Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 4 Jan 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
January 4, 2004
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 4 Jan 2004

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below. Great harbinger of Things to Come for the New Year: MER “Spirit” landed successfully on Mars last night at 11:35pm EST, reporting back with picture postcards.

Sunday, and a rest day for the crew.

FE Alexander Kaleri terminated the current measurement session with the Molniya-SM/LSO equipment, running since 1/1 on window #3 of the Service Module, and reconfigured the EGE-1 laptop for the second unattended measurement session, starting today and ending on 1/8. [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, loaded with orbital sighting predictions using an up-to-date NORAD tracking TLE (two-line element) provided by NASA. Objective of LSO is 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 Haigner ‘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.]

Kaleri also completed the regular daily routine tasks of SOZh life support system maintenance, including the ASU toilet system.

A new item added to CDR Mike Foale’s weekend “job jar” task list (and firmly scheduled for tomorrow) are component swap and resize activities for the three EMU (extravehicular mobility unit) spacesuits on board, in order to prepare for the possibility of a contingency EVA. [For the swap & resize operation, Foale is to resize EMU #3011 on the aft EDDA (EMU Don Doff Assembly) in the Airlock for himself, followed by resizing EMU #3005 on the forward EDDA for Kaleri. Finally, EMU #3013 will be sized using most of the remaining hardware and stowed on the floor in the position that was previously occupied by #3011. Due to Airlock CCAA (common cabin air assembly, air conditioner) constraints, the stowage of #3013 is to be performed during the IMS Airlock stow activity scheduled for 1/6 (Tuesday).]

Working off the Russian task list, Kaleri continued the current session of the Russian Uragan earth imaging program, using the Kodak 760 DSC (digital still camera) with 800mm-lens from SM window #9, now available again in LVLH attitude. [Today’s task featured imagery of selected locations including Nigeria and the Niger River, Cameroon, Chad, the Central African Republic, Zaire at the end of Lake Mweru, Zambia, Mozambique, Madagascar, Mali, Guinea, the Ivory Coast, Namibia, Brazil and Argentina.]

Favored by the LVLH attitude, Sasha also continued the current set of observations for the Diatomeya ocean research program, taking imagery depicting the dynamically active water areas of the Indian and Atlantic Ocean under low solar zenith angles to record brightness contrasts characteristic for such waters in the region of sun glint. [The FE focused the Nikon F5 with f/80 mm lens from SM window #8 on the Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean, tracking from Europa Island, and the convergence region of the Brazil and Falkland Currents in the South Atlantic.]

For the Russian Ekon experiment, Kaleri performed still photography of the Pacific Ocean (after yesterday’s target of the Atlantic).

If required for maintaining the proper ppO2 level, today’s schedule also provided for a refresh with oxygen from Progress 12P storage. For a repressurization, the MCA (major constituent analyzer), which was successfully zero-calibrated earlier this morning after a brief “hiccup”, was to be activated to take readings and later switched off to Life Extending Mode again.

Both crewmembers worked out with their daily 2.5-h program of physical exercise, on TVIS treadmill, RED expander, and VELO cycle with load trainer.

At dinnertime, as every day, the crew supported the Renal Stone prevention experiment by taking the test medication (either potassium citrate or placebo tablets) until the next sample collection phase early in 2004.

For today’s CEO (crew earth observations) sessions, the ground uplinked a list of target cities as potential photographic opportunities at the crew’s discretion.
CEO images can be viewed at the websites.

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 6:49am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 369.2 km
  • Apogee — 373.7 km
  • Perigee — 364.8 km
  • Period — 91.9 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) — 51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0006653
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.66
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 110
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98) — 29248

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

SpaceRef staff editor.