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ESA ISS Science & System - Operations Status Report # 154 Increment 36: 7 – 20 September 2013

21/09/2013 577 views 1 likes
ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Columbus

This is ISS status report #154 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 and Astronaut Support Department in cooperation with ESA’s Columbus Operations teams from the ISS Programme and Exploration 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 on-going research taking place inside the US Destiny laboratory and the Russian ISS Segment within international scientific collaboration agreements.

The current status of the European science package on the ISS is as follows:

Human Research
Space Headaches Experiment
ESA astronaut and ISS Flight Engineer Luca Parmitano continued filling in weekly questionnaires (his 15th and 16th) on 13 and 19 September as part of the Space Headaches experiment. The weekly questionnaires follow on from one week of filling in daily questionnaires during the first week after launch on Soyuz 35S on 28 May.

The Space Headaches experiment is determining the incidence and characteristics of headaches occurring within astronauts in orbit. Headaches can be a common astronaut complaint during space flights. This can negatively affect mental and physical capacities of astronauts/cosmonauts which can influence performance during a space mission.

Immuno Experiment
On 10 September Luca Parmitano retrieved the IMMUNO experiment samples from a European-built MELFI freezer unit on the ISS, inserted them into a Mini-ECCO thermal conditioning container and handed the container over to the Russian crew. The container was returned to Earth on Soyuz 34S which undocked the same night and is now awaiting shipment to Europe. The IMMUNO experiment hereby concluded all on-orbit experiment operations in May 2013.

The aim of the IMMUNO experiment is to determine changes in stress and immune responses, during and after a stay on the ISS. This will include the sampling of saliva, blood and urine to check for hormones associated with stress response and for carrying out white blood cell analysis, as well as filling out periodic stress level questionnaires. The results will help in developing pharmacological tools to counter unwanted immunological side-effects during long-duration missions in space.

Circadian Rhythms Experiment
Luca Parmitano successfully carried out his fourth session of the Circadian Rhythms experiment from 19 - 21 September. During the session Parmitano donned the Thermolab temperature sensors, on the forehead and chest, and the Thermolab unit along with an Actilight Watch to monitor his activity. Hereafter measurements were taken for 36 hours.

The main objective of the experiment is to get a better basic understanding of any alterations in circadian rhythms in humans during long-duration spaceflight. This will provide insights into the adaptation of the human autonomic nervous system in space over time, and will help to improve physical exercise, rest and work shifts, as well as fostering adequate workplace illumination in the sense of occupational healthcare in future space missions.


ISS Partner Research
In addition to the European human research activities, NASA’s Human Research Facility 2 (HRF-2) in Columbus was used for centrifuging blood samples for NASA’s Pro-K experiment for ISS Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy on 9 September. Pro-K is testing the hypothesis that a diet with a decreased ratio of animal protein to potassium leads to decreased loss of bone mineral during flight. Centrifuged samples were placed in one of the European-built MELFI freezer units afterwards. The blood draw followed a five day period of urine pH tests and diet-logging for the experiment together with 24 hour urine sampling. ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano started urine pH tests and diet logging for Pro K on 16 September and completed these along with a 24-hour urine collection on 20 September. On the final day Parmitano also took blood samples for the experiment which were again centrifuged in Human Research Facility 2. Samples were placed in the MELFI freezer units.

NASA’s Human Research Facility 1 (HRF-1) in Columbus was used for undertaking ultrasound scans on 19 September for ISS Flight Engineers Luca Parmitano and Karen Nyberg in connection with NASA’s Ocular Health protocol. This included an ultrasound eye scan and a cardiac ultrasound with blood pressure.

This followed up activities with Parmitano and Nyberg undergoing visual tests, a tonometry eye exam which measures introcular eye pressure, and a fundoscope eye exam as well as providing blood pressure and vital sign data. The Ocular Health protocol is gathering physiological data in order to characterise the risk of microgravity-induced visual impairment/intracranial pressure on crewmembers assigned to long-duration ISS missions.


Biology Research
Biolab Facility Maintenance
The functional checkout of the Biolab microscope continued on 9 September, but the images received from the Flow Through Cell 2 were not as sharp as expected, indicating a possible misalignment of the microscope cassette. The issue is currently under engineering evaluation. On 18 September, a ground-commanded alignment test for the two Biolab rotors was successfully performed, followed two days later with a Handling Mechanism force test.  Biolab is a multi-user facility designed to support biological experiments on micro-organisms, cells, tissue cultures, small plants and small invertebrates.

The next Biolab experiment will be TripleLux-B in 2014.


Radiation Research
DOSIS-3D experiment
Data acquisition has been on-going for the Dose Distribution inside the ISS 3D (DOSIS-3D) experiment using the two active detectors deployed in the European Physiology Modules facility in Columbus. A monthly downlink of data was undertaken via the European Physiology Modules (EPM) on 19 September. The same day a European Physiology Modules software update was carried out.

The associated set of passive detectors (which were collected in by Luca Parmitano from various locations around the Columbus laboratory on 6 September) were handed over to the Russian crew and returned to earth for analysis on Soyuz 34S on the night of 10/11 September. The active detectors undertake time-dependent cosmic radiation measurements for the experiment, while the passive detectors are used in order to undertake 'area dosimetry' i.e. to measure the spatial radiation gradients inside the Columbus module.

The aim of the DOSIS-3D experiment is to determine the nature and distribution of the radiation field inside the ISS and follows on from the DOSIS experiment previously undertaken in the Columbus laboratory. Comparison of the dose rates for the DOSIS-3D and the DOSIS experiments shows a difference in dose level which can be explained due to the different altitude of the Station during the measurements. The DOSIS-3D experiment will build on the data gathered from the DOSIS experiment by combing data gathered in Columbus with ISS International Partner data gathered in other modules of the ISS.


Solar Research
SOLAR Facility
The latest Sun Visibility Window (the 69th) for the Solar facility to acquire data with its two active instruments (SOLSPEC and SolACES) opened on 14 September. Sun visibility windows for SOLAR, which is located on the external platform of Columbus, are open for the facility to acquire scientific data when the ISS is in the correct orbital profile with relation to the Sun. The SolACES instrument from SOLAR was in a warm-up configuration (as  a work-around to protect the instrument’s optics from degradation) at the start of the Sun Visibility Window in preparation for a reboost of the ISS using ATV-4 thrusters. Following the reboost SolACES was cooled down (in order to start science acquisition) on 16 September.  During data acquisition on 18 September SolACES did experience a problem reaching the expected gas pressure. Attempts to resolve the issue the following day also produced unexpected results. As such data acquisition is currently on-going with just the SOLSPEC instrument. SolACES was again placed into warm-up configuration on 20 September in connection with the Cygnus spacecraft docking. The current Sun Visibility Window is predicted to end on 26 September.

The SOLAR payload facility has been studying the Sun’s irradiation with unprecedented accuracy across most of its spectral range for more than 5 years. This has so far produced excellent scientific data during a series of Sun observation cycles. An extension to the payload’s time in orbit could see its research activities extend up to early 2017 to monitor the whole solar cycle with unprecedented accuracy.


Fluids Research
FASES Experiment in the Fluid Science Laboratory (FSL)
Another experiment run of the Fundamental and Applied Studies of Emulsion Stability (FASES) was completed on 11 September (after starting the previous day) on one of the FASES samples with liquid composition of 98% paraffin and 2% water. The preliminary assessment of the science team is that emulsification could be achieved in the sample but was more opaque than expected. In resolution of the opacity issue, this sample was heated up to 50 deg C on 17 September though this did not resolve the issue, the cause of which is still being assessed. However an optical scan of a following sample (another paraffin/water mixture) confirmed sample transparency.

The FASES experiment, installed inside the Fluid Science Laboratory, investigates the effect of surface tension on the stability of emulsions. Thin emulsions of different compositions are stored inside 44 individual sample cells through which the emulsions will be optically and thermally characterised. The overall experiment duration is estimated with a minimum of 9 months. Results of the FASES experiment hold significance for oil extraction processes, and the chemical and food industries.


Materials Research
Materials Science Laboratory and Batch 2a experiments
The Batch 2a solidification experiments  (CETSOL-2, MICAST-2, SETA-2) have resumed in the Materials Science Laboratory (MSL) following processing of the CETSOL-2 sample located in the MSL Solidification and quenching furnace from 17-18 September. The Batch 2a experiments had been temporarily on hold due to an unsolicited reboot of the Standard Payload Computer for the MSL which unexpectedly occurred during sample processing for one of the Batch 2a SETA samples. 

ESA’s Material Science Laboratory is the primary research facility located in NASA’s Materials Science Research Rack-1 in the US Laboratory and jointly operated under a recently renewed bilateral cooperation agreement. 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.


Technology Research
Vessel Identification System (Vessel ID)
Successful data acquisition is on-going 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. During re-entry of the fourth Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-4) on 7 September Vessel ID System data was used to refine position knowledge of the re-entering spacecraft as part of the overall strategy for ensuring a safe deorbiting of the ISS at the end of its life.

The Vessel Identification System has acquired an extensive amount of data for more than three years since its installation in Columbus. 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 Vessel ID data which is continuously acquired on Columbus.


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. Highlights of the two weeks until 20 September include:

  • ESA Uplink Capabilities
    An unplanned test file was uplinked successfully to a Columbus Mass Memory Unit on 7 September to confirm good uplink functionality following a software upgrade at the control centre in Houston on 4 September. The test file used was the same as that originally used to troubleshoot the problem affecting ESA data uplink which was attributed to the Front End Processor at the Houston control centre.
  • Ham Radio Sessions
    ISS Flight Engineer and ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano used the amateur radio equipment in Columbus for undertaking ham radio sessions with students at the Scuola Arti Mestieri Trevano vocational school for multimedia electronics in Switzerland, the Istituto Comprensivo Statale "E. Fermi - A. Oggioni" in Villasanta, Italy, and the Sarnelli De Donato Middle School, in Bari, Italy on 9, 16 and 20 September respectively. ISS Flight Engineer and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy also carried out a ham radio session in Columbus on 7 September with participants at the Duluth Children’s Museum, in Duluth, Minnesota.
  • Columbus High-definition Video Test
    On 16 September a successful high-definition video test was performed between NASA’s Payload Operations Integration Center in Hunstville, Alabama and the Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas to  demonstrate that live HD Video from Columbus video cameras can be routed directly to Houston via Huntsville. The test was supported by Luca Parmitano on orbit and the Columbus Control Centre by reconfiguring equipment for the test.
  • Columbus Audit
    Luca Parmitano completed an audit of the Standard Utility Panel Power and Data Connectors in Columbus and the equipment connected to them on 16 September and reported no variations to the expected configuration.
  • Soyuz 36S Docking Video Test
    A docking video test was successfully undertaken on 17 September with ISS Video being routed to Mission Control Center – Houston from the Columbus Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany.
  • Solar Array Maximum Power Up Test
    ESA’s Columbus Control Centre in Germany supported a 2-day Solar Array Maximum Power Up Test from 17-18 September.
  • Emergency Training
    The three current ISS crew members and ISS control centres took part in a training session on 18 September to test emergency procedures in the case of a rapid depressurisation and an ammonia leak.
  • Columbus Airloop Test
    On 18 September a test of the Columbus Airloop was undertaken to identify and characterize the hydraulic performance of the Columbus Air Loop in an unmanned configuration, when all three fans are active. The test was conducted during a period of low crew member activity within the Columbus module to minimize fluctuations in the environment.
  • Weekly Activities
    In addition to the above activities some standard weekly activities have taken place in Columbus including cycling of Interface Heat Exchanger Water On/Off Valves, Water Pump Assembly checkouts, and smoke detector tests.


Activities of ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano

  • Experiment Activities
    In addition to the European science programme detailed in other parts of this report ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano has carried out other research activities in support of the science programmes of ESA’s ISS partners. This included: being a subject of NASA’s ‘Reaction Self Test’ experiment which looks into how planned sleep shift for ISS crews affects performance; removing and re-installing alignment guides for the Combustion Integrated Rack in the US Laboratory for performing the Italian Combustion Experiment for Green Air (ICE-GA) which observes how different fuels burn in weightlessness (with a focus on second/third generation biofuels, or fundamental biofuel surrogates); performing weekly status checks of NASA’s Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus-4 and -6 biological experiments; and transferring accumulated imagery and additional tasks for NASA’s  Binary Colloidal Aggregated Test C1 (BCAT-C1) experiment which could help in finding new ways to produce plastics or extend the shelf-life of consumer products.
  • Other activities
    During the two weeks until 20 September, Parmitano and the other ISS crew members have had their regular Planning Conferences with ESA’s Columbus Control Centre as well as Mission Control in Houston and Moscow, and the Japanese Flight Control Team at the Tsukuba Space Centre. In addition Parmitano: conducted Crew Medical Officer training; and checked air and water samples for signs of contamination; carried out a Soyuz emergency descent review with ISS Commander and Roscosmos cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin; and carried out activities with the Diapason instrument in the US Laboratory which is used to measure the atmospheric composition on-board 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 until 20 September include:
    • Atmosphere Revitalisation Rack
      Following the failure of the Major Constituent Analyzer in the Atmosphere Revitalisation Rack in Node 3 on 31 August, Luca Parmitano replaced the failed unit on 13 September. However, the full functionality is not expected to be restored until 26 September in order to undertake a thorough checkout of the new unit. Alternative sensors are currently being used to monitor the air until the checkout is completed. On 19 September Major Constituent Analyzer calibration was successfully accomplished.
    • Water Recovery System racks:Urine Processor Assembly
      The Fluids Control and Pump Assembly of the Urine Processor Assembly was replaced by Chris Cassidy with the last on-orbit spare on 9 September. This followed an unexpected shutdown during processing in the previous reporting period. This restored normal Urine Processor Assembly functionality. The Fluids Control and Pump Assembly pumps urine from a wastewater storage tank to the Distillation Assembly of the Urine Processor Assembly for initial processing. An additional unit is scheduled to arrive on SpaceX-3 which is scheduled for launch in December.
    • Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA)
      Previously the crew installed a software update for the Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) and connected a network cable to allow TOCA data to be downlinked without crew intervention.  Initially, the network connectivity capability did not work.  On 13 September the crew rerouted the network cable to a different port and ground controllers confirmed that the TOCA is now connected to the Joint Station LAN as intended.


HTV-4 Re-entry
Following the unberthing of the fourth Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-4) from the ISS on 4 September, the ISS logistics spacecraft went through a planned destructive re-entry into earth’s atmosphere on 7 September loaded with items for disposal from the ISS. During the re-entry, an observation test was conducted using several ISS external and internal cameras to define their photographic exposure and pointing limits. This was also the first use of the Vessel ID System data to refine the position knowledge of the re-entering spacecraft. The test was conducted in preparation for an aeroscience experiment that will be conducted during the ATV-5 re-entry, as part of the overall strategy for ensuring a safe deorbiting of the ISS at the end of its life. The ISS was placed into an attitude hold configuration for approximately 1 hour to support observation of the re-entry.

HTV-4 also had the “i-Ball” Re-entry Recorder as part of its cargo during re-entry. The recorder is a private sector-developed device designed to gather environmental data during re-entry. The data analysis will lead to an identification of breakup phenomenon of the vehicle and decrease in the re-entry debris risks. At the same time, another purpose is to obtain design data for future re-entry vehicles.

Soyuz TMA-08M/34S and Expedition Crew Return

  • Cargo Transfers
    In the two-week period until 20 September, the ISS crew members have been involved in cargo transfer activities packing cargo for either return to earth in the Descent Module of Soyuz 34S or for disposal in the Soyuz Orbital Module. Return items include radiation dosimeters for ESA’s DOSIS-3D experiment and samples for ESA’s Immuno experiment.
  • Change of Command Ceremony
    The official ISS change of command ceremony took place in front of all crew members on 9 September with ISS Commander Pavel Vinogradov handing over command to Fyodor Yurchikhin (both representing Roscosmos). However as with all Expeditions, Expedition 37 will officially begin following undocking of the departing Soyuz/Expedition crew members.
  • Undocking Preparations
    Prior to undocking the Russian crew members removed temperature sensor and lighting equipment from the Soyuz Orbital module for reuse after Soyuz undocking, and checked out communications from Soyuz 34S to the ground. On 10 September following the joint crew farewell, the departing crew members (Roscosmos cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy) entered the Soyuz spacecraft, and clamps were removed between the Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft and the “Poisk” Mini Research Module 2 to which it was docked. Following Soyuz activation the hatches between the Soyuz and the Poisk Module were closed and relevant leak checks were carried out.
  • Soyuz TMA-08M/34S, Expedition 36 Undocking and Landing
    Undocking occurred at 01:34 (CEST) on 11 September. A few minutes after undocking, the Soyuz performed its first separation burn. At 04:05 (CEST) the Soyuz spacecraft performed its deorbit thruster burn. 30 minutes later the spacecraft went through module separation followed by atmospheric re-entry. After parachute deployment the Soyuz 34S landed at 04:58 (CEST), 08:58 local time on 11 September in Kazakhstan. Vinogradov, Misurkin and Cassidy had spent 166 days in space. From here the crew were flown to Kustanai in Kazakhstan. Vinogradov and Misurkin were flown on to Star City in Moscow. Cassidy was flown to Houston. Undocking of Soyuz TMA-08M marked the end of Expedition 36 and the start of Expedition 37, which consists currently of ISS Expedition 37 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin (Roscosmos) and ISS Expedition 37 Flight Engineers Luca Parmitano (ESA) and Karen Nyberg (NASA) until three additional crew arrive following launch on 25 September.


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. In the two-week reporting period, blood and urine samples were installed inside MELFI units for ISS Flight Engineers Chris Cassidy and Luca Parmitano for NASA’s Pro-K experiment. Samples for ESA’s Immuno experiment were also removed from one of the MELFI units and returned to earth on Soyuz 34S.

Microgravity Science Glovebox
The Microgravity Science Glovebox was active in the two-week period until 20 September in order to undertake numerous runs for NASA’s InSPACE-3 (Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions 3) experiment. InSPACE-3 studies the fundamental behaviour of magnetic colloidal fluids under the influence of various magnetic fields. On-orbit activities were undertaken on different days by ISS Flight Engineers Luca Parmitano and Karen Nyberg.

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.

Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) Activities
Orbit Correction System thrusters of Europe’s fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-4) called “Albert Einstein” were used to carry out a reboost of the ISS on 15 September. This raised the orbital altitude of the ISS, setting up phasing for the arrival of three Expedition 37 crewmembers following their launch in Soyuz TMA-10M on 25 September. The reboost lasted 3 min 25 sec. ISS Flight Engineers Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy (both Roscosmos) and  Mike Hopkins (NASA) are the crew members awaiting launch.

Cygnus Spacecraft Launch and Docking

  • Launch
    Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus spacecraft was launched successfully into orbit by the Antares launcher from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia on 18 September at 16:58 CEST (10:58 local time). Following insertion into orbit the spacecraft’s solar arrays were successfully deployed and orbital manoeuvre/navigation testing was undertaken. A tracking satellite issue was experienced though a workaround was quickly put in place until a permanent solution can be found. Cygnus is a commercial unmanned spacecraft under NASA contract which is on its very first flight to the ISS. The Cygnus spacecraft was due to be berthed to the Earth-facing docking port of the European-built Node 2 on 22 September for a one month stay at the station. However, this has now been delayed until to no earlier than 28 September in order to initiate a software fix for a data format mismatch and also to allow the next Soyuz (36S/TMA-10M) to dock following its launch on 25 September. Cygnus, which is capable of carrying up to 2.7 tonnes of cargo and on its demo flight is delivering around 600 kg of crew supplies. In the days following launch Cygnus has been undertaking a number of test objectives to validate the functionality of the spacecraft.
  • Docking Preparations: Robotics
    In the two weeks until 20 September ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg have been undertaking rendezvous and berthing training on the ISS in advance of the Cygnus arrival on its first demo flight (Orb-D1) to the ISS. On 9 September Nyberg and Parmitano manoeuvred the Space Station’s principal robotic arm (Canadarm-2) into and out of the grapple envelope around the ISS Permanent Multipurpose Module, repeating the manoeuvre six times before moving the robotic arm back to a High Hover position. Hereafter ground controllers moved Canadarm-2 to undertake a checkout together with the Robotics Workstation in the European-built Cupola Module. On 13 September ground controllers undertook a checkout of Canadarm-2’s Latching End Effector, making sure everything was in the correct configuration for the robotic capture of Cygnus as well as a checkout of a  Mobile Transporter worksite on the Station’s truss in case this site is needed during Cygnus capture procedures. On 17 September Parmitano and Nyberg carried out a similar robotics on-board training session for capturing Cygnus as well as a simulated robotics training session the following day.
  • Docking Preparations: Other
    Parmitano started gathering items for disposal in the Cygnus spacecraft following its arrival. The items were temporarily stowed in the Endcone of the European-built Permanent Multipurpose Module.  In addition ground controllers at the Tsukuba and Houston control centres worked with Nyberg to activate and checkout the Proximity equipment located within the Japanese laboratory on 13 September. Ground teams continued checkout activities through the night. Parmitano installed the Centreline Berthing Camera System onto the Node 2 Earth-facing  hatch window on 16 September and connected the associated power, video, and electronics cables. This was followed by an associated checkout. The Centerline Berthing Camera System is used to help the flight control teams monitor the berthing activities. Parmitano also gathered and verified the hardware needed to outfit the vestibule where Cygnus will be attached and ground controllers checked out the Common Berthing Mechanism on the Earth-facing hatch where the Cygnus spacecraft will be berthed.


Other Activities
Other activities that have taken place on the ISS in the two-week period until 20 September include: replacement of a hard disk drive and additional activities for the Device for the study of Critical Liquids and Crystallization (DECLIC) which supports the study of material growth and liquids behaviour near their critical point; cleaning crew quarters in preparation for the arrival of additional crew members;    additional test runs with the Amine Swingbed hardware which is testing a more efficient way of removing carbon dioxide from the ISS cabin atmosphere; and replacement of the Ammonia Respirator Kits with new Emergency Mask Kits followed by an on-board training with the new equipment. The new Emergency Mask Kits are able to be used for ammonia or smoke scenarios versus the older kits which were solely used for ammonia.  

(*)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.

Martin Zell  
ESA Head of ISS Utilisation Department

Rosita Suenson  
ESA Human Spaceflight Programme Communication Officer

Weekly reports compiled by ESA's ISS Utilisation Department.

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