Status Report

NASA Space Station 20 Dec 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
December 20, 2003
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NASA Space Station 20 Dec 2003

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below. First of two weekend rest days for the crew.

Foale and Kaleri performed the regular 3-hr. Saturday task of station cleaning. [“Uborka stantsii” focuses on removal of food waste products, cleaning of compartments with vacuum cleaner, wet cleaning of the Service Module (SM) dining table and other surfaces with disinfectants (“Fungistat”) and cleaning of fan screens to avoid temperature rises.]

Working off the Russian discretionary task list, Alexander Kaleri performed another session with the biomedical “Pulse” experiment (MBI-9), the second for the FE. These tests are done monthly. [Execution of the medical cardiological assessment is controlled from the Russian payloads laptop 3, using a set respiration rate (without forced or deep breaths) and synchronizing respiration with computer-commanded “inhale” commands. Before the experiment, arterial blood pressure is measured with the “Tensoplus” sphygmomanometer. After the test, laptop 3 needs to be reconfigured to its original settings.]

Also from the task list, Sasha conducted another set of observations for the Diatomeya ocean research program, taking imagery depicting bioproductive waters and meteorological and hydrological baseline data of the Atlantic and Indian oceans. [The FE used the Nikon F5 with f/80 mm lens from SM window #8 and the Sony DVCAM-150 digital camcorder, fixed on a bracket above window #7, to shoot seawater blooms in open oceans and coastal regions, anomalies in cloud fields, and surface manifestations of water dynamics. Targets were the Arabian Sea, the Mediterranean from Spain and the Balears to Tunisia, the Black Sea, and the North Atlantic.]

As a third task list item, Kaleri performed another round of Uragan earth observations, using the Kodak 760 electronic still camera with the long f800 lens to take imagery of Northern Caucasus cities and Main mountain range passes for subsequent evaluation of the current avalanche situation. [Main target areas were the cities of Nalchik and Vladikavkaz, and the main Caucasus mountain range.]

Both crewmembers had their regular weekly PFCs (private family conferences), via Russian VHF for Sasha and Ku- & S-band for Mike.

The FE conducted the daily routine maintenance of the SOZh life support system.

The crew conducted the weekly planning conference with the ground, discussing next week’s “Look-Ahead Plan” (regularly prepared jointly by MCC-H and MCC-M planners), via S-band/audio. [Today’s special topic was a discussion of the IMS (inventory management system) onboard clothing consolidation activity scheduled for 12/24.]

Mike Foale supported a ground-commanded power-down of ER2 ARIS (EXPRESS rack #2, Active Rack Isolation System) by shutting off the ER2 laptop computer. [The ER2 POP (payload on-orbit processor) power-down by POIC (Payload Operations & Integration Center) included opening of the RPCs (remote power controllers), configuring the RFCA (rack flow control assembly), payload shutdown notification, configuring the RIC (rack interface controller), etc.]

The crew continues to support the Renal Stone prevention experiment by taking the test medication (either potassium citrate or placebo tablets) at dinnertime until the next sample collection phase.

Weekly Science Update (Expedition Eight — 7th):

GASMAP: Next scheduled 30-day health check will be after the first of the year.

Human Research Facility/Workstation (HRF WS): Continuing.

Advanced Ultrasound: Planned.

Hand Posture Analyzer (HPA): Looking forward to the sessions next year.

In-Space Soldering Investigation (ISSE): Planned.

Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation (PFMI): The PFMI team has done testing on the ground hardware this week to better determine what may have caused the MSG circuit breaker trip. Troubleshooting procedures are being prepared for next Monday with the ground hardware. The team is looking forward to working with the crew next week to get this anomaly resolved and hopefully start processing a sample on Tuesday

Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS): Upcoming events include the SAMS filter cleaning and support of PFMI operations.

Microgravity Acceleration Measurement System (MAMS): MAMS OSS Data collected while ISS was in YVV attitude for this extended duration will be very useful in comparison with other attitudes (XPOP, LVLH).

Protein Crystal Growth-Single Locker Thermal Enclosure System (PCG-STES): Behaving nominally.

Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions (InSPACE): Planned.

Renal Stone: Next in-flight urine collection will be in mid-January.

Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SHERES): Completed.

Foot (Foot/Ground Reaction Forces during Space Flight): Ground team appreciated Mike Foale’s working through the pant alterations. The Foot data will be examined over the next couple of days.

Materials ISS Experiment (MISSE): In progress. Deployed outside. Nominal and collecting data.

Cellular Biotechnology Support Systems-Fluid Dynamics Investigation (CBOSS-FDI): Looking forward to the next activity.

Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students (EarthKAM): Students are looking forward to the next session later this Increment.

Earth Science Toward Exploration Research (ESTER): Looking forward to the sessions next year.

Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures-2 (CSLM-2): Planned.

Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA): Completed.

Educational Payload Operations (EPO): The ground is looking forward to the next demo.

Crew Earth Observation (CEO): One of the excellent ISS/CEO images of Mount Everest will be published in Earth Observatory next week. It is one of only a few views taken on an ascending pass, and the crew did remarkably well to locate it. Ground team is pleased to note the crew’s repeated use of the 400mm lens beginning on 12/11. The small sample that has been examined so far are a bit soft, but this will improve with experience. The crew should bear in mind that obliques and high obliques taken with the long lenses are often difficult to locate and catalog unless the features are unique or familiar and well-illuminated, or, are accompanied by a context view with a short lens. Ground team is also relieved to note that camera times have greatly improved, but seem to drift a bit with time and will likely need monitoring to assure accuracy.

Today’s CEO targets, in the current LVLH attitude no longer limited by flight rule constraints on the use of the Lab nadir/science window, except for some viewing angles, were N China plain smog (potential haze buildup. Oblique views right with low sun are ideal conditions for documenting even light air pollution loadings over the lower Yellow River/Beijing region), Red Basin smog, W China (looking right for an ideal oblique view of this circular basin where polluted air accumulates [from millions of open domestic cooking fires and industry of two major cities]. The Red Basin is the center of China’s largest province of more than 100 million people), Three Gorges Dam, China (nadir pass over this major engineering project. Surrounding environmental changes are also of interest, with new towns and numerous roads, power lines and landing strips), Mekong River Delta (the first view in many months: trying for detailed images of the islands and coastlines in this delta), Berlin, Germany (a break in the succession of winter storms should allow a view just left of track), Madras, India (nadir pass. Now a center of India’s computer industry, Madras was the East India Company’s first foothold in India in 1649), Khartoum, Sudan (looking left of track for this city which is easy to locate at the confluence of the Blue and White Niles), St. Thomas (400mm-lens: nadir pass. Coral reef site), St. Croix (400mm-lens: nadir pass. Coral reef site), Puerto Rico (400mm-lens: looking a touch right for images of coral reefs and coastal urban development), and Albuquerque, New Mexico (looking a touch right on the east side of the Rio Grande).

CEO images can be viewed at the websites.

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

U.S. and Russian Segment Status (as of 2:00pm EST).

Environmental Control and Life Support (ECLSS) and Thermal Control (TCS):

  • Elektron O2 generator is powered Off. Vozdukh CO2 scrubber is On (in Manual Mode 5/3). U.S. CDRA CO2 scrubber is on Standby (ready in dual-bed mode). TCCS (trace contaminant control subsystem) is operating. MCA (major constituents analyzer) is off (in Life Extending Mode). BMP Harmful Impurities unit: absorbent bed #1 in Purify mode, bed #2 in Purify mode. RS air conditioner SKV-1 is On; SKV-2 is Off.

Electrical Power Systems (EPS):

  • Both P6 channels fully operational. BGA (beta gimbal assembly) 2B and 4B both in Directed Position (non-suntracking, “night glider”/”sun slicer” drag reduction mode).
  • SM batteries: Battery #8, formerly known as #7, is still disconnected in slot #8 for troubleshooting, off-line; all other batteries (7) are in “Partial Charge” mode.
  • FGB batteries: Battery #5 is off (capacity restoration mode, ROM); all other batteries (5) are in “Partial Charge” mode.
  • Plasma Contactor Unit PCU-1 in Standby mode; PCU-2 in Standby mode.

Command & Data Handling Systems:

  • C&C-1 MDM is prime, C&C-2 is back-up, and C&C-3 is in standby.
  • GNC-1 MDM is prime; GNC-2 is Backup.
  • INT-2 is operating; INT-1 is Off.
  • EXT-2 is On (primary), EXT-1 is Off (both now upgraded to R3).
  • LA-1, LA-2 and LA-3 MDMs are all operating.
  • PL-1 MDM is Off; PL-2 MDM is Operational.
  • APS-1 (automated payload switch #1) and APS-2 are both On.
  • SM Terminal Computer (TVM): 2 redundant lanes (of 3) operational (string 1 dropped out 11/22).
  • SM Central Computer (TsVM): 2 redundant lanes (of 3) operational (string #3 dropped out 10/22).

Propulsion System:

  • Total propellant load available: 3680 kg (8113 lb) as of 12/11/03 [SM(755) + FGB(2573) + Progress M(352) + Progress M-1(0)]. (Capability: SM — 860 kg; FGB — 6120 kg).

Attitude Control Systems:

  • 3 CMGs on-line (CMG-1 failed).
  • State vector source — U.S. SIGI-1 (GPS)
  • Attitude source — U.S. SIGI-1 (GPS)
  • Angular rate source — RGA-1

Flight Attitude:

  • LVLH YVV (local vertical/local horizontal = “earth-fixed”: z-axis in local vertical, y-axis in velocity vector [yaw: -89.9 deg, pitch: -8.9 deg, roll: 1.8 deg]), with CMG/TA (thruster assist) Momentum Management.

Communications & Tracking Systems:

  • FGB MDM-1 is powered Off; FGB MDM-2 is operational.
  • All other Russian communications & tracking systems are nominal.
  • S-band is operating nominally (on string 2).
  • Ku-band is operating nominally.
  • Audio subsystem is operating nominally (IAC-1 is prime, IAC-2 is off).
  • Video subsystem operating nominally.
  • HCOR (high-rate communications outage recorder) is operating nominally.


  • SSRMS/Canadarm2 based at MBS PDGF #1/LEE B, with Keep Alive (KA) power on both strings.
  • MBS: KA power on both strings.
  • MT: latched and mated at WS4.
  • POA: KA power on both strings.
  • RWS (robotics workstations): Lab RWS is On (DCP connected); Cupola RWS is Off.

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 7:04am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 371.1 km
  • Apogee — 375.0 km
  • Perigee — 367.3 km
  • Period — 92.0 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) — 51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0005738
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.66
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 80
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98) — 29013
  • For more on ISS orbit and worldwide naked-eye visibility dates/times, see

SpaceRef staff editor.