Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 24 May 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
May 24, 2003
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 24 May 2003

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below.  Except for standard maintenance and optional task list jobs, the crew is off duty on this first day of the Memorial Day weekend.  [How far travelled the ISS today? >>Check below for some interesting “Did you know” facts uplinked this morning for the crew’s weekend edification.]

Starting the day, the crew performed the regular weekly 3-hr. housecleaning, including removal of food waste products, cleaning of compartments with vacuum cleaner, wet cleaning of the Service Module (SM) dining table and other surfaces with “Fungistat” disinfectant and cleaning fan screens to avoid temperature rises.

CDR Yuri Malenchenko completed the regular inspection of the active BRPK-1 air/liquid condensate separator system in the SM, followed later in the day by the regular homeowner’s job of testing smoke detectors (SD).

Malenchenko also performed his regular daily monitoring/servicing of the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 (“Plants-2”) zero-G plant growth experiment, checking water level in the Lada-2 greenhouse water container and the seed status.  [If seedlings have emerged, he is to turn on the plant growth chamber’s lighting and ventilation.]

Later, Yuri completed the daily routine maintenance of SOZh life support systems, which include the ASU toilet facility, food containers (KRP), water containers (EDV) and solid waste containers (KTO).

FE/SO Edward Lu prepared the daily IMS (inventory management system) delta file for automatic export/import to update the database.

Both crewmembers completed their daily physical exercise program, on TVIS treadmill, RED expander, CEVIS bike and, for the CDR, on the Russian VELO cycle ergometer with load trainer.

Lu and Malenchenko conducted the weekly planning conference with the ground, discussing next week’s “Look-Ahead Plan”, which is regularly prepared jointly by MCC-H/MCC-M planners.  The planning conference was followed by the weekly ISS crew tag-up with Program management, both via S-band/audio.

Yuri also had his weekly PFC (private family conference), via S- and Ku-band.

Working off his optional task list, the CDR had another Nikon-F5 still camera (80 mm lens) session with the Diatomeya ocean observation program, to assess the feasibility of differentiating colors of bioproductive waters and conducting sun glint photo imagery, i.e., when the Sun is low (20-23 deg) above the local horizon.  [Looking particularly for algae blooms (TsKO) and cloud formations, today’s targets zones were a bioproductive region south of Cape Agulhas (southern Africa) in the Indian Ocean and the northern boundary of the West Wind Drift near Gough Island at the southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge.]

Also on Malenchenko’s task list: troubleshooting the Russian Starmail Earth photography experiment.  [Some frames taken earlier with the Nikon D1 digital camera showed smudges looking like “soft focus spots”.  Yuri and the ground are considering methods for cleaning the camera’s highly sensitive CCD (charged-couple device) matrix.]

At selected times, TsUP again performed more correction tests of the SM’s BINS strap-down navigation/guidance system via S-band comm, using Zvezda’s solar sensor (SD251K) and infrared horizon sensor (IKV256K).  [The test correction in the current LVLH -YVV attitude does not require free drift or attitude change.  BINS is a platform-less (or, in NASA parlance, “strap-down”) inertial navigation system (INS), which uses a complex mathematical model of spatial relationships (axes, rotations, angular velocities and accelerations) instead of the gyro-stabilized and gimbaled platform of a more conventional INS.  To check and correct the unavoidable drift of the internal reference orientation, standard procedure was to take optical sightings of reference stars; attitude rates were obtained from high-accuracy state sensors (GIVUS) in the SM.  Today, periodic updates of the BINS come from the U.S. GPS (global positioning system).]

A “big picture” summary and more procedure breakdowns for the two-person EVA/EMU (extravehicular mobility unit) don/doff dryrun on 5/28 (Wednesday) were uplinked to the crew.   [The four modified procedures cover EL (Equipment Lock) preparations, EMU donning with IV (intravehicular crewmember), EMU prebreathe without IV, and post-EVA without IV.  Other uplinked instructions deal with on-orbit EMU sizing using the bar code reade (BCR), EMU doffing technique, individual biomedical signal conditioner gain adjustment, EVA biomed cabling (“pigtail”) inspection, and accessibility of a suit test plug.  Also uplinked were Lessons Learned from the 1-G dry-run on the ground and from the Expedition 6’s EVA DTO (development test objective) on 2/24 (most difficult task reported by Bowersox and Pettit: solo doffing of the HUT {hard upper torso}.]

A new task added to the crew’s “job jar” task is a pen-and-ink change for the Emergency Book, with updates and some corrections..

Weekly Science Update (Expedition Seven — 3rd):
The crew was commended by the Lead Increment Scientist on completing three InSPACE runs and the GASMAP 30 Day Health Checkout this week.  They also captured many images from the CEO target list.  Their insights from the EPO conference for the upcoming EPO activities are judged very useful and the ground is looking forward to watching the EPO video.  The ISS Science Officer/Program Scientist Conference yesterday
 went very well, and the support team is “excited about the topics that were discussed; we look forward to having more of these conferences in the future.”

GASMAP:   The first 30-day health check on 5/20 was very successful.  All is nominal and in good shape, and GASMAP is being scheduled good run time in the near future.
Human Research Facility/Workstation (HRF WS):   Continuing.

Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation (PFMI):  Waiting to begin operations.

Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS):  SAMS is nominal and currently analyzing data in support of general characterization of the ISS acceleration environment.

Microgravity Acceleration Measurement System (MAMS):  MAMS is nominal and currently analyzing data in support of general characterization of the ISS acceleration environment.

Protein Crystal Growth-Single Locker Thermal Enclosure System (PCG-STES):   Temperatures are holding steady (nominal).  Crystals are still growing.  Requires only regular status check by the crew, including cleaning the filters.

Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions (InSPACE):   Processing of the mid-size particle sample is now nearly complete following the three runs this past week. Images received on the ground indicate structure development when viewed during the steady magnetic field phase.  The “model” image referred to by Science Officer Lu shows the tips of the chain structures.  The structure development is “frozen” during the monitor periods, when Lu switches to steady mode.  There are observed changes in the size of individual structures and their concentration (spacing between structures) over time.  In addition there seem to be some structure development on the “RT” view on 5/21 when in the pulse mode at 10 Hz. Testing with this coil is expected to complete on 5/27.

Materials ISS Experiment (MISSE):  In progress.  Deployed outside. Nominal and collecting data.

Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students (EarthKAM):  Waiting to begin operations.

Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures-2 (CSLM-2):  Waiting to begin operations.

Educational Payload Operations (EPO):  The ground is looking forward to the upcoming EPO activities, particularly with paper airplanes and the Wright Flyer model on board the ISS.  Ed Lu’s input in the conference on 5/22 contributed some great new ideas for demonstrations and good recommendations for modification to the current procedures.

Crew Earth Observations (CEO):  This week 154 images were received.
Today’s CEO targets, now no longer restricted by the Lab science window ruled off-limit due to flight attitude, were Anatahan volcano (Dynamic event.  New eruptions may generate an ash plume advancing towards the ISS:  looking right towards the island volcano which was many degrees off track due east and probably not visible. The ash moves great distances — ash has been sensed in Manila well west of the station’s position), Mekong River Delta (nadir pass; looking left and right to see the full extant of this major Asian delta.  Points of interest are the evolution of coastlines of the river and its numerous islands.  Increased sediment supply to river mouths [due to upstream agricultural disturbance of soils] is accelerating coastline change), Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (looking right of track), Industrialized SE Africa (light winds in a “stagnant” air mass over the plateau are conducive to smog buildup.  Looking left oblique for probable smog on the plateau.  For contrasting air clarity, the crew was to look right for views of the mountains of Lesotho [above 8,000 feet], and the coastal plain of South Africa, which is sometimes more and sometimes less hazy than the plateau), Angolan Biomass Burning (best pass to document burning of this new fire season.  Looking left and right of track), High Central Andean Glaciers (detailed views requested of any volcanic peaks under track [there are hundreds in the tropical Andes] on which the crew could see snow or ice pack.  These tropical ice sheets are melting very fast, destroying records of environmental history [contained in annual ice layers] going back many thousands of years), Salt Lake City, Utah (night target; looking a touch right of track), and Dallas, Texas (nadir pass).
CEO images can be viewed at the websites and

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 7:14am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 389.1 km
  • Apogee — 393.2 km
  • Perigee — 385.1 km
  • Period — 92.34 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0006041
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.59
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 70 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 25730
  • For more on ISS orbit and worldwide naked-eye visibility dates/times, see

Did you know that…

…ISS travels approximately 42,496 km per orbit.  That’s over 660,000 km (414,000 miles) per day.

…the combined fluid volume of the IATCS (internal active thermal control system) MTL and LTL (moderate temperature and low temperature loops) is approximately 284 liters (75 gallons).  The MTL makes up 189 l (50 gals) of the total volume.

…the impeller of an IATCS pump is only the size of a quarter and spins at 18,900 rpm.  That’s 27,216,000 revolutions per day.

…the habitable volume of the ISS is 13,114 cubic feet (371.3 cubic meters).

…total solar array output power of the ISS (SM, FGB, U.S. P6) is 76.6 kW.

…the crew’s voice has to travel 73,400 km (45,600 miles) to reach MCC-Houston.

SpaceRef staff editor.