Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 25 Aug 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
August 25, 2003
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 25 Aug 2003

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below.  For ISS the current Week 17 will be very busy, with vehicles “coming and going”.

Progress 10P undocking is scheduled for Wednesday, 8/27, at 6:45pm EDT.  Launch of 12P at Baikonur follows the next day, 8/28, at 9:48pm, with docking on Saturday, 8/30, at 11:45pm.  In the following week, Progress 11P will then undock on Thursday, 9/4, at 3:41pm.

Early this morning, in preparation for Saturday’s 12P docking, the crew conducted the standard test of the TORU teleoperator control system between the Service Module (SM) and the docked 10P.  Progress thrusters were inhibited and were not involved.  The test was supported by ground specialists, monitoring Malenchenko’s running commentary and report.  [TORU is the manual mode through which Malenchenko 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 Progress.  One orbit after the original docking attempt (i.e., 92 min. later), 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.]

Later, Yuri Malenchenko, assisted by his crewmate, removed no-longer-needed electronic equipment from the 10P cargo ship, first disconnecting the BITS 2-12 onboard telemetry measurement system and turning off its monitoring mode, then removing the US-21 matching unit in its container box.  [The matching unit and associated commutator gear provided the electronic interface between the SM and the Progress for SM computer control of the Progress thrusters.  It will be returned to Earth and recycled on a future Progress.]

Finally, Malenchenko and Lu installed the SSVP docking mechanism in the hatchway between the 10P and the SM aft end.  [The SSVP is the “classic” probe-and-cone type, consisting of an active docking assembly (ASA) with a probe (SSh), which fits into the cone (SK) on the passive docking assembly (PSA).  The ASA is mounted on the Progress’ cargo module (GrO), while the PSA sits on the docking ports of the SM, FGB and DC-1.]

Commander and Science Officer completed another 30-min. CBT exercise (computer-based training with video and audio) to refresh their Crew Medical Officer (CMO) proficiency.  [Objective of today’s exercise, scheduled regularly once a month, was to re-familiarize the crew with skills and techniques required in procedures related to eye treatment and medication administration.  This included foreign body removal, eyewash procedures, eye treatment with proparacaine ophthalmic solution (for anesthetization), use of ophthalmoscope to look for corneal abrasion, etc.]

Ed Lu completed the scheduled Week 17 water sampling for in-flight chemistry/microbiology analysis, using approved Russian sampling procedures with the U.S. WS&A (water sampler and archiver) for collection and the WMK (water microbiology kit) for processing within 6 hrs. of the collection.  [Lu was asked to take samples from the SRV-K hot tap (after preliminary heating of the water) and the EDV container of the water supply system (SVO-ZV).  In-flight microbial analysis of these samples with the WMK was conducted later in the day, after the crew’s lunch break.]

Yuri completed the routine maintenance of the SM’s SOZh environment control & life support system and the daily preparation of the IMS (inventory management system) update list, while Ed attended to the regular daily status checkup of autonomously running Lab payloads (PCG-STES010, MAMS).

Yuri also performed the regular inspection of the BRPK-2 air/liquid condensate separator of the SM’s SRVK water processing system.

Both crewmembers completed their daily physical exercise regimen, working out on the treadmill (TVIS), resistive exerciser (RED) and Russian cycle ergometer with load trainer (VELO).

Continuing his task-listed Russian Uragan earth imaging program, the CDR today focused the Kodak DCS760 digital camera with 800-mm lens on new targets.  [They included large cities in England, Holland and Germany, the Carpathian Mountains, cities in the Ukraine, the Krasnodar Reservoir, Stavropol, Mt. Elbrus, Kazbek Mountains, Chirkelsk Reservoir in Dagestan, Baku and oil slicks in the Caspian Sea around petroleum facilities, the Khazar oilfield, river beds in Turkmenia, and the Iranian city of Meshhed.]

Also working off the Russian task list, Yuri conducted another session of the Diatomeya ocean research program.  [He used the Nikon F5 with f/80 mm lens and the DVCAM 150 digital camcorder for continual recording of video and voice-over audio.]

The Molniya-SM/LSO hardware mounted at SM window #3 continues its automated recording session, to be terminated automatically tomorrow at 12:40pm EDT, with the French-provided EGE-1 laptop running the latest NORAD orbital parameters (TLEs, two-line elements).   [Objective of Molniya-SM, similar to the French LSO experiment, is to record storm phenomena and other related events in the Earth’s equatorial regions.  Objective of LSO, originally part of Claudie Haigneré’s French “Andromeda” payload package of taxi mission 3S, was to study rare optical phenomena occurring in the upper layers of Earth’s atmosphere, so-called “sprites” (i.e., puzzling glow phenomena observed above thunderstorm clouds).]

After extensive testing for the last two weeks, including two cyclings, MCC-M has now declared the ZRU charge/discharge unit of SM battery #2 as hard-failed and in need of replacement.  For the docking/undocking events, the Russian segment (RS) will be using seven of the eight SM batteries.  [Each of the 800A batteries has its own ZRU, which tracks 49 battery parameters and is designed to increase the operating life of the battery by setting up charging and discharging modes.  Each ZRU is comprised of one battery current converter (PTAB), one PTAB control unit (BUPT), and three charge/discharge current integrators (MIRT-3).]

Progress 10P line purge was successfully completed on 8/22 on the second attempt.  Propellant transfers to the FGB tanks yielded 27 kg of fuel (unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine, UDMH) and 67 kg of oxidizer (nitrogen tetroxide, N2O4).

A plan is being discussed at MCC-H for using up the gaseous O2 remaining in 10P prior to its undocking, to repressurize the ISS cabin atmosphere.  [The current Flight Rule limit on oxygen O2 content specifies an oxygen partial pressure (ppO2) of 178 mmHg or an O2 concentration of 24.1%, both limits not necessarily being equivalent.  The 24.1% specification is based on flammability considerations, the 178 mmHg (currently under review) probably on an original design guideline for instruments based on total pressure.  If Moscow’s estimate on presently remaining O2 is correct, applying the 178 mmHg ppO2 limit will result in Progress 10P undocking with 4 kg O2 remaining in its tank.  Using the 24.1% criterion, as is being proposed by NASA life support specialists, all 10P oxygen can be bled into the station.]  
In the case of Progress 11P, application of the 178 mmHg max limit will have the 11P undock with 33 kg of O2 remaining on board, which would be reduced to 30 kg if the 24.1% criterion is used instead.  Under discussion.  [Going to a higher concentration would require additional nitrogen (N2) for dilution and is therefore not recommended, in the interest of conserving N2.]

Two sleep cycle shifts have been developed and agreed-on for minimizing crew fatigue during the upcoming docking/undocking events.  [For 10P departure, tomorrow the crew will start their sleep time one hour earlier (4:30pm EDT instead of 5:30pm) and wake up at 1:00 am on Wednesday (instead of 2:00am), with sleep begin back to usual.  For 12P arrival, on Saturday, after regular 2:00am wake-up, the crew will begin sleep (or duty-free) time at 11:00am (6.5 hrs earlier than usual), with next wake-up the same day at 7:30pm for the 11:45pm Progress docking.  Sleep time on Sunday will be back at 5:30pm.]
Ground specialists are finishing open work remaining for Progress 12P launch readiness.  No constraints to the Thursday launch have been identified, but some open items are being closed and a number of exceptions are receiving waivers.  [12P carries three new Orlan spacesuit batteries, with a fourth battery, already on orbit, slated for extension of its certified lifetime.  For the U.S. EMUs, two on-orbit batteries, with lifetime expired last July, will be extended for use in IVA and checkout ops, while the other two batteries, expiring in October, will be extended until early next year.  The EMU #3013 continues to be No Go for EVA, pending replacement of its gas trap.  A safety review has also been conducted for a battery aboard 12P intended for the Iridium satellite phone to be used for Soyuz 6S reentry.]

Tomorrow’s crew schedule provides Science Officer Lu with 30 min. for familiarization with the Japanese/NASDA payload GCF (Granada Crystallization Facility) which will be delivered by Progress 12P.  [GCF is an automatically running space facility for growing macromolecular crystals from solution with higher performance and reliability in terms of crystal quality and/or crystal size.  GCF operated on board the ISS in 2002 and returned to Earth with taxi mission Soyuz 5S (Frank De Winne).  The facility, which was designed in Spain under the auspices of the University of Granada to allow protein crystallization using a counterdiffusion method in zero-G, was successfully test-flown on the French Andromède Mission during the 3S taxi flight in 2001].

Today’s CEO (crew earth observation) targets, taking into account the current LVLH attitude, and including the targets of the Lewis & Clark 200-year memorial locations, were Rome, Italy (looking right), Taiwan Smog (smog conditions expected once the present front moves through.  Obliques left and right were requested as ISS flew directly over the island), Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (nadir pass), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (nadir pass and a touch right), St. Louis, Missouri (nadir pass and a touch left), Detroit, Michigan (nadir pass), Khartoum, Sudan (nadir pass), Gulf of Maine plankton (pointing left of track for any plankton-related color variation, as the growth season wanes), and Lower Amazon River Basin (nadir pass; detailed images of coasts and islands were requested).
CEO images can be viewed at the websites

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

U.S. and Russian Segment Status (as of 1:40pm EDT).

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

  • Elektron O2 generator is powered Off.  Vozdukh CO2 scrubber is On (in Manual Mode 5/3).  U.S. CDRA CO2 scrubber is Off.  TCCS (trace contaminant control subsystem) is operating.  MCA (major constituents analyzer) is operating.  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) — 27.2; ppO2 (mmHg) — data invalid ; ppCO2 (mmHg) — data invalid .
  • SM Transfer Compartment:   Pressure (mmHg) — 751; temperature (deg C) — 20.2.
  • FGB Cabin:   Pressure (mmHg) — 744; temperature (deg C) — 22.0.
  • Node:   Pressure (mmHg) — 740.07; temperature (deg C) — 21.6 (shell); ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • U.S. Lab:   Pressure (mmHg) — 742.19; temperature (deg C) — 23.3; ppO2 (mmHg) — 167.2; ppCO2 (mmHg) — 3.1.
  • Joint Airlock (Equip. Lock):   Pressure (mmHg) — 742.29; temperature (deg C) — 21.6; shell heater temp (deg C) — 23.2, ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • PMA-1:   Shell heater temp (deg C) — 20.9
  • PMA-2:   Shell heater temp (deg C) — 20.0.

(n/a = data not available)

Electrical Power Systems (EPS):

  • Both P6 channels fully operational.  BGA (beta gimbal assembly) 2B and 4B both in Autotrack (solar tracking) with 45 deg bias for drag reduction.
  • SM batteries:  Battery #7 is in “Cycle” mode; all other batteries (7) are in “Partial Charge” mode; battery #1 is degraded. 
  • FGB batteries:  Battery #1 is disconnected; battery #5 in “Cycle” mode; all other batteries (4) 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-2 MDM is Off; PL-1 MDM is Operational.
  • APS-1 (automated payload switch #1) and APS-2 are both On.
  • SM Terminal Computer (TVM): 3 redundant lanes (of 3) operational.
  • SM Central Computer (TsVM): 3 redundant lanes (of 3) operational.

Propulsion System (PS):

  • Total propellant load available: 3657 kg (8062 lb) as of 8/21  [SM(755) + FGB(2902) + Progress M(0) +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: -10 deg, pitch: -9.4 deg, roll: 0 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-2 is prime).
  • Video subsystem operating nominally.
  • HCOR (high-rate communications outage recorder) is operating nominally.


  • SSRMS/Canadarm2 based at MBS PDGF #1 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,7:03am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 383.0 km
  • Apogee  387.8 km
  • Perigee — 378.2 km
  • Period — 92.21 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0007087
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.61
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 120 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 27182
  • For more on ISS orbit and worldwide naked-eye visibility dates/times, see

SpaceRef staff editor.