Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 28 March 2006

By SpaceRef Editor
March 28, 2006
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NASA  Space Station On-Orbit Status 28 March 2006

SpaceRef note: This NASA Headquarters internal status report, as presented here, contains additional, original material produced by (copyright © 2006) to enhance access to related status reports and NASA activities.

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

The crew conducted a one-hour Soyuz descent training exercise, standard procedure for each crew returning on a Soyuz. The OBT (on-board training) was supported by a tagup and discussions with a ground instructor at TsUP/Moscow via S-band.  [The training session included a review of the ODF (operations data files) pertaining to the crew’s responsibilities during the descent, a 20-min. review of the descent timeline, and a 40-min. descent simulator session on the RSK-1 laptop. During descent, Tokarev, as Soyuz CDR, will occupy the middle couch, with Pontes in the right seat and McArthur in the Descent Module’s left Kazbek couch. Pending the final State Commission decision at about 3.5h before undocking, 11S return is scheduled for 4/8 (Saturday), with undocking command at 4:28pm EDT and landing in the vicinity of Arkhalyk/Kazakhstan at ~7:46pm EDT.]

In preparation for the arrival of Visiting Crewmember #10 (VC10) Marcos Pontes, FE Tokarev set up the work area for Pontes’ diverse experiments during his 8-day stay on the station.  [The equipment set up today was delivered on Progress 355 (20P), and Tokarev’s preparations are vital for the success of VC10 by reducing the Brazilian’s time spent on them. For the VC10 biological experiments, the FE set up the Russian glovebox plus the ESA incubators KUBIK 1 & KUBIK 2 in the Service Module (SM), and for the IMMUNO experiment the PLASMA-03 centrifuge near SM panel 230. He also cleared a memory card (LDM-ALC-901) for the ALTCRISS experiment, prepared the EGE-2 laptop for running the SIGMA application (a ballistic navigation program to compute the station’s ground track on the Earth, as required for automated file downlinking), and set up folders on the RSK1 laptop for storing VC10 photo images.]

CDR William McArthur worked on the SM’s IK0501 gas analyzer of the SOGS Pressure Control & Atmospheric Monitoring System, replacing its nearly-expired fan with a new spare, located yesterday after some searching.

Meanwhile, Tokarev dismantled the two “Klest” (KL-152) TV cameras and their light units in the 11S Descent Module (DM) and stowed them for return to the ground.

Also for return on Soyuz, Valery removed the SPD dosimeter assemblies of the Matryoshka-R radiation monitoring payload and transferred them to the DM.  [Matryoshka automatically takes radiation measurements in the SM and DC-1 docking compartment for studies of on-orbit radiation and long-term dose accumulation, using six SPD dosimeters deployed throughout the Russian segment (RS) as well as in a spherical body-simulating Matryoshka-R phantom.]

Processing Status
Daily Mission
Return to Flight
Weekly Status
Weekly Science
Daily On-Orbit Status
Daily Crew Timeline
Soyuz | Progress
ISS News | ATV


The crew began their third and final NASA/JSC renal (kidney) stone session, starting their diet logs, after which CDR McArthur set up the experiment hardware and took photo documentation. McArthur also prepacked 37 previously collected samples for return.  [This long-range preventive medicine investigation features daily random ingestion of either potassium citrate or placebo tablets. It is Dr. Peggy Whitson’s double-blind research study investigating methods to prevent formation of kidney stones in zero-G. Part of the experiment consists in keeping a metabolic diet log (food and fluid intake) with the BCR (bar code reader), followed by collection of urine samples several times per day starting tomorrow and ending on Thursday morning (3/30).]

Valery and Bill performed the periodic (monthly) functional closure test of a spare emergency vacuum valve (AVK) for the Vozdukh CO2 removal system, in the spare parts kit.  [The AVKs are critical because they close the Vozdukh’s vacuum access lines in the event of a malfunction in the regular vacuum valves (BVK) or a depressurization in the Vozdukh valve panel (BOA). Access to vacuum is required to vent carbon dioxide (CO2) during the regeneration of the absorbent cartridges (PP). During nominal operation, the AVK valves remain open.]

The CDR used the on-board printer to prepare hard copies of the new E12-E13 Crew Handover Book for the RS and Safety Briefing Cue Cards, in English and Russian, uplinked overnight via OCA comm.

McArthur also completed the regular monthly reboot of the PCS (Portable Computer System) A31p laptops

Both crewmembers again had an hour each to prepare for their departure on 4/8.

Valery completed the daily routine maintenance of the SM’s environment control & life support system (SOZh), including its toilet system (ASU), while Bill updated/edited the standard IMS (Inventory Management System) “delta file”, including locations, for the regular weekly automated export/import to its three databases on the ground (Houston, Moscow, Baikonur).

The CDR conducted another periodic atmospheric status check for ppO2 (Partial Pressure Oxygen) and ppCO2 (pp Carbon Dioxide), using the CSA-O2 (Compound Specific Analyzer-Oxygen Sensor).

Working off his discretionary “time available” task list, Tokarev completed his regular checkup on the Japanese experiment GCF-JAXA (Granada Crystallization Facility) in the Russian TBU incubator, maintained at 20 degC, including a temperature check on its ART (automatic temperature recorder).  [This daily monitoring/temp checking, carried on the Russian voluntary “time available” task list, will continue until 4/30.]

Both crewmembers worked out in their regular 2.5-hr. physical exercise program on the TVIS treadmill, RED resistive exerciser and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer.  [Valery’s daily protocol prescribes a strict four-day microcycle exercise with 1.5 hr on the treadmill in unmotorized mode and one hour on VELO plus load trainer (today: Day 2 of the first set).]

Afterwards, McArthur transferred the exercise data files to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) for downlink, as well as the daily wristband HRM (heart rate monitor) data of the workouts on RED, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).

The crew performed the standard weekly maintenance on the TVIS treadmill in the SM, primarily checking the condition of the SPDs (Subject Positioning Devices) and recording time & date values.

At ~12:55pm EST, the CDR set up the Sputnik-SM Kenwood D700 amateur radio station in the SM for a ham radio session at 1:00pm with students at Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School, Bradley, Illinois USA. This made the 35th such session with students for McArthur who has conducted more ham sessions during his six months in orbit than any other station crew member.  [Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School serves three adjacent communities in north-central Illinois, approximately 60 miles south of Chicago, with about 1975 students. Questions were uplinked to the crew beforehand. “Have you noticed any changes in the way you dream or the subjects of your dreams in space?”; “What do you think is the biggest misconception people have of living in space?”; “Does the lack of gravity have an adverse effect on your internal organs?” etc.]

Yesterday, the crew was able to locate the four missing LP-9 LiOH (lithium hydroxide) CO2 absorber cartridges that are used in Russian Orlan spacesuits and were supposed to be used during RS EVA-15. Because they were missing, the crew used new cartridges on EVA-15 which were manifested on 20P.  

With the magnitude of the solar Beta angle now less than 40 deg, a contingency maneuver to LVLH (local vertical/local horizontal) attitude is no longer required if the single remaining string of MT (Mobile Transporter) heaters should fail.

Solar Eclipse: Tomorrow, a total eclipse of the Sun will be visible from within a narrow “corridor” of the Moon’s umbra (full shadow) traversing half the Earth, beginning in Brazil and extending across the Atlantic, northern Africa and central Asia, ending at sunset in western Mongolia. A partial eclipse will be seen in the northern two thirds of Africa, Europe and central Asia, when the penumbral shadow of the Moon moves across these parts. The ISS will pass through the Moon’s umbra on Daily Orbit 6 (5:46-6:03am EST), with 94% of the Sun covered at maximum. The crew will also have an excellent view of the Moon’s shadow moving on Earth (if a window is available).

At Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome, launch preparations are continuing on the Soyuz TMA-8/12S crew transport spacecraft. Starting at 8:00pm EST last night (5:00am Moscow Time this morning), the rail transporter with the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle and the Soyuz TMA-8/12S transport spacecraft left the Assembly & Testing Facility, arrived at the launch pad and was erected for the final pre-launch processing (see pictures below). [After pre-launch operations on the launch complex, such as LV tanking, liftoff is scheduled for tomorrow night (3/29, 9:30pm EST). Besides its crew of three, 12S will carry 160 kg of cargo, consisting of 76 manifested cargo items: 37 Russian (14 logistics, 2 Brazilian commemorative, plus 9 Russian and 12 Brazilian experiments), 12 items for 7 ESA payloads, and 27 US cargo items (spares and consumables, crew support & medical equipment, plus EVA hardware).]

Today’s CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets, limited in the current XPOP attitude by flight rule constraints on the use of the Lab nadir/science window, which is available for only ~1/4 of each orbit when not facing forward (in ram), were Ganges basin air pollution, India (looking half left for obliques of air pollution. Including the Himalayan mountain front provides good context), and Toshka Lakes, Egypt (glint opportunity right of track as the glint disc passes close to the lakes west of Lake Nasser).

To date, more than 186,000 of CEO images have been taken in the first five years of the ISS, almost one third of the total number of images taken from orbit by astronauts.

CEO photography can be viewed and studied at the websites:

CEO photography can be viewed and studied at the websites:

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at:

To view the latest photos taken by the expedition 12 crew visit:

Expedition 12 Flight Crew Plans can be found at

Previous NASA ISS On-orbit Status Reports can be found here. Previous NASA Space Station Status Reports can be found here. Previous NASA Space Shuttle Processing Status Reports can be found here. A collection of all of these reports and other materials relating to Return to Flight for the Space Shuttle fleet can be found here.

ISS Location NOW

Full Size/Update

ISS Orbit  (as of this morning, 6:50am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 345.5 km
  • Apogee height – 351.6 km
  • Perigee height — 339.3 km
  • Period — 91.45 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0009133
  • Solar Beta Angle — -38.9 deg (magnitude decreasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.75
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 76 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 42044

Significant Events Ahead (all dates subject to change)

  • 03/29/06 — Soyuz TMA-8/12S launch (Pavel Vinogradov/Russia, Jeffrey Williams/US, Marcos Pontes/Brazil, 9:30pm EST; 3/30, 6:30am Moscow; 3/30, 8:30am Baikonur)
  • 03/31/06 — Soyuz TMA-8/12S docking (FGB nadir port), 11:19pm EST; mnvr. to LVLH XVV after dock; 4/1, 8:19am Moscow)
  • 04/01/06 — Soyuz TMA-8/12S-ISS hatch opening ~12:30am EST
  • 04/08/06 — Soyuz TMA-7/11S-ISS hatch closing ~1:12pm EDT
  • 04/08/06 — Soyuz TMA-7/11S undocking (4:28pm EDT) & land (7:46pm EDT); (mnvr. to XPOP after undock)
  • 04/19/06 — SM main engine test/ISS reboost
  • 04/24/06 — Progress M-56/21P launch
  • 04/26/06 — Progress M-56/21P docking (SM aft port)
  • 06/19/06 — Progress M-55/20P undocking (DC1) & reentry
  • 06/28/06 — Progress M-57/22P launch
  • 06/30/06 — Progress M-57/22P docking (DC1)
  • 07/01/06 — NET STS-121/ULF1.1 launch
  • 07/??/06 — US EVA-5
  • 07/31/06 — Russian EVA-16
  • 08/28/07 — NET STS-115/12A launch
  • 09/13/06 — Progress M-56/21P undocking (SM aft port) & reentry
  • 09/14/06 — Soyuz TMA-9/13S launch (Expedition 14 + VC11)
  • 09/16/06 — Soyuz TMA-9/13S docking (SM aft port)
  • 09/24/06 — Soyuz TMA-8/12S undocking (FGB nadir port) & reentry
  • 10/08/06 — Soyuz TMA-9/13S relocation (SM aft port to FGB nadir port)
  • 10/18/06 — Progress M-58/23P launch
  • 10/20/06 — Progress M-58/23P docking (SM aft port)
  • 11/16/06 — NET STS-116/12A.1 launch
  • 12/19/06 — Progress M-57/22P undocking (DC1) & reentry
  • 12/20/06 — Progress M-59/24P launch
  • 12/22/06 — Progress M-59/24P docking (DC1)
  • 02/06/07 — Progress M-59/24P undocking (DC1) & reentry
  • 02/07/07 — Progress M-60/25P launch
  • 02/09/07 — Progress M-60/25P docking (DC1)
  • ??/??/07 — Progress M-58/23P undocking (SM aft port) & reentry
  • 03/09/07 — Soyuz TMA-10/14S launch (Expedition 15 + VC12)
  • 03/11/07 — Soyuz TMA-10/14S docking (SM aft port)
  • 03/19/07 — Soyuz TMA-9/13S undocking (FGB nadir port)
  • 03/22/07 — NET STS-117/13A launch
  • ??/??/07 — Soyuz TMA-10/14S relocation (SM aft port to FGB nadir port)
  • 06/14/07 — NET STS-118/13A.1.

(NET = no earlier than)

ISS Altitude History

Apogee height Mean AltitudePerigee height

ISS Altitude History

For more on ISS orbit and worldwide ISS naked-eye visibility dates/times, see In addition, information on International Space Station sighting opportunities can be found at on NASA’s Human Spaceflight website. The current location of the International Space Station can be found at at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Additional satellite tracking resources can be found at

SpaceRef staff editor.