Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 30 March 2006

By SpaceRef Editor
March 30, 2006
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 30 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 has half a day off for rest.

Soyuz TMA-8 (12S) launched on time last night at 9:30pm EST at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying Expedition 13 crewmembers Pavel V. Vinogradov & Jeffrey Williams plus Brazilian taxi cosmonaut Marcos Cezar Pontes, Visiting Crewmember 10 (VC10), after another flawless countdown of the Soyuz-FG (see picture below). The 12S spacecraft is currently in its first day of catching up with the station for the docking tomorrow (3/31) night at ~11:19pm EST.  [At launch, the ISS was flying approximately 230 miles above the South Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Chile, and the TMA-8 spacecraft was inserted into a ~156 mi. orbit. First rendezvous burn was this morning at ~1:07am, followed by the second burn at ~1:57am. 12S crew sleep time began at 4:30am and ends at 2:00pm. Hatch opening between the Soyuz spacecraft and the station will be early on Saturday at about 12:30am EST, with live NASA TV coverage of the docking beginning tomorrow night at ~11:00pm. Vinogradov and Williams are replacing Expedition 12, CDR/SO William McArthur and FE Valery Tokarev, who have been doing research and maintaining station systems since October last year. Along with Pontes, they will return to Earth at 7:46pm EDT, April 8.]

The crew completed the regular weekly three-hour task of thorough station cleaning, wearing protective garment.  [“Uborka”, normally done Saturdays, includes removal of food waste products, cleaning of compartments with vacuum cleaner, damp cleaning of the Service Module (SM) dining table, other surfaces and the FE’s sleep station with “Fungistat” disinfectant and cleaning fan screens to avoid temperature rises. With visitors expected shortly, who wouldn t want to have the house spick-and-span? ]

McArthur and Tokarev also set up the television connections in the Service Module (SM) for covering the docking with US assets. This included hooking up the UOP DCP (utility outlet panel/display & control panel) power bypass cable at the Lab RWS (robotic work station).  [With the video available on an SSC (Station Support Computer) A31p laptop in the SM, it can be routed by single cable through the FGB and then via OpsLAN to the US segment (USOS) and downlinked from the Lab to MCC-Houston via Ku-band for subsequent transmittal to TsUP-Moscow. TV set-up preps concluded with a downlink test of the configuration via Ku-band, after which the A31p was deactivated, with all cabling left intact until after the docking.]

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

The FE completed the regular downlinking of data & imagery collected of the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 (“Plants-2”) experiment and transferred to the computer. Later, he also collected plant samples (beans) for return on Soyuz 12S.  [Rasteniya researches growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in the Lada-8 greenhouse. The regular maintenance of the experiment (each Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday) involves monitoring of seedling growth, humidity measurements, moistening of the substrate if necessary, topping off the water tank if ~20-25% of the total amount (4 liters) remains, and photo/video recording. Once weekly, data from the Lada greenhouse control unit are recorded on floppy disk for weekly downlink via REGUL-Packet or the new BSR-TM at a suitable occasion.]

The CDR conducted his weekly audit/inventory of the available CWCs (collapsible water containers) and their contents, to keep track of onboard water supplies.  [Updated cue cards based on Bill s water calldowns are sent up every other week. The new card lists two dozen water containers (~351 liters total) for the four types of water identified on board: technical water (for Elektron, flushing, hygiene; five CWCs were found leaking), potable water (~180 liters), condensate water (for processing) and other (TCS fluid, EMU waste water). As of 12/05/05, average water usage rate for Increment 12 is 1.8 liters daily for each crewmember. Water is re-supplied from processed humidity condensate.]

Tokarev worked on the Russian RSE1 and RSK1 laptops, copying not-yet-transferred photos from Compact Flash memory cards to hard disk drives for return to Earth on TMA-7. Pictures taken during joint E12/E13 and VC10 ops will also be stored and returned.

Bill 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) and CDMK (CO2 Monitoring Kit), while Valery collected the weekly cabin air readings with the GANK-4/M Real-Time Harmful Contaminant Gas Analyzer system of the SM SOGS (Pressure Control & Atmospheric Monitoring System), which tests particularly for NH3 (ammonia) and HCl (hydrogen chloride).

The crew completed the third and final day for the current renal (kidney) stone experiment session (the third for Expedition 12), with both of them collecting one final urine sample each in the morning, finishing their dietary/metabolic log entries and then stowing all equipment.  [This long-range preventive medicine investigation features regular daily ingestion of either potassium citrate or placebo tablets at dinnertime. It is a double blind research study by NASA/JSC, investigating statistically whether potassium citrate is as effective in zero-G in preventing formation of kidney stones as it is on the ground. The experiment requires keeping a metabolic diet log (food & fluid intake), followed by collection of urine samples several times per day during the three-day session, with collections ending today.]

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

Bill completed the periodic (once per month) routine inspection of the RED (resistive exercise device) with canister cords and accessory straps as well as the canister bolts for re-tightening if required.

The crew 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 4 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).

Valery performed the daily routine maintenance of the SM’s environment control & life support system (SOZh), including its toilet system (ASU), plus the weekly inspection of the air/liquid condensate separator apparatus (BRPK).

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.]

At ~1:45pm, the crew held their 14th regular (nominally weekly) tagup with the Lead Flight Director at MCC-H and TsUP/Moscow via S-band/audio, with a phone patch between Houston and Moscow.

The Airlock campout , deferred from February because of the then-failed MCA (Major Constituents Analyzer) and 11S relocation, was today approved by the IMMT (ISS Mission Management Team) for next week, to take place overnight from Monday (4/3) to Tuesday (after obtaining final signoff by RSC-Energia on UCB (urine collection bag) disposal).  [Purpose of the campout test is to perform a dry-run of the automated campout software as well as of the baseline protocol developed for facilitating prebreathing (denitrogenation) during 12A and 12A.1 EVAs, because of the considerable benefits in timeline efficiency and operational simplicity offered by the campout at 10.2 psia pressure. The software utilizes partial pressure data from the MCA to control O2 addition to the A/L.]

On the Russian segment (RS) thermal control system s loop #2 (STR KOB-2) the replaceable pump panel 4SPN1 failed unexpectedly on 3/15 (having been newly installed on 11/2/05 due to a failed pump {ENA} in the previous panel). The system automatically switched over to the redundant 4SPN2 pump panel. Additional tests are required to determine if a replacement of 4SPN1 is necessary.  [There is also thermal loop #1 (KOB 1) with its own two pump panels available for operation.]

Yesterday, the portside CCAA (Common Cabin Air Assembly) air conditioner in the Lab again began collecting atmospheric humidity, a recurring but intermittent situation since early February 06, which is due to an increase in the cabin dew point. But the cause of the increase is not completely understood.  [Actions to mitigate the situation include lowering the LTL (Low Temperature Loop) setpoint, which causes continuous water collection, or activating the CCAA in the A/L to lower the dew point to the extent that the Lab CCAA does not collect condensate.]

Also yesterday, MCC-H successfully uplinked a patch for CCS (Command & Control System) input/output software on all three U.S. C&C MDMs (Command & Control Multiplexer/Demultiplexers), which allows C&C MDM transition to the primary computer without all three MDMs successively being brought down by the first command from the Russian SMCC (SM Central Computer) system still in the RS data buffer (i.e., stale ).  [The patch was uplinked to the C&C MDM hard drives after having been tested and flight certified, and then successfully loaded from the hard drives to DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory).]

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 Tropical Cyclone Glenda, Western Australia (Dynamic event. Pass directly over Cyclone Glenda, as it runs ashore in NW Australia. This well organized Category-4 storm is declining to Cat-3. Looking forward into the velocity vector), Glacial features – South Libya (looking left for obliques of winding traces of ancient subglacial rivers which date from times when Libya lay astride the South Pole), and Lake Chad, Saharan dust (Dynamic events. Looking right for dust blowing in the Bodele depression. Then, looking for a glint pass over Lake Chad).

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:

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, 7:38am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 345.3 km
  • Apogee height 351.5 km
  • Perigee height — 339.1 km
  • Period — 91.44 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0009199
  • Solar Beta Angle — -31.1 deg (magnitude decreasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.75
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 75 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 42076

Significant Events Ahead (all dates subject to change)

  • 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)

Major Soyuz TMA-8/12S Flight Events (all times EST):

  • Corrective Burn DV3 (~2.00 m/s) — 3/30, 10:42pm
  • Automated Rendezvous Start — 3/31, 9:01pm
  • Corrective Burn DV4 (~11.5 m/s) — 9:24pm
  • Soyuz KURS-A Activation — 9:44pm
  • SM KU RS-P Activation — 9:46pm
  • Range 8 km Soyuz TV Activation — 10:41pm
  • Flyaround Mode Start — 10:59pm
  • Sunrise — 11:03pm
  • Stationkeeping Start — 11:08pm
  • Final Approach Start — 11:10pm
  • 12S Docking at FGB Nadir Port — ~11:19pm

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.