Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 6 April 2006

By SpaceRef Editor
April 6, 2006
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 6 April 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.   Day 6 of joint Exp.12/Exp.13 operations.   Day 187 days in space (185 aboard ISS) for Expedition 12, with 2 days to go. Also: Day 2694 since first ISS launch (FGB/Zarya), and 1981 days of cumulative crew time aboard ISS.

Crew wake-up was at the current regular time of 3:30am EDT.

Preparations for Saturday’s departure of Soyuz TMA-7/11S moved into the home stretch when FE-12 Valery Tokarev dismantled & removed the LKT local temperature sensor commutator (TA251MB) of the BITS2-12 onboard telemetry system from the 11S descent module (SA}, along with its PZU-1M (ROM, read-only memory) unit, now no longer required and to be reused in future vehicles.

The Exp. 12 crew and FE-VC10 Marcos Pontes had three hours set aside to conduct the Soyuz descent training exercise, standard procedure for each crew returning on a Soyuz.  The exercise, which strictly forbids any command activation (except for switching the InPU display), was supported by a tagup and discussions with a ground instructor at TsUP/Moscow via S-band.   [The training session included a review of the pertinent ODF (operational data files), specifically the books on Soyuz Insertion & Descent Procedures, Emergency Descents, and Off-Nominal Situation Procedures, and it featured special emphasis on nominal operations with the Neptune-MEh cockpit console.  During descent, Tokarev, as Soyuz CDR, will occupy the middle couch, with Pontes in the left seat and McArthur in the Descent Module’s right Kazbek couch. Pending the final State Commission decision at about 3.5h before undocking, 11S return is expected for 4/8 (Saturday), with undocking at 4:28pm EDT in darkness, sep burn at 4:31pm, deorbit burn at 6:58-7:02pm, atmospheric entry at 7:25pm and landing near Arkalyk/Kazakhstan on Daily Orbit 1 (DO1) at 7:46pm EDT.]

Afterwards, CDR-13 Pavel Vinogradov dismantled the two “Klest” (KL-152) TV cameras and their light units in the Soyuz TMA-8/12S Descent Module for return to the ground on 11S.

Valery Tokarev completed the first 1.5-hr. part of his final training session in the “Chibis” ODNT suit as standard preparation of cosmonauts for returning into gravity (the second part is scheduled for tomorrow). Since it was outside an RGS (Russian ground site) comm window, with no telemetry downlink, his vital body readings were again obtained with the Tensoplus sphygmomanometer.  A tagup/calldown with ground specialists via US S-band supported the run, which was assisted by CDR-12 McArthur. [The below-the-waist reduced-pressure device ODNT (US: LBNP) in the “Chibis” garment provides gravity-simulating stress to the body’s cardiovascular/circulatory system for reestablishing the body’s orthostatic tolerance (e.g., the Gauer-Henry reflex) after the six-month stay in zero-G.  Tokarev’s ODNT protocol today consisted of first imbibing 150-200 milliliters of water or juice, followed by a sequence of progressive regimes of reduced (“negative”) pressure, set at -15, -25, -35 and -40 mmHg for five minutes each, then at -20, -30, and -40 mmHg, 10 minutes in each mode, and at -30 mmHg for 5 min, while shifting from foot to foot at 10-12 steps per minute. The body’s circulatory system interprets the pressure differential between upper and lower body as a gravity-like force pulling the blood (and other liquids) down.]

Valery and Pavel prepared for a two-day activity with the Russian MO-21/MO-22 experiments, today setting up the ECOSFERA equipment for the microbial air sampling run called for by the MedOps SZM-MO-21 experiment.  The companion experiment SZM-MO-22 determines the sanitary-epidemiological status, taking samples from cabin surfaces for return to the ground on 11S, along with samples from crewmembers, for sanitation and disease studies.   [The equipment, consisting of an air sampler set, a charger, power supply unit, and incubation tray for Petri dishes, determines microbial contamination of the ISS atmosphere, specifically the total bacterial and fungal microflora counts and microflora composition according to morphologic criteria of microorganism colonies.]

Bill McArthur and Jeffrey Williams spent about an hour for “handing over” and familiarization with U.S. science payloads such as PromISS and BCAT-3.

Also as part of dedicated handover activity, McArthur and Williams started the regeneration process on the METOX (metal oxide) CO2 absorption canisters used during the Campout in the Airlock (A/L). [Handover work on other EVA equipment, such as EMU sizing, is scheduled for tomorrow.]

FE-12 Tokarev conducted the periodic (currently daily) checkout/verification of IP-1 airflow sensors in the various Russian segment (RS) hatchways, including the Service Module(SM)-to-Soyuz tunnel, and the FGB-to-Node passageway.   [This is especially important when the ventilation/circulation system has to cope with a large crew on board.]

Valery performed the daily routine maintenance of the SM’s environment control & life support system (SOZh), including regular replacements in its toilet system (ASU).

Bill McArthur and Jeff Williams conducted the daily 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).

Pavel Vinogradov conducted the daily status check of the KUBIK-1 and KUBIK-2 refrigerators.   [NKA (Natural Killer Cell Activity) experiments are continuing with the remaining (non-leaking) containers.]

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


VC10 guest cosmonaut Marcos Cesar Pontes worked today on five of his Brazilian “Centenario” science experiments.   [Marcos set up CEM (Capillary Desiccator Functioning in Micro-g), then activated the experiment for its fourth run, and later deactivated it.  He again performed documentary photography on GSM (Seed Germination in Micro-g), then performed the ninth NIP (Interacting Protein Clusters) experiment run,  took situational photographs of the educational SED (Brazilian Seeds “Phaseolus vulgaris”) payload and transferred all collected images to the RSK1 laptop for subsequent downlink to TsUP via the Russian BSR-TM telemetry comm channel.  He also activated the MEK (Effects of Micro-g on Fermentative Kinetics) payload for its second experiment session, after which he turned it off.]

The SFP (Spaceflight Participant) also performed the one-hour photo/video recording activities scheduled for his stay, with CDR-13 Vinogradov operating the cameras to “shoot” Marcos.   [During the Photo / Video activity, the ISS CDR EXP13 & the Visiting Crew will have to perform the following activity according to their respective role: During the Photo / Video activity, the ISS CDR EXP13 & the Visiting Crew will have to perform the following activity according to their respective role:  Fly-through of the ISS from end-to-end, filmed by another crew member, with SF) providing commentary in Portuguese, including explanations of the various facilities, experiments, docked Soyuz Phase, daily life; Camera focused on M. Pontes and then rotated (one horizontal, one vertical take), also on Brazilian flag on Marcus’ flight suit and on the Brazilian “Centenario” experiments; footage of the Soyuz crew and the Expedition crew, etc.  Still photographs are to be comparable in their targets.]

At 6:40am EDT, FE-12 Tokarev set up the SM’s amateur radio equipment (Ericsson VHF transceiver, headset, power supply) for SFP Pontes to conduct, at 6:45am, a 10-min. ham radio exchange with students at the Escole Camilo Castelo Branco in Carnaxide, Portugal.   [Escole Camilo Castelo Branco in Carnaxide, Portugal, is a school for students aged 12-18. The ARISS (Amateur Radio on ISS) school contact involves high-school students from the scientific and technological area.  These students have in their curriculum Physics, Chemistry and Philosophy. One of the main goals of this project is to study scientific and technological development nowadays.  Many of the students will continue their studies in the university, choosing areas related to aerospace engineering.]

Marcos also held his daily teleconference with his consultants team at TsUP to discuss his onboard program via VHF.

Pavel Vinogradov, the new station CDR, prepared his first NOA (Nitric Oxide Analyzer) regular (non-EVA) weekly session in the DC1 Docking Compartment, assisted by FE-12 Tokarev, and then conducted the procedure, afterwards dumping the measurements from the RSE laptop to the ground via the BSR-TM telemetry channel.   [Purpose of the ESA VC9 payload ESANO1, consisting of the “Platon” analyzer and its power supply, is to monitor expired nitric oxide (NO) in the subject’s exhaled air to detect signs of airway inflammation and indications of venous gas emboli (bubbles) that may be caused by inhalation of pollutants on the ISS and increased risk of decompression sickness.  The test sessions are being conducted once a week, with two NO measurements in the exhaled air (after rinsing out with Rodnik water) taken in each session through a bacterial filter.  Today’s measurement ops were recorded in the Platon log and supported by ground specialist tagup via S-band.  To prevent skewing the measurements, Valery had to prepare yesterday for the session by excluding food items containing nitrites and nitrates (such as in processed meat, assorted vegetables, stewed cabbage, etc.) from his diet for 24 hours before the weekly experiment.]

Valery closed out the ALTCRISS (Alteino Long Term monitoring of Cosmic Rays on the ISS) experiment, took documentary photography and rotated the ACT to a new position.   [ALTCRISS uses the ACT spectrometer employed by VC8 guest cosmonaut Roberto Vittori in the DC1 for the Italian LAZIO (Low Altitude Zone Ionization Observatory) experiment. Progress 20 delivered a new Nomex shielding belt, containing polyethylene bricks and two new dosimeters in a dedicated pocket, which Tokarev installed afterwards.]

Later, also in the DC1, Valery collected the periodic readings on the MOSFET (metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor) radiation sensor reader display of the Matryoshka antroph-amorphous (human torso) “phantoms” located inside the ISS.   [The complex Matryoshka payload suite is designed for sophisticated radiation studies.  Besides the Phantom Sphere containers in the SM, the human torso in the DC1 is equipped with individual horizontal slice-like layers with 356 thermoluminescent detectors (TLDs) and five nuclear radiation tracking detectors (NTDPs).  The mannequin is covered with a “poncho” and “hood” and used for studies of on-orbit radiation and long-term dose accumulation.  Note: Matryoshka is the name for the traditional Russian set of nested dolls.]

In the SM, FE-12 Valery Tokarev performed his fourth and last session of the CARDIOCOG (BTC-10) experiment, using the Russian RSE1 laptop plus a newly delivered CARDIOCOG hard drive and a new finger cuff for the “Portapres” hardware for measuring blood pressure.   [BTC-10 was at first planned to be conducted throughout the entire Increment, on the first, 10th, 14th and 24th week of crew stay, but the schedule slipped, and the first session was conducted on 1/6/06.  Originally part of Pedro Duque’s VC5 “Cervantes” science program, CARDIOCOG studies changes in the human cardiovascular system in micro-G, expressed in the peripheral arteries, the vegetative regulation of arterial blood pressure and heart rate, and the interaction between the cardiovascular and respiratory systems..  For the experiment, Valery has to take systolic & diastolic blood pressure measurements and heart rate data manually, using the “Tensoplus” sphygmomanometer and the “Portapres” blood pressure equipment, storing the data on the RSE1 laptop, an IBM A31p that replaces the old French EGE-2.  The experiment also includes a 5-minute cognitive stress test with a numbers table, with the results called out for recording.  Results are later downlinked via Russian BSR telemetry and the RSE1 restored to nominal config.]

Later, Tokarev worked on the RSE1 laptop to transfer transferred the data stored on memory card in the to HDD (hard disk drive) for return to Earth.

Jeff Williams, assisted by McArthur, completed the monthly PEP (portable emergency provisions) safety inspection.   [The IMS (Inventory Management System)-supported inspection involves verification that PFEs (portable fire extinguishers), PBAs (portable breathing apparatus), QDMAs (quick-don mask assemblies) and EHTKs (extension hose/tee kits) are free of damage to ensure their functionality, and to track shelf life/life cycles on the hardware.  There are a total of 5 PBAs in the U.S. segment (USOS).  There is one EHTK, in the Lab.]

Jeff and Bill also conducted the regular 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 the crew’s water calldowns are sent up every other week.  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.]

Both crews worked another busy schedule of ISS-12-to-ISS-13 handover activities, which continued to go well.

The two Commanders signed the formal Russian handover certificate.

Both E12 crewmembers completed their regular 2.5-hr. physical exercise program (about half of which is used for setup & post-exercise personal hygiene) on the CEVIS cycle ergometer, TVIS treadmill, RED resistive exerciser and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer.

Afterwards, McArthur and Williams 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).

At ~11:10am EDT, the Expedition 13 crew sent down a message of congratulation for the upcoming 25th Anniversary of the STS-1/Columbia flight (April 12), and greetings to the public for use by NASA Visiting Centers.

At ~2:25pm, McArthur and Williams also had a telecon exchange with the Army Chief of Staff.

No CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets uplinked today.

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, 7:54am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 344.7 km
  • Apogee height — 350.8 km
  • Perigee height — 338.6 km
  • Period — 91.43 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0009054
  • Solar Beta Angle – 1.3 deg (magnitude increasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.75
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 125 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 42186

Significant Events Ahead (all dates subject to change):

  • 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)

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.