Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 21 December 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
December 22, 2005
Filed under , , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 21 December 2005

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

SpaceRef note: This NASA Headquarters internal status report, as presented here, contains additional, original material produced by (copyright © 2005) to enhance access to related status reports and NASA activities.

Progress M-55 (20P) launched flawlessly on time at 1:38pm EST from Baikonur/Kazakhstan, when the ISS, after passing directly overhead, was leading by a phase angle of ~248 degrees. After normal separation of the first, second and third stage of the Soyuz-U rocket, antennas and solar arrays deployed nominally at orbit insertion (1:47pm). With that, the new cargo ship, of ~7200 kg mass including over 2000 kg of cargo, is on its way to rendezvous with ISS. Docking is on 12/23 (~2:54pm) at the DC1 docking compartment.  [At orbit insertion, Progress unfolded two solar arrays, four Kurs antennas, one TORU/Rassvet-M antenna and one telemetry antenna. Later, the docking probe (SSh) was extended, followed by a 6-min long self-test of both subsets of the Kurs-A MCS (motion control system) including the Klest TV system. Two major orbit adjustment burns of 5 min duration each will be executed later today, DV1 (12.31 m/s) at 5:15pm EST and DV2 (26.03 m/s) at 6:05pm. DV3 (2 m/s) is scheduled for tomorrow at ~2:27pm, followed by Progress Kurs-A activation and self-test at 1:20pm on Friday. As Kurs-A and Kurs-P (on SM) confer and “compare notes”, Klest TV camera & floodlight are turned on at 8 km (2:16pm). Three successive braking burns lead into flyaround mode (400 m), stationkeeping (160 m), and final approach (~2:45pm).  After the two-day “chaser” flight, 20P will dock at the DC1 at ~2:54pm. Its 2.5 tons of cargo includes supplies for the ISS crew (food, batteries, office supplies, and clothes), water, oxygen, air, new spares, and of course Holiday surprises.]

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

FE Valery Tokarev underwent his first session of the biomedical protocol MBI-5 KARDIO-ODNT (orthostatic stability evaluation), an extensive two-part cardiovascular test of human pericardium (heart muscle) activity as well as of primary parameters of central and regional blood circulation at rest and under the effect of lower body negative pressure (LBNP, Russian: ODNT). The test, with a 50-min. waiting period between RGS (Russian ground site) comm windows, was controlled from TsUP-Moscow by a biomed specialist. CDR/SO McArthur assisted Tokarev during the procedure. [The LBNP, generated by a specially designed Chibis suit (PVK), applies suction on the lower body ranging from 10 to 60 mm Hg, 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 microgravity. After an initial setup period, during which Bill attached a large number of electrodes to Valery s head, body and extremities, cardiographic readings on the oscilloscope of the Gamma-1M medical complex were taken during two Russian ground sites (RGS) comm passes, first without, then with the Chibis suit.]

In the Lab module, CDR McArthur powered up the HRF GASMAP (Human Research Facility/Gas Analyzer System for Metabolic Analysis Physiology) and its laptop for another routine 30-day health check, his second for this Increment (last time done: 11/22). Later in the day, McArthur turned the equipment off again.  [During the health check, the GASMAP AM (Analyzer Module) is powered on and runs for approximately 6 hours to maintain the vacuum integrity of the hardware. In addition, the CM (Calibration Module) tank values are logged to track gas usage.]

The crew conducted the periodic routine air sampling in the cabin (last time done: 11/25).  [McArthur took air samples in the Lab and SM with the Dual Sorbent Tube (DST), using the Russian AK-1M/Draeger tube pump instead of the broken DST pump, and then with a GSC (grab sample container) at the center of the SM. Tokarev used the AK-1M adsorber to sample the air in the SM and FGB and also for checking for leaked-out Freon. Additionally, to check for CO (carbon monoxide), he took samples in the SM with the IPD-CO Draeger tubes sampler.]

Bill also collected and stowed the two FMK (formaldehyde monitoring kit) units deployed by him on 12/19 in the Lab (below CEVIS cycle) and Service Module (SM, most forward handrail).

Valery gathered and set up hardware components for the ESA/RSC-Energia experiment ALTCRISS (Alteino Long Term monitoring of Cosmic Rays on the ISS), which uses the ACT spectrometer employed by VC8 guest cosmonaut Roberto Vittori earlier this year in the DC1 docking compartment for the Italian LAZIO (Low Altitude Zone Ionization Observatory) experiment. The activity was supported by ground tagup.  [Arriving with Progress 20 will be a new shielding belt made of Nomex, containing polyethylene bricks and two new dosimeters in a dedicated pocket.]

Working from his voluntary “job jar” task list, Tokarev downloaded system data/log files from the Russian payload server (BSPN) to the ISS Wiener laptop and onto a FlashCard, to be dumped to the ground for analysis on TsUP Go.  [The standard data transfer, required for periodic analysis of server condition, was preceded by a comm check between the ISS Wiener laptop and the BSPN.]

The CDR performed the regular monthly maintenance of the TVIS treadmill, mainly consisting of an inspection of the Russian and US tie-down harnesses (straps & buckles) and associated SBS (Series Bungee System) for any damage.

Valery completed the daily routine maintenance of the SM’s environment control & life support system (SOZh), including its toilet system (ASU), while Bill 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).

The FE conducted another IMS-supported hardware inventory in the Russian segment (RS), this time auditing the onboard water pumping equipment, working from an uplinked list of 99 items (hoses, EDV adapters, PST connection adapters, BP pumping unit, Rodnik kits, connector caps, etc.)

The Science Officer reviewed a training file for the upcoming use of the SNFM (Serial Network Flow Monitor) application which will run on an EXPRESS rack (ER) laptop during MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) operations to capture downlink LAN (local area network) packet traffic.  [Once initiated, downlink traffic (of directory file lists) via SNFM will be under ground control and will not require crew support.]

Later, McArthur videotaped a description of how water is supplied to ISS and how it will be recycled in the future for his fourth EPO (Educational Payloads Operations) session.  [As in the past, the EPO camcorder footage is slated to be put to good use in NASA educational products, on websites, in schools, on TV, etc.]

Both crewmembers completed their regular 2.5-hr. physical exercise program on the TVIS treadmill, RED resistive exerciser and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer.  [Valery 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, the latter being waived today because of theMBI-5 training this morning.]

Afterwards, McArthur transferred the exercise data files to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) for downlink, as well as the daily wristband HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) data of the workouts on RED, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).

At ~11:35am EST, the crew used the Sputnik-SM Kenwood D700 amateur radio station in the SM to conduct a 10-min. ham radio session with students at Carman Park Elementary School in Flint, Michigan, picked by Bill McArthur personally.  [Carman Part Elementary is one of six elementary schools in the Carman/Ainsworth School District (student population about 5,000). Questions to the crew were uplinked beforehand. Knowing that you will be in space for six months, can you e-mail your wife Cindy and your two daughters often? ; What precautions would you take if one of your windows cracked? ; Will you celebrate any of the holidays aboard the ISS? ]

The Elektron O2 generator continues to operate on the primary pump in 24-Amp mode. In January, the crew will again deactivate it and use the remaining Progress 19 O2 reserves to maintain onboard ppO2.

A total of six calibration runs have been completed on the VOA (Volatile Organics Analyzer) by ground control since its activation, to clean up the VOA after its two years of dormancy. The GC (Gas Chromatograph) column valve has remained failed-closed since the first calib run, and analysis to fully understand the valve fault continues.  [However, due to the successful AAA (Avionics Air Assembly) repair, the VOA is receiving the best cooling that it has ever seen , an important factor in sound VOA functionality.]

Today, ground specialists are conducting the long-scheduled capacity test on the reconditioned 2B3 Battery set, to validate the improved battery performance. During the test, Battery 2B3 is off line.

Video imagery confirms the severance of one of the two redundant TUS (Trailing Umbilical System) cables on the MT (Mobile Transporter) rail car , probably guillotined inadvertently by the spring-loaded cable cutter in its respective IUA (Integrated Umbilical Assembly). The MT, which carries the MBS (Mobile Base System) for the Canadian SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System), continues to receive power, data and video connections via the TUS1 cable. Investigation is underway.  [Replacing the damaged TUS2 reel with a spare unit currently located at KSC will require EVA (extravehicular activity). Specialists are reviewing the task to define the overall spacewalk timeline, possibly on one of the three EVAs planned for STS-121/ULF1.1 (not earlier than May 06).]

Early this morning, CMG-1 (Control Moment Gyroscope #1) annunciated a communication failure and outer gimbal overrate alarm as it continued to spin down. Momentum increased some but settled out at ~37% of maximum. Attitude remained stable throughout.   The CMG, out of the steering law, is now being brought back up to the commanded speed of 6600 rpm, and its reintroduction into the steering law is planned for later tonight.

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 Lake Eyre, Australia (Dynamic event. Glint images of the lake for seasonal monitoring were requested. Even strongly oblique images provide excellent mapping detail with the high contrast of a sunglint image), and South Andean snow pack (Dynamic event. Views looking north were of interest, to show the remaining extent of winter snow near the middle of summer).

To date, over 177,000 of CEO images have been taken in the first five years of the ISS.

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 12 crew visit:

Expedition 12 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 Location NOW

Full Size/Update
Real Time ISS TrackerMore Links

ISS Orbit  (as of this morning, 7:06am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 349.6 km
  • Apogee height — 356.8 km
  • Perigee height — 342.5 km
  • Period — 91.53 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) — 51.65 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0010659
  • Solar Beta Angle — 24.2 deg (magnitude increasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.73
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 80 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 40516

Upcoming Events (all dates Eastern):

  • 12/21/05 — Progress M-55/20P launch (1:38pm EST)
  • 12/23/05 — Progress M-55/20P docking (2:54pm EST, at DC1)
  • 01/09/06 — 100 days for Expedition 12
  • 02/02/06 — Russian EVA-15
  • 03/03/06 — Progress M-54/19P undocking & reentry
  • 03/22/06 — Soyuz TMA-8/12S launch (Exp. 13 + Marcus Pontes/Brazil)
  • 03/24/06 — Soyuz TMA-8/12S docking (DC1)
  • 04/01/06 — Soyuz TMA-7/11S undocking & return (Exp. 12 + Marcus Pontes)
  • 04/06/06 — Soyuz TMA-8/12S relocation (DC1 to FGB nadir port)
  • 04/09/06 — Progress M-55/20P undocking & reentry
  • 04/10/06 — Progress M-56/21P launch
  • 04/12/06 — Progress M-56/21P docking.

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 In addition, information on International Space Station sighting opportunities can be found at on NASA’s Human Spaceflight website. The current location of the International Space Station can be found at at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Additional satellite tracking resources can be found at

SpaceRef staff editor.