Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 15 March 2006

By SpaceRef Editor
March 15, 2006
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 15 March 2006

SpaceRef note: This NASA Headquarters internal status report, as presented here, contains additional, original material produced by (copyright © 2006) to enhance access to related status reports and NASA activities.

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below.   Flight Control to Crew: “Thanks for all the tremendous work yesterday. Have a great day!”

Both crewmembers spent about two hours with preparations for the Soyuz TMA-7 (11S) relocation scheduled for next Monday (3/20) during which Tokarev and McArthur will fly the spacecraft from its current docking location on the nadir-facing docking port of the FGB to the aft-facing port of the Service Module (SM).  Preparations began with a review of updated RODF (Russian Operations Data File) material on the preparations of the SM for the event.  This will be the second relocation for 11S by the current crew (first relocation: 11/18/05).   [During the relocation, the ISS will be in “uncrewed mode” (which in the unlikely event of a failed redocking could extend for a longer period of time).  This mode requires, among else, reconfiguring the US ITCS (internal thermal control system), powering off RS (Russian segment) systems, including two PCS (Portable Computer System) laptops in SM and FGB that provide C&W (Caution & Warning) annunciation for the crew (their brief deactivation is covered by a by a revised and MMT {Mission Management Team}-approved Flight Rule), etc.  Before hatch closure, some items will have to be transferred from the USIOS to the RS prior to hatch closure, such as CD library, ODF books, CCPK (Crew Contamination Protection Kit), AMP (Ambulatory Medical Pack) and ALSP (Advanced Life Support Pack), After Tokarev and McArthur have entered the spacecraft on Sunday night, TsUP/Moscow will command Undocking at ~1:46am EST, after which Soyuz 11 will back off, rotate and translate past Progress 20P, currently parked at the DC1 Docking Compartment, to the SM aft end, followed by final approach and physical docking at ~2:23am.  The maneuver times are chosen to be within coverage of RGS (Russian ground sites).  Prior to 11S undocking, ISS attitude control authority will be handed over to RS MCS (Motion Control System), followed by maneuver to relocation attitude at 00:45am (yaw 206, pitch 351, roll 69 deg).  Return to post-relocation attitude (XPOP TEA) will be at 2:42-3:07am, concluding with control handover to US momentum management.]

FE Valery Tokarev conducted a 30-min. health check using a new blood pressure (BP) biomed harness (USI) and “manzheta” pressure cuff, fastened over the left upper arm, connected to the Gamma-1M medical complex at the BP panel.   [The test was supported by ground specialist tagup at 8:06am EST via VHF comm.]

Today’s scheduled ~2hr-session for Shuttle hardware prepacking by CDR McArthur was deferred due to yesterday’s rescheduling of the STS-121/ULF1.1 launch from NET 5/3 to NET 7/1.   [The current Prepack Plan is under review.]

With the Elektron oxygen generator deactivated since yesterday, Tokarev serviced the Russian BMP Harmful Impurities Removal System, starting the “bake-out” cycle to vacuum on absorbent bed #1 of the regenerable dual-channel filtration system.  Before sleep time today, the bake-out will be terminated.  Regeneration of bed #2 follows tomorrow.  Elektron reactivation is scheduled for 3/17.   [Regeneration of each of the two cartridges takes about 12 hours and is conducted only during crew awake periods.  The BMP currently still uses the same vacuum vent valve for regeneration as the Elektron (the latter for venting hydrogen). Replacement of the Elektron’s external vent valve has been deferred to the next Russian EVA (#16).  Cabin atmosphere repressurization with O2 or air is being conducted with Progress 20 reserves as required.]


Processing Status
Daily Mission
Return to Flight
Weekly Status
Weekly Science
Daily On-Orbit Status
Daily Crew Timeline
Soyuz | Progress
ISS News | ATV

Bill McArthur conducted another periodic atmospheric status check for ppO2 (Partial Pressure Oxygen) and ppCO2 (pp Carbon Dioxide), using the CSA-O2 (Compound Specific Analyzer-Oxygen Sensor) and CDMK (CO2 Monitoring Kit), while Valery Tokarev collected the weekly cabin air readings with the GANK-4M Real-Time Harmful Contaminant Gas Analyzer system of the SM SOGS (Pressure Control & Atmospheric Monitoring System), which tests particularly for NH3 (ammonia) and HCl (hydrogen chloride).

The FE recorded the monthly sensor readings of the Russian “Pille-MKS” radiation dosimetry experiment, which has ten sensors placed at various locations in the Russian segment (port cabin window, starboard cabin window, ASU toilet facility, control panel, etc.). (Last time done: 2/15).

Working on the SM’s IK0501 gas analyzer (GA) of the SOGS Pressure Control & Atmospheric Monitoring System, Tokarev deactivated the unit and exchanged its carbon dioxide (CO2) filter assembly (BF) with a new unit from FGB stowage (replaced last: 2/1).   [After ensuring good seals on the instrument’s base and no leaks around the installed filter, Valery reactivated the GA and stowed the spent BF for disposal.  IK0501 is an automated system for measuring CO2, O2, and H2O in the air as well as the flow rate of the gas being analyzed.]

Bill McArthur had some time allotted to verify the electronic email address of Soyuz taxi crewmember Marcos Pontes from Brazil, arriving on 4/1, in the onboard comm net setup.

Valery worked about 90 min. on the Russian laptop RS3 to “ghost” it with a software update from CD (compact disk), with ground specialist support via S-band.

The CDR completed the daily routine maintenance of the SM’s environment control & life support system (SOZh), including its toilet system (ASU), plus the weekly inspection of the air/liquid condensate separator apparatus (BRPK).

Bill also updated/edited the standard IMS “delta file”, including locations, for the regular weekly automated export/import to its three databases on the ground (Houston, Moscow, Baikonur).

Valery completed the regular downlinking of data & imagery collected of the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 (“Plants-2”) experiment and transferred to the computer.  Working off his “time available” voluntary task list, he also conducted the routine status check of the payload.   [Rasteniya researches growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in the Lada-8 greenhouse.  The regular maintenance of the experiment (each Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday) involves monitoring of seedling growth, humidity measurements, moistening of the substrate if necessary, topping off the water tank if ~20-25% of the total amount (4 liters) remains, and photo/video recording.  Once weekly, data from the Lada greenhouse control unit are recorded on floppy disk for weekly downlink via REGUL-Packet or the new BSR-TM at a suitable occasion.]

Also off his discretionary “time available” task list, the FE completed his regular checkup on the Japanese experiment GCF-JAXA (Granada Crystallization Facility) in the Russian TBU incubator, maintained at 20 degC, including a temperature check on its ART (automatic temperature recorder).   [This daily monitoring/temp checking, carried on the Russian voluntary “time available” task list, will continue until 4/30.]

Both crewmembers completed their regular 2.5-hr. physical exercise program on the CEVIS cycle ergometer (CDR), TVIS treadmill (FE), RED resistive exerciser (CDR) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE).   [Valery’s daily protocol prescribes a strict four-day microcycle exercise with 1.5 hr on the treadmill in unmotorized mode and one hour on VELO plus load trainer (today: Day 1 of the first set).]

Afterwards, McArthur transferred the exercise data files to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) for downlink, as well as the daily wristband HRM (heart rate monitor) data of the workouts on RED, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).

The SM main engine test (with resulting ISS reboost), originally scheduled for early this morning, has been moved to 4/19.  The firing of the two SM main thrusters will be conducted after 11S departure from the SM aft port.

Both the Russian segment (RS) and the US segment (USOS) are currently “No Go” for EVA (extravehicular activity): the RS side is still missing four Orlan LiOH (lithium hydroxide) CO2 absorption canisters; on the US side, of surface blisters observed on “dogbone”-type EVA handrails on ground units which may also be present on orbit.   [For the LiOH cans, additional crew time will be allocated for the search.  On the handrails, an ongoing metallurgy analysis/testing (tensile, fracture, sheer) will be completed prior to a spacewalk if a contingency arose).]

Update on audits:  Yesterday, the CDR completed one Photo/TV audit, verifying the contents of one CTB (Cargo Transfer Bag, # 1069) and identifying items with missing barcodes.  The results will help determine items to be kept on-board, returned on Shuttle or trashed on Progress.  One additional CTB (#1057) of Photo/TV gear remains to be audited. 

Update on MSG:  Monday’s recertification and yesterday’s cleaning of the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) by McArthur have successfully prepared the rack for operations in Increment 13.

Update on MCA:  After MCA (Major Constituents Analyzer) full calibration on 3/10, sensor readings were slightly (~1/20th) above Flight Rule limits, with error band (~6 Torr) included.  Ground engineers concluded that this was acceptable after comparison with other sensor readings.

Today’s CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets, limited in the current XPOP attitude by flight rule constraints on the use of the Lab nadir/science window, which is available for only ~1/4 of each orbit when not facing forward (in ram), were Mt. Kilimanjaro, Kenya (aiming the camera right for the glaciers on this isolated peak.  Weather was relatively cloud free), and Takla Makan dust (Dynamic event.  Dust storms continue to rage.  Pointing the camera right, down the axis of the basin.  Shooting margins of the dust mass where it impinges against the surrounding mountains assists general understanding of these regional events).

To date, more than 186,000 of CEO images have been taken in the first five years of the ISS, almost one third of the total number of images taken from orbit by astronauts.

CEO photography can be viewed and studied at the websites:

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at:

To view the latest photos taken by the expedition 12 crew visit:

Expedition 12 Flight Crew Plans can be found at

Previous NASA ISS On-orbit Status Reports can be found here. Previous NASA Space Station Status Reports can be found here. Previous NASA Space Shuttle Processing Status Reports can be found here. A collection of all of these reports and other materials relating to Return to Flight for the Space Shuttle fleet can be found here.

ISS Location NOW

Full Size/Update

ISS Orbit  (as of this morning, 4:41am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 346.4 km
  • Apogee height – 352.3 km
  • Perigee height — 340.5 km
  • Period — 91.47 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0008727
  • Solar Beta Angle — -34.2 deg (magnitude increasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.74
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 60 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 41837

Events Ahead (all dates Eastern & tentative):

  • 03/20/06 — Soyuz TMA-7/11S relocation (FGB nadir port to SM aft port; 1:45am-2:22am EST)
  • 03/30/06 — Soyuz TMA-8/12S launch (Pavel Vinogradov/Russia, Jeffrey Williams/US, Marcos Pontes/Brazil, 9:30pm EST)
  • 03/31/06 — Soyuz TMA-8/12S docking (FGB nadir port, 11:18pm EST; mnvr. to LVLH XVV after dock)
  • 04/01/06 — Soyuz TMA-8/12S-ISS hatch opening ~12:30am EST
  • 04/08/06 — Soyuz TMA-7/11S-ISS hatch closing ~1:12pm EST
  • 04/09/06 — Soyuz TMA-7/11S undocking (4:15pm EDT) & land (7:40pm); (mnvr. to XPOP after undock)
  • 04/19/06 — SM main engine test/ISS reboost
  • 04/24/06 — Progress M-56/21P launch
  • 04/26/06 — Progress M-56/21P docking (DC1)
  • 06/19/06 — Progress M-55/20P undocking & reentry
  • 06/28/06 — Progress M-57/22P launch
  • 06/30/06 — Progress M-57/22P docking
  • 07/01/06 — 12A launch (under review)
  • 07/01/06 — ULF1.1 launch (NET, not earlier than)
  • 07/31/06 — Russian EVA-16 (under review)
  • 09/13/06 — Progress M-56/21P undocking & reentry
  • 09/14/06 — Soyuz TMA-9/13S launch
  • 09/16/06 — Soyuz TMA-9/13S docking (FGB nadir port)
  • 09/24/06 — Soyuz TMA-8/12S undocking & reentry
  • 10/08/06 — Soyuz TMA-9/13S relocation (FGB nadir port to DC1)
  • 10/18/06 — Progress M-58/23P launch
  • 10/20/06 — Progress M-58/23P docking
  • 12/19/06 — Progress M-57/22P undocking & reentry
  • 12/20/06 — Progress M-59/24P launch
  • 12/22/06 — Progress M-59/24P docking
  • 02/06/07 — Progress M-59/24P undocking & reentry
  • 02/07/07 — Progress M-60/25P launch
  • 02/09/07 — Progress M-60/25P docking

ISS Altitude History

Apogee height Mean AltitudePerigee height

ISS Altitude History

For more on ISS orbit and worldwide ISS naked-eye visibility dates/times, see In addition, information on International Space Station sighting opportunities can be found at on NASA’s Human Spaceflight website. The current location of the International Space Station can be found at at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Additional satellite tracking resources can be found at

SpaceRef staff editor.