Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 27 Apr 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
April 27, 2004
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 27 Apr 2004

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below.  Two more days to go for Expedition 8 +1.

Update on Soyuz 7S Helium Leaks:  Yesterday afternoon, TsUP/Moscow performed unplanned 7S propulsion system testing on Daily Orbit 12 (DO12) and DO13, which did not involve thruster firings.  The data are being reviewed. [First, manifold #2 was pressurized during DO12, to check on pressure decay from its leak, and a slight decrease in helium gas pressure was reported.  Manifold #1 was then pressurized on DO13, reportedly showing a similar decrease in pressure.  Both tests concluded nominally.  Fuel (UDMH) and Oxidizer (NTO) tank pressures remained unchanged during the test.]

Update on CMG Planning:  MCC-H has develop a new flight attitude strategy that avoids transitioning to solar-oriented XPOP (x-axis perpendicular to orbit plane) for the next few weeks, leaving the station in earth-oriented LVLH XVV (local vertical/local horizontal, x-axis in velocity vector) until 5/18 and eliminating the planned XPOP period from 4/29 to 5/5. [Purpose: CMG preservation, by foregoing the higher-than-desired CMG gimbal rates required for transitioning to XPOP, which are the leading cause of CMG-3 current and vibration spikes.  While XPOP attitude is desirable from a BGA (Beta Gimbal Assembly) conditioning perspective, specialists have found that skipping this single XPOP period is admissible from structures & mechanics (thermal) aspects, provided XPOP attitude can be regained on ~5/18.]

CDR-9 Gennady Padalka and VC6 FE André Kuipers started the day, before breakfast, by “donating” blood samples for the biomed experiment SYMPATHO (to verify the hypothesized change of sympathoadrenal activity in micro-G by studying sympathic nervous system activity using laboratory analysis of venous blood samples collected during flight).

Kuipers, on his FD9, conducted other scheduled experiments of the European “Delta” science package. [Today, the Dutch visiting crewmember focused on more CIRCA/BMI blood pressure measurements, which he then ended and closed out (Fincke stowing the U.S. Makita batteries), the KUB-ICE experiment with live nematode worms (Caenorhabditis elegans), KUB-TUBUL with cells of a wild form of tobacco in a suspension culture and their chemical fixation, SUIT (body positioning with tactile signals) ops and close-out, MOP motion perception studies, MUSCLE back pain recording and VIDEO-3, involving video footage to demonstrate effects of zero-G on the human body (blood pressure & circulation, fluid shift, orientation awareness).  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.]

Handover activities between Exp. 8 & Exp. 9 proceeded on schedule. [As of last night, FE-9 Michael Fincke has been scheduled for over 11 hrs of functional handover and over 15 hrs of dedicated handover time so far this mission.  Likewise, CDR-8 Michael Foale has been scheduled for over 16 hrs of functional handover and over 10 hrs of dedicated handover time.]

Assisted by Gennady Padalka, FE-8 Alexander Kaleri completed the last day ops of the Russian MBI-2 Diurez (“Diuresis”) experiment. [MBI-2 today featured the end of urine sampling and added collection of capillary blood specimen for red blood cell mass (hematocrit) determination (per MO-10 procedure) and venous blood samples, followed by centrifugation (per MBI-7 BIOTEST protocol).  Diurez was then closed out and the samples stowed in the Soyuz TMA-3/7S Descent Module (BO).]

Later, Kaleri collected air samples in the Service Module (SM) using the IPD Draeger tube samplers to check for NH3 (ammonia). [NH3 sampling is regularly done before and after the MBI-2 Diurez experiment.]

Subsequently, Sasha completed the first of two final 1.5-hr. training sessions in the “Chibis” ODNT suit as part of his preparations for returning into gravity.  Since there was no telemetry downlink, his vital body readings were obtained with the Tensoplus sphygmomanometer.  A tagup with ground specialists via S-band supported the run, and Mike Foale 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.  Sasha’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 -20, -25, -30 and -35 mmHg for five minutes each, then at -25, -30,and -35 mmHg, 10 minutes in each mode, and at -30 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.]

Kaleri, Foale and Kuipers had 3 hrs. set aside to conduct the Soyuz descent training exercise, standard procedure for each crew returning on a Soyuz.  The exercise, which strictly forbids any command activation (except for switching the InPU display), was supported by a tagup with ground experts at TsUP/Moscow via U.S. S-band. [The training session included a review of the pertinent ODF (operational data files), specifically the books on Soyuz Insertion & Descent Procedures, Emergency Descents, and Off-Nominal Situation Procedures, and it featured special emphasis on nominal operations with the new Neptune-ME “cockpit” console.  During descent, Kaleri, as Soyuz CDR, will occupy the middle couch, with FE-1 Kuipers in the left seat and FE-2 Foale in the Descent Module’s right “Kazbek” couch.]

Sasha unstowed the Russian MedOps SZM-MO-21 experiment “Ecosphera” for setup and recharge of its power supply, 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.]

Mike 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 118 Torr (mmHg). [The leak rate is currently estimated at ~27 Torr/day (from the cabin into the interstitial volume).]

In the Soyuz TMA-3 Orbital Module (OM), FE Kaleri deinstalled and removed the LKT local temperature sensor commutator (TA251M1B) of the BITS2-12 onboard telemetry system and its read-only memory (ROM) unit (PZU TA765B), now no longer required (OM to be jettisoned Thursday evening).  The units were stowed for future reuse.

Meanwhile, Foale guided Fincke through a familiarization session with the Airlock (A/L) CCAA (common cabin air assembly) air conditioner and the connect/disconnect procedure of the LTL (low temperature loop) jumper cable on the CDRA (carbon dioxide removal assembly). [Fincke is currently using the A/L for sleeping quarters.]

In another functional handover, Foale and Fincke transferred water from the Lab condensate collection tank to a CWC (contingency water container), draining a majority of the water from the tank. [The Russian SKV-1 air conditioner had been reactivated successfully yesterday morning at ~2:20am EDT, after it shut down the night before due to a filled collection tank.]

In a new round of monthly preventive maintenance of Russian segment air ventilation systems, Padalka worked in the “Pirs” DC-1 docking compartment where he cleaned the two PF1 & PF2 dust filters of its air duct system as well as the protective mesh screens of the V1 & V2 ventilator fans (last time done: 3/30).

Later, the new station CDR collected surface samples of equipment and structures in the FGB module for microbial analysis, then stowed the test tubes in the Soyuz TMA-3 BO for return.

Concluding the latest run of the Molniya-SM/LSO experiment, Kaleri downloaded measurements recorded during the recent (4/24-26) session of the Molniya-SM/LSO experiment from the LSO memory to HDD (hard-disk drive) on the EGE-1 laptop for return to Earth on 7S. [Objective of the unattended Molniya-SM session, similar to the French LSO experiment, was to record storm phenomena and other related events in the Earth’s equatorial regions.]

On the BIO-8 “Plasmida” experiment in the SM, Sasha and Gennady completed the conjugation process of the Rekomb-K hybridization experiment, took photographs of the operation and reset the Kriogem-03M freezer to +4 degC.

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.]

Mike Foale performed the weekly maintenance on the TVIS treadmill, including the inspection of its wire ropes (dampers) for signs of fraying.  Mike Fincke then, for his first time, transferred data files from the physical exercise equipment to the medical equipment computer (MEC) via memory card and RED log entries, for downlink on OCA comm.  He also conducted the periodic transfer of accumulated data files from the wristband HRM (heart rate monitor) receiver stations to the MEC for downlink and their erasure on the HRM.

FE-9 Fincke performed today’s routine maintenance of the SOZh environmental control & life support systems in the SM, and Padalka prepared the daily “delta” file for updating the IMS (inventory management system) databases.
“Spanky” Fincke also had 2.5 hrs. reserved on his schedule for general familiarization with his new residence in space. [ISS familiarization & acclimatization is a standard daily rule for a new crew for the first two weeks after starting station residency.]

André Kuipers conducted another live television event with media in Holland, during which he was interviewed at 2:15am EDT on the Dutch SBS-6 show.

At 10:43am, Foale and Fincke were interviewed via Ku-band/TV by Florida Today (Chris Kridler) and the Spaceflight Now website (

For Gennady Padalka, the Russian task list today included a request for Uragan photography at his discretion. [For geography lessons in schools, he was to use the digital camera with 800mm and 400mm lenses on targets along the Volga, Kama and Vyatka Rivers, overlapping strip photos of the Talaso-Fergana Fault in Central Asia (on which the Toktogul hydroelectric power station is built), the Alps, Balkans, Marmara Sea and western regions of Turkey.]

The crew took a fluid sample (~75 ml) of the U.S. ITCS (internal thermal control system) for return on 7S.  The sample showed no increase in ammonia level.

7S/Soyuz TMA-3 (Expedition 8 + 1) flight plan (corrected from yesterday):

  • Soyuz/DC-1 Hatch Closing — 4/29, 1:35pm EDT (Moscow DMT: 4/29, 8:35pm)
  • Undocking — 4/29, 4:49pm EDT (Moscow DMT: 4/29, 11:49pm)
  • Deorbit Burn (start) — 4/29, 7:20pm EDT (Moscow: 4/30, 2:20am)
  • Landing — 4/29, 8:12pm EDT (Moscow DMT: 4/30, 3:12am)

U.S. and Russian Segment Status

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

  • Elektron O2 generator is On.  Vozdukh CO2 scrubber is On.  U.S. CDRA CO2 scrubber is On.  TCCS (trace contaminant control subsystem) is operating.  SM Gas Analyzer has been calibrated and is used for ppO2 & ppCO2 monitoring.  MCA (major constituents analyzer) is in Life Extending Mode (LEM).  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 panel mods completed 4/8; SKV-2 activation failed 4/20).  SFOG slot#2 fan suspect (not usable).

Electrical Power Systems (EPS):

  • Both P6 channels fully operational.  BGA (beta gimbal assembly) 2B and 4B both in Dual Angle mode (non-solar tracking, set at 80 deg sweep).
  • SM batteries:  All batteries (8) are in “Partial Charge” mode.
  • FGB batteries:  Battery #1 is off-line (capacity restoration mode, ROM); all other batteries (5) are in “Partial Charge” mode.
  • Plasma Contactor Unit PCU-1 is in Standby mode; PCU-2 is 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-2 MDM is prime; GNC-1 is Backup.
  • INT-2 is operating; INT-1 is Off.
  • EXT-1 is On (primary), EXT-2 is Off.
  • 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 1 dropped out 11/22/03).
  • SM Central Computer (TsVM): 2 redundant lanes (of 3) operational (string #3 dropped out 10/22/03).
  • FGB MDM-1 is Off (failed, 11/21/03); MDM-2 is Operational.

Propulsion System:

  • Total propellant load available: 3787 (8349 lb) as of 4/23/04;  [SM(755) + FGB(2373) + Progress M-1(659)].  (Capability: SM — 860 kg; FGB — 6120 kg).

Attitude Control Systems:

  • 2 CMGs on-line (CMG-1 failed, since 6/6/02; CMG-2 RPC-17 failed 4/21/04).
  • 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 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 (may require a mask).
  • Audio subsystem is operating nominally (IAC-1 is prime, IAC-2 is off).
  • Video subsystem operating nominally.
  • HCOR (high-rate communications outage recorder) is operating nominally.


  • SSRMS/Canadarm2 based at Lab PDGF/LEE A, operational on redundant string, off on prime.
  • MBS: KA (keep alive) 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, 6:37am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 362.1 km
  • Apogee — 369.6 km
  • Perigee — 354.6 km
  • Period — 91.78 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0011128
  • Solar Beta Angle — -2.8 deg (magnitude increasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.69
  • Mean altitude loss last 24 hours — 140 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 31035

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

SpaceRef staff editor.