Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 31 Aug 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
August 31, 2003
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 31 Aug 2003

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below.  It’s always a great day for a crew when a brand-new Progress vehicle has docked, with fresh supplies to enjoy.  Congrats and thanks to TsUP, Energia and the Baikonur “brigade”!

Progress 12P docking to the ISS was successfully accomplished last night at 11:41pm EDT.  [The entire process of fully automated rendezvous, closure, final approach and capture, followed by closing of hooks and latches, went smoothly and without issues.  The docking increased ISS mass by 6934 kg (15,287 lbs), of which 2495 kg are cargo.]

After hard-dock, pressurization of the Progress-to-SM vestibule and installation of the quick-disconnect screw clamps (with SM thrusters disabled), the crew conducted a one-hour leak check of the vestibule, then opened the two hatches on Go from MCC-M/TsUP.

FE/SO Ed Lu used the Russian AK-1M instrument to perform the obligatory air sampling in the Progress before CDR Yuri Malenchenko deactivated the cargo ship and installed the ventilation air duct in the transfer tunnel.  Later, the crew removed the probe-and-cone docking mechanism to clear the passage for the ensuing transfer operations.

Ed Lu also reconfigured the communications setup, deactivated the Ku-band TV system used for covering the approach and docking, and demated the UOP (utility outlet panel) bypass power cable from the RWS DCP (robotics workstation display & control panel).

Immediately after docking mechanism removal, the crew unloaded and transferred the high-priority payloads with limited lifetime.   [The three Japanese/NASDA GCF-02 (Granada Crystallization Facility) units were transferred to the Lab by Ed Lu and stowed in the ICM (isothermal containment module) cooler of the CGBA (commercial generic bioprocessing apparatus).  Next came the Aqua-01 container for the Luch-2 cartridge assembly of the BTKh-2 (Mimetic-K) and BTKh-20 (Interleukin) experiments.  Another active Russian experiment, Winograd (for growing “Winogradsky” columns in the zero-G environment, for the 7S visit in October) had its WIN-P1 battery connected, with additional battery changes scheduled in 16, 32 and 48 days.  The transfer ops were photo-documented.]

Structural vibrations during the docking were recorded with the SDMS (structural dynamic measurement system).  Its data must be downlinked prior to the next SDMS data take on 9/4 (Progress 11P undocking).  SAMS (space acceleration measurement system) and MAMS (microgravity acceleration measurement system) also took data.

Malenchenko performed  the regular weekly maintenance/inspection of the BRPK-1 air/liquid condensate separator of the SM’s SRVK water processing system.

Yuri then tackled the daily routine maintenance of the SM’s SOZh environment control & life support system, while Ed Lu prepared the IMS “delta” update file for automatic export/import.

The crew day today was unusually long:  Scheduled sleep time starts tonight at 5:30pm EDT, after a 22-hr. day that began last night at 7:30pm.  Wake-up tomorrow is at the regular 2:00am.

Weekly Science Update (Expedition Seven — 17th):

GASMAP:  Next 30-day check is scheduled for next week.
Human Research Facility/Workstation (HRF WS):   Continuing.

Ultrasound (USND):  Next Ultrasound session is planned for mid-September.

Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation (PFMI):   PFMI had a successful run this week with PFMI-03.  The late start experienced by PFMI because of the MSG laptop computer problem was accommodated because the crew changed out the tapes at a later time.  Everything went well and the PFMI team accomplished all of their objectives for PFMI-03.  It will take the team a few days to analyze the data that were downlinked, but they are looking forward to the results.  Next runs, with PFMI-06 and PFMI-13, are scheduled for next week (9/2 and 9/3).

Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS):  SAMS is back on line and operating properly.

Microgravity Acceleration Measurement System (MAMS):  MAMS continues to measure the quasi-steady acceleration environment.  HiRAP (inside MAMS) downlink was activated to support the docking activity.

Protein Crystal Growth-Single Locker Thermal Enclosure System (PCG-STES):  PCG-STES continues nominally.

Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions (InSPACE):   Current test matrix is complete.

Materials ISS Experiment (MISSE):  In progress.  Deployed outside. Nominal and collecting data.

Cellular Biotechnology Support Systems (CBOSS):  CBOSS-FDI investigation will be scheduled sometime after 12P docking.

Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students (EarthKAM):  Activities are completed for Increment 7.

Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures-2 (CSLM-2):  Activities have been concluded for this Expedition.

Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA):  CGBA is operating flawlessly at this point.  Ground personnel are keeping a close eye on all downlinked parameters to ensure it continues to run nominally.  Ground team was ready to accommodate the GCF hardware after it was transferred to ISS this morning.

Educational Payload Operations (EPO):  EPO is looking forward to additional activities.

Crew Earth Observation (CEO):  A rare, clear weather image of southwestern Ireland from the ISS is being published on Earth Observatory this weekend.  Good Lewis & Clark site images identified this week are the Cascade Locks and The Dalles located in the crew’s excellent mapping sequence of Columbia-Snake River valleys.  ISS CEOI got the Moslem Holy city of Mecca in more detail than ever seen before.  Also cataloged and released were detailed CEO oblique views of Baikonur.  Detailed images of the Petra area are under review for comparison with images from other sources to confirm the target location.  The crew was thanked for their alertness in catching awesome fire smoke patterns in British Columbia and the smoking volcano in Java (to be released and used next week).

Today’s optional CEO (crew earth observation) targets, taking into account the current LVLH attitude, and including the targets of the Lewis & Clark 200-year memorial locations, were Tigris-Euphrates, Turkey (infrastructure such as roads, airstrips, power lines and new towns all accompany the building of tiers of dams on these famous rivers.  Patterns on the ground are changing very rapidly), Hanging Gardens of Babylon (looking on the east bank of the Euphrates [western of the twin rivers], 50 km due south of Baghdad [on the Tigris River], Congo-Zimbabwe Biomass Burning (good pass, not only for fires, but also for views of the Great Lakes of Africa’s Rift Valley [unusually clear conditionslooking right for glint views]), British Columbia Fires (clear slot between storms should allow viewing.  Nadir and left of track), and T/S Fabian, Central Atlantic (this tropical storm, although remaining poorly organized at the outset, will have entered the Gulf of Mexico by today).
CEO images can be viewed at the websites

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

ISS Orbit  (as of this morning,8:45am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 382.3km
  • Apogee  386.8 km
  • Perigee — 377.7 km
  • Period — 92.2 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0006761
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.62
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 120 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 27277
  • For more on ISS orbit and worldwide naked-eye visibility dates/times, see

SpaceRef staff editor.