Encyclopedia Astronautica
2008.03.24 - ISS On-Orbit Status 03/24/08

STS-123-J/A Flight Day (FD) 14/15.

Underway: Week 23 of Increment 16. (Yesterday, 3/23, was the birthday of Wernher von Braun who would have turned 96.)

ISS crew sleep/wake cycle today: Sleep 3:15am -11:45am; wake 11:45am -11:00pm.

After wakeup yesterday, FE-2-16 Reisman had his third session with the biomed experiment INTEGRATED IMMUNE (Validating Procedures for Monitoring Crew member Immune Function), collecting dry saliva samples. (INTEGRATED IMMUNE protocol requires the collection to occur first thing post-sleep, before eating, drinking and brushing teeth, and all samples are stored at ambient temperature. Along with NUTRITION (Nutritional Status Assessment), IMMUNE samples & analyzes participant's blood, urine, and saliva before, during and after flight for changes related to functions like bone metabolism, oxidative damage and immune function to develop and validate an immune monitoring strategy consistent with operational flight requirements and constraints. The strategy uses both long and short duration crewmembers as study subjects. The saliva is collected in two forms, dry and liquid. The dry samples are collected at intervals during the collection day using a specialized book that contains filter paper, all stored at ambient temperature.)

FE-2 Leo Eyharts continued his second session with the biomed experiment INTEGRATED IMMUNE, collecting wet saliva samples first thing in post-sleep and later transferring the samples to the Shuttle for return.

Later today, after wake-up, Eyharts switched to collecting dry saliva samples, continuing the IMMUNE collection throughout the day tomorrow on the Shuttle.

FE-1 Yuri Malenchenko began his 'day' by attending to the current experiment session with the Russian/German TEKh-20 Plasma Crystal-3+ (Plazmennyi-Kristall/PK-3+) payload, activating the turbopump in the Service Module (SM)'s Transfer Compartment (PkhO) for keeping the vacuum chamber (ZB) in the SM Work Compartment (RO) evacuated. Afterwards, Yuri performed the experiment in semiautomatic mode, with some manual control, then closed it down and transferred the collected data from HDD (Hard Disc Drive) for downlink to TsUP-Moscow. The turbopump was deactivated again this morning at ~3:10am EDT before sleeptime. (Main objective of PK-3 is to study dust plasma wave propagation and dispersion ratio at a specified power of HF discharge, pressure, and a varied number of particles. The research was performed this time on particles of 3.42 micron (micrometer) diameter at pressures of 20, 40 & 60 Pa. The main purpose is to study the behavior of the structures in a constant electrical field of varying amplitudes and compare that with particle behavior when they are excited by a low-frequency alternating electrical field. Yuri's task was to create a plasma-dust cloud with a small void in the center with the help of step-down power decrease of the RF generator. During the experiment the FE-1 performed a total of 4 runs.)

In an attempt to increase Shuttle ventilation, CDR Peggy Whitson installed a 23-ft flexible ventilation duct, routing airflow from the Node-2 forward starboard endcone through the Node-2 aft endcone and into the Lab hatch, bypassing the IMV (Intermodular Ventilation) muffler. Ground specialists expect this configuration will improve Shuttle air flow directly into the Lab for CO2 removal. After the installation, Peggy collected airflow and sound measurements for engineering analysis.

The CDR, with Garrett Reisman, also completed post-EVA clean-up activities, reconfiguring the Kodak 760 DCS (digital camera system) for nominal use, e.g., removing its thermal cover & flash attachment, and starting regeneration of the METOX (Metal Oxide) CO2 filter canisters in the Airlock (A/L).

During the METOX 'bake-out', Whitson took temperature measurements around the regeneration oven and A/L CCAA (Common Cabin Air Assembly) using the Velocicalc instrument, for ground assessment. (If the temperatures are favorable, this will alleviate the need to cold soak the A/L during METOX regenerations at high solar Beta angles (as is currently the case).)

In the COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), FE-2 Eyharts conducted a status check on the MERLIN (Microgravity Experiment Research Locker Incubator II) cooler, then collected four (of eight) Experiment Containers of the WAICO-1 (Waving and Coiling of Arabidopsis Roots at Different g-levels #1) experiment from the BIOLAB TCU1 (Thermal Control Unit 1) and relocated them into the MERLIN incubator for return to Earth on Endeavour. (MERLIN's current temp at door closing: 4.3 deg C.)

Eyharts also disconnected the IWIS (Internal Wireless Instrumentation System) between the accelerometer in the Shuttle and the RSU (Remote Sensor Unit) in the PMA-2 (Pressurized Mating Adapter 2) and transferred the RSU to temporary position in the Node-2 forward endcone. (IWIS took structural dynamics measurements during yesterday's Russian thruster testing (11:52am-12:05pm).)

FE-1 Malenchenko afterwards downloaded the IWIS data from the RSUs to an SSC (Station Support Computer) for subsequent downlink to the ground.

At the HRF1 (Human Research Facility 1) rack, Whitson deactivated the MedOps cardiac defibrillator and conducted its periodic checkout, which was to be recorded on video and later dumped to the ground (Last time done: 1/24/07). (This routine maintenance task is scheduled as soon as possible from Expedition start and every 60 days thereafter. For the checkout, the defib is connected to the 120V outlet, equipped with its battery and then allowed to charge, for about five seconds, to a preset energy level (e.g., 100 joules). After the button-triggered discharge, a console indicator signals success or failure of the test. The pacing signal is downlinked via S-band for 1 min. The HRF was powered down afterwards.)

The FE-1 performed the periodic (currently daily) checkout/verification of IP-1 airflow sensors in the various RS (Russian Segment) hatchways, including the FGB-to-Soyuz tunnel, and the FGB-to-Node passageway. (This is especially important when the ventilation/circulation system has to cope with a larger crew on board, currently ten persons, and one of the two Russian SKV air conditioners off (SKV-1).),

Yuri also completed the routine maintenance of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS) in the SM, including ASU toilet facilities systems/replaceables plus the weekly collection of the toilet flush counter (SPK-U), water supply (SVO) readings and POTOK parameters for calldown to TsUP/Moscow. (Regular daily SOZh maintenance consists of replacement of the KTO & KBO solid waste containers, replacement of an EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine container, replacement of the KOV EDV for the Elektron-intended water, and processing U.S. condensate water as it becomes available in a filled CWC (Contingency Water Container) from the Lab humidifier. Weekly SOZh reports (on Sundays) to TsUP/Moscow deal with number & dates of water and urine containers, counter readings of water consumption & urine collection, plus data and total operating time of the Russian POTOK-150MK (150 micron) air filter unit of the SOGS air revitalization subsystem.)

The crewmembers completed most of 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-2-16), TVIS treadmill (FE-1, FE-2), RED resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1).

Afterwards, Peggy 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).

Eyharts transferred his MEC exercise memory cards to the Shuttle for return.

MS3 Mike Foreman activated the RIGEX (Rigidizable Inflatable Get-Away-Special Experiment) payload. (RIGEX is a self-contained, automated experiment intended to collect data on space inflated and rigidized structures in whichinflatable tubes are heated and cooled to form structurally stiff tubes.)

Working from the Russian 'available time' suggestions list, Yuri Malenchenko performed 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 for FD14 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}).

At ~3:50pm, Garrett Reisman had his weekly 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).

Peggy Whitson & Leo Eyharts had their standard periodic PMC (Private Medical Conference) via S- & Ku-band audio/video.

At ~6:30pm, the CDR conducted the 15th weekly tagup with the Lead Flight Director at JSC/MCC-H via S-band/audio. (S/G-2 (Space-to-Ground 2) phone patch via SSC-10 (Station Support Computer 10)).

At ~11:20pm, the joint ISS & Shuttle crews participated in a well-done PAO TV news conference with U.S., Japan and France media.

Afterwards, the crewmembers joined for the traditional souvenir photographs, first all ten station residents together, then the seven Shuttle crewmembers.

Sleeptime for the ISS crew began this morning at 3:15am, for the Shuttle crew at 3:45am. For both crews workday started today at 11:45am EDT.

Main activities of today's workday (FD15):

TEKh-20 Plasma Crystal-3+ (Plazmennyi-Kristall/PK-3+)PK-3 by FE-1 Malenchenko: turbopump activation at 11:45am, conduct experiment in semi-automatic mode, experiment deactivation & removal by 6:45pm;
RIGEX deactivation by Mike Foreman;
Urine transfer by Yuri from EDV-U containers (#349, #374) to the BV2 Rodnik water tank of Progress 28P for disposal (pumping setup left in place for more urine transfers on 3/28);
CDR Whitson removing the IWIS RSU from Node-2 (temporarily placed there earlier after its use in PMA-2 during the Russian thruster test);
Whitson & Eyharts packing experiment samples from MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS) in DCBs (Double Cold Bags, #1004, #1005)) plus their transfer to the Shuttle middeck;
Standard maintenance/inspection of CEVIS by Peggy;
Disassembly of the O2 pre-breathe transfer equipment between Shuttle and ISS (Gorie/Johnson/Whitson);
Final transfers as required (Foreman).
The traditional Crew Farewell ceremony will take place at ~5:20pm EDT, followed by air duct removal and hatch closure at ~5:50pm, handled on the ISS side by Peggy Whitson & Yuri Malenchenko. (Afterwards, Gorie & Johnson switch attitude control authority of the mated stack from ISS CMG TA (Control Moment Gyroscope Thruster Assist) mode to Orbiter control.)

Atlantis is scheduled to undock from ISS tonight at 7:56pm, two minutes after local midnight, after a total docked time of 11d 20h 7m. Sunrise will be at 8:13pm. After a one-orbit flyaround for photo imaging at 400-600 ft, starting at 8:25pm, final separation burn of Endeavour will be at 9:39pm (1.5 ft/sec, posigrade). Landing is set for Wednesday, 3/26, nominally at KSC at 7:04pm EDT. Total mission for STS-123-1J/A will then have been 15d 16h 36m. LĂ(c)opold Eyharts' total time in space will be 48 days, with 44 days on board ISS.

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 Garrett's wake/sleep cycle underwent a number of shifts which started on 3/11. For the next two days, the wake/sleep shift schedule is as follows, getting the ISS crew back on their regular schedule by Wednesday (all times EDT):

FD15 Wake: 11:45am (3/24) - 11:00pm (3/24)
Sleep: 11:00pm - 7:30am (3/25)

Wake: 7:30am (3/25) - 5:30pm (3/25)
Sleep: 5:30pm - 2:00am (3/26)

No CEO photo targets uplinked for today.

More... - Chronology...

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