Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 16 Mar 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
March 16, 2004
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 16 Mar 2004

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below.  >>>Today 78 years ago (1926), Robert H. Goddard launched the world’s first liquid-fueled rocket, on his Aunt Effie’s cabbage patch in Auburn, Massachusetts, to an altitude of 41 feet.

Before breakfast and physical exercise, FE Alexander Kaleri and CDR/SO Michael Foale completed another session of the Russian crew health-monitoring program’s medical assessment MO-9/Biochemical Urinalysis.   [MO-9 is conducted regularly every 30 days (and also before and after EVAs) and is one of five nominal Russian medical tests adopted by NASA for US crewmembers for IMG PHS (Integrated Medical Group/Periodic Health Status) evaluation as part of the “PHS/Without Blood Labs” exam.  The analysis uses the sophisticated in-vitro diagnostic apparatus “Urolux” developed originally for the Mir program.  Afterwards, the data were entered in the medical equipment computer(MEC)’s special IFEP software (In-Flight Examination Program).]

Subsequently, Mike Foale underwent another session for the general MedOps PFE (periodic fitness evaluation) that checks up on blood pressure and electrocardiogram during programmed exercise on the CEVIS in the Lab.  Readings were taken with the BP/ECG (blood pressure/electrocardiograph) and the HRM (heart rate monitor) on a chest strap.  Alex Kaleri assisted his crewmate as CMO (crew medical officer) with electrode placement, etc.   [BP/ECG and HRM provide automated noninvasive systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurements while also monitoring and displaying accurate heart rates on a continual basis at rest and during exercise.]

For Kaleri, in turn, it was time again for his fourth session with the Russian MedOps cardio experiment MO-1 (study of the bioelectric activity of the heart at rest), with the CDR as CMO.   [During the 30-min. test, the crew tagged up with ground specialists on a Russian ground site (RGS) pass on Daily Orbit 12 and downlinked data from the Gamma-1M ECG (electrocardiograph) for about 5-6 minutes.]

Both crewmembers in turn took 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 1/23.   [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.]

FE Kaleri performed the second part of the current MBI-8 Profilaktika (“countermeasures”) fitness assessment series, today with the NS-01 load trainer on the VELO (stationary bike) ergometer.   [This fitness test consists of four types of exercise, viz., neck tilting (back/forward), simultaneous forearm flexing, trunk extension, and trunk flexes. Each type of exercise consists of a series of 15 motions repeated two times.  Load levels are selected by the ground and do not change from test to test.  Total duration of the test is 13 min.  Gas analysis, subjective evaluation of physical exertion levels, and blood test for lactate and Creatine Kinase levels are also performed as a part of this test, using the TEEM-100M gas analyzer, AccuSport analyzer, and Reflotron-IV blood analyzer.  Data were downloaded to the borrowed U.S. SSC6 IBM 760XD laptop for storage on a PCMCIA memory card and also for transfer to the Cardiocassette-2000 data tape.]

After the ground had temporarily inhibited the FDS (Fire Detection System), the crew, at ~6:55am EST, began their second one-hour fire drill/OBT (on-board training), a mandatory periodic requirement specifically rewritten for the current two-person crew.  Primary goal of this exercise is to provide the station residents with the most realistic emergency training possible.  The drill is always conducted with the support of both MCCs in close coordination.  (Last time done: 1/7).   [OBT objectives are to (a) practice fire response procedures (FRPs) and all incorporated actions for the case of a software-detected fire to locate, extinguish, and verify extinguishing attempts; (b) practice crew communication and coordination between crew and MCCs (Mission Control Centers) necessary to perform emergency FRPs;  (c) compare and contrast Class I signatures (caution & warning tones, lights, and messages) on RS and USOS assets for a crew-initiated fire event; (d) ensure familiarity with support equipment (CSA-CP {compound specific analyzer/combustion products}, PBAs {portable breathing apparatus} and PFEs {portable fire extinguishers}) used in FRPs; and (e) ensure familiarity with PCS/laptop displays and automatic software responses associated with a fire scenario.  The exercise does not actually use any fire equipment but simulates such actions to the maximum extent possible.  After the OBT, a post-training summary report was to be prepared.  The drill went well; however, an anomalous signature requires further investigation: the crew had to silence alarms separately in both the US and Russian segments for the same event.  Silencing the alarm in one segment should have silenced the alarm in the other segment.  C&W (caution & warning) specialists will continue to investigate the issue.]

Mike Foale set up the video camcorder, then recorded a new EPO (Educational Payload Operations) demo, today featuring “Flight in Zero-G” activities.  The demo was downlinked in real time via Ku- & S-band.  EPO supports national science education standards, with the video to be used in student and educator programs.   [For the demo, Mike used three models: a balsa-wood airplane, a Starfire glider, and a hand helicopter, along with a landing target and a tape measure.  Students at science centers and museums will use the same objects in comparative flight experiments.]

Sasha Kaleri installed two new camera jumper/extension cables on the Russian on-board television system (TVS) at the Service Module(SM)’s central post.  Later, he tested the installation by activating monitor #2 and its controlling laptop to check the image.

The CDR completed his 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).

Mike worked out on TVIS treadmill, RED exerciser and CEVIS cycle ergometer (Kaleri’s exercise being part of MBI-8).

TVIS exercise data files were downloaded by Foale to the MEC (medical equipment computer), as is standard procedure whenever more than four sessions have been performed since last. 

Mike also performed the regular monthly maintenance of the CEVIS, which consists mostly of an examination of the wire rope isolators for damage.

Sasha completed his regular weekly inspection of the BRPK air/condensate water separator system.  He also conducted the routine technical maintenance of the SM’s SOZh environment control & life support system, incl. the toilet equipment (ASU), and prepared the daily IMS “delta” file for automatic export/import to update the database.

The Elektron oxygen generator continues to be off.   [During yesterday’s troubleshooting of the electrolysis machine, the crew reported smelling an odor similar to a Ketone (nail-polish remover) and some white residue on the O2 outlet port.  With the Elektron off, the odor disappeared.  Moscow is assessing.]  

The crew was given the Go by TsUP to burn two more SFOG “candles” (solid-fuel oxygen generator, Russian: TGK) today at their option.   [The SFOGs, on standby as oxygen sources as backup to the Elektron and to Progress-stored O2, generate O2 by decomposing cartridges of solid lithium perchlorate (LiClO4) into lithium chloride (LiCl) and O2 when heated at 400 degC.  Each candle produces 600 liters (1.74 lb) of O2, enough for one person/day.]

At 12:40pm EST, the crew participated in an interactive audio-only (S-band) interview with Premiere Radio Network’s “Coast-to-Coast AM” radio program, hosted by George Noory.  The interview was taped for replay during Noory’s overnight program.   [Coast-to-Coast AM is the largest overnight talk radio show in the U.S. and airs on 500 radio stations across the U.S. and Canada.  Originally hosted by Art Bell, the show has been helmed by Noory since January 2003.]

Moscow today temporarily powered up the multiplex bus synchronization unit (BSMM) of the Russian OpsLAN for telemetering a checkout of the ESA/GTS (global timing system) controller, which has been having problems.

A new robotics proficiency activity for the crew with the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) is planned for next Thursday (3/18).  On that day, MCC-H will also command SSRMS cameras on another external survey/inspection of ISS hardware on the station’s port side.

A list of SBS (series bungee system) stretch cords that have reached (or will shortly reach) their expiration dates has been uplinked.  These bungees, used for crewmember loading on the TVIS and as part of the CRES (contingency resistive exercise system), cannot be used any longer.

Next month (April), three Russian Orlan-M spacesuits currently on board (#12, #14, #23) will exceed their warranty lifetime, after which they will have to be removed from the ISS.  Two new suits (#25, #26), delivered on Progress 13P, need to undergo functional capability testing and initial maintenance before their use is approved.  To accommodate these activities, TsUP has requested an Increment 8 program modification.

CMG Update:  As previously reported (3/15), over last weekend U.S. CMG-2 (control moment gyro #2) experienced three transient LoC (loss of communications) events with the GNC MDM (guidance, navigation & control computer).  These events are a known anomaly affecting all of the CMGs.  CMG FDIR (Failure Detection, Identification & Recovery system) automatically recovers the affected gyroscope by power cycling it (turning it off/on) and bringing it back into the steering law for attitude control.  There is no action for the crew.  Coincident with the LoC events, CMG-3 briefly exhibited elevated levels of vibration on its flywheel.  Specialists are working to establish whether the vibrations were due to the CMG-2 LoC events, or are a separate anomaly.  Preliminary findings indicate that the vibration levels can be correlated to the CMG temperatures due to the current environment.  Engineers are also tracking several other issues dealing with signatures of the CMG spin motor current.  As a cumulative result of these anomalies, MCC-H has introduced several operational constraints in an attempt to protect the CMGs.  These constraints do not affect any of the crew safing procedures.

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 Lake Eyre, Australia (a general view looking right of the whole lake floor was requested as a 6-monthly data point of water level status.  There have been heavy tropical rains in the northern part of the Eyre basin), Great Barrier Reef, Australia (views looking at nadir and south along the reef, lagoon and shoreline were requested.  A bleaching event has recently been reported and possible controls on the shoreline are being sought), Cyclone, Indian Ocean (a new storm has been identified in early stages of development.  Looking left for a panorama of cloud bands of this as yet unnamed cyclone [the center of rotation is about 4 degrees off track left]), and Betsiboka delta, Madagascar (off-nadir view with a detailed lens was sufficient to reveal island shape.  Numerous changes were documented in an image six months ago, and comparisons are now needed for island shape at high and low tides).

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, 2:21pm EST).

Environmental Control and Life Support (ECLSS) and Thermal Control (TCS):

  • Elektron O2 generator is Off.  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 Purify mode, bed #2 in Purify mode.  RS air conditioner SKV-1 is On, SKV-2 is Off (repair now completed; to be tested ASAP).
  • SM Working Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 742; temperature (deg C) — 25.6; ppO2 (mmHg) — 140.4; ppCO2 (mmHg) — 3.7;
  • SM Transfer Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 743; temperature (deg C) — 20.3.
  • FGB Cabin:  Pressure (mmHg) — 744; temperature (deg C) — 24.0.
  • Node:  Pressure (mmHg) — 738.16; temperature (deg C) — 24.6 (shell); ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • U.S. Lab:  Pressure (mmHg) — 739.87; temperature (deg C) — 24.9; ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • Joint Airlock (Equip. Lock):   Pressure (mmHg) — 740.07; temperature (deg C) — 28.5; shell heater temp (deg C) — 27.1, ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • PMA-1:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — 24.0
  • PMA-2:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — 9.9

         (n/a = data not available)

Electrical Power Systems (EPS):

  • Both P6 channels fully operational.  BGA (beta gimbal assembly) 2B and 4B both in in Autotrack (suntracking) and bias-angled 43 deg. for drag reduction (“sun slicer”)
  • SM batteries:  Battery #8 is in “Cycle” mode; all other batteries (7) are in “Partial Charge” mode.  
  • FGB batteries:  Battery #6 is off-line (capacity restoration mode, ROM); battery #2 is in “Cycle” mode; all other batteries (4) are in “Partial Charge” mode.
  • Plasma Contactor Unit PCU-1 is in Standby mode; PCU-2 is in Standby 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-1 MDM is prime; GNC-2 is Backup.
  • INT-2 is operating; INT-1 is Off.
  • EXT-2 is On (primary), EXT-1 is Off (both now upgraded to R3).
  • 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).

Propulsion System:

  • Total propellant load available: 3948 kg (8704 lb) as of 3/5/04   [SM(755) + FGB(2534) + Progress M(0) + Progress M-1(659)].  (Capability: SM — 860 kg; FGB — 6120 kg).

Attitude Control Systems:

  • 3 CMGs on-line (CMG-1 failed).
  • 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).

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.
  • 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, powered on both strings.
  • MBS: KA 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, 7:28am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 367.9 km
  • Apogee — 375.1km
  • Perigee — 360.7 km
  • Period — 91.90 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.6286 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0010665
  • Solar Beta Angle — 49 deg (magnitude decreasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.67
  • Mean altitude loss last 24 hours — 110 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 30377

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

SpaceRef staff editor.