Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 11 Mar 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
March 11, 2004
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 11 Mar 2004

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below.  Day 145 in space for Expedition 8 (143 days aboard ISS).

The major IFM (in-flight maintenance) work to replace the roll-axis gyro’s bearings in the TVIS treadmill has proceeded well, with some procedural changes in real time, but it has taken longer than expected.  Yesterday’s and today’s crew timelines were therefore adjusted, and 4-5 hours for finishing up were added to today’s schedule (which necessitated task-listing several payload activities).   [Toward the end of the IFM procedure today, the crew will be instructed to perform a short TVIS activation and checkout (ACO). This involves spinning up the gyro (after receiving a Go) and then performing a speed characterization test (allowing the belt to run for 1 min. at 1-mph speed increments through the range of 1-10 mph). The PCMCIA (portable computer memory card international adapter) card will be installed to record the data during this testing phase. The data card will then be downloaded to MCC-H for processing and analysis.]

One of the activities moved to the task list at CDR/SO Michael Foale’s discretion is to unstow and set up the equipment for the FOOT (Foot/Ground Reaction Forces during Space Flight) experiment and preparing the equipment for EMG (electromyography) calibration with camcorder/video recording.  This was originally scheduled (and erroneously reported) for yesterday.  The actual run with the data take in the specially equipped outfit is scheduled for tomorrow.   [EMG (electromyography, i.e., electric muscle currents recording) calibrations are performed after donning the TVIS treadmill harness before exercising, after working out with harness removed, and also at end of day prior to removing the LEMS pants.  During tomorrow’s actual experiment, wearing these black Lycra “biking tights” with 20 electrodes as well as shoes fitted with insoles that measure impact forces on the bottom of the foot for the 12-hr session, Foale will go through a typical on-orbit day while reaction forces against the ISS structure are recorded passively to determine how much stress his legs and feet endure.  This provides better understanding of the bone loss and loss of muscle mass experienced by astronauts in zero-G (on Mir, for example, cosmonauts lost as much bone mass in a month as post-menopausal women do in a year).  The experiment is led by the biomedical engineering department at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio.]

Another activity for CDR Foale that was moved to the crew-discretionary task list involves an inventory audit in the ISS to look for spare clamps and brackets that could be used to “jerry-rig” a protective cover for the U-jumper vacuum flexhose to be installed at the Lab window next week.

Also moved to the “job jar” was for the CDR to perform final cleanup of last week’s spacewalk activities by deconfiguring U.S. EVA tools.   [This included taking apart the EMU scissors device, deconfiguring the EVA camera and restowing it in the CTB (crew transfer bag), and stowing all EVA CTBs in the Airlock closeout.]

A fourth activity listed now in the task list is Mike’s 15th weekly filling-out of the Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ), which keeps a log of his nutritional intake over time on the medical equipment computer (MEC). 

Foale conducted a checkout of the MedOps cardiac defibrillator, a periodic routine task that is scheduled as soon as possible from Expedition start and every 60 days thereafter.   [For the checkout, the defib is connected to the 120V outlet, equipped with its battery, today #1007, and then allowed to charge, for about five seconds, to a preset energy level (e.g., 100 joules).  After the button-triggered discharge, a console indicator signals success or failure of the test.  The pacing signal was to be downlinked via S-band for 1.5 min.]

During part of Mike’s work on the TVIS, Alex Kaleri worked in the FGB, replacing the program logic control device (UPLU) in the onboard complex control system (SUBK).  During these activities FGB command capabilities were inhibited.   [SUBK controls onboard systems and components in the FGB, in one of three modes: (a) automatic (using ground commands via the Komparus system, commands from the Russian and U.S. segments, and commands generated by the SM computer), (b) program relay (backup, using Komparus and SUBK relay components), and (c) command relay (commands from the ground via the Komparus comm portal or transmitted from the SM.)]

Sasha completed the regular periodic download of data & imagery collected of the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 (“Plants-2”) experiment to the computer for subsequent downlink to the ground.   [Rasteniya studies growth and development of plants (peas) under spaceflight conditions in the Lada-4 greenhouse.]

FE Kaleri worked on the SM computer system (BVS) by installing a borrowed spare U.S. IBM 760XD laptop in the place of the Russian laptop 3.   [The latter, which recently replaced the failed laptop 1, is temporarily required by TsUP/Moscow to conduct the medical experiments MBI-8 “Pulse” and MBI-9 “Profilaktika”, starting tomorrow and running through 3/17.  Working for about 10 min., Sasha also installed the appropriate Russian hard drive into the borrowed laptop for the time of the experiments.]

At 9:40am EST, the crew engaged in a live interactive educational TV interview with a science writer for the website at NASA MSFC/Huntsville.   [The website provides free articles and lesson plans related to current NASA projects for K-12 teachers to use in their classrooms.] 

The Elektron oxygen generator continues to be failed.  It was restarted yesterday on TsUP request but ran only for 7.5 minutes.  No further updates have been provided, but a decision by Moscow on replacing the Liquid Unit (BZh) could be made momentarily.

A repress of 7.5 mmHg (torr) O2 from Progress 13P tanks was successfully completed yesterday.  This was the last O2 repress available from 13P.   [MCA (major constituents analyzer) was activated the day before in support of the originally planned, then deferred O2 repress and remained operational overnight until that repress was executed.  Subsequent ppO2 (O2 partial pressure) MCA measurement was 154 torr, while the SM Gas Analyzer (GA) read 149 torr.]

Moscow has requested a modification to the ISS onboard program for Increment 8 to incorporate an inspection of the ESA-sponsored GTS hardware, caused by its off-nominal operation.   [A special spectrum analyzer was delivered on 13P for checking out the GTS cable routes.  The activity will require about 3 hours of Kaleri’s time.]

Today’s CEO (Crew Earth Observations) targets, limited in XPOP attitude by flight rule constraints on the use of the science window, which is available for only ~1/4 of each orbit when not facing forward (in “ram”), were Lagos, Nigeria (nadir pass), Dust edge, Central Atlantic (Dynamic event.  There is increased interest in Saharan dust outblows since NOAA’s research ship is crossing the Atlantic taking numerous samples.  The crew was asked to look right to see if a dust margin is visible [Brazil’s coastline should have been visible to help orient the view], dust haze to the N side and dust-free skies with scattered cloud to the S), Internal waves, Nicaragua (early morning view left of track provided a large glint disc within which internal waves may have been visible), Patagonian Glaciers (400mm-lens.  Best of three passes for documenting smaller glacier tongues: looking left towards the northern end of the ice fields; and looking near nadir on the inland/Patagonian side of the Andes where skies are clearer), Tuamotu Archipelago (passing down the length of the main Tuamotu chain.  Shooting any coral atolls near nadir), Plankton, Patagonia (Dynamic event.  Strong blooming just offshore), and Palmerston Island, Pacific (400mm-lens.  Looking slightly right for a detailed view of this coral reef lagoon).

CEO images can be viewed at the websites.

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

ISS Orbit  (as of this morning, 7:38am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 368.6 km
  • Apogee — 375.8km
  • Perigee — 361.3 km
  • Period — 91.92 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.628 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0010795
  • Solar Beta Angle — 40.8 deg (magnitude increasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.66
  • Mean altitude loss last 24 hours — 80 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 30283

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

SpaceRef staff editor.