Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 22 Apr 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
April 22, 2004
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 22 Apr 2004

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Day 2 of joint Exp.8/Exp.9 operations.

Update on CMGs:  Yesterday at ~4:18pm EDT, U.S. CMG-2 (control moment gyroscope #2) lost power and spun down, when its controlling RPC (remote power controller) tripped and could not be reset. Automatic software reconfigured the steering law for the two remaining gyros, CMG-3 & CMG-4, and they are performing nominally after some slight current increase initially. The Russian segment (RS) is ready to assume attitude control with its thrusters if another CMG fails, and control handover procedures would be the same as used for the two-CMG ops during last week’s CMG-3 lube test. [Ground-based diagnostic procedures determined that the RPC-17 did not experience an overcurrent spike (as resulting from an arc-caused short circuit) but most probably failed due to a faulty hybrid FET (field effect transistor) with–as other failed FETs before–a known manufacturing flaw (metal oxide breakdown of FET circuit, resulting in a “Failed Open” condition). An EVA is required to replace the RPC module (RPCM), mounted externally on the S0 truss segment, with an available spare unit. Concerted planning of such a spacewalk is underway, to be scheduled as soon as possible after the current two-crew ops period.]

After 2hrs 5 min. of dedicated handover time yesterday, CDR-9 Gennady Padalka, CDR-8 Mike Foale and FE Alexander Kaleri today again had several hours between them for ISS-8 to ISS-9 handover activities, going by the updated Crew Handover document and fresh inputs uplinked overnight. [The handover book includes sections on h/o video recording, checking emergency response activity readiness, details of TV and other comm subsystems, radiogram management protocol, maintenance requirements of crew life support and power systems, crewmember’s personal effects kit, care of hatches and windows, medical equipment, etc.]

VC6 FE-1 André Kuipers spent his Flight Day 4 (FD4) with another full plate of “Delta” research tasks, starting before breakfast with blood sampling for the SIMPATHO experiment, in which Gennady Padalka assisted. [SIMPATO uses the PLASMA-03 centrifuge and the Kriogem-03 refrigerator.]

Kuipers then prepared and conducted the Seeds in Space experiment in its first interactive inflight TV exchange with schoolchildren assembled at “De Klaverweide” Elementary School in Noordwijk, Holland. [André demonstrated the seedbed setup, starting germination of glued-down Rucola seeds by watering them from a syringe, and compared this to an exact copy of the experiment being conducted on the ground by the kids.]

Later, Kuipers worked with the Kubik and Aquarius-A incubators, switching experiments (from AQUA-01 to AMBER) by transferring TUBUL and ICE containers between incubators; he then stowed the memory module of the FLOW experiment.

In other Delta activities, André, assisted by teammates, ran the experiments SUIT (attitude determination based on tactile signals), VIDEO-3, CIRCA, BIO-8/PLAZMIDA (Rekomb-K in the Kriogem-03M refrigerator, set to +4 degC), MUSCLE, and MOP. He also reactivated HEAT in the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) for runs 4-6. Afterwards, HEAT was powered off and its hardware removed and stowed [During the first two HEAT runs yesterday, the crew noticed some anomalous cooling readings, so that Foale and Kuipers investigated the payload’s contact with the MSG coldplate, in lieu of the planned third run. No cause was found. The clamps securing the HEAT Experiment Box to the cold plate were re-torqued for today’s ops.]

VC6 activities on the optional task list were experiment photography (e.g., ETD, MOT, Seeds, GraPhoBox, BugEnergy, SIMPATO, Kubik TOPAZ, Kubik AMBER), which will continue daily through end of mission, also observation and imaging of selected targets for the Russian Environmental Protection Service by Padalka as part of the new Russian Ekon experiment, and observations of visible targets in the Netherlands by the VC6 FE.

FE Mike Fincke started the recharge of the “Aeolus” scopemeter’s battery, then successively charged six U.S. Makita batteries in an SMPA (SM power adapter) battery charger. [The U.S. is providing six charged “Makita” power-tool batteries for two sessions of the ESA experiment CIRCA. The SMPA connects to the Russian power system with U.S. cables and transforms the Russian 28 volts direct current to 12VDC for the battery. CIRCA will perform twice daily monitoring of Kuipers’ blood pressure and pulse rate on FD5/6 & FD8/9.]

Fincke also worked on the updating of the onboard ODF (operations data files) books with new pages brought up on Soyuz 8S, started yesterday.

Alex Kaleri conducted the periodic replenishing of the Elektron’s water supply for electrolysis. [In this recently revised procedure, intended to prevent gas bubbles from getting into the BZh liquid unit, the KOV thermal loops’ EDV container is refilled with purified water from the multifiltration/purification column unit (BKO) and the air/liquid separator unit (GZhS) while checking for any air bubbles in the EDV (and, if visible, estimating their number). Thus, the water, coming from the container via the water supply system’s BP pump unit, first has to pass through the BKO and GZhS before it is introduced into the BZh.]

Later, Sasha prepared the daily IMS delta file for updating the inventory management system’s database and conducted the daily routine maintenance of the SM’s SOZh life support system (including ASU toilet facilities).

By way of the ongoing handovers, Kaleri assisted Gennady Padalka in “ghosting” a new HDD (hard disk drive) for the Russian Laptop 1 from a CD-ROM, using the “Norton Ghost” application from a floppy disk on Laptop 2.

Also as part of crew familiarization, Kaleri and Padalka completed transfer of the GFI-8 “Uragan” equipment. Then Sasha assisted Gennady in setting up and operating the Relaksatsiya/Fialka hardware at SM window #9 for a session to obtain ultraviolet imagery of petroleum spills in the area of Southern Trinidad. The UV camera assembly was later removed and temporarily stowed, for another session tomorrow.

CDR Foale completed his 19th weekly filling-out of the Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ), which keeps a log of his nutritional intake over time on the medical equipment computer (MEC).

Using the Nikon D1 digital still camera, Gennady took documentary photography (10 shots) of André deactivating the ESA payload BIO-10 “Intercellular Interaction” and removing it from its glove box kit.

Mike Fincke performed the regular once-a-week maintenance reboot on the operational PCS laptops and also restarted the OCA comm router laptop (every two weeks).

As scheduled, the MCA (major constituents analyzer) was activated this morning and performed a “zero” calibration, supported by Foale and Fincke as part of Fincke’s handover familiarization.

Later, Fincke closed the outside shutter of the Lab nadir window, necessary before the pre-heat commanding that will be performed by MCC-Houston during crew sleep. [This is in preparation for tomorrow’s planned start of Lab window pressure check, depress, and leak characterization activities. The depressurization of the window’s inter-pane volume (“Volume D”) will be preceded by initial pressure checks and followed by pressure checks for leak characterization once per day for up to four weeks.]

Foale and Kaleri worked out on the TVIS treadmill and RED exerciser, and Mike performed the monthly maintenance of the TVIS treadmill.

At 8:12am EDT, the “two Mikes” (Foale & Fincke) and Sasha supported an interactive TV PAO exchange with the Houston Chronicle (Mark Carreau) and CBS News (Bill Harwood, Peter King). The crew’s excellent “show” was aired on NASA TV.

Overnight, the Soyuz 8S batteries completed their recharging from the FGB. U.S. power assist was no longer required, and Moscow activated/deactivated power converter units (transformers) in the FGB (ARCU #53 off) and SM (SNT #22 on), placed the SM batteries back into Incomplete Charge Mode, and switched the Elektron O2 generator performance to 50 A.

The U.S. CDRA (carbon dioxide removal assembly) continues to run, supporting the joint Expedition 8 & 9+1 crews. It will be active for the remainder of the joint period to supplement the Russian Vozdukh, the primary means of CO2 removal.

Upcoming Soyuz Events:

  • 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.

ISS Orbit  (as of this morning, 7:42am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 362.8 km
  • Apogee — 370.3 km
  • Perigee — 355.4 km
  • Period — 91.80 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0011053
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.69
  • Mean altitude loss last 24 hours — 210 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 30957

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

SpaceRef staff editor.