2010-11A April 2, 2010
Pad 1, Site 5, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Republic of
September 25, 2010
Southwest of Arkalyk, Republic of Kazakhstan Soyuz-FG (serial number Ю15000-028),
Soyuz TMA-18 (serial number 228)
176 da 1 h 18 min 38 s Utes (“Cliff”)
ISS resident crew transport (22S), ISS 23/24 resident crew
SKVORTSOV, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich, 43, Russian Federation Air Force, RSA, Soyuz TMA commander, ISS-23 flight engineer, ISS-24 commander KORNIENKO. Mikhail Borisovich, 49, civilian, RSA, Soyuz TMA flight engineer, ISS 23/24 FE
CALDWELL DYSON, Tracy Ellen, 40, civilian, NASA Soyuz TMA flight engineer, ISS 23/24 flight engineer
This trio of cosmonauts arrived at the ISS on April 4, 2010. They would serve as flight engineers on ISS-23 under Oleg Kotov as ISS commander until June 2, when the TMA-17 crew departed and their ISS-24 residency began under the command of Skvortsov. On June 18, they were joined on the ISS by the Soyuz TMA-19 crew who became the prime ISS-25 crew after this trio departed. By now, regular rotation of crews had become a feature of station operations and one result of its frequency and seemingly routine nature was that these activities dropped down the news-reporting pecking order outside of the space community.
This of course reflects a safe, regular, and consistent period of flight operations, but does not serve to promote the program to the outside world. It is in this situation that the official websites, new reports, and support information from the partner agencies have to champion the program, after such a long time in development and construction. Up on orbit, the promotion of the program through outreach and educational activities is as important as the baseline science, while the crews were also still hard at work finishing the assembly and completing the transformation of the station into the fully functioning research facility it was intended to be. This work has been aided by the growing phenomena of social
Fresh supplies are always welcome on the ISS. Expedition 23 commander Kotov and flight engineer Tracy Caldwell Dyson enjoy receiving fresh fruit and vegetables during their residency.
media, in part thanks to the regular blogs, tweets, and messages from the crews on board the station.
During this residency, the crew continued the Russian science work begun by the earlier crews, with 363 planned sessions for 42 experiments, of which only two were new investigations. In the ISS-23 phase, over 114 hours of crew experiment time was manifested, with a further 20 hours 15 minutes planned during the ISS-24 phase. The change from assembly to research was becoming more evident with each new expedition, and the subtitle on the ISS-23/24 NASA Press Kit stated that this expedition would include “Science for Six”. Therefore, in the U. S. segment there would be 130 investigations from 45 new experiments, as well as those ongoing from earlier expeditions with 8 experiments specific to its role as a U. S. National Laboratory and a further 55 investigations from the international partner agencies.
After the docking at Poisk on April 4, the next couple of months proved to be busy prior to the departure of the ISS-22/23 crew in June and the commencement of the ISS-24 phase. Just three days after the TMA-18 crew had arrived at the station, STS-131 arrived aboard Discovery, which docked at the Harmony Node with more supplies. Then, in May STS-132 delivered the Russian Rassvet module.
With the science work, routine maintenance, and housekeeping, work associated with the Progress resupply craft, and the relocation of accumulated logistics, the new crew had plenty to keep them occupied during the first half of their residency. As a result, light duties were planned for the three crew members until the rest of the ISS-24 crew arrived.
Following the arrival of the TMA-19 crew, the two crews soon completed post-docking safety checks and drills and began an increased science program. On June 28, while the TMA-19 crew relocated their Soyuz from the aft part of Zvezda to the Rassvet module, the TMA-18 crew remained inside the station. On July 1, Progress M-04M was undocked from the station, to be replaced on July 4 by Progress M-06M. The 2-day delay in the docking was caused by a loss of a telemetry lock on M-06M, but its second approach occurred without incident.
Diversity featured in most of the routine operations on the station, with crews working in different modules to cope with the increased science research, maintenance, and housekeeping duties in the Russian and U. S. segments as well as in the Columbia and Kibo laboratories. On July 11, the crew recorded a partial solar eclipse across the world while continuing their preparations for a series of EYAs.
On July 16, Progress М-ОбМ completed a 17 min 45 s reboost to the ISS, increasing its altitude by 2.3 miles (3.07 km). This was necessary to provide the best conditions for docking the next Progress and to ensure the safe return of TMA-18. During July 15-24, the crews observed the 35th anniversary of the joint U. S./U. S.S. R. Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission.
Three EYAs were planned in July and August, from both U. S. and Russian airlocks. The first EVA of the expedition from the Russian segment, by Yurchikhin and Kornienko, took place on July 27 from Pirs. During the 6h 42 min excursion, the cosmonauts replaced several items of equipment and visually inspected the exterior of the Russian segment.
The focus now switched to a series of EVAs from the U. S. segment by Wheelock and Caldwell. The first of these took place on August 7 and lasted a record 8 hours 3 minutes—the longest ISS-based EVA and the sixth longest space walk in history. Unfortunately, they failed in their primary goal to remove and replace the ammonia pump module, falling behind the timeline when one of the four coolant fines became stuck. They loosened the stuck valve, but could not totally disconnect the unit as they approached the end of the EVA. An issue with leaking ammonia crystals also required additional cleanup time, leading to the unexpected record EVA duration. Wheelock later admitted that this EVA was “a tough one”.
The next EVA (August 11, 7h 26 min) focused upon removal of the fluid coolant fine that had leaked during the first EVA. Using brute force, Wheelock closed and removed the fine safely. The pair then disconnected the defunct assembly from the truss and installed it on a payload bracket located on the Mobile Base Assembly. The third EVA (August 16, 7h 20 min) from Quest featured the installation of a spare ammonia pump module on the SI truss. The three U. S. segment EVAs totaled 22 hours 49 minutes, and with these excursions completed it was back to the science.
September saw the TMA-18 crew prepare for their return to Earth. A change – of-command ceremony was conducted on September 22, during which Skvortsov handed over command of the ISS to Doug Wheelock. After a short, 24 h delay due to an erroneous signal, Soyuz TMA-18 undocked on September 25. Following a nominal reentry, Soyuz TMA-18 landed some 3 hours 20 minutes after undocking from the station. During a mission of 176 days the crew had resided aboard the station for approximately 174 days. Two days were flown aboard the Soyuz getting to and from the facility. Of the 171 days in residency, 59 days were as part of the ISS-23 expedition and 112 days as the prime ISS-24 expedition. They also spent three days as the outgoing crew prior to undocking from the station.
274th manned space flight 111th Russian manned space flight 104th manned Soyuz flight 18th manned Soyuz TMA mission 22nd ISS Soyuz mission (22S)
23/24th ISS resident crew
Record longest ISS-based EVA (August 7, 8 h 3 min)
Caldwell-Dyson celebrates her 41st birthday (August 14); this was her second birthday spent in space having marked her 38th birthday during STS-118 in 2007
POINDEXTER, Alan Goodwin, 48, USN, NASA commander, second mission Previous mission: STS-122 (2008)
DUTTON Jr., James Patrick, 41, USAF, NASA pilot MASTRACCHIO, Richard Alan, 50, civilian, NASA mission specialist 1, third mission
Previous missions’. STS-106 (2000), STS-118 (2007)
METCALF-LINDENBURGER, Dorothy Marie, 34, civilian, NASA mission specialist 2
WILSON, Stephanie Diana, 43, civilian, NASA mission specialist 3, third mission
Previous missions’. STS-121 (2006), STS-120 (2007)
YAMAZAKI, Naoko, 39, civilian (Japanese), JAXA mission specialist 4 ANDERSON, Clayton Conrad, 51, civilian, NASA mission specialist 5, second mission
Previous missions’. STS-117/ISS-15/16/STS-120 (2007)
With only four or five manifested Shuttle flights to the ISS before their retirement in 2011, the chances of carrying large items to and from the station on the orbiter were diminishing rapidly. Though the majority of the main hardware had been delivered (certainly on the U. S. segment), there still remained a few bulky items to be launched. Time seemed to have flown by since the start of construction just under a dozen years previously and now the countdown to assembly completion was ticking away. One of the main objectives for the payload capacity in these few remaining missions was to stock up the station with supplies and spares. Another was to remove as much unwanted equipment, waste, discarded items, and experi-
Loadmaster Naoko Yamazaki works in the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) linked to the ISS during the Discovery mission.
ment results as possible to free up the internal volume of the station while the Shuttle’s large load capacity was still available. On this mission, therefore, Discovery was carrying the Leonardo Multipurpose Logistics Module (MPLM), which was filled with about 8 tons of supplies and hardware. It would return to Earth with valuable experiment results and samples, unwanted equipment, and as much trash as possible.
As with most previous flights, final preparations for the mission began with the arrival of Discovery back at KSC following its last mission. Two weeks after landing in California at the end of the STS-128 mission in September 2009, Discovery was returned to the Cape. Initial inspections conducted inside the OPF revealed relatively few issues that needed to be addressed in processing for the next mission. Having the MPLM as the primary payload made the preflight processing somewhat easier as well, as the logistics carrier would be installed in the payload bay when Discovery was on the pad.
The stacking of the twin SRBs began in early October and the ET had been mated with the boosters by late November. Everything was ready for the move of Discovery across to the VAB but the weather refused to play ball, with exceptionally cold temperatures being recorded. As a result, the move was delayed until February 22. The mated stack was then moved out to Pad 39A on March 3. The delay shifted the planned launch from March 18 to April 4 but this happened to be the Easter weekend. This was impractical for launch teams, so April 5 was chosen instead. This also gave the new residents on the station, who were scheduled to arrive via Soyuz TMA-18 on April 4, additional time to acclimatize to their new home before the Shuttle arrived.
Launchpad preparations proceeded smoothly, with the MPLM placed on board Discovery on March 19. After an on-time launch on April 5, 2010, Discovery was back in orbit within 8 minutes to begin a 2-day chase to station. Docking occurred on April 7. When the hatches were opened and the familiar ceremonies observed, the mission was already adding new milestones to the history books. For the first time, four women were in space at the same time and now they were all aboard the same spacecraft. Two Japanese astronauts were also flying together for the first time as well. The orbiter crew also included the final rookies that would fly on a Shuttle mission—Metcalf-Lindenburger, Yamazaki, and Dutton.
Nine days of joint activities were planned following the docking. The MPLM was moved to the Earth-facing port on Harmony on April 7 for unloading. The loadmaster on the crew, in charge of moving the 17,0001b (7711.20 kg) of cargo between the spacecraft and the station, was Yamazaki. With cargo floating both ways, she would be kept very busy during her stay on board the station.
The major elements of cargo transferred were a Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System Rack, a Window Operational Research Facility, an ExPRESS Rack and Zero-G Storage Racks, Resupply Storage Racks, the final four resident crew sleeping quarters (intended for installation in Harmony), the third Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer, and equipment for a new water production system. Other, smaller items of equipment, supplies, and stores were also transferred. With Leonardo emptied, the cargo intended for return to Earth was loaded back into the MPLM.
While work continued inside the station, the crew was also occupied outside, with Anderson and Mastracchio completing three EVAs totahng 20 hours 17 minutes. The first of these (April 9, 6h 27 min) began the work of exchanging an old Ammonia Tank Assembly (with a mass of 1,8001b or 816.48 kg) with a new unit. This took up most of the EVA timeline, but the two men worked efficiently and were able to also repair a Rate Gyro Assembly and retrieve a Material Experiment Exposure Device from the exterior of the Japanese module. The following day was a planned rest day, during which the crew were informed that their mission would be extended by 24 hours to facilitate the RMS inspection of the heat shield while docked with the station instead of after undocking. This was due to a failed Ku-band communication antenna on the orbiter.
The second EVA (April 11, 7 h 26 min) continued the work on the Ammonia Tank Assembly. Despite some difficulty with the installation of the hold-down bolts, the pair were able to complete most of their tasks, with just a few delayed to their third space walk. Electrical cables were connected but the ammonia and nitrogen lines were not. Two micromaterial debris shields were retrieved for analysis back on Earth.
The crew rest day of April 12 was also the 49th anniversary of Gagarin’s flight and the 29th anniversary of the first Shuttle flight. These events were noted in communication sessions with ground control centers, one of which featured a call from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The final EVA (April 13, 6 h 24 min) began with the tasks carried over from EVA 2, plus the return of the old Ammonia Tank into the Shuttle’s payload bay. The crew then completed several smaller tasks before winding up the exterior activities for the mission.
In the closing four days of the docked phase, the joint crews completed the relocation of cargo, returning the refilled MPLM back into the payload bay on April 16. They also held press conferences and enjoyed a day off. The undocking on April 17, after 10 days 5 hours 8 minutes of joint operations, was followed shortly afterwards by the traditional fly-around maneuver before the orbiter departed from the vicinity of the orbital complex.
Discovery flew a descending node reentry on April 20 and, in the daylight hours, took the orbiter over most of the continental U. S.A. This profile had been flown only once before (on STS-120 in 2007) since the loss of Columbia in 2003, but it was a journey that afforded the flight deck crew a spectacular panorama as they approached the landing site in Florida.
275th world manned space flight 161st U. S. manned space flight 33rd Shuttle ISS mission 131st Shuttle flight 38th Discovery flight 12th Discovery ISS flight 10 th and final round trip MPLM flight 7 th Leonardo MPLM flight First time three females fly on same Shuttle mission
First time four females in space at same time (with ISS resident crew member Caldwell-Dyson)
First time four females on the ISS at same time First time two JAXA astronauts in space at same time First time two JAXA astronauts on the ISS same time
Dutton, Metcalf-Lindburger, and Yamazaki become the final rookies to fly on a Shuttle
HAM, Kenneth Todd, 45, USN, NASA commander, second mission Previous mission: STS-124 (2008)
ANTONELLI, Dominic Anthony, 42, USN, NASA pilot, second mission Previous mission: STS-119 (2009)
REISMAN, Garrett Erin, 42, civilian, NASA mission specialist 1, second mission
Previous mission: STS-123/ISS-16/17/STS-124 (2008)
GOOD, Michael Timothy, 47, USAF, NASA mission specialist 2, second mission
Previous mission: STS-125 (2010)
BOWEN, Stephen George, 46, USN, NASA mission specialist 3, second mission Previous mission: STS-126 (2008)
SELLERS, Piers John, 55, civilian, NASA mission specialist 4, third mission Previous missions: STS-112 (2002), STS-121 (2006)
The STS-132 mission was significant in that the primary payload was not American, but the Russian-built Mini Research Module-1 (MRM-1), also known as Rassvet (“Dawn”). This module was to be installed on to the lower (nadir, Earth-facing) port of Zarya. The secondary payload was the second Integrated Cargo Carrier (ICC), packed with further spare supplies and equipment.
Inside the YAB, the External Tank was attached to the twin SRBs on March 29. The rollover of Atlantis to the assembly building on April 13 recorded only 22 problems being tracked since the orbiter’s return from STS-129. The payload arrived at the pad inside the payload canister on April 15. Rollout to the pad had
Rassvet (“Dawn”), the Russian-built Mini Research Module-1 (MRM-1), is seen (at right) attached to Zarya.
been scheduled for April 19, but bad weather delayed transfer until late on April 21, with the stack arriving after a 6.5 h journey in the early hours of April 22. The payload was installed in the cargo bay of the orbiter three days later.
Atlantis blasted olf from KSC on time with an all-veteran crew aboard. Just over eight minutes later, the flight entered orbit to begin the chase to station. The following day was taken up with an RMS inspection of the heat shield and preparing the EVA suits and equipment for the planned space walks. Prior to docking, the now traditional backflip maneuver was completed for visual checking and imagery by the station crew. Atlantis docked at the PMA-2 port of Harmony on May 16, less than a month after Discovery had departed at the end of mission STS-131. Two hours later, both crews were inside the station preparing to embark on a week of joint activities.
The Integrated Cargo Carrier was transferred to the station by Canadarm2 and placed on the Mobile Transporter. This unit was packed with spares and equipment for installation during the three EVAs. The unit also held spares designed to support the life of the station towards (and hopefully beyond) 2020. These included a spare Ku-band antenna and truss, six NiH batteries, and spare hardware components for the Dextre manipulator system.
The three EVAs logged 21 hours 20 minutes, with three astronauts (Reisman, Bowen, and Good) completing two space walks each. The first EVA was by Bowen and Reisman (May 17, 7h 25 min) and featured a number of hardware installations, including a space-to-ground Ku-band antenna on the station truss and a new tool platform for Dextre. There was time at the end of the EVA for a get-ahead task, with the crew loosening several bolts holding the batteries that would be exchanged over the next two space walks.
On May 18, the Rassvet module was grappled by the RMS, handed over to the space station RMS, and then attached permanently to the nadir port on Zarya. The Rassvet module features eight workstations inside its pressurized compartment. It was designed for a variety of scientific experiment operations and research. Taking advantage of the payload and launch capacity of the Shuttle, the Rassvet had 1.5 tons of cargo, supplies, and scientific gear for relocation to the U. S. segment packed inside. The Russians reported that the scientific research to be conducted in the new module included developing technologies, biological sciences, fluid physics, and educational research.
The second EVA (May 19, 7h 9 min) was by Bowen and Good, who began by releasing a snagged cable on the Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS). The pair then began the exchange of five of the six batteries, a process known as “shepherding”, with the old batteries intended for return to Earth. The team then completed a couple of small chores before wrapping up their excursion. The next day, cosmonauts Kotov and Skvortsov opened the inner hatches and entered Rassvet for the first time.
The final EVA (May 21, 6h 46 min) by Good and Reisman was primarily devoted to completing the exchange of batteries. The original units had a design life of six and a half years but had been in operation for nine years. Prior to closing out the space walk, the astronauts left a Power Data Grapple Fixture in the Quest airlock and prepared the ICC for return to the payload bay of Atlantis, which occurred on May 22. In total, Bowen accumulated 14 hours 34 minutes in two space walks, Reisman logged 14 hours 11 minutes on his two EVAs, and Good completed his two excursions in 13 hours 55 minutes.
Following a couple of rest days, completion of the transfer of cargo signaled the end of joint work with the station crew. During their week of joint activities, the crews had moved over 2,8791b (1305.91 kg) of cargo into the station and some 8,2291b (3732.67 kg) back into Atlantis. The orbiter was undocked on May 23 after 7 days 0 hours 54 minutes. Following the normal fly-around to photograph the station and Shuttle, the two vehicles separated, allowing the Atlantis crew to prepare for the return home and the station crew to resume their science program.
On May 26, Atlantis swooped to a spectacular landing on Runway 33 at the Cape. Following the visit of Atlantis, the station had grown to a mass of 815,0001b (369,684kg) and was now 94% complete by volume and over 98% complete by mass.
Although this was originally to be the final flight of Atlantis, there were plans to prepare the orbiter to be a launch-on-need rescue vehicle (designated STS-335) for STS-134, then scheduled as the final Shuttle mission of the program. However, discussions were ongoing over using the additional hardware for one more flight (STS-13 5). NASA had already bought an extra ET and SRB and needed only Congressional agreement and funding to mount the extra mission.
276th world manned space flight 162nd U. S. manned space flight 34th Shuttle ISS mission 132nd Shuttle flight 32nd Atlantis flight 11th Atlantis ISS flight
Only Russian ISS segment component launched by U. S. Shuttle