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.)
Also before breakfast, CDR Whitson, FE-1 Malenchenko and FE-2 Tani performed the periodic Russian biomedical routine assessments PZEh-MO-7/Calf Volume Measurement and PZEh-MO-8/Body Mass Measurement (4th for CDR & FE-1, 3rd for FE-2), using the IM mass measurement device which Malenchenko afterwards broke down for stowage. (Calf measurements (left leg only) are taken with the IZOG device, a custom-sewn fabric cuff that fits over the calf, using the knee and lower foot as fixed reference pints, to provide a rough index of deconditioning in zero-G and effectiveness of countermeasures. For determining body mass in zero-G, where things are weightless but not massless, the Russian IM "scales" measure the inertial forces that arise during the oscillatory motion of a mass driven by two helical metering springs with known spring constants. By measuring the time period of each oscillation of the unknown mass (the crewmember) and comparing it to the period of a known mass, the crewmember's mass is calculated by the computer and displayed.)
Malenchenko and Whitson, assisting each other in turn, conducted a session with the biomedical protocol KARDIO-ODNT (MBI-5) in the "Chibis" garment, an extensive cardiovascular test of human pericardium (heart muscle) activity as well as of primary parameters of central and regional blood circulation at rest and under the effect of lower body negative pressure (LBNP, Russian: ODNT). (The Chibis provides gravity-simulating stress to the body's cardiovascular/circulatory system for evaluation of Yuri's & Peggy's orthostatic tolerance (e.g., the Gauer-Henry reflex) after 7 weeks in zero-G. The MBI-5 protocol again consisted 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 for five minutes each, while shifting from foot to foot at 10-12 steps per minute. The body's circulatory system interprets the pressure differential between upper and lower body as a gravity-like force pulling the blood and body fluids 'down'. MBI-5 data output include blood pressure readings with the Tenzoplus Sphygmomanometer, today without telemetry data monitoring but reporting of heart rate and blood pressure to TsUP-Moscow.)
Later today, at sleeptime, Malenchenko will start another data take with the new Russian MBI-12 SONOKARD (Sonocard) experiment, his fifth. (During sleep, Yuri will wear a shirt with the special SONOKARD device in the shirt pocket. The objectives of the experiment 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.)
After familiarizing himself with the BCAT-3 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-3) science payload, Dan Tani supported another session by setting up the MWA WSA (Maintenance Work Area/Work Surface Area) in Node-2 for BCAT Sample 3 operations, including arranging a digital still camera run by an A31p SSC (Station Support Computer) with EarthKAM software for automatically taking flash photography of the sample every two hours over the next several days. (On crew recommendation, the ground approved moving the payload to Node-2. Thus, BCAT-3 becomes the first science experiment conducted in the new Harmony node!)
Later, Dan also continued his work on the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) facility, terminating the final (fourth) vacuum draw on the CSLM-2 (Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures 2) experiment and initiating sample processing, to be run by the ground for the next 36 hrs. Dan's next intervention will be on 12/15. (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.)
CDR Whitson contributed to the current round of the monthly preventive maintenance of Russian segment (RS) ventilation systems, working in the FGB (Funktsionalnyi-Grusovoi Blok) to clean the detachable VT7 fan screens 1, 2, and 3 of the three SOTR (Thermal Control System) gas-liquid heat exchangers (GZhT4).
Yuri Malenchenko continued the extended leak checking of the spare BZh Liquid Unit (#056) for the Elektron O2 generator by checking the unit's pressure and charging it once again with pressurized N2 from the BPA-M Nitrogen Purge Unit (# 23) to 1 atm (1 kg/cm2). The last test pressurization was on 11/12. (During Elektron operation, the inert gas locked up in the BZh has the purpose to prevent dangerous O2/H2 mixing. A leaking BZh cannot be used.)
Dan Tani serviced the CSA-CP (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products) primary unit (#1051) by changing out its battery after turning it off first.
The FE-2 also filled out the regular FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire), his 6th, on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer). (By means of these FFQs, U.S. 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. At TsUP/Moscow, food specialists are currently preparing the Russian food 'menu' for delivery by Progress M-63/28P next February. 28P will carry 'bonus food' for Peggy and Yuri, plus about 15 kg of fresh food items (apples, grapefruit, oranges, lemons, garlic) in two containers.)
Peggy Whitson conducted 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. The current cue card (16-0018J), to be updated with today's data, lists 24 CWCs; ~1041 liters total) for the four types of water identified on board: technical water (793.6 l, for Elektron, flushing, hygiene), potable water (221.3 l), condensate water (0 l), waste/EMU dump and other (26.6 l). Two CWCs (#1004 & #1081, ~89 l) with potable water are off limits due to the Wautersia bacteria found in sample analysis, the source of which is still not understood. Impact of losing this potable CWC is negligible since there are sufficient drinking water supplies onboard. Also currently not to be used are nine CWCs with technical water (~389 l).)
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).
Yuri and Dan had another 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). (Discarded hardware, as specified on an uplinked list, includes such items as food containers, food waste bags, Penguin-3 suits, socks, coveralls, wipes & wet towels, medical kits, used & expired alkaline batteries, 35-mm film cassettes, hoses & adapters, cartridge belts with tools, etc.)
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 (FE-2), TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-1), RED (CDR, FE-2) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE-1).
Afterwards, Peggy 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).
At ~10:10am EST, Peggy, Yuri and Dan supported a 20-min joint crew news conference conducted with U.S. media at NASA centers and NASA Headquarters. (Media clients tape the event for use within their respective media outlets.)
At ~11:30am EST, the crew conducted their standard bi-weekly teleconference with the JSC Astronaut Office (Steve Lindsey), via S-band S/G-2 audio & phone patch.
US EVA-13 Update: Planning is going ahead on the spacewalk scheduled for Whitson & Tani next Tuesday (12/18) for comprehensive in-situ inspection & photography of (1) the damaged starboard SARJ (Solar Alpha Rotary Joint) and (2) the 1A BGA (Beta Gimbal Assembly) on the S4 truss, particularly its BMRRM (Bearing Motor Roll Ring Module, sometimes pronounced 'broom'). (Background: On 12/8, a currently unknown anomaly (most likely a short) caused a trip of three separate power feeds going through the BMRRM to the BGA ECU (Electronics Control Unit), resulting in loss of redundancy (i.e., the ECU remains powered by the redundant feed; the primary feed is off). To protect for 1E docking, the 1A BGA was then parked at 79 degs and latched. Last night, when the open RPC-1(Remote Power Controller 1) of RPCM (RPC Module) 1A A was commanded closed as a test, both it and the second RPCM feeding BGA 1A tripped open, indicating a short either upstream of the BMRRM (such as in the IEA/Integrated Equipment Assembly wiring, i.e., cables W05 & W06) or the BMRRM and downstream wiring (ECU or BGA platform). In addition to visual inspection, the spacewalkers will have to disconnect and reconnect connectors for the ground to isolate a short. Appropriate power inhibits will safe the connectors beforehand.)
ATU-15 Recovery Update: Troubleshooting of the portside ATU-15 (Audio Terminal Unit 15) in Node-2 by CDR Whitson on 12/12 succeeded in restoring the unit to function. The fault was found to be a sticky PTT (Push-to-talk) button. (The ATU will be left in standby and available for use as desired. Ground work is underway to correct the sticking action.)
MT Translation: Due to the 1E launch slip, Robotics engineers will translate the MT (Mobile Transporter) tomorrow (12/14; 11:41am-1:41pm) from WS7 (Worksite 7) to WS4, in order to protect the MT TUS (Trailing Umbilical System) cable from MMOD (micrometeoroid/orbital debris) damage. The rail cart will be returned to WS4 on or about 1/2/08 in time for 1E arrival. (Before the translation, the rail path will be surveyed with the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) vidcams for obstructions. RS thrusters will be disabled for the duration of the MT translation.)
STS-122 Tanking Test: The comprehensive ECO (Engine Cut-Off) sensor system test being prepared for 12/18 (7:00am EST), will take the External Tank (ET) through a nominal thermal/cryo cycle, i.e., LH2 tanking/detanking. Background: Employing the real-time TDR (Time Domain Reflectometry) method commonly used for locating faults in very long cable lines (e.g., twisted wire pairs, coaxial cables for telecommunications, surveillance (e.g., checking for wire taps), microcircuits, optical fibers, etc.), an electronic instrument sends out a fast-rise-time electrical pulse which either will be absorbed at the other end if there is no break in resistance (impedance), or reflected back in various ways depending on the discontinuity (break) in resistance encountered. From the known travel time of the pulse-and-echo, the location of the fault can be located to within centimeters. The breakpoints in the cabling for introducing the TDR pulse are being set up inside the MLP (Mobile Launch Platform) on the pad without any changes to any connectors, feedthroughs, cabling trays etc. in the ET and Orbiter from their nominal state.
CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked for today were Arkenu 1 and Arkenu 2 Impact Craters (ISS had a nadir pass over the paired Arkenu 1 (7 km diameter) and 2 (10 km diameter) impact craters. Both craters formed approximately 140 million years ago during impact of the same meteor. Looking for the circular crater structure formed by dark rocks - contrast is high with the surrounding desert. Nadir, overlapping mapping frames taken along-track were recommended), Tin Bider Impact Crater (this approximately 70 million year old impact structure is located in a range of mountains to the south and west of two major North African dune fields. The crater is 6 km in diameter, and the concentric ring structure of disturbed rock layers should be clearly visible with the long lens. Overlapping, nadir mapping frames taken along track were recommended), and Pilcomayo River Dynamics, Northern Argentina (weather was predicted to be clear over the inland delta (aka megafan) of the Pilcomayo River. Of particular interest are the branching channels and wetlands of the Pilcomayo megafan. Nadir mapping frames along track are requested to capture imagery of the current channel configuration).