Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 22 Dec 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
December 22, 2003
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 22 Dec 2003

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below. This is Week 9 for Expedition 8 (and the last full week of 2003).

After station inspection and morning hygiene, before breakfast and first exercise, CDR/SO Michael Foale and FE Alexander Kaleri performed their fourth session of the periodic Russian biomedical assessments PZEh-MO-8 (body mass measurement) and PZEh-MO-7 (calf volume measurement).

Later, the crew conducted a functionality test of the voice intercom system between the Russian (RS) and U.S. (USOS) segments. [The checkout was performed via headsets and speakers between Service Module (SM), FGB and Lab modules on channels 1 and 2, using both the primary and backup sets of the intermodule comm system (MBS).]

After power-up of the MSG ESEM (Microgravity Science Glovebox/Exchangeable Standard Electronic Module) by ground command, the crew activated the MSG and performed the first round of troubleshooting the PFMI (Pore Formation & Mobility Investigation) experiment that on 12/8 had tripped the MSG thermal chamber’s circuit breaker. [With VTR turned on for video recording of the activity, Mike Foale removed the thermal chamber from the MSG work volume (WV) to the maintenance work area (MWA), to conduct a general inspection of the upper and lower gear assemblies and belts. He was able to confirm resistance (binding) in the gear train, which, as was suspected, may have caused the 6-amps power spike that tripped the fuse.]

The crew searched for and audited a list of personal hygiene (SGO) and countermeasure (SPNDN) items, in order to prepare discarded items for disposal in Progress 12P. The activity was supported by a specialist tagup via S-band. [The ~35 “missing” SGO & SPNDN items include “Penguin” suits, coveralls, shoes, and used sleeping bags from previous expedition crews.]

Michael Foale collected pressure and temperature readings in the Lab module. [Using the “Pilobolus” scopemeter with its pressure/vacuum modules, Mike first took pressure measurements. He then set up the scopemeter temperature probe for reading its recorded data some 50 minutes later.]

Conducting another session of the Russian Uragan earth-imaging program, the FE focused the digital Kodak DCS760 digital camera with 800-mm lens on Pamir glaciers, after first checking out the target location with the Russian “Sigma” ballistic navigation program. [The imagery was of the RGO (Russian Geographical Association) and Medvezhiy glaciers.]

Sasha completed the daily routine maintenance of the SM’s SOZh life support system, including ASU toilet facilities, as well as the preparation of the “delta” file for updating the IMS, while Mike performed the regular routine status checkup of running Expedition 8 payloads.

Kaleri also performed an inventory check of a storage bag in the FGB and in particular conducted a search for a missing ZUP-86-II safety device for the thermal control’s fan system in the Soyuz TMA-3.

The long-term search for other missing RS equipment continues to be an open item on Kaleri’s discretionary task list.

At 4:57am EST, Sasha downlinked a greeting message to the “All-Russian Medical Care of Catastrophes” Service under Maj.Gen. S.F. Goncharov on the occasion of the Service’s 10th
Anniversary, to be observed on 12/25. [“Pust’ vpred’ ne budet nikakikh katastrof!” “May there be henceforth no catastrophe!”]

Foale and Kaleri worked out according to their regular daily physical exercise program of 2.5 hrs on the TVIS treadmill, RED exerciser, and VELO bike (with load trainer).

After troubleshooting by TsUP specialists, the Elektron oxygen (O2) generator is back up and has been running OK for the last ~30 hrs. In addition, another cabin air repressurization from Progress 12P O2 storage was performed today. [Before the refresh, the MCA (Major Constituent Analyzer) was switched by ground command to rapid sampling in the Lab and later returned to Life Extending Mode (to preserve its ion pump) after it indicated an end-of-repress ppO2 of 159 mmHg.]

At 11:20am, NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe and DAA of Space Flight Bill Readdy held a 10-min. teleconference with the crew. [Among else, Mike Foale was congratulated on having been elected “Noble of the Week” by a Washington newspaper. Another chat with Mr. O’Keefe is planned for Thursday (Christmas Day).]

Last Friday (12/19), the crew reported having heard three quick “knocks” via the communication system during their sleep time. US and Russian ground specialists suspected the source of the sounds to have been activation and deactivation of the Elektron O2 generator (to avoid N2 purging). The crew confirmed this later in the day when TsUP/Moscow commanded the Elektron On and Off.

Today’s optional CEO targets, in the current LVLH attitude no longer limited by flight rule constraints on the use of the Lab nadir/science window, except for some viewing angles, wereGuangzhou, China (nadir pass. Clear weather expected to persist in South China. Looking inland on the Pearl River estuary),Xianggang (Hong Kong), China (nadir pass), Great Barrier Reef, Australia (Dynamic event. Australia has remained mainly out of the “daylight awake” window for many months. This was an opportunity to look at the entire Great Barrier Reef, which the ISS track paralleled. Pointing left), Air pollution, Ganges Valley (looking left for the present continuing smog accumulation episode. Obliques are the best technique for aerosols, with slight overexposure [or bracketing]),Calcutta, India (aiming right on the westernmost distributary of the Ganges River),Ganges River Delta (wide views are requested to document land use changes in the delta where wide areas are protected),Irrawaddy River Delta (nadir pass over this major South Asian delta, one a small group under study),Impact crater field, Libya (this newly discovered crater field stretches from nadir southward towards the Tibesti), andEl Paso, TX (nadir pass over this major El Paso-Ciudad Juarez urban region. Aiming on both sides of the Rio Grande).
CEO images can be viewed at the websites.

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

U.S. and Russian Segment Status (as of 12:30pm EST).

Environmental Control and Life Support (ECLSS) and Thermal Control (TCS):

  • Elektron O2 generator is powered On. Vozdukh CO2 scrubber is On (in Manual Mode 5/3). U.S. CDRA CO2 scrubber is on Standby (ready in dual-bed mode). TCCS (trace contaminant control subsystem) is operating. MCA (major constituents analyzer) is off (in Life Extending Mode). BMP Harmful Impurities unit: absorbent bed #1 in Purify mode, bed #2 in Purify mode. RS air conditioner SKV-1 is On; SKV-2 is Off.
  • SM Working Compartment: Pressure (mmHg) — 742; temperature (deg C) — 26.1; ppO2 (mmHg) — 152.0; ppCO2 (mmHg) — 2.5
  • SM Transfer Compartment: Pressure (mmHg) — 761; temperature (deg C) — 20.0.
  • FGB Cabin: Pressure (mmHg) — 752; temperature (deg C) — 22.0.
  • Node: Pressure (mmHg) — 747.71; temperature (deg C) — 23.0 (shell); ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • U.S. Lab: Pressure (mmHg) — 750.27; temperature (deg C) — 24.8; ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • Joint Airlock (Equip. Lock): Pressure (mmHg) — 750.47; temperature (deg C) — 24.0; shell heater temp (deg C) — 23.5, ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • PMA-1: Shell heater temp (deg C) — 23.0
  • PMA-2: Shell heater temp (deg C) — 11.4

(n/a = data not available)

Electrical Power Systems (EPS):

  • Both P6 channels fully operational. BGA (beta gimbal assembly) 2B and 4B both in Directed Position (non-suntracking, “night glider”/”sun slicer” drag reduction mode).
  • SM batteries: Battery #8, formerly known as #7, is still disconnected in slot #8 for troubleshooting, off-line; all other batteries (7) are in “Partial Charge” mode.
  • FGB batteries: Battery #5 is off (capacity restoration mode, ROM); all other batteries (5) are in “Partial Charge” mode.
  • Plasma Contactor Unit PCU-1 in Standby mode; PCU-2 in Standby mode.

Command & Data Handling Systems:

  • C&C-1 MDM is prime, C&C-2 is back-up, and C&C-3 is in standby.
  • GNC-1 MDM is prime; GNC-2 is Backup.
  • INT-2 is operating; INT-1 is Off.
  • EXT-2 is On (primary), EXT-1 is Off (both now upgraded to R3).
  • LA-1, LA-2 and LA-3 MDMs are all operating.
  • PL-1 MDM is Off; PL-2 MDM is Operational.
  • APS-1 (automated payload switch #1) and APS-2 are both On.
  • SM Terminal Computer (TVM): 2 redundant lanes (of 3) operational (string 1 dropped out 11/22).
  • SM Central Computer (TsVM): 2 redundant lanes (of 3) operational (string #3 dropped out 10/22).

Propulsion System:

  • Total propellant load available:3680 kg (8113 lb) as of 12/11/03 [SM (755) + FGB (2573) + Progress M (352) + Progress M-1 (0)]. (Capability: SM — 860 kg; FGB — 6120 kg).

Attitude Control Systems:

  • 3 CMGs on-line (CMG-1 failed).
  • State vector source — U.S. SIGI-1 (GPS)
  • Attitude source — U.S. SIGI-1 (GPS)
  • Angular rate source — RGA-1

Flight Attitude:

  • LVLH YVV (local vertical/local horizontal = “earth-fixed”: z-axis in local vertical, y-axis in velocity vector [yaw: -89.9 deg, pitch: -8.9 deg, roll: 1.8 deg]), with CMG/TA (thruster assist) Momentum Management.

Communications & Tracking Systems:

  • FGB MDM-1 is powered Off; FGB MDM-2 is operational.
  • All other Russian communications & tracking systems are nominal.
  • S-band is operating nominally (on string 2).
  • Ku-band is operating nominally.
  • Audio subsystem is operating nominally (IAC-1 is prime, IAC-2 is off).
  • Video subsystem operating nominally.
  • HCOR (high-rate communications outage recorder) is operating nominally.


  • SSRMS/Canadarm2 based at MBS PDGF #1/LEE B, with Keep Alive (KA) power on both strings.
  • MBS: KA power on both strings.
  • MT: latched and mated at WS4.
  • POA: KA power on both strings.
  • RWS (robotics workstations): Lab RWS is On (DCP connected); Cupola RWS is Off.

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 6:37am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 370.9 km
  • Apogee — 375.0 km
  • Perigee — 366.8 km
  • Period — 92.0 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) — 51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0006063
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.66
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 175
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98) — 29044
  • For more on ISS orbit and worldwide naked-eye visibility dates/times, see

SpaceRef staff editor.