Encyclopedia Astronautica
2008.04.07 - ISS On-Orbit Status 04/07/08


Underway: Week 25 of Increment 16.

This morning at 4:49am EDT, Progress M-63/28P successfully undocked from the ISS. All separation burns went off nominally, and the deorbit burn followed at 7:50am for destructive reentry over the Pacific Ocean. This freed the DC1 Docking Compartment port for Soyuz TMA-12/16S docking on 4/10 at ~9:02am. (For the undocking, ISS attitude control was handed over to Russian MCS (Motion Control System) at ~2:55am and returned to U.S. momentum management at ~5:45am, still in earth-fixed LVLH (local vertical/local horizontal). During the undocking, the station was in free drift for ~9 min. Structural response data were taken by MAMS (Microgravity Acceleration Measuring System) and the external truss-mounted SDMS (Structural Dynamic Measurement System). The undocking was preceded at ~4:15am by a temporary shutdown of the amateur radio equipment in the FGB (Ericsson) & SM (Kenwood) to prevent radiofrequency interference with the departing Progress vehicle.)

After the separation, FE-1 Malenchenko took the usual NIKON D2X w/80-400mm lens photographs of the receding cargo ship's docking assembly (from ~8-40 m distance) to verify that no rubber seals are missing on the DC1 docking interface and to assess seal integrity.

Malenchenko and CDR Whitson worked their way through the Soyuz descent drill, a standard preparatory training for every crew returning on a Soyuz. For the exercise, Yuri and Peggy spent two hours in the SM, tagging up with an instructor at TsUP-Moscow to discuss procedures. (The session included a review of the pertinent RODFs (Russian Ops Data Files), specifically the books on Soyuz Ascent & Descent Procedures, Emergency Descents, and Off-Nominal Situations, crew responsibilities when executing the flight program, visual crew recognition of SUS (Entry Control System) failures, contingency transition to manual entry control (RUS), etc. The training uses a Descent Simulator application on the RSK1 laptop. During the actual descent, Malenchenko as Soyuz CDR will occupy the middle couch, with So-yeon Yi in the right seat and Whitson in the Descent Module's left Kazbek couch. Pending the final State Commission decision at about 3.5h before undocking, 16S return is expected for 4/19, with undocking at 11:34pm EDT on 4/18 and landing near Arkalyk/Kazakhstan at ~2:52am EDT (12:52pm Kazakhstan time) on 4/19.)

Afterwards, the CDR and FE-1 tried on their KENTAVR suits for a fit check, supported by tagup with specialists (S-band). (The Kentavr ('Centaur') garment is a protective anti-g suit ensemble to facilitate the return of a long-duration crewmember into the Earth gravity. Consisting of shorts, gaiters, underpants, jersey and socks, it acts as countermeasure for circulatory disturbance, prevents crewmember from overloading during descent and increases orthostatic tolerance during post-flight adaptation. Russian crewmembers are also advised to ingest fluid-electrolyte additives, viz., three sodium chloride tablets during breakfast and after the midday meal, each time with 300 ml of fluid, and two pills during the meal aboard Soyuz before deorbit.)

Whitson & Malenchenko also took their pre-descent PMC (Private Medical Conference) via S- & Ku-band audio/video.

As Yuri conferred via S-band with ground specialists regarding Soyuz TMA-11/15S loading with return cargo, Reisman & Whitson made preparations for upcoming cargo transfer operations from the newly arrived ATV1 'Jules Verne'. (Preparations inside the ATV included installation of a TSR (Temporary Stowage Rack) at loc. ATV1D1, building a 'bungee jail' holding place for cargo, relocating stowage bags and adapter plates from rack fronts to the 'jail', and installing handrails.)

Later, Malenchenko closed the DC1-to-Soyuz PEV (Pressure Equalization Valve; Russian: KVD) and uninstalled good lighting fixtures from the Soyuz Orbital Module (BO) to be kept as spares for the SM. (The BO will be
separated and discarded along with the Instrumentation/Propulsion Module prior to atmospheric entry.)

The FE-1 also transferred a second set of Russian hand controllers, one for rotation (RUO), the other for translation (RUD), from the Soyuz to the FGB for stowage in the PILOT experiment container.

In the JLP (Japanese Experiment Module Experiment Logistics Module Pressurized Section), Garrett Reisman performed the periodic checkup on JLP status and shell temperatures by using the MKAM (Minimum Keep Alive Monitor).

After activating the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) facility, the FE-2 continued troubleshooting the EMCS (European Modular Cultivation System) and succeeded in clearing up the problem by determining that the EMCS main door was obstructed by an EMCS laptop cable. Garrett also straightened out a crimped water line. EMCS was activated, and hydration of the Japanese CW/RW (Cell Wall/Resist Wall) experiment began. (CW/RW operates in the EMCS facility in eight special ECs (Experiment Containers) which Garrett recently (3/30) installed on the centrifuges of the facility. The EMCS rack contains two rotating centrifuges that can support a wide range of small plant & animal experiments under partial gravity conditions. On Rotor A, the new ECs for CW/RW are EC92 in position A1, EC95 at A2, EC94 at A3, EC96 at A4, on Rotor B - EC97 in position B1, EC99 at B2, EC98 at B3, and EC100 at B4.)

In the Lab, Reisman performed IFM (Inflight Maintenance) on the OGS (Oxygen Generation System). (Garrett accessed it in its rack, replaced its H2 (hydrogen) sensor with a new sensor, mated its electrical connections and hooked up the QD (Quick Disconnect) between the O2 outlet hose and the N2 (nitrogen) purge unit. Then, after the OGS was powered for 20 min, the FE-2 reconnected the H2 sensor hose QDs, closed the rack door afterwards and turned on the WDS (Water Delivery System). Like the Russian Elektron, OGS produces O2 from water by electrolysis, dumping the also generated H2 through venting.)

Whitson conducted the periodic atmospheric sampling in the center of the Lab, SM and JLP with the GSC (Grab Sample Container), while Malenchenko used the AK-1M adsorber to collect cabin air samples in the SM and FGB.

Later, Yuri prepared the IPD Draeger tube kits with their accumulated air samples for stowage on Soyuz 15S and return to Earth.

Malenchenko also conducted the periodic (monthly) functional closure test of the Vozdukh CO2 removal system's spare emergency vacuum valves (AVK), in the spare parts kit. (The AVKs are critical because they close the Vozdukh's vacuum access lines in the event of a malfunction in the regular vacuum valves (BVK) or a depressurization in the Vozdukh valve panel (BOA). Access to vacuum is required to vent CO2 during the regeneration of the absorbent cartridges (PP). During nominal operation, the AVK valves remain open.)

Reisman downloaded the structural dynamics data collected this morning during Progress undocking by the IWIS (Internal Wireless Integrated System) from the RSUs (Remote Sensor Units) and NCU (Network Control Unit) to the SSC (Station Support Computer) laptop for subsequent downlink to the ground.

Yuri collected microbial samples of himself for the ESA/Russian experiment SAMPLE (Study of Microbial Communities Exposed to Weightlessness) with objectives similar to the US SWAB experiment. The samples were inserted in the MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS), Dewar 4, Tray B/Section 3. (Sampling will also include key areas of the ISS (switches, keyboards, personal hygiene equipment, etc) which will help determine what types of microbial species are present on ISS and how they adapt or mutate in space.)

Peggy & Yuri spent about an hour each on end-of-increment cleanup and departure preparations. (Instructions on packing of return items and a keep vs. trash list were uplinked for assisting Yuri and Peggy in their preparing for their return in the severely downmass-limited Soyuz Descent Module. Trashed items are being stowed in the Orbital Module (BO), to be separated along with the Instrumentation/Propulsion Module prior to atmospheric entry.)

Garrett Reisman 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.

The FE-2 performed the routine maintenance of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS) in the SM, including ASU toilet facilities systems/replaceables. (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 at the SKV-2 air conditioner for the Elektron-intended water, and processing U.S. condensate water as it becomes available in a filled CWC from the Lab humidifier.)

Working off the discretionary 'time permitting' task list, Yuri -

conducted 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),
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), and
serviced 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}), by monitoring the greenhouse, taking pictures and downloading them to the ground.
The crewmembers performed 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/fulltime), and RED resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-2).

Afterwards, Whitson downloaded the crew's exercise data file to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) for downlink, 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).

At ~10:45am EDT, FE-2 Reisman powered up the SM's amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, and power supply) and at 10:50am conducted a ham radio exchange with students at Osnovna škola (Elementary School) in Pazin, Croatia. (Elementary school Vladimir Nazor of Pazin is a school with more than hundred year's tradition, founded in 1890. It is one of the highest rated schools in this part of the country, with more than 1500 pupils. Robotics, electronics and ham radio activities are more popular every day, with pupils achieving awards in national competitions. Astronomy is one of the latest after-school activities, which combined with existing ham radio activities resulted in applying for the ISS school contact. Questions to Garrett were uplinked beforehand. 'When you were in space for the first time, how old were you?'; 'How long does it take from Earth to ISS?'; 'Were you afraid of going to ISS?'; 'What is the most frightening in space?'; 'Is it boring in space sometimes?'; 'How do you shower?')

Elektron Update: RSC-Energia has completed the final procedures for activating the Elektron without the ATV power/noise (EMI) filter and has delivered it to ESA for review.

Columbus Update: A replacement delta-P sensor for redundancy in the COL water loops will be manifested soon. Troubleshooting of the COL condensate water separator blockage is in work with NASA. An open loop command was sent to the SOLAR payload which is a major step in recovering the payload; the system can now operate on a fixed position to track the sun. BLB (Biolab) troubleshooting will require removal & replacement of the locking pin; the pin is requested to be manifested on Flight 1J. ESA is completing procedures for the FSL (Fluid Science Laboratory) laser switch checkout; planners will work on when to schedule the activity.

No CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today..

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