Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 20 Apr 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
April 20, 2004
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 20 Apr 2004

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below.  The final day for Expedition 8 alone on the station. 

Soyuz TMA-4 (8S) with Expedition 9 crewmembers Gennady Padalka and Michael Fincke plus VC6 FE André Kuipers continues to catch up with the station for the docking tomorrow morning at 1:03am EDT (9:03am DMT/Moscow).  TsUP/Moscow reports that the spacecraft is looking good, with no issues; the third maneuver burn (DV-3) occurred this morning at the planned time (~00:27am EDT).   [During Flight Day 1 (FD1), Soyuz indicated elevated levels of humidity (ppH2O = 25 Torr), above the flight rule limit, similar to what was observed on Soyuz 7S.  The crew, upon instruction, activated the second KhSA fan and put the condensate collection valve into MAX position, after which ppH2O decreased steadily.  FD2 activities, starting yesterday at ~4:00pm EDT, included systems & crew health status reports to TsUP, preparation of the Soyuz Orbital Module (BO) for the subsequent rotational (RUO-2) & translational (RUD-2) hand controller checkouts over RGS, building attitude for and executing the DV3 burn, placing Soyuz back in its sun-spinning “barbecue” attitude (ISK) and swapping CO2 absorption cartridges in the BO.  Currently, the 8S crew is in their second sleep period (to end ~2:30pm on orbit 27).  After 2-3 additional adjustment burns, station fly-around to align with the FGB nadir port will start at ~00:36am, followed by station keeping at 00:45am.  Final approach, initiated at 00:54am, will be concluded by docking and Soyuz hooks closure, at which time the ISS maneuvers from temporary free drift to earth-“fixed” LVLH TEA (local vertical/local horizontal torque equilibrium attitude), reverting to U.S. CMG control.]

A light-duty day for the ISS crew, with station “daytime” ~3 hours shorter than usual.  Regular sleep period began already at 12:40pm this afternoon to accommodate the sleep cycle shift for the docking.  Wake-up for CDR/SO Michael Foale and FE Alexander Kaleri will be tonight at 9:10pm EDT, instead of at the regular 2:00am tomorrow morning.

Before breakfast and physical exercise, Alex Kaleri and Mike Foale completed their final session of the Russian crew health-monitoring program’s medical assessment MO-9/Biochemical Urinalysis.  The FE stowed the hardware afterwards.   [MO-9 is conducted regularly every 30 days (and also before and after EVAs) and is one of five nominal Russian medical tests adopted by NASA for US crewmembers for IMG PHS (Integrated Medical Group/Periodic Health Status) evaluation as part of the “PHS/Without Blood Labs” exam.  The analysis uses the sophisticated in-vitro diagnostic apparatus “Urolux” developed originally for the Mir program.  Afterwards, the data were entered in the medical equipment computer (MEC)’s special IFEP software (In-Flight Examination Program).]

The crew worked on the Kentavr (“Centaur”) garments, doing fit-checks and adjusting them for their individual sizes.  The suits are kept in the habitation module of the Soyuz TMA until undock day.   [The Russian Kentavr garment is a protective anti-g suit ensemble to facilitate the return of a long-duration crewmember into the Earth gravity.  Consisting of shorts, gaiters, underpants, jersey and socks, it acts as countermeasure for circulatory disturbance, prevents crewmember from overloading during descent and increases orthostatic tolerance during post-flight adaptation.  Sizing consists of adjusting lacing on the outer side of the shorts and on the inner side of the gaiters to achieve a tight fit.]

After the Kentavr adjustments, Kaleri and Foale tagged up with a descent and landing specialist at TsUP via Russian VHF to discuss medical aspects of the return.   [On the day of descent (4/29), besides the Kentavr, the crewmembers are to don medical belts with ECG (electrocardiogram) sensors and make sure that they have taken water-salt additives.]

Kaleri had another preliminary training session in the “Chibis” LBNP suit (lower body negative pressure; Russian: ODNT), ramping up to get him ready for returning to gravity.  Mike provided assistance for the exercise.   [The LBNP, generated by the specially designed “Chibis”, applies suction on the lower body ranging from 10 to 60 mmHg, thereby exerting a functional loading roughly equivalent to 10-60 kg of force on the musculoskeletal system to test the body’s adaptation to prolonged exposure to micro-G.  After an initial setup period, during which electrodes are attached to the head, body and extremities of the test subject, cardiographic readings on the oscilloscope of the Gamma-1M medical complex are taken during a Russian ground sites (RGS) comm passes while the subject performs stepping exercises.  The preliminary procedure today required about an hour.]

In support of the ongoing Matryoshka radiation measurements, Alex performed another time synchronization between the Matryoshka payload server (BSPN) and the ISS “Wiener” power computer, after he set up the laptop with the exact time as per the station clock (which in turn is synchronized daily from RGS).  Support was provided by a tagup with ground specialists.

In preparation for tomorrow morning’s increase in station occupancy from two to five residents, which more than doubles cabin humidity, Mike Foale supported the ground-commanded activation of the air conditioner system in the U.S. Airlock.   [Known as CCAA (common cabin air assembly), the unit was brought up successfully and is functioning nominally.  On the RS, TsUP plans to keep the SKV-1 air conditioner running; however, activation of the repaired SKV-2 failed early this morning after 30 sec, due to high current in the power supply.]

The crew completed the weekly maintenance of the TVIS treadmill, including the inspection of its wire ropes (dampers) for signs of fraying.  Mike also transferred the accumulated TVIS exercise files to the MEC for subsequent downlink to the ground.

In preparation for the ESA science payload BIO-10 “Intercellular Interaction” during the joint crew period ahead, Sasha assembled the required glove box kit from FGB stowage, setting it up in the DC-1.  Tomorrow, he is scheduled to activate the Russian Kriogem-03 refrigerator for BIO-10 in support of Kuipers’ “Delta” research activities.   [BIO-10 is an experiment first performed by ESA VC5 crewmember Pedro Duque as part of the “Cervantes” package.]

Update on 7S/8S Helium Pressures:  TsUP/Moscow reports that helium pressures (for KDU propellant line pressurization) are stable in both Soyuz spacecraft.   [For 8S, each of two tank this morning had between 217 and 220 atm (initial pre-launch pressure: 350 atm).  For 7S, He pressure is ~18 atm.  For the new deorbit procedure to be used, see yesterday’s status report (4/19).  Ullage pressure in both 7S propellant tanks (UDMH & NTO) remains steady.]

Update on Lab Science Window:  Another pressure check and evacuation attempt of the Lab window’s inter-pane volume (“Volume D”) is planned for next Friday (4/23).   [After several weeks of periodic pressure checking (with hardware remaining installed at the port), the new flexhose U-jumper will be installed to end the monitoring.  The protective cover built for the flexhose will probably not make it on the Progress 14P manifest, but the U-jumper will be marked to remind crews not to use it as a handhold.]

ESA’s VC-6 “Delta” program for the 9-day joint phase is sponsored by the Dutch Government through the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Economic Affairs.  Many of the experiments were developed by Dutch researchers and built by Dutch industry and research institutions.  “Delta” consists of 22 experiments, including two conducted in the Soyuz during free flight and three performed on the U.S. segment:

  • FLOW (FLO) — Changes in bone cell mechanosensitivity under near-weightlessness condition, based on the example of chicken osteocytes (bone cells); performed on Soyuz;
  • KAPPA — Activity of phagocytes of myeloid lineage against lipopolysaccharides of Gram-negative bacteria under weightlessness conditions upon activation of a transcription factor; performed on Soyuz;
  • ACTIN — Effects of micro-G on the structure of actin micro-fibers in mammalian cells, which have been activated or not activated by growth factors;
  • ICE-FIRST — Genetic changes caused by space radiation (incubation of strains of live worms in space);
  • TUBUL — Effect of weightlessness on the cytoskeleton of a single plant cell with a cell wall, using cultivated plant cells in a suspension culture (cells of a wild form of tobacco) and chemical fixation of them at various time periods in conditions of weightlessness;
  • CIRCA — Daily monitoring of blood pressure and pulse rate to study micro-G adaptation processes of human cardio-vascular system during space flight;
  • SYMPATO-3 — Study of sympatoadrenal activity in micro-G (verification of hypothesis of spaceflight sympathoadrenal activity change by studying sympathic nervous system activity using laboratory analysis of venous blood samples collected during flight;
  • MOTION PERCEPTION — Understand the process of vestibular adaptation to G-transitions, using a Log Book with several questionnaires to record motion sensations as a result of head movements, and to indicate whether discomfort is experienced during routine activities as a result of space adaptation syndrome;
  • EYE TRACKING DEVICE (ETD) — Measurements of eye and head movements using a 3D eye-tracking device, with data recording and storage;
  • SUIT — Using a vibrotactile suit to provide the astronaut with spatial information for studying the role of tactile signals in sensory system that determines astronaut’s spatial orientation, and development of a tactile support system for astronauts, to enhance crew safety, working conditions, and level of comfort;
  • SAMPLE — Microbial sampling of the VC FE Kuipers as well as the various surfaces in the Russian Segment (RS) for subsequent extraction of bacterial strains and a study of their adhesive properties (by exposing an Escherichia coli strain on RS in the VC-6 timeframe and studying microbial species distribution aboard ISS, including microbial adaptation to micro-G);
  • PROMISS-3 (already complete, on USOS) — Study of protein growth in micro-G using reverse diffusion;
  • ARGES — Plasma density measurement using radial-resolution emission spectroscopy (identification of critical factors that cause spiral formation instability in high-intensity discharge [HID] lamps, and characterization of radial separation in HID lamps using high-definition radial-resolution emission spectroscopy), performed on USOS;
  • HEAT — Heat transfer performance of grooved heat pipes (characterization of heat transfer performance of grooved heat pipes in micro-G and validation of existing hydraulic mathematical model used to evaluate the performance of next-generation heat pipes), performed on USOS;
  • MOUSE TELEMETER (MOT) — Stand-alone accelerometer calibration in micro-G (test & calibration of miniature accelerometers developed under the Space Telemetry for Animal Research program [STAR], only attainable in micro-G);
  • LSO-H — Study of optical waves in the Earth atmosphere and ionosphere as related to thunder and seismic activity (using existing LSO and EGE1 science hardware);
  • VIDEO-3 — Demonstration of certain effects of zero-G that affect the human body (experiment is performed for educational purposes and involves demonstration of certain of zero-G effects on blood pressure and circulation, change in human tissue liquid content, increase in body height, and orientation awareness, using video recording with audio of the four principal physiological experiments performed onboard the ISS; all four experiments to be replicated on the ground to familiarize students with the differences between space and Earth environments);
  • ARISS-3 — Real-time ham radio comm sessions with the ISS for schoolchildren and students at selected Dutch schools to talk to VC FE Kuipers (ARISS Society activities are aimed at development and support of ham radio using the Sputnik-SM system onboard the ISS);
  • SEEDS — Plant growth in microgravity (educational/demonstration experiment to clearly demonstrate plant response to gravity, as manifested by the growth direction [ground experiments], and in unmanifested growth direction or non-directional growth when grown in the dark in micro-G.
  • GRAPHOBOX — Study of gravitropism and phototropism in higher plants in micro-G (evaluation of gravitropism effects, i.e., growth along the G-vector, and phototropism, i.e., growth towards the source of light, on development of plants;
  • BUG ENERGY — Study of specifics of energy generation by bacteria in micro-G (measurement of electrical current, voltage and temperature in experimental fuel cells during the experiment in micro-G; recording of micro-G effects on productivity of bio [bacterial] fuel cells;
  • MEDIET — Evaluation of product color and taste, as well as evaluation of packaging presentation.

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 Seoul, South Korea (looking left for the city that lies 15 miles inland of the coast), Northern Mariana Islands reefs (detailed views of coral reefs surrounding the scatter of islands in this nadir pass were requested for the global mapping project), Three Gorges Dams, Yangtze River (weather suddenly clear over this major project.  Nadir pass.  Detailed images requested), Taiwan smog (Dynamic event. Smog conditions are building.  Looking left up the axis of the island.  Industrial cities on the flat west side of the island make up Asia’s strongest smog source.  Smog masses are best seen with the sea surface as background), Mekong River Delta (mapping swath tracking across the delta was requested for land use comparisons), Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (looking left on the E side of the delta and inland ~15 miles for the city), Madras (Chennai), India (nadir pass over India’s Silicon Valley), and Internal waves, Grand Banks (large sunglint disc in near-sunrise conditions [right of track] illuminated a wide area of expected internal waves off the southeast coast of Newfoundland.  This site stretches 300 miles offshore; two opportunities).

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, 12:38pm 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 failed 4/20).  SFOG slot#2 fan suspect (not usable).
  • SM Working Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 742; temperature (deg C) — 26.6; ppO2 (mmHg) — 159.9; ppCO2 (mmHg) — 3.7;
  • SM Transfer Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 761; temperature (deg C) — 20.7.
  • FGB Cabin:  Pressure (mmHg) — 772; temperature (deg C) — 22.7.
  • Node:  Pressure (mmHg) — 758.52; temperature (deg C) — 24.2 (shell); ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • U.S. Lab:  Pressure (mmHg) — 760.17; temperature (deg C) — 24.8; ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • Joint Airlock (Equip. Lock):   Pressure (mmHg) — 760.27; temperature (deg C) — 24.2; 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 tomorrow (4/21) morning,

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.