Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 21 Jan 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
January 21, 2004
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 21 Jan 2004

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

After wake-up (1:00am EST), before breakfast and exercise, FE Alexander Kaleri completed the periodic Russian MedOps test “Hematokrit” (MO-10), which measures 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.]

Afterwards, still before breakfast, Kaleri undertook his second MBI-1 SPRUT-K (“squid”) experiment, part of Russian medical research on the distribution and behavior of human body fluids in zero gravity.  [For the assessment, Kaleri used the Profilaktika equipment, with securing harness, skin electrodes (cuffs) and the Russian laptop #3, which he reset to its nominal configuration afterwards.]

Using the MO-21 “Ecosfera” air sampler & incubation equipment, broken out and set up on 1/13, Alex Kaleri performed the second 40-min. data take, collecting air samples for atmospheric microbial analysis to monitor sanitary-hygiene status (last time done: 1/14).   [MO-21 determines microbial contamination of the ISS atmosphere, specifically the total bacterial and fungal microflora counts and microflora composition according to morphologic criteria of microorganism colonies.]

In the Service Module (SM), Sasha terminated the bake-out cycle on the BMP micropurification system’s channel 2, moding the channel back to Purify.  This restored both filter beds to Purify mode.  [The regeneration of the air purifier filter beds is repeated every 20 days.  Each bakeout to space vacuum takes about 24 hours.]

Both crewmembers performed their daily physical exercise program on TVIS treadmill, RED expander, CEVIS ergometer and VELO bike with load trainer.

Sasha’s schedule also comprised the daily RS life support systems (SOZh) maintenance, including toilet facility, food containers, water containers and solid waste containers, and the preparation of the IMS (inventory management system) update “delta” file, while Mike is to perform the regular routine status checkup of the autonomous Increment 8 payloads.

CDR Foale had several hours reserved for gathering and prepacking cargo intended to be disposed of with Progress 12P, going by an extensive list uplinked previously. 

Later, Kaleri will begin the complex job of transferring the packages to 12P and stowing them on board.   [For proper stability and control of the fully automated spacecraft, operating on pre-stored autopilot command algorithms, it is important that center of gravity and mass moments of inertia of the ship remain within prescribed limits.  Careful documentation and video coverage for ground inspection is used to assure proper ballasting.]

The FE conducted a purge of the Elektron-VM hydrogen line using nitrogen (N2) from an N2 supply tank (BPA-M) #18.  Purpose of the purge was to eliminate the source of a noise emanating from the Elektron system.   [On 1/16, the crew heard a low rumbling (approximately 100Hz) noise from behind the Elektron’s BZh liquid unit.  On 1/19, after transitioning to the Elektron back-up pump, the crew reported that they could still hear the noise and they thought the noise was coming from the upper portion of the BZh.  They also noted that the sound occurs when a pressure differential regulator was active.  This device is used to maintain a positive pressure in the Elektron H2 line and prevent vacuum from entering into that line. The regulator is vibrating when it is active, causing the sound.]

Earlier today (9:00am EST), the crew downlinked greetings from ISS to the participants of the All-Russian contest “Cosmos” for schoolchildren, sponsored by the SOYUZ All-Russian Young Aerospace Association (VAKO).   [The final COSMOS contest will take place on January 26-30 this year. The contest is dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the All-Russian Youth society SOYUZ.  About 200 projects from over 40 regions of Russia, Ukraine, Byelorussia and Kazakhstan have been selected to participate in the finals of the XXXII contest «COSMOS».  The event will feature an exhibit of models and mockups of rocket-and-space technology created by the contestants, who will also demonstrate launching their model rockets including models of Russian launch vehicles.  VAKO President is Alexander A. Serebrov, a former Soyuz/Mir cosmonaut (Soyuz TM-17, 1993).]

Before sleep time tonight, Foale is to set up the “Urolux” equipment for his and Sasha’s next session with the Russian biochemical urine test (PZE MO-9), on tomorrow’s schedule for both crewmembers.  Also to be prepared for tomorrow is another IMG PHS (Integrated Medical Group/Periodic Health Status) assessment without blood labs.

Today’s CEO (crew earth observations) targets, in the current XPOP attitude constrained by flight rule to fewer near-vertical targets due to Lab window shutter closure and current condensation-prevention plan (limited to 90 min. in 24 hours), were Perth, Australia (nadir pass over this major city), SW Sudan swamplands (ideal pass for a mapping swath of sunglint images to reveal modern drainage networks:  looking left where equatorial rivers enter the desert zone and form great inland deltas west of the Nile), Patagonian Glaciers (PRIORITY (400mm-lens):  Detailed imagery of northeastern glacier tongues were requested [at nadir], to match CEO images obtained in the south), Internal waves, Patagonia (Dynamic event.  Tidal movements are increasing again so that internal waves may become visible just left of track along the continental shelf of South America:  looking left in the zone of the sunglint disc, and include the coastline if possible), Plankton blooms, Peru (Dynamic event. Offshore winds have removed the usual coastal fog so that intense pockets of plankton should have been visible along the shoreline at nadir), and Plankton blooms, Tasmania (Dynamic event.  Looking left off track 2-5 degrees into the strait between Tasmania and the mainland, ahead of the approaching frontal cloud, for water discoloration by the present vigorous southern hemisphere plankton activity).

CEO images can be viewed at the websites.

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

ISS Orbit  (as of this morning, 2:58am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 369.9 km
  • Apogee — 375.4 km
  • Perigee — 364.4 km
  • Period — 91.9 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0008128
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.66
  • Mean altitude loss last 24 hours — 100 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 29514

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

SpaceRef staff editor.