(To monitor the crewmembers' sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, Dan and Peggy wear a special Actiwatch device which measures the light levels encountered by him as well as his patterns of sleep and activity throughout the Expedition. The log entries are done within 15 minutes of final awakening for seven consecutive days, as part of the crew's discretionary 'job jar' task list.)
Dr. Whitson conducted her first clinical blood analysis of the US PHS (Periodic Health Status) with Blood Labs exam. Afterwards, all PHS hardware was stowed again. (The PHS exam, with PCBA (Portable Clinical Blood Analyzer) analysis and clinical evaluation, is guided by special software (IFEP, in-flight examination program) on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer). While PCBA analyzes total blood composition, the blood's hematocrit is particularly measured by the Russian MO-10 protocol.)
FE-1 Malenchenko completed the 2.5-hr Part 2 of his second onboard 'Profilaktika' (MBI-8, 'Countermeasures') series of preventive health maintenance fitness testing, including ECG (Electrocardiogram), blood test and subjective rating. (Today's fitness test was performed on the TVIS treadmill in unmotorized (idle) mode, with free choice of speeds within the range permitted. The test investigates the action mechanism and efficiency of various countermeasures (currently VELO and TVIS) aimed at preventing locomotor system disorders in weightlessness. The test differs from the normal TVIS session by the use of the TEEM-100 gas analyzer (via a mask equipped with a pneumotachometer sensor), measurement of blood lactate level and subjective evaluation of physical exertion levels during the test. The lactate blood samples were taken twice at the end of the session, using the ACCUSPORT analyzer and REFLOTRON-4 accessories. Results were entered on a log sheet. TEEM and ECG (electrocardiograph) data were transferred to the RSE-Med laptop, also on a tape cassette (Cardiocassette-2000), and prepared for later downlink via Regul-Packet comm. Lactate levels were also called down via S-band to specialists standing by at TsUP-Moscow.)
Peggy Whitson conducted the weekly 10-min. CWC (Contingency Water Container) audit as part of on-going WDS (Water Delivery System) assessment of onboard water supplies. (Updated 'cue cards' based on the crew's water calldowns are sent up every other week. The current cue card (16-0018M), to be updated with today's data, lists 25 CWCs; ~1036.8 liters total) for the four types of water identified on board: technical water (735.4 l, for Elektron, flushing, hygiene), potable water (221.3 l), condensate water (52.8 l), waste/EMU dump and other (27.3 l). Two CWCs (#1004 & #1081, ~89 l) with potable water are off limits due to the Wautersia bacteria found in sample analysis, the source of which is still not understood. Impact of losing this potable CWC is negligible since there are sufficient drinking water supplies onboard. Also currently not to be used are nine CWCs with technical water (~389 l).)
Malenchenko set up the pumping equipment and initiated (later closed out) the periodic transfer of urine from 6 EDV-U containers in the SM (Service Module) to the Rodnik BV1 tanks of Progress M-62/27P, then flushing the system with ~5 L of disinfectant solution. The emptied EDVs were then to be discarded on 27P because of their end of service life. (Leak checks were performed successfully on 12/29-30 on the membranes (expulsion bladders) of the Progress' Rodnik BV1 & BV2 tanks.)
Tani performed the daily status check on the BCAT-3 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-3) science payload, running by itself in Node-2 since 12/13/07 (briefly interrupted for EVA-13 photo support). (The status check, conducted on the last image taken by the DCS 760 digital still camera which is controlled by EarthKAM software on an A31p laptop, is to verify proper image focus and camera alignment. The SSC (Station Support Computer) is taking photography of the phase separation occurring in the BCAT Sample 3, with the photo flash going off every half hour. Special uplink to Dan this morning: 'The BCAT team downloaded the new images and reports that they look fabulous. The team is very excited and looking forward to pressing ahead and making more progress in coming days.')
With the Russian oxygen (O2) generator 'Elektron' turned off since 12/28/07, Yuri was scheduled to perform another 1-hour O2 repress of the cabin atmosphere from Progress M-62/27P storage tankage, if required. (The Elektron will remain powered down until 1/9/08 to conserve hardware lifetime. During this time, the station will be periodically repressurized with oxygen from Progress 27P.)
The two flight engineers again had several hours reserved for more Progress 27P unloading & cargo transfers, along with IMS (Inventory Management System) tracking.
Malenchenko also completed of the routine servicing of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS) in the SM (Service Module). (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.)
Later, Yuri conducted the daily 20-min. 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).
CDR Whitson got ahead on the timeline yesterday for setting up the video equipment at the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) for the upcoming first session with the InSPACE (Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions) payload. Runs 1 & 2 are scheduled for next Saturday (1/5). (InSPACE, conducted last in June 2006 by Jeff Williams on Increment 13, obtains basic data on magnetorheological fluids, i.e., a new class of "smart materials" that can be used to improve or develop new brake systems, seat suspensions robotics, clutches, airplane landing gear, and vibration damper systems. The dispersed particles are contained in CAs (Coil Assemblies) in the MSG that subject them to electric fields of certain strength and frequencies.)
The crew worked out in their regular 2.5-hr. physical exercise program (about half of which is used for setup & post-exercise personal hygiene) on the TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-2), RED resistive exerciser (CDR, FE-2), and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1/MBI-8).
Afterwards, Dan Tani copied the exercise data file to the MEC laptop for downlink, including the daily wristband HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) data of the workouts on RED, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).
At ~2:45am EST, Yuri Malenchenko represented the ISAS crew in downlinking (for taping and later replay) a TV message of greetings and congratulations to Alexander Fyodorovich Strekalov on the occasion of his upcoming 60th birthday. (' €¦Your whole life is inseparable from Russian cosmonautics €¦ Under your expert and dynamic leadership the Experimental Machine-Building Plant is manufacturing and testing our most reliable space vehicles Soyuz and Progress, and the deployment of this unique facility where we all reside, the ISS, is also in progress. We are aware that currently all your energy is directed to increase the number of space vehicles manufactured at your plant. We are anxiously looking forward to these additional launches which mean that we, the cosmonauts, will be flying to space more often €¦')
At ~9:55am, the crew engaged in an interactive TV PAO exchange with students, teachers and administrators of Robert L. Ford NASA Explorer School in Lynn, MA. Questions to the crew were uplinked beforehand. ('Peggy Whitson, how does it feel to be the first woman Commander of the ISS?'; 'Dan Tani, how do you sleep in microgravity?'; 'Yuri Malenchenko: Besides Earth, what else can you see from the ISS?'; 'Peggy Whitson: How do you keep yourself clean?'; 'Dan Tani: Have you gotten any taller while on your mission?')
BMRRM Retrieval Update: During yesterday's successful retrieval of the spare Bearing Motor Roll Ring Module (BMRRM) from PMA-3 (Pressurized Mating Adapter 3) it turned out that the Node-1 nadir CPAs (Control Panel Assemblies) did not have to be removed for clearance, which allowed the crew to get ahead in the timeline. After hatch closure, PMA-3 was depressurized using the depressurization pump, reclaiming ~12 lbm of air from PMA-3 into the ISS instead of venting it overboard. The final PMA-3 leak checks that were scheduled for today, were also successfully completed yesterday. (BMRRM R&R EVA: probably not earlier than around end of January.)
CEO photo targets uplinked for today again were Dundee Ice Cap, China (the glaciers in this target area are prominent only on the north slopes on this east-west oriented range. ISS passed over the westernmost end of the range; the crew was asked to look to the left of track for opportunities to take context imagery of the region. The regional climate is arid, and ice persists at this latitude primarily because of the 16,500 to 17,500 ft elevations of the mountain crests. These glaciers are currently under field investigation by Ohio State University where core samples have been taken for paleo-climate studies), Polar Mesospheric Clouds - PMC, Antarctica (IPY--PMC radar research station active. GMTs for this and other PMC opportunities were chosen for closeness to the Antarctic PMC radar research site at 73S 13W. Radar was to be switched on during the ISS passes at the GMTs given), Karakoram, Asia (the crew had a nadir pass over the Karakoram, westernmost of the mountains comprising the Himalayan ranges. Numerous mountain and valley glaciers are located here. Overlapping mapping frames taken along-track are requested), PMC, Antarctica (looking right and forward), and Mt. Kilimanjaro, Kenya (perhaps the most well-known volcano in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro is also the focus of glacial research. The ice fields at the summit of the mountain are highly responsive to changes in precipitation and serve as an important indicator of regional climate change. Looking to the right of track for the summit; there may have been clouds surrounding the mountain at lower elevation).