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Science & Exploration

ESA ISS Science & System - Operations Status Report # 70, Increment 24

18/06/2010 376 views 0 likes
ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Columbus

This is ISS status report #70 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 returned to earth on 26 May with STS-132 Shuttle Atlantis are undergoing analysis at the science team’s laboratory. On 8 June, a photo session of the Biolab Handling Mechanism was undertaken by ISS Flight engineer Tracy Caldwell-Dyson in connection with its blockage during the WAICO 2 experiment.

Hereafter Biolab’s Temperature Control Units were configured by Caldwell-Dyson for the upcoming TripleLux-B experiment in preparation for accommodation of the experiment containers. Fixation plates were installed and a damaged Velcro strap was replaced. Reference experiment containers were then installed on Biolab’s two centrifuges. Ground-commanded flushing and tightness test on the Life Support Module of Biolab and an alignment test on the two centrifuges was carried out via the Columbus Control Centre. The test on centrifuge B was fully successful while a plan to resolve alignment issues on centrifuge A are on going on ground. On 10 June the gas supply valves were closed.

The TripleLux-B experiment will be the next experiment after WAICO-2 and tentatively be launched on Shuttle Flight 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 9 June the European Drawer Rack was activated during commissioning activities for the Erasmus Recording Binocular 2 (ERB-2). ERB-2 is a high definition 3D video camera conceived by the Erasmus Centre of ESA’s Human Spaceflight Directorate. It was launched to the ISS on Progress 36P in February and takes advantage of high-definition optics and advanced electronics to provide a vastly improved 3D video effect for mapping the Station. Caldwell-Dyson took ERB-2 through a live test session with support via the Columbus Control Centre, filming both an optical target and herself. Images were downlinked via the European Drawer Rack’s Video Management Unit.

Two spare e-boxes for the Kubik 3 Incubator were uploaded on Soyuz flight 23S in order to resolve the technical problems with the incubator. These are scheduled steps in advance of the start of the PADIAC experiment. Upload of the PADIAC experiment 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
The Digital Line Tape has been successfully removed from the tape recorder of the Fluid Science Laboratory’s Video Management Unit by Tracy Caldwell-Dyson following instructions uplinked by the Columbus Control Centre. Following demating and remating of data and power connections from the Video Management Unit to the tape recorder, efforts are now underway to reactivate the Video Management Unit.

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 concluded. Final Flight Model testing is in progress in order to launch it on ATV-2 at the end of 2010 and the Experiment Sequence Test with the Engineering Model will take place at MARS in October.

European Physiology Modules and Experiments
No activities were carried out using the European Physiology Modules facility in the two weeks until 18 June. 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)
Following the successful commissioning of the Automatic Identification System (AIS) by 4 June the system is now continuing to acquire data. On 16 June new command table files were uplinked from the Columbus Control Centre and transferred to the NORAIS receiver, the telemetry from which is received at the Norwegian User Support and Operation Centre (N-USOC).

The system also consists of the ERNO box, which 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. More than 90,000 messages were received from ships during the first 14 hours of operation.

Pulmonary Function System (in Human Research Facility 2)
No activities were carried out using the Pulmonary Function System in the two weeks until 18 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
Genara-A is the next ESA experiment to take place in the European Modular Cultivation System from the beginning to the middle of July. This experiment was transported to the ISS on Shuttle Flight STS-132 in May. Genara-A 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.

No activities were undertaken using the European Modular Cultivation System in the two weeks until 18 June though the Columbus Control Centre supported activities with EXPRESS Rack 3 in which it is located. This included activities related to the Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) in EXPRESS Rack, which is used for taking structural dynamics data. 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.

Microgravity Science Glovebox and SODI experiments
The Microgravity Science Glovebox was activated on 8 June in connection with NASA’s Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures-2 experiment, which is examining the kinetics of competitive particle growth within a liquid metal matrix, which has applications to metal alloy manufacturing on Earth. Caldwell-Dyson configured the Glovebox for the experiment, verifying acceptable humidity levels in the sample chamber, and opening the vent and vacuum valves to initiate a vacuum draw on the sample chamber. The following day she continued with configuring the sample chamber, and once again on 17 June.

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 which was performed in the Microgravity Science Glovebox was IVIDIL (Influence of Vibrations on Diffusion in Liquids) was successfully completed on 20 January. Now the Colloid experiment will follow, which 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. 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 September.

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)
Caldwell-Dyson took photos of the stowage configuration on the front of the Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System (MARES) rack and photos of the rack attachment points. 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 closed on 13 June, after being open since 22 May. During this period the facility was placed in a safe configuration for the duration of the three Station reboosts, one on 6 June and two on the early morning of 8 June in connection with Soyuz 23S and Progress 38P launch and docking profiles. SOLAR was placed back in Pointing Mode afterwards. On 7 June, science acquisition was also temporarily suspended to carry out planned maintenance on the High Rate Communications Outage Recorder where ISS data is dumped during any ‘Loss of Signal’ to ensure all ISS data is transmitted to ground. On 10 June, Solar was again placed in a safe configuration during an ISS thruster firing in order to take structural dynamics measurements of the ISS in its current configuration. The next Sun visibility window is due to open on 8 July.

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
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. Seven more sample cartridges were launched on 16 November 2009 with STS-129/ULF-3. Twelve of the CETSOL/MICAST experiment samples have been processed to date with the processed samples currently being analysed by the relevant science teams 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
No activities were carried out using the Portable Pulmonary Function System in the two weeks until 18 June. 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, is functioning well 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
On 8 June, supported by the Columbus Control Centre, ISS Flight Engineer Tracy Caldwell-Dyson downloaded stored data for NASA’s Sleep experiment to the Human Research Facility laptop. From 14 June she carried out another a week-long session of the same experiment. On 18 June new Expedition Flight Engineers Doug Wheelock and Shannon Walker joined her as subjects in the experiment. Data from the experiment has been downloaded to the Human Research Facility laptop.

Human Research Facility 2
The Columbus Control Centre supported blood draw activities with NASA’s Human Research Facility 2 in Columbus on 7 June. Blood samples from Tracy Caldwell-Dyson for the Nutrition and Pro K protocols were spun in the Refrigerated Centrifuge before being placed in one of the European-built MELFI freezers.

ISS general system information and activities *

Columbus laboratory
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:


  • Sampling
    Following microbial surface sampling on 7 June, and observation of samples 5 days later, the return grid and the cabin air diffusers in Columbus were cleaned with disinfectant wipes and samples will be further analysed as bacterial growth was above the stringent ISS required levels. Samples will be further analysed once returned to ground.
  • Columbus Laptop Reboots
    On 10 June the monthly inspection and reboot of laptops in the Columbus laboratory and all US laptops took place including recording the battery state-of-charge
  • Columbus and ATV Control Centres
    The Storage Area Network move and the Interconnected Ground Subnet configuration were completed successfully on ground. Steps are underway to resolve a voice communication issue related to the ATV Control Centre as sporadic quindar tones (start/end message tones) have been observed. The voice format for the ATV Control Centre was switched back to its previous configuration, which temporarily resolved the problem though quindars reappeared during retesting on 11 June.

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. On 9 June Caldwell-Dyson installed a new recirculation pump, which then indicated required pressure levels. However as the pump failed to spin up the following day Caldwell-Dyson first checked the pump connectors on 11 June before placing the original pump back in the Oxygen Generation System on 16 June. The next plan is to run the equipment with sensors inhibited through software changes. The Oxygen Generation System is not critical for oxygen supply as other oxygen sources exist on the ISS.
  • Wireless Accelerometer Installation
    An accelerometer of the (Internal Wireless Instrumentation System was installed in the endcone of Node 3 on 9 June by Tracy-Caldwell Dyson. This was used the following day for taking structural dynamics measurements which may also relax ISS operational constraints related to exercise, dockings, reboosts etc. and will feed into models to help clarify and refine ISS fatigue calculations, which may help to extend the lifetime of the ISS.

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.

Blood and urine samples for Tracy Caldwell-Dyson for NASA’s Nutrition/Repository/Pro K protocol were placed in the For MELFI 1 freezer. Two Ziploc bags with 8 sample bags for JAXA’s 2D Nano Template experiment were placed in the MELFI 2 freezer. Caldwell-Dyson also checked nitrogen gas pressure inside both MELFI 1 and MELFI 2 freezers.

Station Reboost
Three Station reboosts were performed in the two weeks until 18 June to place the ISS in the correct orbital profile for launch and docking of Soyuz TMA-19/23S and Progress 38P. On the morning of 6 June, Service Module main engines were fired for just over four minutes, raising the ISS by 7.8 km. On 8 June two Station reboosts were performed using Progress 37P thrusters. The first engine firing lasted 9m 40s and the second lasted 7m 15s with one orbit in between. The two manoeuvres raised the altitude of the ISS by some 2.45 km.

VELO Cycle Ergometer
ISS Commander Alexander Skvortsov and ISS Flight Engineer Mikhail Kornienko (both Roscosmos cosmonauts) replaced the VELO cycle ergometer in the Russian Service Module with an upgraded model on 8 June. This was followed by a functional checkout of the new device.

New Air Quality Monitor
Following about 100 runs with the previous Air Quality Monitor, Caldwell-Dyson carried out the first session with the new Air Quality Monitor on 9 June. She followed this up with two additional sessions on 14 and 16 June. This device is being used for identifying volatile organic compounds in the ISS cabin atmosphere. This new technology is being evaluated over a period of several months.

Service Module Thruster Firing for Structural Dynamics Measurement
Five firings of Service Module thrusters took place on 10 June in order to take structural dynamics readings of the ISS in its latest configuration using the Internal Wireless Instrumentation System. The principal solar arrays were locked for the exercise. Data will be used to validate and refine models related to ISS structural dynamics.

The Elektron oxygen generator suffered a failure late on 11 June due to a high temperature from an internal thermal control loop. After switching Elektron to another loop, the oxygen generator was successfully reactivated from ground the following morning by the Mission Control Centre in Moscow.

Soyuz-TMA seat fit-check
On 14 June, The ISS Crew (Skvortsov, Kornienko and Caldwell-Dyson) donned their Sokol spacesuits and carried out a fit-check of the Kazbek shock absorbing seats in the Descent Module of the Soyuz TMA-18 crew return vehicle.

Mini Research Module 1
During the two weeks until 18 June, continued 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. ISS Commander Alexander Skvortsov and ISS Flight Engineer Mikhail Kornienko (both Roscosmos cosmonauts) also removed electronics equipment only needed in the module during its flight, rendezvous and docking with the ISS. 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.

Soyuz TMA-19/23S Expedition 24/25


  • Soyuz TMA-18 launch and docking
    Roscosmos cosmonaut and Soyuz Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and NASA astronauts Doug Wheelock and Shannon Walker were launched successfully in the Soyuz TMA-19 spacecraft on flight 23S to the ISS on 15 June at 23:38 CEST (03:38 local time on 16 June) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Yurchikhin, and Walker are Flight Engineers for ISS Expeditions 24 and 25. Wheelock is a Flight Engineer for ISS Expedition 24 and will become ISS Commander for Expedition 25. Following orbital insertion, Soyuz TMA antennas and solar arrays were deployed and various orbital burns were carried out over the following two days to bring the Soyuz in the vicinity of the ISS to begin docking procedures. This mission is the 100th flight to the ISS. Prior to Soyuz TMA-19 docking the ISS crew configured relevant communications and video equipment. The Soyuz spacecraft docked successfully with the Service Module aft port on 18 June at 00:21 (CEST).
  • Soyuz TMA-19 post-docking activities
    ISS attitude control was handed back from Russian to US systems after docking. Video of the docking and structural dynamics measurements were downlinked by the crew and the standard leak check between the Soyuz and the ISS was carried out. On completion the hatches were opened at 02:52 (CEST) and the usual crew greeting took place. Quick disconnect clamps were installed at the interface between the Soyuz and the ISS to further stabilise the connection. Flight engineer Yurchikhin set up the three Sokol spacesuits and their gloves for drying out, and he deactivated the Soyuz spacecraft. The standard crew safety briefing followed.

Emergency Depressurisation Training
The ISS crew carried out an emergency practice session on 15 June as a familiarization with procedures and hardware in the event of a rapid cabin depressurization. All crew members and control centres participated in the exercise.

Orbital Debris
Four different occurrences of orbital debris were being monitored from the ground on 17 June, two occurrences from two old Russian satellites, one from a Russian Proton launcher and one from a Chinese satellite. By the end of the two week period until 18 June debris, one of the Russian satellites was no longer being monitored. The other three occurrences of debris were being monitored to determine if debris avoidance manoeuvres were necessary by the ISS.

Other Activities
Other activities that have taken place in the two-week period until 18 June include: installing a new Matching Unit/computer and associated cabling to support the reception of telemetry and medical parameter data from the Russian Orlan spacesuits during spacewalks; a ground-controlled leak check of an umbilical for the Vacuum Exhaust System / Vacuum Resource System which provides ISS payloads with access to space vacuum; replacing a pump and switching unit in the Service Module Thermal Control System, which removes heat from ISS equipment; installing a network connected laptop at EXPRESS Rack 1 in the US Laboratory; and an emergency drill of the ISS crew based on ISS configuration changes due to the arrival of the new Russian Rassvet 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.

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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