Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 17 Mar 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
March 18, 2004
Filed under , , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 17 Mar 2004

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below. 

Early in the morning, FE Alexander Kaleri concluded Part 3 of his current MBI-8 “Profilaktika” (countermeasures) fitness assessment, first, in the morning, with the blood tests (to determine lactate and creatine kinase levels in the blood with the AccuSport equipment), then, later in the day, by the physical exercise session on the TVIS treadmill.  CDR Foale was available to assist as CMO (crew medical officer) as required.   [The TVIS test is identical to the MO-3 test performed on the treadmill in idling mode with free choice of speeds within a certain specified range.  In addition to the nominal test procedure, MBI-8/Part 3 calls for the use of the TEEM-100M gas analyzer during the test, the blood lactate measurements, and subjective evaluation of physical exertion levels during the test.  At the end of the creatine kinase tests, the results were logged, copied from Cardiocassette-2000 recording to OCA for downlink, and reported to the ground.]

FE Kaleri then made preparations for tomorrow’s U.S. IMG PHS (Integrated Medical Group/Periodic Health Status) tests without blood labs, which is part of the comprehensive medical evaluation, by setting up the required equipment near the medical equipment computer (MEC).   [PHS w/o Blood Labs tests are performed with equipment from the crew’s ambulatory medical pack (AMP) and oral disposable thermometers, delivered on Progress 13P as part of the IMAK (ISS medical accessory kit), guided by special software (IFEP, in-flight examination program) on the MEC.  All PHS data are to be recorded on the IFEP, using the same forms used for MO-9.]

Foale completed the mandatory 30-min. CBT (computer-based training with video and audio) to refresh his Crew Medical Officer (CMO) proficiency, deferred from 3/15.   [To maintain proficiency in using HMS (health maintenance systems) hardware including ACLS (advanced cardiac life support) in contingency situations where crew life is at risk, these training sessions are performed once a month for one hour to review equipment and procedures via CBT (computer-based training).  Besides ACLS, procedures include airway obstruction management, i.e., review of suction device, nasal airway, intubating laryngeal mask airway (ILMA) with endotracheal tube, and cricothyrotomy (incision to re-enable breathing air inflow).]

With new SVO-ZV hose adapters delivered on 13P, Michael Foale undertook the nominally monthly (Week 21) potable water sampling for in-flight chemistry/microbiology analysis, using approved Russian sampling procedures with the U.S. WS&A (water sampler & archiver) for collection and the WMK (water microbiology kit) for treatment within 6 hours of the collection.  Results will be available after a two-day incubation period.   [Samples were taken in the SM at the potable water SRV-K hot port and from the EDV container of the SVO-ZV water supply system, using new media syringes sent up on 13P.  Last time done: 12/3/03.]

After the HRF (human research facility) rack was powered up by the ground, Foale transferred the FOOT (Foot/Ground Reaction Forces during Space Flight) experiment data of his most recent session, Mike’s third (3/12), onto the HRF PC (portable computer), created content files for ground analysis, and set up the laptop for downlink operations.

Also on the HRF, the CDR checked out the MedOps cardiac defibrillator, a periodic routine task that is scheduled as soon as possible from Expedition start and every 60 days thereafter.   [For the checkout, the defib is connected to the 120V outlet, equipped with its battery, today #1007, and then allowed to charge, for about five seconds, to a preset energy level (e.g., 100 joules).  After the button-triggered discharge, a console indicator signals success or failure of the test.  The pacing signal was to be downlinked via S-band for 2 min.  The HRF was powered down after the checkout.]

Kaleri worked on the TP1 laptop in the SM, installing a new software application (named FHS View, from Rohde & Schwarz/Germany) for the Russian/German Global Timing System (GTS).   [GTS electronics are installed in the SM, with two transmitters broadcasting a time signal at 400.1 MHz (1 watt) and 1428 MHz (0.5 watt) straight downward (nadir) for worldwide clock synchronization.  The system has apparently been experiencing some problems for a while.] 
Sasha performed his regular maintenance on the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 (“Plants-2”) payload, “refueling” its water storage tank as required.   [Rasteniya studies growth and development of plants (peas) under spaceflight conditions in the Lada-4 greenhouse.  Regular maintenance involves monitoring of seedling growth, humidity measurements, watering to moisten the substrate if necessary, and photo/video recording.]

In preparation for tomorrow’s robotics operations with the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System), Mike connected the UOP-DCP (utility outlet panel-to-display & control panel) bypass power cable at the Lab RWS (robotics workstation).  The ground then powered up the Lab RWS, the SSRMS on the redundant string and the VDUs (video distribution units), but not the cameras as yet.   [In addition, via ground commanding, an UMA (umbilical mating assembly) data downlink from the primary EXT MDM (external multiplexer/demultiplexer, computer) was executed.  More data “dumps” are scheduled for tomorrow during the crew training.]

The FE conducted the periodic status checkup of the airflow sensors (IP-1), which are installed in the various RS (Russian segment) hatchways and the FGB-to-Node hatchway.  [Last time done: 11/12/03.]

Alex 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.

Sasha also conducted an inventory audit in the DC-1 docking compartment, checking on the contents of bags to find equipment listed as “missing”.  Primary attention is on 12 EVA gloves; if necessary, the search was to be extended to the Service Module (SM) and FGB.   [The FE was authorized to reconfigure structural elements (panels) in the DC-1 and use its handrails as required to facilitate equipment relocation.]

The Elektron water electrolysis system continues to be inoperative.  TsUP/Moscow, after discussions with MCC/Houston, has now decided to replace the Elektron’s Liquid Unit (BZh-6) with the remaining on-board spare.  The R&R will be scheduled ASAP.   [Two theories were advanced for the cause of the ketone-like odor reported by the crew: (a) electrolyte (KOH, potassium hydroxide) coming in contact with rubber in a water pump used temporarily to add water to the BZh, which could have created a new compound that was then processed by the Elektron and produced the smell; (b) hydrogen (H2) seepage into the catalyst/charcoal bed purification unit resulting in a hotter-than-usual charcoal filter, which then may have released bad-smelling contaminants.]

To raise ppO2 (oxygen partial pressure) in the cabin atmosphere, two more SFOG candles were burned today.  This makes a total of eight candles used since last Saturday.  None of the candles experienced any anomalies.   [The SFOGs (solid-fuel oxygen generators), on standby as oxygen sources as backup to the Elektron and to Progress-stored O2, generate oxygen 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 9:46 am EST, the crew supported a 20-min. interactive PAO/educational TV event with Howard Bishop Middle School in Gainesville, FL.   [The school is participating in the inaugural year of the NASA Explorers Schools program and intends to systematically extend NASA content from, initially, the school of 1200 middle school students to the surrounding elementary students and community members.  During today’s event, 400 participants were in the main auditorium of the school, and the program was broadcast throughout the entire school as well as distributed on the local Cox Cable TV network.]

At 9:28am, Mike conducted a ham radio session with students at Bhac School on the Isle of Lewis, part of Scotland’s Western Isles.  [In the primary department, students are taught in Gaelic or in English language, while in the secondary department all classes are in the English.]

Instructions were uplinked for recovering comm between the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) and its MLC (MSG Laptop Computer) by verifying proper installation of cards and cable connections.

Onboard consumables/resources continue to be monitored carefully.  Water supplies are tracking just above the (adjusted) planning line.  Oxygen is well below predicted consumption since Elektron remains down; future O2 plan is currently being evaluated.

Early this morning (3:27am EST), CMG-3 vibrations showed a very brief spike exceeding the 0.06g limit.  CMG performance continues to be studied closely.

SM storage battery #8 is off-line, leaving seven of the 800A accumulators functioning nominally.   [Battery #8 began discharging on its own last night, about 90 minutes before a planned battery cycling, and did not respond to program commands.  Its current converter control unit (BUPT-1M) is past its service life and may be the cause.  A space BUPT is on board.]

Follow-up to yesterday’s report on Caution & Warning alarms during the fire emergency drill:  C&W experts have now determined that the commands to silence the alarm worked properly.  No anomaly will be documented for this case.

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 Perth, Australia (nadir pass.  Perth lies inland from its port of Freemantle on the Swan River.  With 1.3 million people, the Perth-Freemantle urban zone is the center of farming and business activity in Australia’s west), Cape Town, South Africa (nadir pass.  The city sprawls tens of kilometers eastward onto flat sandy plains [between the peninsula mountains, where Cape Town is centered, and the main mountain ranges inland]), Johannesburg, South Africa (nadir pass. Suggested views were just left and just right of track), Internal waves, Falkland (views just left may reveal internal waves near the glint point.  Shallow sea floor stretches 3000 kilometers east from southernmost South America into the Atlantic, with the Falklands and South Georgia archipelago as high points.  This entire region thus has research interest for internal waves), and Lima, Peru (nadir pass over another city that lies inland from its port [Callao]).

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, 1:49pm 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) — 26.4; ppO2 (mmHg) — 140.0; ppCO2 (mmHg) — 3.7;
  • SM Transfer Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 743; temperature (deg C) — 20.8.
  • FGB Cabin:  Pressure (mmHg) — 744; temperature (deg C) — 24.0.
  • Node:  Pressure (mmHg) — 740.7; temperature (deg C) — 24.4 (shell); ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • U.S. Lab:  Pressure (mmHg) — 742.49; temperature (deg C) — 24.7; ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • Joint Airlock (Equip. Lock):   Pressure (mmHg) — 742.40; temperature (deg C) — 28.5; shell heater temp (deg C) — 26.9, ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • PMA-1:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — 24.0
  • PMA-2:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — 9.8

(n/a = data not available)

Electrical Power Systems (EPS):

  • Both P6 channels fully operational.  BGA (beta gimbal assembly) 2B and 4B both in Autotrack (suntracking) and bias-angled 43 deg. for drag reduction (“sun slicer”)
  • SM batteries:  Battery #8 is off-line; all other batteries (7) are in “Partial Charge” mode.  
  • FGB batteries:  Battery #6 is off-line (capacity restoration mode, ROM); battery #4 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, 6:25am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 367.8 km
  • Apogee — 374.9km
  • Perigee — 360.6 km
  • Period — 91.90 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.6282 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0010627
  • 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)  — 30392

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

SpaceRef staff editor.