(FD1 activities yesterday included the first two maneuver burns, DV1 (10:57am) & DV2 (11:50am), both with the SKD main engine. FD2 activities, started yesterday afternoon with Soyuz crew wakeup at ~4:05pm on Orbit 12, include systems & crew health status reports to TsUP, preparation of the Soyuz Habitation Module (SA) workspace, building attitude for and executing the DV3 burn, placing Soyuz back in its sun-spinning "barbecue" mode (ISK), and swapping CO2 absorption cartridges (LiOH) in the BO. Afterwards, the crewmembers will put on their Sokol suits and PKO biomed harnesses, transfer to the SA, activate its air purification system (SOA) and close the hatch to the Descent Module (BO). After activation of the active Kurs-A system on Soyuz and of the passive Kurs-P on the Service Module (SM), with a short Kurs-A/P test and several additional adjustment burns during automated rendezvous, station fly-around to align with the DC1 Docking Compartment will begin tomorrow at ~8:37am at ~400m range, followed by station keeping at ~160m (~8:46am) and docking at the DC1 port at ~9:02am. Volkov & Kononenko will replace Expedition 16 CDR Whitson & FE-1 Malenchenko. FE-2 Dr. Garrett Reisman remains on the station, joining Expedition 17 until early June when he is replaced by U.S. Astronaut Gregory E. Chamitoff on STS-124/1J. So-Yeon Yi, the 30-year old biotechnologist student from KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology) and South Korea's first astronaut, will return with Peggy & Yuri on 4/19 in Soyuz TMA-11/15S.)
In preparation for his return to gravity, Yuri also undertook his third preliminary session of the Russian MO-5 MedOps protocol of cardiovascular evaluation in the 'Chibis' below-the-waist reduced-pressure suit (ODNT, US: LBNP) on the VELO ergometer, assisted by Whitson as CMO (Crew Medical Officer). (The 60-min assessment, supported by ground specialist tagup (VHF) and telemetry monitoring from Russian ground sites (at 5:20am EDT), uses the Gamma-1 ECG equipment with biomed harness, skin electrodes and a blood pressure and rheoplethysmograph cuff wired to the cycle ergometer's instrumentation panels. The Chibis ODNT provides gravity-simulating stress to the body's cardiovascular/circulatory system for evaluation of Malenchenko's orthostatic tolerance (e.g., the Gauer-Henry reflex) after several weeks in zero-G. The preparatory training generally consists of first imbibing 150-200 milliliters of water or juice, followed by a sequence of progressive regimes of reduced ('negative') pressure, set at -25, -30, -35 and -40 mmHg (Torr) for five minutes each while shifting from foot to foot at 10-12 steps per minute, while wearing a sphygmomanometer to measure blood pressure. The body's circulatory system interprets the pressure differential between upper and lower body as a gravity-like force pulling the blood (and other liquids) down. Chibis data and biomed cardiovascular readings are recorded. The Chibis suit (not to be confused with the Russian 'Pinguin' suit for spring-loaded body compression, or the "Kentavr" anti-g suit worn during reentry) is similar to the U.S. LBNP facility (not a suit) used for the first time on Skylab in 1973/74, although it appears to accomplish its purpose more quickly.)
FE-2 Reisman continued his preparations of the MELFI (Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for the ISS) for upcoming sample stowage by swapping trays between Dewars 1 & 3 and retrieving more -32deg ICEPAC belts from stowage for insertion in Dewar 1.
After temporarily deactivating the Russian SKV-2 air conditioner, the FE-1 collected another set of condensate water (KAV) samples from the Condensate Water Recovery System (SRV-K2M), upstream of its Gas-Liquid Mixture Filter (FGS), in empty drink bags for return to Earth on Soyuz 15S.
Malenchenko conducted the periodic time synchronization between the RSS1 and the BSPN payload server, after testing functionality by checking data comm between the two computers and synching RSS1 to station time, in support of payload data transfers from the BSPN for subsequent downlink on OCA comm (via the Russian RSS1 laptop to a PCMCIA flash card). (Before RSS1/BSPN synchronization, the RSS1 is updated with the exact time as per the station clock (which in turn is synchronized daily from RGS/Russian Ground Site). Experiment control application is a payload file transfer program called ShellForKE.);
In the DC1 Docking Compartment, the FE-1 reconnected a cable to the comm panel to enable 'air-to-air' communications from the approaching Soyuz TMA-12.
As a test of the ground-controlled Russian onboard command sequencer (SPP) for the Korean VC14, Malenchenko conducted a PAO TV broadcast, downlinking messages of greetings for Cosmonautics Day (4/12) to the residents & municipal area of the city of Engels as well as to the students & faculty of the MAI (Moscow Aviation Institute) Aerospace Department. (At Engels, Yuri Gagarin learned to fly and, with other cosmonauts, practiced parachute jumping. It is also the location where he landed after his historic space flight on April 12, 1961.)
Later, after Reisman configured the designated A31p laptop in the FGB for converting analog-to-digital video, he and Malenchenko set up the system for a video transmission test from the RS (Russian Segment) over the MPEG-2 (Moving Pictures Expert Group 2) encoder to downlink via U.S. OpsLAN and Ku-band in 'streaming video' packets. Afterwards, Garrett deactivated the A31p again.
Garrett performed the periodic offloading of the Lab CCAA (Common Cabin Air Assembly) dehumidifier's condensate tank, filling a CWC (Contingency Water Container, #1062) with the collected water slated for processing. No samples were required this time. (Estimated offload time before reaching the tank's neutral point (leaving ~6 kg in the tank): ~30 min.)
The FE-1 completed 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, 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 suggested task for Yuri was the daily monitoring, picture-taking and downloading on the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("Plants-2") experiment. (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 are 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 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), RED resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1).
Afterwards, Peggy 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 ~4:10pm, Garrett is scheduled for 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).
OGS Update: In line with the Program decision to keep the Elektron oxygen generator deactivated for power reasons while the ATV vehicle is docked to the ISS, the US OGS (Oxygen Generation System) continues to operate. This morning the OGS production rate has been increased from in 25% to 50% (with day/night cycling enabled). This equates to ~6 lbm/day of O2 produced. Currently, the corrected ppO2 (Oxygen partial pressure) is 165.6 mmHg (21.7% max).
Columbus Update: Ground-controlled thermal checkout continues on the COL Air Loop, with air loop temperature control disabled for the duration of the ground commanding. The testing will continue through tomorrow. The crew was informed to minimize their time in Columbus during the testing since the module could have higher than expected temperatures.
CEO photo targets uplinked for today were Irrawaddy River Delta, Burma (continued mapping of the mouths of the Irrawaddy was requested. Many changes in vegetation and stream locations have been noted in this densely farmed zone), Chongqing, China (this is the biggest city in the western parts of China, with 4.1 million people. Looking a touch right. The city lies on the Chang (Yangtze) River, which is the visual cue from ISS), Toshka Lakes, Egypt (after many years of rising water levels, the Toshka lakes appear to be experiencing an extended decline. The last imagery was taken six months ago, so new detailed documentation is needed. Looking at nadir and a touch right. Dry lake floors are beginning to appear as water levels decline), and Luquillo Forest, Puerto Rico (the Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF) on the northeast tip of Puerto Rico, has been a center of tropical forestry research for nearly a century. In addition, the LEF is a recreation site for over half a million people per year, a water supply for approximately 20% of Puerto Rico's population, and a refuge of Caribbean biodiversity. Good 400mm imagery was recently acquired, and 800-mm images are now requested. Looking right on the tip of the island).