Encyclopedia Astronautica
2007.12.12 - ISS On-Orbit Status 12/12/07


Dan Tani continued his work on the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) facility.

After wakeup and before breakfast, FE-2 Dan Tani again accessed the SLEEP experiment (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) software for data logging and 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.)

After his original troubleshooting (12/6) of the VDS MPC (Video Distribution System/Multi-Purpose Converter) with its four downlinks, the FE-2 activated the MPC to allow the ground to conduct HDTV (high-definition TV) playback and downlink operations. Later today (~2:00pm EST), the MPC was powered off again.

Also in the Lab, Dan Tani continued his work on the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) facility, terminating the second vacuum draw on the CSLM-2 (Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures 2) experiment, initiating the third draw, then terminating it after six hours and kicking off the final (fourth) overnight vacuum draw. After that, the ground will be ready for sample processing. (CSLM-2 examines the kinetics of competitive particle growth within a liquid matrix. During this process, small particles shrink by losing atoms to larger particles, causing the larger particles to grow (coarsen) within a liquid lead/tin matrix. This study defined the mechanisms and rates of coarsening that govern the manufacture with metals from turbine blades to dental amalgam fillings.)

FE-1 Yuri Malenchenko performed his second session of the ETD (Eye Tracking Device) experiment in the DC-1 Docking Module, first installing the target board, measuring distances and making hardware connections, then calibrating the setup and making the audio recordings of his eye tracking exercises from three different distances (60 cm, 100 cm, 150 cm).

After yesterday's temporary installation of the BUAP (antenna switching control box), Yuri continued the ATV PCE (Automated Transfer Vehicle/Proximity Communications Equipment; Russian: MBRL) testing in the Service Module (SM) by checking the AFU (antenna feeder unit) circuit lines and connections for continuity and RF (radio frequency) performance with a 'Standing Wave Coefficient' (KSV) test using an FSH3 spectrum analyzer from the GTS (Global Timing System). The FHS3 measurements were then transferred to the TP2 laptop and prepared for downlink to the ground.

After the testing, Malenchenko deinstalled and removed the BUAP from the onboard cabling system (BKS) and stowed it in the FGB at its original location. (The PCE/MBRL components for ATV prox ops are the space-to-space radio 'monoblock' (PCE Z0000), the antenna switching control box (BUAP), and the ATV control panel (PU) which Valery Tokarev dismantled last year (March 2006) after (reportedly successful) three-day end-to-end testing.)

Later, the FE-1 transferred application software log files from the Russian RS3 laptop to a CD-ROM disk for subsequent downlink.

CDR Whitson and FE-2 Tani had ~2 hrs reserved for stowing discarded U.S. cargo on Progress 26P, currently docked at the DC-1 nadir port, for disposal later this month (12/22).

After reviewing today's EPO (Educational Payload Operation) session and setting up the PD-100 camcorder, Dan Tani and Peggy Whitson performed and narrated a demo of Newton's 1st Law of Motion. Afterwards, the EPO hardware was put back in stowage. (The activities were downlinked in real-time video/audio via Ku- & S-band and taped on the ground. Today's activities were a repetition of a demo earlier this month which was out of camera focus.)

The CDR completed the PiP (Inventory Management System/Plug-in Plan) audit in the US Segment (USOS) started yesterday, listing Node-1 and Airlock UOPs (Utility Outlet Panels) and providing connectivity information including power supplies, cabling, and equipment updates to the IMS (Inventory Management System). (The audit allows IMS to accurately reflect the parent-child relationship for how equipment is plugged in on ISS.)

Tani meanwhile arranged for a better protected stowage place for a spare Ku-band Forward Link Receiver unit behind a closeout panel of the Node-2 DDCU (DC-to-DC Converter Unit) rack.

Dan also stowed a number of MLI (Multi-Layer Insulation) cover pieces in 'Harmony', which were retrieved and brought in from the recent external Node-2 outfitting work, such as the PDGF (Power & Data Grapple Fixture) mounting ring MLI.

Peggy serviced the EMCS (European Modular Cultivation System) in ER3 (EXPRESS Rack 3) by removing the water reservoirs from both rotors and replacing them with new reservoirs (#FM005 on Rotor A, #FM006 on Rotor B). The old H2O tanks were stowed. (The 298-kg EMCS, delivered on ULF1.1, is a multi-purpose combination centrifuge/growth chamber with eight small research containers that allows plant growth experiments to be carried out in controlled partial and microgravity conditions and under controlled pressure, light, temperature and humidity. The goal of these experiments is to enable growing plants in space that could serve as a basic nutrition source for astronauts on future long-duration missions to the Moon or Mars.)

Later, the CDR performed troubleshooting on the Node-2 ATU-15 (Audio Terminal Unit 15) on the port side, after verifying that the Node-2 starboard ATU-7 is functioning separately from ATU-15. (Troubleshooting of the failed ATU-15 was to include checking for debris in the ATU's headset/PMIC (Portable Microphone) connector, for a stuck control button, etc.)

The FE-2 undertook the monthly FDS PEP (Fire Detection & Suppression/Portable Emergency Provisions) safety inspection/audit. (The IMS-supported inspection involves verification that PFEs (portable fire extinguishers), PBAs (portable breathing apparatus), QDMAs (quick-don mask assemblies) and EHTKs (extension hose/tee kits) are free of damage to ensure their functionality, and to track shelf life/life cycles on the hardware (QDMA harness inspection was not required this time). In the USOS, there are a total of 5 PFEs and 7 PBAs, plus 7 QDMAs and 4 EHTKs.)

Whitson 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 CGBA incubator is controlled from the ground, with automatic video downlinked to Earth. ANITA continues to collect data every six seconds and downlinks the data daily to the ground team. ANITA monitors low levels of potential gaseous contaminants in the ISS cabin atmosphere with a capability of simultaneously monitoring 32 gaseous contaminants. The experiment is testing the accuracy and reliability of this technology as a potential next-generation atmosphere trace-gas monitoring system for ISS and future spacecraft. This is a cooperative investigation with the European Space Agency.)

Yuri performed the routine servicing of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS) in the SM. (Regular daily SOZh maintenance consists, among else, of checking the ASU toilet facilities, replacement of the KTO & KBO solid waste containers and replacement of EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine containers.)

Later, the FE-1 handled the daily IMS 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).

The crewmembers conducted 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), TVIS treadmill (FE-1, FE-2), RED (CDR, FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1).

Afterwards, Tani 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).

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Bosumtwi Impact Crater, Ghana (the crew had a nadir pass over this 10.5 km diameter impact structure. The crater is filled with a lake; cloud cover was expected to be minimal so the crew was asked to look for this distinctive feature. Ground recommendation was to start taking overlapping nadir frames along-track as ISS approached the African coastline as a good strategy to capture the crater), Lake Poopo, Bolivia (weather was predicted to be clear over Lake Poopo. Imagery of the shoreline of the Lake is requested for monitoring of water levels. Water levels respond quickly to changes in regional precipitation, making the Lake a useful indicator of regional climate change. Looking the left of track for the Lake, and for large white salars (salt pans) to the south), and Caracas, Venezuela (orbit track brought the ISS over the western urban-rural fringe of the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. The city is located in a valley of the northern Coastal Range of Venezuela. Overlapping, nadir mapping frames of the western metropolitan area, taken along-track, are requested).

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