After wakeup and before breakfast, FE-2 Dan Tani accessed the SLEEP experiment (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) software for data logging, completing questionnaire entries in the experiment's laptop session file on the HRF-1 laptop for later downlink. (To monitor the crewmember's sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, Dan wears a special Actiwatch device which measures the light levels encountered by him as well as his patterns of sleep and activity throughout the Expedition. The log entries are done within 15 minutes of final awakening for seven consecutive days, as part of the crew's discretionary 'job jar' task list.)
FE-1 Malenchenko supported the Russian TEKh-20 Plazmennyi-Kristall/PK-3+ (Plasma Crystal-3+) experiment on its sixth day, first 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, then starting the experiment, terminating it later and performing close-down ops. The turbopump will be deactivated tonight at ~4:25pm EST. (Main objective of PK-3 is to study dust plasma wave propagation and dispersion ratio at a specified power of an alternating electric field, pressure, and a varied number of particles, controlled by the experimenter. Afterwards, Yuri copied the data to USB stick for subsequent downlinking via OCA, and turned off the hardware. This experiment was performed with 3.42-micron particles. The main goal is to study behavior of structures affected by permanent electrical field of varying amplitude and to compare their behavior to that when being exposed to low-frequency AC field. This experiment is conducted in a semi-automatic mode, to generate a homogeneous plasma dust cloud with a small void in the center by incrementally stepping down RF generator power output. Like yesterday, Yuri made four attempts during the experiment.)
Malenchenko also 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 at ~3:55pm EST. (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.)
CDR Peggy Whitson worked in Node-2, making preparations for the later deployment of an SSC (Station Support Computer) for COL (Columbus). (For this Get-ahead task for Flight Day 6 of the 1E mission, Whitson registered the new laptop as SSC-13 and stowed it with its supplies and cables.)
FE-2 Tani set up and tested a PCS (Portable Computer System) A31p laptop in Node-2, including its UOP (Utility Outlet Panel). (The PCS was powered down once verification was complete.)
Later, Dan downloaded the collected data from his final CCISS(Cardiovascular & Cerebrovascular Control on Return from ISS) session on 12/4 and stowed the equipment. (CCISS studies the effects of long-duration spaceflight on crewmembers' heart functions and their blood vessels that supply the brain (='cerebrovascular'). Learning more about the changes in cardiovascular & cerebrovascular systems in zero-G could lead to specific countermeasures that might better protect future space travelers.)
FE-2 Tani had about an hour set aside for more hardware packing for return on STS-122/Atlantis.
The CDR meanwhile serviced the CSLM-2 (Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures-2) payload, initiating data transfer from its SPU2 (Sample Processing Unit 2) hard drive to the MSG MLC (Microgravity Science Glovebox Laptop Computer). (Afterwards, Peggy verified the data transfer, powered down CSLM-2, removed and stowed SPU2 and inserted SPU3 instead. Later, she also deactivated the MSG via its A31p laptop.)
In Node-1 'Unity' Whitson installed IMV (Intermodular Ventilation) equipment, replacing the starboard IMV Flange Saver with a new unit. (The new Flange Saver will slow the equalization rate between the Airlock and the ISS in the event of an emergency triggered equalization during EVA campout, to prevent possible ear damage due to the rapid pressure increase in the airlock.)
The crew joined in a 90-min. review of the latest timeline for the 1E missions, then, at ~10:25am EST, conducted a teleconference with ground specialists to discuss timeline particulars.
Peggy initiated charging an additional EMU battery in the A/L BSA (Airlock Battery Stowage Assembly) to support 1E. (The logistics team decided that this battery is needed in order to stretch the remaining EMU batteries out until new ones can be manufactured.)
Peggy and Dan conducted another 1E EVA procedures review and later tagged up with spacewalk specialists at MCC-Houston via S- & Ku-band.
The CDR also ran the periodic check of active U.S. payloads, i.e., cleaning the ANITA (Analyzing Interferometer for Ambient Air) inlet plus inspecting and filter cleaning of the CGBA-5 (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus 5) incubator payload. (The incubator is controlled from the ground with automatic video downlinked to Earth.)
Yuri Malenchenko completed the daily routine maintenance of the SM's SOZh environment control & life support system, with the regular replacements in its toilet system (ASU), plus the periodic checkout/verification of IP-1 airflow sensors in the various Russian Segment hatchways, including the SM-to-DC1 (22P) tunnel, and the FGB-to-Node and FGB-to-Soyuz passageways.
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, FE-2), TVIS treadmill (FE-1), RED resistive exerciser (CDR, FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1).
Afterwards, the FE-2 copied the exercise data file to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) laptop for downlink, including 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).
Progress Prop Line Purge: At ~11:25am EST, station attitude control was handed over from USOS (U.S. segment) momentum management to the RS MCS (Russian Segment Motion Control System) thrusters for the subsequent propellant line purge conducted by TsUP-Moscow on Progress 26P, docked at the DC1 Docking Compartment. For the purge operation, Dan Tani closed the protective Lab science window shutter. (The fuel lines were purged at 11:38am for the regular ~ 9 minutes, the oxidizer lines at 1:29pm, also for 9 min. Attitude authority returned to USOS at 1:40pm. The purge will prevent any further transfer of propellant with 26P which was left with sufficient propellant to support the 1E mission where it will be used for roll control.)
ATU-6 Update: Troubleshooting for the Airlock ATU-6 (Audio Terminal Unit #6) continued today. Audio engineers are reviewing the data dumps from the test.
Latest STS-122 Launch Advisory: The launch countdown is proceeding smoothly and there are no significant issues being worked. The launch window opens on Thursday, 12/6, at 4:26pm EST and closes at 4:36pm. The in-plane (optimal) launch time is 4:31pm and provides for a Flight Day 3 rendezvous and docking with the ISS. On 12/6, the weather forecast calls for a 90 percent chance of acceptable conditions at launch time.
CEO photo targets uplinked for today were Nile floodplains, S Sudan (Dynamic Event. ISS pass crossed the Nile where it forms a vast swampland with a complex pattern of channels on either side of the Nile. River channels here shift continuously. The present window between the rainy season (clouds) and the beginning of the fire season (smoke and fire scars obscuring patterns) is the best time to document changes in river course. This is part of ongoing research with interesting analogs for Mars. Images taken at nadir and a touch left -following the Nile in a mapping swath for ~2 mins -were requested), and Galapagos Islands (Dynamic Event. The present extra-dry La Nina phase should have caused a die-down of the little vegetation that exists. Documenting these extreme conditions was requested during this nadir pass.)