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April 07, 2011
ISS On-Orbit Status 04/07/11

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Free day for the crew (sleep – 5:00am this morning, wake – 2:00am tomorrow, returning to regular).

Yest kasaniya! Soyuz TMA-21/26S (#231) “Yuri Gagarin” docked successfully last night at 7:09pm EDT at the MRM2 module, 9 min ahead of schedule, on Soyuz orbit #33 (DO1), 3 min before local sunset. This doubles the station crew size to 6 persons and brings the total number of currently docked Russian VVs (visiting vehicles) to 3:
  • Soyuz TMA-21/26S (#231) @ MRM2 “Poisk” zenith,
  • Soyuz TMA-20/25S (#230) @ MRM1 “Rassvet”
  • Progress M-08M/40P (#408) @ DC-1 nadir
  • ESA’s ATV-2 “Johannes Kepler” @ SM aft.

It was also the 71st Russian flight to ISS (out of a total of 110 missions).

“Yuri Gagarin” delivered Exp-27/28 crewmembers FE-1 Alexander Samokutyayev, FE-2 Andrey Borisenko & FE-3 Ron Garan. [For Samokutyayev & Borisenko it is the first spaceflight, for Garan, who flew on STS-124, it is the second.]

Welcome aboard, Alex, Andrey and Ron!

The newcomers joined CDR Dmitri Kondratyev, FE-5 Paolo Nespoli & FE-6 Cady Coleman. After about 3 hrs spent in Soyuz on pre-transfer activities, hatches were opened at ~11:13pm, and the crew transferred the ISS. This was followed by the traditional welcome event and the installation of the BZV QD (quick disconnect) clamps of the docking & internal transfer mechanism (SSVP) by Samokutyayev, to rigidize the joint. [The Soyuz TV system was activated at ~6:39pm EDT (8 km); final approach on automatic KURS pilot began at ~7:00pm. Shortly after "kasaniya" (contact), automatic "sborka" (closing of Soyuz & MRM2 nadir hooks & latches) took place with ISS in free drift. Attitude control authority had been handed over to the Russian MCS (Motion Control System) thrusters at ~3:55pm and returned to US CMG (Control Moment Gyroscope) control at ~8:30pm. For the docking, Russian thrusters were disabled during Soyuz volume pressurization & clamp installation and afterwards returned to active attitude control. Before hatch opening, the crew performed leak checks of the Soyuz modules and the Soyuz/MRM2 interface vestibule. They then doffed their Sokol suits, and Samokutyayev set suits and gloves up for drying. Alexander also deactivated the BOA/Atmosphere Purification Unit in the SA/Descent Module, replaced the Soyuz ECLSS LiOH cartridges, equalized Soyuz/ISS pressures, and put the spacecraft into conservation mode on ISS integrated power.]

During Soyuz/MRM2 leak checking, CDR Kondratyev supported the ground-commanded reactivation of the Elektron oxygen generator by monitoring the external temperature of its BD secondary purification unit for the first 10 minutes of operations to ensure that there was no overheating.

After the obligatory Safety Briefing, Kondratyev activated the GA/gas analyzer (KM0305M1, #091) in the Soyuz 25S spacecraft, docked at MRM1, a periodic activity.

Next, Dmitri performed the periodic checkout & performance verification of IP-1 airflow sensors in the various RS (Russian Segment) hatchways to see how the ventilation/circulation system is coping with the crew double in size. [Inspected IP-1s are in the passageways PrK (SM Transfer Tunnel)–RO (SM Working Compartment), PkhO (SM Transfer Compartment)–RO, PkhO–DC1, PkhO–FGB PGO, PkhO-MRM2, FGB PGO–FGB GA, and FGB GA–Node-1.]

Meanwhile, after deactivating the Soyuz 26S systems and putting the spacecraft on ISS-furnished power, Samokutyayev & Borisenko started transferring higher-priority cargo items from the “Gagarin” spacecraft to the ISS, logging moves in the IMS (Inventory Management System)

Kondratyev unloaded a new set of the radiation payload “Matryoshka-R” (RBO-3-2) from the Soyuz, brought it over to the RS and deployed its 8 SPD differential pressure indicator assemblies at their designated exposure locations.

With Dmitri & Andrey shooting documentary photography, Alexander transferred a fresh assembly of the Russian BTKh-42 STRUKTURA (Structure) science experiment with its Luch-2 kit to the MRM2. [Objective of BTKh-42 is the production of high-quality protein monocrystals.]

A third high-priority payload was a new set of the BTKh-29 ZHENSHEN-2 (Ginseng-2) payload, in its BIOEKOLOGIYA container, which Borisenko transferred to the Poisk (Search) module and configured for operation, with Dima taking pictures. [BTKh-29 studies new plants for biological products and genotypes with increased biological activity.]

First thing for FE-3 Garan was to prepare and get settled in his CQ (Crew Quarters), assisted by Andrey Borisenko. [Activity steps probably included inspection of the CQ and cleaning if needed, retrieving personnel clothing and sleeping bag CTBs (Cargo Transfer Bags), installing the sleeping bag on the sleep wall and setting up & securing personnel effects.]

Ron then spent ~1.5 hrs with FE-6 Coleman on his first handover session during which Cady familiarized her compatriot with USOS (US Segment) activities.

In the US A/L (Airlock), FE-5 Paolo Nespoli terminated the regeneration of METOX (Metal Oxide) canisters #0013 & #0015 in the “bakeout” oven, initiated yesterday, and started the process on METOX cans #0019 & #0018. [Recyclable METOX canisters replaced the old one-way/expendable LiOH (lithium hydroxide) canisters as carbon dioxide (CO2) removal system in the EMU/spacesuits in 2001. During use, CO2 is absorbed by them and later removed through a special valve opening by “baking” (heating), which takes place in a special oven in the A/L.]

Afterwards, before turning in for the long sleep period, Paolo reactivated the SM's amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) which had been turned off for the Soyuz approach & docking operations.

Coleman & Nespoli worked out with an abbreviated physical exercise protocol on the ARED advanced resistive exerciser (FE-5) and T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (FE-6). [T2 snubber arm inspection is no longer needed after every T2 session but must be done after the last T2 session of the day.]

Cady & Paolo also performed the pre-sleep part of their current daily session with of the Reaction Self Test (Psychomotor Vigilance Self Test on the ISS) protocol. It was the 20th for them. [RST is done 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 a sleep shift. The experiment consists of a 5-minute reaction time task that allows crewmembers 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.]

WRM Update: A new WRM (Water Recovery Management) “cue card” was uplinked to the crew for their reference, updated with their latest CWC (Contingency Water Container) water audit. [The new card (27-0041C) lists 94 CWCs (1,871.1 L total) for the five types of water identified on board: 1. technical water (13 CWCs with 524.2 L, for Elektron electrolysis, incl. 219.2 L in 6 bags containing Wautersia bacteria and 134.2 L in 3 clean bags for contingency use; 2. potable water (no CWCs); 3. iodinated water (69 CWCs with 1,243.0 L for reserve; 4. condensate water (76.6 L in 10 bags incl. 7.1 L in 1 bag to be used only for OGA, plus 5 empty bags); and 5. waste/EMU dump and other (27.3 L in 2 CWCs from hose/pump flush). Wautersia bacteria are typical water-borne microorganisms that have been seen previously in ISS water sources. These isolates pose no threat to human health.]

Conjunction Alert: Due to the thruster firings during the 26S docking activities, ISS lost about 60-70m in altitude. This is a more or less common effect but it has brought another conjunction with space debris into the near-term, with Object 33329 (Chinese CZ-2C rocket debris). TCA (Time of Closest Approach) is 4/9 (Saturday) at 1:17pm EDT. Probability of collision calculations will become valid tomorrow morning (Friday), followed by the Go/No Go decision for developing the Russian maneuver cyclogram (ops programming) early on Friday afternoon. A DAM (Debris Avoidance Maneuver), if required, would then be conducted on 4/9 at ~10:59am. Ballistic experts continue to monitor the conjunction.

No CEO (Crew Earth Observation) targets uplinked for today.

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 8:12am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 350.5 km
Apogee height – 352.1 km
Perigee height – 348.8 km
Period -- 91.55 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.000249506
Solar Beta Angle -- 28.1 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.73
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 322 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) – 70,977

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
04/26/11 -- Progress M-09M/41P undock
04/27/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P launch
04/29/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P docking (DC-1 nadir)
04/29/11 -- STS-134/Endeavour launch ULF6 (ELC-3, AMS) ~3:47:49pm EDT
05/01/11 -- STS-134/Endeavour docking ~1:31pm
05/13/11 -- STS-134/Endeavour landing (KSC) ~9:29am
05/16/11 – Soyuz TMA-20/25S undock/landing (End of Increment 27)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-02M/27S launch – M. Fossum (CDR-29)/S. Furukawa/S. Volkov
06/01/11 -- Soyuz TMA-02M/27S docking (MRM1)
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
06/10/11 -- ATV-2 “Johannes Kepler” undock (SM aft)
06/21/11 -- Progress M-11M/43P launch
06/23/11 -- Progress M-11M/43P docking (SM aft)
06/28/11 -- STS-135/Atlantis launch ULF7 (MPLM) ~3:30pm EDT NET
06/30/11 -- STS-135/Atlantis docking ULF7 (MPLM) NET
07/27/11 – Russian EVA #29
08/29/11 -- Progress M-11M/43P undocking
08/30/11 -- Progress M-12M/44P launch
09/01/11 -- Progress M-12M/44P docking (SM aft)
09/16/11 – Soyuz TMA-21/26S undock/landing (End of Increment 28)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
09/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-03M/28S launch – D.Burbank (CDR-30)/A.Shkaplerov/A.Ivanishin
10/02/11 – Soyuz TMA-03M/28S docking (MRM2)
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
10/25/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P undocking
10/26/11 -- Progress M-13M/45P launch
10/28/11 -- Progress M-13M/45P docking (DC-1)
11/16/11 -- Soyuz TMA-02M/27S undock/landing (End of Increment 29)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/29S launch – O.Kononenko (CDR-31)/A.Kuipers/D.Pettit
12/02/11 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/29S docking (MRM1)
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
12/26/11 -- Progress M-13M/45P undock
12/27/11 -- Progress M-14M/46P launch
12/29/11 -- Progress M-14M/46P docking (DC-1)
02/29/12 -- ATV3 launch readiness
03/05/12 -- Progress M-12M/44P undock
03/16/12 -- Soyuz TMA-03M/28S undock/landing (End of Increment 30)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
03/30/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/30S launch – G.Padalka (CDR-32)/J.Acaba/K.Volkov
04/01/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/30S docking (MRM2)
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
05/05/12 -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA – launch on Proton (under review)
05/06/12 -- Progress M-14M/46P undock
05/07/12 -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) – docking (under review)
05/16/12 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/29S undock/landing (End of Increment 31)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/29/12 – Soyuz TMA-06M/31S launch – S.Williams (CDR-33)/Y.Malenchenko/A.Hoshide
05/31/12 – Soyuz TMA-06M/31S docking
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
09/18/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/30S undock/landing (End of Increment 32)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
10/02/12 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/32S launch – K.Ford (CDR-34)/O.Novitskiy/E.Tarelkin
10/04/12 – Soyuz TMA-07M/32S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
11/16/12 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/31S undock/landing (End of Increment 33)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/30/12 -- Soyuz TMA-08M/33S launch – C.Hadfield (CDR-35)/T.Mashburn/R.Romanenko
12/02/12 – Soyuz TMA-08M/33S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
03/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/32S undock/landing (End of Increment 34)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
03/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-09M/34S launch – P.Vinogradov (CDR-36)/C.Cassidy/A.Misurkin
03/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-09M/34S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
05/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-08M/33S undock/landing (End of Increment 35)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-10M/35S launch – M.Suraev (CDR-37)/K.Nyberg/L.Parmitano
05/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-10M/35S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
09/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-09M/34S undock/landing (End of Increment 36)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
09/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-11M/36S launch – M.Hopkins/TBD (CDR-38)/TBD
09/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-11M/36S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
11/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-10M/35S undock/landing (End of Increment 37)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-12M/37S launch – K.Wakata (CDR-39)/R.Mastracchio/TBD
11/xx/13 – Soyuz TMA-12M/37S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
03/xx/14 – Soyuz TMA-11M/36S undock/landing (End of Increment 38)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------