Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 25 Dec 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
December 25, 2003
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 25 Dec 2003

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

The crew enjoys a holiday rest day today after waking up to hearty greetings of “Merry Christmas!” and “S Rozhdestvom Khristov’im!” from Flight Control.  [While Russian Christmas of course is still 13 days away, one of the great things about Russian-American partnership is that aboard MKS (Mezhdunarodnaya Kosmicheskaya Stantsiya, ISS) we can have two Christmas celebrations per year!}

The crew celebrated Christmas Day with a special ration of smoked turkey saved up just for the occasion, in a “spacey festive” setting of Velcro ornaments, a Nomex Christmas tree and a large selection of the greatest Christmas songs and instrumentals ever beamed up to orbit (via MP3).  They also have special Christmas treats and gifts from families and friends. 

The crewmembers received another congratulatory and grateful call from NASA Administrator O’Keefe, and CDR Michael Foale had his interactive TV chat with his family, via Ku- and S-band.

The payload specialists team at POIC (Payload Operations & Integration Center) at MSFC/Huntsville uplinked a nice digital group picture with Christmas greetings and thanks for the crew’s continuing support.

FE Alexander Kaleri conducted the daily routine maintenance of the SM’s SOZh life support system.

The crew worked out according to their regular daily physical exercise program of 2.5 hrs on the TVIS treadmill, RED exerciser, and CEVIS cycle ergometer and VELO bike (with load trainer).

The long-term search for missing Russian segment (RS) equipment continues to be an open item on Kaleri’s discretionary task list.  Clarification of the “lost” items issue is increasingly relevant to ongoing 13P and 14P manifesting activities.  [When uplinked in mid-October, the list included well over 100 items recognized in the IMS (inventory management system) as “missing”, including critical equipment, filter cartridges, and spares designed to support station systems operation.  The uplinked list breaks out the items and shows their images to facilitate their identification in Sasha’s search.  ]

Intermodular ventilation (IMV) between the USOS (U.S. segment) and the RS is once again degraded by debris collected on the fan inlet flow dividers.  The crew was asked to (a) inspect the FGB GA (gas analyzer) flex duct to insure that it is not collapsed or otherwise restricting flow, (b) take CO2 measurements in the SM near the Vozdukh and also in the Lab mid cabin area, using the U.S. CDMK (carbon dioxide monitoring kit), and (c) take air flow measurements at specific locations at the Lab aft port diffuser, using the Velocicalc equipment.  [There is no direct measurement of airflow except as reflected by differences in atmosphere partial pressures measured between the RS and USOS.  ppCO2 is a good yardstick since an increasing ppCO2 in the Lab not reflected in the SM indicates that Vozdukh is not receiving the air from the Lab at an efficient rate.  The air flow degradation measurements will help establish a fan cleaning schedule.]

The crew was commended on their hard work yesterday with the first part of a more extensive inventorying exercise, reviewing & consolidating onboard clothing in the Node and PMA-1, supported by the IMS (inventory management system).  Their updates will appear in the IMS in a few days.  More crewtime is to be scheduled.  [Purpose of this activity, estimated at requiring ~10 hrs. crewtime, is to take bags of clothing currently labeled for crewmembers of Expedition 5, 6 & 7 and consolidate them into fewer bags, with the goal of (a) reducing the number of CTBs used for crew clothing, and (b) obtaining an accurate clothing inventory to assist in manifesting less clothing for future increments.  Typical clothing items are Nomex trousers & shorts, various types of socks, underwear, T-shirts, handkerchiefs, athletic running shorts, etc.]

MCC-H uplinked a preliminary list of current candidates for disposal and packing on Progress 12P, as well as a “trash template”.  [The final list should be available shortly after the New Year, with more details and final instructions.  The ground also uplinked a template of how the actual tabular packing instructions will look, for crew comment.  Launch of Progress 13P is scheduled for 1/29 and 12P separation for ~1/30.  Progress 14P launch: 5/19.]

Capacity restoration mode (ROM) and testing of battery #8 in the SM continue, to be terminated tomorrow with another voltage reading by Sasha.

At dinnertime, as every day, the crew supported the Renal Stone prevention experiment by taking the test medication (either potassium citrate or placebo tablets) until the next sample collection phase early in 2004.

TsUP/Moscow is continuing ground-commanded testing of hardware and software of the new KOU advanced operative control complex at TsUP, communicating with the ISS RS during comm passes and using the Progress 12P vehicle.

Today’s CEO targets, in the current LVLH attitude no longer limited by flight rule constraints on the use of the Lab nadir/science window, except for some viewing angles, were Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (looking just left of track for fairly nadir views of the largest city and economic capital of Vietnam), Melbourne, Australia (nadir opportunity to view this Australian metropolis around the huge Port Phillip Bay, into the plains to the west and east.  With a population of over three million, Melbourne covers a massive 1700 sq km [663 sq mi].  Aiming just to the right of track), Hyderabad, India (aiming left to view this city’s exponential growth patterns to the north), Perth, Australia (clear weather should have afforded nadir views of this vibrant and modern city situated on the Swan and Canning rivers, with the cerulean Indian Ocean to the west and the ancient Darling Ranges to the east), Barcelona, Spain (Spain’s second city is economically the most active city in this country with explosive growth.  Crew was to use the 180-mm lens for enhanced view to reveal the extent of newly built-up areas), Impact crater field, Libya (the Sahara is a particularly favorable region to host young impact craters, yet most of them still remain to be discovered, hidden under dry sandy sediments.  This was an oblique pass in proximity to this newly discovered field. Crew was to refer to uplinked imagery and look for the Jabal as Sawda’ (Black Mountains) to use as an additional reference, and to continue to look for circular features, using the 400-mm focal length lens for detail if located), Khartoum, Sudan (the name Khartoum means ‘Elephant’s trunk’, and it is the shape of the meeting point of the White and the Blue Nile Rivers, that resembles its name.  Nice nadir pass directly below to capture this urban region), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (aiming just to the left of track to view this capital city), Casablanca, Morocco (although Casablanca was the French colonial administrative center in the early 20th century, today it is the commercial capital of the kingdom of Morocco and home to over four million citizens.  Aiming just to the left of track to view Morocco’s modern seaport city), U.S. Virgin Islands (clear pass over all three islands [St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix] with numerous coral reefs in need of being mapped), Lower Amazon River Basin (400mm-lens.  Nadir pass over the region.  Aiming left and right for detail of rapidly changing coastlines of islands in the estuary.  Weather satellite views indicate potential clear-view opportunities to capture outer coastline dynamics as well), and Albuquerque, NM (aiming a touch right for another nadir opportunity).

CEO images can be viewed at the websites.

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

For more on Christmas in Space, see

ISS Orbit  (as of this morning, 6:38am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 370.5 km
  • Apogee — 374.6 km
  • Perigee — 366.4 km
  • Period — 91.9 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0006056
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.66
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 125
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 29091
  • For more on ISS orbit and worldwide ISS naked-eye visibility dates/times, see

SpaceRef staff editor.