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Science & Exploration

ESA ISS Science & System - Operations Status Report # 96 Increment 28

17/06/2011 303 views 0 likes
ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Columbus

This is ISS status report #96 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 the Russian Segment of the ISS and in the US Destiny laboratory. The current status of the European science package on the ISS is as follows:

European science and research facilities inside the Columbus Laboratory

Biolab and associated experiments
On 12 June the cold spot sponge was removed from biological isolation filter of Biolab’s incubator by ISS Flight Engineer Ron Garan and marked as trash. Biolab is a multi-user facility designed to support biological experiments on micro-organisms, cells, tissue cultures, small plants and small invertebrates. Due to the still ongoing functional recovery activities for the Biolab facility the TripleLux experiments’ planning was revised and TripleLux-A was de-manifested from the ULF-6 / STS-134 flight due to the Biolab microscope failure. The microscope which is needed for the TripleLux experiments was returned to ground with STS-134 and will be returned to the ISS to continue the utilisation of Biolab after repair. The objective of the TripleLux experiments is to further understand the cellular mechanisms underlying the aggravation of radiation responses, and the impairment of the immune function under spaceflight conditions.

European Drawer Rack and associated payloads
No activities were carried out using the European Drawer Rack in the two weeks until 17 June. The European Drawer Rack is a multi-user experiment facility which will host the Facility for Adsorption and Surface Tension (FASTER) and the Electro-Magnetic Levitator payload from 2012 onwards. FASTER is a Capillarity Pressure Tensiometer developed for the study of the links between emulsion stability and physico-chemical characteristics of droplet interfaces. The Electro-Magnetic Levitator (EML) will investigate thermophysical properties of metal alloys under weightlessness, supporting both basic and namely industrial research and development needs. The European Drawer Rack may also tentatively process NASA’s NIH Ageing experiment which is currently planned for the second half of 2012. This would be carried out in a Kubik Incubator located in the European Drawer Rack. In addition a Kubik incubator is currently scheduled to process the ROALD 2 experiment at the end of 2011. This will expand on the ROALD experiment from 2008 and will determine the role of a certain lipid in the regulation of immune processes and in the cell cycle under weightless conditions.

Fluid Science Laboratory and Geoflow-2 / FASES experiments
The Fluid Science Laboratory (FSL) has been active in the two week period until 17 June to undertake activities related to the Geoflow-2 experiment, which has been undergoing experiment processing in the Fluid Science Laboratory since 21 March. The main experiment parameters of GeoFlow-2 are the core rotation speed, electrical field, temperature gradients and liquid viscosity variation. Geoflow 2 runs 7, 13 and 14 (which are non-rotation runs) were completed by 9 June. Good quality images were received in real time and associated data from the experiment and structural dynamics data from the Microgravity Measurement Apparatus has been downlinked.

Geoflow-2 (which follows on from the initial Geoflow experiment with new scientific objectives and a different experiment configuration) is investigating the flow of an incompressible viscous fluid held between two concentric spheres rotating about a common axis as a representation of a planet. This is of importance for astrophysical and geophysical problems such as global scale flow in the atmosphere, the oceans, and in the liquid nucleus of planets. For Geoflow-2 the incompressible fluid is Nonanol which varies in viscosity with temperature (unlike silicon oil) to provide a different aspect of research with more of a simulation to Earth’s geophysical conditions. The Geoflow-2 science runs form part of an exhaustive scientific programme of experiment processing which will last a couple of months.

The subsequently planned Fluid Science Laboratory experiment “Fundamental and Applied Studies of Emulsion Stability” (FASES) has been thoroughly prepared via a full scientific verification programme of the emulsions’ composition and the optical diagnostics’ adjustment. The execution of the FASES experiment will require the upgrade of the FSL Video Management Unit (VMU) which will be tentatively returned to Earth by the SpaceX demo flight #3 before the end of 2011 for the pending upgrade implementation, after the execution of the full GeoFlow-2 experiment (where the VMU is still used in the basic configuration). The flight of the FASES Experiment Container will be rescheduled to a later launch in 2012. This experiment will be studying emulsion properties with advanced optical diagnostics. Results of the FASES experiment hold significance for oil extraction processes, and in the chemical and food industries.

European Physiology Modules (EPM) facility and associated experiments
The European Physiology Modules facility was again activated on 16 June for data downlink for the PASSAGES experiment (see below). The European Physiology Modules facility is equipped with different Science Modules to investigate the effects of long-duration spaceflight on the human body. Experiment results from the investigations using the European Physiology Modules will contribute to an increased understanding of terrestrial problems such as the ageing process, osteoporosis, balance disorders, and muscle atrophy.

On 16 June ISS Flight Engineer Mike Fossum installed the PASSAGES experiment hardware on the front of the European Physiology Modules including the associated laptop and the Neurospat light shield and trackball. Sessions of the PASSAGES experiment were then carried out by Fossum and ISS Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa, their first. The PASSAGES experiment 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.

DOSIS Experiment
The Dose Distribution inside the ISS (DOSIS) experiment has been progressing well during its time on orbit, with the instrument acquiring data using one of the active DOSTEL detectors (DOSTEL-2) in the European Physiology Modules facility. The hardware for the DOSIS experiment was uninstalled on 17 June for return on STS-135, marking the completion of the experiment that has been ongoing since July 2009. The passive detectors for DOSIS were already deinstalled earlier and returned to Earth on STS-132 Shuttle Atlantis in May 2010, after which they were sent to the research team to undergo 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.

Pulmonary Function System (in Human Research Facility 2)
No activities were carried out using the Pulmonary Function System facility in the two weeks until 17 June. The Pulmonary Function System is accommodated in NASA’s Human Research Facility 2, which was relocated from the US Destiny laboratory to the Columbus laboratory in October 2008. The Pulmonary Function System is an ESA/NASA collaboration in respiratory physiology instrumentation, which analyses exhaled gas from astronauts' lungs to provide near-instant data on the state of crew health.

European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS)
No activities were carried out using the European Modular Cultivation System in the two weeks until 17 June. The next ESA experiment to take place in the facility is the Gravi-2 experiment which is currently scheduled in the late 2011 timeframe. Gravi-2 builds on the initial Gravi experiment in determining the gravity threshold response in plant (lentil) roots. The tentative next NASA experiment in the European Modular Cultivation System is Plant Signalling (formerly known as SeedGrowth) experiment in 2012.

The European Modular Cultivation System, which was flown to the ISS in July 2006, is dedicated to biological experiments such as the effects of gravity on cells, roots and physiology of plants and simple animals. It was developed by ESA and is being operated jointly with NASA under a bilateral barter agreement which was renewed after the initial 2 years time frame.

Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System (MARES)
No activities were carried out using the Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System (MARES) in the two weeks until 17 June. Once the facility is fully commissioned it will be used for undertaking neuromuscular and exercise research on the International Space Station. MARES is capable of assessing the strength of isolated human muscle groups around joints to provide a better understanding of the effects of weightlessness on the muscular system of ISS astronauts.

Following completion of an electrical checkout of the system (i.e. with no functional testing), MARES will be placed in its on-orbit stowage configuration. In the future this will be tentatively followed up by functional testing of MARES in two parts: the first part without a crew member using the system, the second functional testing with a crew member in the loop using the system. These two commissioning parts will include testing of hardware and software as well as testing downlink capabilities.

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.

Coloured Fungi In Space (CFS-A)
The dry spore biocontainer for the Coloured Fungi In Space experiment remains on orbit and is scheduled to return with Soyuz 26S in September 2011. This follows the return of the three live culture biocontainers for the short-term part of the experiment with STS-133 which landed on 9 March. The Coloured Fungi In Space experiment is undertaking an examination of the survival and growth of different coloured fungi species, which can be relevant to spacecraft contamination, panspermia and planetary protection issues.

European science and research facilities outside the Columbus laboratory in open space

No scientific data acquisition was carried out using the SOLAR facility in the two weeks until 17 June following closure of the latest Sun visibility window on 2 June. The SOLAR facility is currently in a safe configuration awaiting the next Sun visibility window. Sun visibility windows for SOLAR are open when the ISS is in the correct orbital profile with relation to the Sun.

The SOLAR payload facility has been studying the Sun’s irradiation with unprecedented accuracy across most of its spectral range currently for more than 3 years on-orbit. This has so far produced excellent scientific data during a series of Sun observation cycles. Following the conclusion of the detailed technical feasibility study for on-orbit lifetime extension the science team will be able to continue gathering further science data in a period of increasing solar activity up to 2013 and possibly beyond.

Vessel Identification System (Vessel ID)
Successful data acquisition is ongoing for the Vessel Identification System (commonly known as the Automatic Identification System, AIS), using its Norwegian receiver, and telemetry is still being successfully received by the Norwegian User Support and Operation Centre (N-USOC) in Trondheim via ESA’s Columbus Control Centre in Germany. The Vessel Identification System has acquired an extensive amount of data in the past months since its installation in Columbus.

The Vessel Identification System consists of two different on-board receivers (NORAIS and LuxAIS), which were scheduled to be alternated every three months or so, and the ERNO-Box, which is used as a data relay for the Vessel Identification System, whose antenna was installed on the outside of Columbus during an EVA on 21 November 2009. The Vessel Identification System is testing the means to track global maritime traffic from space by picking up signals from standard AIS transponders carried by all international ships over 300 tonnes, cargo vessels over 500 tonnes and all types of passenger carriers. Meanwhile various service entities have been asking to get access to the VIS data which is continuously acquired on Columbus.

European science inside the US Destiny Laboratory

Materials Science Laboratory (MSL) in the First Materials Science Research Rack (MSRR)
The final MICAST sample from the first batch (belonging to NASA) which completed processing in the Solidification and Quenching Furnace of the Materials Science Laboratory in January is now with the science team at the University of Arizona to undergo post-flight analysis. This sample followed an additional twelve CETSOL/MICAST experiment samples that had already been processed in the Low Gradient Furnace (which was replaced with the Solidification and Quenching Furnace earlier in January) with analysis undertaken by the relevant science teams on ground. The second batch of CETSOL/MICAST samples will be the next to be processed in the Materials Science Laboratory Solidification and Quenching Furnace along with samples for the SETA experiment. The first six second batch Sample Cartridge Assemblies (two each for CETSOl, MICAST and SETA) have already been delivered for launch on STS-135/ULF-7 Shuttle Atlantis in July.

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 installed in the US Laboratory on the ISS. Seven more sample cartridges were launched on 16 November 2009 with STS-129/ULF-3. The science team has already presented very promising preliminary scientific results stemming from analysis of the first samples. This constitutes an excellent basis for further materials research with international collaboration.

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 will be looking into a specific type of eutectic growth in alloys of aluminium manganese and silicon. Results of all these experiments will help to optimise industrial casting processes.

Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) and associated experiments
No activities were carried out in the ESA-developed Microgravity Science Glovebox in the two weeks until 17 June. The experiment data for the SODI-Colloid experiment which took place in the Microgravity Science Glovebox in September/October 2010 is still undergoing detailed evaluation by the science team following return of the flash disks to Earth on STS-133 Shuttle Discovery, which landed on 9 March. The Colloid experiment covers the study on growth and properties of advanced photonic materials within colloidal solutions. The focus is on materials that have a special interest in photonics, with emphasis on nano-structured, periodic dielectric materials, known as photonic crystals, which possess appealing properties and make them promising candidates for new types of optical components. Colloid is the second in the series of three SODI (Selectable Optical Diagnostic Instrument) experiments and further experiment runs may be resumed later during 2011 and early 2012.

The subsequent DSC experiment (‘Diffusion and Soret Coefficient Measurements for Improvement of Oil Recovery’) will be the third and final SODI experiment processed in the Microgravity Science Glovebox which is now tentatively foreseen in the first half of 2012 after the implementation of the partially re-defined liquid mixtures in conjunction with the new ELIPS project DCMIX. Further batches of DSC experiments are planned for 2012.

The Microgravity Science Glovebox was developed by ESA within the Early Utilisation barter agreement with NASA. The Glovebox provides the ability to perform a wide range of experiments in the fields of material science, biotechnology, fluid science, combustion science and crystal growth research, in a fully sealed and controlled environment.

Portable Pulmonary Function System (PPFS)
No activities were carried out using the Portable Pulmonary Function System facility in the two weeks until 17 June. The Portable Pulmonary Function System is an autonomous multi-user facility supporting a broad range of human physiological research experiments under weightless conditions in the areas of respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic physiology.

ALTEA-Shield Experiment
Data acquisition for the ALTEA-Shield experiment has been continuing in the two week period until 17 June with the minimum 20 day acquisition period having been surpassed on 17 May (preferred duration is 30 days or more). Data acquisition continued with four of the six particle detectors until 8 June when a reboot of the system brought all six detectors back online. This was reduced to five detectors on 17 June when one of the detectors went offline. This has minimal impact on science loss as measurement continued in all three axes. The ALTEA-Shield experiment aims at obtaining a better understanding of the light flash phenomenon, and more generally the interaction between cosmic rays and brain function, as well as testing the effectiveness of different types of shielding material. The experiment continues to undertake a 3-dimensional survey of the radiation environment in the US laboratory which is followed soon by the corresponding measurements of different shielding materials with the ALTEA detectors on the ISS.

European science inside the Russian ISS Segment

GTS-2 (Global Transmission Service)
The Global Transmission Service was deactivated on 31 May 2009 though following negotiations with Russian representatives, the instrument has been successfully reactivated and functionally tested for continuation as a cooperative joint European-Russian experiment on the ISS. This experiment is intended to test the receiving conditions of a time and data signal for dedicated receivers on the ground. The time signal distributed by the GTS has special coding to allow the receiver to determine the local time anywhere on the Earth without user intervention. The main scientific objectives of the experiment are to verify under real space operation conditions: the performance and accuracy of a time signal transmitted to the Earth’s surface from low Earth orbit; the signal quality and data rates achieved on the ground; and measurement of disturbing effects such as Doppler shifts, multi-path reflections, shadowing and elevation impacts.

Additional European science outside the ISS in open space

The deintegrated sample trays for the Expose-R facility have been disassembled at the Microgravity User Support Centre (MUSC) located at the DLR German Aerospace Centre in Cologne, Germany and experiment samples are in the process of being returned to the science teams. The sample trays were returned to Earth on STS-133/ULF-5 Shuttle Discovery which landed on 9 March.

The Expose-R payload was retrieved in the frame of a Russian EVA on 21 January. It was installed outside the Zvezda Service Module during the Russian- based spacewalk on 10 March 2009, and concluded science acquisition following almost 2 years of exposure to the harsh open space environment (Solar UV, cosmic radiation, vacuum). The facility had been functioning extremely well and continuously acquiring scientific data during this time.

Expose-R hosted 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. The experiments were accommodated in three special sample trays, which were loaded with a variety of biological samples including plant seeds and spores of bacteria, fungi and ferns.

The individual Expose-R experiments have been 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 first 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.

In addition a new exobiology experiment complement (three European and one Russian) for the tentative Expose-R2 mission has been identified and now an implementation agreement has been found with the Russian partners.

Non-European science and research facilities inside the Columbus Laboratory

Human Research Facilities 1 and 2
Human Research Facility 2 was activated on 16 and 17 June in order to undertake blood draw activities for ISS Flight Engineers Ron Garan and Satoshi Furukawa. Samples were hereafter spun in the facility’s refrigerated centrifuge before being placed in one of the European-built MELFI freezers. A vacuum exhaust umbilical was also disconnected on 16 June in support of a Columbus Venting System leak check.

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. Main points of interest include:


  • New ISS Amateur Radio Equipment
    Following installation of the new amateur radio equipment in the Columbus laboratory on 26 April, NASA astronaut and ISS Flight Engineer Ron Garan conducted an amateur radio contact with students at South West College Enniskillen, in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.


  • Internal Wireless Instrumentation System
    On 9 June Garan relocated a Remote Sensor Unit of the Internal Wireless Instrumentation System located in Columbus to Node 1 in order to act as a signal relay between remote sensor units in Node 1 and the Russian Zarya Module

Automated Transfer Vehicle Undocking Preparations


  • ISS Reboosts
    The ATV’s Orbit Correction System thrusters were used to carry out four extremely precise ISS reboost manoeuvres in the two weeks until 17 June. This was in order to deplete ATV stocks of propellants prior to its undocking on 20 June and to set up phasing for Progress 43P and Shuttle ULF-7 launch and docking. The first two manoeuvres took place on 12 June. The first manoeuvre lasted 36 min 6 sec and increased the altitude of the ISS by 9.2 km. The second manoeuvre lasted 40 min 12 sec and increased the altitude of the ISS by 10.1 km. This did cause a power balance issue (i.e. lower battery charge levels) related to difficulty predicting power use with the ISS in its current profile with relation to the Sun. The following two reboosts were thus replanned by the ISS Mission Management Team so as to not have two reboosts on the same day. The first of these was on 15 June, lasted 39 min 40 sec and increased the altitude of the ISS by 10.2.2 km. The final reboost took place on 17 June and lasted 26 min 53 sec, increasing the ISS altitude by 6,9 km. This brought the ISS to a mean altitude of (381 km).


  • Proximity Communications Equipment
    ISS Flight Engineer Alexander Samokutyaev installed the ATV Proximity Communications Equipment (used for close proximity communications between the ISS and the ATV) in the Russian Service Module on 15 and 16 June in preparation for ATV-2 ‘Johannes Kepler’. This included installing the ATV Control Panel, additional units and laying associated cabling. Following installation Samokutyaev was involved in a ground-commanded checkout of the equipment. On completion of activities Garan took closeout photos on 17 June.


  • Additional Undocking Preparations
    On 6 June ATV propellant lines were purged and vented. An air duct was installed from the Service Module into ATV-2 three days later. In the two weeks until 17 June ATV cargo operations were also completed, loading trash and excess equipment for disposal into the ATV.


  • ATV External Survey
    An external survey of ATV-2 ‘Johannes Kepler’ was carried out on 6 June using the Station’s principal robotic arm.


  • Undocking Training Session
    ISS Flight Engineers Alexander Samokutyaev and Sergey Volkov carried out an ATV undocking and departure training session on 17 June using a Russian Service Module laptop.

Activities in the European-built Node 3


  • Exercise Equipment
    In the two weeks until 17 June, ISS Flight Engineers Ron Garan (NASA), Mike Fossum (NASA) and Satoshi Furukawa (JAXA) have undertaken sessions of the new Treadmill Kinematics programme on the T2/COLBERT treadmill which is making an assessment of current exercise protocols. This was in addition to the regular use, inspection and servicing of the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) and T2/COLBERT treadmill in Node 3.


  • Regenerative ECLSS and Additional Environmental Control Racks
    The two Water Recovery System racks, together with the Oxygen Generation System rack, form the Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) which is necessary in support of a six-person ISS Crew to help reduce upload mass. Other environmental control racks in Node 3 include an Atmosphere Revitalisation Rack and a Waste and Hygiene Compartment. Highlights of the past two weeks include:

    • Atmosphere Revitalisation Rack
      The Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly in the Node 3 Atmosphere Revitalisation Rack was activated from ground following Ron Garan connecting the Low Temperature Loop of Node 3’s Internal Thermal Control System. Garan also stopped the flow from the Low Temperature Loop to the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly in the US laboratory. These activities are in preparation for running the Oxygen Generator Assembly and the Sabatier reactor in Node 3. The Sabatier reactor will combine carbon dioxide coming from Node 3’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly with H2 (hydrogen) from the Oxygen Generator System to form H2O (Water) and CH4 (Methane). The water will be sent to the Waste Water Bus and reprocessed through the Water Processor Assembly. The Methane will be vented overboard.

Soyuz TMA-02M/Expedition 28/29 Launch and Docking


  • Soyuz TMA-02M launch and docking
    Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergei Volkov, NASA astronaut Mike Fossum and JAXA astronaut Satoshi Furukawa were launched successfully in the Soyuz TMA-02M spacecraft on flight 27S to the ISS on 7 June at 22:12 CEST (02:12 local time on 8 June) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Volkov and Fossum are Flight Engineers for ISS Expeditions 28 and 29. Fossum is a Flight Engineer for ISS Expedition 28 and will become ISS Commander for Expedition 29. Following orbital insertion, Soyuz 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. Prior to Soyuz TMA-02M docking the ISS crew configured relevant communications and video equipment. The Soyuz spacecraft docked successfully with the Russian “Rassvet” Mini Research Module 1 on 9 June at 23:18 (CEST) bringing the crew of the ISS once again up to a total of six. This is the second flight of the upgraded Soyuz.

    There was a lower than expected thrust level from one of the Soyuz thrusters, thought to be a blockage, though following analysis it was determined that Soyuz could continue using this thruster and if a complete blockage occurred then could switch to two small thrusters for performing the same task.


  • Soyuz TMA-02M 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 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. The three Sokol spacesuits and their gloves were set up for drying out, and the Soyuz spacecraft was deactivated. The standard crew safety briefing followed and high priority payloads were transferred from the Soyuz spacecraft to the ISS.

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. Generic urine samples were placed in the MELFI freezers from Ron Garan. Urine and blood samples were also placed in the MELFI freezers from Furukawa and Garan for NASA’s NUTRITION/Repository protocol. In addition in connection with future preserved storage needs, 4 -32 deg C ice bricks were inserted into MELFI 1, 8 in MELFI 3, and quarter and half box modules were reconfigured in the MELFI drawers. Activities took place between 15 and 17 June.

US Airlock Activities
In the two weeks until 17 June Garan and Fossum carried out activities in the US Airlock including regeneration of metal oxide canisters used for carbon dioxide removal inside the spacesuits during spacewalks, recharging EVA batteries, inspecting EVA tethers and scrubbing the cooling loop of two Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMUs) for particulate matter and biomass.

Elektron Oxygen Generator System
Repair, recovery and activation activities continued for the Russian Elektron oxygen generator. Following troubleshooting procedures on 7 June, Samokutyaev replaced a nitrogen purging unit in the Service Module and made connections to the Elektron system on 16 June.

Russian Zarya Module Maintenance
On 8 June Samokutyaev replaced a Hydraulic Loop Replaceable Pump Panel of the Internal Thermal Control System in the Russian Zarya Module and replaced the automatic switch on the Angular Rate Measuring Device on the GIVUS Guidance Navigation and Control system.

Russian experimental Laser Communications System
On 14 June ISS Expedition 28 Commander Andrey Borisenko continued installation procedures on the new Russian experimental Laser Communications System in the Russian Service Module, installing one unit, connecting an associated laptop and carrying out a functionality test.

Progress 43P Docking Preparations
On 14 June ISS Flight Engineers Samokutyaev and Volkov, both representing Roscosmos, carried out a test of the TORU manual docking system in preparation of the docking of Progress M-11M/43P. The on-orbit TORU test was carried between associated systems in the Service Module and Progress 42P docked at the Pirs Docking Compartment.

Other Activities
Other activities that have taken place on the ISS in the two-week period until 17 June include: constructing a container for the Waste and Hygiene Compartment; ISS cargo transfers, crew handover activities; troubleshooting a JAXA laptop; replacing the hard disk on a failed US laptop; carrying out a joint crew Emergency Roles and Responsibilities Review; installing an air duct between the Service Module Transfer Compartment and the Russian Poisk module, updating software on Station Support Computer laptops; installing a new memory recording device for the BITS-12 telemetry system and a training session for photographing the Shuttle thermal protection tiles during docking.

(*)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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