Status Report

Expedition 9 Assessement by NASA Advisory Council Task Force – Federal Space Agency Advisory Expert Council Joint Commission (TF-AEC)

By SpaceRef Editor
April 6, 2004
Filed under , , ,

March 25, 2004

Mr. Sean O’Keefe


National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Washington DC 20546

Mr. Anatoli Nikolayevich Perminov


Federal Space Agency

42 Schepkina Street

129090 Moscow


Dear Messers. O’Keefe and Perminov:

As directed by our agencies, the NASA Advisory Council Task Force (RF) – Federal Space Agency Advisory Expert Council (AEC) Joint Commission (TF-AEC) reviewed the safety and operational readiness of the International Space Station (ISS), the flight control teams’ preparedness to accomplish the Expedition 9 mission. Additionally, the TF-AEC reviewed preparations for the Expedition 8 crew landing and crew recovery from the landing site.

SUMMARY FINDING: The TF-AEC Joint Commission finds that although a crew change-out was made as late as January 2004, the Expedition 9 crew is fully trained and successfully passed both proficiency and medical examinations. In addition, the Russian and U.S. flight control teams are prepared to support the Expedition 9 mission which includes two planned EVAs. The status of the environment, health and performance of the Expedition 8 crew met medical standards. The ISS is safe and operationally ready to support the arrival of the crew. Finally, all vehicle and operational reviews have been completed to support the safe ascent of the Expedition 9 crew on Soyuz TMA-4 and the safe descent and landing of the Expedition 8 crew aboard Soyuz TMA-3.

The findings of this report resulted for meetings in Houston, Texas March 9-11, 2004, conducted at the Johnson Space Center, followed by meetings in Moscow, Russia, March 23-25, 2004, conducted at TsNIIMash and the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC). At the meetings in Houston, the TF-AEC received an overall program status briefing from the ISS program Manager. This was followed by briefings from experts on the status of: the ISS window leak and design details; leak detection and isolation procedures; TVIS and other countermeasure equipment; MCC-H readiness; ECLSS and air quality status; Expedition 9 EVA planning; cargo certification process; and a METOX test report.

At the meetings conducted at TsNIIMash in Moscow on March 23, 2004, the TF-AEC received briefings on the status of: the Elektron and other oxygen sources; the METOX report; ECLSS status; assessment of medical operations for Expeditions 8 and 9; MCC-M readiness; cargo certification; TMA-4 launch readiness; and TMA-3 landing readiness. On March 24, 2004, at the GCTC, the TF-AEC reviewed the proficiency training and medical certifications of both the prime and backup crews of Expedition 9 and visiting crew 6. Briefings were also presented on Expedition 9 crew’s EVA training and medical training readiness, as well as Expedition 8 crew’s return readiness and search and rescue complex readiness. In addition, the TF-AEC received briefings from the crews of ISS Expedition 7 and 9.

The medical representatives of the TF-AEC Joint Commission concluded that both sides are in agreement that the exercise devices (TVIS, CVIS, and iRED) are functioning in a degraded mode. However, they are currently adequate to support the health and performance of the Expedition 9 two-person crew. Also presented was a short-range plan dedicated to preserving the functionality of the Vibration Isolation System (VIS), flying the Russian BD-1, and replacing the iRED flex packs with upgraded packs.

Issue for Multilateral Consideration

The successful experiences of the past five years have enabled the U.S. and Russia, using the Joint American/Russian Safety Working Group (JARSWG), to develop a mutual understanding, which should serve as a foundation to eliminate the existing discrepancies among specific standards, and for the development of standards and requirements that must be adopted in the future by all ISS partners. It is imperative that the international partnership seeks opportunities to more effectively address the anticipated expansion of operations among the partners. Therefore, the Joint Commission suggests that the ISS Heads of Agencies assign a task to the ISS integrator (NASA) and all partners to converge and harmonize all ISS requirements and standards.

This letter constitutes our completed assessment as of this date. In performing its assessment, the Joint Commission appreciates the efforts of the subject matter experts of both sides in providing full and open discussions. We will continue to follow the mission preparations for an anticipated launch of the Expedition 9 crew scheduled to occur no earlier than April 19, 2004. If we should develop any concerns as we proceed toward launch, we will contact you immediately.

Please contact us if you have any questions.


Lt. General T.P. Stafford, USAF (Ret.)


Stafford Task Force


Academician N.A. Anfimov


Anfimov Advisory Expert Council

SpaceRef staff editor.