Encyclopedia Astronautica
2008.02.28 - ISS On-Orbit Status 02/28/08


For the purpose of testing the main TORU (Teleoperator Control System) receiver on Progress M-63/28P, FE-1 Malenchenko and CDR Whitson worked with ground specialists via VHF on DO3 (Daily Orbit 3) in the standard vehicle-to-vehicle TORU checkout between the Service Module (SM) and the docked Progress 28P.

Progress thrusters (DPO) were inhibited and not involved. (Crew activities focused on TORU activation, inputting commands via the RUO Rotational Hand Controller and close-out ops. TORU lets an SM-based crewmember perform the approach and docking of automated Progress vehicles in case of failure of the automated KURS system. Receiving a video image of the approaching ISS, as seen from a Progress-mounted docking television camera ('Klest'), on a color monitor ('Simvol-Ts', i.e. 'symbol center') which also displays an overlay of rendezvous data from the onboard digital computer, the crewmember steers the Progress to mechanical contact by means of two hand controllers, one for rotation (RUO), the other for translation (RUD), on adjustable armrests. The controller-generated commands are transmitted from the SM's TORU control panel to the Progress via VHF radio. In addition to the Simvol-Ts color monitor, range, range rate (approach velocity) and relative angular position data are displayed on the 'Klest-M' video monitor (VKU) which starts picking up signals from Progress when it is still approximately 7 km away. TORU is monitored in real time from TsUP over Russian ground sites (RGS) and via Ku-band from Houston, but its control cannot be taken over from the ground.)

Peggy Whitson reloaded her handheld PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) with new data from SSC (Station Support Computer), i.e., an updated PDA image with all applications and a new PDA IMS (Inventory Management System) database. She also deleted some hi-res imagery to free up storage space. (The PDA is periodically synchronized manually with the latest IMS data via wireless (WiFi) connection to the network. The IMS database can be updated from the handheld by using a PDA Expansion Pack and BCR (Bar Code Reader) Scanner module.)

Working a series of switches, the CDR performed a Power On/Off checkout of the new SSPCM (Solid State Power Control Module) which Dan Tani installed on 2/17 in the HRF1 (Human Research Facility Rack 1) in the US Lab.

With the Biolab WAICO #1 (Waving and Coiling of Arabidopsis Roots at Different g-levels #1) experiment in the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory) now well into its first run, FE-2 Eyharts continued commissioning activities on the FSL (Fluid Science Laboratory), first removing the four launch fixation bolts installed yesterday on the front part of the CEM-L (Central Experiment Module-Lower) for the reboost, and then installing drawer handles on it. (The remainder of CEM-L setup is scheduled tomorrow (2/29) so that FSL can be activated on Monday (3/3). ESA will attempt to complete five experiment runs within FSL prior to Flight 1J/A.)

Later, Leo Eyharts continued activation & checkout ops on the ELITE-S2 (Elaboratore Immagini Televisive - Space 2) payload by connecting camera cables to its IMU (Interface Management Unit) and routing the cables in the Lab for another session. (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.)

Whitson configured IMV (Intermodular Ventilation) air ducting to the US Airlock (A/L) for temperature and humidity control after ground-commanded (S-band) deactivation of the A/L CCAA (Common Cabin Air Assembly) earlier today (4:00am-8:45am).

Peggy downloaded the structural dynamics data gathered by the IWIS (Internal Wireless Instrumentation System) during the overnight reboost, to be downlinked later via OCA. Afterwards, Peggy tore down the IWIS setup of RSUs (Remote Sensor Units) ands cabling for stowage.

Later, the CDR turned on the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) and performed another session with the InSPACE-2 (Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions) experiment, today conducting run #35 (vial 002), going back again to the lowest frequency (0.66 Hz) but at higher field strength (which tends to result in significant particle structures). Afterwards, she powered down the MSG. (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.)

Using files uplinked from TsUP-Moscow, FE-1 Malenchenko installed new BVS (SM Computer System) software images on the KTsP1 (Central Post Computer 1) in the SM from a laptop, displaying settings for computers to be upgraded (e.g., TsVM Central Computers, TVM Terminal Computers, US-21, US-22, MDM-FGB, US-FGB).

Leo Eyharts set up the equipment for the US PHS (Periodic Health Status) assessment with blood labs, to be performed by him tomorrow using the PCBA(Portable Clinical Blood Analyzer). Preparations included an electronic function test and control analysis on the PCBA in preparation for tomorrow's blood analysis activity. (The PHS exam, with PCBA analysis and subsequent clinical evaluation, is guided by special software (IFEP, In-Flight Examination Program) on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer).

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 (16-0018U) lists 36 CWCs (~1392.5 L total) for the four types of water identified on board: technical water (812.9 L, for Elektron, flushing, hygiene), potable water (559.6 L), condensate water (20 L), waste/EMU dump and other (0 L). Of the 36 containers, nine CWCs with technical water (388.9 L) cannot be used until cleared for Wautersia bacteria, and 10 CWCs with potable water (427 L), transferred from Atlantis, are not cleared for use pending analysis of samples returning on 1E.)

CDR Whitson and FE-2 Eyharts performed the mandatory 60-min Emergency Event OBT (Onboard Training) drill for new crewmembers, for the case of rapid cabin depressurization or fire. Russian and US experts stood by at both control centers for consultation. The rule is that the Russian-led emergency exercise should be performed by every new station crewmember once within seven days after departure of the previous crew. (Background: Purpose of the drill for new station residents is to (a) familiarize them with the location of hardware and the positions of valves used in emergency situations, (b) familiarize them with the translation routes to the Soyuz vehicle, (c) work through the Russian Segment (RS) hardware deactivation procedures, (d) familiarize them with the particulars of the scenario and the results of the previous US Segment (USOS) fire drill, and (d) practice crew interactions in emergency situations. Referring to EMER book crew procedures, first Peggy and Leo translated along the emergency egress path to the FGB nadir port (where Soyuz TMA-11 is currently docked), checking hardware such as the Sokol suits, cable cutters, fire extinguisher (OKR), gas masks (IPK), emergency procedures books, valve settings, hatch rubber seal & restraint integrity, etc. In the USOS the inspection focused on fireports in the Lab, Node and Airlock, readiness of CSA-CP (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products), ISS leak kit, PBAs (portable breathing assemblies) and PFEs (portable fire extinguishers), emergency procedures books, valve settings, integrity of hatch rubber seals, presence of hatch handrails, etc. The exercise was topped off by a thorough debrief with the ground via S-band. During the session, the crew simulated executing the planned emergency procedures while moving about the station. For the case of an onboard fire and for emergency descent, there are other mandatory emergency drill OBTs.)

Yuri Malenchenko continued his test program with the new KPT-2 BAR-RM payload equipment begun on 2/13, today taking measurements with the AU-1 ultrasound analyzer in the PrK Transfer Tunnel to the DC1 (Docking Compartment) and FGB GA (Pressurized Compartment) and later downlinking the data via BSR-TM channel. Measurements in the SM RO2 (large diameter) and RO1 (small diameter) sections were taken on 2/16 and 2/26. The data are being used for experimenting with ISS leak detection. (BAR-RM is designed to develop a procedure for detection of air leakage from ISS modules based on environmental data anomalies (temperature, humidity, ultrasound emissions) at possible leak locations. The payload, controlled from the RSK1 laptop, uses a remote infrared thermometer (Kelvin-Video), a thermohygrometer (Iva-6A), a heat-loss anemometer/thermometer (TTM-2), an ultrasound analyzer (AU-01), and a leak detector (UT2-03) to determine physical background signs of loss of ISS pressure integrity which could be indicative of leaks in the working compartments of the station. Measurements are taken in specific zones (13 in SM PkhO and 4 in DC1), both with lights & fans turned on and off.)

The FE-1 completed 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.)

Malenchenko also performed the daily 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).

Later, Yuri conducted the daily monitoring, picture-taking and downloading on the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("Plants-2") experiment. The task included recharging the water tank of the greenhouse as required. (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.)

In addition, working from the Russian voluntary 'time permitting' task list, the Russian flight engineer completed 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).

At 2:55pm EST, Peggy is scheduled to conduct the periodic VHF-1 emergency communications check over NASA's VHF (Very High Frequency) stations, today at the Dryden, Wallops and White Sands VHF sites, talking with Houston/Capcom, MSFC/PAYCOM (Payload Operation & Integration Center Communicator) and Moscow/GLAVNI (TsUP Capcom) in the normal fashion via VHF radio from a handheld microphone and any of the U.S. segment ATUs (audio terminal units). (Purpose of the test is to verify signal reception and link integrity, improve crew proficiency, and ensure minimum required link margin during emergency (no TDRS) and special events (such as a Soyuz relocation).)

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

Peggy 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).

Leo had another 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 ~10:30am EST, the ISS crew held a teleconference (audio) with crewmembers of the upcoming 1J/A mission, discussing timeline, transfer and handover particulars of their joint (docked) period next month. (Launch of STS-123/Endeavour, carrying the Canadian SPDM 'Dextre' and the ELM-PS (Experiment Logistics Module - Pressurized Section) for the Japanese 'Kibo' Laboratory (to follow on 5/25), is scheduled for 3/11 at 2:28am EDT, with the crew of CDR Dominic Gorie, PLT Greg Johnson, MS1/EV1/2 Bob Behnken, MS2/EV2 Mike Foreman, MS3 Takao Doi/JAXA, MS4/EV1 Rick Linnehan, and MS5/EV2/FE-2-16 Garrett Reisman. Reisman will take over the ISS FE-2 position from LĂ(c)opold Eyharts who returns on Endeavour on 3/24 (landing 3/28).)

GNC MDM Upload Update: Yesterday's uploading of new software patches to both GNC MDMs (Guidance, Navigation & Control Multiplexer/Demultiplexer) computers went well. One patch limits CMG (Control Moment Gyroscope) Gimbal Acceleration, the other controls Attitude Filter Reset.

ISS Reboost Update: The overnight ISS reboost with the SM's two KD main engines (694 lbs thrust each) and ODU props, started at 00:16am EST and completed successfully, with a slight overburn: Planned Delta-V was 3.0 m/s vs. 3.1 m/s actual, resulting in a mean altitude increase of 5.3 km (2.9 nmi). Burn duration: 123.57 sec. Preliminary results indicate that the reboost will adequately support Soyuz 16S docking, Soyuz 15S undocking, and Flight 1J/A as planned.

RSK1 Laptop Failure Update: Malenchenko's second attempt, on 2/27, to load the Russian RSK1 laptop with ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle) docking simulator software was unsuccessful. Specialists are developing a procedure for using the previous software (vers. 1.2) for conducting the ATV CBT (Computer-based Training) on the laptop.

SRK-V Condensate Feed Unit Update: Continued attempts to troubleshoot the failed CFU (Condensate Feed Unit) pump of the Russian SRV-K (Condensate Water Processor) in the SM were unsuccessful. Energia/Moscow is developing a new plan for restoring the system.

OGS Activation Failure: Last night, the ground-commanded startup of the US OGS (Oxygen Generation System) failed in the middle of the start-up sequence, shortly into the crew's sleep period. This has been seen before and appears to be associated with a recirculation pump anomaly. After several attempts to start up the system on Wednesday, teams decided to stand down and review data. OGS remains off at this time.

COL Update: Columbus module and systems are performing nominally.

CEO photo targets uplinked for today were Shanghai, China (weather satellites suggested a relatively clear day for this often smog covered city. Shanghai is the largest city in China and the eighth largest city in the world. It is situated on the banks of the Yangtze River Delta. Documenting detail within the city boundaries and land use outside of the city), Ulawun Volcano (the lighting will be lower than for usual requests for CEO targets. However, low light also accentuates the topographic features of most volcanoes. Ulawun volcano is the highest volcano of the Bismarck arc, and one of Papua New Guinea's most frequently active. Historical eruptions date back to the beginning of the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions were mildly explosive until 1967, but after 1970 several larger eruptions produced numerous lava flows, greatly modifying the summit crater), South Tibesti Megafans (a series of large fanlike spreads of sediment, hundreds of km long and wide, extend southward from the Tibesti Mountains into the BodĂ(c)lĂ(c) depression of central Chad. A discontinuous overlapping pattern of stream channels, large and small, suggests that the entire surface of the megafans was formed by the action of rivers shifting across the surface. Since about 8000 years ago, the Sahara environment has dried significantly, leaving non-functioning rivers channels everywhere. Images of areas south of Tibesti are only available in low resolution: therefore crew imagery--continuous mapping swaths taken with 400- and 800 mm lenses--are needed to provide the detail to reveal evidence of stream process and the intersection of streams on different fan surfaces), Presqu'ile Impact Crater (there are no images of this particular impact crater in the CEO database. Presqu'ile crater is 24 kilometers in diameter and is estimated to be less than 500 million years old), and Konza Prairie, Kansas (the focal site for the Konza Prairie Long Term Ecological Research program is the Konza Prairie Biological Station (KPBS). KPBS is a 3,487 hectare native tallgrass prairie field research station owned by The Nature Conservancy and Kansas State University. KPBS is located in the Flint Hills region of northeastern Kansas. The Flint Hills encompasses over 50,000 square km throughout much of eastern Kansas from near the Kansas-Nebraska border south into northeastern Oklahoma and contains the largest remaining area of unplowed tallgrass prairie in North America).

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