Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 30 Jun 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
June 30, 2003
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 30 Jun 2003

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously.  Week 9 for Increment 7 is underway.  [Yesterday 32 years ago the heroic crew of Soyuz 11 (“Yantar”) died during reentry on return from their 23d 18h stay in the first Soviet space station, Salyut 1: Georgi Dobrovolski, Viktor Patzayev, and Vladislav Volkov.  The death of the world’s first space station crew on 29 June 1971 was caused by explosive cabin air decompression through an incompletely closed vent valve in the Soyuz Descent Module, which upon jettisoning of the Orbital Module became exposed to the hard vacuum of space before atmospheric entry.]

Before breakfast, both ISS crewmembers completed another session of the periodic Russian medical experiment protocols PZEh-MO-7 (calf volume measurement) and PZEh-MO-8 (body mass measurement).  CDR Yuri Malenchenko set up the MO-8 “scales” equipment and later broke it down and stowed it away.  (Last time done: 6/16).   [Calf measurements (left leg only) are taken with the IZOG device, a custom-sewn fabric cuff that fits over the calf, using the knee and lower foot as fixed reference points, to provide a rough index of deconditioning in zero-G and effectiveness of countermeasures.  For determining body ass in zero-G, where things are weightless (but not massless), the Russian IM “scales” measure the inertial forces that arise during the oscillatory motion of a mass driven by two helical metering springs with known spring constants.  By measuring the time period of each oscillation of the unknown mass (the crewmember) and comparing it to the period of a known mass, the crewmember’s mass is calculated by the computer and displayed].

CDR Yuri Malenchenko had several sessions with the Russian Uragan (“hurricane”) earth imaging program (GFI-8), focusing the Kodak DCS760 digital still camera with 800-mm lens on targets including Berlin/Potsdam urban conglomeration, the cities of Chernobyl and Kharkov, Don River floodplain, the Black Earth belt of Kalmykia, Port Olya south of Astrakhan, the Himalayas, urban centers in W Europe (Brussels, Cologne-Bonn, Frankfurt am Main, Nuremberg, Plzen, Prague, Brno, Budapest, etc.), the Carpathian mountains, and the S coast of the Black Sea.  The images were to be downlinked later via U.S. OCA assets.

FE/SO Dr. Ed Lu powered up the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox), then supervised another experiment session with the InSPACE (Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions) experiment.  Afterwards, the MSG was powered down again.  [Today’s run was test #3 with coil assembly (CA) 001.  Current amplitude remained at 1.2 amps throughout, but frequency changed, from initially 10 Hz to 2 Hz at the second monitor activity.  Very little was expected to be seen outside of the monitor periods, and Ku-band coverage was unfortunately minimal, with no coverage during the key periods.]

At 4:45am EDT, the ground initiated a 2h 40m upload of software for the new CSLM 2 (Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures) experiment from a compact disk to the MSG laptop computer (MLC) hard drive.

The inspection of the Flexpacks removed last week from RED (resistive exercise device) canisters #1009 and #1010 was performed by the crew today.  [The inspection was necessary to determine the type of maintenance required on the Flexpacks to clear them for further use in canisters #1001 and #1003 when these expire.]

Yuri Malenchenko terminated bakeout/regeneration cycle on adsorption bed #2 of the BMP automated micropurification unit.  Upon deactivation of the regen, the BMP went to Failed mode.  [The evacuation valve to vacuum closed properly but there was no commensurate indication from the microswitch monitoring the closure.  This was annunciated by the automated program as a system failure.  The signiture has been seen before, and previous resolutions consisted of bypassing the failure indication by introducing a constant value in the automatic algorithm.  Moscow is still evaluating.  If the microswitch is truly failed and cannot be restored to proper function, the entire BMP cartridge will have to be replaced since the microswitch alone cannot be R&R’d.]

After a preparatory procedures review and tagup with ground specialists via S-band, Malenchenko worked several hours in the Service Module (SM) and DC-1 docking module, completing the periodic inspection and photo-documentation of the window panes in the Russian segment (RS).  The observations were recorded in image and text files for subsequent downlink via U.S. OCA assets.  [Objective of the inspection, using digital still camera (Nikon D1 or Kodak 760) and voice recorder, is to assess the pane surfaces for any changes (new cavities, scratches, new or expanded old stains or discolorations affecting transparency properties) since the last inspection (performed by Nikolai Budarin on 3/13/03).  The new assessment will be compared to the earlier observations.  Malenchenko had extra time reserved to study and rehearse uplinked procedures for measuring new visible defects on the windows.  Defects are measured with the parallax method which uses eyeball-sighting with a ruler and a right isosceles triangle to determine the formations’ size and position with respect to the window’s internal surface (parallax being the apparent change in an object’s position resulting from changing the observer’s position).]

In the FGB, Malenchenko installed three new fire extinguishers delivered on Progress-259/11P, one in the pressurized adapter (GA), one on panel 404, and the third on panel 229.   The old PFEs were stowed for disposal.

In the SM, Yuri completed the periodic servicing task of changing out the ASU toilet’s urine receptacle (MP) and filter insert (F-V), disposing of the old units.

Malenchenko also performed his regular daily checkup of the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 (“Plants-2”) experiment which investigates growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in the SM’s Lada-2 greenhouse.

Science Officer Lu conducted the daily routine maintenance of SOZh life support systems and prepared the daily IMS (inventory management system) “delta” file for updating the IMS database.

The CDR set up another operations and measurement session of the Molniya-SM/LSO hardware from SM window #3, with the French-provided EGE1 laptop.  Once Malenchenko started the recording session, the payload works automatically until 1:00pm EDT on 7/3 (Thursday).   [Objective 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 is controlled from the French EGE-1 laptop, which needs to be loaded with 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).  LSO was originally part of Claudie Haigneré’s French “Andromeda” payload package of taxi mission 3S that could not be performed as planned during Increment 4 due to an ISS flight attitude conflict.]
Ed Lu collected and disposed of the off-limit wipes which had been transferred by the crew from the Shuttle to the station without proper safety clearance.  Due to high levels of ethanol in these wash and dry wipes, their use has been discontinued, and Russian wet towels are used for the crew’s personal hygiene needs as alternatives.   [The source of the high content of the alcohol ethanol detected in the ISS condensate was unknown until a recent call-down by the crew concerning the “Wash N Dry Wipes”, each of which contains 0.5 grams of ethanol.  Usage of these wipes was estimated to release at least 3 grams of ethanol into the ISS environment per day.  Without considering other potential sources of alcohol, this usage greatly exceeds the ISS limit of 1 gram/day maximum release of alcohol into the air, which was established to meet requirements for the Russian SRV-K water processor (the scheduled change-out times of its components are based on their capacity for alcohols).]

Yuri set up the test equipment for another session with the Russian biochemical MO-10 “Hematokrit” assessment, scheduled for tomorrow.  [MO-10 regularly measures the hematocrit (red blood cell mass) value of the blood.  As a well-known phenomenon of space flight, red blood cell mass {normal range: 30-45%} tends to go down over time.]

At 11:53am EDT, the crew conducted an interactive educational PAO exchange with students at the National Educational Computing Conference in Seattle, WA, where ISS Astronaut Don Pettit  supported the launching of the new NASA Explorer Schools.  [The new initiative, sponsored by NASA’s Education Enterprise in collaboration with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), establishes a three-year partnership between the agency and 50 NASA Explorer Schools’ teams, consisting of teachers and education administrators from diverse communities across the country, representing 30 states.]

Both crewmembers completed their daily 2.5-h program of physical exercise, on TVIS treadmill, RED expander and, for Yuri, on the Russian VELO cycle ergometer with load trainer.

Later today, at 5:15pm, a telecon will be arranged for the Honorable Linda Lingle, Governor of Hawaii, to wish Science Officer Ed Lu Happy Birthday.  Ed celebrates his 40th birthday tomorrow, naturally wearing an Aloha shirt (as will all of the MCC-H Flight Control Team), and in his honor Governor Lingle has declared July 1 “Edward Tsang Lu Day” in Hawaii.

Last night’s maneuver from sun-pointing XPOP (x-axis perpendicular to orbit plane) attitude back to earth-oriented LVLH (local vertical/local horizontal) was completed nominally by the SM automated computer system, after control authority had been handed over from the US motion control system.

SM batteries #1 and #3 are now showing degradation, with sharply reduced capacity.  [The batteries were cycled and are operating currently as stand-alones.  A decision to take them off-line for a two-week storage period, then recharge and bring them back into the loop is under discussion.  The batteries have a certified lifetime of two years but have reached only about half that period at present, and it is hoped that they can be restored.  If not, there is still Khrunichev’s 800A unit from the FGB spares.  Besides #1 and #3, battery #4 in the SM is definitely failed, but overall power balance in the RS remains positive at this time.]

Analysis continues on the ground on the ER2 AAA (EXPRESS Rack #2/avionics air assembly) fan which exhibited current spikes and a 20-30 RPM increase in rotor speed.  The current plan is to keep ER2 up to support this week’s checkout of a new ARIS (active rack isolation system) remote console at JSC.

At 9:00am EDT this morning, MCC-H began a 31hr. on-orbit thermal characterization test on the station’s S-band system, String 1.  [The test involves powering BSP (baseband signal processor) and XPDR (standard TDRSS transponder) heaters off and on again after some time, to obtain temperature readings during various orbit times, including recordings during LOS (loss-of-signal).]

Last Thursday, during the 20-min. live educational audio/video PAO event with education specialists at NASA MSFC, Ku-band suffered drop-outs due to a problem with a modulator (Modulator A) at NASA’s White Sands facility.  [The system failed over to Modulator B, which performed nominally. Modulator A was reset and brought back online, after which it also operated nominally. Cause of the anomaly is unknown and under investigation.  The PAO event was impacted but “weathered” the glitch.]

The MCC-H Flight Control Team, with U.S. SpaceCommand, continues to monitor a conjunction (close encounter) with a Russian SL-8 rocket body (object #7004), somewhat aggravated by last night’s change in flight attitude.  Time of closest approach (TCA) is currently projected for 2:38am EDT on 7/2 (Wednesday) morning.  Predicted radial miss distance at this time is 990 m.  Further tracking updates will have to be made before the need for a DAM (debris avoidance maneuver) can be determined.  Decision deadline: tomorrow morning at 3:08am EDT.  Time of DAM ignition, if required: tomorrow night at 10:48pm EDT.

Today’s CEO targets, no longer limited in the current LVLH attitude and including the targets of the Lewis & Clark 200-year memorial locations, were Rome, Italy (nadir pass.  The pass continued directly down the boot of Italy), Lemhi Pass, Mont/Idaho (LEWIS & CLARK SITE:  Shooting mountain range crests [dark forest green, as opposed to lighter, browner river valleys] at nadir and a touch right, and the crew should have gotten this now-unused pass over the continental divide.  The explorers crossed here into Idaho on August 12, 1805.  Lemhi Pass never came into general use for the westward migrations since other lower passes exist), Harpers Ferry, WVA (LEWIS & CLARK SITE:  This historic town is located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers where they break through the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Crew was advised to use the long lens for details of this small target), Washington, D.C. (weather may have held up for views of D. C.), Alexandria, Egypt (nadir and a touch left on Egypt’s north coast.  Pyramids also at nadir, just west of the Nile about 30 secs later [Sergei’s 400-mm shots of these small features were instrumental in getting the 400/800 mm lens duo into current use].  This pass continued all the way down the Red Sea and over the Horn of Africa), and Congo-Zimbabwe Aerosols (the pass overflew the center of the long Witwatersrand complex of cities where winter smog from coal fires has been substantially controlled in the last forty years.  Nevertheless, obliques in the region are sought, especially in the winter season, with low sunset light).
CEO images can be viewed at the websites

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

U.S. and Russian Segment Status (as of 1:45pm EST).

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

  • Elektron O2 generator is powered On (16 amp mode).  Vozdukh CO2 scrubber is On (in Manual Mode 3/5).  U.S. CDRA CO2 scrubber is Off.  TCCS (trace contaminant control subsystem) is operating.  MCA (major constituents analyzer) is operating.  BMP Harmful Impurities unit: absorbent bed #1 in Purify mode, bed #2 in Purify mode (unit is down).  RS air conditioner SKV-1 is On; SKV-2 is Off.
  • SM Working Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 742; temperature (deg C) — 27.5; ppO2 (mmHg) — data invalid; ppCO2 (mmHg) — data invalid.
  • SM Transfer Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 751; temperature (deg C) — 20.7.
  • FGB Cabin:  Pressure (mmHg) — 752; temperature (deg C) — 22.3.
  • Node:  Pressure (mmHg) — 743.89; temperature (deg C) — 22.5 (shell); ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • U.S. Lab:  Pressure (mmHg) — 746.03; temperature (deg C) — 23.1; ppO2 (mmHg) — 171.3; ppCO2 (mmHg) — 4.5.
  • Joint Airlock (Equip. Lock):  Pressure (mmHg) — 746.13; temperature (deg C) — 27.7; shell heater temp (deg C) — 23.6, ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • PMA-1:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — 22.9.
  • PMA-2:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — 20.4.

(n/a = data not available)

Propulsion System (PS):

  • Total propellant load available: 3803 kg (8384 lb) as of 6/26  [SM(774) + FGB(2447) + Progress M(182) +Progress M-1(400)].  (Capability: SM — 860 kg; FGB — 6120 kg).

Electrical Power Systems (EPS):

  • Both P6 channels fully operational.  BGA (beta gimbal assembly) 2B and 4B both in AutoTrack.
  • SM batteries:  Battery #4 is disconnected (failed 6/16); all other batteries (7) are in “Partial Charge” mode.  Batteries #1 and #3 degraded.
  • FGB batteries:  Battery #3 is offline; 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-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-1 is operating; INT-2 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-2 MDM is Off; PL-1 MDM is Operational.
  • APS-1 (automated payload switch #1) and APS-2 are both On.
  • SM Terminal Computer (TVM): 3 redundant lanes (of 3) operational.
  • SM Central Computer (TsVM): 3 redundant lanes (of 3) operational.

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 (local vertical/local horizontal = “earth-fixed”: z-axis in local vertical, -y-axis in velocity vector [yaw: -10 deg, pitch: -9.3 deg, roll: 0 deg]), with CMG/TA (thruster assist) Momentum Management.
  • Solar Beta angle:  -9.13 deg (magnitude decreasing).

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 (internal audio controller #1) being analyzed after self-test error.  IAC-2 is prime.]
  • Video subsystem operating nominally.
  • HCOR (high-rate communications outage recorder) is operating nominally.


  • SSRMS/Canadarm2 based at MBS PDGF #1 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 morning, 7:43am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 387.5 km
  • Apogee — 392.7 km
  • Perigee — 382.3km
  • Period — 92.31 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0007644
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.60
  • Solar Beta Angle — -9.13 deg (magnitude decreasing)
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 130 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 26308
  • For more on ISS orbit and worldwide naked-eye visibility dates/times, see

SpaceRef staff editor.