Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 17 Dec 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
December 17, 2003
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 17 Dec 2003

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below.   Today 100 years ago, powered flight was born.  By some estimates, there are about half a million people in the air at any one time today.  In space, there are (just) two.

Before breakfast and physical exercise, FE Alexander Kaleri and CDR/SO Michael Foale conducted their second session of the Russian crew health-monitoring program’s medical assessment MO-9 (last time done: 11/20).  [MO-9 is biochemical urinalysis, conducted regularly every 30 days (and also before and after EVAs), and it 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 by Boehringer (Mannheim/Germany) for the Mir program. ]

Later in the day, Kaleri performed his second round of the Russian MBI-8 “Profilaktika” (countermeasures) fitness test series, on the VELO stationary bike ergometer (last time done: 11/13).  [Tomorrow, Day 2, the test will be performed with the NS-1 Load Trainer, followed by workout on the TVIS treadmill on Day 3 (Friday).  Test procedure is identical to the Russian MO-5 assessment, but in addition to the nominal procedure, it calls for the use of the TEEM-100M gas analyzer, measurement of the lactate level in the subject’s blood with the AccuSport device, and subjective evaluation of physical exertion levels during the test.  Results were entered on a log sheet.  TEEM and ECG (electrocardiograph) data were transferred to Laptop 3 and prepared for later downlink via Regul-Packet comm.  The lactate levels were called down to specialists standing by at TsUP.]

Afterwards, Sasha set up the test equipment for the periodic Russian MO-10 “Hematokrit” testing, scheduled for tomorrow.   [MO-10 measures the hematocrit (red cell mass) 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.]

The crew continued work on the R&R (removal & replacement) of the BTA heat exchanger of the Russian segment’s SKV-2 air conditioner in the Service Module (SM).  All connections were made OK except for one pipe, for which the fastener screws could not be properly aligned.  Photos were taken and are being analyzed on the ground, and the crew was told to reactivate the other air conditioner (SKV-1).

The Elektron O2 generator continues to be off.  Current plans are to turn it back on briefly overnight to prevent the automatic nitrogen (N2) purge process and thereby conserve N2.  [There has been no date scheduled yet for the necessary replacement of the BZh liquid unit (for which a spare is on board).]

CDR/SO Mike Foale collected and stowed the two passive FMK (formaldehyde monitoring kit) sampling badges that he deployed two days ago in the Lab and SM.

Foale worked on the HRF (Human Research Facility) laptop, preparing it with a new hard-disk drive, which he set up with a copy of the HRF load from a software boot disk.   [The procedure should restore the original configuration settings after recent problems with the PCMCIA memory card — if they were caused by a software conflict.]

FE Kaleri continued his current round of monthly preventive maintenance on Russian segment air ventilation systems, today in the FGB (Funktsionalnyi-Grusovoi Blok), first changing out the two PS1/PS2 dust collector filters, then replacing the V4 PS2 fan, which has its certified life expired (but still functional).  [The replaced units were prepared for disposal and accordingly entered in the IMS (inventory management system) database.]

Mike Foale used a tape measure and dial-type caliper to measure the gap between the position of the WORF rack (Window Observation Research Facility) and the Lab science window, to verify the fit tolerance between them.

After installing the UOP-DCP (utility outlet panel-to-display & control panel) power bypass cable for the Robotics/MSS (mobile service system) in the morning, the CDR conducted the standard review of the DOUG (dynamic operations ubiquitous graphics) application for tomorrow’s planned Robotics operations.  [DOUG is a periodically updated software program on the MSS laptops that provides a birdseye-view graphical image of the external station configuration and the SSRMS (space station remote manipulator system) arm, showing its real-time location and configuration on a laptop during its operation.  Purpose of tomorrow’s (11/18) proficiency ops:  Performing an SSRMS walkoff to PDGF-1 (power & data grapple fixture #1) on the MBS, to put Canadarm2 in a good configuration for the walkoff to the LAB PDGF that is require to support the two-man Orlan-EVA early next year.  At the conclusion of arm ops this week, the SSRMS will be parked in a position enabling a survey of the H-fixture on the S1 truss segment, to verify that SPDM (Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator) access to it will not be impeded by thermal blankets, etc.]

Kaleri conducted the daily routine maintenance of the SOZh life support system, while Foale did the regular routine status checkup of the autonomous Increment 8 experiments.   [Instructions were uplinked to the FE for additional disposable items to be included in the IMS prepack plan for Progress 12P.]

The first refresh/repress of the cabin air with oxygen (O2) from Progress 12P began at 7:55am and lasted about an hour.  [Last night, in support of the operation, the ground turned on the MCA (major constituents analyzer), which needed to be activated 12 hrs. prior the repress.  At ~1:00am. MCA underwent the 30-min. “zero” calibration (all sensors zeroed), necessary to ensure valid ppO2 readings, and at 7:25am it was moded to “rapid sampling” in the Lab.  At 2:15pm, when adequate air mixing had taken place, SM gas analyzer (GA) and MCA readings of ppO2 were obtained.]

Mike Foale performed the periodic transfer of accumulated data files from the exercise equipment (TVIS, RED, CEVIS) to the medical equipment computer (MEC).

Mike also conducted the monthly PEP (portable emergency provisions) inspection, verifying that PFEs (portable fire extinguishers), PBAs (portable breathing apparatus), QDMs (quick-don masks) and the oxygen extension hose tee kit are all free of damage, to ensure their functionality.  [There are a total of five PBAs in the USOS, viz., two in Node lockers, two in Lab module forward and aft endcone lockers, and one in the Airlock PEP locker.]

At ~9:10am EST, the CDR began with the preparations for today’s live TV events commemorating the Centennial of Flight.  The program, with both crewmembers participating, began at 9:40am with a “Partners in Flight” educational event, split between students & teachers in Raleigh, NC, and Dayton, OH.  Subsequently, at 10:02am, CNN News Network (Miles O’Brien) conducted a live-on-air interview with the crew from Kitty Hawk, NC.  [The crew again had the model of the Wright Flyer-1 ready and floating freely in the cabin.]

At 11:15am, Foale set up and supported a ham radio pass with students of Monroe Elementary School at Santa Barbara, CA.  Questions by the amateur radio fans had been uplinked beforehand.

Today’s 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 some viewing angles, were Beijing, China (nadir pass over this city of 11 million), Tianjin, China (nadir pass.  Although Tianjin is billed as Beijing’s port, it has become one of China’s most vibrant large cities), Guangzhou, China (looking a touch left for this major city in southern China, on the banks of the Pearl River), Xianggang (Hong Kong), China (looking a touch left on a complex peninsula, and on the neighboring mainland for the sister city of Shenzhen.  These two cities comprise China’s fastest growing urban region), Dust event, Pakistan (Dynamic event:  Dust is blowing off southern Pakistan into the north Arabian Sea.  Looking left towards the Indus River delta, the origin of much of the dust, and right over the sea surface [good background for aerosol photos].  Oblique shots reveal dust best), El Paso, Texas (nadir pass), Impact crater field, S Libya (pass over these newly discovered impact craters, re-exposed by erosion after ~400 million years.  Good late afternoon pass may have helped highlight these low features.  ISS/CEO images may reveal other undetected craters), Muglad basin fans, SW Sudan (good pass to show general views of a nested set of very large stream-generated fansall left of track 1-2 degrees.  No general view exists and the fans are not apparent on Landsat imagery.  Images are requested for a global study of these features), and Atlanta, Georgia (the complex margins of this urban region may be easier to identify in winter.  Center of the city is just left of track).

CEO images can be viewed at the websites.

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

U.S. and Russian Segment Status (as of 2:00pm EST).

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

  • Elektron O2 generator is powered Off.  Vozdukh CO2 scrubber is On (in Manual Mode 5/3).  U.S. CDRA CO2 scrubber is on Standby (ready in dual-bed mode).  TCCS (trace contaminant control subsystem) is operating.  MCA (major constituents analyzer) is off (in Life Extending Mode).  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.
  • SM Working Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 742; temperature (deg C) — 25.5; ppO2 (mmHg) — 149.9; ppCO2 (mmHg) — 3.9.
  • SM Transfer Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 761; temperature (deg C) — 20.0.
  • FGB Cabin:  Pressure (mmHg) — 752; temperature (deg C) — 23.36.
  • Node:  Pressure (mmHg) — 749.67; temperature (deg C) — 24.0 (shell); ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • U.S. Lab:  Pressure (mmHg) — 752.19; temperature (deg C) — 25.16; ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • Joint Airlock (Equip. Lock):   Pressure (mmHg) — 752.36; temperature (deg C) — 26.0; shell heater temp (deg C) — 24.7, ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • PMA-1:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — 24.2
  • PMA-2:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — 11.0

(n/a = data not available)

Electrical Power Systems (EPS):

  • Both P6 channels fully operational.  BGA (beta gimbal assembly) 2B and 4B both in Directed Position (non-suntracking, “night glider”/”sun slicer” drag reduction mode). 
  • SM batteries:  Battery #8, formerly known as #7, is still disconnected in slot #8 for troubleshooting, off-line; all other batteries (7) are in “Partial Charge” mode.  
  • FGB batteries:  Battery #5 is off (capacity restoration mode, ROM); all other batteries (5) are in “Partial Charge” mode.
  • Plasma Contactor Unit PCU-1 in Standby mode; PCU-2 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).
  • SM Central Computer (TsVM): 2 redundant lanes (of 3) operational (string #3 dropped out 10/22).

Propulsion System:

  • Total propellant load available: 3680 kg (8113 lb) as of 12/11/03  [SM(755) + FGB(2573) + Progress M(352) + Progress M-1(0)].  (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:

  • LVLH  YVV (local vertical/local horizontal = “earth-fixed”: z-axis in local vertical, y-axis in velocity vector [yaw: -89.9 deg, pitch: -8.9 deg, roll: 1.8 deg]), with CMG/TA (thruster assist) Momentum Management.

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 MBS PDGF #2/LEE A, with Keep Alive (KA) power 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, 6:48am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 371.4 km
  • Apogee — 375.3 km
  • Perigee — 367.4 km
  • Period — 92.0 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0005912
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.66
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 65 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 28966
  • For more on ISS orbit and worldwide naked-eye visibility dates/times, see

SpaceRef staff editor.