Status Report

ISS On-Orbit Status 2 Mar 2002

By SpaceRef Editor
March 2, 2002
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All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below.

First rest day of this weekend. At wake-up the crew was given a heads-up on the on-going STS-109 mission, with information on the reduced coolant flow in loop #1 due to some blockage. [At six seconds after Columbia main engine cutoff, the Freon flow in the aft coldplate had dropped from 300 to 225 lb/hr, later to 195. The flow has been stable since these events, with no further degradation. The flow in loop 2 is nominal and would allow all planned equipment to be powered for a single Freon loop reentry, without thermal violations. Therefore the Hubble servicing mission STS-109 was given the green light to proceed on schedule].

After breakfast, the ISS crew performed the weekly 2-hr. “uborka” (housecleaning), which includes cleaning of all fan screens to avoid temperature rises, and wiping surfaces with disinfectants.

A special task to troubleshoot the EXPPCS (Experiment on the Physics of Colloids in Space) payload was added to today’s schedule, calling for FE-2 Dan Bursch to isolate different areas of the experiment equipment to enable step-by-step checkout operations from the ground. [When an intended boot-up of the flight systems computer by POIC (Payload Operations Integration Center, Huntsville) failed on 2/24, it impacted the full week’s science on the EXPPCS “fast fractal” sample. After GRC and MSFC had in vain tried to re-set the on-orbit command linkage hardware and to power-cycle the EXPRESS Rack (ER), the ISS crew provided support with troubleshooting by attempting to access EXPPCS via the ER laptop, without success. Swapping out the EXPPCS OS (operating system) hard drive with one of the spare OS drives from stowage also did not help. Next day, the crew removed both data hard drives from their HD bays, leaving only the OS drive installed and later moving it to a different bay. None of these reconfigurations worked, and EXPPCS failed to boot. Recovery efforts are continuing: Fault tree and troubleshooting flow diagrams have now been drawn up for further troubleshooting which will also investigate the possibility of memory changes in the EXPPCS computer’s CPU (central processing unit), perhaps due to failure of the CMOSS battery or a Single Event Upset (cosmic particle hit). There is a possibility that the experiment cannot be recovered within available resources.]

Recovery of the ARIS-ICE (Active Rack Isolation System/Isolation Characterization Experiment) with a pushrod R&R (removal and replacement) is in preparation for the near future. Some get-ahead activities were task listed for FE-1 Carl Walz and will be hard-scheduled on Monday. [They include disconnecting a MilStandard 1553 data cable and installing a shorting plug instead, repairing the upper right pushrod using spare parts, determining the depth of snubber pins in the alignment guides, and stowing the ARIS-ICE shaker out of the way.]

Walz did the regular daily SOSH life support systems maintenance, while Bursch performed payload status checks in the Lab. He later had his private family conference via S-band.

All crewmembers completed their daily physical exercise program, which nominally includes two exercise sessions daily: one of 1.5 hours on TVIS (treadmill) and RED (resistive exerciser), and the second of 1 hr on CEVIS or VELO (cycle ergometers).

MCC-H uplinked advance 8A training material for review by the crew, preparatory to a planned 8A study session scheduled for 3/5 (Tuesday) and an 8A flight telecon session scheduled on 3/6.

Early results of the crew’s experimentation with the new SIS (Surround Imagery for Station) digital still photography have been getting rave reviews on the ground. SIS objective is to obtain 360-degree QTVR (QuickTime Virtual Realty) graphics of the station interior. A revised procedure, adding nadir, zenith and standoff shots plus one or two crewmembers to the 360-deg panoramic scenery, was uplinked. Equipment used is a flash-supported Kodak 760 DCS (digital camera system) with 17-35 mm zoom lens, and two bungee cord assemblies as center point reference for horizontal and vertical reference. The activity has been added to the “job jar” task list (lowest priority).

During testing of a GNC RM (guidance, navigation and control redundancy management) software PPL (pre-positioned load) in the Space Station Test Facility (SSTF), incorrect results on TDRS satellite slot selection were received. The same PPL is currently loaded on board in the Primary C&C MDM, and it’s not known at this time if the anomalous behavior seen was due to the SSTF simulator or is a real flight software problem. Until the issue is resolved, the crew was advised to use manual intervention to regain S-Band communications in the event of a Primary GNC MDM failure.

Crew was also requested not to open RWS (robotics workstation) and SSRMS (space station remote manipulator system) home pages on their PCS laptops and not to conduct RWS/SSRMS operations until ongoing comprehensive testing of the new files currently on board has been completed by the CSA contractor. However, robotics operations are still planned for next Thursday, 3/7, (dry run of S0 truss installation on 8A).

Moscow has uplinked background material on the “Kolibri” (Hummingbird) experiment for review by the crew prior to a telephone conference with Kolibri specialists on 3/4 (Monday). [Kolibri is a joint Russian/Australian project within the framework of the Russian-sponsored Program of Scientific-Educational Micro-Satellites. The “Kolibri-2000” micro-satellite, carried on the Progress M1-256 (6P) cargo ship, will be ejected from the Progress after its undocking from the ISS on 3/19. Its objective is to perform high-precision measurements of physical space parameters both in the close vicinity around the ISS and in free space in orbits near the ISS. The 20.5 kg (45 lbs) satellite will be controlled from specialized ground stations in Kaluga and Tarus, and its results will be evaluated by Russian and Australian school children in a study of “space weather” over highly populated Europe and less-populated Australia. Kolibri measures 54 cm in length, 37 cm in diameter and is powered by four deployable photovoltaic arrays and ten nickel-metal hydride batteries. Its new experimental attitude control and stabilization system uses both the Earth’s magnetic and gravity fields.]

Early tomorrow morning, CDR Yuri Onufrienko will downlink a congratulatory message to Academician Boris Yevseevich Chertok, one of the last surviving early pioneers, creative heroes and driving forces of the Soviet-Russian space program, who turned 90 years on 3/1 (actually February 29). Professor Chertok was one of Sergei P. Korolev’s closest associates, his Deputy for control systems on nearly all major pioneering space programs up to and including Salyut, Soyuz and Mir. In part, Onufrienko’s message reads, “Your personal integrity and work ethics, your dedication to hard work, your broad knowledge and technical expertise, your ability to touch people in a special way bring nothing but deep respect and appreciation from anyone who knows you well or ever crossed your path. Your books with memoirs and recollections on the years of your involvement with the Russian space program and rocket technology development are captivating. One is absorbed in reading them as a fascinating thriller”Congratulations, Boris Yevseevich!

Earlier, on 2/22, ISS Expedition Three crewmembers Frank Culbertson, Vladimir Dezhurov and Mikhail Tyurin attended a special crew reception and debriefing at Star City near Moscow, attended by representatives of Rosaviakosmos, RSC-Energia, NASA and GCTC (Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center). The ISS crew also was received at MCC-M/TsUP in Korolev/Moscow.

Science Update (Expedition Four — 12th):

Another successful week for payloads on ISS, at the half-way point of the expedition.

Hoffman-Reflex: In progress.

Extra-Vehicular Activity Radiation Monitors (EVARM): EVARM data from last week’s EVA were received on the ground yesterday and are being forwarded to the PI (principal investigator) team for analysis.

Ultrasound: In progress.

Pulmonary Function in Flight (PuFF): Files from the crew’s PuFF sessions were successful downlinked yesterday and are being forwarded to the PI team for analysis.

Renal (Kidney) Stone Experiment: In progress.

Interactions (NTXN): Continuing on a weekly schedule, nominally on Wednesdays. In-flight collections are reported to go very well.

Human Research Facility Workstation (HRF WS): n/a

Human Research Facility/PC (HRF/PC): n/a

Cellular Biotechnology Support Systems (CBOSS): Repacking of the BTR (biotechnology refrigerator) was successful, and it is running nominally. Ground ops team is monitoring the temperature drop.Ê

Physics of Colloids in Space (EXPPCS): This week EXPPCS experienced a potentially severe problem. Details see report item above.

Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS): SAMS hardware is nominal.

Microgravity Acceleration Measurement System (MAMS): MAMSÊ continues collection and archival of low-frequency acceleration data for the characterization of the ISS quasi-steady microgravity environment.

Protein Crystal Growth-Single Locker Thermal Enclosure System (PCG-STES): This week saw the activation of cylinder #8 in STES007 unit. All went well and the two STES units are performing nominally. The inlet temperature has been rising slightly, but this is attributed to the fact that the ISS is in XPOP attitude.

Materials ISS Experiment (MISSE): Nominal and collecting data. The ground is looking forward to viewing the EVA photos of MISSE.

Educational Payload Operations (EPO): EPO activities are complete. The EPO team was very excited to hear that all was nominal with their payload.

Active Rack Isolation System – Isolation Characterization Experiment (ARIS-ICE): ARIS recovery is scheduled to begin on 3/4 (Monday) with some tasks possibly performed early over the weekend.

EarthKAM: The next EarthKAM session is scheduled to occur next week. All EarthKAM images are available for public access on the EarthKAM data system at:

Advanced Astroculture (ADVASC): ADVASC is performing nominally. From the growth chamber footage, it appears that the plants are sprouting. The first gas sample, nutrient fluid sample, and condensate fluid sample were completed by Carl Walz earlier this week.

Zeolite Crystal Growth (ZCG): Planned. Hardware is ready to process samples to be launched on ISS 8A.

Crew Earth Observations (CEO): Optional targets today were Yellow River Delta (although some coastal fog may have been present, crew was to try for a winter, regional context view of the Lower Yellow River. Look to the right of track for oblique views), Ganges River Delta (excellent viewing conditions persist over this area. This target area is large enough that oblique views for context were of value, either side of track), Irrawaddy River Delta (there may have been a few late day clouds this pass, but crew was to try for oblique views of the delta by looking to the right of track), Bombay, India (this mega city and seaport on the west coast of India was to the left of track. Detailed context views of the city and coastal waters are needed), E. Mediterranean Dust and Smog (high pressure held over the eastern Mediterranean. Crew was to wait until ISS reached the coast of Aegean Sea and then try for oblique and limb shots either side of track looking for aerosol accumulations), W. Mediterranean Dust and Smog (a well-defined cold front was entering the western Mediterranean. As ISS approached the coast of North Africa, crew was to look to the left of track for Saharan dust plumes sweeping northward), Congo-Zimbabwe Biomass Burning (with high pressure and relatively little thunderstorm activity expected this pass, crew to try for oblique or limb shots of sunlit aerosols over the darkening land), Gulf of St. Lawrence (with perhaps the best break in the weather for some time, this pass, crew was to try for oblique views to the N and E, especially along the NW coast of the isle of Newfoundland to document pack ice accumulation there), Eastern United States (nice pass over lower New England. Of interest: views to the left of track [NE] for aerosol accumulations drifting eastward).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 6:59am EST):

  • Mean altitude — 382.8 km
  • Apogee — 389.8 km
  • Perigee — 375.7 km
  • Period — 92.2 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0010465
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.62
  • Altitude decrease — 350 m (mean) in last 24 hours
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98) — 18739
  • Current Flight Attitude — XPOP (x-axis perpendicular to orbit plane [yaw: ~0 deg, pitch: 5 deg., roll: 0 deg])

For more on ISS orbit and naked-eye visibility dates/times,

SpaceRef staff editor.