Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 29 Mar 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
March 29, 2004
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 29 Mar 2004

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below.  Underway: Week 23 for Increment 8.

Before breakfast, both crewmembers completed their first session of the periodic Russian medical experiment protocols PZEh-MO-7 (calf volume measurement) and PZEh-MO-8 (body mass measurement).  FE Alex Kaleri set up the MO-8 “scales” equipment and subsequently broke it down and stowed it away.

Later, Kaleri was to perform a major 5-hr. IFM (in-flight maintenance) inside the Soyuz TMA-3/7S, to repair the V1 fan of the KhSA cooler/dryer unit in the crew return vehicle’s Descent Module (SA), but the activity was deferred after a tagup with ground specialists when Alex encountered a problem with the fan.   [The planned R&R is in response to the finding of the investigation & status check done by Kaleri on the KhSA fans on 11/1/03, which in turn was prompted by higher-than-expected humidity (18 mmHg) encountered in the Soyuz cabin during the stand-alone Expedition 8 crew flight to the ISS (10/18-10/20/03).  To repair or, if necessary, replace the fan, Sasha had to gain access to the fan outlets by reconfiguring the SA, disassembling the air duct between DC-1 and Soyuz, relocating the Sokol spacesuits, flipping back the foot rests on the three couches, and using a local light in the confined work space.]

CDR Michael Foale completed another session on the new BCAT-3 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-3) experiment for NASA GRC (Glenn Research Center)’s microgravity research program.  Today’s activities focused on BCAT-3 sample homogenizing and the first two photography runs.  The images were to be downlinked for review by the ground team, which then will provide feedback in tomorrow’s BCAT conference.  Foale was also asked to document his activities on videotape.   [BCAT-3 is a Small Payload for ISS using the Kodak DCS760 digital camera with MagLite at the MWA.  Experiment hardware for homogenizing samples in micro-G include a Slow Growth Sample Module with sample couvettes and the BCAT Magnet for homogenizing the alloy samples (toxicity level 1) to initiate growth of colloidal structures.  Forerunners were the glovebox investigations BCAT & BCAT-2 launched on STS-79 & STS-86 to the Russian space station Mir during the fall of ’96 and ’97.  BCAT-3 is a precursor for the LMM (Light Microscopy Module) scheduled to fly in 2006.  BCAT-3 is also a follow-on experiment to CGEL (Colloidal Gelation) operated by Mike Foale on Mir/Increment 5.  Possible future applications of the colloidal alloy experiments are photonic crystals for telecommunications and computer applications (e.g., optical switches and waveguides, “computing with light”), extremely low threshold lasers, and improved use of supercritical fluids (e.g. CO2 for food extractions, pharmaceuticals, dry cleaning, etc.)]

Afterwards, Mike Foale reinstalled four DZUS fasteners on a panel in the Lab module.

After yesterday’s task-listed Diatomeya work on Service Module windows, Alex Kaleri conducted more activities today for the Russian ocean research program, performing observation, photo and video imagery of bio-productive aquatic areas of the South Atlantic Ocean and of cloud formations above them.   [He used the Nikon F5 with f/80 mm lens and the DVCAM 150 digital camcorder (minimum zoom mode) for recording of video and voice-over audio of color-contrasting formations on the open aquatic areas, local anomalies in the cloud field structure, and manifestations of water dynamics on the ocean surface.]

Sasha also continued yesterday’s task-listed session of the Russian Uragan earth imaging program, today focusing the Kodak DCS760 digital camera with 800-mm and 400mm lenses on new targets of nature and industry environment conditions.  [They included the southern coast of Cyprus, the shoreline of the Bay of Gulf of Iskenderun, volcanoes in Turkey and Armenia, the Koura river valley, the Chirkeiskoe water reservoir, the shoreline of the Caspian Sea, and panoramic imagery of the western Caspian shore from the Volga estuary to Apsheron.]

The FE performed his regular maintenance/inspection of the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 (“Plants-2”) greenhouse.   [Rasteniya studies growth and development of plants (peas) under spaceflight conditions in the Lada-4 greenhouse.  Regular maintenance involves monitoring of seedling growth, humidity measurements, watering to moisten the substrate if necessary, and photo/video recording.]
Mike conducted the daily routine maintenance of the SM’s SOZh life support system (including ASU toilet facilities), and he also prepared the daily IMS inventory “delta” file for automated updating the IMS databases.

Both crewmembers completed their daily physical exercise program.  They also performed the weekly maintenance of the TVIS treadmill (a five-minute task for each treadmill user, usually done just prior to power-down or end of exercise session).

Starting at 9:00am EST, MCC-Houston began a remote-commanded checkout of software for the two TRRJs (thermal radiator rotary joints) of the U.S. segment that will run for the next several days.   [The TRRJs are needed to support the ETCS (external thermal control system) when it is activated during the 12A.1 mission (NET 12/1/05), and this test is the first of several in support of that activation.  Both TRRJs have had a full hardware checkout in previous expeditions (Loop A on the S1 truss during 9A, Loop B on P1 during Increment 6), but this is the first time that the automated software algorithms will be used for checking out the flight hardware.  The C/O includes several orbits of Autotrack mode for the BGAs (Beta gimbal assemblies) andseveral orbits in each of two configurations of Blind mode.]

Today’s CEO (Crew Earth Observations) targets, in the current LVLH attitude no longer limited by flight rule constraints on the use of the Lab nadir/science window, except for the shutter closure and condensation-prevention plan (limited to 90 min. in 24 hours), were Ganges River Delta (looking left for a mapping pass of land use in the delta.  The major visual is the protected outer islands where native forests still appear dark green, with a sharp boundary on the inshore side where agriculture begins), Dhaka, Bangladesh (nadir pass over this city), Cape Town, South Africa (good pass just south of Table Mountain.  Looking nadir and left), Johannesburg, South Africa (looking left towards the center of the Witwatersrand region.  Crews ask about the numerous white patches scattered throughout the city [bigger further out from the center].  These are “mine dumps,” or spoil tips from the gold mines, older dumps being re-mined for their remnant gold content), Karachi, Pakistan (looking a touch left), Tashkent, Uzbekistan (looking right at the foot of the mountains), Tropical storm, Brazil (Dynamic event.  This unusual storm went ashore last evening and started breaking up.  Documenting the evolution of the storm, whether well formed offshore or breaking up over land, is of great interest. Looking left towards the Brazilian coastline), Lima, Peru (nadir pass), Mexico City, Mexico (nadir pass), and Albuquerque, New Mexico (nadir pass).

CEO images can be viewed at the websites.

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

U.S. and Russian Segment Status (as of today, 1:12pm EST).

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 Standby (ready in dual-bed mode).  TCCS (trace contaminant control subsystem) is operating.  SM Gas Analyzer has been calibrated and is used for ppO2 and 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 (repair now completed; to be tested ASAP).
  • SM Working Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 742; temperature (deg C) — 26.6; ppO2 (mmHg) — 159.5; ppCO2 (mmHg) — 3.7;
  • SM Transfer Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 752; temperature (deg C) — 20.1.
  • FGB Cabin:  Pressure (mmHg) — 752; temperature (deg C) — 22.7.
  • Node:  Pressure (mmHg) — 750.89; temperature (deg C) — 23.0 (shell); ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • U.S. Lab:  Pressure (mmHg) — 752.87; temperature (deg C) — 25.0; ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • Joint Airlock (Equip. Lock):   Pressure (mmHg) — 753.0; temperature (deg C) — 23.2; shell heater temp (deg C) — 22.7, ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • PMA-1:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — 23.2
  • PMA-2:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — 20.1

(n/a = data not available)

Electrical Power Systems (EPS):
Both P6 channels fully operational.  BGA (beta gimbal assembly) 2B and 4B both in Autotrack

  • (suntracking) and biased for drag reduction.
  • SM batteries:  Battery #8 is off-line; all other batteries (7) are in “Partial Charge” mode.  
  • FGB batteries:  Battery #6 is off-line (capacity restoration mode, ROM); battery #2 is in “Cycle” mode; all other batteries (4) 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-1 MDM is prime; GNC-2 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); MDM-2 is Operational.

Propulsion System:

  • Total propellant load available: 3926 kg (8655 lb) as of 3/26/04;  [SM(755) + FGB(2512) + Progress M-1(659)].  (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), until 3/28.

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-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, 7:02am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 366.0 km
  • Apogee — 373.3km
  • Perigee — 358.7 km
  • Period — 91.87 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.6295 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0010811
  • Solar Beta Angle — 18.2 (magnitude decreasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.67
  • Mean altitude loss last 24 hours — 180 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 30580

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

SpaceRef staff editor.