Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 17 March 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
March 17, 2005
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SpaceRef note: This NASA Headquarters internal status report, as presented here, contains additional, original material produced by (copyright © 2005) to enhance access to related status reports and NASA activities.

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

The crew began preparing the station for the EVA-13 spacewalk on 3/28, by first installing the usual portable air repress bottles (BNP) in the DC1 docking module and the Service Module (SM)’s work compartment (RO) repress lines, then setting up the DC1 and the SM transfer tunnel (PkhO) themselves, removing temporarily stowed equipment not needed for the spacewalk and recording its interim stowage locations with the IMS (inventory management system).

CDR/SO Leroy Chiao started gathering US tools required for the EVA-13 outboard activities, going by a list uplinked overnight. [US EVA tools include retractable and adjustable equipment tethers, new-style DIDBs (disposable in-suit drink bags) that eliminate leakage concerns, a tool caddy assembly, EVA camera, etc.]

Previous Reports

ISS On-orbit Status [HQ]
ISS Status [JSC]
Shuttle Processing [KSC]

Both crewmembers took turns performing the mandatory Russian pre-EVA MedOps procedure MO-6 (hand-cycle ergometry), supported by tagup with ground specialists who cleared them for spacewalking. [Because cosmonauts in previous Russian programs have shown noticeable decrease in arm muscle tone, TsUP/IBMP (MCC-Moscow/Institute of Biomedical Problems) physical fitness experts have made the handgrip/arm tolerance test analysis (hand ergometry) a standard pre-Orlan EVA requirement. For MO-6, the subject dons the ECG (electrocardiogram) biomed harness, attaches three skin electrodes and plugs the harness into the PKO medical exam panel on the cycle ergometer. The 30-min exercise itself starts after 10 seconds of complete rest, by manually rotating the cycle’s pedals, set at 150 W, backwards until “complete exhaustion”.]

Periodic Russian water and condensate sampling with the KAV water sampler was performed by FE Salizhan Sharipov on the RS water supply system (SVO), for the purpose of monitoring water quality, checking condensate composition and condensate water processor (SRV-K2M) system performance, for formal clearance of the SVO for further operation. [Samples for return to the ground were collected upstream of the SRV-K2M’s purification column unit (BKO) and the water supply system (SVO-ZV), each after first flushing the sampling hose.]

Sharipov also collected potable water samples from the BRP-M water distribution & heating unit, from the Hot tap, into an EDP sample container, and from the second spigot (lukewarm) into three drink bags. These water sampling tasks were deferred yesterday. [Curiously, there is no really cold water aboard.]

The crew worked on the SOZh environment control & life support system, completing the regular daily maintenance and performing significant repair on the ASU toilet facilities, which experienced a failure of its urine collection system overnight. The failed urine collection valve was successfully replaced with a spare. [When the ASU facilities are down, the crew can temporarily use the Soyuz toilet.]

Leroy Chiao prepared the regular IMS “delta” file for the daily automated export/import to the three IMS databases on the ground.

Later, Sharipov conducted his regular weekly IMS tagup with specialists at TsUP/Moscow, discussing open issues concerning identification of equipment and storage locations for the IMS databases.

The CDR completed the weekly data take with the two new 17P-delivered CSA-CP units (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products), with the purpose to monitor the desired ongoing decontamination (outgassing) of the deployed instruments. [CSA-CP measures O2 (oxygen), CO (carbon monoxide), HCN (hydrogen cyanide), and HCl (hydrogen chloride).]

The FE used the automatic temperature recorder (ART) for the regular temperature check on the BIO-11 “Statokonia” payload with the ULITKA (“snail”) incubator that he had set up in the SM on 3/3. [BIO-11 studies the composition of statoconia, i.e., the organ of equilibrium in snails, and other phenomena exhibited by “ulitka” in zero-G and post-flight.]

The crew conducted their regular daily 2.5-hr. physical exercise program on TVIS, RED (resistive exercise device) and VELO cycle with bungee cord load trainer. [Salizhan’s daily protocol currently prescribes a four-day microcycle exercise with 1.5 hr on the treadmill and one hour on VELO (today: Day 1 of a new set).]

Chiao then transferred the daily TVIS and RED exercise data files to the MEC (medical equipment computer) for downlink, as well as the daily wristband HRM (heart rate monitor) data, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium.

Later, the CDR attended to the monthly inspection of the RED, which looks at the condition of the Flexpak canister cords and accessories.

He also worked on the TVIS treadmill, performing the standard monthly inspection of the Russian tie-down harnesses, currently in use, for any damage.

Chiao filled out the regular weekly FFQ (food frequency questionnaire), his 19th, which keeps a log of his nutritional intake over time on special MEC software. [The FFQ records amounts consumed during the past week of such food items as beverages, cereals, grains, eggs, breads, snacks, sweets, fruit, beans, soup, vegetables, dairy, fish, meat, chicken, sauces & spreads, and vitamins. IBMP-recommended average daily caloric value of the crew’s food intake is 2200-2300 cal. If larger quantities of juices and fruits are taken into account, the value can go to 2400-2500 cal.]

Sharipov completed the regular periodic download of data & imagery collected of the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 (“Plants-2”) experiment to the computer for subsequent downlink to the ground. Working off the Russian discretionary job jar, he then completed the regular daily inspection of the Lada-5 greenhouse equipment, including filling its water canister as required.

Also off his task list, Salizhan conducted the periodic temperature check of the TBU thermostat that contains the GCF-JAXA (Granada Crystallization Facility for Japan) payload for protein crystal growth studies in zero-G.

Still open on Salizhan’s task list are a brief inventory/audit of onboard equipment for recording ASN-M (satellite navigation system) data to Laptop 3 by ESA cosmonaut Roberto Vittori during his upcoming VC8 visit, and an audit of available wipes intended exclusively for cleaning rubber seals on module hatches.

After again failing due to bubble cavitation at the micropumps, the Elektron was successfully restarted this morning and is currently operating nominally in 50 amp mode. Any more troubleshooting, should it become necessary, will be on hold until after EVA-13. [Some explanatory background: Elektron is longterm-proven technology, having the benefit of many years of development and use on the Soviet Mir & Salyut space stations. What appears to be elusive up to the present is how to keep even small amounts of air from floating as bubbles in fluids in zero-G (short of – perhaps – using localized “artificial-g”). Their collapse (“cavitation”) causes minute pressure spikes, which can be harmful to small, high-precision components such as tiny compressors. These are therefore protected with delicate sensors that shut down the system. Technically speaking, it would be incorrect to speak of a “failed” Elektron when they do their protective job, and the issue is therefore how to prevent bubble formation. A space station in zero-G is prerequisite for any advanced research on this vexing problem.]

RPC-17 (Remote Power Controller switch #17) remains tripped open with a shorted-out FET (field effect transistor), depriving the station of one of its three working CMGs (control moment gyroscopes). CMG-3 & CMG-4 are performing nominally, and the RS (Russian segment) impulsive thruster system is ready to take over at any time. Experts have determined that there is no immediate need for an EVA to replace the RPC prior to the LF-1/STS-114 (Discovery) mission in May. [Attitude control with thrusters only would require about 12 kg per day, and there are currently over four tons of propellants stored on the station.]

At ~5:25am EST, Leroy Chiao held a 10-min. ham radio session with amateur radio fans at St. Martins Lutheran School, Mt Gambier, South Australia. [St. Martins Lutheran College, situated in Mt. Gambier in the lower south east of South Australia, has 340 students from Reception to Year 9 and prides itself in “excellence at all levels”.]

For his next “Saturday Science” program on 3/19, Dr. Chiao has selected BCSS-FDI (Biotechnology Cell Science Stowage-Fluid Dynamics Investigation) Tissue Culture Module (TCM) fluid supplementation.

Last night at 9:41pm, the European/Russian laser-beam experiment SPQR (Specular Point-like Quick Reference) was conducted for the first time. Today it will performed a second time at 3:45pm, during a 5-min. “window” each. Three more opportunities are scheduled on 3/19 and 3/20. [SPQR, installed at SM window #3 along with its Nikon D1X camera, tests a ground-based imaging system, using special optics and image processing, to determine the feasibility of detecting external damage to a spacecraft in orbit from the ground. It uses a pyramidal corner reflector (CCR, Cube Corner Reflector) at the SM window, to reflect a laser beam emitted by a ground station back to the ground. The crew was advised not to look out the portholes during the sessions, the times of which were uplinked, and there are no CEO targets scheduled during the brief sessions. The SPQR Hazard Report indicates that the laser power at the ISS remains well below the threshold for injury.]

Leroy was thanked for his conversion of an SSC laptop to the new ELC1 (EXPRESS Rack 1 laptop) and the old ELC1 to a spare PCS (portable computer system).

Station attitude changed last night at ~9:07pm to LVLH XVV. The 15-min maneuver was performed by RS thrusters after control handover to RS motion control at 9:00pm, returning to USOS momentum management at 9:40pm.

Today’s CEO (crew earth observations) photo targets, in the current LVLH attitude no longer limited by flight rule constraints on the use of the Lab nadir/science window, were Flooding, Pakistan (Dynamic Event. Heavy snowfall in the mountains is now melting, leading to flooding in lowland and coastal Pakistan. This overpass took ISS over the southeastern Pakistan coastline. Looking for brown sediment plumes entering the ocean, and saturated floodplains around rivers leading to the coast), and Lima, Peru (offshore wind currents should have provided a rare opportunity to image the Lima metropolitan area. Mapping swaths across the urban center are particularly important to map the current extent of the built environment and the morphology of its boundaries).

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 10 crew visit:

Expedition 10 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.

Upcoming Key Events:

  • Reboost — 3/25 (5:00am EST; ~1.65 m/s, for 10S rendezvous & 9S landing phasing);
  • EVA-13 — 3/28;
  • Soyuz TMA-6 (10S) launch — 4/15 with Expedition 11 (CDR Sergei Krikalev, FE/SO John Phillips & VC8 cosmonaut Roberto Vittori/ESA-Italy;
  • Soyuz TMA-6 docking – 4/17;
  • Soyuz TMA-5 (9S) undocking — 4/25 with Exp. 10 crew (after 193 days on orbit, 191 days on board ISS) and VC8 cosmonaut Vittori;
  • LF1 (STS-114) — NET 5/12;
  • Progress M-53 (18P) launch — 6/10;
  • ULF1.1 (STS-121) — NET 7/10;
  • Progress M-54 (19P) launch — 8/24;
  • Soyuz TMA-7 (11S) launch — 9/27.

ISS Location NOW

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Real Time ISS TrackerMore Links

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 7:50am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 356.0 km
  • Apogee height — 358.4 km
  • Perigee height — 353.5 km
  • Period — 91.66 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) — 51.65 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0003624
  • Solar Beta Angle — 10.0 deg (magnitude decreasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.71
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 120 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 36126

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.