ESA ISS Science & System - Operations Status Report # 102 Increment 28
This is ISS status report #102 from the European Space Agency outlining ESA’s science-related activities that have taken place on the ISS during the past two weeks for different European experiments and experiment facilities.
The report is compiled by ESA’s Astronaut and ISS Utilisation Department in cooperation with ESA’s Columbus and Payload Operations Management and Mission Science teams from the Astronaut and ISS Utilisation Department.
ISS Utilisation Programme
The principal focus of the European utilisation of the ISS is the Columbus laboratory, which was launched and permanently attached to the ISS in February 2008. In addition to the science taking place using the internal and external experiment facilities of the Columbus laboratory, ESA also has some further ongoing research taking place inside the Russian Segment of the ISS and in the US Destiny laboratory. The current status of the European science package on the ISS is as follows:
European science and research facilities inside the Columbus Laboratory
Biolab and associated experiments
No activities were carried out using the Biolab facility in the two week period up until 9 September. Biolab is a multi-user facility designed to support biological experiments on micro-organisms, cells, tissue cultures, small plants and small invertebrates.
Due to the still ongoing functional recovery activities for the Biolab facility the TripleLux experiments’ execution has been deferred due to the Biolab microscope failure. The microscope which is needed for the TripleLux experiments was returned to ground with STS-134 and will be returned to the ISS to resume the utilisation of a fully functional Biolab after repair. The objective of the TripleLux experiments is to further understand the cellular mechanisms underlying the aggravation of radiation responses, and the impairment of immune function under spaceflight conditions.
European Drawer Rack and associated payloads
The European Drawer Rack was activated on 28 August and 4 September in order to support downlinking activities of footage from the Erasmus Recording Binocular 2 (see below).
The European Drawer Rack is a multi-user experiment facility which will host the Facility for Adsorption and Surface Tension (FASTER) and the Electro-Magnetic Levitator payload from 2012 onwards. FASTER is a Capillarity Pressure Tensiometer developed for the study of the links between emulsion stability and physico-chemical characteristics of droplet interfaces. The Electro-Magnetic Levitator (EML) will investigate thermophysical properties of metal alloys under weightlessness, supporting both basic and namely industrial research and development needs.
A KUBIK incubator is currently scheduled to process ESA’s ROALD-2 experiment before the end of 2011 with launch of the samples on Soyuz 29S (A. Kujpers’ flight). This will expand on the initial ROALD experiment from 2008 and will determine the role of a certain lipid in the regulation of immune processes and in the cell cycle under weightless conditions. Subsequently the KUBIK incubator in the European Drawer Rack will also be used to process NASA’s NIH Ageing experiment which is currently planned for the second half of 2012.
Erasmus Recording Binocular 2
On 28 August ISS Flight Engineer Ron Garan activated the Erasmus Recording Binocular 2 (ERB-2) and an index file was transferred to the European Drawer Rack and hereafter downlinked. On 3 September ISS Flight Engineer Mike Fossum carried out a filming session with the ERB-2 and the following day the footage was transferred to the European Drawer Rack for eventual downlink to ground. ESA’s ERB-2 is a new high definition ISS 3D video camera which had recently taken the first live 3D images in the history of human spaceflight. The ERB-2 was conceived by the Erasmus Centre of ESA’s Human Spaceflight Directorate and takes advantage of high-definition optics and advanced electronics to provide a vastly improved 3D video effect for mapping the Station.
Fluid Science Laboratory and Geoflow-2 / FASES experiments
As part of troubleshooting steps for the Fluid Science Laboratory (FSL), ISS Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa swapped two hard disk drives around in the facility’s Video Management Unit on 6 September. On 8 September the Geoflow Experiment Container was activated to continue troubleshooting steps for the Video Management Unit, however an error was encountered accessing one of the hard disk drives. The following day ISS Flight Engineer Mike Fossum exchanged these smaller hard disk drives for larger capacity units (146Gb) and the Video Management Unit software was upgraded.
These activities follow on from extensive activities for the Geoflow-2 experiment, which has been undergoing experiment processing in FSL since 21 March. All mandatory experiment runs have now been completed for Geoflow-2 except for the high-rotation runs. Additional experiment parameter runs using a different optical diagnostic mode have also been carried out on top of the mandatory runs. After FSL recovery a couple of weeks of experiment operations are still envisaged. The main experiment parameters of GeoFlow-2 are the core rotation speed, electrical field, temperature gradients and liquid viscosity variation of the spherical experiment cell with the experiment fluid.
Geoflow-2 (which follows on from the initial Geoflow experiment with new scientific objectives and a different experiment configuration) is investigating the flow of an incompressible viscous fluid held between two concentric spheres rotating about a common axis as a representation of a planet. This is of importance for astrophysical and geophysical problems such as global scale flow in the atmosphere, the oceans, and in the liquid nucleus of planets. For Geoflow-2 the incompressible fluid is nonanol which varies in viscosity with temperature (unlike silicon oil) to provide a different aspect of research with more of a simulation to Earth’s geophysical conditions.
The subsequently planned Fluid Science Laboratory experiment “Fundamental and Applied Studies of Emulsion Stability” (FASES) has been thoroughly prepared via a full scientific verification programme of the emulsions’ composition and the optical diagnostics’ adjustment. The execution of the FASES experiment will require the upgrade of the FSL Video Management Unit which is currently being attempted on orbit or otherwise following return to Earth by the SpaceX demo flight 3 before the end of 2011. The latter option would occur after the execution of the full GeoFlow-2 experiment. The flight of the FASES Experiment Container will be rescheduled to a later launch in 2012. This experiment will be studying emulsion properties with advanced optical diagnostics. Results of the FASES experiment hold significance for oil extraction processes, and in the chemical and food industries.
European Physiology Modules (EPM) facility and associated experiments
No activities were carried out using the European Physiology Modules facility in the two week period up until 9 September. The European Physiology Modules facility is equipped with different Science Modules to investigate the effects of long-duration spaceflight on the human body. Experiment results from the investigations using the European Physiology Modules will contribute to an increased understanding of terrestrial problems such as the ageing process, osteoporosis, balance disorders, and muscle atrophy.
Pulmonary Function System (in Human Research Facility 2)
No activities were carried out using the Pulmonary Function System facility in the two weeks until 9 September. The Pulmonary Function System is accommodated in NASA’s Human Research Facility 2, which was relocated from the US Destiny laboratory to the Columbus laboratory in October 2008. The Pulmonary Function System is an ESA/NASA collaboration in respiratory physiology instrumentation, which analyses exhaled gas from astronauts' lungs to provide near-instant data on the state of crew health.
European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS)
No activities were carried out using the European Modular Cultivation System in the two week period until 9 September after the successful processing of NASA’s Plant Signalling experiment. The next ESA experiment to take place in the facility is the Gravi-2 experiment which builds on the initial Gravi experiment in determining the gravity threshold response in plant (lentil) roots.
The European Modular Cultivation System, which was flown to the ISS in July 2006, is dedicated to biological experiments such as the effects of gravity on cells, roots and physiology of plants and simple animals. It was developed by ESA and is being operated jointly with NASA under a bilateral barter agreement which was renewed after the initial 2 years time frame.
Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System (MARES)
Activities were carried out between 29 – 31 August on the Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System (MARES) in order to replace bolts, reseat MARES hardware and troubleshoot the main Box which experienced powering up problems following installation. Following preparations and procedure review on 29 August, the following day Fossum and Furukawa removed Vibration Isolation Frame bolts, replacing them with modified bolts which were launched to the ISS. On 31 August the two astronauts reseated the MARES battery and checked its electronic connection to the MARES Main Box. With these activities completed MARES is ready for operations and the NASA part of the commissioning can now take place (scheduled for September). MARES is capable of assessing the strength of isolated human muscle groups around joints to provide a better understanding of the effects of weightlessness on the muscular system of ISS astronauts.
Following completion of an electrical checkout of the rack and activation of MARES (i.e. with no detailed functional testing), MARES will be placed in its on-orbit stowage configuration. In the future this will be tentatively followed up by functional testing of MARES in two parts: the first part without a crew member using the system, the second functional testing with a crew member in the loop using the system. These two commissioning parts will include testing of hardware and software as well as testing downlink capabilities. The first part has now been put in the planning for September.
MARES consists of an adjustable chair with a system of pads and levers that fit to each astronaut and cover different movements, a main box containing the facility motor and control electronics to which the chair is connected by an articulated arm, as well as dedicated experiment software. The system is considerably more advanced than equivalent ground-based devices and a vast improvement on current muscle research facilities on the ISS.
European science and research facilities outside the Columbus laboratory in open space
The latest Sun Visibility Window which opened on 24 August for the SOLAR facility to acquire scientific data closed on 4 September. During this period the facility was occasionally transferred between observation mode and idle mode depending on the orbital profile of the ISS. Sun visibility windows for SOLAR are open for the facility to acquire scientific data when the ISS is in the correct orbital profile with relation to the Sun. The SOLAR payload facility has been studying the Sun’s irradiation with unprecedented accuracy across most of its spectral range currently for around 3 ½ years on-orbit. This has so far produced excellent scientific data during a series of Sun observation cycles. Following the conclusion of the detailed technical feasibility study for on-orbit lifetime extension the science team will be able to continue gathering further science data in a period of increasing solar activity up to 2013 and possibly beyond.
Vessel Identification System (Vessel ID)
Successful data acquisition is ongoing for the Vessel Identification System (commonly known as the Automatic Identification System, AIS), using its Norwegian receiver, and telemetry is still being successfully received by the Norwegian User Support and Operation Centre (N-USOC) in Trondheim via ESA’s Columbus Control Centre in Germany. The Vessel Identification System has acquired an extensive amount of data since its installation in Columbus.
The Vessel Identification System consists of two different on-board receivers (NORAIS and LuxAIS), which were scheduled to be alternated every three months or so, and the ERNO-Box, which is used as a data relay for the Vessel Identification System, whose antenna was installed on the outside of Columbus during an EVA on 21 November 2009. A new LuxAIS receiver is currently scheduled to be transported to the ISS on Soyuz 29S towards the end of 2011. The Vessel Identification System is testing the means to track global maritime traffic from space by picking up signals from standard AIS transponders carried by all international ships over 300 tonnes, cargo vessels over 500 tonnes and all types of passenger carriers. Meanwhile various service entities have been asking to get access to the VIS data which is continuously acquired on Columbus.
European science inside the US Destiny Laboratory
Materials Science Laboratory (MSL) in the First Materials Science Research Rack (MSRR)
The Materials Science Laboratory was activated on 29 August for continued processing of the ‘Batch 2’ experiments which incorporate the second set of samples for the CETSOL and MICAST experiments and the first set of samples for the SETA experiment. The sample cartridge assembly (for the CETSOL experiment), which was processed on 25, 26 August in the Solidification and Quenching Furnace of the MSL was swapped for the first Batch 2 MICAST sample by Mike Fossum. A chamber leak test was performed afterwards. This first Batch 2 MICAST sample was processed on 30, 31 August with two different temperature adjustments being followed by solidification. The first Batch 2 samples were delivered to the ISS on STS-135/ULF-7 Shuttle Atlantis in July.
The first twelve CETSOL/MICAST experiment samples that were processed in the Low Gradient Furnace (which was replaced with the Solidification and Quenching Furnace earlier in January) have already undergone analysis by the relevant science teams on ground. The science team has already presented very promising preliminary scientific results stemming from analysis of this initial set of material samples. This constitutes an excellent basis for further materials research with international collaboration. The final MICAST sample from the first batch (belonging to NASA) which completed processing in the Solidification and Quenching Furnace of the Materials Science Laboratory in January is currently undergoing post-flight analysis. ESA’s Material Science Laboratory is the primary research facility located in NASA’s Materials Science Research Rack-1, which was launched on STS-128/17A and is installed in the US Laboratory on the ISS.
CETSOL (Columnar-to-Equiaxed Transition in Solidification Processing) and MICAST (Microstructure Formation in Casting of Technical Alloys under Diffusive and Magnetically Controlled Convective Conditions) are two complementary material science projects. The goal of MICAST is to study the formation of microstructures during casting of technical alloys. In space, buoyancy convection is eliminated and the dendritic solidification of the alloys can be quantitatively studied under purely diffusive conditions. The objective of CETSOL is then to study the transition from columnar growth to equiaxed growth that occurs when crystals start to nucleate in the melt and grow independently. The SETA (Solidification along a Eutectic path in Ternary Alloys) experiment is looking into a specific type of eutectic growth in alloys of aluminium manganese and silicon. Results of all these experiments will help to optimise industrial casting processes.
Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) and associated experiments
No activities were carried out using the ESA-developed Microgravity Science Glovebox in the two-week period until 9 September. SODI-Colloid 2 will be the next ESA experiment to begin processing in the MSG in October. On completion this will be followed almost directly with processing of the SODI-DSC experiment which will be the third and final Selectable Optical Diagnostic Instrument (SODI) experiment processed in the Microgravity Science Glovebox starting in November and running for about 7 weeks.
Colloid 2 follows on from the SODI-Colloid experiment which took place in the Microgravity Science Glovebox in September/October 2010 and is still undergoing detailed evaluation by the science team following return of the flash disks to Earth on STS-133 Shuttle Discovery, which landed in March. The Colloid experiment covers the study on growth and properties of advanced photonic materials within colloidal solutions. The focus is on materials that have a special interest in photonics, with emphasis on nano-structured, periodic dielectric materials, known as photonic crystals, which possess appealing properties and make them promising candidates for new types of optical components. Colloid is the second in the series of three SODI experiments.
The DSC (‘Diffusion and Soret Coefficient Measurements for Improvement of Oil Recovery’) experiment followed the implementation of the partially re-defined liquid mixtures in conjunction with the new ELIPS project DCMIX. The experiment is supporting research to determine diffusion coefficients in different petroleum field samples and refine petroleum reservoir models to help lead to more efficient extraction of oil resources.
The Microgravity Science Glovebox was developed by ESA within the Early Utilisation barter agreement with NASA. The Glovebox provides the ability to perform a wide range of experiments in the fields of material science, biotechnology, fluid science, combustion science and crystal growth research, in a fully sealed and controlled environment.
Portable Pulmonary Function System (PPFS)
No activities were carried out using the Portable Pulmonary Function System in the two weeks until 9 September following activities ESA’s Thermolab experiment in conjunction with the NASA’s Maximum Volume Oxygen (VO2 Max) experiment in the previous two-week period. The Thermolab experiment uses the ESA-developed Portable Pulmonary Function System to investigate thermoregulatory and cardiovascular adaptations during rest and exercise in the course of long-term exposure to weightlessness. The Maximum Volume Oxygen (VO2 Max) is aimed at measuring oxygen uptake and cardiac output in particular, during various degrees of exercise.
The Portable Pulmonary Function System is an autonomous multi-user facility supporting a broad range of human physiological research experiments under weightless conditions in the areas of respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic physiology.
Data acquisition for the ALTEA-Shield experiment has been continuing in its new location in the two week period until 9 September with the minimum 20-day acquisition period having been reached on 12 August (preferred duration is 30 days or more). On 31 August two of the six particle detectors went offline. These two detectors were pointing in the same direction which does not meet science requirements. The offline detectors were brought back online on 6 September and science acquisition continued with all six particle detectors until the end of the reporting period. There have currently been 41 cumulative days of science acquisition at this current location. The ALTEA-Shield experiment aims at obtaining a better understanding of the light flash phenomenon, and more generally the interaction between cosmic rays and brain function, as well as testing the effectiveness of different types of shielding material. The experiment continues to undertake a 3-dimensional survey of the radiation environment in the US laboratory which is followed soon by the corresponding measurements of different shielding materials with the ALTEA detectors on the ISS.
European science inside the Russian ISS Segment
GTS-2 (Global Transmission Service)
The Global Transmission Service was deactivated on 31 May 2009 though following negotiations with Russian representatives the instrument has been successfully reactivated and functionally tested for continuation as a cooperative joint European-Russian experiment on the ISS. This experiment is intended to test the receiving conditions of a time and data signal for dedicated receivers on the ground. The time signal distributed by the GTS has special coding to allow the receiver to determine the local time anywhere on the Earth without user intervention. The main scientific objectives of the experiment are to verify under real space operation conditions: the performance and accuracy of a time signal transmitted to the Earth’s surface from low Earth orbit; the signal quality and data rates achieved on the ground; and measurement of disturbing effects such as Doppler shifts, multi-path reflections, shadowing and elevation impacts.
Non-European science and research facilities inside the Columbus Laboratory
Human Research Facility 1
NASA’s Human Research Facility 1 was activated on 29 August in support of Internal Thermal Control System testing by ESA. Data for NASA’s Integrated Cardivascular experiment was also downlinked. On 7 September Mike Fossum used the facility’s ultrasound equipment to perform a leg muscle scan in connection with NASA’s SPRINT protocol. The same day Furukawa, Garan and Fossum used the facility’s Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device in determining the body mass of each one of them. Activities were carried out with the support of ESA’s Columbus Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany.
Human Research Facilities 2
NASA’s Human Research Facility 2 was activated on 30 August in support of Internal Thermal Control System testing by ESA. On 2 September Ron Garan underwent a blood draw for NASA’s NUTRITION w/Repository protocol. Samples were spun in the Refrigerated Centrifuge of Human Research facility 2 before being placed in one of the European-built MELFI freezers. On 6 September new software was uploaded to the Human Research facility 2 laptop. Activities were carried out with the support of ESA’s Columbus Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany.
The two NASA Human Research Facilities support different areas of physiology research.
ISS general system information and activities *
Columbus laboratory and Columbus Control Centre
In addition to the Columbus experiment facilities mentioned above, the Columbus systems have been working well. Some regular maintenance activities have been executed by the crew and the Flight Control Team on top of the regular conferences of the ISS Crew with the Columbus Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany.
Emergency Communications Proficiency Check
On 29 and 31 August the Columbus Control Centre took part in an emergency communications proficiency check together with ISS Flight Engineer and NASA astronaut Mike Fossum and the control centres in Houston, Huntsville Alabama, Moscow and Tsukuba, Japan. On 29 August this involved the VHF site at Wallops Station, Virginia. On 31 August this involved the VHF sites at the Dryden Flight Research Center in California and the White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico, USA.
Activities in the European-built Node 3
Following replacement of an Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) data cable on 6 September as a troubleshooting measure for its failed display, ground teams have determined that the Instrumentation Box of the exercise device is the source of the problem. Exercise however can still continue on the device. Resolution of the problem is currently being planned. On 6 September, ISS Flight Engineer and NASA astronaut Ron Garan undertook a session of the new Treadmill Kinematics programme on the T2/COLBERT treadmill which is making an assessment of current exercise protocols. The following day Garan reactivated the secondary channel of the T2 Power Avionics Unit to allow for higher speeds when running. These activities were in addition to the regular use, inspection and servicing of ARED and the T2/COLBERT treadmill in Node 3.
Regenerative ECLSS and Additional Environmental Control Racks
The two Water Recovery System racks, together with the Oxygen Generation System rack, form the Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) which is necessary in support of a six-person ISS Crew to help reduce upload mass. Other environmental control racks in Node 3 include an Atmosphere Revitalisation Rack and a Waste and Hygiene Compartment. Highlights of the two-week period until 9 September include:
Water Recovery System rack 2: Urine Processor Assembly
The Recycle Filter Tank Assembly which filters pre-treated urine for processing into water was again replaced on 1 September by Ron Garan.
Japanese Super Sensitive High-Definition Television camera
In preparation for a live event on 18 September ISS Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa carried another checkout of the Japanese Super Sensitive High-Definition Television camera from within the European-built Cupola Observation Module attached to Node 3 on 6 September. This included configuring the camera and cabling and filming images of the Earth’s surface through the Cupola windows.
Progress Logistics Spacecraft Activities
In the two weeks until 9 September Roscosmos cosmonaut and ISS Flight Engineer Alexander Samokutyaev initiated the bladder compression and leak check of one of the water tanks of Progress 42P to make it ready for transferring urine back into the tank for disposal. The Progress 42P logistics spacecraft is docked to the Russian Pirs Docking Compartment of the ISS. Progress 42P oxygen supplies were also used on 7 September to refresh the ISS cabin atmosphere.
With the launch failure of the unmanned Russian Progress M-12M spacecraft on logistics flight 44P to the ISS on 24 August, replanning of ISS activities has been ongoing in the two week period until 9 September. Soyuz TMA-21/26S is now currently scheduled to undock a week later than planned, on 16 September. With respect to on-board supplies these are sufficient even for a six person crew to last into 2012 with a stay of Soyuz spacecraft and associated crew for up to 210 days.
Soyuz TMA-21/26S and Expedition Crew Return Preparations
Orthostatic hemodynamic endurance tests
In the two weeks until 9 September ISS Commander Andrey Borisenko and ISS Flight Engineer Alexander Samokutyaev (both representing Roscosmos) carried out orthostatic hemodynamic endurance test sessions using the TVIS and T2 treadmills whilst wearing Russian ‘Chibis’ lower body negative pressure suits. The Chibis suit, which provides stress that simulates gravity to the body’s cardiovascular/circulatory system, helps to evaluate how the Soyuz crewmember would cope with exposure to gravity on return to Earth.
Soyuz-TMA seat fit-check
On 6 September, members of the ISS Crew (Borisenko, Samokutyaev and Garan) donned their Sokol spacesuits and carried out a fit-check of the Kazbek shock absorbing seats in the Descent Module of the Soyuz TMA-21/26S crew return vehicle in preparation for their return on 16 September. A leak check of their Sokol suits was carried out at the same time.
Kentavr Suit Checks
On 7 September Borisenko, Samokutyaev and Garan carried out fit checks of their protective Kentavr anti-g suits. These suits are worn under their Sokol suits during return and landing to help the long-duration crewmembers with the return into Earth’s gravity.
Soyuz 26S Descent Drill
A standard Soyuz descent drill was carried out by Borisenko and Samokutyaev on 9 September. The descent drill, which took place in the Descent Module of the Soyuz 26S spacecraft is for the review of Soyuz descent procedures including emergency procedures and manual undocking. The training sessions used a descent simulator application on a Russian laptop together with a descent hand controller.
Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) preparations
Testing of ISS onboard systems continued in preparation for launch of ESA’s third Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) called ‘Edoardo Amaldi’ to the ISS early in 2012. From 31 August to 4 September ISS Commander Andrey Borisenko carried out testing of the ASN-M Satellite Navigation System, running a test programme from a laptop linked to the three active ASN navigation electronics modules. The tests were carried out in different ISS solar array configurations to confirm that the there would be no ATV rendezvous and docking/communications issues during certain ISS orbital profiles. Borisenko ended the test programme on 4 September and downlinked all associated data. On 6 September the ASN-M Satellite Navigation System was returned to its pre-test configuration.
Minus-Eighty degree Laboratory Freezer for the ISS (MELFI)
There are three European-built MELFI freezers on the ISS: MELFI-1 and MELFI-2 in the Japanese laboratory and MELFI-3 in the US laboratory. During the reporting period Ron Garan installed panelling on two MELFI units (over empty Electronics Units locations) to prevent debris floating inside. Samples were also placed in the MELFI units for NASA’s Nutrition with Repository protocol (blood, urine) for Ron Garan and for NASA’s Integrated Immune protocol (liquid saliva) for Garan, Furukawa and Fossum.
External Robotics Activities
Numerous ground-controlled external robotics activities were carried out in the two-week period until 9 September. On 28 August the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator or Dextre (attached to the Station’s principal robotic arm) was used to open a Cargo Transport Container on an external platform and grapple a Remote Power Controller Module. The following day Dextre removed the Remote Power Controller Module from the container and installed it on the P1 truss, removing a failed Remote Power Controller Module in the process. The failed unit was placed back in the Cargo Transport Container. On the night of 6 September launch locks were removed from the Robotic Refuelling Mission payload by Dextre. On the night of 7 September Dextre’s Orbital Replacement Unit Tool Changeout Mechanism was used to inspect the Robotic Refuelling Mission payload to test how lighting affected viewing of the objects.
Multi Purpose Small Payload Rack
On 29 August Satoshi Furukawa disconnected all DC/DC Converter Unit cables on the Multi Purpose Small Payload Rack in the Japanese laboratory and checked them for bent pins or debris before reconnecting them. He continued the activities on 1 September, opening the facility’s working volume door and checking out the power supply line before installing the facility laptop. Activities were carried out as part of commissioning and due to a cable that was discovered not fully connected on 19 August. Furukawa continued check out and commissioning activities on 7 September.
Russian Segment Electrical Power System
On 30 August ISS Flight Engineer Sergei Volkov performed maintenance on the Zarya Module Power Supply System in the Russian Segment of the ISS by replacing one of the six 800A batteries.
Late notification of Orbital debris in the vicinity of the ISS was received in the two-week period until 9 September. However by 30 August this was deemed of no concern to plan a debris avoidance manoeuvre by the ISS.
High Rate Communications System
Ron Garan and Mike Fossum carried out extensive maintenance in connection with installation of the US High Rate Communications System in the two-week period until 9 September. After rotating the associated rack forward they upgraded two units of the Automated Payload Switch and routed related Ethernet cables to enable connection to the Ku-band communications unit, making the system programmable via the Joint Station Local Area Network and allowing for greater throughput of data.
Onboard Diagnostic Kit
ISS Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa carried out another test with the new Onboard Diagnostic Kit on 6 September using the medical laptop for undertaking a test session with a medical doctor at the Space Station Integration and Promotion Centre in Tsukuba, Japan. These tests are evaluating the equipment to be used as a medical diagnostic system on the ISS in the future.
Other activities that have taken place on the ISS in the two-week period until 9 September include: replacing five air ducts in the Russian Zarya module with new flexible air ducts; replacing a monoblock in the BVS computer system in the Russian Rassvet Module as part of troubleshooting a telemetry problem; installing and checking out new software on a Russian laptop for the SLS Laser Communication System; special inspection and service of the Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation System (CEVIS) exercise device; deploying and installing a laptop computer for the recently installed EXPRESS Rack 8 in the US laboratory; configuring a Microgravity Experiment Research Locker Incubator (MERLIN) unit for installation in EXPRESS Rack 6 in the US laboratory; troubleshooting the Inter-Orbit Communication System in the Japanese laboratory to try to determine the location of a short circuit in the power line; troubleshooting a temperature sensor of the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly in the US laboratory; checking out the cabling and socket pins of the Russian TORU manual docking system trainer; and inspecting cabling of the Vehicle Cabin Atmosphere Module (which identifies harmful in the ISS breathing air), as part of troubleshooting procedures.
(*)These activities are highlights of the past two weeks and do not include the majority of standard periodic operational/maintenance activities on the ISS or additional research activities not mentioned previously. Information compiled with the assistance of NASA sources.
ESA Head of ISS Utilisation Department
ESA Human Spaceflight Programme Communication Officer
Weekly reports compiled by ESA's ISS Utilisation Department.
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