Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 13 Dec 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
December 13, 2003
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 13 Dec 2003

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below. First rest day this weekend for the crew, their 56th day in space (54 aboard ISS).

CDR/SO Michael Foale and FE Alexander Kaleri performed the regular 3-hr. Saturday task of station cleaning. [The “uborka stantsii” focuses on removal of food waste products, cleaning of compartments with vacuum cleaner, wet cleaning of the Service Module (SM) dining table and other surfaces with disinfectants (“Fungistat”) and cleaning of fan screens to avoid temperature rises.]

Mike Foale transferred the accumulated data from the static acoustic dosimeter to the MEC (medical equipment computer) for downlink. This task had been deferred from earlier due to the delayed initial deployment of the dosimeters.

Sasha Kaleri conducted another set of observations for the Diatomeya ocean research program. [The FE used the Nikon F5 with f/80 mm lens from SM window #8 and the Sony DVCAM-150 digital camcorder, fixed on a bracket above window #7, to shoot algae blooms in open oceans and coastal regions, anomalies in cloud cover structure and dynamic processes in surface waters. Targets were the Eastern Mediterranean from the Libyan coast to Turkey, the Eastern Atlantic at the intersection of the mid-oceanic ridge (Sao Paolo Island) with the deep-water basin of the Mauritanian upwelling, the N Atlantic near the delta of the N Atlantic Current, and the W sector of the Central Atlantic. An audit of Diatomeya experiment kits (films and videotapes) by Kaleri is scheduled tomorrow.]

Working off the Russian task list, Kaleri also performed another round of Uragan earth observations. A second session is scheduled for tomorrow, at his discretion.

The crew worked out on their regular daily physical exercise program of 2.5 hrs on the TVIS treadmill, RED exerciser, CEVIS cycle ergometer and VELO bike (with load trainer).

Kaleri conducted the daily routine maintenance of the SM’s SOZh life support system.

Sasha also had his regular weekly PFCs (private family conferences), via Russian VHF.

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. Next week’s work will primarily focus on the Russian SKV-2 air conditioner R&R.

The planning conference was followed by the weekly ISS crew tag-up with Program management, also via S-band.

Two opportunities for ham radio passes were identified for Australia/New Zealand and Japan for today and provided to the crew.

The crew was commended this morning on their lively PAO/educational TV exchange yesterday with Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk students at a “Centennial of Flight” Educational Event at the Wright Brothers National Memorial, Kill Devil Hills, NC, during which they displaying a model of the Wright Flyer (floating in zero-G), built by middle school students from Orono, Maine.

At JSC, at 10:00am EST, MCC-H network servers went off line for a 15-hr. upgrade of their firewall software. [Affected in the shutdown were network connections to other NASA Centers, Russia, other IPs (international partners), contractors outside the Clear Lake area, USA, and the public Internet, JSC PPTP (point-to-point tunneling protocol), dial-in users, and offsite access to institutional file and e-mail services, as well as the Blackberry service.]

Today’s optional CEO (crew earth observation) targets, limited in the current XPOP attitude by flight rule constraints on the use of the Lab nadir/science window, were SW Sudan [Muglad basin] (ideal pass for a complete view of this major basin on the west side of the Nile. From nadir looking right as far as the Nile [~ 5 degrees off track]. The basin is dominated by a series of recently discovered large inland deltas, and is oil rich at depth. The modern landscape may provide an analog for the buried geology),Atlas Mts snowfall, Algeria(Dynamic event: Unusual snowfall on the usually drier eastern Atlas Mts. Looking right along the mountain chain), Lake Poopo(documentation is being requested of water levels, or lack of water, in the usually dry lakes near lake Poopo, at nadir and just right of track),Bogota, Colombia(looking a touch right in the floor of a high Andean valley for this capital city), St. Croix, NE Caribbean(looking left ~1 degree. Coral reef mapping is the subject of interest),St. John, NE Caribbean(looking left ~1 degree. Detailed image was requested),St. Thomas, NE Caribbean(looking left ~1 degree for this coral-fringed island),Tuamotu-Austral Islands(looking near nadir for coral fringed atolls in this remote island chain),Lisianski reef, Hawaiian chain(400-mm lens: Excellent images have been obtained of most of the atolls in the Hawaiian chain. CEO team is looking forward to completing the reefs map with an image of this island. Although the island is only 1.3 miles long, it is surrounded by reefs, especially on the S side where a submerged but visible shallow reef platform extends for several miles [also the object of mapping interest]. Good nadir pass. The island was discovered at night in 1805 when a Russian exploring ship commanded by Captain Lisiansky ran aground on one of its reefs. Only by throwing overboard guns and other heavy objects was the vessel refloated), and Laysan reef, Hawaiian chain(400-mm lens: looking a touch right).

CEO images can be viewed at the websites.

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 6:27am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 371.6 km
  • Apogee — 375.7 km
  • Perigee — 367.5 km
  • Period — 92.0 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) — 51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0006007
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.65
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 80 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98) — 28903
  • For more on ISS orbit and worldwide naked-eye visibility dates/times, see

SpaceRef staff editor.