Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 18 May 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
May 18, 2004
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 18 May 2004

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

First thing in the morning, before breakfast and exercise, CDR Padalka completed the periodic Russian MedOps test “Hematokrit” (MO-10), measuring red blood cell count of the blood.   [The blood sample was drawn from a finger with a perforator lancet, then centrifuged in two microcapillary tubes in the M-1100 kit’s minicentrifuge, and its hematocrit value was read off the tubes with a magnifying glass.  It is a well-known phenomenon of space flight that red blood cell count (normal range: 30-45%) tends to go down over time.]

Gennady Padalka also took the MBI-1 SPRUT-K test, part of Russian medical research on the distribution and behavior of human body fluids in zero gravity.  Supported by Laptop 3, the data were recorded on “Profilaktika” memory cards, along with this morning’s hematocrit data and yesterday’s body mass values.  Afterwards, Laptop 3 was powered down.   [Experiment requisites are the Sprut (“squid”) securing harness, skin electrodes (cuffs), and the payload computer for control and data storage.  Electrode measurements are recorded at complete rest and relaxed body position.  Assistance from the FE was not required.]

Later in the day, after the EMU don/doff dryrun procedures review with the ground, the CDR also conducted his first session with the Russian MedOps cardio experiment PZEh MO-1 (Study of the Bioelectric Activity of the Heart at Rest), with Mike Fincke assisting as CMO.   [During the 30-min. test, the crew tagged up with ground specialists on a Russian ground site (RGS) pass on Daily Orbit 2 and downlinked data from the Gamma-1M ECG (electrocardiograph) for about 5-6 minutes.]

For today’s first ADUM (Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in Micro-G) sessions, Fincke and Padalka performed the scheduled ultrasound bone scans on each other by taking turns as operator and subject.  Afterwards the hardware was deactivated and the scanheads were cleaned and stowed temporarily for protection for Thursday’s session.    [After activation of the HRF (Human Research Facility) and the video tape recorder (VTR) by the ground early in the morning, Mike powered up the HRF computer and the ADUM hardware, then was scheduled to clean up the PC’s Ultrasound hard drive by deleting files and creating some bone-specific software settings.  The bone scans were taken of the subject’s shoulder, elbow, knee and ankle.  The activities were videotaped, with two signals,- one a traditional video, the other a recording of an ultrasound monitor signal.]

For the monthly recharging of the Motorola-9505 Iridium satellite phone, Padalka retrieved it from its location in the Soyuz TMA-4 descent module (DM) and started the charging of its lithium-ion battery.   [For safety, before powering up the recharge unit, the telephone, as before (4/6/04), was put into a single CTB (crew transfer bag), which then was placed inside a triple CTB.  As a slight modification of previous procedure, the crew was requested to perform an inspection on the two CTBs to ensure their integrity (internal damage to CTB zippers tested for Iridium battery recharging on the ground had allowed an intentionally triggered fire to penetrate through the zippers).  The charging was monitored every 30 minutes without taking the satphone out of the containment.  Upon completion (~7:30am EDT), Padalka removed the phone, placed it inside its SSSP Iridium kit and stowed it back in the DM’s operational data files (ODF) container.]

The CDR also completed the periodic replenishing of the Elektron’s water supply for electrolysis, filling the KOV thermal loops’ EDV container with purified (deionized) water from the BKO multifiltration/purification column unit.   [The procedure was specially designed to prevent air bubbles from getting into the BZh liquid unit where they could cause micropump impeller cavitation and Elektron shutdown, as numerous past times.  In the procedure, the EDV water is drawn from the BKO and the air/liquid separator unit (GZhS) while the crewmember checks for any air bubbles in the EDV (and, if visible, estimates their number).]

Mike Fincke performed another recharge cycle on the two PGT (pistol grip tool) batteries checked out successfully yesterday with the open circuit voltage (OCV) test.   [The charging of NiMH (nickel metal hydride) batteries #1005 & #1018 in the new charger brought up some time ago on the Shuttle was expected to take a minimum of 3-3.5 hours.  MCC-H monitored the process in real time to determine cumulative battery capacity and verify nominal performance signature.]

The crew reviewed the EMU (extravehicular mobility unit) don/doff procedure for tomorrow’s dry run in the Airlock’s equipment lock (E/L), then tagged up with ground specialists via S-band to discuss details and open issues.   [Successful demonstration of self-donning/doffing is prerequisite to approval for using the EMUs for the spacewalk.  If the don/doff test is unsuccessful and the crew cannot put on and take off the suits without a third crewmember (IV) help, discussions will shift to an Orlan-based E9 EVA#1 from the DC1 docking compartment, requiring timeline replanning and several days of Orlan preparations.]

The CDR completed the regular daily maintenance/inspection of the SM’s SOZh environment control & life support systems, today including the weekly checkup of the BRPK air/condensate water separator system.  The FE in turn prepared the daily “delta” file to update the IMS (inventory management system) database.

Mike also performed the daily leak check of the Lab window’s inter-pane space (“Volume D”), using the “Aeolus” scopemeter with pressure probe.  Today’s pressure reading was 537 Torr (mmHg) or 10.4 psi, still approximately following the trend of a steady leak rate of ~27 Torr/0.52 psi per day from the cabin into Volume D.

The crew completed their daily 2.5-hr. physical exercise program on TVIS, RED exerciser and VELO cycle with load trainer.

The treadmill is again being used in motorized mode for the last two/three days without reoccurrence of the TVIS control panel anomaly that turned belt speed off to zero.   [The cause of the anomaly is still unknown, and investigation continues.  If a speed anomaly returns, the crew will safe the TVIS, cease motorized ops and return to non-motorized use, while taking note of control panel cues, which never should show commanded belt speed go to zero without crew input or actual speed go to zero as long as the belt is still moving.]

Today’s ISS reboost maneuver was nominal (details to follow, pending evaluation of tracking data).   [Progress thrusters fired at 12:49pm EDT for ~7.5 minutes to reboost station altitude and slightly change orbit inclination.  ISS maneuver attitude this time incorporated a 15 deg yaw (i.e., introducing a lateral thrust component), so that orbit inclination also underwent a slight change (planned: 0.004 deg).  Since the last inclination correction about three years ago, orbit inclination has decreased by approximately 0.01 deg to a current value roughly mid-way between the groundruled range of 51.62 – 51.68 deg.  The lower limit would be approached in approximately 5 years, but doing part of the upward correction right now (while ISS mass is still low compared to Assembly Complete), propellant is more efficiently used.  Once the inclination is adjusted to the upper limit, no further inclination adjustments should be required for the remaining life of the ISS.]

To prepare for the reboost, at 11:10am the ISS maneuvered to reboost attitude.  After the burn, it turned to XPOP (x-axis perpendicular to orbit plane) attitude, to remain there until 5/20.  [While in XPOP, the P6 module’s solar array wings are in Autotrack, but their sun pointing, starting at 2:40pm, is biased to reduce orbital drag (thus altitude decay).  The bias programmed for BGA (beta gimbal assembly) 2B is -32.5 deg, for 4B +32.5 deg off the Sun.]

Future operation of the VC6 experiment HEAT will require some equipment already moved to the Progress 13P for disposal.  The crew was advised to retrieve the items from the cargo ship and restow them for further use.   [HEAT is one of three experiments of André Kuipers’ VC-6 “Delta” science program that were performed in the U.S. segment (USOS).  To be installed again in the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG), it will continue to investigate heat transfer performance of grooved heat pipes.]

Today’s CEO targets, valid before the change to XPOP attitude later today, were the Indonesian Archipelago (this pass took ISS over the smaller island chain east of Java, between Bali and Timor.  Suggested were panoramas with the limb, looking left and right along the volcanoes.  Such views are prized by the public and tend to be selected for NASA’s “Earth Observatory” website, often because the three-dimensionality appeals to viewers), Internal waves, Vietnam (looking left towards the coast of Vietnam, near the sunglint point, for possible internal waves. Internal waves occur at density boundaries in the shallow ocean, between about 50 m and 200 m below the surface with a wave amplitude of many meters.  The continental “shelf edge” can often trigger their formation.  They are manifested at the sea surface as waves with very small, centimeter-scale amplitude–which are nevertheless sufficient to alter sunglint patterns, becoming easily and dramatically visible.  Packets of internal waves, each with three to ten curved but parallel wave lines, are set up in many parts of the world during certain phases of the moon), and Typhoon Nida, Philippines (this major storm has slowed and started to recurve north after brushing the Philippines.  It has strengthened to Category 4 status and has developed an eye.  Looking right of track from near Taiwan to see the entire storm in one oblique view).

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, 1:22pm EDT).

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

  • Elektron O2 generator is On.  Vozdukh CO2 scrubber is On.  U.S. CDRA CO2 scrubber is Off.  TCCS (trace contaminant control subsystem) is operating.  SM Gas Analyzer has been calibrated and is used for ppO2 & 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 (SM panel mods completed 4/8; SKV-2 activation failed 4/20).  SFOG slot #2 fan suspect (not usable).
  • SM Working Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 742; temperature (deg C) — 26.4; ppO2 (mmHg) — 157.4; ppCO2 (mmHg) — 3.6;
  • SM Transfer Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 751; temperature (deg C) — 20.9.
  • FGB Cabin:  Pressure (mmHg) — 755; temperature (deg C) — 21.5.
  • Node:  Pressure (mmHg) — 749.61; temperature (deg C) — 22.7 (shell); ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • U.S. Lab:  Pressure (mmHg) — 751.79; temperature (deg C) — 24.7; ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • Joint Airlock (Equip. Lock):   Pressure (mmHg) — 751.89; temperature (deg C) — 24.9; shell heater temp (deg C) — n/a, ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • (n/a = data not available)
  • PMA-1:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — n/a
  • PMA-2:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — n/a.

Electrical Power Systems (EPS):

  • Both P6 channels fully operational.  BGA (beta gimbal assembly) 2B and 4B both in Autotrack (solar-tracking), with drag reduction bias (2B @ -32.5 deg, 4B @ 32.5 deg.)
  • SM batteries:  All batteries (8) are on line in “Partial Charge” mode.  
  • FGB batteries:  Battery #5 is off line; all other batteries (5) are on line 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 backup, and C&C-3 is in standby.
  • GNC-2 MDM is prime; GNC-1 is backup.
  • INT-2 is operating; INT-1 is Off.
  • EXT-1 is On (primary), EXT-2 is Off (backup).
  • 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).
  • FGB MDM-1 is Off (failed, 11/21/03); MDM-2 is Operational.

Propulsion System:

  • Total propellant load available: 3689 kg (8133 lb) as of 5/13/04;  [SM(755) + FGB(2934) + Progress M-1(0)].  (Capability: SM — 860 kg; FGB — 6120 kg).

Attitude Control Systems:

  • 2 CMGs on-line (CMG-1 failed, since 6/6/02; CMG-2’s RPC-17 failed 4/21/04).
  • 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), until 5/20.

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 (may require a mask).
  • 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, operational on redundant string, off on prime.
  • MBS: KA (keep alive) 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, 7:11am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 360.3 km
  • Apogee — 367.6 km
  • Perigee — 353.0 km
  • Period — 91.75 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.6262 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0010852
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.69
  • Mean altitude loss last 24 hours — 78 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 31365

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

SpaceRef staff editor.