Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 15 May 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
May 15, 2004
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 15 May 2004

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously.  Off-duty day for the crew.

CDR Padalka and FE/SO Fincke performed the regular weekly 3-hr. station cleaning, their third.   [“Uborka”, done every Saturday, includes removal of food waste products, cleaning of compartments with vacuum cleaner, wet cleaning of the Service Module (SM) dining table and other surfaces with “Fungistat” disinfectant and cleaning fan screens to avoid temperature rises.  Since microbiological sampling of the ISS environment with Russian sampling tools on 4/29 had revealed an exceedance of the thresholds established for fungi in Padalka’s sleep station, special instructions were uplinked for an additional treatment of the CDR’s “kayuta” with the disinfectant.]

In preparation for the EMU EVA on 6/10, both crewmembers underwent a half-hour training session, including review of an MPG video, for operating the SAFER (simplified aid for EVA rescue) units.

On Day 4 of its operation in the Service Module (SM), Science Officer Mike Fincke shut down the EarthKAM (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students) system and stowed the equipment.   [The current session has again been a great success, with 39 middle schools from across the U.S. and Japan successfully requesting images.  The crew was thanked profusely by uplinked messages and snapshots from numerous participating schools.  To date, 748 images were pulled down, with many more to be downlinked.]

Mike also collected the periodic CO2 partial pressure reading in the SM and Lab using the U.S. CDMK (CO2 monitor kit), for calldown to MCC-Houston (along with the battery status) for use in trending analyses.

Gennady Padalka performed the SOZh maintenance, which today included the regular weekly inspection of the BRPK air/condensate water separator system.

At 10:55am EDT, 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.

Working off the discretionary Russian task list, Padalka had his first session with the biomedical MBI-9 “Pulse” experiment, preceded by setting up the equipment.  These cardiological tests are done monthly.  [Execution of the medical cardiological assessment is controlled from the Russian payload laptop, using a set respiration rate (without forced or deep breaths) and synchronizing respiration with computer-commanded “inhale” commands.  First, arterial blood pressure is measured with the “Tensoplus” sphygmomanometer, followed by the “Pulse” test to record the ECG (electrocardiogram), and a tag-up with ground specialists.  After the test, laptop 3 is reconfigured to its original settings.]

Fincke performed the daily leak check of the Lab window’s inter-pane space (“Volume D”), using the “Aeolus” scopemeter with pressure probe.

The crew completed their daily 2.5-hr. physical exercise program on TVIS, RED exerciser and VELO cycle with load trainer.

Facing an exciting week ahead with ADUM (Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in Microgravity) experiments, Mike Fincke held a teleconference with ground team representatives to discuss details of the planned body scanning sessions scheduled around EVA prep activities.   [After an initial setup operation on Monday (5/17), the Tuesday (5/18) session will feature bone scans on both crewmembers, followed by abdominal and retroperitoneal scans on one of them on Thursday (5/20).]

For the EMU (extravehicular mobility unit) dry run scheduled for next week (5/19), the ground uplinked a detailed outline to the crew overnight for review, including a list of “gotchas” (i.e., things to be considered/looked at before to the dry run).  For further clarification, a 20-min. tagup with the crew by space-to-ground (S/G) audio is scheduled the day before the dry run (5/18).  Also, a 2-hr. teleconference for reviewing all EMU procedures is being planned for 6/4, a week before the spacewalk.   [Major activities to be exercised during the dry run are (1) Airlock Equipment Lock preparation; (2) EMU donning without IV (intravehicular) crewmember present; (3) EMU prebreathe without IV present; and (4) post-EVA activities without IV present.]

In preparation for getting some PGT (pistol grip tool) batteries charged for use during the EVA, MCC-H has placed a battery OCV (open circuit voltage) check and the job of unstowing an EHIP (EMU helmet interchangeable portable)/PGT charger on the crew’s “job jar” task list for this weekend (also hard-scheduled for 5/17).

TsUP/Moscow has scheduled the R&R (removal & replacement) of the failed SM battery #6 with a spare 800A unit on Monday (5/17).

All of the planned software transitions on the two MDM and two EXT MDM computers on the S0 trusswere successfully completed.   [The S0 MDMs are now loaded with version R2, and the EXT MDMs with version R4. Also, EXT-1 was reconfigured as the primary EXT.  With EXT-2 powered down, this places the EXTs in thedesired configuration to support the upcoming EVA.]

Yesterday, MCC-H successfully conducted a quarterly test of both strings of the S-band communications system.   [Both HDR (high data rate) and LDR (low data rate) capabilities were successfully checked out on both the primary and the backup string.  All theassociated reconfigurations of the onboard equipment, the Space Network equipment and MCC-H equipment were accomplished nominally.]

Upcoming Reboost & Progress Events:

  • ISS altitude reboost — 5/18 (Tues), 12:48 pm EDT  [delta-V — 2.75 m/sec (9.02 ft/sec); duration — 11 min 3 sec.];
  • Progress 13P undock — 5/24 (Mon), 5:18am EDT;
  • Progress 14P launch — 5/25 (Tues), 8:34am EDT;
  • Progress 14P docking  5/27 (Thurs), 9:55am EDT.

Weekly Science Update (Expedition Nine — 3rd):

GASMAP:   The next scheduled GASMAP activity occurs in June.

Human Research Facility/Workstation (HRF WS):   Continuing.

Advanced Ultrasound (ADUM):   Mike Fincke will be ADUM operator in next week’s sessions.   The Principal Investigator’s team reviewed the data file from the OPE session and conducted today’s discussion with the crew (see above).

Hand Posture Analyzer (HPA:  Nothing new.

In-Space Soldering Investigation (ISSE):   Nothing new.

Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation (PFMI):   Nothing new.

Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS):   Currently, SAMS telemetry is unavailable due to lockup of the ICU (interface control unit).  The SAMS team has developed a recovery plan which has Fincke replace the ICU hard drive.  This is scheduled for 5/20.  In the mean time MAMS’s HiRAP is being used to characterize the vibratory environment in the US Lab.

Microgravity Acceleration Measurement System (MAMS):   Both MAMS OSS and HiRAP are operating nominally.

Protein Crystal Growth-Single Locker Thermal Enclosure System (PCG-STES):  Nominal.

Protein Crystal Growth Monitoring by Digital Holographic Microscope (PromISS):   Nothing new.

Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions (InSPACE):    Planned.

Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-3 (BCAT-3):   The next photo session is planned for Week 4 of Increment 9.

Renal Stone (RS):   Nothing new.

Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SHERES):   Nothing new.

Foot/Ground Reaction Forces during Space Flight (FOOT):   Nothing new.

Materials ISS Experiment (MISSE):  In progress. Deployed outside on the U.S. Airlock. Nominal and collecting data.

Cellular Biotechnology Support Systems-Fluid Dynamics Investigation (CBOSS-FDI):   Nothing new.

Yeast Group Activation Packs (Yeast GAP):   Nothing new.

Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students (EarthKAM):  Thirty-nine middle schools from across the U.S. and Japan have successfully requested images. This resulted in a total of 748 images taken as of Friday afternoon. Many thanks were extended to the crew.

Earth Science Toward Exploration Research (ESTER):  Nothing new.

Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures-2 (CSLM-2):  Planned.

Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA):   Nothing new.

Miscible Fluids in Microgravity (MFMG):    Four runs are remaining; they will be performed on Increment 9.

Educational Payload Operations (EPO):   Currently planned for June

Crew Earth Observations (CEO):  Ascending passes are rapidly bringing the Far East into the crew’s daylight-awake view.

Today’s optional CEO targets, in the current LVLH attitude no longer limited by flight rule constraints on the use of the Lab nadir/science window, except for the shutter closure and condensation-prevention plan (limited to 90 min. in 24 hours), were Perth, W. Australia (pass just north of the city.  Perth itself is centered some miles inland, although its suburbs reach the sea; it also has a port city, Fremantle.  The main visual cue is the Swan River on which both cities lie), Java volcanic chain, Indonesia (Dynamic event.  Weather clearer than usual as ISS crossed the center of this long thin island.  Looking left and right for panoramas of the remarkably straight line of volcanoes on the boundary of the Asia tectonic plate in Indonesia [where the Australia plate plunges beneath it]), Typhoon Nida, Philippines (Dynamic event.  This category 2 typhoon is moving west towards the central Philippines and is strengthening to a category 3 storm.  ISS passed over the center of the storm with the sun low in the west, which should have yielded good detail of the top morphology of the cloud masses.  The main mass of clouds is spinning in a counter-clockwise direction, but the crew was advised to look for effects of the strong winds from the center that blow outwards causing clockwise streaks on the cloud tops), Cape Town, South Africa (nadir pass.  The city is centered at the foot of Table Mountain where the docks can be seen.  But it extends tens of miles east onto the Cape Flats where slums and industrial parks appear), Johannesburg, South Africa (looking right for the city center.  The northern parts of the city have been declared a forested zone.  Soweto is the vast slum to the SW where no vegetation can be seen), and Lower Amazon River Basin (islands in the estuary of the world’s largest river are now known to move at rates faster than suspected.  We predict that images taken a few years ago will show that entire sediment masses forming the islands have shifted downstream.  A mapping pass for the first time in many weeks seemed possible in terms of reduced cloud cover).

CEO images can be viewed at the websites.

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

ISS Orbit  (as of this morning, 9:06am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 360.5 km
  • Apogee — 367.8 km
  • Perigee — 353.2 km
  • Period — 91.75 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0010892
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.69
  • Mean altitude loss last 24 hours — 73 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 31319

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

SpaceRef staff editor.