Underway: Week 19 of Increment 16.
Before breakfast, having reached the FD15 (Flight Day 15) mark in his flight, FE-2 Eyharts undertook his first session with the NASA/JSC experiment NUTRITION w/Repository, today limited to two blood draws (for Serum & Heparin). (Acting as operator and CMO (Crew Medical Officer), Peggy Whitson performed phlebotomy on Leo, i.e., drew blood samples (from an arm vein) which were 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.)
Also for Leo's FD15 mark, Dr. Whitson broke out and set up the PFE-OUM (PFE-Oxygen Uptake Measurement) equipment on the HRF-2 (Human Research Facility 2) rack, including the PFM/PAM (Pulmonary Function Module/Photoacoustic Analyzer Module), Mixing Bag System and GDS (Gas Delivery System). Data collection on Eyharts, with herself as operator, is scheduled tomorrow. (The Periodic Fitness Evaluation with Oxygen Uptake Measurement experiment, using the CEVIS ergometer for workout, demonstrates the capability of crewmembers to perform periodic fitness evaluations with continuous oxygen consumption measurements within 14 days after arrival on ISS, and once monthly during routine PFEs. Once the capability of the pulmonary function system (PFS) to perform PFEs is verified, crewmembers will be able to integrate their monthly PFE with oxygen consumption measurements to fulfill the requirement for cardiovascular fitness evaluations during long-duration space flight.)
On the EMCS (European Modular Cultivation System) facility, after having installed two new RBLSS (Rotor Based Life Support System) modules last week (2/21) in preparation for the upcoming Japanese CW/RW (Cell Wall/Resist Wall) experiment, the CDR today installed water tubes on the new modules. Later, the CDR also removed all cabling from EMCS in preparation for the move of ER3 (EXPRESS Rack 3) from the US Lab to the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory). (The EMCS rack contains a rotating centrifuge that can support a wide range of small plant and animal experiments under partial gravity conditions. One of the new RBLSS modules is on Rotor A (position EC2, RBLSS Box 1) and the other on Rotor B (position EC2, RBLSS Box 1).)
Also for the ER3 move to COL, Whitson decabled its ELC (ER3 Laptop Computer) and stowed it along with its cables and power supply.
FE-1 Malenchenko had another 1h 20m for cargo transfer and stowage from Progress M-63/28P to the ISS. (28P, docked at the DC1 Docking Compartment, is currently scheduled for separation on 4/7.)
FE-2 Eyharts continued supporting the COL BLBG (Biolab Glovebox) experiment WAICO #1 (Waving and Coiling of Arabidopsis Roots at Different g-levels), installing the first four ECs (Experiment Containers, #1-4) in the BLBG, supporting the ground-controlled sterilization of the Glovebox, preparing the ECs for operation and installing the video cassette for the first run.
The FE-1 meanwhile conducted the periodic inventory audit of 35 Russian medical kits and items located in the Service Module (SM) medical cabinet. Purpose: to verify their availability, condition and stowage locations, weed out a number of discarded kits, replace medications in the Emergency First Aid Kit (NP-2 #A 082) with fresh supplies, and relocate/reconfigure medical kit contents.
Malenchenko also used the AK-1M adsorber and IPD-CO Draeger tubes to perform the periodic sampling of cabin air for subsequent analysis on the ground. (Yuri started out by taking air samples in the SM and FGB and to check for leaked-out Freon in the SM, then switched to the IPD-CO Draeger tubes sampler to check for CO (carbon monoxide) in the SM.)
Whitson conducted microbiological sampling in Columbus, taking surface samples with the SSK (Surface Sample Kit) for the first time and air samples at mid-module, using the MAS (Microbial Air Sampler) kit and the GSC (Grab Sample Container). (Bacterial and fungal air samples are usually taken at two locations in the module being checked. The colony growth on the MAS sampling slides is analyzed after five days of incubation in four Petri dishes. For onboard visual analysis of media slides from the SSK, the crew has a procedure for visual inspection of samples for bacterial and fungal colony growths after appropriate incubation periods.)
Later, Yuri audited Russian IPD air samplers delivered on Progress M62/27P and re-labeled their cartridge belts for identification.
Leo Eyharts continued his support of the ELITE-S2 (Elaboratore Immagini Televisive - Space 2) payload by powering up its IMU (Interface Management Unit) to allow the ground to downlink the data from his previous session (2/22) by tele-commanding. Afterwards, he turned the IMU off again. (The Italian (ASI) experiment ELITE-S2 is a human motion analysis facility for technological characterization and potential application for multifactorial movement analysis, to study the connection between brain, visualization and motion in micro-G. By recording and analyzing the three-dimensional motion of astronauts, this study should help engineers apply ergonomics into future spacecraft designs and determine the effects of weightlessness on breathing mechanisms for long-duration missions.)
In the FGB (Funktsionalnyi-Grusovoi Blok), the CDR and FE-1 started a new round of the periodic preventive maintenance of RS (Russian Segment) ventilation systems. Peggy cleaned the detachable VT7 fan screens 1, 2 & 3 of the three SOTR (Thermal Control System) gas-liquid heat exchangers (GZhT4) while Yuri cleaned the grille of the TsV1 ventilator.
Peggy Whitson conducted another session with the InSPACE-2 (Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions) experiment in the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox), conducting run #34 (vial 002) to investigate a higher frequency (2.0 Hz) instead of yesterday's low frequency (0.66 Hz) which resulted in weak fluid/particle structures. (InSPACE obtains basic data on MR (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 colloidal (dispersed) particles are contained in CAs (Coil Assemblies) in the MSG that subject them to electric fields at certain strength and frequencies. The desired strong dipolar interaction between the small colloidal particles can be achieved in micro-G simply with an external magnetic field being turned on and off. On the ground, the flow properties (rheology) of many materials, especially those making up consumer products like detergents, fabric softeners, toothpaste and paints, are similarly controlled, though not by magnetic fields but by adding a polymer. It now appears, for example, that new formulations of fabric softeners may perform better in space than on earth.)
It was Malenchenko's turn today for the mandatory 30-min. medical CBT (Computer-based Training) contingency drill, with video & text material, to refresh his CMO proficiency/rating. Peggy and Leo completed theirs on 2/21. (To maintain proficiency in using HMS (health maintenance systems) hardware, today's training focused on Part 2 of the regular exercise, viz., a review of Nasal Airway, Suction Device, ILMA (Intubating Laryngeal Mask Airway) with endotracheal tube, and Cricothyrotomy (incision to re-enable breathing air inflow).)
In the Soyuz 15S spacecraft, docked at the FGB nadir port, Malenchenko turned on the gas analyzer, a periodic 48-hr. checkup activity.
The FE-1 completed the routine 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 and replacement of EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine containers.)
Yuri also performed the daily 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).
In addition, working from the Russian voluntary 'time permitting' task list, the Russian flight engineer --
Conducted the regular checkup on the Japanese experiment GCF-JAXA (Granada Crystallization Facility) in the Russian TBU incubator, maintained at +20 degC, including a temperature check on its ART (automatic temperature recorder) (This is a daily monitoring/temp checking, carried on the Russian voluntary task list for the duration of Expedition 16); and
Performed the daily monitoring, picture-taking and downloading on the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("Plants-2") experiment. Today's task was extended to include recharging the water tank of the greenhouse. (Rasteniya-2, researches growth and development of plants (peas) under spaceflight conditions in the Lada-12 greenhouse from IBMP (Institute of Bio-Medical Problems, Russian: IMBP). During its operation, the experiment requires regular daily maintenance of the experiment involving monitoring of seedling growth, humidity measurements, moistening of the substrate if necessary, and photo/video recording. During the duration of the BIO-5 experiment, students of the Moscow City Palace for Youth Creativity of the Meshchansky inter-regional center #15 in Moscow) and the Prince of Oldenburg Lyceum in St. Petersburg will be cultivating plants in parallel on the ground and conducting comparative observation of plant growth and development under gravity and zero-gravity conditions. They are receiving the photo images taken by Yuri.)
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), TVIS treadmill (FE-1), RED resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1, FE-2).
Peggy Whitson then transferred the crew's exercise data file to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) laptop for downlinking, as well as 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).
As most every day after his arrival, when not busy with urgent Columbus commissioning work, Leo had 60 minutes for himself for general orientation (station familiarization & acclimatization), as is standard daily rule for the first two weeks after starting station residency.
At ~9:37am, FE-2 Eyharts powered up the SM's amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, and power supply) and at 9:42am conducted a ham radio exchange with students at College Reydellet, Saint-Denis, Ile de La RÃ(c)union. (Saint-Denis is the administrative capital of the French overseas department of RÃ(c)union Island, in the Indian Ocean. The city counts 130,000 inhabitants. Jules Reydellet College collaborated in the making of SPUTNIK 40 (RS17), and students contacted Viktor Afanasyev on MIR from TsUP-Moscow in September 1999. The College welcomed Victor Poliakov and Pavel Vinogradov who threw a spaceship model from MIR, and also cosmonauts Jean-Loup ChrÃ(c)tien, Jean-Pierre HaignerÃ(c) and Claudie HaignerÃ(c). The exchange was conducted in French.)
RPC Trip: Yesterday, RPC-3 (Remote Power Controller 3) in RPCM (RPC Module) LA2B_G tripped due to an overcurrent, as a subsequent data dump showed. The RPC powers the MTL RFCA (Moderate Temperature Loop Rack Flow Control Assembly) in Node-1, used to provide more MTL flow to the US Airlock depress pump during EVAs. Formulation of a plan for troubleshooting and possibly R&R (Removal & Replacement) is underway.
No CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today.