Day 190 in space for Peggy & Yuri.
Yesterday, Peggy Whitson set a new US endurance record of 374 days for the longest cumulative time spent in space, held before by Mike Foale (heading the list: Sergei Krikalev with 803 days).
With undocking time on 4/19 approaching, the ISS crew went on an irregular sleep/wake cycle:
Wake #1 this morning: 2:00am - 10:00am EDT;
'Nap': 10:00am - 2:00pm
Wake #2: 2:00pm - 1:00am (4/18)
Sleep: 1:00am - 12:30pm
Wake for E16/E17: 12:30pm - 4:45am (4/19) - E16 departs @ 1:06am
Sleep for E17: 4:45am - 2:00am (4/20).
Aboard ISS, the E16/E17 crew rotation/handover activities continue. Whitson, Volkov, Malenchenko and Kononenko have several hours crewtime between them for dedicated ('functional') CDR/CDR & FE/FE handover activities. In addition, there are 'generic' handovers where crewmembers are scheduled together to complete various designated standard tasks.
Upon wake-up, CDR-17 Sergei Volkov terminated his MBI-12 SONOKARD experiment session (his first), started last night, by taking the recording device from his SONOKARD sports shirt pocket and later copying the measurements to the RSE-MED laptop for subsequent downlink to the ground. (SONOKARD objectives are stated to (1) study the feasibility of obtaining the maximum of data through computer processing of records obtained overnight, (2) systematically record the crewmember's physiological functions during sleep, (3) study the feasibility of obtaining real-time crew health data. Investigators believe that contactless acquisition of cardiorespiratory data over the night period could serve as a basis for developing efficient criteria for evaluating and predicting adaptive capability of human body in long-duration space flight.)
From the US voluntary 'job jar' task list, after wake-up and before breakfast, FE-2 Garrett Reisman & SFP (Space Flight Participant) So-Yeon Yi again downloaded the SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) experiment data from their Actiwatches to the HRF-1 (Human Research Facility 1) laptop. Yi is participating for NASA under a Space Act agreement with South Korea. (To monitor the crewmember's sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, crewmembers wear a special Actiwatch device which measures the light levels encountered by them as well as their patterns of sleep and activity throughout the Expedition. The log entries are done within 15 minutes of final awakening for seven consecutive days.)
Floating in the Soyuz TMA-11/15S Orbital Module (BO), FE-1 Malenchenko dismantled and removed the LKT local temperature sensor commutator (TA251MB) of the BITS2-12 onboard telemetry system, along with its PZU-1M ROM (read-only memory) unit, now no longer required since the BO is to be jettisoned before 15S reentry. (The electronics was to be stowed on ISS for reuse in a future Progress vehicle.)
CDR Whitson cleared out some stowed equipment in Node-2 to make room for the setup and activation of the EarthKAM system by Reisman on 4/19 (first time in Node 2).
Dr. Whitson also conducted flow tests on the CDRA (Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly) as part of the ongoing troubleshooting of the assembly's delta pressure anomaly. (The first two attempts at CDRA troubleshooting have been inconclusive as to the cause of the delta-P increase but point to problems likely stemming from a blockage in the no.2 Desiccant/Absorbent Bed (DAB 202). Today's task was to evaluate flow conditions at three ports of DAB 202 to confirm where the blockage is. This task must be performed before Mission 1J to allow launch of a spare DAB if needed and its R&R during the docked period.)
Oleg Kononenko and Sergei Volkov, with Malenchenko's handover assist, completed the periodic checkout of the HMS CMRS (Health Maintenance System/Crew Medical Restraint System), followed by a health check of the HMS RSP (Respiratory Support Pack).
The FE-1-17 gathered measurements for the regular atmospheric status check for ppCO2 (pp Carbon Dioxide) in the Lab, SM (at panel 449) and COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), using the hand-held CDMK (CO2 Monitoring Kit, #1002). Batteries were to be replaced if necessary.
The CDR-17 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). The transfer pertained to a parameter table that was copied from BSPN into the RBO-3-3 Matryoshka radiation hardware. (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.);
Peggy & Garrett performed 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.)
FE-1 Malenchenko used the standard ECOSFERA equipment, set up yesterday, to conduct microbial air sampling runs for the MedOps SZM-MO-21 experiment, with the POTOK Air Purification System temporarily powered down, taking samples from cabin surfaces along with samples from crewmembers for sanitation and disease studies. The sample tubes were then stowed in the Kriogem-03 refrigerator for return on TMA-11. (The equipment, consisting of an air sampler set, a charger and power supply unit, provides samples to help determine microbial contamination of the ISS atmosphere, specifically the total bacterial and fungal microflora counts and microflora composition according to morphologic criteria of microorganism colonies.)
Yuri, with Sergei, also performed the MO-22 Sanitary-Epidemiological Status check, part of the Russian MedOps program. (To monitor for microflora, Yuri collected samples from surface areas of interior panels and hardware at various places in the Service Module (SM), the FGB, and the ATV 'Jules Verne', using cotton swabs and special test tubes which were then stowed in 15S for return to the ground.)
Later, the FE-1 used the Russian IPD-NH3 Draeger tubes, on a cartridge belt with a pump, to check the cabin air for NH3 (ammonia, from possible urine spillage), followed by the periodic air sampling with the AK-1M adsorber around the SM work table. The samplers were also stowed in the Soyuz 15S Descent Module for analysis on the ground.
In preparation for his return to gravity, Yuri Malenchenko undertook the second session of his fifth and final training session of the Russian MO-5 MedOps protocol of cardiovascular evaluation in the below-the-waist reduced-pressure device (ODNT, US: LBNP) on the Russian VELO ergometer, assisted by CDR Whitson as CMO (Crew Medical Officer). The activity was then closed out. (The one-hour assessment, supported by ground specialist tagup (VHF) and telemetry monitoring from Russian ground sites (at 6:11am 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 months in zero-G. The preparatory training generally consists of first imbibing 150-200 milliliters of water or juice, followed by two cycles of a sequence of progressive regimes of reduced ('negative') pressure, set at -20, -25, -30, and -35 mmHg for five min. each, then -25, -30, and -35 mmHg (Torr) for 10 min. each plus 30mmHg for 5 min. 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-1-17 Kononenko serviced the Russian BMP (Harmful Impurities Removal System), starting the "bake-out" cycle to vacuum on absorbent bed #2 of the regenerable dual-channel filtration system. The regen process will be terminated tonight at ~6:35pm EDT. (Regeneration of each of the two cartridges takes about 12 hours and is conducted only during crew awake periods. Filter bed 1 was regenerated yesterday.)
FE-2 Reisman continued his support of the CSLM-2 (Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures 2) experiment in the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox), today transferring the data for SPU-4 (Sample Processing Unit 4) from the ECU (Electronics Control Unit) to the MSG laptop, then removing SPU-4 from the WV (Work Volume) and installing SPU-8 for the next run. MSG was later powered down from its A31p laptop (~8:55am).
Afterwards, Garrett performed the periodic inspection & cleaning of the FDS (Fire Detection & Suppression) system's bacteria filters and SDs (smoke detectors) in the US Airlock (A/L), Node-1, Lab, and Node-2.
The FE-2 also worked in the ATV 'Jules Verne', rearranging temporarily stowed equipment to adjust the location of the vehicle's CG (center-of-gravity) for stable flight control, should its separation become necessary in a contingency. The stowage configuration was to be photographed for ground evaluation.
Both Whitson & Malenchenko are scheduled for another standard pre-descent PMC (Private Medical Conference) today.
After the rest period ('nap'), built in from 10:00am to 2:00pm to support synchronization of the crew's wake/sleep cycle for the Soyuz departure early on 4/19, today's second work period extends from 2:00pm to 1:00am tomorrow (4/18) morning.
First thing after their 'nap', Peggy & Garrett will be closing out their second session of the biomed experiment INTEGRATED IMMUNE (Validating Procedures for Monitoring Crew member Immune Function) by collecting one final dry saliva sample. A final saliva & blood collection is planned for tomorrow. (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), INTEGRATED 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 liquid saliva collections require that the crewmembers soak a piece of cotton inside their mouth and place it in a salivette bag; there are four of the liquid collections during docked operations.)
Whitson & Reisman will then work on EVA equipment in the A/L, resizing EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) #3018 for Robert Kimbrough for use on STS-126/ULF2 and EMU #3004 for Ronald Garan for contingency use on STS-124/1J.
Yuri Malenchenko will wrap up Russian biotech payloads for return on TMA-11 (specifically BTKh-12 (BIOEKOLOGIYA), BTKh-8 (BIOTREK), BTKh-31 (ANTIGEN) and BTKh-29 (GINSENG).)
Garrett Reisman is scheduled to fill out the regular FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire), his fifth, on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer). (On the FFQs, NASA/ESA astronauts keep a personalized log of their nutritional intake over time on special MEC software. Recorded are the amounts consumed during the past week of such food items as beverages, cereals, grains, eggs, breads, snacks, sweets, fruit, beans, soup, vegetables, dairy, fish, meat, chicken, sauces & spreads, and vitamins. The FFQ is performed once a week to estimate nutrient intake from the previous week and to give recommendations to ground specialists that help maintain optimal crew health. Weekly estimation has been verified to be reliable enough that nutrients do not need to be tracked daily.)
Yuri again has several hours reserved for packing & stowing of equipment on TMA-11, focusing mainly on a long list of discarded equipment which he secures in the Orbital Module, to be jettisoned along with the Instrumentation Compartment before the Descent Module's atmospheric entry.
SFP So-Yeon Yi, with Sergei & Oleg taking photo/video imagery of her VC14 activities as required, finishes up her KAP (Korean Astronaut Program) science experiments, which includes work on -
KAP01/Growth &mutation of plant seeds (monitoring, photography, filling out questionnaire),
KAP02/Identification of fruit fly genes responsive to gravity and responsible for aging (monitoring, video recording, later stowing),
KAP06/Study of the possibility of using traditional Korean food in onboard food rations (testing during crew Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, with video coverage),
KAP10/Earth observations; and
KAP11/Noise level reduction onboard the ISS RS (prep & setup, taking noise measurements and imagery at various locations, tearing down hardware & preparing kit for return).
So-Yeon also has two regular daily tagups with her consultant team at TsUP-Moscow via VHF-1 (~3:30am EDT; ~8:10pm), her fourth PAO TV interview, today with three children from Yangyang as well as with her mother (~6:25am), and a commemorative ('symbolic') activity on the air, performing a 'Show & Tell' with a 'Cheonsangyoulchaboonya (Space) Map', discussion of various flags from Korea, a Ten-Thousand Won paper money bill, and reading some poetry.
At ~9:35pm, So-Yeon is scheduled for an ARISS (Amateur Radio on ISS) ham radio session with students and teachers at Dae Jeon Science Hall in Korea.
Working off the voluntary Russian task list, So-Yeon also will transfer imagery and other data before sleeptime tonight from flash card to her RSK2 laptop HDD (Hard Disk Drive) for return to the ground.
Later, at 3:10pm, CDR Whitson will set up the video camera system for covering and recording the traditional Change-of-Command Ceremony at 3:20pm at which the Sergei Volkov will formally replace Peggy Whitson as the new ISS Commander for Expedition 17.
Reisman is to conduct the routine maintenance of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS) in the SM, including ASU toilet facilities systems/replaceables.
Malenchenko will complete 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).
Working off the Russian discretionary 'time permitting' task list, Yuri is to perform 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). (GCF-JAXA will be moved to TMA-11 tomorrow for return.)
At ~8:00pm, Reisman will set up and activate the VDS MPC (Video Distribution System/Multi-Purpose Converter) with its four downlinks to allow the ground to 'pull down' accumulated HDTV (high-definition TV) footage of onboard activities. Later (~9:05pm), the MPC will be powered off again.
The crewmembers are scheduled for 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), RED resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-1-17, FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1, CDR-17).
Afterwards, Sergei downloads the crew's exercise data file to the MEC 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).
VolSci Program: For the Voluntary Science program on 4/21 (Monday), Garrett Reisman was offered two choices for his selection: (1) a session with the SLAMMD (Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement - Body Mass Measurement) experiment; (2) an EPO (Education Payload Operations) Demo on space careers, creating a video discussing different careers found at NASA, to be used to produce an educational product to enhance existing education resources for students in grades 9-12. Selection is required ASAP.
CEO photo target uplinked for today was Lake Nasser, Toshka Lakes, Egypt (looking left of track for Lake Nasser in the foreground and the string of Toshka lakes beyond, in Egypt's southern desert. Images of shorelines to show the present status of declining water levels are of greatest interest).