Status Report

NASA Space Station ISS On-Orbit Status 23 Apr 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
April 23, 2004
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NASA Space Station ISS On-Orbit Status 23 Apr 2004

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below.   Day 3 of joint Exp.8/Exp.9 operations.

With wake-up at midnight (EDT) and sleeptime at 3:30pm, the crews had another long day with a demanding schedule, after receiving congrats to yesterday’s outstanding job on an equally strenuous timeline.

General handover (h/o) activities between Exp. 8 and Exp. 9 continue to go well.  There was another hour allotted on today’s schedule for “dedicated” h/o, performed by Foale, Kaleri, Padalka and Fincke, in addition to joint walk-throughs on specific tasks (“functional” h/o).   [By last night, U.S. crewmembers alone had completed 4.5 hrs of dedicated h/o time and 2.25 hrs of functional h/o.]

VC6 FE-1 André Kuipers’ schedule today dominantly featured the CIRCA experiment with its daily monitoring of blood pressure (BP) and pulse rate in micro-G.   [For running the CIRCA equipment, NASA provided freshly charged “Makita” batteries.  Today’s session involved measurement of arterial BP over 25 hours using the BMI-02 device, and of finger BP with the PORTAPRESS device.  In addition, two protocols are performed in CIRCA, directed by special software.  The second 25-hr. session is scheduled for 4/26 (Monday).]

A major activity for CDR/SO Michael Foale and FE-9/SO Michael Fincke today was the resumption of in-flight maintenance (IFM) work on the Lab science window.   [The IFM was preceded by a practice sim of the previously developed QD (quick-disconnect) throttling technique, designed to avoid flash condensation of humidity in the inter-pane “Volume D”, by using male and female NOAPs (nitrogen/oxygen pressure adapters), an ISA (internal sample adapter) and VAJs (vacuum access jumpers) to simulate the procedure by slowly venting cabin air into an evacuated equipment volume.  For the actual depressurization, the crew then used the FSS (fluid system servicer), ISA and VAJ with the Lab VRIV (vent & relief isolation valve) to slowly vent air and humidity in “Volume D” overboard.  Afterwards, the equipment for monitoring leak tightness was installed, to be done by Fincke once per day for up to four weeks, using the “Aeolus” scopemeter with pressure probe.  A ULD (ultrasonic leak detector) that listens for “hissing” noise is also available, should it be required.  After the leak characterization is concluded, the new flexhose U-jumper, delivered on 13P, will be installed.  Its purpose is to keep the space between the window’s two pressure panes airless, thus preventing condensation and commensurate degradation of optical quality.]

Kuipers on his Flight Day 5 again worked a packed day’s program of “Delta” experiments, assisted by Gennady Padalka as required.   [His activities included the second session with the Seeds in Space experiment, temperature monitoring & registration of his incubators, and continuation & closeout ops of the SUIT spatial positioning experiment.]

Kuipers and Padalka continued taking video/photo imagery of onboard activities for documentary and PAO use on Earth.  Gennady later again had 10 min. set aside for recharging the DVCAM camcorder battery.

Yesterday, André successfully completed all six runs of the HEAT science experiment in the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox), including recovering run 3, which had to be aborted on the first day for some troubleshooting by him and Foale.   [However, despite the troubleshooting the experiment continued to exhibit bad thermal contact between the experiment baseplate and the MSG coldplate, with an average temperature difference of 11 degC (vs. 4 degC expected from tests at POIC/Huntsville).  Payload operators conclude that as a consequence heater power was shut down by the HEAT software for a lower applied heat flux, thus not producing the desired maximum heat transfer performance/characteristics of the heat pipe.]

Alex Kaleri performed the Russian TEKh-8 Toksichnost (“Toxicology”) experiment, first transferring it from the Soyuz 8S to the Service Module (SM), then taking water samples of the SM’s SOZh environment control & life support system with syringes for analysis, with subsequent report of the tabulated results to TsUP/Moscow.

CDR-9 Padalka meanwhile conducted the Russian Fluorestsentsiya (“Fluorescence”) experiment using the FORREY apparatus, again being photographed by Kaleri during the activity with the Nikon D1.  Begun yesterday, the experiment will be performed daily until 4/28.

Sasha Kaleri re-installed the Russian Fialka (“violet”) hardware at SM window #9, along with the geophysical GFI-1 “Relaksatsiya” (“relaxation”) equipment, followed by another observation and imagery session.  The hardware was later torn down and stowed.   [The experiment involves five payload kits and two cameras, one a DVCAM 150 camcorder, the other an ultraviolet (UV) camera with spectrometer.  Purpose of the experiment is to develop a procedure for identifying petroleum product pollution on the Earth’s surface in the UV range, with simultaneous observation in the visible light range.  Today’s run focused on oil pollution in the Near East.]

In another joint walkthrough with Padalka, Kaleri completed the periodic (monthly) functional closure test of the Vozdukh CO2 removal system’s emergency vacuum valves (AVK, last time done: 4/9).   [The AVKs are critical because they close the Vozdukh’s vacuum access lines in the event of a malfunction in the regular vacuum valves (BVK) or a depressurization in the Vozdukh valve panel (BOA).  Access to vacuum is required to vent carbon dioxide (CO2) during the regeneration of the absorbent cartridges (PP).  During nominal operation, the AVK valves remain open.]

Foale and Kaleri had their regular daily exercise on TVIS and RED.  As every week, after the exercise Mike transferred data files from the TVIS and RED to the MEC (medical equipment computer) via memory card and RED log entries, for downlink on OCA comm.  Later, he completed the periodic transfer of accumulated data files from the wristband HRM (heart rate monitor) receiver stations to the MEC for downlink, then deleting them on the HRM.  

Gennady prepared the daily IMS delta file for updating the inventory management system’s database, while Sasha conducted the daily routine maintenance of the SM’s SOZh life support system (including ASU toilet facilities), and Mike Foale attended to the regular routine status checkup of autonomous Lab payloads.

The two Mikes (Foale & Fincke) joined up to take the periodic reading of the cabin air’s current carbon dioxide partial pressure in the SM and Lab, using the U.S. CDMK (CO2 monitor kit), for calldown to MCC-Houston (along with the battery status) for use in trending analyses.

Sasha Kaleri performed his regular daily inspection of the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 (“Plants-2”) experiment which researches growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in the Lada-4 greenhouse.

The crews, first Sasha & Gennady, later Fincke & Foale, had time reserved for scheduled commemorative (Russian: “symbolic”) activity, which is standard tradition for visiting guest crewmembers and usually consists of signing and stamping envelopes and other memorabilia.   [For example, the items to be returned by the Expedition 8 crew include commemorative objects for the Center 4 Museum at the Baikonur Cosmodrome (viz., a Center 4 flag, a banner and five carrier rocket photographs).]

Both crews supported four live interactive TV downlinks during the day, starting out with an interview of Kuipers by the Dutch “NOS Journaal” television show at 1:54am EDT.  Later, at 3:29am, André was interviewed by the TV program “RTL Nieuws”, and at 8:41am all crewmembers shared in a joint NASA/ESA news conference with media at NASA centers and in the Netherlands.  The fourth PAO event was a call from CNN (Miles O’Brien) with Foale, Padalka and Fincke at 10:58am.

Upcoming Soyuz Events:

  • 7S hatch closure: 4/29 (Thursday),1:34pm Eastern.
  • 7S undocking: 4/29,4:52pm Eastern, 12:52am (4/30) Moscow;
  • 7S landing:  4/29,8:12pm Eastern, 4:12am (4/30) Moscow, 7:12am (4/30) Astana.

U.S. and Russian Segment Status (as of last night, 5:10pm EDT).

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

  • Elektron O2 generator is On.  Vozdukh CO2 scrubber is On.  U.S. CDRA CO2 scrubber is On.  TCCS (trace contaminant control subsystem) is operating.  SM Gas Analyzer has been calibrated and is used for ppO2 and ppCO2 monitoring.  MCA (major constituents analyzer) is in Life Extending Mode (LEM).  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 (SM panel mods completed 4/8; SKV-2 activation failed 4/20).  SFOG slot#2 fan suspect (not usable).
  • SM Working Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 742; temperature (deg C) — 27.3; ppO2 (mmHg) — 159.4; ppCO2 (mmHg) — 2.5;
  • SM Transfer Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 761; temperature (deg C) — 21.1.
  • FGB Cabin:  Pressure (mmHg) — 772; temperature (deg C) — 22.7.
  • Node:  Pressure (mmHg) — 754.07; temperature (deg C) — 24.2 (shell); ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • U.S. Lab:  Pressure (mmHg) — 755.72; temperature (deg C) — 25.0; ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • Joint Airlock (Equip. Lock):   Pressure (mmHg) — 755.83; temperature (deg C) — 23.0; shell heater temp (deg C) — n/a, ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • (n/a = data not available)
  • PMA-1:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — n/a
  • PMA-2:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — n/a.

Electrical Power Systems (EPS):

  • Both P6 channels fully operational.  BGA (beta gimbal assembly) 2B and 4B both in Dual Angle mode (non-solar tracking, set at 80 deg sweep).
  • SM batteries:  All batteries (8) are in “Partial Charge” mode.  
  • FGB batteries:  Battery #1 is off-line (capacity restoration mode, ROM); all other batteries (5) are in “Partial Charge” mode.
  • Plasma Contactor Unit PCU-1 is in Standby mode; PCU-2 is 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-2 MDM is prime; GNC-1 is Backup.
  • INT-2 is operating; INT-1 is Off.
  • EXT-1 is On (primary), EXT-2 is Off.
  • 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 11/22/03).
  • SM Central Computer (TsVM): 2 redundant lanes (of 3) operational (string #3 dropped out 10/22/03).
  • FGB MDM-1 is Off (failed, 11/21/03); MDM-2 is Operational.

Propulsion System:

  • Total propellant load available: 3787 (8349 lb) as of 4/23/04;  [SM(755) + FGB(2373) + Progress M-1(659)].  (Capability: SM — 860 kg; FGB — 6120 kg).

Attitude Control Systems:

  • 2 CMGs on-line (CMG-1 failed, since 6/6/02; CMG-2 RPC-17 failed 4/21/04).
  • 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 deg, roll: 0 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 (may require a mask).
  • 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 Lab PDGF/LEE A, operational on redundant string, off on prime.
  • MBS: KA (keep alive) 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, 6:18am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 362.7 km
  • Apogee — 370.1 km
  • Perigee — 355.2 km
  • Period — 91.80 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0011032
  • Solar Beta Angle — -16.3 deg (magnitude decreasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.69
  • Mean altitude loss last 24 hours — 145 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 30972

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

SpaceRef staff editor.