Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 25 Oct 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
October 25, 2003
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 25 Oct 2003

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below.  Expedition 7 is in the home stretch, and the count for their stay in space today is at 182 days.

As joint ops continue in full swing, this was not a regular “off-duty” Saturday.  On the contrary…

General handover activities between Exp. 7 and Exp. 8 continue to go well.  There were 2.5 hours allotted on today’s schedule for general handover, performed by Lu, Malenchenko, Foale and Kaleri, in addition to joint walk-throughs on specific tasks.

FE/SO Ed Lu and CDR-8 Mike Foale reviewed the EMU (extravehicular mobility unit) maintenance procedures scheduled for today.  They then set out in the Airlock to remove and replace the failed gas trap of EMU/spacesuit #3013 for its return to Earth on Soyuz 6S.  After the R&R, the next step was verification of proper coolant flow through the suit.   [Background:  Because oxygen and contamination do not make a safe combination in the presence of mechanical activity, all EMUs are currentlydeclared “no-go” for O2 flow until resolution of an issue discovered during ground processing that calls into question the level to which certain parts of the EMU in the O2 system are cleaned.  EMU#3013 was cleared for the gas trap R&R today after all suspect parts were verified to have beencleaned to the proper level.  EMUs #3005 and #3011 are still under investigation, but are expected to be cleared sometime in the next two weeks.]

CDR Yuri Malenchenko conducted his final 1.5-hr. training session in the “Chibis” ODNT suit as part of his preparations for returning into gravity.  Ed Lu provided assistance.   [The below-the-waist reduced-pressure device ODNT (US: LBNP) in the “Chibis” garment provides gravity-simulating stress to the body’s cardiovascular/circulatory system for reestablishing the body’s orthostatic tolerance (e.g., the Gauer-Henry reflex) after the six-month stay in zero-G.  Yuri’s ODNT protocol today consisted of first downing 150-200 milliliters of water or juice, followed by a sequence of progressive regimes of reduced (“negative”) pressure, set at -15, -20, -25, and -30 mmHg for five minutes each, then at -20, -25, -35 mmHg, 10 minutes in each mode, and at -25 mmHg for 5 min, while shifting from foot to foot at 10-12 steps per minute. The body’s circulatory system interprets the pressure differential between upper and lower body as a gravity-like force pulling the blood (and other liquids) down.  Today’s lack of telemetry to the ground during the training required preparation of appropriate medical kits and hooking up with the “Tensoplus” sphygmomanometer for taking arterial blood pressure readings.]

VCFE Pedro Duque focused most of his research time within ESA’s “Cervantes” science program today on the CARDIOCOG experiment, which studies changes in the cardiovascular and respiratory systems of humans in zero-G.  [After installing the BMI blood pressure measuring and recording instrumentation, he took systolic and diastolic blood pressure and pulse values throughout the day, logging the measurements on a registration sheet and the EGE2 laptop.  In CARDIOCOG, the circulatory and respiratory activity in zero-G is studied during periods of specific physical activities and mental stress.  FE Alex Kaleri took the video footage with the Russian DVCAM 150 camcorder and assisted in the mental stress portion.]

Other Cervantes tasks completed by Duque today included the BMI experiment, measuring arterial blood pressure every 15 min. in daytime and every 30 min. in night time, with a cuff worn on the arm not used for blood draws.  Venous blood samples were drawn from his other arm by Kaleri for the SYMPATHO-2 protocol, which tests a hypothesis explaining changes in the sympathoadrenal activity during spaceflight.  For the MSS-2/MESSAGE experiment, looking at microbial mobility and genetic processes in incubated Ralstonia metallidurans and Rhodosprillum rubrum bacteria cultures in zero-G, Duque incubated the last biological strain sample (#6).  For the AGE protocol, he performed video ops and bio-container swap-out after completion work on bio-containers #5-#8.  Other payload activities involved THEBAS, with video recording, another video tape change-out at the MSG/Glovebox for the nominally running PromISS-2 experiment (tape #6), and continued imagery of Pedro with the 3D (stereoscopic) camera by Kaleri, as well as regular video and photo recording of his onboard activities for documentary and PAO use on Earth.  Later, Sasha again recharged the DVCAM 150 camcorder battery.
Yuri Malenchenko unstowed (from SM & FGB) the Russian MedOps SZM-MO-21 experiment “Ecosphera” for setup, charged its power supply and checked the Kriogem-03 refrigerator, for tomorrow’s planned microbial air sampling run.   [The equipment, consisting of an air sampler set, a charger, power supply unit, and incubation tray for Petri dishes, determines microbial contamination of the ISS atmosphere, specifically the total bacterial and fungal microflora counts and microflora composition according to morphologic criteria of microorganism colonies.]

Malenchenko also unstowed and worked on the products of his past “gardening” activities with the Russian BIO-5 “Rasteniya-2/Lada-3” (Plants-2) zero-G plant growth experiment.   [The plants were prepared and placed in three packages along with silica gel, then readied for return to Earth on Soyuz 6S.]

Ed Lu and Mike Foale worked in the Lab, drawing standard samples of coolant fluid from the ITCS MTL (internal thermal control system/moderate temperature loop) for return to Earth and analysis.  [The MTL sample is no. 7 on the US return items priority list, and the sample bag was only half filled, with other kit components discarded, in response to the Soyuz stowage constraints.]

Malenchenko conducted the routine technical maintenance of the SM’s SOZh environment control & life support system, incl. the toilet equipment (ASU).

Pedro Duque again had half an hour set aside to work through and answer his email from “down home”.

Assisted by Kaleri, Pedro Duque set up the Russian TV equipment in the SM at 2:35am EDT.  Later, he downlinked two live Spanish-language TV interviews, one at 2:53am with TV3 Info K, a TV news programs for kids, the other at 4:28am with TeleMadrid, both in Spain.  During the exchanges, with the Spanish and ESA flags in the SM as backdrop, the logos of both TV stations were displayed.

The U.S. CDRA (carbon dioxide removal system) in the Lab experienced a failure and shut down. It has now been reactivated on one of its two channels (in single-bed mode).

A three-day test to check the QDs (quick disconnects) on the low-pressure O2 line in the Airlock was initiated on 10/23 via ground commanding and is currently underway.  [There are no indications of a leak in the O2 systems at this time, but this test is being performed to eliminate any possibility of a leak being masked by additional system malfunctions.  The crew has been notified and informed of what to do in the event they need to access the O2 system.]

Functional tests of the Iridium/Motorola-9505 satellite phone lithium-ion batteries carried up on 7S after vibration testing had confirmed that no hazards exist due to internal shorts.  These batteries may therefore be cleared to be left on board.  The safety of the first battery delivered on 12P has not been formally confirmed, since it had not undergone any vibration testing.  After a partial recharging on board on 9/22, it will return on Monday on 6S.

Specialists on the ground continue to address with great emphasis the current ISS environmental (ECLSS) monitoring situation.  It is not seen to present any higher risk to the health of the crewmembers than normal life on board. 

(1)  In both U.S. (USOS) and Russian (RS) segments, cabin air revitalization and constituents monitoring are fully functional.  Since hatches are always open, there is free air exchange between USOS and RS.
(2)  Carbon dioxide (CO2) is removed by the regenerable Vozdukh system in the SM as prime system, with the regenerable CDRA (CO2) removal assembly) in the Lab supplementing it when required (currently in single-bed mode).  CO2 absorbent canisters using LiOH (lithium hydroxide) are always on standby as backup.  Oxygen (O2) is supplied by the RS Elektron system from electrolysis of water (either condensate from the SM’s water supply system or from containers filled from the condensate collection tank of the U.S. Lab’s CCAA air conditioner).  O2 is sometimes also supplied from a Progress cargo ship’s storage tank as long as its supply lasts, conserving lifetime of the Elektron, and a third option is the O2 stored in the U.S. high-pressure tanks outside the “Quest” Airlock. 

(3)  The major cabin air constituents (O, CO2, CO, H2O) are continuously measured by the U.S. MCA (major constituent analyzer) mass spectrometer, which is currently reaching its end-of-life and is slated to be replaced with another unit manifested on the next Progress.  The U.S. GASMAP (gas analysis system for metabolic analysis of physiology), a mass spectrometer associated with the HRF (human research facility) for sampling air constituents on an ad-hoc basis (not continuously), is also being evaluated at present for monitoring/trending of constituents of cabin air (instead of exhaled air).   The Russian IK0501 gas analyzer (GA) in the SM is currently the primary sensor, providing independent automatic measurement of partial pressure of water (ppH2O), ppO2, volumetric fraction of CO2, volumetric fraction of H2, and gas flow mixture.  It is supplemented by a gas analyzer (GL2106) for CO (carbon monoxide).  The FGB has its own gas analyzer, and there is also a gas analyzer in the Soyuz which could be used if GA and MCA should fail.  CO2 readings are also taken once a week by the crew with the U.S. CDMK (CO2 monitoring kit).  Daily O2 trending data are collected by the crew with the U.S. CSA-CP (compound specific analyzer-combustion products).

(4)  The cabin atmosphere contains trace contaminants (TCs) in tiny amounts, i.e., organic compounds which could potentially become toxic enough to be hazardous at higher concentrations, although it takes off-nominal events like a fire or toxic spill to create higher concentrations in short time.  Both segments have functioning TC removal capability: In the USOS, it is the TCCS (Trace Contaminant Control Subassembly), i.e., a scrubber of gaseous contaminants.  In the RS, the Micropurification Unit (BMP) is prime for removing 19 major TCs, from Acetaldehyde to Toluene, by way of low-temperature catalytic oxidation with a combination of expendable and regenerable sorbent beds.  There is also a Harmful Contaminants Filter (FVP) in the FGB, which provides backup capability.  Assuming complete failure of both TCCS and BMP, time to reach the Russian SMACs (Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentrations) would be about 105 days.

(5)  However…it is difficult to tell quantitatively how effective these scrubbers are, since the GA in the RS is not designed to provide “real-time” TC monitoring capability.  Since the failure earlier this year of the U.S. VOA (volatile organics analyzer), the USOS has also lost its capability of monitoring TCs in “real time”.  Both partners are using returned air samples for keeping track of TCs and their trends, but since the Shuttle standdown the intervals between sample returns have grown.  Of particular importance is the U.S. SSAS (solid sorbent air sampler) which collects air sampling data over time, thus providing a “historical” (synoptic) view for “trending” analyses, whereas the air samples returned with grab sample containers (GSC) represent instantaneous “snapshots”.

Upcoming Soyuz Events:

  • 6S hatch closure: 10/27 (Monday), 3:05pm Eastern.
  • 6S undocking: 6:15pm Eastern, 2:15am (10/28) Moscow;
  • 6S landing:  10/27 (Monday), 9:41pm Eastern, 5:41am (10/28) Moscow.

U.S. and Russian Segment Status (as of 1:31pm EDT).

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

  • Elektron O2 generator is powered On, 50A.  Vozdukh CO2 scrubber is On (in Manual Mode 5/3).  U.S. CDRA CO2 scrubber is Operating in single-bed mode after failure/shutdown.  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) — 28.5; ppO2 (mmHg) — 160.9; ppCO2 (mmHg) — 2.4.
  • SM Transfer Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 765; temperature (deg C) — 21.8.
  • FGB Cabin:  Pressure (mmHg) — 760; temperature (deg C) — 21.7.
  • Node:  Pressure (mmHg) — 764.06; temperature (deg C) — 22.8 (shell); ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • U.S. Lab:  Pressure (mmHg) — 763.20; temperature (deg C) — 25.1; ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • Joint Airlock (Equip. Lock):   Pressure (mmHg) — 763.30; temperature (deg C) — 24.0; shell heater temp (deg C) — 24.2, ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • PMA-1:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — 22.1
  • PMA-2:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — 15.3.

(n/a = data not available)

Electrical Power Systems (EPS):

  • Both P6 channels fully operational.  BGA (beta gimbal assembly) 2B and 4B both in Directed Position (non-suntracking). 
  • SM batteries:  Battery #8, formerly known as #7, is off (still in slot #8); all other batteries (7) are in “Partial Charge” mode (batteries #1 and #3 are degraded). 
  • FGB batteries:  Batteries #1 is off; 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): 2 redundant lanes (of 3) operational; string #2 dropped out 9/26.
  • SM Central Computer (TsVM): 2 redundant lanes (of 3) operational; string #3 dropped out 10/22.

Propulsion System:

  • Total propellant load available: 3856 kg (8501b) as of 10/23  [SM(755) + FGB(2749) + 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:

  • LVLH YVV (y-axis in velocity vector, i.e. flying “sidewise”) [yaw: -90 deg, pitch: -8.9 deg., roll: 1.8 deg]), with CMG 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, 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 afternoon, 3:17pm EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 379.5 km
  • Apogee — 383.9 km
  • Perigee — 375.1 km
  • Period — 92.1 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0006529
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.63
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 150 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 28141
  • For more on ISS orbit and worldwide naked-eye visibility dates/times, see

SpaceRef staff editor.