Encyclopedia Astronautica
2008.03.12 - ISS On-Orbit Status 03/12/08


Crew wake/sleep cycle today: sleep 6:30am -3:00pm; wake 3:00pm -8:00am tomorrow.

STS-123/Endeavour continues its chaser flight for tonight's docking at ~11:25pm EDT, to begin ISS Stage 1J/A. (Catch-up rate ~480 nmi. per revolution of ~92 min). (Hatch opening is expected at ~1:08am, followed by: Safety Briefing, Soyuz seat liner transfer (for the Eyharts/Reisman exchange), SRMS (Shuttle Remote Manipulator System)- transfer of SLP-D1 (Spacelab Pallet Deployable 1), carrying SPDM 'Dextre', from Shuttle cargo bay to POA (Payload ORU Attachment) on MBS (Mobile Base System) at ~2:30am, and preparations for the first spacewalk, EVA-1, to be conducted by EV1 Linnehan & EV2 Reisman on 3/13 (~9:23pm EDT), preceded by their 'overnight' Campout tomorrow (6:43am-7:45pm) in the Airlock (A/L) for denitrogenation/pre-breathe. Main objectives of the nominal 16-day mission: Installation of the 18,490-lbs ELM-PS or JLP (Japanese Experiment Logistics Module-Pressurized Section) and the 3,400-lbs Canadian SPDM (Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator) 'Dextre', delivering new ISS-16 crewmember Garrett Reisman & bringing LĂ(c)opold Eyharts back home, and conducting a total of five EVAs. Landing will nominally take place at KSC on FD17 (3/26) at ~8:35pm EDT.)

Early this morning, before begin of today's sleep period (6:30am), the ISS crew completed a number of pre-docking preparations. (See yesterday's On-Orbit Status report for pre-midnight activities.)

After installing the BPMSU (Battery Powered Speaker Microphone Unit) last night, with its dual drag-through cables, including VDS VTR (Video Distribution System/Video Tape Recorder) bypass cables for passing video to and from the station on the Lab's starboard side and allowing the station to receive video from the Orbiter on the Lab's port side, CDR Whitson this morning configured the DCS-760 digital cameras in the Service Module (SM) for tonight's RPM (R-bar Pitch Maneuver) photo shoot. (The two cameras, one with 400mm lens (Peggy), the other with an 800mm lens (Yuri), were equipped with fully charged batteries transferred from the A/L by Leo Eyharts, and freshly formatted flash storage cards.)

FE-1 Malenchenko used the Russian AK-1M sampler to take pre-docking air samples in the SM and FGB. He will perform another sampling post-docking immediately after the standard all-hands safety briefing (~1:30am).

The CDR set up the updated DOUG (Dynamic Orbital Ubiquitous Graphics) laptop software at the Lab RWS (Robotics Workstation) in preparation for the upcoming pre-Robotics review of SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) procedures during 1J/A.

Afterwards, Whitson performed the one-hour pressurization process on the PMA-2 (Pressurized Mating Adapter #2), followed by leak checking and additional preparations of the PMA for the Shuttle's docking (leaving the pressurization jumper gear connected for the post-docking leak checks tonight).

In preparation for upcoming urine transfer to the Progress M-63/28P Rodnik BV1 water tank, Malenchenko conducted the regular compressor test activation to inflate and pressurize the cargo ship's BV1 tank bladder. (The pressurization of the collapsed bladder of the Rodnik water storage tank is conducted as a leak check, preparatory to the liquid waste transfer to the tank for disposal. Each of the two spherical Rodnik tanks consists of a hard shell with a soft membrane (bladder) composed of elastic fluoroplastic. The bladder is used to expel water from the tank by compressed air pumped into the tank volume surrounding the membrane.)

In the Columbus module, FE-2 Eyharts finished close-out activities on the completed BLB/WAICO #1 (BIOLAB/Waving & Coiling of Arabidopsis Roots at Different g-levels) experiment which were stopped yesterday by an anomaly with the centrifuges. (During the WAICO finalization and fixation, the centrifuges, which are required for the fixation process (injection of formaldehyde into the ECs/Experiment Containers), became locked and would not rotate, despite repeated power cycling by ground controllers and Eyharts. Ground teams were to develop a plan for Leo to move the WAICO samples into the TCU (Thermal Control Unit).)

FE-1 Malenchenko 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 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).

Working from the voluntary 'available time' suggestions list, Yuri Malenchenko conducted the regular daily 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).

A second task list item for the FE-1 this morning was the daily monitoring, picture-taking and downloading for the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("Plants-2") experiment which researches growth and development of plants (peas) under spaceflight conditions in the Lada-12 greenhouse from IBMP (Institute of Bio-Medical Problems {Russian: IMBP}).

Before sleep time, Malenchenko terminated the regeneration process on absorbent bed #1 of the Russian BMP (Harmful Impurities Removal System). Bake-out of bed #2 will follow tonight after wake-up (~5:03pm). (Regeneration of each of the two cartridges takes about 12 hours and is conducted only during crew awake periods.)

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, FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1). More exercise sessions are scheduled tonight before docking.

After their 8.5-hr. sleep period ends later today at ~3:00pm, the crew will complete final pre-docking activities:

Verification of the readiness of the DCS-760 digital cameras for the RPM photography of Endeavour, followed later (~10:24pm) by the rapid-fire RPM shooting session (Whitson & Malenchenko);
Configuring the Russian telephone/telegraph subsystem (STTS) to its pre-docking settings, which includes setting up the VHS (UHF) channel to the approaching Shuttle Orbiter (Malenchenko); after the docking, the FE-1 will switch USOS/RS (US Segment/Russian Segment) comm systems to their mated-flight mode;
Preparation of the headset extension cable from the FGB PGO (Instrumentation Cargo Compartment) communications panel to the SM to support the RPM session (Eyharts);
Retrieving and stowing the four FMK (Formaldehyde Monitoring Kit) units deployed by Peggy on 3/10 in the Lab and SM to catch any atmospheric formaldehyde (Eyharts);
Additionally, Leo will

Close the Lab science window shutters to protect against thruster plume contamination,
Set up and later activate the timers marking beginning and end of Peggy's and Yuri's Orbiter bottomside photo session, and
Prepare to shoot video of the approach and docking of Endeavour.
Before the docking, the FE-1 is to handle his fifth recharging of the Motorola Iridium-9505A satellite phone brought up on Soyuz 15S, a monthly routine job. (After retrieving it from its location in the TMA-11/15S descent module (BO) at ~6:00pm EDT, Yuri will initiate the recharging of its lithium-ion battery, monitoring the process every 10-15 minutes as it takes place. Upon completion at ~7:30pm, the phone is to be returned inside its SSSP Iridium kit and stowed back in the BO's operational data files (ODF) container. The satphone accompanies returning ISS crews on Soyuz reentry & landing for contingency communications with SAR (Search-and-Rescue) personnel after touchdown (e.g., after an 'undershoot' ballistic reentry). The Russian-developed procedure for the monthly recharging has been approved jointly by safety officials. During the procedure, the phone is left in its fire-protective fluoroplastic bag with open flap. The Iridium 9505A satphone uses the Iridium constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites to relay the landed Soyuz capsule's GPS (Global Positioning System) coordinates to helicopter-borne recovery crews. The older Iridium-9505 phones were first put onboard Soyuz in August 2003. The newer 9505A phone, currently in use, delivers 30 hours of standby time and three hours of talk, up from 20 and two hours, respectively, on the older units.)

Afterwards, in preparation for the docking (~11:25pm) and subsequent hardmate, the crew configures the Russian MCS (Motion Control System) for the automatic 'PMA-2 Arrival' mode, an operational sequence used to monitor Orbiter arrival at the PMA-2. (At 'Capture Confirmed', ISS attitude will be immediately set to 'free drift' to allow dampening out relative motions of ISS and Endeavour (with the ODS dampers/shock absorbers), then maneuvers to 'Mated TEA' (Torque Equilibrium Attitude) to account for the new overall configuration with Endeavour docked.)

ATV Update (Flight Day 3): All ATV systems continue to perform nominally. Yesterday, the ATV successfully performed two maneuvers to test the nominal PDE (Propulsion Drive Electronics) configuration (PDE-1 & -2). The first maneuver, TE1, began at 11:01:09am EDT and had a delta-V of 6.00 m/s. The second maneuver, TE2, began at 12:12:39pm, with a delta-V of 5.92 m/s. Both PDEs performed nominally, and ATV-CC (ATV Control Center/Toulouse) reported that the boosts and He (helium) pressure regulators were nominal. Based on ATV GPS (Global Positioning System) satellite data, ballistics specialists estimate that the post-maneuver state was within 100 m in semi-major axis of the ATV-CC prediction. As planned, another pair of 6 m/s test burns was executed today (3/12) with PDE-3 and -4, at 9:20am & 10:05am respectively, to exercise the other set of He regulators. Both of them were successful. ATV is resuming the now slightly delayed mission plan. Between now and Parking Orbit Departure, Toulouse will catch up on the timeline to preserve the originally planned dates of the Demo Days and Docking.

ISS Crew Sleep Shift Planning: To synchronize the ISS crew's timeline with STS-123/1J/A docking and subsequent docked activities, Peggy's, Yuri's and Leo's wake/sleep cycle is undergoing a number of shifts which started on 3/11. For the next six days, the wake/sleep shift schedule is as follows (all times EDT):

FD3 Wake: 3:00pm (3/12) - 8:00am (3/13)
Sleep: 8:00am - 4:30pm

FD4
Wake: 4:30pm (3/13) - 8:00am (3/14)
Sleep: 8:00am - 4:30pm

FD5
Wake: 4:30pm (3/14) - 7:00am (3/15)
Sleep: 7:00am - 3:30pm

FD6
Wake: 3:30pm (3/15) - 7:00am (3/16)
Sleep: 7:00am - 3:30pm

FD7
Wake: 3:30pm (3/16) - 6:00am (3/17)
Sleep: 6:00am - 2:30pm

FD8
Wake: 2:30pm (3/17) - 6:00am (3/18)
Sleep: 6:00am - 2:30pm

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 8:40am EDT (= epoch)):
Mean altitude -- 340.8 km
Apogee height -- 341.7 km
Perigee height -- 339.9 km
Period -- 91.35 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0001377
Solar Beta Angle -- 11.1 deg (magnitude increasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.76
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 160 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 53327

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