romanenko conducted an extensive inspection/audit of the SUBA SD lighting fixture in the RS (Russian Segment), to assess the situation for planning delivery of replacement lights and to update the IMS (Inventory Management System) on the ground. [Roman checked the conditions of all lights and filled out log sheets with data on serial numbers of installed & spare light units, power supplies and light assemblies. The resulting data file was to be downlinked to TsUP-Moscow via OCA.]

Afterwards, Romanenko worked in the SM (Service Module) on the KURS-P system, connecting LF & RF cables to switch it over to support docking operations at the zenith port of the SM. [The zenith port on the +Y axis (= RS notation; -Z in ISS notation) will be used for the docking of the MRM2 (Mini-Research Module 2) on 11/12 (to be launched on 11/10 on a Soyuz-U as 5R). MRM2, a twin of the DC1 Docking Compartment, will provide the 4th Russian docking port, serves as Russian airlock and will also accommodate payloads for scientific research.]

At ~3:30pm, FE-1 Suraev will again support the ground-commanded activation of the Elektron oxygen generator at 24 amps by monitoring the external temperature of its secondary purification unit (BD) for the first 10 minutes of operations to ensure that there was no overheating. [The gas analyzer used on the Elektron during nominal operations for detecting hydrogen (H2) in the O2 line (which could cause overheating) is not included in the control algorithm until 10 minutes after Elektron startup. Elektron has been turned off for Romanenko’s work on the KURS-P system, since the BITS2-12 onboard telemetry measurement system and VD-SU control system mode, required for Elektron operation, have been deactivated for this activity.]

The FE-1 terminated the recharge of the DZZ-13 battery, initiated yesterday, and later conducted another sun-glint observation session with the new Russian science hardware DZZ-13 RUSALKA (“Mermaid”) experiment, using the hand-held spectrometer (without use of the TIUS three-stage rate sensor) from SM window #9 and later downlinking data. [RUSALKA ops involve calibration and tests of research equipment relating to the Sun and the Earth's limb at sunset (atmosphere lighted). To be 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.]

Suraev also undertook another downlink activity of the regular data files from the BU (Control Unit) of the running BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("Plants-2") experiment in the SM, archiving them on a PCMCIA memory card (a ~5-hr activity), and downlinking pictures of the experiment setup. [Rasteniya-2, set up on 10/29 with a new batch of seeds, researches growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in the LADA-16 greenhouse from IBMP (Institute of Bio-Medical Problems, Russian: IMBP), currently planted with Mizuna seeds. Mizuna (Brassica rapa nipposinica) is a tasty variety of Japanese mustard greens, also known as California Peppergrass, eaten as a salad.]

Roman Romanenko completed his second orthostatic hemodynamic endurance test session with the Russian Chibis suit in preparation for his return to gravity on 12/1 with Soyuz 19S (along with De Winne & Thirsk), conducting the MedOps MO-4 exercise protocol in the below-the-waist reduced-pressure device (ODNT, US: LBNP/Lower Body Negative Pressure) on the TVIS treadmill. With Suraev acting as CMO (Crew Medical Officer), Roman was supported in his one-hour session by ground specialist tagup via VHF at 1:01pm EDT. [The Chibis provides gravity-simulating stress to the body’s cardiovascular/circulatory system for evaluation of Romanenko’s orthostatic tolerance (e.g., the Gauer-Henry reflex) after his long-term stay in zero-G. Data output includes blood pressure readings.]

In the FGB (Funktsionalnyi-Grusovoi Blok), the FE-3 replaced the VT1 fan of the ventilation system with a spare unit.

FE-4 Thirsk repaired the Scopemeter on the ISA (Internal Sampling Adapter) by demating its pressure probe from the ISA and replacing it with a different probe. [The pressure probe had shown incorrect (biased) data.]

FE-5 Williams removed the mostly full EDV-U urine container (#905) from the US WHC (Waste & Hygiene Compartment, rendering it temporarily out of service until EDV-U replacement), then used it to fill the newly installed UPA RFTA (Urine Processor Assembly / Recycle Filter Tank Assembly). The empty EDV-U was then returned to the WHC. [An attempt to perform a drydown of the DA (Distillation Assembly) was attempted this morning via ground commanding, preceded by system setup by the crew. The operation was unsuccessful. If UPA (Urine Processor Assembly) processing cannot be regained before the weekend ahead, a change-out of the EDV-U will be performed on Monday.]

The WHC was again temporarily out of service, when Bob Thirsk performed preventive maintenance in the WHC, removing the urine pretreat tank & tank hose and replacing them with new ones.

Jeff Williams also worked on the HRF (Human Research Facility) Rack 2, loading new software on its RIC (Rack Interface Controller) laptop by replacing its UltraBay hard drive and installing updated programs from a DVD. The task also involved some Ethernet cable reconfiguring. The loads on the RIC cards and software functionality were then verified and the IP address configured.

Afterwards, the FE-5 retrieved & stowed the four passive FMK (Formaldehyde Monitoring Kit) sampling assemblies deployed by CDR De Winne on 10/28 in the Lab (at P3, below CEVIS) and SM (at the most forward handrail, on panel 307), to catch any atmospheric formaldehyde on a collector substrate for subsequent analysis on the ground. [Two monitors each are usually attached side by side, preferably in an orientation with their faces perpendicular to the direction of air flow.]

After charging the battery of his camcorder, Maxim Suraev spent ~2 hrs shooting video footage for a “News from Zero Gravity” report from ISS for the Russian television channel “TV Tsentr”, using an uplinked script for the various scenes and narrations. [TV Tsentr is launching a new program on science and technology and one of the first episodes is to show a report from the ISS. The footage will be downlinked tomorrow (10/31) during RGS (Russian Ground Station) coverage. (“…Now you know how we live up here. The reality is that there is a lot of work in space. There are many scientific experiments and studies that we carry out for the benefit of all mankind. An example is the Rusalka experiment, in which carbon dioxide levels in our planet's atmosphere are accurately measured. In the Uragan experiment, we are working on a procedure and system for predicting the development of natural and man-made disasters. The Vaktsina experiment is to investigate prospective proteins for AIDS vaccines on Earth and in space. Soon, a new mini research module will be added to the ISS Russian segment, thus broadening and increasing the Russian science program. Don't forget, we are working up here for the good of our planet. Our fragile Earth. Good luck to you all….".)]

Maxim Suraev did the daily IMS 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).

Maxim also 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.]

FE-2 Stott conducted her regular support of the MDS (Mice Drawer System) facility by refilling its potable water supply and performing a visual inspection of cages 1, 2 & 5 and their live occupants.

FE-4 Thirsk did the regular checkup on the BCAT-5 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-5) experiment setup in the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), inspecting the homogenized Sample 6 for crystals and taking photographs. [This activity is performed daily during BCAT-5 operations to check for crystals, but it is not required after crystals have been found. The sample is being photographed using a DCS 760 digital camera & the EarthKAM software running on an SSC (Station Support Computer). Sample pictures are taken automatically with electronic flash every hour for 21 days, and the pictures are downlinked via OCA during nominal OCA downlink sessions.]

CDR De Winne completed the regular monthly session of the CHeCS (Crew Health Care Systems) emergency medical operations OBT (On-Board Training) drill, a 30-min. exercise to refresh his CMO acuity in a number of critical health areas. The video-based proficiency drill today focused on administration of intravenous (IV) fluid infusion. [The HMS (Health Maintenance Systems) hardware, including ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) equipment, may be used in contingency situations where crew life is at risk. To maintain proficiency, crewmembers spend one hour per month reviewing HMS and ACLS equipment and procedures via the HMS and ACLS CBT (computer-based training). The training drill, each crewmember for him/herself, refreshes their memory of the on-orbit stowage and deployment locations, equipment etc. and procedures.]

Frank also filled out the regular weekly FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire) on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer). [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.]

Nicole, Bob & Frank completed the final steps of preparing for HTV release by –
  • Disconnecting the remaining power jumper line,
  • Installing the HTV thermal cover & Node-2 nadir center disk cover,
  • Closing the Node-2 nadir hatch,
  • Depressurizing the vestibule & performing leak checks for 30 min,
  • Removing CBM (Common Berthing Mechanism) bolts and deploying latches,
  • Unberthing the HTV with the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) at 11:18am EDT,
  • Moving the HTV to the release position, and finally
  • Releasing it from the SSRMS at 1:32pm.

Afterwards, the crew monitored the departure of the cargo carrier (with IDM/ISS Departure Maneuver and DSM/Descending Maneuver at 2:01pm), loaded with 199 items of discarded equipment & waste, at a total contents mass of 727.7 kg. The actual deorbit burn occurred at 2:11pm.

Thirsk closed up by switching off the HTV HCP (Hardware Command Panel) & the PROX (Proximity Communication System) Rack power switch in the JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), and then removed the HCP QD (Quick Disconnect) connectors around the US Lab/Node-2 & Node-2/JPM hatches to enable quick hatch closure in a contingency.

At ~4:10am 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 ~5:55am, CDR De Winne held a tagup with the ESA staff at Col-CC (Columbus Control Center) at Oberpfaffenhofen/Germany. [This conference is scheduled once every week, between ISS crewmembers and Col-CC via S/G2 (Space-to-Ground 2) audio.]

At ~8:10am, Maxim 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 ~4:40pm, 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).]

At ~5:02pm Bob Thirsk will power up the SM's amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) and at 5:07pm conducted a ham radio session with students at David Thompson Middle School, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

For the fifth time, Nicole Stott donned the Glenn treadmill harness with installed transducer instrumentation, then activated the new harness for another individual exercise run on the TVIS treadmill. Afterwards, she downloaded the harness data and filled out a survey questionnaire to complete the SDTO (Station Development Test Objective).

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

Later, Williams transferred the exercise data files 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).

WRM Update: A new WRM (Water Recovery Management) “cue card” was uplinked last night to the crew for their reference, updated with yesterday’s CWC (Collapsible Water Container) water audit. [The new card (21-0028D) lists 78 CWCs (~1,772.3 L total) for the four types of water identified on board: 1. technical water (65 CWCs with 1,388.1 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 196.8 L for flushing only due to Wautersia bacteria & 134.2 L in 3 clean bags for contingency use, 2. potable water (8 CWCs with 323.1 L, of which 23.0 L (1 bag) are off-limit due to Wautersia) and 128.3 L (3 bags) 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.]

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Ice Berg B17b, Southeastern Indian Ocean (CEO staff has been receiving requests from the Center for Remote Sensing, Brigham Young University, for imagery from the ISS of selected ice bergs. Ice Berg B17b is located at 52.92 degrees South and 102.76 degrees East. Some breaks in the clouds were expected that might have given the crew the opportunity to identify and photograph this ice berg), Simon's Bay, Cape Point, S. Africa (HMS Beagle site. Looking left of track. CEO has received previous ISS imagery of this area and with a few 800 mm images will be able to remove it from the Beagle site list), Ubinas Volcano, Peru (looking right of track for this pass near Peru's most active volcano Ubinas; some clouds may have been present. The summit caldera contains an ash cone, and debris avalanche deposits extend 10 km from the SE flank of the volcano. Overlapping frames of the volcano summit and flanks were requested. Recommended was to commence photography as ISS crossed the Peruvian coastline and to terminate the Ubinas session as ISS approached Lake Titicaca as the best means of capturing the volcano. After review of previous imagery the CEO staff noted that the crew has obtained excellent views of several volcanoes, and also knows that it is difficult to distinguish specific volcanoes while the observer is moving along the orbit track), Lake Poopo, Bolivia (preliminary review of the most recent ISS/CEO imagery of Lake Poopo shows that the CEO staff would like to continue to ask for more detailed views of this target area. The lake was left of track. Lake levels in Poopo are generally affected by El Niño episodes with water levels declining during ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) events. CEO imagery will also add to existing time series imagery of the fluctuations of lake levels in Poopo. Overlapping imagery of the lake shore and lake was requested), Villarrica Volcano, Chile (ISS should have had a close to nadir pass over Villarrica volcano. The line of glacial lakes extending at right angles away from track is the visual cue, with Villarrica between two of these lakes. Shooting along the line of lakes to capture the target. Snow-covered Villarrica is one of Chile's most active volcanoes and one of only four worldwide known to have an active lava lake within its crater), and SW Glaciers of S. Patagonian Glacier Field (for this particular target site observers are interested in the smaller glaciers ranging from HPS10 south to Amalia. Documenting the individual glacier origin to the terminus).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 8:59am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 342.8 km
Apogee height – 346.9 km
Perigee height – 338.6 km
Period -- 91.39 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.000616
Solar Beta Angle -- 30.5 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.76
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 127 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 62727

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