Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 18 Jul 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
July 18, 2003
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All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below.  Day 85 in space for the Increment 7 crew.

CDR Yuri Malenchenko performed the scheduled search for the missing cables and T-connector for the Regul-OS antenna feeder unit (AFU) connection to the antenna feed in the SM.  The search for the cables and WE1 coupler was video recorded for the ground.   [The Regul equipment is being run in its old configuration until the system can be upgraded.]

For FE/SO Ed Lu, it was another day with the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) and the installed CSLM-2 (Coarsening in Solid/Liquid Mixtures-2) payload..  After activation of the rack, two vacuum vent tests with the Lab’s VES (vacuum exhaust system) were to be conducted on the MSG, which subsequently was to be powered down again.   [This was the first time a payload used the VES, and the test was intended to verify that there are no leaks in the MSG vent lines or in the CSLM-2 vacuum hose QDs (quick disconnects) before long duration venting of the CSLM-2 sample chamber begins.  This activity required the use of the MSG conditioner box, to allow a pressure decay test.  The first part of the procedure checks for leaks between the MSG Vent QD and the shutoff valve, the second part connects the CSLM-2 vacuum hose and checked its leak tightness.  Ed was to record several millivolt readings for both parts and call them down to the ground for evaluation.]

Ed Lu performed another weekly ppCO2 (carbon dioxide partial pressure) data take from the new CSA-CP (compound specific analyzer-combustion products) brought up on 11P.  (Last time done: 7/11).   [CSA-CP is a toxicology monitoring device for early CO detection/warning and post-fire decontamination.  It also checks for hydrogen chloride (HCl) and other combustion products and contaminants.  Data takes are regularly collected for downlink.]
Yuri Malenchenko completed the periodic functional closure test of the Vozdukh CO2 removal system’s emergency vacuum valves (AVK, last time done: 6/23).  [The AVKs are critical because they close the Vozdukh’s vacuum access lines in the event of a malfunction in the regular vacuum valves (BVK) or a depressurization in the Vozdukh valve panel (BOA).  Access to vacuum is required to vent carbon dioxide during the regeneration of the absorbent cartridges (PP).  During nominal operation, the AVK valves remain open.]

Yuri also started another regeneration cycle on the BMP harmful impurities filtration system in the Service Module (SM), today switching absorbent bed #1 to Regeneration mode.  [The “bakeout” cycle in the filter beds is repeated every 20 days.  Each bakeout of the two filter beds to space vacuum takes about 24 hours.]

Ed Lu transferred data files from the physical exercise equipment (TVIS and RED) to the MEC (medical equipment computer) via memory card and RED log entries, for downlink on OCA comm.

Later, he also performed the periodic transfer of accumulated data files from the wrist-band HRM (heart rate monitor) receiver stations to the MEC for downlink, then deleted them on the HRM. 

Ed was scheduled to start a new round of troubleshooting on the failed EMU/spacesuit (#3013), using the newly developed and uplinked procedure.  [By draining and filling the EMU backpack’s water tanks, it is believed that the postulated gas bubble in the tanks can be eliminated and with it the coolant stoppage.]

On the operational PCS (portable computer system) laptops in the station, Ed performed the regular once-a-week maintenance reboot.

MCC-H reported that the crew’s work on the File Server (FS) transition to the NGL (next generation laptop) and the SSC (station support computer) laptop reloads were successful, restoring all functionality.  This amounts to a new LAN (local area network) for the USOS.   [The crew commented favorably on the magnitude of thespeed increasefor applications that access the FS (the NGL, an IBM ThinkPad A31p, uses a Pentium IV/2 GHz microprocessor). More NGLs are in the pipeline and they will be brought up as soon as possible.]

The CDR conducted the daily routine maintenance of SOZh life support systems (including toilet facility, food containers, water containers and solid waste containers) and the preparation of the daily IMS (inventory management system) update file, while the Science Officer attended to the regular routine checkup of Increment 7 payloads running in the Lab.

Malenchenko had his weekly tag-up with IMS (inventory management system) specialists at MCC-Moscow/TsUP.  The continuing issue is to maintain the timely update of the IMS database to reflect the real stowage situation on board.

Yuri also performed his regular daily inspection of the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 (“Plants-2”) experiment which researches growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in the Lada-2 greenhouse.   [The experimental seeds of two types of peas (a flagellate variety with reds flowers, up to 27 cm high, and an acacia-leaf variety with white flowers ,up to 20 cm high) are planted between wicks in a root tray, with environmental control powered on.  Regular daily maintenance of the experiment involves monitoring of seedling growth, humidity measurements, moistening of the substrate if necessary, and photo/video recording.]

The crew was thanked for their successful workon the Plug-in Plan (PiP) audit on 7/14.   [The information they called down was very helpful in improving the ground’s understanding of the onboard configuration, and specialists are busy working onthe hardware labeling discrepancies which the audit surfaced. A few follow-on questions were uplinked for this purpose.]

Today’s CEO (crew earth observation) targets, no longer limited in the current LVLH attitude and including the targets of the Lewis & Clark 200-year memorial locations, were Congo basin (Dynamic event.  Weather “remarkably clear”.  The crew was advised to take images looking left toward the sunglint disc to show river patterns of the Congo River and its tributaries), Congo-Zimbabwe Biomass Burning (ideal visibility for fires and smoke plumes.  ISS passed over Zambia’s “Copper Belt” towns at nadir), Angolan Biomass Burning (cloud structures offshore of the Namib Desert show interesting linear shear lines.  These could relate to daily wind fields that are under active research.  Crew trying oblique views left of track towards the coast.  Cloud masses related to these daily wind shifts are poorly understood), Industrialized SE Africa (major “Santa Ana” wind event taking place along the south coast of South Africa.  Temperatures have warmed locally to 80 deg in the middle of winter.  Looking for fires with smoke plumes blowing offshore.  Otherwise, obliques left and right of the Cape Mountain belt should have been spectacular), Lower Amazon River Basin (looking left for detailed views of the shoreline and islands of the Amazon River estuary), and Paraguay River basin, Paraguay (Dynamic event.  Very clear skies.  Suggested sunglint images left of track to characterize drainage patterns.   ISS/CEO images of the major Beni River, southern Bolivia, taken in the last couple of weeks, show major changes of river pattern, in a 40-mile long stretch, compared with maps made from 30-year-old data).
CEO images can be viewed at the websites

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

ISS Orbit  (as of this morning, 6:32am EDT [= epoch]):
Mean altitude — 386.1 km
Apogee — 391.8 km
Perigee — 380.4 km
Period — 92.28 min.
Inclination (to Equator) —  51.63 deg
Eccentricity — 0.0008438
Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.60
Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 60 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 26588
For more on ISS orbit and worldwide naked-eye visibility dates/times, see

SpaceRef staff editor.