Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 12 Apr 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
April 12, 2004
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 12 Apr 2004

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below.  Underway: Week 25 for Increment 8 (and 17 days until return of Expedition 8).  As of this morning (~7:30am EDT), the ISS has circled Earth 30,800 times since FGB/Zarya launch, covering a distance of 1.3 billion km (817 million miles).

Today is Denj Kosmonavtov — celebrating Yuri Gagarin’s pioneering flight into space 43 years ago.  Also today, 23 years ago, Space Shuttle Columbia had its maiden flight, with John Young and Bob Crippen.  And 19 years ago, Senator Jake Garn flew into space as a crewmember on the 16th
Shuttle flight, Discovery STS-51D.

In observance of the Russian holiday, the ISS crew conducted several PAO downlinks during Russian ground site passes:

At 2:45am EDT, FE Alexander Kaleri addressed the residents and VIP guests of the city of Engels via voice comm.   [Engels in Saratov Province became a part of Russian cosmonautics history when on April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin landed on his parachute on a farm field nearby, after ejecting from the Vostok-1 capsule at 7 km altitude in concluding his 100-min. orbit flight as the world’s first human in space.  Today called Gagarin Field, the landing site each year attracts a growing number of visitors on this holiday.]

At 4:05am, Foale and Kaleri conferred via video link with RSC-Energia and FKA management personnel and guests gathered at TsUP in Korolev near Moscow for celebrating Cosmonautics Day.

Later, at 5:50am, the ISS crew also downlinked a congratulatory address to GCTC (Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center) in Zwezdniy Gorodok (Star City).

And at 7:15am, Kaleri and Foale participated in an interactive TV conference with press representatives gathered at TsUP/Moscow.

FE Kaleri completed work site preparations in the Soyuz TMA-213 Descent Module for tomorrow’s scheduled major repair task to replace the failed KhSA cooling/drying unit’s primary fan (VD1) with a spare from FGB stowage.   [The fan failed on 10/18 during the 7S free flight.  During today’s elaborate 1.5-hr. preparations, Alex removed airduct sections in the Soyuz hatchways, removed and temporarily relocated the old 800A SM battery #8 from the right seat, relocated Sokol spacesuits and prepared both the left and the central crew seat by moving their foot restraints out of the way.  Alex was also to memorize the positions of KhSA components and connectors to dismantle, find a position convenient to perform the IFM in, and try out ways to secure himself for tomorrow’s work.]

In preparation for his return to gravity, Sasha had the first preliminary training session in the “Chibis” LBNP suit (lower body negative pressure; Russian: ODNT), assisted by Mike Foale.  [“Chibis” is the Russian below-the-waist reduced-pressure device designed to provide gravity-simulating stress to the body’s cardiovascular/circulatory system.  The suit forms an airtight seal around the waist and applies suction to the lower body.  The preparatory training generally consists of first imbibing 150-200 milliliters of water or juice, followed by a sequence of progressive regimes of reduced (“negative”) pressure, set at -15, -20, -25, and -30 mmHg (Torr) for five minutes each while shifting from foot to foot at 10-12 steps per minute, while wearing a sphygmomanometer to measure blood pressure.  The body’s circulatory system interprets the pressure differential between upper and lower body as a gravity-like force pulling the blood (and other liquids) down.  It prepares the body’s orthostatic tolerance (e.g., the Gauer-Henry reflex) after Sasha’s six-month stay in zero-G.  Chibis data and biomed cardiovascular readings are recorded.  The Chibis suit (not to be confused with the Russian “Pinguin” suit for spring-loaded body compression, or the “Kentavr” anti-g suit worn during reentry) is similar to the U.S. LBNP facility (not a suit) used for the first time on Skylab in 1973/74, although it appears to accomplish its purpose quicker.]

Kaleri also set up the test equipment for the periodic Russian MO-10 “Hematokrit” testing, scheduled for tomorrow.   [MO-10 measures the red cell mass (hematocrit) value of the blood.  As a well-known phenomenon of space flight, red blood cell mass (normal range: 30-45%) tends to go down over time.]

In the Service Module (SM), the FE started another regeneration cycle on absorbent bed #1 of the BMP harmful impurities unit, leaving channel 2 in Purify mode.  [The “bakeout” cycle in the filter beds is repeated every 20 days.  The regeneration was to be terminated shortly before sleep time tonight.]

Mike Foale undertook the monthly (Week 25) potable water sampling for in-flight chemistry/microbiology analysis, using jointly approved Russian sampling procedures with the U.S. WS&A (water sampler & archiver) for collection and the WMK (water microbiology kit) for treatment/processing within 6 hours of the collection.  Results will be available after a two-day incubation period.   [Samples were taken in the SM at the potable water SRV-K hot port and from the EDV container of the SVO-ZV water supply system, using new media syringes sent up on 13P.  Last time done: 3/17.]

Both crewmembers in turn had another session with the periodic on-orbit hearing assessment test (O-OHA), a NASA EHS (environmental health systems) examination to assess the efficacy of acoustic countermeasures.  O-OHA was last done on 3/16.   [The O-OHA test involves minimum audibility measurements for each ear over a wide range of frequencies and sound pressure levels, with the crewmembers using individual-specific Prophonics earphones, Bose ANC headsets and the SLM (sound level meter).  To conduct the testing, the experimenter is supported by special “EarQ” software on the MEC (medical equipment computer).  The baseline test is required for about Flight Day 14 for each new Expedition and is then performed nominally once per month.]

The crew performed their continuing daily 1-hr. tasks of preparing personal items and material for their return to Earth on 4/29.

Sasha completed his routine maintenance on the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 (“Plants-2”) payload.   [Rasteniya studies growth and development of plants (peas) under spaceflight conditions in the Lada-4 greenhouse.  Regular maintenance involves monitoring of seedling growth, humidity measurements, watering to moisten the substrate if necessary, and photo/video recording.]

Kaleri also attended to the daily routine maintenance of the SOZh environmental control & life support systems in the SM, which today included the weekly BRPK air/water condensate separator.

Mike completed the regular routine status checkup of autonomous Increment 8 payloads in the Lab, while Sasha prepared the daily IMS inventory “delta” file for automated updating of the IMS databases.

Both crewmembers worked out with their regular daily physical exercise program on TVIS treadmill and RED exerciser.  They also performed the weekly TVIS maintenance, a five-minute task for each treadmill user, usually done just prior to power-down or end of exercise session.

Update on Soyuz TMA-4/8S:  At Baikonur/Kazakhstan, the 8S/Soyuz spacecraft is currently undergoing upper stage assembly (through 4/15).  Today, Designers Inspection of the spacecraft was successfully completed, followed by roll-on of the payload shroud.  Mating of the upper assembly to the Soyuz-U launcher takes place on Friday (4/16), followed by rollout & launch pad ops (including propellant loading).  Launch remains on for next Sunday, 4/18, at 11:18pm EDT.  Docking is expected on Wednesday, 4/21, at 1:00am.

Update on Anomalous Noise in SM:  Russian specialists/management believe a likely source of the noise the crew reported on 4/2 to be a ventilation fan (VV 2RO) located on the left side of the SM behind the crew quarters.   [There is a wire mesh upstream of the fan to protect it against debris, but a metal piece could possibly have gotten behind the mesh and impacted the fan.  A checkout of fan and screen is planned for sometime during Increment 9, since there is not enough time left during the current Increment.]

Update on Orlan-M Suits:  Due to lack of sufficient crew time remaining in this Increment, Russian management and crew have agreed not disassemble an Orlan suit for disposal in the 7S/Soyuz Orbital Module (OM).   [The suit may prove useful if any spare parts were needed, and it could become a candidate for disposal on 13 Progress.  The US side is expecting a final list early this week of Russian items to be disposed of in the 7S OM.]

Update on HEAT and ARGES:  The U.S. side has requested Moscow’s assessment of whether either of these ESA payloads, which contain a Toxicity Level 4 compound (ammonia in HEAT and mercury in ARGES), can be disposed of on Soyuz 7S.   [A response has been promised for this week.  The U.S. request also covers an assessment of the foam launched on 13P, if HEAT and/or ARGES cannot be disposed of on 7S.]

Of interest to the CEO (Crew Earth Observation) program, spring weather in North America is frequently accompanied by severe thunderstorms producing strong winds, hail, and tornadoes.  In the coming weeks the crew will be on the lookout for the rapid development of spectacular cloud formations associated with such weather, especially in the afternoons (3 to 7pm EDT) over the southern and eastern Great Plains. 

Today’s CEO 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 Logone Basin Fans, Chad (crew was to try for a mapping pass over this complex of alluvial fans in the Chad Basin SW of the lake), Alexandria, Egypt (this was a fine nadir pass over the famous Egyptian port city.  Trying for a single frame containing the entire city), Tigris-Euphrates, Turkey (while the weather holds, the crew is to continue documenting the new reservoirs and resulting land use patterns in this region), Aral Sea (investigators continue to monitor the rapidly changing conditions of this region.  Looking left of track for oblique views this pass), Lahore, Pakistan (ISS should have had excellent nadir viewing conditions this pass for Pakistan’s largest city), Washington, D.C. (weather is marginal for this pass, but otherwise ISS had a fine nadir view of our nation’s capital), Nile River Delta (using a mapping pass to help document the land use changes as this once agricultural region becomes steadily urbanized), and Albuquerque, New Mexico (the capital of New Mexico is on the east bank of the upper Rio Grande River. ISS had a nadir pass).

CEO images can be viewed at the websites.

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

U.S. and Russian Segment Status (as of today, 1:284pm 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 Standby (ready in dual-bed mode).  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 Regeneration 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 TBD).  SFOG slot#2 fan suspect (not usable).
  • SM Working Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 742; temperature (deg C) — 25.4; ppO2 (mmHg) — 160.5; ppCO2 (mmHg) — 3.8;
  • SM Transfer Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 761; temperature (deg C) — 19.5.
  • FGB Cabin:  Pressure (mmHg) — 772; temperature (deg C) — 24.0;
  • Node:  Pressure (mmHg) — 760.43; temperature (deg C) — 24.5 (shell); ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • U.S. Lab:  Pressure (mmHg) — 762.09; temperature (deg C) — 25.0; ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • Joint Airlock (Equip. Lock):   Pressure (mmHg) — 762.29; temperature (deg C) — 26.9; 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 Autotrack (solar-tracking, “sun slicer”, i.e., drag reduction-biased by 47 deg).
  • SM batteries:  All batteries (8) are in “Partial Charge” mode.  
  • FGB batteries:  Battery #6 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 Manual 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 Syste:

  • Total propellant load available: 3884 kg (8563 lb) as of 4/8/04;  [SM(755) + FGB(2470) + Progress M-1(659)].  (Capability: SM — 860 kg; FGB — 6120 kg).

Attitude Control Systems:

  • 3 CMGs on-line (CMG-1 failed, since 6/6/02).
  • State vector source — U.S. SIGI-1 (GPS)
  • Attitude source — U.S. SIGI-1 (GPS)
  • Angular rate source — RGA-1

Flight Attitude:

  • XPOP (x-axis perpendicular to orbit plane = “sun-fixed” [yaw: 0.5 deg, pitch: -9.0 deg., roll: 0 deg]), with CMG TA (thruster assist), until 4/14.

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, 7:30am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 364.1 km
  • Apogee — 371.4 km
  • Perigee — 356.8 km
  • Period — 91.83 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0010809
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.68
  • Mean altitude loss last 24 hours — 100 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 30800

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

SpaceRef staff editor.