Encyclopedia Astronautica
2008.01.09 - ISS On-Orbit Status 01/09/08


CDR Whitson and FE-2 Tani started out with the daily reading of SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy and Light Exposure during Spaceflight) experiment data accumulated during the night, for logging and filling in questionnaire entries in the SLEEP session file on the HRF-1 laptop for downlink.

(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.)

The FE-2 worked in the Airlock (A/L), starting on a lengthy (2h 25m) troubleshooting procedure on the EACP (EVA/EMU Audio Control Panel), first setting up comm from the A/L, then activating the EACP and connecting it via the 'low clearance' Y-cable to ATU-4 (Audio Terminal Unit, #4) and ATU-6 on the A/L Avionics Rack. After initial testing, the EACP was turned off again. (ATU-6 was installed by Clay Anderson on 10/11/07 in place of a failed unit, and the failed ATU-6 was returned on 10A. The new ATU-6 has been experiencing periodic lockups and PBIT (passive built-in test) faults. Engineering analysis and testing indicate that these issues may be caused by improperly mated J3 & J4 connections, a problem with the address connector, or a dirty fiber-optic connector. There are 3 ATUs in the A/L, one of which must be functional for EVAs, so long as the suited EVA crew has established UHF (Ultra High Frequency) radio communication.)

In the DC1 Docking Module, with temporary comm link established, FE-1 Malenchenko terminated discharging the first Orlan 825M3 battery pack and started discharging pack #2 (of three).

Yuri then continued his three-day maintenance on the three Russian Orlan-M spacesuits #25, #26 & #27 in DC1, today performing spacesuit and BSS (Orlan Interface Unit) leak and valve tests, including a hermeticity check on the Orlan #25 backup bladder. The activity was supported by specialist tagup.

At ~3:20am EST, the FE-1 supported the ground's reactivation of the Elektron O2 generator at 32 amps by monitoring the external temperature of its secondary purification unit (BD) for the first 10 minutes of operations to ensure that there is no overheating. (During nominal operations a gas analyzer is utilized to detect hydrogen (H2) in the O2 line (which could cause overheating) but is not included in the control algorithm until 10 minutes after Elektron startup.)

Malenchenko also continued the extended leak checking of the spare BZh Liquid Unit (#056) for the Elektron O2 generator by checking the unit's pressure and charging it once again with pressurized N2 from the BPA-M Nitrogen Purge Unit (#23) to 1 atm (1 kg/cm2). The last test pressurization was on 12/13/07. (During Elektron operation, the inert gas locked up in the BZh has the purpose to prevent dangerous O2/H2 mixing. A leaking BZh cannot be used.)

CDR Whitson powered up the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) and conducted another InSPACE-2 (Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions) experiment run (#3), then exchanged the vial assembly. MSG was powered down afterwards. (After MSG and InSPACE & InSPACE-2 equipment activation, Peggy checked on alignment & focusing of the two MSG video cams, switched the magnetic field between runs, changed out video recorder tapes and later deactivated InSPACE & MSG. InSPACE, conducted last in June 2006 by Jeff Williams on Increment 13, obtains basic data on magnetorheological (MR) 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 MR fluid particles are contained in CAs (Coil Assemblies) inside small precision rectangular borosilicate glass vials in the MSG. The CAs subject them to pulsed electromagnetic fields of certain strength and frequencies.)

FE-2 Tani conducted periodic coolant sampling on the Node-2 ITCS MTL (Internal Thermal Control System/Moderate Temperature Loop) by adjusting its fluid sampling adapter metering valve and then taking a fluid sample for OPA (Ortho-Phthalaldehyde) testing (with test strips). The sampling process for OPA was then repeated on the LTL (Low Temperature Loop) side of the Node-2 ITCS and subsequently also on the MTL loop of the Lab ITCS. (OPA, an antimicrobial agent, was introduced into the Lab ITCS coolant by the AmiA (Antimicrobial Applicator), before the AmiA was removed again on 11/2 by Clay Anderson for Earth return.)

Yuri Malenchenko prepared for today's first day of a new five-day wearing test of the spring-loaded 'Penguin-3' antigravity pressure/stress suit with its load measuring system (SIN), donning the suit and its equipment, then going about his business and downloading performance measurements several times. (During each of the five days, Yuri selects higher symmetrical (shoulders) & asymmetrical (chest & back) loads (~20-30 kgf), after calibrating the system with no load on the suit's internal tension straps. Performance/body motion data are then collected by the SIN electronics (via analog-to-digital converters) and downloaded to an A31p laptop three times daily, followed by downlink to the ground via BSR-TM.)

Dan Tani performed his 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.)

Later, Tani undertook the monthly FDS PEP (Fire Detection & Suppression/Portable Emergency Provisions) safety inspection/audit. (The IMS (Inventory Management System)-supported inspection involves verification that PFEs (portable fire extinguishers), PBAs (portable breathing apparatus), QDMAs (quick-don mask assemblies) and EHTKs (extension hose/tee kits) are free of damage to ensure their functionality, and to track shelf life/life cycles on the hardware (QDMA harness inspection was not required this time). In the USOS, there are a total of 5 PFEs and 7 PBAs, plus 7 QDMAs and 4 EHTKs.)

For upcoming activities with the new Russian KPT-2 science payload BAR-RM (a cabin leakage detection experiment starting tomorrow), Malenchenko reinstalled the previous software (v1.2) from DVD-ROM on the RSE1 laptop (which does not have a second hard drive).

Yuri performed his routine servicing of the ESA/Energia experiment ALTCRISS (Alteino Long Term monitoring of Cosmic Rays on the ISS), downlinking accumulated AST spectrometer data. (The FE-1 checked the spectrometer's PCMCIA memory card (#938) in the AST slot and #941 and ascertained their file quantities and sizes in the RSK1 laptop. ALTCRISS uses the AST spectrometer employed by VC8 guest cosmonaut Roberto Vittori in 2005 in the DC1 for the Italian LAZIO (Low Altitude Zone/Ionization Observatory) experiment.)

Using the SKDS CMS (Pressure Control & Atmosphere Monitoring System/Countermeasure System), the FE-1 took the periodic readings of potentially harmful contaminants in the SM. The hardware was then returned to initial stowage. (The CMS uses preprogrammed microchips to measure Formaldehyde (H2CO, methanal), Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Ammonia (NH3), taking one measurement per microchip.)

Dan serviced the prime CSA-CP (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products) unit, replacing its battery with a fresh one.

Yuri completed today's routine maintenance of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS) in the SM, including ASU toilet facilities systems/replaceables, the weekly collection of the toilet flush (SP) counter and water supply (SVO) readings for calldown to TsUP.

The FE-1 also conducted the daily 20-min. IMS (Inventory Management System) 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).

Peggy Whitson performed a major outfitting job on the Node-1 overhead hatch (forward) to the Z1 Dome by installing an NPRV (Negative Pressure Relief Valve) to protect the hatch from 'burping' during depressurizations. (A hatch door 'burps' when it temporarily flexes and unseats due to pressure differential acting in the 'wrong' direction, i.e., opposite to pressing the door down on its seal. For the installation, Peggy had to remove the RED (Resistive Exercise Device) mounted on the Node 'ceiling', install the NPRV, inspect the hatch seal and reinstall the RED.)

Malenchenko worked on the RBO-3-2 radiation payload suite 'Matryoshka-R', conducting the periodic collection and logging of accumulated data of seven Matryoshka-R Bubble Dosimeter detectors installed previously at various exposure locations in the RS (Russian Segment), using the special Bubble Dosimeter Reader. (The complex Matryoshka payload suite is designed for sophisticated radiation studies. Three detectors now in use are positioned in spherical 'Phantom' containers in the DC1, four in the stbd crew cabin, under the work table, and behind a panel (#327).)

Today at sleeptime, Yuri will start another data take with the Russian MBI-12 SONOKARD (Sonocard) experiment, his seventh. (During sleep, Yuri will wear a shirt with the special SONOKARD device in the shirt pocket. The objectives of the experiment are stated to (1) study the feasibility of obtaining the maximum of data through computer processing of records obtained overnight, (2) systematically record the crewmember's physiological functions during sleep, (3) study the feasibility of obtaining real-time crew health data. Investigators believe that contactless acquisition of cardiorespiratory data over the night period could serve as a basis for developing efficient criteria for evaluating and predicting adaptive capability of human body in long-duration space flight.)

The crewmembers performed their regular 2.5-hr. physical workout program (about half of which is used for setup & post-exercise personal hygiene) on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (CDR, FE-2), TVIS treadmill (FE-1), RED (CDR, FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1).

Afterwards, Dan copied the exercise data file to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) 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).

The FE-2 went on a narrated video 'tour' of the ISS compartments with a Sony PD100 camcorder, paying special attention to radial port stowage in both Nodes for fireport evaluation, for subsequent downlink to MCC-Houston. (Last time done by Suni Williams on 5/8/07). (The footage provides valuable situational insight in the current configuration of the station interior, including general stowage configuration and fireport observation (clearance), for the FCT (Flight Control Team) and will also be used for upcoming Expedition and Shuttle crews for pre-flight 'handover' training.)

At ~9:00am EST, the crew downlinked two PAO TV messages of greetings for later replay, one at the 50th anniversary race of the Daytona '500' in February, the other at the dedication of the new Davidson Space Exploration Center (housing the 43-year old Saturn-V-D dynamic test vehicle) and the 50th Anniversary of Explorer 1 festivities at the USSRC in Huntsville, AL.

At ~4:00pm, Dan Tani is scheduled for a PFC (Private Family Conference) via S-band/audio and Ku-band/MS-NetMeeting application (which displays the uplinked ground video on the SSC-9 laptop).

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today again were Polar Mesospheric Clouds - PMC, Antarctica (IPY--PMC radar research station active. GMTs for this and subsequent PMC opportunities were chosen for closeness to the Antarctic PMC radar research site at 73S 13W. Radar is switched on during ISS passes at the uplinked GMTs. But the crew was to feel free to look south during any night awake pass), and Luquillo Forest, Puerto Rico (ISS had a nadir pass over this Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site located at the northeastern tip of Puerto Rico. One of the newer sites in the National Science Foundation's LTER Network, the Luquillo Forest represents a tropical ecosystem subject to major periodic environmental stresses such as hurricanes. Overlapping, high resolution frames taken along-track are requested to document current vegetation and land cover patterns).

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