Encyclopedia Astronautica
2008.02.05 - ISS On-Orbit Status 02/05/08

With the usual dependability, Progress M-63/28P launched nominally this morning at Baikonur at 8:02am EST.

Ascent was nominal, all appendages (antennae and solar arrays) deployed nominally and the vehicle reached orbital insertion at 8:12am. 28P is scheduled to dock to the ISS on 2/7 (Thursday) at 9:38am. Congrats, Baikonur!

After wakeup and before breakfast, FE-2 Dan Tani completed his daily access of the SLEEP experiment (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) software for data logging and filling in questionnaire entries in the experiment's laptop session file on the HRF-1 laptop for downlink. (To monitor the crewmember's sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, Dan wears 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.)

Before breakfast & first exercise, Whitson, Malenchenko and Tani completed a full session with the Russian crew health monitoring program's medical assessment MO-9/Biochemical Urinalysis. Afterwards, the FE-1 closed out and stowed the Urolux hardware. (MO-9 is conducted every 30 days (and also before and after EVAs) and is one of five nominal Russian medical tests adopted by NASA for U.S. crewmembers for IMG PHS (Integrated Medical Group/Periodic Health Status) evaluation as part of the "PHS/Without Blood Labs" exam. The analysis uses the sophisticated in-vitro diagnostic apparatus Urolux developed originally for the Mir program. Afterwards, the data are entered in the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer)'s special IFEP software (In-Flight Examination Program).)

The FE-1 serviced the Russian BMP (Harmful Impurities Removal System), starting the "bake-out" cycle to vacuum on absorbent bed #2 of the regenerable dual-channel filtration system. The regen process was terminated at ~2:15pm EST. (Regeneration of each of the two cartridges takes about 12 hours and is conducted only during crew awake periods. Filter bed 1 was regenerated yesterday.)

Having passed the 'Day 120' mark in his flight, FE-2 Tani began his first session with the NASA/JSC experiment NUTRITION w/Repository, for which he had to forego exercising and food intake for eight hours. Today's protocol consisted of two blood draws (for Serum & Heparin). Later, the FE-2 set up the equipment for the 24-hour urine collections which start with the first void early tomorrow morning and continue through Thursday morning. (Acting as operator, Peggy Whitson as CDR performed phlebotomy on Dan Tani, i.e., drawing blood samples (from an arm vein) which was first allowed to coagulate in the Repository, then spun in the HRF RC (Human Research Facility/Refrigerated Centrifuge) and finally placed in MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS). The RC was later powered off after a temperature reset to limit wear on the compressor, and cleaned. Background: NUTRITION is the most comprehensive in-flight study done by NASA to date of human physiologic changes during long-duration space flight; this includes measures of bone metabolism, oxidative damage, nutritional assessments, and hormonal changes. The Clinical Nutritional Assessment profile currently required on all U.S. Astronauts collects blood and urine samples preflight and postflight. NUTRITION expands this protocol by also capturing inflight samples and an additional postflight sample. Furthermore, additional measurements are included for samples from all sessions, including additional markers of bone metabolism, vitamin status, and hormone and oxidative stressor tests. The results will be used to better understand the impact of countermeasures (exercise and pharmaceuticals) on nutritional status and nutrient requirements. The Clinical Nutritional Assessment profile (MR016L), first started on two Mir crewmembers and then on all ISS US crews, nominally consists of two pre-flight and one post-flight analysis of nutritional status, as well as an in-flight assessment of dietary intake using the FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire). The current NUTRITION project expands MR016L testing in three ways: Addition of in-flight blood & urine collection (made possible by MELFI), 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.)

The crewmembers participated in an emergency descent OBT (onboard training) exercise. The training includes review of procedures, crew responsibilities, Soyuz activation, hatch closure, leak checks, suit donning, undocking preparation, orbital descent module leak checks, descent timeline simulation and landing operations.

At ~9:10am, Peggy and Yuri had a 15-min teleconference with ground specialists to discuss the images downlinked from their recent (1/31) Shuttle RPM (R-bar Pitch Maneuver) skill training. (The skill training prepares the crew for the bottom side mapping of the Orbiter at the arrival of STS-122/1E. During the RPM at ~600 ft from the station, the ISS crew will have only ~90 seconds for taking high-resolution digital photographs of all tile areas and door seals on the Orbiter, to be downlinked for launch debris assessment. Thus, time available for the shooting will be very limited, requiring great coordination between the two headset-equipped photographers and the Shuttle.)

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 & EVA-14 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.)

The FE-1 conducted the periodic (monthly) functional closure test of the Russian Vozdukh CO2 removal system's spare emergency vacuum valves (AVK), in the spare parts kit. (The AVKs are critical because they close the Vozdukh's vacuum access lines in the event of a malfunction in the regular vacuum valves (BVK) or a depressurization in the Vozdukh valve panel (BOA). Access to vacuum is required to vent CO2 during the regeneration of the absorbent cartridges (PP). During nominal operation, the AVK valves remain open.)

In preparation for payloads coming up on Progress 28P, Yuri Malenchenko assembled and set up the Russian TBU (Universal Biotechnological Thermostat) cooler in the Service Module (SM).

Later, the FE-1 unstowed and installed the equipment for the periodic Russian PZE-MO-10 "Hematokrit" testing that is scheduled tomorrow for him. (MO-10 measures the hematocrit (red blood cell mass) value of the blood (it is a well-known phenomenon of space flight that red blood cell mass {normal range: 30-45%} tends to go down over time).)

The FE-1 completed the routine maintenance of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS) in the SM, including ASU toilet facilities systems/replaceables.

Working off his discretionary 'time permitting' task list, the FE-1 also performed 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).

The crewmembers completed 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 resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-2), and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1).

Whitson then transferred the crew's exercise data file to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) for downlink, as well as the daily wristband HRM data of the workouts on RED, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).

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