Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 26 Apr 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
April 26, 2004
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 26 Apr 2004

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below.  Underway:  Week 27 for Expedition 8 — their last week in space.

The ceremony of Changing-of-Command from Expedition 8 (Michael Foale, Alexander Kaleri) to Expedition 9 (Gennady Padalka, Michael Fincke) took place at 1:05pm EDT, transmitted to the ground via Ku- and S-band and broadcast live on NASA TV.  With this, stewardship of the space station is officially transferred to the new crew.  As usual, the form of the traditional event, which celebrates and commemorates the transition between station crews, was at the crew’s discretion.   [Padalka and Kaleri also signed the usual formal Russian statements certifying Russian segment (RS) handover/acceptance, proper transfer of emergency procedures documents and placement of the Iridium/Motorola-9505 satellite phone in the Soyuz descent module, as well as the list of cargo stowed on Progress-260/13P for deorbit.]

Handover activities between Exp. 8 & Exp. 9 proceeded on schedule.

VC6 FE-1 André Kuipers, on his FD8, continued his payload work on scheduled experiments of the European “Delta” science package.  After the recent charging problem with the U.S. “Makita” batteries, a batch of them tested OK in the power tool this morning and were then used for André’s CIRCA/BMI blood pressure research throughout the day.  Other experiments for Kuipers were Seeds in Space, temperature monitoring and recording of the KUB incubator with the ICE-FIRST (incubation of strains of live worms in space to study genetic changes caused by space radiation), ETD (a 3D eye-tracking device to measure eye and head movements), SUIT (spatial orientation and body position), MOP (motion perception), and MUSCLE (back pain questionnaire).  In addition, on his optional task list André again had the activities of documenting his work photo/videographically and taking pictures of Holland during suitable overflight passes.   [ARGES was completed yesterday but currently remains in the powered-off MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox).]

FE Alexander Kaleri completed the first day of the Russian MBI-2 Diurez (“Diuresis”) experiment, for which he is the subject today and tomorrow.   [MBI-2 studies water-salt metabolism and volemic hormonal regulation during long duration spaceflight.  Today, Alex was required to record toilet use time in the morning, perform urine sample collections throughout the day, and log meal and fluid intake on a record card.  Additional work, to be completed tomorrow, consists of collecting his venous blood samples, followed by centrifugation to separate the blood into cells and plasma, and finally closeout and stowage.]

FE-9/SO Michael Fincke performed the daily leak check of the Lab window’s inter-pane volume, using the “Aeolus” scopemeter with pressure probe.  The measurement this morning was 88 Torr (mmHg).  The leak rate is currently estimated at ~27 Torr/day (from the cabin into the interstitial volume).

CDR/SO Michael Foale completed the sixth imaging session of the BCAT-3 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-3) experiment, setting up the SGSM (slow growth sample module) on the MWA (maintenance work area), photographing the sample sequentially with the Kodak 760 digital still camera and then stowing it, with the data stored on a PCMCIA 1GB micro drive.  Afterwards, the BCAT MWA hardware was disassembled and stowed.

CDR-9 Gennady Padalka conducted another one of his daily sessions of the Russian Fluorestsentsiya (“Fluorescence”) experiment using the FORREY apparatus, again being photographed by Kaleri during the activity with the Nikon D1.  Begun on 4/22, the experiment is performed daily until 4/28.

Padalka also worked on the Russian BIO-8 “Plasmida” experiment’s Rekomb-K hardware, activating the conjugation process and installing the equipment in the Kriogem-03M freezer.   [Plasmida studies the influence of micro-G on plasmid DNA transmission frequency; it is conducted jointly with the BTKh-10 Konyugatsiya experiment, which deals with the processes of genetic material transmission using bacterial conjugation.]

In functional handover, Sasha worked with Gennady on terminating the current measurement session of the Molniya-SM/LSO equipment, running on SM window #3 since 4/24, and deactivated its hardware, powering off the EGE-1 laptop.  Copying of data onto disk for return is scheduled for tomorrow.   [Purpose of Molniya-SM, similar to the French LSO experiment, is to record storm phenomena and other related events in the Earth’s equatorial regions.  The experiment requires orbital-sighting predictions using an up-to-date NORAD tracking TLE (two-line element) provided by NASA.  Objective of LSO 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).]

Later, Alex Kaleri also removed the six SPD dosimeters of the RBO-3 “Matryoshka-R” experiment from their locations throughout the RS as well as the detectors in the pockets of the spherical torso-simulating “phantom” device for return to Earth in the Soyuz 7S descent module.   [Matryoshka studies the radiation environment dynamics along the ISS RS flight path and in station compartments, plus dose accumulation on anthropomorphic (human body) simulacra (“phantoms”) inside and outside the station.]

Sasha then terminated and closed out his BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 (“Plants-2”) payload with its Lada-4 greenhouse, copying the accumulated photo/data files to a floppy diskette, taking final video imagery of the plants, and readying a package of seeds for another planting in the greenhouse later by Padalka.

Mike Fincke swapped HDDs (hard disk drives) in the Human Research Facility (HRF) computer.

Sasha Kaleri worked on the Russian laptop TP1 to download its stored photo files to HDD-3 for return to Earth, repeating the download later in the day.

Mike Foale, with Mike Fincke assisting, terminated the maintenance charge/discharge cycle on the two EMU/spacesuit batteries (#2029 & #2030) in the A/L’s BSA (battery stowage assembly), which they had initiated on 4/24.

Alex Kaleri held two teleconferences with ground specialists at TsUP/Moscow, one via Russian VHF, the other via S-band, to tag up on Soyuz deorbit details for next Thursday (4/29).

FE-9 Fincke performed today’s routine maintenance of the SOZh environmental control & life support systems in the SM and prepared the daily “delta” file for updating the IMS (inventory management system) database.  Later, he and Foale conducted the standard routine status checkup of autonomous payloads in the Lab.

André had another live television event with media in Holland, during which he was interviewed at 1:45am EDT with “Jeugdjournaal”.
A second media event for Kuipers was a Dutch radio interview on “Stenders Vroeg Radio 3” at 2:20am.

At 9:17am EDT, the two crews participated in live interactive TV interviews with Russian media assembled at TsUP, via U.S. assets (Ku-band with S/G2) from the Lab module.   [Time for this event was set aside to make up for the limited Ku-band video available at last week’s joint crew news conference.]

Update on EVA Planning for RPCM S02B-D R&R:  CMG-3 and -4 are both performing nominally.  Planning is underway for the EVA in May to replace the failed Remote Power Controller Module (RPCM) of CMG-2, using either U.S. EMUs (extravehicular mobility units) or Russian Orlan-M suits (preference is on the former).  After yesterday’s successful resizing of the three on-board EMUs, fit checks remain to be done with them, particularly for the gloves, which may determine whether the spacewalk can be performed before the arrival of Progress 14P, carrying EVA hardware for Fincke and Padalka.  More planning details will be available next week.

7S/Soyuz TMA-3 (Expedition 8 + 1) flight plan (4/26 update, but minor changes still possible):

  • Hatch Closing — 4/29, 1:34pm EDT (Moscow DMT: 4/29, 8:34pm)
  • Undocking — 4/29, 4:46pm EDT (Moscow DMT: 4/29, 11:46pm)
  • Deorbit Burn — 4/29, 7:07pm EDT (Moscow: 4/30, 2:07am)
  • Landing — 4/29, 7:58pm EDT (Moscow DMT: 4/30, 2:58am)

ISS Orbit  (as of this morning, 7:50am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 362.2 km
  • Apogee — 369.7 km
  • Perigee — 354.6 km
  • Period — 91.79 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0011194
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.69
  • Mean altitude loss last 24 hours — 120 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 31020

For more on ISS orbit and worldwide ISS naked-eye visibility dates/times, see

SpaceRef staff editor.