Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 10 Jan 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
January 10, 2004
Filed under , , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 10 Jan 2004

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below.

Leak Test Activities — Update & Preview (ref. On-Orbit Status report 1/9):
Onboard operations to isolate and identify the cause of the slight pressure drop of the past days are continuing according to the plan worked out jointly by U.S. & Russian specialists, checking all potential causes associated with, in order of priority

  1. operations occurring when leak rate changes have been observed (i.e. disturbed dynamic seals to space),
  2. disturbed static seal locations,
  3. undisturbed static and dynamic seal locations, and
  4. structure penetrations.

After the easy-to-do ULD (ultrasonic leak detection) checks on 1/6 on hatches, windows, etc. in both the U.S. (USOS) and Russian (RS) segment, with no panel removal or rack rotations, the crew yesterday checked (and exonerated) the Vozdukh, BMP micropurification unit, TCS thermal control system pneumatic panels, and SKV-2 Freon vent line in the RS.

Today, the crew closed off the Progress vehicle for leak checks.

Next steps, tomorrow, will be isolation of the Joint Airlock (A/L) and of the Soyuz plus DC-1 docking compartment (Soyuz hatch kept open for access safety). By end-of-day tomorrow, all most-likely components and modules will have been checked. Plans are to repressurize ISS on Monday morning with A/L HPT nitrogen to 14.3 psi, depending on when 13.91-psi pressure is reached (but analyses of equipment not certified below that pressure are continuing around the clock for potential relaxation of the constraint).

Beyond that, preparations are underway for a possible isolation of USOS and RS from each other, currently set for 1/14 (Wednesday). Configuration options are being discussed, including one that would also isolate the FGB from the Service Module (SM). A preliminary 6-page list of items to be brought from the USOS into the RS prior to isolating the segments has been uplinked for crew comment.

[Note: Pressure decay checking for the individual ISS modules/segments requires varying monitoring times, from several hours to several days, depending on the different volumes involved (e.g., in cu.feet: RS — 6411; A/L+Node — 3009; Lab –3451), to some extent also on air temperatures.]

At ~7:00am, after verifying proper handle position on pressure relief valves on the involved SM and DC-1 hatches, the crew started isolation and leak monitoring activities on the Progress 12P and its docking assembly (vestibule), closing the hatch to the SM and watching pressure for 5 hours, with checks every ~30 minutes. Systems are to be returned to nominal configuration at ~1:00pm.

Tomorrow, the Soyus plus DC/”Pirs” combination will be checked, i.e., closing the DC-1 hatch to the SM and watching pressure for 10 hours, with checks every hour. Systems are to be returned to nominal configuration thereafter. [Note: for safety, there never will be more than one hatch closed between crew and Soyuz.]

Isolation and pressure checking will also be implemented for the A/L, scheduled for tomorrow morning. [This is more involved since it requires some equipment removals and relocations, termination of IMV (intermodular ventilation flow), installation of VRA (vent relief assembly) power cable, deactivating the duct smoke detector, enabling the PCA (pressure control assembly) for pressure monitoring by the ground, and closing the Node starboard hatch to the A/L.]

CDR/SO Michael Foale, assisted for some time by FE Alexander 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 SM dining table and other surfaces with disinfectants (“Fungistat”) and cleaning of fan screens to avoid temperature rises.]

Mike Foale conducted the regular daily maintenance of the SOZh environment control and life support system in the SM, today including the periodic inspection of the active BRPK-1 air/liquid condensate separator system.

This was the second day for the current renal (kidney) stone experiment session, the second for Expedition 8, with Sasha and Mike collecting urine samples throughout the day and keeping their dietary/metabolic log entries up to date. Mike also took photographs of the equipment. [Part of the investigation, preceding the sampling, is the random ingestion by the “subjects” of either potassium citrate or placebo tablets at dinnertime.]

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.

A preliminary detailed 11-page list of U.S. items currently certified and approved to be disposed of on Progress 12P was uplinked to the crew. [The list, which provides locations and packing instructions, will be followed later by a high-level packing list from MCC-Moscow via radiogram, with internal 12P locations. Packed bags will be temporarily stowed until direction is given by TsUP to pack the items into the Progress.]

A PFC (private family conference) was scheduled for FE Kaleri, via Russian VHF/audio.

The crew worked out on TVIS, RED exerciser and VELO cycle with load trainer.

After running for several hours yesterday, the Elektron oxygen generator again shut down. Air bubbles in the system continue to be the suspected cause.

The crew burned two more SFOG (solid-fuel oxygen generator) candles today, one at ~5:45am, the other at 9:00am. This brings the number of candles that have so far been used since 12/31 to 20 (2 units/day). [Of the remaining 122 SFOGs (Russian: TGK), three have failed to ignite in their generators, and a fourth has a damaged seal and is unusable. The onboard TGK supply comes from two batches, both of which have reached the end of their original certified life, but all evaluations and reviews necessary for continued use of the TGKs are complete.]

Upcoming Events:

  • 12P Undock — 1/28/04
  • 13P Launch — 1/29/04
  • 13P Dock — 1/31/04

Today’s CEO targets, in the current XPOP attitude constrained by flight rule to fewer near-vertical targets due to shutter closure, were Mt. Kilimanjaro (the ground noted a recent long oblique picture of this key site. Today’s pass was a near-nadir view. The massif should have been visible between scattered fair weather cumulus), Sahelian haze (Dynamic event. Stations across West Africa from Mali to the Congo River are reporting diminished visibility. Low sun angles on this pass will allow imaging of the haze [probably mainly smoke from fire-season burning]: looking left and right of track. A dust storm persists in the Chad basin with blowing toward the orbiter s track: looking left. Oblique images are best for capturing subtle atmospheric haze loadings), Kinshasa, Congo (Zaire) (looking nadir and slightly left for this capital city of nearly 6 million [expected to rise to 10 million in ten years time]. Kinshasa is larger than the entire population of the Republic of Congo on the north side of the Congo River. Kinshasa lies on the south side of the Congo River where the river widens into a feature known as Stanley Pool. White water at the rapids on the downstream side of Stanley Pool can probably be seen), Cape Town, South Africa (looking slightly left of nadir. The entire urban region of 2.7 million people can probably be captured within two 180-mm-lens frames), Caracas, Venezuela (nadir pass over this port city from which large quantities of oil destined for the US are shipped), Howland Island, Pacific (this 1.5 mile-long island is surrounded by a coral reef. Earhart Light is a day beacon near the middle of the west coast, named after Amelia Earhart), andPatagonian Glaciers (PRIORITY (400mm lens): The inland [Patagonia] flanks of the Andes were expected to be cloud free. Detailed images of glacier surface features were requested since the ice is known to be moving at unprecedented speeds [crevasse patterns should change accordingly]. Laser altimetry and ground surveys show significant thinning [by more rapid flow due to sub-ice melt water increase] in most of the dozens of southern Andes glaciers in the last 30 years).

CEO images can be viewed at the websites.

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

SpaceRef staff editor.