ESA ISS Science & System - Operations Status Report # 69, Increment 23
This is ISS status report #69 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 ISS Utilisation Department in cooperation with ESA’s Columbus and Payload Operations Management and Mission Science teams from the 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 and outside 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, WAICO and other near-term experiments
Biolab is a facility designed to support biological experiments on micro-organisms, cells, tissue cultures, small plants and small invertebrates. The Waving and Coiling of Arabidopsis Roots (WAICO) experiment was the very first experiment to take place in Biolab. WAICO deals with the effect that gravity has on the spiralling motion (circumnutation) that occurs in Arabidopsis plant roots. It is suspected that this spiralling mechanism is an internal mechanism in the plant, independent of the influence of gravity.
The four WAICO experiment containers reserved for return to earth after experiment processing were taken out of Biolab’s Thermal Control Unit 1 on 23 May and packed for return in an ESA thermal control container (ECCO) by ISS Flight Engineer Tim Creamer. The containers were transferred to STS-132 Shuttle Atlantis, which undocked the same day. Following Shuttle landing on 26 May the experiment containers were returned to the science team’s laboratory.
On 28 May preventative maintenance was undertaken on the Biolab facility including the exchange of biological isolation filters.
The TripleLux-B experiment will be the next experiment after WAICO-2 and tentatively be launched on ULF-5 (after the deferral of ULF-6) and be performed in the Biolab facility during Increment 25. The objective of this experiment is to further understand the cellular mechanisms underlying the aggravation of radiation responses, and the impairment of the immune function under spaceflight conditions. (The subsequent experiment, Triplelux-A, is scheduled to be launched on ULF-6 and executed during Expedition 26 in early 2011.
European Drawer Rack and Kubik Incubators
On 28 May work continued to bring the Kubik-3 incubator back to full functionality prior to the start of the PADIAC experiment. The incubator was disconnected from the European Drawer Rack and temporarily relocated to the Russian segment on 28 May where it was activated for functional testing. The incubator exhibited the same problem with the temperature and centrifuge displays as before in connection with the European Drawer Rack. Hereafter the incubator was returned to Columbus and resolution of the technical problems will be tackled by uploading two spare e-boxes for Kubik on the upcoming Soyuz flight 23S. Hence the PADIAC experiment upload has been deferred to the subsequent Soyuz flight 24S in September.
The PADIAC experiment requires both the Kubik-6 incubator inside the European Drawer rack as well as the Kubik-3 incubator which will be located in the Columbus centre aisle and connected to the rack. The Kubik incubators are transportable incubators with centrifuge accommodations which were designed in the frame of the ISS Soyuz missions for biology experiments processing. The goal of PADIAC is to determine the different pathways used for activation of T cells, which play an important role in the immune system.
The European Drawer Rack is a multi-user experiment facility which had been continuously active and providing power, data and temperature control to the Protein Crystallisation Diagnostic Facility before the conclusion of 3½ months of successful experiment runs in July 2009. The European Drawer Rack currently houses ESA’s Kubik-6 incubator and also has the Kubik-3 incubator connected to it.
In the future the European Drawer Rack will also host the FASTER (2011) and EML payloads (2012 onwards).
Fluid Science Laboratory and FASES/Geoflow-2 experiments
Additional measures are currently being worked on by ground control personnel in order to resolve removal of a tape drive from the Video Management Unit of the Fluid Science Laboratory. The Flight Acceptance Review for the Fundamental and Applied Studies of Emulsion Stability (FASES) experiment has started and after the Experiment Sequence Test in the associated User Support and Operations Centre MARS in Naples, the Experiment Container is foreseen to arrive at the ISS on Progress flight 39P in early September 2010. This experiment will be studying emulsion properties with advanced optical diagnostics. Results of the FASES experiment hold significance for oil extraction processes, chemical industry and in the food industry.
The hardware modifications for the implementation of the GeoFlow-2 experiment are basically concluded and final testing in progress in order to launch it on ATV-2 at the end of 2010.
European Physiology Modules and Experiments
The European Physiology Modules facility was activated on 28 May for the successful downlink of accumulated monthly data from the DOSIS experiment (see below) and data from the PASSAGES experiment. PASSAGES is designed to test how astronauts interpret visual information in weightlessness: it aims at studying the effects of microgravity on the use of the ‘Eye-Height’ strategy for estimating allowed actions in an environment, and whether this could possibly decrease after a long exposure to weightlessness. The European Physiology Modules facility is equipped with different science modules to investigate the effects of long-duration spaceflight on the human body, with experiment results contributing to an increased understanding of terrestrial problems such as the ageing process, osteoporosis, balance disorders, and muscle wastage.
The Dose Distribution inside the ISS (DOSIS) experiment is progressing well during its time on orbit, with the instrument acquiring data using the active DOSTEL detector in the European Physiology Modules, following deinstallation and return of the passive dosimeters on STS-132 Shuttle Atlantis. The passive detectors are now undergoing scientific analyses. The DOSIS experiment determines the nature and distribution of the radiation field inside European Columbus laboratory using different active and passive detectors spread around the laboratory. This is the first time that 'area dosimetry' has been undertaken on Columbus to measure the spatial radiation gradients inside the module.
Automatic Identification System (AIS)
The refurbished ERNO-Box and the NORAIS receiver were successfully activated on 1 June and telemetry was received at the Norwegian User Support and Operation Centre (N-USOC). Activation was in preparation for Automatic Identification System (AIS) commissioning. On 3 June the NORAIS receiver was successfully checked out and a Command Timetable file successfully transferred to NORAIS and executed. AIS commissioning was finished by the following afternoon.
The ERNO box is used as a data relay for the Automatic Identification System (AIS), whose antenna was installed on the outside of Columbus during an EVA on 21 November 2009. The Automatic Identification System will test 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.
Pulmonary Function System (in Human Research Facility 2)
No activities were carried out using the Pulmonary Function System in the two weeks until 4 June. The Pulmonary Function System is accommodated in NASA Human Research Facility 2, which was relocated from the US Destiny laboratory to the Columbus laboratory on 1 October 2008. The Pulmonary Function System is an ESA/NASA collaboration in the field of 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
No activities were undertaken using the European Modular Cultivation System in the two weeks until 4 June though EXPRESS Rack 3 in which it is located was used for taking structural dynamics data during Soyuz 21S undocking. 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 has been renewed after the initial 2 years time frame.
Genara-A is the next ESA experiment to take place in the European Modular Cultivation System. This experiment, which is now scheduled to be launched on the next Soyuz flight in June, will study plant (Arabidopsis) growth at molecular level in weightlessness. This will help to better understand gravitropism and to find plant systems that compensate for the negative impact on plant growth in space. ESA’s Gravi-2 experiment is planned to follow towards the end of 2010 before a further NASA experiment, SeedGrowth.
Microgravity Science Glovebox and SODI experiments
The Microgravity Science Glovebox was activated on 31 May and software loaded onto its laptop for NASA’s upcoming Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures-2 experiment, which will examine the kinetics of competitive particle growth within a liquid metal matrix.
The avionics hardware for ESA’s triple SODI (Selectable Optical Diagnostics Instrument) experiments is being analysed on ground before being returned to the ISS tentatively on Progress flight 39P in early September 2010 for continuation of the experiment series. The first SODI experiment to take place in the Microgravity Science Glovebox was IVIDIL (Influence of Vibrations on Diffusion in Liquids). This was successfully completed on 20 January. This will now be followed by the Colloid experiment, which covers the study on growth and properties of advanced photonic materials within colloidal solutions. This will take place following completion of ground analysis activities and return of SODI hardware on orbit. The Colloid experiment cells will be also uploaded on Progress flight 39P in August.
The DSC experiment (‘Diffusion and Soret Coefficient Measurements for Improvement of Oil Recovery’), will now be the third and final SODI experiment processed in the Microgravity Science Glovebox. The DSC cells, which originally arrived at the ISS on Progress 36P on 5 February, were returned on STS-131 Shuttle Discovery for re-filling due to SODI avionics failure and deferral of SODI experiments resumption until September 2010.
The Microgravity Science Glovebox was developed by ESA within a 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.
Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System (MARES)
No activities were carried out using the Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System (MARES). In the two weeks until 4 June. The facility will be used for undertaking neuromuscular and exercise research on the International Space Station. MARES is capable of assessing the strength of isolated muscle groups around joints to provide a better understanding of the effects of weightlessness on the muscular system.
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 for the SOLAR facility to gather scientific data opened on 22 May. The facility was placed in a safe configuration on 25 May for a Progress thruster firing to deboost the station to a lower orbit in connection with Soyuz 21S landing profiles. SOLAR was also safed for a braking thruster test for the Soyuz 21S spacecraft on 30 May. In the early morning on 1 June SOLAR was placed back in Pointing Mode following the opening of the new Sun observation window. Following an additional period in safe mode from late on 1 June to the early morning of 2 June to cover Soyuz 21S undocking, the facility was placed back in Sun Pointing Mode.
The SOLAR payload facility has been studying the Sun’s irradiation with unprecedented accuracy across most of its spectral range currently for more than two years on-orbit. The SOLAR facility 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 the maximum level in 2013.
European science inside the US Destiny Laboratory
Material Science Laboratory in the Material Science Research Rack
No activities were carried out using the Material Science Laboratory in the two weeks until 4 June. ESA’s Material Science Laboratory is the primary research facility located in NASA’s Materials Science Research Rack-1, which was launched together with a total of six sample cartridges for NASA and for ESA’s MICAST and CETSOL projects on STS-128/17A under a cooperation agreement with NASA and is now installed in the US Laboratory on the ISS. Processed samples for the CETSOL/MICAST experiments are currently being analysed on ground.
CETSOL and MICAST are two complementary material science projects, which carry out research into the formation of microstructures during the solidification of metallic alloys. 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. Results of these experiments will help to optimise industrial casting processes.
Portable Pulmonary Function System
On 3 June, following a software update two days previously, ISS Flight Engineer Tracy Caldwell-Dyson February performed a new session of ESA’s Thermolab experiment in conjunction with the NASA’s Maximum Volume Oxygen (VO2 Max) experiment. 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 condition in the areas of respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic physiology.
European science inside the Japanese Kibo Laboratory
ESA’s Matroshka payload, which has been located in the Japanese Kibo laboratory since 4 May, is continuously acquiring data about the radiation environment inside the ISS. The accumulated radiation levels are being measured using the passive radiation dosimeters (including PADLES type from JAXA) which were recently installed inside the Matroshka Phantom, which simulates a human body (head and torso). Following agreements with JAXA and Roscosmos, the joint long-duration experiment run will be performed until HTV-2 arrives in 2011. In the long-term Matroshka may again be accommodated on an external ISS platform to measure cosmic radiation levels in Low Earth Orbit which are of relevance for EVA activities.
European science inside the Russian ISS Segment
GTS-2 (Global Transmission Service)
The Global Transmission Service was deactivated on 31 May 2009 though negotiations with Russian representatives are ongoing for reactivation of the instrument and continuation of the so-called test mode. GTS will be tentatively a cooperative European-Russian experiment on ISS in the future. 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; measurement of disturbing effects such as Doppler shifts, multi-path reflections, shadowing and elevation impacts.
Additional European science outside the ISS in open space
The Expose-R facility, which was installed outside the Zvezda Service Module during the Russian-based spacewalk on 10 March 2009, has been in operation and acquiring scientific data in the two weeks until 21 May. A tentative return of the sample trays is foreseen for autumn 2010 which allows for a scientifically beneficial extension of the open space exposure period of 50%.
Expose-R hosts a suite of nine new astrobiology experiments (eight from ESA, one from IBMP, Moscow), some of which could help understand how life originated on Earth. This suite of experiments was transported to the International Space Station on Progress flight 31P, which docked with the ISS on 30 November 2008. The experiments are accommodated in three special sample trays, which are loaded with a variety of biological samples including plant seeds and spores of bacteria, fungi and ferns, which are exposed to the harsh space environment (Solar UV, cosmic radiation, vacuum), for about one and a half years.
The individual Expose-R experiments are as follows:
- AMINO : Photochemical processing of amino acids and other organic compounds in Earth orbit
- ENDO: Response of endolithic organisms to space conditions
- OSMO: Exposure of osmophilic microbes to the space environment
- SPORES: Spores in artificial meteorites
- PHOTO: Measurements of vacuum and solar radiation-induced DNA damages within spores
- SUBTIL: Mutational spectra of Bacillus subtilis spores and plasmid DNA exposed to high vacuum and solar UV radiation in the space environment.
- PUR: Responses of Phage T7, Phage DNA and polycrystalline uracil to the space environment.
- ORGANIC: Evolution of organic matter in space.
- IMBP: Exposure of resting stages of terrestrial organisms to space conditions.
Expose-R complements the exobiology science package that was performed in Expose-E, a twin facility which had been in operation on ESA’s EuTEF facility outside of Columbus since February 2008 until EuTEF’s return to Earth with the STS-128/17A Shuttle Flight in September 2009.
Non-European science and research facilities inside the Columbus Laboratory
Human Research Facility 1
ISS Flight Engineers Tracy Caldwell-Dyson and Timothy Creamer finished carried out another a week-long session of the NASA Sleep experiment from 24-30 May. Data from the experiment was downloaded to the Human Research Facility laptop.
Human Research Facility 2
Human Research Facility 2 was activated on 1 June and blood samples from TJ Creamer for the Integrated Immune, Nutrition and Pro K protocols were spun in the Refrigerated Centrifuge. Samples for the last two protocols were placed in one of the European-built MELFI freezers.
ISS general system information and activities *
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. Main points of interest include:
Cycle 12 software patch upload
Ground Controllers uploaded a software patch 25 to 27 May for all the computers in Columbus and performed a successful checkout of the uploaded patch. Reloading two workstation laptops with Cycle 12 software was carried out on 27 May by ISS Flight Engineer and NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell-Dyson. One of the laptops was then used to configure the Columbus LAN Switch with Cycle 12 configuration files.
Video set up for the Microgravity Science Glovebox
Video equipment was set up in Columbus on 31 May for recording Microgravity Science Glovebox activities in connection with NASA’s Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures-2 experiment including hardware installation and power and data cable connection. Ground controllers at the Columbus Control Centre support all payload operations in Columbus and can support these activities with adjustments in video coverage and settings as required.
Testing of the ASN-M Satellite Navigation System, needed for ATV 2 rendezvous and docking procedures at the end of the year, took place between 25 – 30 May. During the testing, carried out in four separate sessions, ISS Commander Oleg Kotov monitored the status of the redundant NPM receiver modules on the ISS.
Activities in the European-built 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 weeks include:
Oxygen Generation System
Troubleshooting on the Oxygen Generation System took place in the last two weeks due to a failed pressure sensor in the water pump. This included Caldwell-Dyson taking voltage measurements from its Process Controller to eliminate it as the cause of the problem. This was confirmed as voltage readings were at normal levels. The Oxygen Generation System is not critical for oxygen supply as other oxygen sources exist on the ISS.
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 27 May by ISS Flight Engineer and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi.
Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for the ISS (MELFI)
Currently there are three European-built MELFI freezers on the ISS: MELFI 1 and MELFI 3 in the Japanese laboratory and MELFI 2 in the US laboratory.
For MELFI 1 body samples for JAXA’s Mycological Evaluation of Crew Exposure to ISS Ambient Air (MYCO) experiment, and blood/urine samples for NASA’s Nutrition and Pro K protocols were placed in the freezer. Bioscience samples were also transferred by ISS Flight Engineer and NASA astronaut Timothy Creamer from MELFI to the Shuttle GLACIER refrigerator on 22 May prior to STS-132 Shuttle undocking.
For MELFI 2, Soichi Noguchi installed 48 ice bricks for sample preservation into two of the freezer’s Dewars on 24, 26 and 28 May. Samples for JAXA’s Ferulate (Regulation by Gravity of Ferulate Formation in Cell Walls of Rice Seedlings) experiment were also retrieved from MELFI 2 by Caldwell-Dyson on 27 May and started processing in the Japanese laboratory’s Cell Biology Experiment Facility. She place processed Ferulate samples back into MELFI 2 on 31 May and 1 June.
STS-132 Space Shuttle Atlantis Mission
Integrated Cargo Carrier Relocation
vvv On 22 May Piers Sellers and Garrett Reisman used the Station’s principal robotic arm to relocate the Integrated Cargo Carrier (carrying six old batteries) back to the Shuttle cargo bay from its temporary location on the external surface of the ISS.
Undocking and Landing
On 23 May following the usual crew farewells, the Shuttle crew entered STS-132 Atlantis. The Shuttle crew consisted of Shuttle Commander Ken Ham, Pilot Tony Antonelli, and Mission Specialists Garrett Reisman, Michael Good, Steve Bowen and Piers Sellers, all representing NASA. Hereafter ventilation ducting was removed and the hatches were closed. After hatch closure the standard one-hour leak check was carried out. At 17:22 CEST Atlantis undocked from the ISS, thereafter performing a Station fly-around for carrying out documentary image taking (photo and video). A final separation burn was then performed.
After undocking temporary ventilation was removed from Node 2 and Pressurized Mating Adaptor 2, where the Shuttle had been docked, was depressurised to prevent condensation. Communications systems were restored to their post-undocking configuration. STS-132 Shuttle Atlantis landed at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on 26 May at 14:48 CEST (08:48 local time), bringing the final scheduled mission of Atlantis to its conclusion.
Soyuz TMA-17/Expedition 23 Preparations, Undocking and Landing
Orthostatic hemodynamic endurance tests
On 25, 29, 30 and 31 May, Oleg Kotov carried out training sessions of medical operation procedures, twice using the TVIS treadmill and twice using the VELO ergometer respectively and all three times whilst wearing the Russian ‘Chibis’ lower body negative pressure suit. He was assisted by Kornienko during the activities. The Chibis suit, which provides stress that simulates gravity to the body’s cardiovascular/circulatory system, helps to prepare and evaluate how the Russian crewmember would cope with exposure to gravity on return to Earth.
On 27 May Kotov, Noguchi and Creamer carried out a fit check 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 TMA-16/20S Motion Control System Checks
ISS Commander and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kotov supported a ground-commanded checkout of the Soyuz TMA-17 Motion Control System on 30 May including testing the pilot’s translational hand controller and the braking thrusters.
Soyuz 21S Descent Drill
On 30 May Kotov, Noguchi and Creamer carried out the standard Soyuz emergency descent drill in the Soyuz 21S spacecraft to review Soyuz descent procedures including emergency procedures and manual undocking. The training used a descent simulator application on a Russian laptop together with a descent hand controller.
The official handover from ISS Expedition 23 to Expedition 24 took place on 31 May with all crew members present and with Oleg Kotov handing over commandership to Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov
Soyuz TMA-17/21S, Expedition 23 Undocking and Landing
Following Soyuz activation on the evening of 1 June, the hatches between the Soyuz TMA-17 and the aft port of the Service Module were closed and relevant leak checks were carried out. Undocking of Soyuz TMA-17 with Kotov, Noguchi and TJ Creamer, occurred at just after 02:04 (CEST) on 2 June followed by a 15 sec separation burn three minutes later. At 04:34 (CEST) the Soyuz spacecraft performed its deorbit thruster burn lasting 4 min 19sec. This caused a deceleration of 115m/sec. 20 minutes later the spacecraft went through module separation, with atmospheric reentry occurring at 05:00 (CEST). The parachute was deployed 10 minutes later with landing at 05:25 CEST (09:25 local time) near the town of Zhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. Kotov, Noguchi and TJ Creamer had spent almost 163 days in space. From here the crew was flown to Karaganda in Kazakhstan by helicopter. Kotov was flown on to Star City in Moscow, while Creamer and Noguchi were flown directly to Houston. Undocking of Soyuz TMA-17 marked the end of Expedition 23 and the start of Expedition 24.
The Progress M-05M/37P, docked to the Earth-facing port of the Pirs Docking compartment, performed a deboost of the ISS on 26 May. The ISS was lowered by 1.45 km in altitude during the deboost, which was carried out to help place the ISS in the correct orbital profile for the backup landing profile of Soyuz 21S. In the early morning of 5 June, Service Module main propulsion was used to subsequently reboost the ISS by 7.79 km to alter its orbital profile in connection with the arrival of Soyuz 23S and Progress 38P.
Combustion Integrated Rack
On 26 May Caldwell-Dyson replaced a Diagnostic Control Module of an Imaging Package in the Combustion Integrated Rack in the US laboratory. The control module is a software controller for the Imaging Package
Numerous activities took place in the US Airlock on conclusion of the STS-132/ULF-4 mission and associated spacewalks. This included stowing EVA tools; discharging EVA batteries; scrubbing the cooling loops of two EVA suits of particulate matter; and regenerating metal oxide CO2 absorption canisters.
Mini Research Module 1
During the two weeks until 4 June, transfer activities have been carried out for cargo transported in the new Russian “Rassvet” Mini Research Module 1 which was attached to the ISS on 18 May. Skvortsov checked the module’s Multifunctional Panel which contains the Caution and Warning displays on 3 June. He also checked out communications channels in the module. Rassvet, which means dawn in Russian, is principally a cargo storage module and contains a port for docking of Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecraft. The 5-tonne module is 6 metres long and carried about 3 tonnes of cargo during transport to the ISS, which included a spare elbow and limb elements for ESA’s European Robotic Arm or ERA which is due for launch in just over 1½ years time.
Other activities that have taken place in the two-week period until 21 May include: replacing a failed laptop computer at EXPRESS Rack 1 in the US laboratory; installing two new laptops in the Japanese laboratory and removing one older model laptop; replacing a purification column in the Russian condensate water processor; troubleshooting a pump of the Russian Thermal Control System; configuring a Power and Data Grapple Fixture adaptor for installation on the Russian ISS segment; and replacing a current converter unit in the Zarya Module.
(*)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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