Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 24 Mar 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
March 24, 2004
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 24 Mar 2004

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

FE Alexander Kaleri continued IFM (in-flight maintenance) on the SM SUBA (Service Module On-board Equipment Control System), today installing and reconfiguring jumper cables.   [Purpose is to provide additional capability for restarting the SM’s TVM terminal computer system, which currently has only two of its three redundant strings operating (string 1 dropped out of the set on 11/22/03).  The activity was supported by tagging up with a ground specialist.]

CDR/SO Michael Foale conducted a number of payload/science activities in the Lab, starting out with the PFMI (Pore Formation & Mobility Investigation) in the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox).  [Since the Principal Investigator (PI) elected to have yesterday’s sample PFMI-14 processed one more time, Mike did not remove it from the thermal chamber.  Before starting the reprocessing, he exchanged the PFMI laptop’s g-LIMIT (Glovebox Integrated Microgravity Isolation Technology) bypass micro drive assembly and removed the associated videotape.]

Resuming the IR/US (infrared/ultrasound) experiment SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites), Mike Foale conducted the second checkout of the IR and US environment of the Lab and Node work areas with the BBT (Beacon & Beacon Tester), after the ground had commanded the VTR (video tape recorder) on for taking and dumping unattended near-real-time video.   [First C/O was conducted by Mike on 11/11/03.  Today’s C/O addressed IR interference with GLAs (General Luminaire Assemblies) and beacon functionality in GLA proximity.  If a particular GLA caused IR interference, it was to be dimmed and the detection distance recorded.  The older ThinkPad 760DX laptops are known to cause IR interference, but not so the NGLs (Next Generation Laptops, i.e., ThinkPads A31p.]

At the Lab’s maintenance work area (MWA), the CDR performed Isothermal Experiment #3 of the MFMG (Miscible Fluids in Microgravity) research, which involved injecting tinted water into the previously prepared honey/water mixture in one of the syringes.

Foale continued the current round of the monthly preventive maintenance of RS air ventilation systems started by Kaleri, today cleaning the VD1 and VD2 air ducts in the “Pirs” DC-1 docking compartment (last time done: 1/7/04).

FE Kaleri meanwhile terminated the bake-out cycle on the BMP micropurification system’s channel 2 in the SM, moding the channel back to Purify.  This restored both filter beds to Purify mode.  [The regeneration of the air purifier filter beds is repeated every 20 days.  Each bakeout to space vacuum takes about 24 hours.]
Controlled from the SM’s automated timing sequencer (SPP), the reconfigured Russian television system underwent a brief test activation during RGS (Russian ground site) coverage.
Sasha Kaleri conducted the daily routine maintenance of the SM’s SOZh life support system (including ASU toilet facilities), while Mike Foale performed the regular routine status checkup of autonomous Increment 8 payloads in the Lab, and Kaleri prepared the daily IMS inventory “delta” file for automated updating the IMS databases.

Mike also collected and the previously (3/22) deployed FMK (formaldehyde monitoring kit) monitors.   [The current FMK monitors expired their lifetime on 2/4/04 and cannot be replaced until the arrival of Progress 14P.  The monitors are activated by removing a label on their front, thus exposing the sampling orifice and collector substrate to the cabin atmosphere.  After the sampling, the monitors are sealed and analyzed post-flight on the ground. The substrate is a bisulfite that absorbs formaldehyde at a known rate.  Expiration of monitor shelf life could have an effect on the “known rate” of collection, resulting in reduced accuracy over units that are within their shelf life.  This will be taken into consideration by the toxicologists.]

Sasha performed his regular maintenance on the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 (“Plants-2”) payload.   [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.]

At 3:05am EST, the crew downlinked a TV message of greetings and congratulations to TsUP/Moscow for presentation at the 45th Anniversary celebration of the Moscow State University (MSFU)’s Department of Electronics & Systems Engineering on 3/26.   [The Department, founded on the initiative of S.P. Korolev, has made significant contributions to the development of Soviet/Russian cosmonautics.  One of its most illustrious alumni is Valery Ryumin, veteran Mir pilot/cosmonaut, Shuttle crewmember and today ISS Program Director for RSC-Energia.  “We are sending our special wishes to the Department veterans who for decades, and some from inception, have dedicated their labor and talent to teaching and to improving the training of our new specialists.”]

CDR Foale held his weekly crew conference with the JSC Astronaut Office (Kent Rominger).

Both crewmembers completed their daily 2.5-h program of physical (aerobic & anaerobic) exercise, on CEVIS bike, RED resistive expander and on the Russian VELO cycle ergometer with load trainer.   [According to latest crew report, the forward RED canister (#1011) has started “scraping” at low loads and exhibits more resistance than usual, while at higher loads the pull of the “rowing” machine’s Flexpack can is smooth and noiseless.  The symptoms could mean either a failed Flexpack or merely the RED cable coming off the pulley.  Assessment is underway.]

A new permanent procedure has been developed and uplinked that improves the handover of attitude control from the RS (Russian segment) motion control system directly into a U.S. Momentum Management controller.   [The automated procedure, intended to reduce the stress on the CMGs (control moment gyros) during activities calling for the handover, normally requires no crew support (except perhaps when Russian command steps are to be performed in the absence of TsUP).  It (1) prepares each segment’s attitude control system for the control transfer, and (2) executes the handover.]

Today’s CEO (Crew Earth Observations) targets, 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 Borneo (Dynamic event.  Unusually clear pass along the west coast.  Suggested was a mapping swath at nadir and left of track.  Massive immigration from overpopulated Java immediately south has led to numerous zones of deforestation in Borneo’s coastal forests), Internal waves, Sulu Sea (looking left for glint images of the sea surface between Borneo and southern Philippines), Madras [Chennai], India (nadir pass over this coastal city), Calcutta, India (nadir pass over this city on the westernmost arm of the Ganges delta), Karachi, Pakistan (looking slightly right of track), Muglad Basin Fans, Sudan (ISS passed over the downstream end of this basin where it meets the Nile.  The whole basin was visible west of track so that images taken from nadir up to 4 degrees left of track will allow investigators to generate a geography of fans in this scientifically interesting zone), Patagonian Glaciers (southern end of the site is clearing for the first time in many days.  Images of smaller glacier tongues were requested), Internal waves, Patagonia (looking left towards the glint point), and Pilcomayo River Dynamics (ISS passed over the apex of the largest known inland delta [at the Andes mountain front]: looking right for detail of the behavior of the formative river which stops flowing only 100 km from the mountain front).

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, 1:35pm 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) — 26.4; ppO2 (mmHg) — 146.4; ppCO2 (mmHg) — 3.7;
  • SM Transfer Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 743; temperature (deg C) — 20.6.
  • FGB Cabin:  Pressure (mmHg) — 744; temperature (deg C) — 22.3.
  • Node:  Pressure (mmHg) — 745.16; temperature (deg C) — 24.2 (shell); ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • U.S. Lab:  Pressure (mmHg) — 746.53; temperature (deg C) — 25.0; ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • Joint Airlock (Equip. Lock):   Pressure (mmHg) — 746.74; temperature (deg C) — 25.7; shell heater temp (deg C) — 24.2, ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • PMA-1:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — 24.5
  • PMA-2:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — 11.0

(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:

  • 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, 6:39am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 366.8 km
  • Apogee — 374.0km
  • Perigee — 359.7 km
  • Period — 91.88 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.6292 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0010565
  • Solar Beta Angle — ~27 (magnitude decreasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.67
  • Mean altitude loss last 24 hours — 140 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 30502

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

SpaceRef staff editor.