Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 23 March 2006

By SpaceRef Editor
March 23, 2006
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 23 March 2006

SpaceRef note: This NASA Headquarters internal status report, as presented here, contains additional, original material produced by (copyright © 2006) to enhance access to related status reports and NASA activities.

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below

CDR/SO William McArthur and FE Valery Tokarev performed their eighth periodic (monthly) Russian biomedical PZEh-MO-8 (body mass measurement), using the specially designed mass measurement device (IM), later disassembling it for stowage.  [For determining body mass in zero-G, where things are weightless but not massless, the Russian IM “scales” measure the inertial forces that arise during the oscillatory motion of a mass driven by two helical metering springs with known spring constants. By measuring the time period of each oscillation of the unknown mass (the crewmember) and comparing it to the period of a known mass, the crewmember s mass is calculated by the computer and displayed.]

After breakfast Tokarev began his first session of the standard 24-hr. recording of his ECG (electrocardiogram) under the Russian MedOps MO-2 protocol.  [For the ECG recording, Valery donned the five-electrode Holter harness that reads his dynamic (in motion) heart function from two leads over the next 24 hours and records data on the Kardioregistrator 90205 unit. The CDR was available to assist in the harness donning and will also stand by for tomorrow s doffing. Afterwards the cassette will be stowed for return on Soyuz 11S.]

During RGS (Russian ground site) comm window on Daily Orbit 3 (DO3) Bill McArthur had a second chance for completing the downlinking of the video of the Progress-354/19P undocking on 3/3 to TsUP/Moscow via VHF.

During a second RGS window on DO4, Tokarev performed a VHF comm test from the RS (Russian segment) of an additional headset plugged into User Panel 4 (PA-4), made possible by PA-4 not currently supporting Packet comm via VHF1.

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

The Russian Flight Engineer prepared his 24th NOA (Nitric Oxide Analyzer) regular (non-EVA) weekly session in the DC1 Docking Compartment and then conducted the procedure, afterwards dumping the measurements from the RSE laptop to the ground via the BSR-TM telemetry channel.  [Purpose of the ESA VC9 payload ESANO1, consisting of the Platon analyzer and its power supply, is to monitor expired nitric oxide (NO) in the subject’s exhaled air to detect signs of airway inflammation and indications of venous gas emboli (bubbles) that may be caused by inhalation of pollutants on the ISS and increased risk of decompression sickness. The test sessions are being conducted once a week, with two NO measurements in the exhaled air (after rinsing out with Rodnik water) taken in each session through a bacterial filter. Today s measurement ops were recorded in the Platon log and supported by ground specialist tagup via S-band. To prevent skewing the measurements, Valery had to prepare yesterday for the session by excluding food items containing nitrites and nitrates (such as in processed meat, assorted vegetables, stewed cabbage, etc.) from his diet for 24 hours before the weekly experiment.]

The crew again had time reserved on their schedule to make their departure preparations and to prepack equipment for the return on Soyuz TMA-7 on 4/8.

A special packing task for Tokarev dealt with closeout operations for the Japanese/JAXA 3D-PCGF (3D Photon Crystals Growth Facility) experiment which he had deactivated on 3/14 in the Russian glovebox container.  [Closeout consisted of disconnecting and removing the primary unit, transferring it in its container to the Soyuz spacecraft and stowing it in the Descent Module (SA). Also removed were the distribution box and power supply unit, both stowed in the RS at crew discretion. 3DPC experimented with production of 3D photon crystals, from UV LEDs, through self-organization and ordering of colloid nanoparticles in an electrolyte solution with subsequent fixation in an elastic gel matrix.]

McArthur conducted the periodic noise level measurements program in the station interior, using the U.S. sound level meter (SLM) for a 1.5-hr. acoustic survey. The recorded data were later transferred to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer).  [Acoustic measurements were obtained at 13 locations in the Lab and 11 locations in the SM. The survey also included five crew preference locations taken at their perceived loudest locations in the station. The SLM gives instantaneous noise levels and their frequency spectra, which are transferred to the MEC laptop via an RS232 cable and later downlinked with regular CHeCS (crew health care systems) data dump or via OCA. For today s survey, Bill was asked to check the settings of the SLM to account for the desired octave levels.]

McArthur conducted another periodic atmospheric status check for ppO2 (Partial Pressure Oxygen) and ppCO2 (pp Carbon Dioxide), using the CSA-O2 (Compound Specific Analyzer-Oxygen Sensor) and CDMK (CO2 Monitoring Kit).

Meanwhile, Valery Tokarev collected the weekly cabin air readings with the GANK-4M Real-Time Harmful Contaminant Gas Analyzer system of the SM SOGS (Pressure Control & Atmospheric Monitoring System), which tests particularly for NH3 (ammonia) and HCl (hydrogen chloride).

The CDR also performed routine maintenance on both CSA-CP (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products) units (#1012 & #1017) currently in use as prime and backup units.  [Both received a new battery and were zero-calibrated. The backup unit, #1017, was then returned to its location in the Node. After a 1-hr. data take with the prime data logger, the unit was deactivated again.]

The Science Officer worked on the equipment used for the FOOT (Foot/Ground Reaction Forces during Space Flight) experiment, separating out specific hardware components that are to remain on-orbit to support future Space Medicine activities, from those that are planned for descent.

On the CEVIS (cycle ergometer with vibration isolation) exercise device, the CDR performed maintenance on the isolator wire ropes which have become frayed due to use, tightly wrapping them with protective gray tape.

Valery completed the regular downlinking of data & imagery collected of the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 (“Plants-2”) experiment and transferred to the computer. Working off his time available voluntary task list, he also took new photographs of the payload.  [Rasteniya researches growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in the Lada-8 greenhouse. The regular maintenance of the experiment (each Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday) involves monitoring of seedling growth, humidity measurements, moistening of the substrate if necessary, topping off the water tank if ~20-25% of the total amount (4 liters) remains, and photo/video recording. Once weekly, data from the Lada greenhouse control unit are recorded on floppy disk for weekly downlink via REGUL-Packet or the new BSR-TM at a suitable occasion.]

The CDR filled out the regular weekly FFQ (food frequency questionnaire), his 16th, which keeps a log of his nutritional intake over time on special MEC software.  [On the MEC, the CDR is using his personalized file that reflects the food flown for his Increment. The FFQ records amounts consumed during the past week of such food items as beverages, cereals, grains, eggs, breads, snacks, sweets, fruit, beans, soup, vegetables, dairy, fish, meat, chicken, sauces & spreads, and vitamins. IBMP/Moscow (Institute of Biomedical Problems, Russian: IMBP Institute of Medico-Biological Problems) recommended average daily caloric value of the crew s food intake is 2200-2300 cal. If larger quantities of juices and fruits are taken into account, the value can go to 2400-2500 cal.]

McArthur also conducted his weekly audit/inventory of the available CWCs (collapsible water containers) and their contents, to keep track of onboard water supplies.  [Updated cue cards based on Bill s water calldowns are sent up every other week. The new card lists two dozen water containers (~351 liters total) for the four types of water identified on board: technical water (for Elektron, flushing, hygiene; five CWCs were found leaking), potable water (~180 liters), condensate water (for processing) and other (TCS fluid, EMU waste water). As of 12/05/05, average water usage rate for Increment 12 is 1.8 liters daily for each crewmember. Water is re-supplied from processed humidity condensate.]

Additionally on the CDR s schedule was the daily routine maintenance of the SM’s environment control & life support system (ECLSS, Russian: SOZh), including toilet system (ASU) replacements.

Both crewmembers worked out in their regular 2.5-hr. physical exercise program on the TVIS treadmill (CDR & FE), RED resistive exerciser (CDR) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (FE).  [Tokarev s daily protocol prescribes a strict four-day microcycle exercise with 1.5 hr on the treadmill in unmotorized mode and one hour on VELO plus load trainer (today: Day 1 of the first set).]

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

Working off his discretionary time available task list, Valery performed his regular checkup on the Japanese experiment GCF-JAXA (Granada Crystallization Facility) in the Russian TBU incubator, maintained at 20 degC, including a temperature check on its ART (automatic temperature recorder).  [This daily monitoring/temp checking, carried on the Russian voluntary “time available” task list, will continue until 4/30.]

Also remaining on Tokarev’s discretionary job jar from yesterday was the dismantling and removal of the Japanese HDTV (high-definition television) camcorder and its cabling in the SM and the transfer of the equipment to the US segment (USOS).  [The LIV system, to which it had been connected, was then returned to its original condition.]

An additional voluntary roll-over task for the FE was the checkout of the air exchange between the newly docked Soyuz TMA-7/11S spacecraft and the SM, adding some length of air duct to ensure adequate airflow through the Soyuz Habitation Module (BO) into the Descent Module (SA).  [The resulting setup was to be photographed and the picture downlinked via OCA.]

Activation of the Elektron oxygen generator last Tuesday (3/21) went smoothly. The electrolysis unit is currently operating nominally in 24 amp mode on the primary pump.

TDRS Z (Tracking & Data Relay Satellite Z) at 275 deg. longitude over the Indian Ocean, having lost attitude on 3/21, has now also started drifting westward at ~3 deg/day and is still not available for ISS communications. Recovery efforts are underway and may return the TDRS to operation on Sunday (3/26).  [Currently, its loss does not cause any major impacts to ISS operations, which are being rearranged, but ISS would experience extended communication outages when not in line-of-sight of alternate TDRSs. TDRSs are used as a relay for uplinking ISS command, data, voice, and video from the ground. The satellite is in Safe mode and is stable in attitude. However, its current position uncertainty makes precise antenna pointing on the ISS impossible.]

At Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, in the Spacecraft Assembly and Testing Facility the Soyuz TMA-8/12S crew transport spacecraft was assembled today with the transfer compartment.  [Picture below].

Today’s CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets, limited in the current XPOP attitude by flight rule constraints on the use of the Lab nadir/science window, which is available for only ~1/4 of each orbit when not facing forward (in ram), were Aral Sea (oblique views with a long lens reveal usable data on coastline position), Nile delta (sunglint disc pass over the eastern zone of the Nile delta. Looking right. This side of the delta is being heavily developed so that glint images of canals in particular is one of the best ways to map development), and Toshka Lakes, Egypt (obliques with a long lens were requested).

To date, more than 186,000 of CEO images have been taken in the first five years of the ISS, almost one third of the total number of images taken from orbit by astronauts.

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

Full Size/Update

ISS Orbit  (as of this morning, 7:54am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 345.8 km
  • Apogee height 351.8 km
  • Perigee height — 339.8 km
  • Period — 91.45 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.000893
  • Solar Beta Angle — -50.9 deg (magnitude decreasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.74
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 85 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 41966

Significant Events Ahead (all dates subject to change)

  • 03/29/06 — Soyuz TMA-8/12S launch (Pavel Vinogradov/Russia, Jeffrey Williams/US, Marcos Pontes/Brazil, 9:30pm EST; 3/30, 6:30am Moscow; 3/30, 8:30am Baikonur)
  • 03/31/06 — Soyuz TMA-8/12S docking (FGB nadir port), 11:19pm EST; mnvr. to LVLH XVV after dock; 4/1, 8:19am Moscow)
  • 04/01/06 — Soyuz TMA-8/12S-ISS hatch opening ~12:30am EST
  • 04/08/06 — Soyuz TMA-7/11S-ISS hatch closing ~1:12pm EDT
  • 04/08/06 — Soyuz TMA-7/11S undocking (4:28pm EDT) & land (7:46pm EDT); (mnvr. to XPOP after undock)
  • 04/19/06 — SM main engine test/ISS reboost
  • 04/24/06 — Progress M-56/21P launch
  • 04/26/06 — Progress M-56/21P docking (SM aft port)
  • 06/19/06 — Progress M-55/20P undocking (DC1) & reentry
  • 06/28/06 — Progress M-57/22P launch
  • 06/30/06 — Progress M-57/22P docking (DC1)
  • 07/01/06 — NET STS-121/ULF1.1 launch
  • 07/??/06 — US EVA-5
  • 08/??/06 — Russian EVA-16
  • 08/28/07 — NET STS-115/12A launch
  • 09/13/06 — Progress M-56/21P undocking (SM aft port) & reentry
  • 09/14/06 — Soyuz TMA-9/13S launch (Expedition 14 + VC11)
  • 09/16/06 — Soyuz TMA-9/13S docking (SM aft port)
  • 09/24/06 — Soyuz TMA-8/12S undocking (FGB nadir port) & reentry
  • 10/08/06 — Soyuz TMA-9/13S relocation (SM aft port to FGB nadir port)
  • 10/18/06 — Progress M-58/23P launch
  • 10/20/06 — Progress M-58/23P docking (SM aft port)
  • 11/16/06 — NET STS-116/12A.1 launch
  • 12/19/06 — Progress M-57/22P undocking (DC1) & reentry
  • 12/20/06 — Progress M-59/24P launch
  • 12/22/06 — Progress M-59/24P docking (DC1)
  • 02/06/07 — Progress M-59/24P undocking (DC1) & reentry
  • 02/07/07 — Progress M-60/25P launch
  • 02/09/07 — Progress M-60/25P docking (DC1)
  • ??/??/07 — Progress M-58/23P undocking (SM aft port) & reentry
  • 03/09/07 — Soyuz TMA-10/14S launch (Expedition 15 + VC12)
  • 03/11/07 — Soyuz TMA-10/14S docking (SM aft port)
  • 03/19/07 — Soyuz TMA-9/13S undocking (FGB nadir port)
  • 03/22/07 — NET STS-117/13A launch
  • ??/??/07 — Soyuz TMA-10/14S relocation (SM aft port to FGB nadir port)
  • 06/14/07 — NET STS-118/13A.1

(NET = no earlier than)

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.