Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 18 August 2006

By SpaceRef Editor
August 20, 2006
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 18 August 2006

SpaceRef note: This NASA Headquarters internal status report, as presented here, contains additional, original material produced by (copyright © 2006) to enhance access to related status reports and NASA activities.

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

After wakeup, FE-2 Reiter took over today’s support of the Russian/German TEKh-20 Plasma Crystal-3 Plus (PK-3+) science payload by activating the PK-3+/N turbopump in the Service Module Transfer Compartment (SM PkhO), which maintains the vacuum inside the ZB work chamber. [Tagging up with ground specialists at ~10:40am EDT and ~12:40pm, Thomas activated experiment hardware, recorded real-time video data and later terminated the experiment, performed closeout operations, copied the accumulated data from the hard drive to the USB stick for subsequent downlink via OCA and cleared the plasma chamber of the particles left from the previous experiments. The turbopump will be deactivated tonight at ~5:25pm EDT before crew sleep. The experiment is performed on plasma, i.e., fine particles charged and excited by HF (high frequency) radio power inside the evacuated work chamber. Main objective is to study dust plasma crystallization processes at a specified power of HF discharge, pressure, and a varied number of particles with subsequent reduction of HF discharge power, then to observe melting of the structures formed earlier. Today’s sixth baseline experiment was conducted with 6.81 micron particles at different pressures and HF generator power outputs to each for first-kind phase transitions. It was Thomas’ job to manually reduce RF generator power outputs step by step, for a total of 8 attempts.]

CDR Vinogradov continued the noise-dampening outfitting on the RS SOTR (Russian Segment/Thermal Control System) by applying new Progress-delivered sound & vibration suppression material to the VPF1 & VPF2 fans of the air ventilation system.

After charging its battery, FE-1 Williams installed an accelerometer and RSU (Remote Sensing Unit) box of the IWIS (Internal Wireless Instrumentation System) in the FGB module, attaching the sensor to a structural ring and the RSU at a convenient place near panel 226.

Williams also performed preventive maintenance on the TCCS (Trace Contaminant Control System) in the Lab by removing & replacing its CATOX (Catalytic Oxidizer) and prepacking the old unit for return on STS-115/12A.

Processing Status
Daily Mission
Return to Flight
Weekly Status
Weekly Science
Daily On-Orbit Status
Daily Crew Timeline
Soyuz | Progress
ISS News | ATV

Pavel Vladimirovich performed the periodic (about twice a month) replenishing of the Elektron’s water supply for electrolysis, filling the KOV thermal loops’ EDV container with water from an EDV containing water from the BKO multifiltration/purification column unit. [The 40-minute procedure is specially designed to prevent air bubbles larger than ~10 mm from getting into the BZh-8 Liquid Unit where they could cause Elektron shutdown. In the procedure, the BKO water is carefully transferred with a pump (BP), located behind SM panel 420, from the EDV-1 through the air/liquid separator unit (GZhS) into the empty EDV-2 while the crewmember checks for any air bubbles accumulating in the GZhS (and, if visible, estimates their number, with no more than two 1 cm diameter bubbles permitted in EDV-2). Elektron water is also supplied from U.S. technical water in a CWC (contingency water container) that is checked for its contents of air bubbles and is rejected if the estimated total air bubble volume is more than 30 cubic centimeters (1 cm air bubble is about 0.5 ccm). CWCs can hold condensate, technical or potable water. Raw condensate is either processed through the SRV-K condensate water processor system into potable water or is used directly for flush water in the ASU toilet system.]

Thomas Reiter worked on the newly installed MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS) system to put it in good configuration for future operations, moving stowage items from its Dewar 3 to Dewar 4 compartment.

The FE-1/SO conducted the scheduled monthly routine maintenance on both CSA-CP (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products) units (#1045 & #1043) currently in use as prime and backup. [Both units were zero calibrated with fresh batteries. Following the zero calibration, prime and backup units were swapped, and the new backup unit (#1045), attached to the sampling pump, was returned to the Node, while the prime unit’s datalogger function was activated to collect data at the SM Central Post as a spot check. After one hour, the datalogger was deactivated.]

Williams also performed the regular atmospheric status check for ppO2 (Partial Pressure Oxygen), using the CSA-O2 (Compound Specific Analyzer-Oxygen Sensor).

Jeff supported the ALTEA (Anomalous Long-Term Effects on Astronauts) experiment by deactivating its dosimeters, switching the detector from the testing mode to one of its nominal running modes and reactivating the dosimetry function. [Besides Jeff Williams’ aborted CNSM (Central Nervous System Monitoring) measuring sessions, the ALTEA protocol also calls for long-term unmanned real-time particle flux dosimetry inside the ISS, currently underway. Reports are that good real-time data are being received, allowing early real-time and off-line analysis. ALTEA uses six particle detectors (originally introduced on Mir), a 32-channel EEG (Electroencephalograph) system, a visual stimulator and a pushbutton. These devices can be used separately or in any combination, permitting several different experiments: in physics, dosimetry, psychophysics, electrophysiology and cognitive neurophysiology.]

Pavel collected plant samples of the Russian BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 (“Plants-2”) Lada-8 experiment for return to the ground and photographed them, looking for new sprouts, later downlinking the images to TsUP via the BSR-TM telemetry channel. Charged to his discretionary task list, the CDR also recharged the BIO-5 water tank. [Rasteniya researches growth and development of plants (peas) under spaceflight conditions in the Lada-8 greenhouse. The regular maintenance of the experiment (each Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday) involves monitoring of seedling growth, humidity measurements, moistening of the substrate if necessary, topping off the water tank if ~20-25% of the total amount (4 liters) remains, and photo/video recording.]

Thomas updated the onboard CD (Compact Disk) Library, i.e., swapping newly delivered CDs from the ULF1.1 CD transfer case with old versions and exchanging Volumes 2 & 3 of the CD Library.

Jeffrey Williams performed the regular bi-monthly reboot of the OCA (Orbit Communications Adapter) comm router and file server SSC (Station Support Computer) laptops.

FE-2 Reiter had an hour reserved for another trash collection foray in the US segment (USOS), followed by more hardware prepacking for return on STS-115/12A.

Thomas also updated/edited the standard IMS (Inventory Management System) “delta file”, including locations, for the regular weekly automated export/import to its three databases on the ground (Houston, Moscow, Baikonur).

In the SM, Vinogradov completed the routine daily maintenance of the SOZh environment control & life support system (ECLSS), including the ASU toilet facilities systems/replaceables

All crewmembers completed their regular 2.5-hr. physical exercise program (about half of which is used for setup & post-exercise personal hygiene) on the TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-1, FE-2), RED resistive exerciser (FE-1, FE-2), and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (CDR). For his 1.5-hr. session on the TVIS, Reiter set up the video camcorder for his first-time filming of his treadmill workout. [The filming, with TVIS chassis opened, is done for biomechanical evaluation of the individual crewmember and assessment of the hardware status by ground engineers. Pavel Vinogradov’s daily protocol prescribes a strict four-day microcycle exercise with 1.5 hr on the treadmill in unmotorized mode and one hour on VELO plus load trainer (today: Day 1 of the first set).]

Afterwards, Williams transfers his, Pavel’s and Thomas’ exercise data files to the MEC for downlink, as well as the daily wristband HRM data of the workouts on RED, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).

Jeff Williams had one hour set aside for an in-depth review of the robotics activities planned during the STS-115/12A docked period. Later (~1:55pm EDT) the crew tagged up with ground specialists for an STS overview and timeline conference.

At ~6:40am EDT, the crew linked up with TsUP specialists to conduct the weekly IMS tagup, discussing open issues concerning identification of equipment and stowage locations for the IMS databases via S-band. [Issues under discussion included the status of Progress M-57/22P equipment transfers, current stowage locations of items like food containers, an old PK-3 (Plasma Kristal-3) kit, special ASU toilet inserts, etc., and updates on trash gathering.]

At ~4:25am EDT, the crew held the regular (nominally weekly) tagup with the Russian Flight Control Team (GOGU), including Shift Flight Director (SRP), at TsUP via S-band/audio, phone-patched from Houston and Moscow.

At ~4:20am, Jeff Williams set up the FGB’s amateur radio equipment (Ericsson VHF transceiver, headset, power supply) to conduct, at 6:40am, a 10-min. ham radio exchange with students at Reece High School in Devonport, Tasmania/Australia. [Devonport High and Reece High Schools with a total of 1800 students have combined for this ARISS event. The two public schools serve the education needs of the city of Devonport in Tasmania.]

At ~3:05pm EDT, the crew is scheduled for their regular weekly tagup with the Lead Flight Director at MCC-Houston.

Tonight at ~10:41pm, station attitude will be maneuvered from LVLH YVV (local vertical/local horizontal +y-axis in velocity vector) to XPOP (x-axis perpendicular to orbit plane), using the USTO (US Thruster Only) controller (which commands the Russian thrusters without requiring handover between MCSs (motion control systems). This attitude will be maintained through 8/25. [It has been shown that it benefits BGA (Beta Gimbal Assembly) bearings to rotate the BGAs through small positive and negative angles on a specified schedule. This has previously been accomplished by XPOP BGA autotrack motion that allowed BGA performance to “reset” or smooth out between XVV intervals, ultimately improving BGA performance. However, since XPOP will no longer be available after the ISS-12A.1 mission in December, a means of performing the conditioning during YVV attitudes has been developed and this activity, a simulated XPOP motion that has the same benefit to BGA XVV performance as standard XPOP Autotrack, has now been successfully completed.]

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 Lawn Hill Impact Crater, Australia (this impact structure is quite old [more than 500 million years] and its surface structure has consequently been smoothed by erosion. The roughly circular crater can still be recognized, however. Looking to the left of track as ISS approached the York Peninsula of Australia), Roter Kamm Impact Crater, Namibia (this small [2.5 km diameter] impact structure has well defined crater walls that are distinct from the surrounding Namibian desert. Looking to the right of track as ISS crossed the African coastline), and Lake Poopo, Bolivia (weather was predicted to be clear for late winter imagery of Lake Poopo. Looking to the right of track as ISS approached the Andes Mountains to fix the position of the Lake.)

To date, more than 198,000 of CEO images have been taken in the first five years of the ISS, almost one third of the total number of images taken from orbit by astronauts.

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 13 crew visit:

Expedition 13 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.

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 6:52am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 340.3 km
  • Apogee height– 345.1 km
  • Perigee height — 335.5 km
  • Period — 91.34 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) — 51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0007142
  • Solar Beta Angle — 63.3 deg (magnitude decreasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.76
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 27 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 44298

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern and subject to change):

  • 08/27/07 — STS-115/12A launch (4:29:55pm EDT)
  • 08/29-09/04 — STS-115/12A docked mission w/ISS (earliest) – P3/P4 trusses
  • 08/31/06 — Pavel Vinogradov’s birthday
  • 09/07/06 – STS-115/12A landing at KSC (~12:02pm EDT)
  • 09/14/06 — Soyuz TMA-9/13S launch (Expedition 14 + VC11)
  • 09/15/06 — Progress M-56/21P undocking (SM aft port) & reentry
  • 09/16/06 — Soyuz TMA-9/13S docking (SM aft port)
  • 09/25/06 — Soyuz TMA-8/12S undocking (FGB nadir port) & land
  • 10/08/06 — Soyuz TMA-9/13S relocation (SM aft port to FGB nadir port)
  • 10/18/06 — Progress M-58/23P launch
  • 10/20/06 — Progress M-58/23P docking (SM aft port)
  • 10/31/06 — Russian EVA-17
  • 12/14/06 — STS-116/12A.1 launch
  • 12/16-23/06 — STS-116/12A.1 docked mission w/ISS – P5 truss
  • 12/19/06 — Progress M-57/22P undocking (DC1) & reentry
  • 12/20/06 — Progress M-59/24P launch
  • 12/22/06 — Progress M-59/24P docking (DC1)
  • 01/22/07 — US EVA-6
  • 01/26/07 — US EVA-7
  • 01/31/07 — US EVA-8
  • 02/06/07 — Progress M-59/24P undocking (DC1) & reentry
  • 02/07/07 — Progress M-60/25P launch
  • 02/09/07 — Progress M-60/25P docking (DC1)
  • 02/22/07 — STS-117/13A launch – S3/S4 trusses
  • 02/24-03/03/07 — STS-117/13A docked mission w/ISS (earliest)
  • 03/08/07 — Progress M-58/23P undocking (SM aft port) & reentry
  • 03/09/07 — Soyuz TMA-10/14S launch (Expedition 15 + VC12)
  • 03/11/07 — Soyuz TMA-10/14S docking (SM aft port)
  • 03/19/07 — Soyuz TMA-9/13S undocking (FGB nadir port)
  • ??/??/07 — Soyuz TMA-10/14S relocation (SM aft port to FGB nadir port)
  • 06/11/07 — STS-118/13A.1

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 on NASA’s Human Spaceflight website. Additional satellite tracking resources can be found at

SpaceRef staff editor.