Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 21 Jun 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
June 21, 2003
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 21 Jun 2003

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below.  The first of two weekend off-duty days for the crew. 

Today is Summer Solstice — longest daylight for the northern hemisphere, i.e., best illumination of its high latitudes for observations from ISS.  Features of general scientific interest for documentation by the crew include the distribution of sea ice, snow and ice cover, glaciers, and cyclonic storms in remote areas of the Far North.  [In St. Petersburg, there are the famed “White Nights”, and in Stockholm/Sweden one can easily read the newspaper on the street at 2:00 o’clock in the morning.  Reason: because Earth’s rotational axis is inclined 23.5 degrees against its orbit plane and currently tipped towards the Sun.]

After breakfast, Commander Yuri Malenchenko disassembled the water transfer equipment which was used yesterday to pump the contents of the 11P/Progress’ Rodnik potable water tank to the Service Module (SM)’s Rodnik tank, via DC-1 docking module plumbing.

Malenchenko and Flight Engineer/Science Officer Ed Lu then performed the regular weekly 3-hr. “uborka stantsii” (station cleaning).  [This included removal of food waste products, cleaning of compartments with vacuum cleaner, wet cleaning of the SM dining table and other surfaces with “Fungistat” disinfectant and cleaning fan screens to avoid temperature rises.]

Later, Yuri conducted the daily routine maintenance of the SM’s SOZh life support system (including ASU toilet facilities), while Ed prepared the daily IMS inventory “delta” file.

Both crewmembers completed their daily 2.5-h program of physical exercise, on TVIS treadmill, RED expander and, for Yuri, on the Russian VELO cycle ergometer with load trainer.

The crew had their the weekly planning conference with the ground via S-band/audio, to discuss next week’s “Look-Ahead Plan” (regularly prepared jointly by MCC-H and MCC-M planners and uplinked ahead of time). 

A new work item added to the Russian task list for Malenchenko’s attention today was cleaning up hard disk “D” in laptop TR1 to free up storage volume for new files.  [A list of folders with photo images that have already been successfully downloaded, was provided for deletion.  In their stead, CDR “Yura” was to create new folders for photos for Uragan. Diatomeya, EVA, Earth views, ISS interior shots, and CDR-selected subjects.]

Also added to the Russian task list on a time-available basis for today was another session for Yuri with the biomedical MBI-9 “Pulse” experiment, for which he set up payloads laptop 3.  These MBI-9 cardiological tests are done monthly (last time performed: 5/20).  [Execution of the medical cardiological assessment is controlled from the Russian payloads laptop 3, using a set respiration rate (without forced or deep breaths) and synchronizing respiration with computer-commanded “inhale” commands.  Before the experiment, arterial blood pressure is measured with the “Tensoplus” sphygmomanometer.  After the test, laptop 3 was reconfigured to its original settings.]

A third new item on the Russian task list, suggested for tomorrow, is crew familiarization with the video-photo spectrometer VFS-3M.  This is in preparation for an IFM (in-flight maintenance) scheduled for 6/25 to restore the system’s functionality.   [In January this year, a test of the VFS-3M twin-lens video-photometric system had revealed a failure of the computer subsystem of the VFS electronics module (ME).  The upcoming task will be a second attempt to restore the system, after Nikolai Budarin had already worked on it on 3/31.  The Molniya VFS-3M is used for studying atmospheric, ionospheric and magnetospheric electromagnetic interaction related to storms and seismic activities.]

Weekly Science Update (Expedition Seven — 7th):

This week the crew successfully performed the HRF GASMAP 30 Day Health Check and completed another important Interactions session. The MSG Rack was powered nominally in support of completion of a valuable InSPACE run.  The ground has admired the beautiful images the crew has been able to capture for the CEO team.  Everyone looks forward to beginning EarthKAM operations in a few weeks and resuming EPO activities.

GASMAP:   Next 30-day health check is next month.
Human Research Facility/Workstation (HRF WS):   Continuing.

Ultrasound:  The HRF and Space Medicine teams are looking forward to next week’s joint Ultrasound session.

Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation (PFMI):  Waiting to begin operations.

Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS):  SAMS is nominal and currently analyzing data in support of general characterization of the ISS acceleration environment.

Microgravity Acceleration Measurement System (MAMS):  MAMS is nominal and currently analyzing data in support of general characterization of the ISS acceleration environment.

Protein Crystal Growth-Single Locker Thermal Enclosure System (PCG-STES):   PCG STES is operating nominally.  Temperatures are holding steady.

Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions (InSPACE):   The test on 6/18 provided interesting structure development.  At 10 Hz, which starts to approach steady conditions, there are fewer dispersed smaller structures and the view through the structure is improved.  Conversely, when Ed Lu switched to 2 Hz the image became murky because there was more opportunity for dispersion during the field “off” state, which allows particles to separate out from the structures.  This week’s InSPACE run was the second last planned test with the largest particles.  In fact, the planned test matrix is almost complete.  There are only three remaining runs: one with the large particles and two with the smallest particles.  Upon completion of these tests, InSPACE will be stowed.

Materials ISS Experiment (MISSE):  In progress.  Deployed outside. Nominal and collecting data.

Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students (EarthKAM):  Waiting to begin operations in July.

Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures-2 (CSLM-2):  Waiting to begin operations.

Educational Payload Operations (EPO):  Will resume activities next month.

Crew Earth Observation (CEO):  The first Lewis & Clark target of the Missouri River at Omaha-Council Bluffs will be published on Earth Observatory  this weekend (website see below).  A very nice shot!  The ground will continue work at refining descriptions of these challenging historical targets over the coming weeks to better help the crew spot them and let them know when to get them.
Today’s optional CEO targets, limited in the current XPOP attitude by flight rule constraints on the use of the Lab nadir/science window, and including the targets of the Lewis & Clark 200-year memorial locations, were Tigris-Euphrates, Turkey (the crew’s descending [NW to SE] pass ran the length of the Tigris-Euphrates valleys.  Looking either side of track for views of land use and especially water control systems like dams, reservoirs, canals, levees, and irrigation complexes), Lake Nasser, Toshka Lakes (as the crew approached this target area from the northwest, they were to look right of track, trying for views of the new lakes forming and spreading in the desert west of the Nile.  Also looking at the upper end of Lake Nasser for changes in water color and lake level), Gulf of Maine plankton (there was marginal weather this pass, but the crew was to take advantage of this opportunity to document this active area of plankton blooms.  Research vessels are “chalking” the plankton and then tracking it with satellite and ship as they are physically mixed and biologically grazed from the system.  The patches are several kilometers in length, and should be quite visible from space.  Looking right of track and trying to keep some coastal features in view for reference purposes), and Fort Mandan, ND (LEWIS & CLARK SITE: Clouds were expected to close in from the south, but this pass may still have been in time for this site.  This is where the expedition spent the winter of 1804-5 and where Sacagawea and her husband joined the group.  The site is near the present town of Stanton.  Looking left of track and south of the large reservoir, Lake Sacagawea.  Stanton is on the west bank of the Missouri near where it turns sharply from south to east).
CEO images can be viewed at the websites

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

ISS Orbit  (as of this afternoon, 3:14am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 388.3 km
  • Apogee — 393.0 km
  • Perigee — 383.6km
  • Period — 92.32 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0006963
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.60
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 80 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 26172
  • For more on ISS orbit and worldwide naked-eye visibility dates/times, see

SpaceRef staff editor.