Encyclopedia Astronautica
2008.02.18 - ISS On-Orbit Status 02/18/08

Underway: Week 18 of Increment 16, with a new FE-2, LĂ(c)opold (Leo) Eyharts who has replaced Dan Tani.

US Holiday (President's Day).

STS-122/Atlantis and ISS are flying in separate orbits again (Flight Day 12 for STS-122/1E)

After final preparations on both sides of the hatches (closed yesterday on ISS side at 1:03pm EST), Atlantis this morning undocked smoothly at 4:27am from PMA-2 (Pressurized Mating Adapter 2), after a total docked time of 11d 13h 42m. (For undocking, the station was turned from -XVV through ~180 deg to +XVV ZLV (+x-axis in velocity vector, z-axis in local vertical) at ~3:30am, put briefly on free drift for the undocking, and then maneuvered to 1E Stage attitude of +XVV TEA attitude at 5:06am.) See picture from Atlantis flight deck, below.

KSC landing is nominally expected on 2/20 (Wednesday) at ~9:06m EST. (If the landing occurs as planned, STS-122 mission duration will be 12d 18h 21m. Dan Tani's total time in space will be 121 days, with 116 days on board ISS.)

Aboard the station, the crew is enjoying a light-duty day. Wakeup for CDR Peggy Whitson, FE-1 Yuri Malenchenko and FE-2 Leo Eyharts was at ~12:45am. Sleep time tonight: 3:15pm EST.

With the U.S. CDRA (Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly) deactivated by the ground overnight (~9:00pm-2:00am) and its cooling no longer required, Whitson demated and took down the ITCS LTL (Internal Thermal Control System/Low Temperature Loop) jumper at the CDRA-supporting LAB1D6 rack.

Both Eyharts and Whitson used the DCS760 digital cameras and PD-100 camcorder to document the undocking, backing away and separation of the Atlantis. Peggy later conducted the playback for transmitting the footage to the ground.

FE-1 Malenchenko made sure that the Lab science window was shuttered for protection against jet plumes during the undocking.

Before and during the undocking, the FE-1 stood by at a laptop with a stopwatch to monitor the proper performance of automatic undocking software for the PMA-2 departure under Russian thruster control. (The procedure provides for the crewmember to take over the automatic operational attitude control sequence manually if the software does not resume control after the period of free drift a few minutes after physical separation.)

After the undocking, PCS (Portable Computer System) laptops were not shut down as usual because of a planned uploading (on 2/22-23) of a patch to each PCS for a new MSS (Mobile Service System) software version (R5).

Assisted by Yuri, Peggy Whitson later depressurized the PMA-2 to prevent humidity condensation and pressure fluctuations. Leak checking by Peggy followed for the standard one hour. Afterwards, the necessary equipment was torn down.

The FE-1 did the reconfiguration of the Russian telephone/telegraph subsystem (STTS) to its post-undocking settings, from its primary string back to nominal mode on the backup string. This also severed the VHS (UHF) channel to the receding Shuttle Orbiter and restored the RSA-2 S/G (Space-to-Ground) comm configuration on Panel 3. (The "Voskhod-M" STTS enables telephone communications between the SM, FGB, DC1 Docking Compartment and U.S. segment (USOS), and also with users on the ground over VHF channels selected by an operator at an SM comm panel, via STTS antennas on the SM's outside. There are six comm panels in the SM with pushbuttons for accessing any of three audio channels, plus an intercom channel. Other modes of the STTS include telegraphy (teletype), EVA voice, emergency alarms, Packet/Email, and TORU docking support.)

In the US Airlock (A/L), the CDR terminated the bake-out regeneration of the last batch of METOX (Metal Oxide) canisters. (As per ground request, she also inspected the oven's air inlet screen to assist in an airflow analysis.)

Later, Peggy started the downloading of IWIS (Internal Wireless Instrumentation System) structural dynamics data recorded during the reboost and the undock activities. When completed, the CDR dismantled and stowed the IWIS hardware.

Structural dynamics data from the external SDMS (Structural Dynamic Measurement System) on the S0 truss were dumped by ground command at ~2:30pm.

Yuri Malenchenko terminated the current extended performance testing of the Russian KRIOGEM-03 refrigerator. (Steps included removing the AX-03 icepack for return to its container and deactivating the freezer, leaving its door ajar temporarily for airing out, before wiping the camera with a dry napkin and closing the refrigerator's door.)

The FE-1 had more time reserved for transferring cargo & payload equipment from Progress M-63/28P to the ISS, going by an uplinked list of locations and objectives. (For example: Gear for the Korean experiment to be conducted by the next visiting cosmonaut (VC-14) was stowed in the DC1 Docking Compartment since the experiment will be performed there.)

At ~12:40pm, Dr. Whitson participated in a 20min. crew teleconference with the Principal Investigator (PI) of the InSPACE (Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions) to discuss Peggy's Voluntary Science activity tomorrow and results found to date. (InSPACE, conducted last in June 2006 by Jeff Williams on Increment 13 and now again on Increment 16, 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 particles are contained in CAs (Coil Assemblies) in the MSG that subject them to electric fields of certain strength and frequencies. New visual data from InSPACE-2 of MR fluid structures in a pulsed magnetic field show columns of particles exhibiting an unexpected oscillation when viewed from the side (perpendicular to the applied magnetic field), reminiscent of the instabilities of a fluid jet. This behavior has never been observed in earthbound experiments with MR fluids. Additional experiments in the MSG helped to determine how this phenomenon varies when the operator changed the strength of the field, the concentration of the sample, and the pulse frequency.)

Working off her voluntary 'job jar' task list, Peggy also was to download/initialize her SLEEP experiment (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) Actiwatch which will stop taking data on 2/20 if not initialized. (To monitor the crewmember's sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, Peggy wears a special Actiwatch device which measures the light levels encountered by her as well as her 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 'job jar' task list.)

Also on the CDR's task list was the set-up of an additional SSC (Station Support Computer) in COL as per Peggy's request. (For lack of sufficient wireless/RF bandwidth, ground recommendation is for her to use an additional drag-thru LAN cable across the hatch from Node-2.)

To allow use of a camcorder in Node-2, Peggy removed the J01 cap at the Node's VDC video camcorder port (N2 S3) and stowed it away.

FE-2 Eyharts continued COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory) commissioning activities on the BLB (Biolab), including opening its gas supply line, checking out OHD (Overheat Detection) functionality, testing its laptop and conducting a sterilization functionality test on the BLBGlovebox.

Leo also worked on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) to personalize its software load for storing his own physical exercise data.

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).

Malenchenko 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).

At ~12:12pam, Leo had 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).

No CEO photo targets uplinked for today.

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