Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 25 Nov 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
November 25, 2003
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 25 Nov 2003

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below. Day 39 in space for Expedition 8 (on ISS: 37 days).

After wake-up (1:00am EST), before breakfast and exercise, FE Alexander Kaleri completed the periodic Russian MedOps test “Hematokrit” (MO-10), which measures red blood cell count of the blood. [The blood sample was drawn from a finger with a perforator lancet, then centrifuged in two microcapillary tubes in the M-1100 kit’s minicentrifuge, and its hematocrit value was read off the tubes with a magnifying glass. It is a well-known phenomenon of space flight that red blood cell count (normal range: 30-45%) tends to go down over time.]

Afterwards, still before breakfast, Kaleri undertook his first the MBI-1 SPRUT-K (“squid”) experiment, part of Russian medical research on the distribution and behavior of human body fluids in zero gravity. [For the assessment, Kaleri used the Profilaktika equipment, with securing harness, skin electrodes (cuffs) and the Russian laptop #3, which he reset to its nominal configuration afterwards.]

CDR/SO Michael Foale completed preparations for safe containment of the subsequent Iridium satellite phone battery charging. [For safety reasons, prior to charging the phone was placed in a single CTB (crew transfer bag), which then was packed into a triple CTB (prepared as per MCC-H instructions). The lithium-ion batteries for the Motorola-9505 phone were carried up on Soyuz 7S after vibration testing confirmed that no hazards exist due to internal shorts. These batteries were therefore cleared to be left on board. The safety of the first battery delivered on Progress 12P had not been formally confirmed, absent any prior vibration testing. After a recharging on board without incident it was returned on Soyuz 6S.]

The actual charging of the Motorola-9505 battery was set up and initiated by Kaleri later in the day. [The prescribed procedure specified an area for the charging in the Russian segment (RS) that ensured smoke detection capability and was free of paper, clothing and other flammable objects. It also required a checkup by the crew of the recharge process every 30 minutes without removing the phone from the CTBs. After charging was completed, power was disconnected, and the phone was removed from the CTBs and restowed in the Iridium SSSP kit without removing the battery from the phone. The kit was then placed in the crew procedures container of the Soyuz descent module, and the battery of the voltage/current scopemeter used for the task was recharged.]

Yesterday’s TVIS (treadmill with vibration isolation and stabilization) testing and data collection went according to schedule. Ground engineers obtained all structural loads data required to evaluate the performance of TVIS exercise in the degraded (no roll-stabilizing gyro) configuration. Until results and recommendations are available (expected by tomorrow) the TVIS is off limits for exercise. [During the setup of the IWIS (interim wireless instrumentation system) for the vibration measurements, the RSU (remote sensing unit) in the Node could not be programmed with the data take instructions. Due to time constraints on the critical data take, no vibration measurements were collected from the Node during the TVIS testing, only from the Service Module (SM).]

The Russian VELO cycle ergometer and the U.S. CEVIS are both providing aerobic exercise capability, and the crew used them today for their regular physical workout program. Foale transferred accumulated exercise data files to the MEC (medical equipment computer) and conducted the regular routine inspection of the RED anaerobic expander machine.

As per MCC-H decision yesterday, the originally scheduled Robotics/MSS (mobile service system) proficiency training was deferred to a later date. [For the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) to get to its final viewing position would have required the robotarm to pass through the rotational envelope regime of the starboard solar array wing (SAW). To maintain safety, the proficiency training was therefore deferred until the SSRMS trajectory has been redesigned or a plan developed to latch the SAW in position, preventing its rotation at the wrong moment.]
The two crewmembers performed the CHeCS (crew health care systems) Crew Medical Officer (CMO) on-board training (OBT) drill, a 30-min. exercise to refresh the CMO’s acuity in emergency medical operations, particularly in applying ACLS (advanced cardio life support) in an emergency. [Today’s proficiency drill, guided by a number of training videos and concluding with a self-assessment questionnaire, focused on re-familiarization with the RSP (respiratory support pack), defibrillator, and ALSP (advanced life support pack) components.]

Mike Foale conducted the periodic hatch seal inspection in the USOS, viz., Node (forward, aft starboard), Lab (aft) and Joint Airlock, in support of regular ACS (atmospheric control system) maintenance.

Kaleri worked on the RS ventilation system (SV) in the SM, today cleaning the VV2RO air duct fan grilles.

The Flight Engineer then used the DVCAM PD-150P video camcorder (with its battery freshly recharged yesterday) to film and narrate a survey of the intermodular ventilation (IMV) air ducts in the ISS. [Sasha focused his taping on duct routing, attachments and outlet locations in the SM transfer compartment (PkhO) from the VVPkhO fan to the FGB hatch, from the SM working compartment (RO) through the DC-1 docking module to the Soyuz TMA-3, and on ventilation unit, sensors, fan (VBO) and controls in the Soyuz orbital module (BO) itself.]

Sasha also completed the daily routine maintenance of the SM’s SOZh life support system, including ASU toilet facilities, as well as the preparation of the “delta” file for updating the IMS today.

At 3:20am EST, Mike Foale set up the amateur radio equipment and engaged in a 10-min. exchange via ARISS radio system with students at Renmark Primary School in Renmark, South Australia. [ARISS background: Ham radio activities are spearheaded by an organization formed by national and international ham radio groups called ARISS (Amateur Radio International Space Station). Russia has provided ports on the SM for radio antennas, and ISS crews have trained to operate the equipment. ISS operations at present use voice and Packet, the Russian text-messaging device. The first initial radio station was flown on STS-106/2A.2b in September 2000 and transferred to the ISS.]

At 8:30am, both crewmembers participated in a live interactive educational TV exchange with Japanese fifth-and sixth-grade students assembled at the Nankai Broadcasting Corporation’s Main Hall in Matsuyama City, Japan. [Held by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), NASA and the Nankai Broadcasting Corp. (RNB), the program was attended by approximately 500 students, some of which had the opportunity to ask the Expedition 8 crew about science and the ISS. The program, part of the Japan’s National Ministry of Education and Science, “Science Loving Plan”, focuses on the goal to inspire students’ interest in science. The mottos of the program, created to emphasize the importance and exciting elements of science, are “dreams and hopes” and “courage and vitality.”]

As reported yesterday, the upcoming attitude transition maneuver from the current sun-pointing XPOP (x-axis perpendicular to orbit plane) to earth-oriented LVLH (local vertical/local horizontal) has been moved from the Thanksgiving weekend (11/28) to 11/26 (Wednesday). Maneuver planning has been completed, with all steps conservatively designed to minimize the gimbal rates on the control moment gyros (CMGs). [Recap:  On 11/8, CMG-3 exhibited a previously unobserved vibration. Further analysis revealed other abnormal vibration responses on CMG-3, all associated with CMG desaturations (by Russian thruster firings). While the direct cause of the vibrations is not understood at this time, it is clear that limiting the gimbal rates associated with desats is less stressful on the CMG bearings and may aid in mitigating the vibration-causing mechanism.]

Last night, the crew reported a small leak from a Russian EDV water container holding treated urine. Because of the toxicity level involved, the crew was instructed, in accordance with SRD (Safety Requirements Document) rule, to triple-bag the EDV, seal it, label it as a “Biohazard” and stow it in Progress 12P. [Toxicity level of the treated urine is Level 2 (i.e., potentially catastrophic, causing moderate to severe irritation with the potential for long-term performance decrement, and may cause permanent eye damage.]

Today’s CEO (crew earth observation) targets, limited in the current XPOP attitude by flight rule constraints on the use of the Lab nadir/science window, were High Central Andean Glaciers (ISS passed to the SE of most of this target area. However, good context views of these small ice fields may have been possible left of track looking NW-ward up the spine of the high Andes), Angolan Biomass Burning (a steady offshore flow has become established along the Namibia-Angola coast. Although fire season is winding down for this area, as ISS approached the coast from the SW, the crew was asked to point the camera left of track, in high oblique views for evidence of a smoke layer moving westward over the darker sea surface), and Patagonian Glaciers (after a week of poor weather, some clearing was expected to have started by the time of the ISS pass. Although conditions may have been cloudfree, the crew’s best views should have been on the eastern flanks of the Andes. They were asked to use the long lenses to capture details of the smaller-less photographed glaciers that are visible there).

CEO images can be viewed at the websites.

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

U.S. and Russian Segment Status (as of 1:43pm EST).

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

  • Elektron O2 generator is powered On, 19A. Vozdukh CO2 scrubber is On (in Manual Mode 5/3). U.S. CDRA CO2 scrubber is on Standby (ready in dual-bed mode). TCCS (trace contaminant control subsystem) is operating. MCA (major constituents analyzer) is off (in Life Extending Mode). 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) — 27.4; ppO2 (mmHg) — 151.1; ppCO2 (mmHg) — 3.7.
  • SM Transfer Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 761; temperature (deg C) — 20.4.
  • FGB Cabin:  Pressure (mmHg) — 756; temperature (deg C) — 23.0.
  • Node:  Pressure (mmHg) — 741.98; temperature (deg C) — 24.3 (shell); ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • U.S. Lab:  Pressure (mmHg) — 743.81; temperature (deg C) — 24.7; ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • Joint Airlock (Equip. Lock):   Pressure (mmHg) — 743.91; temperature (deg C) — 28.0; shell heater temp (deg C) — 24.2, ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • PMA-1:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — 25.1
  • PMA-2:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — 13.7

(n/a = data not available)

Electrical Power Systems (EPS):

  • Both P6 channels fully operational. BGA (beta gimbal assembly) 2B and 4B both in biased Autotrack mode (suntracking). 
  • SM batteries:  Battery #8, formerly known as #7, is still in slot #8 for troubleshooting; all other batteries (7) are in “Partial Charge” mode (batteries #1 and #3 are degraded).  
  • FGB batteries:  Battery #4 is in “Cycle” mode; all other batteries (5) are in “Partial Charge” mode.
  • Plasma Contactor Unit PCU-1 in Standby mode; PCU-2 in Standby mode.

Command & Data Handling Systems:

  • C&C-2 MDM is prime, C&C-1 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): 3 redundant lanes (of 3) operational (all lanes reintegrated 11/5).
  • SM Central Computer (TsVM): 2 redundant lanes (of 3) operational; string #3 dropped out 10/22.

Propulsion System:

  • Total propellant load available: 3704 kg (8166 lb) as of 11/13  [SM(755) + FGB(2597) + Progress M(352) + 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:

  • 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).

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, IAC-1 is suspect).
  • Video subsystem operating nominally.
  • HCOR (high-rate communications outage recorder) is operating nominally.


  • SSRMS/Canadarm2 based at MBS PDGF #2/LEE A, 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, 6:26am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 374.2 km
  • Apogee — 378.3 km
  • Perigee — 370.1 km
  • Period — 92.0 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0006052
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.65
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 200 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 28621
  • For more on ISS orbit and worldwide naked-eye visibility dates/times, see

SpaceRef staff editor.