Status Report

ISS On-Orbit Status 1 Jan 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
January 1, 2003
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ISS On-Orbit Status 1 Jan 2003

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below.  New Year’s Day — an off-duty day for the crew.  [Houston Flight Control: “Enjoy your day and Best Wishes from all of us here in MCC.”]

FE-1 Nikolai Budarin and his shipmates also received a congratulatory letter from the participants of the Russian Diatomeya oceanographic experiment, sent by Academician Vinogradov, Russian Academy of Sciences, Chief Scientist of the Russian ISS Experiment Program:  “Our best wishes for the New Year. Happy New Year, cosmic health to you all, successful mission, happiness, and well being in 2003.”

FE-2/SO Don Pettit took the daily CO2 (carbon dioxide) readings with the CDMK (carbon dioxide monitor kit), as part of the current measurement program to help resolve discrepancies between ppCO2 (carbon dioxide partial pressure) readings by the SM gas analyzer and U.S. MCA (major constituents analyzer).

CDR Ken Bowersox was scheduled to deactivate the ZCG (Zeolite Crystal Growth) furnace heater.

Budarin completed the daily checkup of the activated BIO-5 Rasteniya-2/Lada-2 (“Plants-2”) experiment that researches plant growth and development under spaceflight conditions.

Later, Nikolai completed the regular periodic inspection of the BRPK condensate water separator in the Service Module.

Pettit performed the daily routine inspection/maintenance of the SOSh life support system, including ASU toilet insert replacements, while Bowersox did the regular daily status checkup of Lab payloads.

All crewmembers had PFCs (private family conferences) via S-band (audio) on their schedule.

Today’s targets for the CEO (crew earth observations program) were Indus R., Rajasthan desert (detailed views of this famous river were requested, of both stream patterns and human patterns [cities and irrigation networksin sun glint right of track].  Starting immediately after the Indus, for about 1 min, the Rajasthan desert appeared.  Of great interest here are the faint remnants of ancient river courses [linear, slightly sinuous, darker lines].  One such river [present tributary of the Ganges?] was so large that it may have led water from the Himalayas to the sea 2000-4000 years ago [mentioned in Sanskrit texts as actively flowing]. Detailed nadir and oblique views left and right from your altitude will help to redraw the river pattern, a basic research question), Baghdad, Iraq (looking left for a general view of the urban region.  The city lies where the Tigris and Euphrates swing closest to one another [the Tigris is the further of the two major rivers from your viewpoint], with numerous highways pointed towards the center of the gray, hard-to-see city. ESC [electronic still camera].  The Euphrates also fans out into a major inland delta [identified only today], in the foreground of your view [between the ISS track and the Tigris].  Mapping views of the detail of the multiple Euphrates water courses are requested [few views exist since Baghdad is the usual focus of crew photographers]), Kuwait City, Kuwait (nadir pass; ESC), Sicily (pass tracked along the southern coast of the island, “with Etna smoking”), Lake Chad (views of the northern margins of the lake have never been taken with this lens.  These were requested for detailed geological mapping.  Overlapping views were requested. Obliquity is unimportant.  Newly cut roads through the dune field may be visible), Bamako, Mali (nadir and a touch left; ESC), Dallas, Texas (nadir pass; ESC.

Pass continued over the Houston-Galveston region), Central America pass (Yucatan with holiday hotspot of Cancun right of track.  Sun glint views right might reveal the broad circular pattern of numerous water holes.  The circles are concentric rings related to the enormous Chixculub impact crater [credited with the major animal extinction of 65 million years ago].  Impact point near the NW tip of Yucatan, but crew was to look well south/left. Then about 3 min later, unusually clear skies over Panama [looking rightsunglint opportunity].  Views especially requested for a new publication on the so-called “Great Faunal Interchange”, – dealing with the geologically recent growth of the Panama land bridge about 3 million years ago when animals from the both Americas crossed in both directions [with effects that are still being felt in the animal world]), Baja pass (looking left for panoramas of the peninsula), Lake Eyre, Australia (looking right for views of the dry lake and rivers flowing into the lake on its north side.  Water from rains documented in October by STS-112 may still be visible.  As with Lake Poopo in the high Andes, this inland basin is an excellent gauge for rainfall over a wide region [rainfall here is most closely tied to the El Nino cycle rather than season]), New Zealand (pass tracked across the south end of South Island.  Looking left for dramatic low-light views up the axis of the extremely rugged, glaciated Southern Alps), Bogotá, Colombia (nadir pass; ESC.  Then the crew to try a mapping pass [both sides of track near nadir if possible] over the semiarid inland parts of Colombia.  In this region inland deltas have been the landscape norm for the last ~80 million years.  

Today thick sequences of such inland deltas host oil accumulations just east of the Andes.  This has given rise to the interest in mapping inland deltas worldwide, as analogs of the host rocks), and Galapagos Islands, Ecuador (looking left for panoramas of the island chain. Interesting geological factoid about the Galapagos volcanic “hotspot”: lava from this long lived underlying hotspot spewed out in vast quantity and was then rafted slowly northeast by tectonic plate motion [before the present growth of the Panama isthmus]. Today the entire floor of the Caribbean is underlain by Galapagos lavas. The arc of the Windward Island chain, at the east end of the Caribbean, is the leading edge of this still-moving plate).

Stshastiya, zdoroviya i udatshi v Novom godu!

SpaceRef staff editor.