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May 16, 2011
ISS On-Orbit Status 05/16/11

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Underway: Week 9 of Increment 27.

STS-134/Endeavour (ULF-6) lifted off this morning from Pad A at 8:56am EDT in an on-time launch for her last flight. Rendezvous with the ISS is on 5/18, with docking at 6:15am. At launch time, ISS was well ahead, but Endeavour is catching up. We are off to another great mission! One Shuttle mission remains (STS-135/Atlantis). [The Orbiter is carrying the six-member crew of CDR Mark Kelly, PLT Gregory “Box” Johnson, MS1 Mike “Spanky” Fincke, MS2 Roberto Vittori (ESA/Italy), MS3 Drew Feustel, MS4 Gregory “Taz” Chamitoff,- all of them Shuttle veterans and Vittori the last international astronaut to fly on the Shuttle. STS-134 is the 134th Space Shuttle flight in history, the 25th for Endeavour, and the 36th Shuttle flight to the ISS. Primary payloads for Endeavour are the AMS-2 (Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer 2) and another EXPRESS Logistics Carrier, the ELC-3. The mission includes four spacewalks, each about 6 hours in length, to be conducted on FD5, FD7, FD10 & FD12 by Chamitoff, Fincke & Feustel. Mission duration is 16 days (+0+2). A Soyuz 25S Flyabout for documentary station photography is currently in planning for 5/23. The Shuttle's first landing opportunity at KSC is scheduled for 2:32am EDT on 6/1.]

CDR Kondratyev’s morning inspection today included the weekly checkup behind ASU/toilet panel 139 in the SM (Service Module) on a fluid connector (MNR-NS) of the SM-U urine collection system, looking for potential moisture.

FE-3 Garan, FE-5 Nespoli & FE-6 Coleman completed another post-sleep session of the Reaction Self Test (Psychomotor Vigilance Self Test on the ISS) protocol. It was the 11th for Ron, the 34th for Paolo & Cady. [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.]

FE-6 Coleman undertook her 22nd weekly U.S. “Bisphosphonates” biomedical countermeasures session, ingesting an Alendronate pill before breakfast. The required ~10h fast period started for her last night. [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.]

After wake-up, Coleman also performed her first liquid saliva collection of the INTEGRATED IMMUNE protocol. The collection is made every other day for the next six days. [INTEGRATED IMMUNE (Validating Procedures for Monitoring Crew member Immune Function) samples & analyzes participant’s blood, urine, and saliva before, during and after flight for changes related to functions like bone metabolism, oxidative damage and immune function to develop and validate an immune monitoring strategy consistent with operational flight requirements and constraints. The strategy uses both long and short duration crewmembers as study subjects. The saliva is collected in two forms, dry and liquid. The dry samples are collected at intervals during the collection day using a specialized book that contains filter paper. The liquid saliva collections require that the crewmembers soak a piece of cotton inside their mouths and place it in a salivette bag; there are four of the liquid collections during docked operations. The on-orbit blood samples are collected right before undocking and returned to the ground so that analysis can occur with 48 hours of the sampling. This allows assays that quantify the function of different types of white blood cells and other active components of the immune system. Samples are secured in the MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS). Also included are entries in a fluid/medications intact log, and a stress-test questionnaire to be filled out by the subject at begin and end. Urine is collected during a 24-hour period, conventionally divided into two twelve-hour phases: morning-evening and evening-morning.]

FE-1 Samokutyayev spent several hours supporting TsUP/Moscow attempting to activate the Elektron O2 generator with its new BZh Liquid Unit (#056), installed yesterday. The efforts remain unsuccessful for the time being. [Lack of the electrolysis machine will not prevent moving forward as planned. Available are multiple O2 sources: ATV2 gas supply will be used first since it will undock first. Old SFOG (Solid Fuel Oxygen Generator) candles currently onboard need to be used up before their end of life (end of this year for the old cartridges, not for the new). Endeavour/ULF6 should be able to supply O2 while it is docked. A new BZh will be delivered on Progress 43P on 6/23. There are also about 2 weeks of gaseous O2 stored in 42P. In addition, the USOS OGA (Oxygen Generator Assembly) may soon become useable. Basically, ISS needs to support 200 crew-days until 43P arrives. 230 crew-days of O2 are available from ATV2 plus old SFOGs plus 42P, not including Shuttle or OGA.]

FE-2 Borisenko unstowed the Russian Reflotron-4 hardware and performed a health check on it for the blood chemistry analysis PZE MO-11, used the last time in January 2008 by Yuri Malenchenko and Peggy Whitson. [Earlier Reflotron versions have operated already on space station Mir. Clinical data are determined from a blood sample. Using various reagent tabs, the blood is tested with strips (KPI) for such parameters as hemoglobin, glucose, bilirubin, amylase, uric acid, triglycerides, urea, creatinin, cholesterol, etc. Reflotron-4 uses 40 W of power, supplied by the SM’s electrical system.]

With the protective shutters of the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), Lab and Cupola windows closed, CDR Kondratyev & FE-5 Nespoli prepared for Soyuz 25S undocking & deorbit next Monday by spending an hour in the TMA-20M/25S Descent Module (SA) on MRM1 nadir, supporting a ground-commanded checkout of the Soyuz MCS (Motion Control System SUD, Mode 2/“Docked”) which included pressurization of the KDU (Combined Propulsion System) Section 2 and Tank 2, a test of the pilot’s rotational & translational hand controllers (RUD & RUO), and a hot firing of the DPO braking thrusters (4:26am EDT). DPO lateral thrusters were not fired. [For the RST (rasstjkovkoy/undocking) test, station attitude was handed over to Russian thruster control at 4:17am. The one-minute firing started on Daily Orbit 3 during an RGS (Russian Groundsite) pass. Attitude control was returned to the USOS (U.S. Segment) at 5:05am.]

Afterwards, Dmitri, Paolo & Cady tried on their Kentavr anti-G suits for a fit check, followed by the standard Kentavr-PMC (Personal Medical Conference). [The “Centaur” garment (not to be confused with the Russian “Pinguin” suit for spring-loaded body compression, or the "Chibis" lower body negative pressure suit) is a protective anti-G suit ensemble to facilitate the return of a long-duration crewmember into the Earth gravity. Consisting of shorts, gaiters, underpants, jersey and socks, it acts as countermeasure for circulatory disturbance, prevents crewmember from overloading during descent and increases orthostatic tolerance during post-flight adaptation. Russian crewmembers are also advised to ingest fluid-electrolyte additives, viz., three sodium chloride tablets during breakfast and after the midday meal, each time with 300 ml of fluid, and two pills during the meal aboard Soyuz before deorbit.]

Samokutyayev performed the periodic verification of the automatic refresh of the IUS AntiVirus program on the Russian VKS auxiliary network laptops RSS1, RSS2, RSK1-T61p & RSK2. [After first scanning the FS (File Server) laptop, the virus database is usually transferred by flash-card to the non-network computers, which are then scanned one by one. Background: Regularly on Mondays, automatic virus definition file updates are verified on the RSS2, RSS1, RSK1-T61p & RSK2 network laptops, while the non-networked laptops RSE-Med & RSE1 are manually updated. Antivirus scans are then started & monitored on RSS2 & RSE-Med. Results of the scans on RSS1, RSK1-T61p, RSK2 & RSE1 are verified on Tuesdays. Russian network laptops have software installed for automatic anti-virus update; fresh data is copied on RSK1-T61p & RRSK2 every time a computer is rebooted with a special login, and on RSS1 once daily. On Russian non-network laptops antivirus definition file update is done by the crew once every two weeks on Monday.]

Later, Aleksandr worked in the Pirs Docking Compartment (DC1) on Russian EVA equipment (oborud), replacing the BUS-MK Control Unit of the BSS-4 Orlan Interface Unit (which he had removed on 5/13) with a new spare, supported by ground specialist tagup. [The BUS-MK is the Russian equivalent of the US Airlock’s OSCA (On-Board Spacesuit Control Assembly). The BUS supplies the Orlans with coolant and O2 while in the DC1, getting its O2 from four bottles manifolded to it. This Russian OSCA would also be used in the A/L to support A/L Orlan operations and contingency EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) operations (i.e., venting of EMU umbilicals during an ingress anomaly).]

Sasha & Ron each undertook 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 their CMO (Crew Medical Officer) acuity in a number of critical health areas. The video-based proficiency drill today focused on Eye Treatment. [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.]

Ron performed his 2nd session of the new Treadmill Kinematics program on the T2/COLBERT treadmill, setting up the HD camcorder in Node-1, placing tape markers on his body, recording a calibration card in the FOV (Field of View) and then conducting the workout run within a specified speed range. [Purpose of the Kinematics T2 experiment is to collect quantitative data by motion capture from which to assess current exercise prescriptions for participating ISS crewmembers. Detailed biomechanical analyses of locomotion will be used to determine if biomechanics differ between normal and microgravity environments and to determine how combinations of external loads and exercise speed influence joint loading during in-flight treadmill exercise. Such biomechanical analyses will aid in understanding potential differences in gait motion and allow for model-based determination of joint & muscle forces during exercise. The data will be used to characterize differences in specific bone and muscle loading during locomotion in the two gravitational conditions. By understanding these mechanisms, appropriate exercise prescriptions can be developed that address deficiencies.]

Garan initiated another sampling run with the EHS GC/DMS (Environmental Health Systems Gas Chromatograph/Differential Mobility Spectrometer) and deactivating the system ~5 hrs later. [This was the 35th session with the replaced GC/DMS unit #1004, after the previous instrument (#1002) was used for approximately 7 runs. Also known as AQM (Air Quality Monitor), the system is controlled with “Sionex” expert software from the SSC (Station Support Computer)-12 laptop (due to a software glitch, the software needs to be opened, closed, and then reopened in order to ensure good communication between GC/DMS and SSC-12). The AQM demonstrates COTS (Commercial Off-the-Shelf) technology for identifying volatile organic compounds, similar to the VOA (Volatile Organics Analyzer). This evaluation will continue over the course of several months as it helps to eventually certify the GC/DMS as nominal CHeCS (Crew Health Care Systems) hardware],

Andrey Borisenko had ~1.5 hrs set aside for continuing the thorough inventory/audit of cargo stowage both in the FGB and SM begun with Sasha last week. [Guided by uplinked listings, the flight engineer updated the IMS (Inventory Management System), consolidated items in dedicated kits, pre-packed empty packs for disposal and took NIKON D2X photography of views for downlink via OCA.]

Cady Coleman completed the periodic manual fill of the WHC (Waste & Hygiene Compartment) EDV-SV (condensate water container) flush water tank from the PWB (Potable Water Bus). [WHC was temporarily unavailable. Offload time: ~25 min.]

Later, Coleman turned on the MPC (Multi-Protocol Converter) long enough to playback/downlink a mini-DV tape recorded of the JAXA experiment Spiral Top-II on 5/13. Afterwards, the MPC was deactivated again.

Working about 2 hrs on ER-6 (EXPRESS Rack 6) in the Lab (loc. O4), Cady replaced the A31p ELC (ER Laptop Computer) with a new T61p laptop, followed by setting up the new PC for the job by loading software Vers. 7.0 on it, configuring & loading its BIOS (Basic Input/Output System), then loading it with the software applications for SNFM (Serial Network Flow Monitor) and both MERLIN (Microgravity Experiment Research Locker/Incubator) units.

FE-5 Nespoli & FE-3 Ron Garan again had over an hour reserved for ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle) cargo operations. [Today’s activities mainly consisted of finishing trash packing and mounting cover plates on packed racks.]

At ~ 1:50pm, Ron conducted the daily tagup with MCC-Houston to debrief on today’s ATV cargo transfers.

Nespoli performed the manual closure of the TOCA VCA (Total Organic Carbon Analyzer / Volume Compensation Assembly) valve via the TOCA maintenance screen to recover from the recent sample analysis failure. [On 5/5, the crew reported a TOCA fault alert indicating elevated liquid loop pressures. Specific root cause is unknown but is thought to be related to an improperly executed buffer container changeout and associated loop priming. A procedure was worked out to provide manual commanding to relieve pressure by forcing water through a downstream relief valve.]

In the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), Paolo checked out & audited the contents of two ESA CTBs (Cargo Transfer Bags) in order to confirm & consolidate the data recorded in the IMS.

After reviewing uplinked procedures and a demo video clip on “Dispersion of Liquid Pepper”, Cady Coleman prepared another “Kids in Micro-G” experiment, then performed the demo session with Paolo’s assistance. The video recording was later downlinked to the ground via MPC (Multi-Protocol Converter). [The “Kids in Micro-G” suite of experiments was developed and written by 6th grade students to demonstrate Newton’s Laws of Motion both on ISS and in the classroom.]

Dmitri Kondratyev had another joint session of ~1h15m for handover familiarization with Andrey Borisenko, the next Increment CDR (#28).

Dmitri Kondratyev conducted another photography session for the DZZ-13 “Seiner” ocean observation program, obtaining data on oceanic color bloom patterns in the Central-Eastern Atlantic waters, then copying the images to the RSK-1 laptop.

FE-1 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, replacement of EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine containers and filling EDV-SV, KOV (for Elektron), EDV-ZV & EDV on RP flow regulator.]

The CDR took care of 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).

Dima also had time set aside for personal crew departure preparations; these are standard pre-return procedures for crewmembers.

In the JAXA JPM, Garan installed a He (helium) valve unit at the CGSE (Common Gas Supply Equipment).

At ~11:45am EDT, Ron performed the periodic VHF-1 emergency communications proficiency check over NASA’s VHF (Very High Frequency) stations, today with the VHF sites at Dryden (11:52:15am-11:59:42am) & White Sands (11:54:19am-12:00:44pm), talking with Houston/Capcom, MSFC/PAYCOM (Payload Operation & Integration Center Communicator), Moscow/GLAVNI (TsUP Capcom), EUROCOM/Munich and JCOM/Tsukuba in the normal fashion via VHF radio from a handheld microphone and any of the USOS ATUs (Audio Terminal Units). [Purpose of the test is to verify signal reception and link integrity, improve crew proficiency, and ensure minimum required link margin during emergency (no TDRS) and special events (such as a Soyuz relocation).]

The crew worked out with their regular 2-hr physical exercise protocol on the CEVIS cycle ergometer with vibration isolation (FE-6), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-1, FE-3, FE-5, FE-6), T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (CDR, FE-2, FE-3, FE-5) and VELO ergometer bike with load trainer (FE-1, FE-2).

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

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 7:35am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude – 344.5 km
Apogee height – 346.2 km
Perigee height – 342.7 km
Period -- 91.43 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.65 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0002583
Solar Beta Angle -- -32.5 deg (magnitude peaking)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.75
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 107 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) – 71,591

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
05/18/11 -- STS-134/Endeavour docking – 6:15am
05/23/11 -- Soyuz TMA-20/25S undock – 7:06pm EDT (End of Increment 27)
05/23/11 -- Soyuz TMA-20/25S landing – 10:26pm (8:26am local on 5/24)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/29/11 -- STS-134/Endeavour undock – 11:53pm
06/01/11 -- STS-134/Endeavour landing – ~2:32am
06/07/11 -- Soyuz TMA-02M/27S launch – M. Fossum (CDR-29)/S. Furukawa/S. Volkov
06/09/11 -- Soyuz TMA-02M/27S docking (MRM1)
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
06/xx/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)
xx/xx/11 -- STS-135/Atlantis launch ULF7 (MPLM) ~3:30pm EDT
xx/xx/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-------------