Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 21 November 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
November 21, 2005
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 21 November 2005

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.

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below.   >>>Last Friday night (11/18), ISS completed 40,000 orbits of Earth since launch of FGB/Zarya seven years earlier, having put behind a distance of 1.689 billion km (1.05 billion miles) or 8.5 times the distance to Mars and back.  Ahead: Week 7 for Expedition 12. 

All ISS onboard systems have been successfully restored to pre-Relocation conditions.  The station is again configured to support the two-man crew.

A major part of today’s work was the reintegration of the Progress 19 cargo ship (TKG) into the Service Module (SM) systems.   [After concluding the obligatory leak check of the SM-to-TKG tunnel/vestibule, the crew opened the SM/Transfer Compartment (PrK)- Vestibule (SU) and SU-TKG transfer hatches and installed the Q/D (quick disconnect) screw clamps (SSVP).  19P was then deactivated and the ventilation air duct installed in the interface passage.  For the purpose of leak check and SSVP install, RS thrusters were temporarily disabled and automatic handover to the Russian segment (RS) inhibited (~5:30am EST), with the U.S. CMGs remaining in control.   Last week, 19P had been prepared for the eventuality that it may have had to be undocked by TsUP/Moscow via remote control in the unlikely event of an aborted Soyuz redocking last Monday).]

Later in the day, Valery Tokarev reinstalled the LKT local temperature sensor commutator (TA251M1B) of the BITS2-12 onboard telemetry system and its ROM (read-only memory) unit (TA765B) in the cargo ship.  The LKT was subsequently switched on by the ground to complete the basic configuration.   [The US-21 matching unit with its associated commutator gear (which provides the electronic interface between the SM and the TKG for SM computer control of the Progress thrusters) was also readied today for its reinstallation tomorrow.]

In support of subsequent onboard proficiency training on the Robotics MSS (Mobile Service System), Bill McArthur hooked up the UOP-DCP (utility outlet panel-to-display & control panel) bypass power cable at the Lab RWS (Robotics Work Station) and conducted a review of the applicable new DOUG (Dynamic Onboard Ubiquitous Graphics) software.   [DOUG is a software program on the MSS RWS (Mobile Service System/Robotics Workstation) laptops that provides a graphical birdseye-view image of the external station configuration and the SSRMS arm, showing its real-time location and configuration on a laptop during its operation.]

Afterwards the CDR spent ~1.5 hours on a training run with the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System), during which he conducted data gathering, leaving the robotarm “parked” in a configuration to do additional saturation data gathering later this month.   [The data are required to investigate the “sticky grapple fixture” dither technique.  This is a technique that relieves the internal loading inside the joint gearbox by “dithering” the motor repeatedly before starting the back-off maneuver.  This allows the LEE (Latching End Effector) to smoothly separate from the grapple fixture cams.  The ongoing SSRMS Ground Control commissioning is approaching its completion.  Ground testing was completed during Expeditions 7, 10 and 11.  Final readiness review will take place the week of 12/5/2005.  After the review, specialists will submit their planning constraints for execution of SSRMS Ground Control.  An SSRMS Ground Control operation is defined as any operation not controlled/monitored by the onboard crew that results in either or both of the following: (1) motion of any joint; (2) LEE mechanism actuation for grapple/release of a grapple fixture.  Non-motion ops are governed by already existing hazard controls for activities that do not require crew participation.]

The Science Officer supported the ongoing BCAT-3 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-3) experiment by checking up on the presence of surface crystals in the samples 8, 9, and 10.   [The behavior of these supercritical fluids is important because they combine the properties of liquids and gases. A better understanding of their reaction in the weightless environment of space could help in the development of new drugs, cleaner power, and interplanetary transportation.]

FE Tokarev performed the daily routine maintenance of the SM’s environment control & life support system (SOZh), including its toilet system (ASU), while McArthur updated/edited the regular IMS (Inventory Management System) delta file for its automated export/import to the three IMS databases (Houston, Moscow, Baikonur).

Bill also performed the regular monthly maintenance of the TVIS treadmill, mainly consisting of an inspection of the Russian and US tie-down harnesses for any damage.   [The “speed placard” on the treadmill for the CDR has now been raised to 9 mph.  The data for the FE are still under evaluation.  Background:  Due to excessive power draw from exercise on the TVIS during Expedition 4, a circuit breaker tripped, causing a power-sharing anomaly.  A 6 mph speed placard was imposed to prevent the breaker from tripping again.  Engineering evaluation after the subsequent TVIS R&R (removal & replacement) provided enough data to allow raising the speed limit for the Increment 11 crew and beyond to 7 mph, and later, during Increment 12, to 8 mph.  Further evaluation now supports another raise, to 9 mph.  During the run, the subject is secured by the SPDs (Subject Positioning Devices) or the SM handrails.]

The crewmembers completed their regular 2.5-hr. physical exercise program on the TVIS treadmill, RED (Resistive Exercise Device) 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 and one hour on VELO plus load trainer (today: Day 2 of the first set).]

Afterwards, the CDR transferred the TVIS and RED exercise data files to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) for downlink, as well as the daily wristband HRM (heart rate monitor) data of the RED workout, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).

McArthur broke out and set up the equipment for tomorrow’s scheduled U.S. PHS (Periodic Health Status) with Blood Labs exam, a clinical evaluation of both crewmembers, each one acting in turn as CMO (crew medical officer) and as the subject.   [The task today included an electronic function test and control analysis of the blood lab equipment, viz., the Portable Clinical Blood Analyzer (PCBA), which was then temporarily stowed.] 

After several days of shutdown because of the Soyuz relocation and subsequent BMP Harmful Impurities Filter regeneration, the Elektron oxygen (O2) generator was activated and is running nominally.  It will stay in operation until 11/26, after which the gaseous O2 still stored in 19P will be used up.   [Elektron is being monitored and studied carefully by TsUP/Moscow in order to glean data that help Russian specialists decide whether the new O2 system that is currently being readied on the ground for launch should undergo modification or upgrading, or be left as is.]

Smoke detector #2 (SD2) in the Node has been deactivated due to false readings. The remaining SD in the Node is functional and meets the requirement. Cleaning plans are being discussed by the ground teams.

At ~9:25am EST, the crew first supported an interactive TV/PAO interview event with WRAL-TV in Raleigh, NC, taped for later rebroadcast.  Afterwards, using the same camera & positioning setup, the crew downlinked a message of greetings for the Thanksgiving holiday on 11/24, including a food demo of their festive holiday meal, to be aired later on NASA-TV.

After the highly successful U.S. EVA-4 on 11/7, which included accomplishment of all get-ahead tasks, NASA specialists have determined that there is no requirement for the originally planned EVA-5 prior to Shuttle Mission ULF1.1 next year.  The spacewalk has therefore been taken off the requirements list for the 20P Stage time period.

The new date for the Russian EVA-15 has now been set for February 2, ’06, after joined evaluation by Russian and U.S. specialists.


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

Starting this morning at 4:00am EST and running for seven hours, MCC-H and its support group in Moscow (HSG) conducted another BCC (Backup Control Center) dry run in test mode, with no involvement of the ISS crew or vehicle.  Purpose of the periodic exercise was to demonstrate BCC functionality under Russian assets while providing proficiency training for HSG (Houston Support Group) personnel at the HSR (Houston Support Room) and TsUP/Moscow specialists.   [The ISS EMCC (Emergency Mission Control Center), located in Russia, comprises TsUP/Moscow as the Lead Control Center, coupled with HSR at TsUP.  The BCC facility provides a command and control capability from TsUP if the EMCC must be activated.  This is the case in situations that render MCC-Houston unable to provide telemetry, voice, and command capability for extended periods.  EMCC is also used when the threat of severe weather results in evacuation of the MCC-H building for extended periods.  In such an emergency, both Russian servers (CMD/command & TM/telemetry) are transitioned from MCC-H connectivity to BCC configuration, after which only the BCC can connect to the CMD and TM ports.  An actual contingency requiring switchover to the BCC occurred on 10/2/2002 when Hurricane Lili forced MCC-H to shut down at 4:00am EDT, and more recently during the severe Hurricane Katrina emergency.]

No CEO (Crew Earth Observation) targets uplinked for today.

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

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ISS Orbit  (as of this morning, 5:28am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 352.1 km
  • Apogee height — 357.7 km
  • Perigee height — 346.5 km
  • Period — 91.58 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0008343
  • Solar Beta Angle — -58.2 deg (magnitude increasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.72
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 60 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 40043

Upcoming Events (all dates Eastern):

  • 12/20/05 — Progress M-54/19P undocking & reentry
  • 12/21/05 — Progress M-55/20P launch
  • 12/23/05 — Progress M-55/20P docking
  • 01/09/06 — 100 days for Expedition 12.
  • 02/06/06 — Russian EVA-15.

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.