Status Report

NASA Space Station ISS On-Orbit Status 16 Jul 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
July 16, 2003
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NASA Space Station ISS On-Orbit Status 16 Jul 2003

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below.  Day 83 in space for the Increment 7 crew.  [Do you know what a Didgeridoo is?  read below.]

FE/SO Ed Lu installed the hardware for the Coarsening in Solid/Liquid Mixtures-2 (CSLM-2) experiment and Space Acceleration Measurement System 2 (SAMS-II) in the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG), taking photos of the process.  The preparations of the MSG work volume were monitored by the CSLM-2 team from Cleveland, OH, and Huntsville, AL.  Activation of the experiment is scheduled for tomorrow.   [CSLM2 is a materials science experiment to investigate the kinetics of competitive particle growth within a liquid matrix.  During this “coarsening” process small particles shrink by losing atoms to larger particles, causing the larger particles to grow.  In this experiment solid particles of tin will grow (coarsen) within a liquid lead-tin matrix.  In the microgravity environment, scientists can study a greater range of solid volume fractions than on the ground, and the effects of sedimentation present in terrestrial experiments will be greatly reduced.  The flight hardware consists of a sample processing unit (SPU); an electronics control unit (ECU); a base plate; and sundry electrical harnesses, data cables, and vacuum hoses.  The SPU incorporates the sample chamber assembly (SCA), which contains the samples and heating unit, a water reservoir, a pressurized air cylinder, and a vacuum connector.  The ECU contains the power regulator, display, and computer circuit boards that control the experiment.  The flight hardware operates in the MSG on top of the g-LIMIT (Glovebox Integrated Microgravity Isolation Technology), with power, vacuum, cooling, and containment for the experiment provided by the MSG.]

Malenchenko spent about 1.5 hrs. in the SM taking noise level readings with the “Shumometer” sound level meter.  [Purpose of the periodic activity is the characterization of the potential sources of excessive acoustic noise in the SM cabins and above the treadmill (ventilation fans located in the RO work compartment).  Only the continuously running subsystems of the SM atmospheric purification system were left running for the survey, including all ventilation fans located in the SM.  Noise was sampled three times at each of 11 locations, including two measurements in Ed Lu’s sleeping cabin with open and closed door.]

Today was the big day for transitioning the onboard File Server (FS) function to the new Next Generation Laptop (NGL).  [For today’s activities, Ed Lu performed data backups on the FS and moved the NGL, an IBM ThinkPad A31p, into place.  Then, the data from the MACE (mass access computer equipment) had to be migrated to the internal MACE, an activity expected to take 6-8 hrs.  The internal MACE is the secondary hard drive (HDD) in the FS, replacing the external MACE Silos which required an SCSI (serial command and monitoring interface) card interface to disk, but MACE remains connected as a backup if necessary.  Time permitting, Ed was then to start the client reload of the SSC (station support computer) laptops, which will be continued tomorrow.]

Malenchenko completed the periodic long-term checkup of onboard vacuum pressure gauges (MV).  [First, a reading check of four portable vacuum pressure gauges in the SM was performed, then they were moved to the Soyuz TMA-1 crew return vehicle for comparing their readings to the measurement of the Soyuz manometer.]

Ed Lu tagged up with an EPO (Educational Payload Operations) specialist to discuss the upcoming EPO demonstration of musical instruments on the ISS.  [There are three instruments on board: a Pu’ili flute from Hawaii, a Didgeridoo from Australia, and a large keyboard.  The simple sound demonstrations are expected to have great science-educational impact for middle school students, the majority of which apparently believes that sound, its production and properties, will be different in microgravity.  Clearing up this misconception is expected to heighten the youngster’s understanding of the ISS environment as well as of the physics of sound.  The payload is sponsored and supported by five of Hawaii’s premiere museums and science centers.  The Pu’ili, used on Hawaii as part of traditional dances, is made of split bamboo.  The Didgeridoo originated with Aborigines, stemming from tree trunks hollowed out by termites and, when wind-blown, creating haunting sounds.  It is considered to be one of the oldest wind instruments on Earth (and now in space).]

The CDR today performed the daily routine maintenance of SOZh life support systems (including toilet facility, food containers, water containers and solid waste containers), while the Science Officer attended to the preparation of the daily IMS (inventory management system) update file and the regular routine checkup of Increment 7 payloads running in the Lab.

Both crewmembers conducted their regular daily physical exercise program of 2.5 hrs on TVIS treadmill (aerobic) and RED exerciser (anaerobic).

Yuri also attended to his regular daily inspection of the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 (“Plants-2”) experiment which studies growth and development of plants (peas) under spaceflight conditions in the Lada-2 greenhouse.

Last night at 7:30pm EDT, LSOS (limited station operations support) mode at MCC-H was “swung” back to normal operations mode.

Troubleshooting of Ed Lu’s EMU/spacesuit on the ground is continuing.  A new troubleshooting procedure was uplinked, to be performed on Friday (7/18).  [During a suit don/doff demo on 5/28, Ed Lu ran into a problem with his LCVG (liquid cooling ventilation garment), for which he couldn’t establish cooling water flow.  The spacesuit in question is presently considered nonfunctional, but it is one of three EMUs on board, and the other two are functional.  Engineering is now pursuing the possibility that a large gas bubble in the EMU backpack’s water tanks could be a contributing factor to the cooling problem .  If the bubble is large enough, it may prevent degassing of the system using the pump priming valve.  The procedure on 7/18 will drain and refill the water tanks.]

The crew downlinked great photography of Tropical Storm Claudette which made it to all major TV networks, the Weather Channel and around the world.  Outstanding effort!  [Their pictures may be rivaling the superb hurricane pictures taken by Joe Engle on STS-51I in 1985, one of which is hanging in the entrance to the National Hurricane Center.]

A report by Ed Lu that last Friday (7/11) at approximately 12:00 noon EDT, he saw the Planet Mars, currently at its closest to Earth in thousands of years, was checked out by the ground and confirmed.  [The Science Officer indeed saw Mars as it rose and traversed the sky along the starboard side of the ISS at an angle of about 70 deg from the station’s X-Z plane, based on the then-LVLH TEA attitude.]

Tomorrow at about 8:35am, MCC-H will power up the MSS/MBS (Mobile Service System/Mobile Base System), followed by remotely-commanded tests(mate and unmate) of the MMS Common Attach System’s Umbilical Mating Assembly (MCAS UMA).  [Russian thrusters will be disabled during the exercise, and in the unlikely event that there is an MCS (motion control systems) failure during the thruster-disabled period, the crew would perform the Loss of CMG Attitude Control (LOAC) warning procedure.]

Today’s CEO targets, limited in the current XPOP attitude by flight rule constraints on the use of the Lab nadir/science window, and including the targets of the Lewis & Clark 200-year memorial locations, were Salamat Swamps, Southern Chad (Dynamic event.  As with the crew’s recent very useful sunglint images of the Sudd swampland in southern Sudan, a sunglint view was requested in another very remote location to capture complex river networks), Saharan dust, Mauritania (Dynamic event.  Major dust outblow into the Atlantic continues.  Looking right of track.  Sahara dust reaches the Caribbean regularly in summer [even Houston on occasion] and South America in winter.  It is theorized that Saharan dust is the main source for certain soil nutrients in the Amazon basin), Dallas, Texas (nadir pass.  Shooting cloud bands of Hurricane Claudette if these obscure Dallas), Angolan Biomass Burning (the crew’s recent images of Angola documented the unseasonably early burn season in south-central Africa.  To continue documentation, the crew was asked to look left of track towards the Angolan coastline for smoke/dust haze exiting into the Atlantic Ocean.  Their earlier photos showed haze over the coastal plain from fires inland on the plateau), and Amazon river patterns, Brazil (Dynamic event.  Sunglint opportunity left of track.  Maps are sometimes highly inaccurate for remote regions since they rely on mapmaking traditions from Europe/North America where rivers only flow in valleys.  In some parts of the world rivers flow in levied tracts on vast cones of sediment as high zones in these poorly understood landscapes).
CEO images can be viewed at the websites

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

Besides the daily CEO (crew earth observation) target list, the station residents were also provided with times of ISS equatorial night crossings for observing the current equatorial-tropical storm zone.

U.S. and Russian Segment Status (as of 8:00am EST).

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

  • Elektron O2 generator is powered On (16 amp mode).  Vozdukh CO2 scrubber is On (in Manual Mode 5/3).  U.S. CDRA CO2 scrubber is Off.  TCCS (trace contaminant control subsystem) is operating.  MCA (major constituents analyzer) is operating.  BMP Harmful Impurities unit: absorbent bed #1 in Purify mode, bed #2 in Purify mode (unit is On).  RS air conditioner SKV-1 is On; SKV-2 is Off.
  • SM Working Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 742; temperature (deg C) — 27.8; ppO2 (mmHg) — data invalid; ppCO2 (mmHg) — data invalid.
  • SM Transfer Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 751; temperature (deg C) — 20.4.
  • FGB Cabin:  Pressure (mmHg) — 748; temperature (deg C) — 21.7.
  • Node:  Pressure (mmHg) — 740.07; temperature (deg C) — 23.4 (shell); ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • U.S. Lab:  Pressure (mmHg) — 741.79; temperature (deg C) — 23.2; ppO2 (mmHg) — 167.4; ppCO2 (mmHg) — 4.4.
  • Joint Airlock (Equip. Lock):  Pressure (mmHg) — 741.99; temperature (deg C) — 28.9; shell heater temp (deg C) — 26.2, ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • PMA-1:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — 22.7
  • PMA-2:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — 26.2.
  • (n/a = data not available)

Propulsion System (PS):

  • Total propellant load available: 3733 kg (8230 lb) as of 7/10  [SM(774) + FGB(2777) + Progress M(182) +Progress M-1(0)].  (Capability: SM — 860 kg; FGB — 6120 kg).

Electrical Power Systems (EPS):

  • Both P6 channels fully operational.  BGA (beta gimbal assembly) 2B & 4B both in directed position (Blind/triple-angle mode, non solar-tracking, i.e., fixed at 279 deg & 81 deg for drag reduction [“sun slicer”]).
  • SM batteries:  Battery #4 is disconnected (failed 6/16); battery #2 is disconnected, in ROM (capacity restoration) mode; all other batteries (6) are in “Partial Charge” mode.  Batteries #1, #2 and #3 showing degraded capacity. 
  • FGB batteries:  Battery #3 is offline; battery #3 is in ROM mode; all other batteries (4) 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-1 is operating; INT-2 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-2 MDM is Off; PL-1 MDM is Operational.
  • APS-1 (automated payload switch #1) and APS-2 are both On.
  • SM Terminal Computer (TVM): 3 redundant lanes (of 3) operational.
  • SM Central Computer (TsVM): 3 redundant lanes (of 3) operational.

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: -10 deg, pitch: -9.3 deg, roll: 0 deg]), with CMG/TA (thruster assist) Momentum Management.
  • Solar Beta angle:  61.0 deg (magnitude increasing).

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 (internal audio controller #1) being analyzed after self-test error.  IAC-2 is prime.]
  • Video subsystem operating nominally.
  • HCOR (high-rate communications outage recorder) is operating nominally.


  • SSRMS/Canadarm2 based at MBS PDGF #1 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, 7:16am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 386.3 km
  • Apogee — 391.9 km
  • Perigee — 380.6 km
  • Period — 92.28 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0008382
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.60
  • Solar Beta Angle — 61.0 deg (magnitude increasing)
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 35 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 26557
  • For more on ISS orbit and worldwide naked-eye visibility dates/times, see

SpaceRef staff editor.