Encyclopedia Astronautica
2007.12.26 - ISS On-Orbit Status 12/26/07

Yest kasaniye!

Progress M-62 (27P), approaching from below the station, docked nominally at the DC1 Docking Compartment nadir port at 3:14am EST, with automatic AO-VKA orientation antenna retraction, followed by docking probe retraction and hook closure ('sborka') at 3:23am after motion damp-out, while the ISS was in free drift. (Launched 12/23 (2:12am EST), the 27P resupply drone delivered about 2.5 tons of cargo for the ISS crews, including propellants for the Russian thrusters, fresh water, oxygen, food, spare parts, repair gear, life support and science experiment hardware. For the docking, ISS attitude control authority was handed over to Russian MCS (Motion Control System) thrusters at 11:48pm and returned to US Momentum Management at 5:06am. Starting with TV camera activation at ~2:37am (range ~8 km), the KURS TV camera display data overlay failed to show through docking despite attempts by the crew to activate the numerical display. The docking took place nominally, without violation of any joint flight rules, since Malenchenko and Whitson had all numerical data on a laptop before them. Telemetry was also available in TsUP-Moscow.)

In preparation for the docking, FE-2 Dan Tani set up the IWIS (Internal Wireless Instrumentation System) equipment for measuring structural dynamics disturbances (accelerations/vibrations) during docking. (RSUs (Remote Sensing Units) were connected to power outlets in Lab, Node-1, SM (Service Module) and FGB, with data transmitted to the Lab NCU (Network Control Unit) from the RS via cable, not wireless (due to previous experience with lack of RF signal strength). Later, the IWIS was powered down and the RS units removed and stowed.)

Earlier today, FE-1 Malenchenko and CDR Whitson had completed final preparations for Progress arrival, including turning off amateur (ham) radio equipment in the ISS to prevent any interference with Progress/KURS radio traffic, and activation of the SSC6 (Station Support Computer 6) A31p laptop in the FGB for handling the video transmission from the Russian segment (RS) via the Ku-band assets in the USOS. (The A31p used for the routing from the SM is located in the FGB since available cables are not long enough to extend to the Node. The video signal is fed from there via coaxial cable to the SSC Operations LAN (local area network) and from there into the Ku-band system for subsequent conversion from the Russian SECAM format to the American NTSC format on the ground. The newly set up VSW (Video Streaming Workstation) failed to convert and/or downlink analog video of the docking to MCC-Houston and thence to TsUP-Moscow. A second video stream, a digital MPEG (Moving Pictures Expert Group 2) transmission originating in the RS by the Russian/ESA encoder, passed without problem via the ISS JSL (Joint Station LAN) through Ku-band to both MCCs. )

Malenchenko and Whitson then monitored the docking process from the TORU (teleoperated approach & docking system) station in the SM, in 'hot standby' mode, and took photography of the Progress approach and linkup.

After the docking, the FE-1 shut off TORU and began reconfiguring the STTS telephone/telegraph subsystem to normal ops. (The "Voskhod-M" STTS enables telephone communications between the SM, FGB, DC1 and U.S. segment (USOS), and also with users on the ground over VHF channels selected by an operator at an SM comm panel, via STTS antennas on the SM's outside. There are six comm panels in the SM with pushbuttons for accessing any of three audio channels, plus an intercom channel. Other modes of the STTS include telegraphy (teletype), EVA voice, emergency alarms, Packet/Email, and TORU docking support.)

The crew then conducted the standard one-hour leak checks of the docking vestibule and fuel/oxidizer transfer line interface between Progress and DC1. During leak checking and initial clamp installation, Russian thrusters were inhibited (as they were during docking).

After opening the two hatches, Yuri and Peggy first installed the QD (quick disconnect) screw clamps (BZV) of the docking & internal transfer mechanism (SSVP) to rigidize the coupling, and the FE-1 removed the PkhO/DC1 (SU) hatch cover, reinstalled the IP-1 airflow sensor and assembled the ventilation/heating air duct.

Next, Malenchenko performed the standard air sampling inside the Progress with the Russian AK-1M air sampler, then deactivated the cargo ship. At the same time, the CDR also collected samples with a GSC (Grab Sample Container) at the center of 27P.

Peggy and Yuri then began Progress unloading and cargo transfer to the ISS, accompanied by IMS (Inventory Management System) logging. Malenchenko's first priority for the transfer was the new Japanese (JAXA) 3DPC-J (3D Photon Crystals) experiment, which Yuri set up in the SM. (3DPC hardware had been removed by Valery Tokarev on 3/23/06 as part of closing out JAXA's 3D-PCGF Growth Facility and was inadvertently returned to Earth. 3DPC studies the production of 3D photonic crystals, from UV LEDs, through self-organization and ordering of colloid nanoparticles in an electrolyte solution with subsequent fixation in an elastic gel matrix.)

CDR Whitson and FE-2 Tani had started the day with their daily reading of the SLEEP experiment (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) data accumulated during the night, for logging and filling in questionnaire entries in the experiment's laptop session file on the HRF-1 laptop for downlink. (To monitor the crewmembers' sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, Dan and Peggy wear 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.)

The FE-2 conducted his daily status check on the BCAT-3 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-3) science payload, running by itself in Node-2 since 12/13 (briefly interrupted for EVA-13 photo support). The status check, conducted on the last image taken by the DCS 760 digital still camera which is controlled by EarthKAM software on an A31p laptop, is to verify proper image focus and camera alignment. (The SSC (Station Support Computer) is taking photography of the phase separation occurring in the BCAT Sample 3, with the photo flash going off every half hour.)

Dan Tani performed the periodic offloading of the Lab CCAA (Common Cabin Air Assembly) dehumidifier's condensate tank, filling CWC (Contingency Water Container) #1062 with the collected water slated for processing, and putting aside two water samples in bags (1 sample bag, 1 purge bag) for return to Earth. (Estimated offload time before termination (leaving ~6 kg in the tank): ~40 min. Dan There is currently continued attention on water sampling after the discovery of some contaminated CWCs. The identified contaminant, a common soil bacterium (unicellular organism) called Wautersia after Belgian microbiologist Georges Wauters, is no more critical than what is found often in faucet water on the ground or in farm soil. Wautersia lives off hydrogen & carbon dioxide, oxidizing H2 and producing gaseous oxyhydrogen as energy for itself. Since it can turn sugar into a synthetic biodegradable fuel, it was seen for a short while as a promising long-term solution to the petroleum dependency, until it became clear that this 'solution' would require gigantic amounts of expensive sugar.)

Dan Tani worked on the RED (Resistive Exercise Device), replacing two canister pulley cables (done after every 53,515 cycles, based on life cycle testing results & safety controls), afterwards concluding with the standard Flexpac canister load calibration as required after cable replacements. (Last time done: 11/1). (In addition to the cords, the FE-2 also replaced the aft (right canister's) spiral pulley and a few of the bottom cover fasteners. Cables are replaced periodically after ground analysis shows cable life has expired. Dan's on-orbit calibration of the Schwinn RED cans re-established the relationship of specific load settings with a specific number of pulls per setting, followed by recording of the load values measured with a calibration tool and steel handles from the on-orbit calibration kit.)

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 (FE-2), TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation (CDR, FE-1), and RED (CDR, FE-2).

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).

Yuri took care of 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.)

Peggy Whitson readied the PZE MO-9 equipment for another Russian 'Urolux' biochemical urine testing, scheduled tomorrow for all three crewmembers. (MO-9 is conducted regularly every 30 days (and also before and after EVAs) and is one of five nominal Russian medical tests adopted by NASA for US crewmembers for IMG (Integrated Medical Group) PHS evaluation as part of the "PFE w/o Blood Labs" exam. The analysis uses the sophisticated in-vitro diagnostic apparatus Urolux developed originally for the Mir program. The data are then entered in the Medical Equipment Computer (MEC)'s special IFEP (In-Flight Examination Program) software.)

Later today, before sleep time, Dan Tani will ready the equipment for the periodic acoustic measurement protocol by deploying crew-worn acoustic dosimeters to the station residents, to be carried overnight with a microphone on the shirt collar. (Last time done: 9/11). (Tomorrow, after about 15 hours of measurements, dosimeter data will be downloaded and the hardware power-cycled for another data take. At that point, the crew will deploy the dosimeters statically in the station for the duration of the day, record measurements tomorrow noon and stow the instruments. Acoustic data must be taken twice per Increment, each time for the duration of the 16-hour crew workday.)

The FE-2 has two PFCs (Private Family Conference) scheduled, via S-band/audio and Ku-band/MS-NetMeeting application (which displays the uplinked ground video on the SSC-10 laptop), one with Clay Anderson at ~1:20pm , the other with his family at ~2:55pm.

Weekend Voluntary Science: For the voluntary 'Saturday Science' program on 12/29, Dan was offered, for his acceptance, a session with the SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites) experiment, flying two & three satellites and testing various deployment conditions aimed at operations improvement.

CEO photo targets uplinked for today again were Polar Mesospheric Clouds (PMC - also known as noctilucent clouds) over selected ground sites (12 minutes for each). Also suggested for Dan Tani were a series of night photographs of city lights. (Use of the footprint of city lights as a proxy for population size and density (in different cultures/economies) is proving out as a workable method of observing population change through time).

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