Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 19 Apr 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
April 19, 2004
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 19 Apr 2004

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below.  Underway: Week 26 for Increment 8 (and 10 days until return of Expedition 8).

Soyuz TMA-4 (8S) launched on time last night (11:19pm EDT) from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, with Expedition 9 Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Michael Fincke plus ESA visiting crewmember André Kuipers.  With its perfect on-time liftoff and ascent to orbit, the Soyuz launch vehicle racked up another success in its history of (today) 433 flights (423 successes).  8S is currently on its way to rendezvous with the ISS, to be concluded by docking on 4/21 at 1:03am EDT (9:03am DMT/Moscow time).    [The 15,300 lbs. TMA-4 S/C reached orbit when the single third-stage engine shut down at 11:28pm.  During the next five Daily Orbits (DO) with comm passes over Russian ground sites (RGS) the following events occurred in sequence, all nominal: DO1 — deployment of solar arrays & radio/radar antennas, cabin leak checks; DO2 — docking probe extension, Kurs radar self tests, hatch opening to the Soyuz BO Orbital Module and ingress, doffing of Sokol pressure suits; DO3 & DO4 — SOA air purification system activation in the BO and deactivation in the SA Descent Module, maneuver burns DV1 (2:54am) and DV2 (3:34am); DO5 (ending at ~6:30am this morning) — cleaning and stowing of Sokol pressure suits.  At present, lasting for the next six orbits (~9 hrs.) the crew is in their sleep period.  Tonight, at about 4:30pm, Flight Day 2 (FD2) will begin on DO12 (end of crew sleep), featuring the third orbit adjust burn (~12:27am EDT) and initiation of ISK sun-spinning (“barbecue”) attitude for Soyuz.  The ascent profile to final docking on FD3 comprises 34 orbits total, with five DOs each FD having RGS comm windows.]

After wakeup at the sleep cycle-shifted time of 12:00am, the ISS crew focused their activities mostly on preparations for receiving the visitors next Wednesday morning.  One of FE Alexander Kaleri’s main task was to set up the work area for VC FE André Kuipers’ “Delta” science program at the Russian segment experiment locations.   [To save time on the ESA crewmember’s crowded schedule, Kaleri unstowed & transferred research equipment delivered aboard Progress 13P or already on the station to their appropriate places.  This included the experiments FLOW, KAPPA, ACTIN, ICE-FIRST, TUBUL, CIRCA, SYMPATO-3, EYE TRACKING, SUIT, SAMPLE, ARGES, and MOUSE.]

CDR/SO Michael Foale spent time in the U.S. Airlock with the periodic inspection of its single lighting unit’s ELPS (emergency lighting power supply).

The crew conducted routine air sampling in the cabin, which is standard practice before each new crew arrival.  FE Alexander Kaleri first used the Russian AK-1M sampler in the Service Module (SM) and FGB.  Then, checking for CO (carbon monoxide), he took air samples in the SM with the IPD-CO Draeger tubes sampler.  (Last time done:  3/22).   [Alex also prepared a number of AK-1M kits for return to Earth on Soyuz 7S.]

For additional atmospheric formaldehyde sampling, Mike Foale deployed two passive U.S. FMK (formaldehyde monitoring kit) sampling badges each in the Lab (below CEVIS) and SM (most forward handrail).  (Last time done: 3/22).  He also used the new Dual Sorbent Tube (DST), instead of the SSAS (Solid Sorbent Air Sampler), to take samples in the center of the Lab and SM.   [To monitor air quality during the joint period (4/21-4/29), MCC-H plans to turn on the MCA (major constituents analyzer) every third day (4/22, 4/25, 4/28) for 3 hrs. of operation after “zero” calibration.  MCA will then be deactivated and returned to LEM (life extending mode) to preserve the mass spectrometer chamber’s ion pump.]

Kaleri completed a 1.5-hr. job installing a ventilator in the BVN fan & heater assembly and mounting the latter in the FGB module near the docking hatch, along with air ducts, to assure adequate air exchange with the Soyuz TMA-4/8S spacecraft after its docking at the FGB nadir-facing port (ASPB).

The Science Officer took ESC (electronic still camera) photography of the renal stone dietary logbooks and the pill supply packages used for the kidney stone experiment, for downlink to MCC-H.

Later, Foale worked in the FGB to perform the periodic cleaning of the removable screens of its three gas-liquid heat exchangers (GZhT).

As done previously by Budarin on TMA-1/5S and Malenchenko on TMA-2/6S, Sasha removed the two “Klest” (KL-152) TV cameras and their light units from the descent module of the Soyuz 7S.   [The cameras are not required for the return of the Expedition 8 crew, and their removal increases 7S downmass capability.]

Mike Foale performed troubleshooting on the new MPSD2 computer, setting it up with another laptop shell to regain a second IP phone for the crew.   [The procedure involved replacing the faulty MPSD2 (multi-purpose support drive 2) IBM ThinkPad 760XD shell (#6060) with the shell of the EXPRESS Rack 2 (ER2) laptop SSC3 by equipping the latter with the MPSD hard drive.  The MPSD is to be used as second IP (Internet Protocol) “phone home” unit.  The ER2 laptop shell will be returned to POIC (Payload Operations & Integration Center) in time to support the next scheduled use of this laptop.]

In the Lab, Mike reconnected the UOP-DCP (utility outlet panel-to-display & control panel) bypass power cable at the Lab RWS (robotics workstation) in preparation for the use of the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) video cameras to cover the 8S docking.

Sasha 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-4 greenhouse.

The CDR Mike completed the daily routine maintenance of the SM’s SOZh life support system (including ASU toilet facilities) as well as the regular daily preparation of the IMS (inventory management system) “delta” file for automatic export/import to update the database..  He also attended to the regular routine status checkup of autonomously running Increment 8 payloads in the Lab.

Alex Kaleri unstowed the “Urolux” equipment and set it up for his and Mike’s next session with the Russian biochemical urinalysis test (PZE MO-9), on tomorrow’s schedule for both crewmembers.  Due to operating problems encountered with the device, Sasha was advised to check out equipment functionality today.

Kaleri and Foale set up the Russian TV equipment in the SM and downlinked a televised message of greeting to the concluding session of the Fifth All-Russian “Sozvezdie” (constellation) Open Olympiad, which features the “Man-Earth-Space” youth scientific, academic, and research project competition on environmental protection on April 19-24 at Korolev near Moscow.  Participants are a large number of school children and students from all regions of Russia.   [ISS crew: “From the International Space Station, we can see that our planet is wonderful, and we understand how fragile and vulnerable it is.  The Earth needs us no less than we need it.  Together, we must preserve it for future generations.”]

The crew again had an hour each for their personal preparations for return.

Update on Soyuz 7S Helium Leaks:  As reported yesterday, TsUP/Moscow has prepared and uplinked special instructions to the crew for an emergency deorbit in the Soyuz-213/7S, in light of the existing leaks in the helium pressurizing lines.  As a backup, 7S has also blow-down capability of its propellant system, where the ullage pressures in the NTO (nitrogen tetroxide) and UDMH (unsymmetrical dimethyl hydrazine) tanks suffice for “blowing down” the props for the deorbit burn.    [For the primary procedure, the crew is not to interconnect the two KDU repress & propulsion manifolds (by firing a pyro valve), but it will conduct undocking and deorbit on separate subsystems, viz., performing the undocking manually on section/manifold #1 of the KDU repress & propulsion subsystems and the subsequent deorbit burn on section #2, without interconnecting the two subsystems as is nominally the case.  Section #1 is used first, for the undocking, because it has the larger leak.]

Upcoming Soyuz Events:

  • 8S docking:  4/21 (Wednesday), 1:03am Eastern, 9:03am Moscow;
  • 8S hatch opening:  2:25am Eastern.
  • 7S hatch closure: 4/29 (Thursday), 1:34pm Eastern.
  • 7S undocking: 4/29, 4:49pm Eastern, 12:49am (4/30) Moscow;
  • 7S landing:  4/29, 8:09pm Eastern, 4:09am (4/30) Moscow, 7:09am (4/30) Astana.

Today’s CEO 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 Tokyo, Japan (nadir pass.  Tokyo tops the list of the world’s largest cities, with a population of 26.5 million.  The edge of the cityscape contrasts well with wooded slopes of surrounding hills), Internal waves, Philippines (looking right for internal waves between the southern Philippines and Borneo, where shallow sea floors help generate these features), Lahore, Pakistan (the population of Lahore reached 5 million in 1998, and the city is Pakistan’s gateway to India.  Alexander the Great reached the river at Lahore three centuries BC–at which point his own army forced him to start the long trek back to Babylon and Greece), and Muglad Basin Fans, Sudan (good opportunity for a general view of the basin towards the Nile River.  The basin is the type example for one of only six models that describe the arrangement of fans and trunk rivers [geometries of interest to geologists derived entirely from handheld images]).

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, 1:37pm 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 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 Regeneration 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 TBD).  SFOG slot#2 fan suspect (not usable).
  • SM Working Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 742; temperature (deg C) — 26.3; ppO2 (mmHg) — 159.8; ppCO2 (mmHg) — 3.7;
  • SM Transfer Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 761; temperature (deg C) — 20.4.
  • FGB Cabin:  Pressure (mmHg) — 772; temperature (deg C) — 23.3;
  • Node:  Pressure (mmHg) — 758.50; temperature (deg C) — 24.4 (shell); ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • U.S. Lab:  Pressure (mmHg) — 760.07; temperature (deg C) — 24.9; ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • Joint Airlock (Equip. Lock):   Pressure (mmHg) — 760.27; temperature (deg C) — 26.4; 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, “sun slicer”, i.e., drag reduction-biased by 47 deg).
  • SM batteries:  All batteries (8) are in “Partial Charge” mode.  
  • FGB batteries:  Battery #1 is off-line (capacity restoration mode, ROM); all other batteries (5) are in “Partial Charge” mode.
  • Plasma Contactor Unit PCU-1 is in Standby mode; PCU-2 is in Manual 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-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.
  • 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: 3875 (8543 lb) as of 4/15/04;  [SM(755) + FGB(2461) + Progress M-1(659)].  (Capability: SM — 860 kg; FGB — 6120 kg).

Attitude Control Systems:

  • 3 CMGs on-line (CMG-1 failed, since 6/6/02).
  • 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 4/21.

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, 7:38am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 363.3 km
  • Apogee — 370.7 km
  • Perigee — 355.8 km
  • Period — 91.81 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0011071
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.68
  • Mean altitude loss last 24 hours — 100 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 30910

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

SpaceRef staff editor.