Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 22 Mar 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
March 22, 2004
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 22 Mar 2004

ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below.  Underway: Week 22 for Increment 8.

Update on Elektron:   Over the weekend, since its activation on Saturday (3/20), the Elektron has been fully functional on 32 amps with the new Liquid Unit #7.  ppO2 was measured this morning at 150 mmHg (Torr) with the CSA-CP (compound specific analyzer-combustion products).  TsUP/Moscow intends to keep the Elektron running “at all costs”, i.e., minimizing any maintenance that would require its deactivation.  The final conclusions of the Failure Investigation Commission are being written.
Update on SFOG (TGK) candles:   Total number of SFOG (solid-fuel oxygen generator) candles burnt since 3/13 remains at 13, all of them with no failure.  There are 106 candles left on board in reserve, for ~53 days (assuming 100% functionality).  TGK combustion container #2, because of its blower fan, is considered failed, and there is no spare fan available in the SM.  However, a suitable replacement was located in the FGB, for use in Zarya’s air ventilation system but fortunately identical to the TGK fan as to attachment points.  Discussions with Khrunichev are underway.

Update on Lab science window:   The leak check on 3/19 showed the air pressure in the “Volume D” between the window’s pressure panes at 380 mmHg, a significant increase over the ~2 mmHg value measured just after the evacuation on 3/5.  Next steps are being assessed today.   [Expected value for 3/19 was ~50 mmHg, based on the max design leak rate of 3.28 mmHg/day.]

Update on CMG-3:   Control moment gyroscope #3 performance has been entirely nominal since last Friday (3/19).

Early in the morning, right after wakeup (1:00am EST), CDR/SO Michael Foale set up the crew-worn acoustic dosimeters for another noise level measuring session (last time done: 12/9/03).  The dosimeters are attached to each crewmember for 24 hours (with a microphone on the shirt collar).   [Tonight, after about 12 hours of measurements, dosimeter data will be recorded and the hardware power-cycled, for another data take tomorrow morning.  At that point, the crew will deploy the dosimeters statically in the station for the duration of the day, record measurements tomorrow night and stow the instruments.  Acoustic data must be taken twice per Increment, each time for the duration of the 16-hour crew workday.]

FE Alexander Kaleri performed the regular periodic air sampling in the station, first using the standard Russian AK-1M sampler unit in the Service Module (SM) and FGB, then the AK-1M-F air sampler to test the SM for Freon.  Later, checking for CO (carbon monoxide) and formaldehyde levels, Alex took air samples in the SM with the IPD Draeger tubes sampler.

For additional atmospheric formaldehyde sampling, Mike Foale meanwhile deployed two passive U.S. FMK (formaldehyde monitoring kit) sampling badges each in the Lab (below CEVIS) and SM (most forward handrail).  (Last time done: 1/27).

Foale transferred medical equipment and supplies from the IMAK (ISS medical accessory kit) delivered on 13P, using a special uplinked unpack/stowage list as location reference for the IMS (inventory management system).

Kaleri took photographs of the Soyuz-213/7S crew return vehicle’s BVN fan and heater assembly for ground inspection, using the Nikon D1 digital camera.

The FE also collected digital photo imagery of the hatch seal mechanism at the Progress-to-SM docking interface, to allow additional analysis on the ground of the installation anomaly of an actuator shank extension piece.   [The task involved photography of the actuator socket and another check of the extension installation, which apparently has a fit problem.]

The pictures of both the Soyuz fan/heater assembly and the docking system were subsequently downlinked.

In the SM, supported by TsUP ground specialists, Alex Kaleri ran a vehicle-to-vehicle test of the TORU teleoperator control system between the SM and the docked Progress-260/13P.  Progress thrusters (DPO) were inhibited and not involved.  Purpose: to help analyze problems reported with TORU during 13P docking on 1/31.   [TORU is the manual mode through which Kaleri can perform necessary guidance functions from the SM in the event of a failure of the “Kurs” automated rendezvous and docking (AR&D) of the unmanned Progress.  He would control the cargo ship’s motions from a control panel, viewing the approach to the ISS via the Klest-M television camera mounted on the Progress.  Remote TORU control from the ground is not available.]

Sasha Kaleri, assisted by Mike Foale as CMO (crew medical officer), completed another session of the MO-5 MedOps protocol of cardiovascular evaluation during graded exercises on the VELO cycle ergometer.  [The assessment uses the Gamma-1 ECG equipment with biomed harness, skin electrodes and a blood pressure and rheoplethysmograph cuff wired to the cycle ergometer’s instrumentation panels.  For the graded exercise, Alex worked the pedals after a prescribed program at load settings of 125, 150, and 175 watts for three minutes each.  All measurements were recorded and telemetered during Daily Orbits 14 to TsUP, where a specialist controlled the workout.]

After conferring briefly with the PI of MFMG (Miscible Fluids in Microgravity) for orientation, the Science Officer performed the first of four MFMG experiments.   [The payload does not require MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) containment.  Mike set up the MWA WSA (Maintenance Work Area/Work Surface Area) in the Lab, then launched the first isothermal experiment by creating a mixture of pure honey and water, using syringes connected to a drinking straw.]

Talking to the ADUM (Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in Microgravity) team on the ground via S-band, the CDR discussed his assessment of the very successful ultrasound scanning ops on 3/19.   [The ground was particularly interested in lessons learned that can be implemented for future OPE (On-board Proficiency Enhancer) and ADUM scan activities.]

Working on the environment control & life support system in the SM, Kaleri started another regeneration cycle on the BMP harmful impurities removal unit’s absorbent bed #1, leaving channel 2 in Purify mode.  [The “bakeout” cycle in the filter beds is repeated every 20 days.  Each bakeout to space vacuum takes about 24 hours.]

On the Vozdukh CO2 removal system, the FE performed the periodic functional closure test of its AVK emergency vacuum valves (last time done: 2/20).    [The AVKs are critical because they close the Vozdukh’s vacuum access lines in the event of a malfunction in the regular vacuum valves (BVK) or a depressurization in the Vozdukh valve panel (BOA).  Access to vacuum is required to vent carbon dioxide during the regeneration of the absorbent cartridges (PP).  During nominal operation, the AVK valves remain open.  Only two of the three absorbent channels are functioning.]

Kaleri downloaded the FSH3 spectrum analyzer data obtained on 3/18 from his GTS cable network troubleshooting to the TP1 laptop, which contains special software.  The data were subsequently to be downlinked to the ground via Regul-Paket.   [The electronics systems of the Russian/German GTS (Global Timing System) are installed in the SM, with two transmitters intended to broadcast a time signal at 400.1 MHz (1 watt) and 1428 MHz (0.5 watt) straight downward (nadir) for worldwide clock synchronization.  The system has been experiencing problems for some time.] 

Both crewmembers completed their daily 2.5-h program of physical (aerobic & anaerobic) exercise, on CEVIS bike, RED expander and on the Russian VELO cycle ergometer with load trainer.

The crew performed the weekly maintenance of the TVIS treadmill, and Mike also conducted the periodic (every other week) inspection of the RED as well as the monthly tightening of the RED’s bolts.

The FE performed his regular maintenance on the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 (“Plants-2”) greenhouse.  Replenishment of its water supply as required has now become part of the Russian task list.   [Rasteniya studies growth and development of plants (peas) under spaceflight conditions in the Lada-4 greenhouse.  Regular maintenance involves monitoring of seedling growth, humidity measurements, watering to moisten the substrate if necessary, and photo/video recording.]

Both sides have agreed on 3/31 as suitable date for the checkout of the new 13P-delivered Orlan-M “skaphandr” spacesuits #24 & #25.   [Orlans #12 & #23 have run out of certified lifetime and need to be discarded (#12 in the Soyuz 7S Orbital Module, #23 in 13P) to make room for the new ones.  However, since they would still be serviceable in a contingency, their disposal will have wait until after the new ones have been found acceptable, to protect EVA capability.]

Cracks were found on the ground in two U.S. RSPs (respirator support packs).  Assessment is underway at MCC-H.

Russia has requested the loan of a second laptop from the U.S. segment, which would be required for science activities.  The request is under consideration.   [Earlier this month, a borrowed U.S. IBM 760XD laptop (#6075) took the place of the Russian laptop 3 in supporting Russian medical experiments.  Laptop 3 was configured to work with the SM Central Post computer #1 (KTsP1), replacing there the failed laptop 1.  See On-Orbit Status report 3/20 for current laptop status.]

All partners have approved the addition of a ninth day to the docked operations period.

With launch & landing dates/times as given below, no additional ISS reboost/phasing maneuvers are required.

Soyuz 8S Launch:

  • Eastern:   4/18 — 10:18pm EST
  • Moscow:   4/19 — 6:18am DMT
  • Baikonur:   4/19 — 8:18am local

Soyuz 7S Landing:

  • Eastern:   4/29 — 6:58pm EST
  • Moscow:   4/30 — 2:58am DMT
  • Kazakhstan:   4/30 — 4:58am local (sunrise: 5:06am)

Also upcoming:
Soyuz 8S Launch/7S Landing SORR (Stage Operations Readiness Review) — 4/1 (JSC)
Soyuz 8S Launch/7S Landing FRR (Flight Readiness Review) — 4/8.

Today’s CEO (Crew Earth Observations) targets, including Asian sites coming into the daylight-awake window on ascending passes, but limited in XPOP attitude by flight rule constraints on the use of the science window, which is available for only ~1/4 of each orbit when not facing forward (in “ram”), were Hong Kong, China (nadir pass.  Hong Kong handles the majority of imports for China), Ganges River Delta (mapping swath of land use requested, from the protected coastline, inland to the intensively farmed Ganges-Brahmaputra floodplain), Dhaka, Bangladesh (looking left on the largest river in the Ganges delta for this capital city.  The Dhaka urban region contains 9.9 million people and has grown by 30% in the last decade), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (nadir pass.  Riyadh has 3.5 million people [14% of Saudi Arabia’s population], and is the largest city in the world to depend on desalinized water), Navassa Island (400mm-lens.  Looking just right of track.  Crew was asked to shoot fringing coral reefs), and Internal waves, Bahamas (looking left for glint views of internal waves developed along the complex continental shelf).
CEO images can be viewed at the websites.

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

U.S. and Russian Segment Status (as of today, 1:00pm EST).

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

  • Elektron O2 generator is On.  Vozdukh CO2 scrubber is On.  U.S. CDRA CO2 scrubber is on Standby (ready in dual-bed mode).  TCCS (trace contaminant control subsystem) is operating.  SM Gas Analyzer has been calibrated and is used for ppO2 and ppCO2 monitoring.  MCA (major constituents analyzer) is in Life Extending Mode (LEM).  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 (repair now completed; to be tested ASAP).
  • SM Working Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 742; temperature (deg C) — 26.6; ppO2 (mmHg) — 143.6; ppCO2 (mmHg) — 3.9;
  • SM Transfer Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 743; temperature (deg C) — 20.5.
  • FGB Cabin:  Pressure (mmHg) — 744; temperature (deg C) — 23.3.
  • Node:  Pressure (mmHg) — 741.98; temperature (deg C) — 24.2 (shell); ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • U.S. Lab:  Pressure (mmHg) — 743.60; temperature (deg C) — 24.7; ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • Joint Airlock (Equip. Lock):   Pressure (mmHg) — 743.81; temperature (deg C) — 26.5; shell heater temp (deg C) — 24.4, ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • PMA-1:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — 24.0
  • PMA-2:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — 10.3

(n/a = data not available)

Electrical Power Systems (EPS):

  • Both P6 channels fully operational.  BGA (beta gimbal assembly) 2B and 4B both in Autotrack (suntracking) and bias-angled 43 deg. for drag reduction (“sun slicer”)
  • SM batteries:  Battery #8 is off-line; all other batteries (7) are in “Partial Charge” mode.  
  • FGB batteries:  Battery #6 is off-line (capacity restoration mode, ROM); all other batteries (5) are in “Partial Charge” mode.
  • Plasma Contactor Unit PCU-1 is in Standby mode; PCU-2 is 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 11/22/03).
  • SM Central Computer (TsVM): 2 redundant lanes (of 3) operational (string #3 dropped out 10/22/03).

Propulsion System:

  • Total propellant load available: 3926 kg (8655 lb) as of 3/18/04;  [SM(755) + FGB(2512) + Progress M-1(659)].  (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:

  • XPOP (x-axis perpendicular to orbit plane = “sun-fixed” [yaw: 0.5 deg, pitch: -9.0 deg., roll: 0 deg]), with CMG TA (thruster assist), until 3/28.

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 Lab PDGF/LEE A, powered 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, 7:25am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 367.1 km
  • Apogee — 374.3km
  • Perigee — 360.0 km
  • Period — 91.89 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.6289 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0010586
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.67
  • Mean altitude loss last 24 hours — 140 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 30471

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

SpaceRef staff editor.