Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 6 January 2006

By SpaceRef Editor
January 6, 2006
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 6 January 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.

Both crewmembers in turn took their second periodic on-orbit hearing assessment (O-OHA) test, a NASA environmental health systems examination to assess the efficacy of acoustic countermeasures, using a special MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) application.  [The O-OHA audiography test involves minimum audibility measurements for each ear over a wide range of frequencies (0.25-10 kHz) and sound pressure levels, with the crewmembers using individual-specific Prophonics earphones, Bose ANC headsets and the SLM (sound level meter). To conduct the testing, the experimenter is supported by special EarQ software on the MEC, featuring an up/down-arrow-operated slider for each test frequency that the crewmember moves to the lowest sound pressure level at which the tone can still be heard. The baseline test is required not later than about Flight Day 14 for each new Expedition and is then generally performed once per month.]

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

After the crew s CARDIOCOG (BTC-10) experiment equipment test on 12/29, which was judged successful by ground specialists, FE Tokarev today performed the actual experiment, using a new finger cuff for the Portapres hardware, which measures blood pressure. The activity was supported by tagup with TsUP-Moscow via S-band.  [BTC-10 was planned to be conducted throughout the entire Increment, on the first, 10th, 14th and 24th week of crew stay, but the schedule now has slipped. 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, and the vegetative regulation of arterial blood pressure and heart rate. 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 French EGE-2 laptop. 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 EGE2 restored to nominal config.]

CDR McArthur conducted the periodic noise level measurements program throughout the station, using the U.S. sound level meter (SLM) in the cabin for a 2-hr. acoustic survey. The recorded data were later transferred to the MEC.  [These acoustic measurements are obtained periodically at 46 locations in the Lab (13), Node (4), Airlock (3), FGB (7), SM (11) and DC-1 (3) modules. The survey also includes five crew preference locations taken at their perceived loudest locations in the station. The SLM gives instantaneous noise levels and their frequency spectra, which are transferred to the MEC laptop via an RS232 cable and later downlinked with regular CHeCS (crew health care systems) data dump or via OCA. For today s survey, Bill was asked to change the SLM s bandwidth from 1/1-octave to the narrower 1/3-octave because the latter provides three times more information, which is more useful in identifying fan noise. ]

In the U.S. Airlock, McArthur transferred one of the EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) batteries, which were recharged in November, to EMU-3013 and installed it in the suit.

The CDR performed IFM (in-flight maintenance) on one of the IWIS RSUs (Internal Wireless Instrumentation System/Remote Sensing Unit, #1028).  [Bill replaced the broken cover of the RSU s battery with a spare cover from a broken RSU (#1029), slated to be returned on ULF1.1 for refurbishment.]

Valery Tokarev set up for his 14th NOA (Nitric Oxide Analyzer) session in the DC1 and then conducted the weekly test, 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 experiment 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 measurements, Valery has to prepare 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.]

At Service Module (SM) window #3, the FE deactivated and disassembled the Russian experiment DZZ-11 Volni ( Waves ) that had operated automatically since 11/10.  [Volni monitored and documented Earth natural resources & ecology data, using the French LSO equipment and two micro cameras installed on a mounting bracket at the window to observe wave disturbances (of natural and man-made origins) in the intermediate-altitude atmosphere. The images were transferred between the French EGE1 and EGE2 laptops for downlink via the BSR-TM channel. The original 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). The payload uses the French EGE-1 laptop running the latest NORAD orbital parameters (TLEs, two-line elements) provided by NASA.]

As part of the current troubleshooting of the observed (and still unexplained) fluid loss from the ITCS MTL (Internal Thermal Control System/Moderate Temperature Loop) accumulator, McArthur disconnected ER1 (EXPRESS Rack #1) from the ITCS, while inspecting and photographing the QDs (quick disconnects).  [This configuration will be maintained and monitored for the next six days and then reassessed for further action. The ITCS sampling originally planned for today will be performed after the six-day period.]

In the DC1 Docking Compartment, Valery installed a protective shielding belt around the AST spectrometer of the ESA/RSC-E experiment ALTCRISS (Alteino Long Term monitoring of Cosmic Rays on the ISS), which he had activated on 12/26.  [ALTCRISS uses the ACT spectrometer employed by VC8 guest cosmonaut Roberto Vittori earlier this year 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. The setup was photo-documented.]

Tokarev also transferred and installed the new BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 (“Plants-2”) experiment hardware in the SM, supported by ground specialist tagup.  [Rasteniya researches growth and development of plants (currently horse radish) under spaceflight conditions in the Lada-8 greenhouse. Valery s preparatory tasks include root module replacement, water canister refilling, software replacement and hardware checkout.]

In preparation of next week s extended experiment activities with the Russian/German TEKh-20 Plasma Crystal-3 (PK-3) Plus science experiment, the Flight Engineer today reviewed the uplinked experiment timeline, replaced pertinent ODF (Operations Data File) pages in the Experiment Book and tagged up with specialists via S-band.  [PK-3 is performed on plasma, i.e., fine particles charged and excited by HF (high frequency) radio power inside an evacuated work chamber. Main objective is to study dust plasma crystallization processes at a specified power of HF discharge, pressure, and a varied number of particles with subsequent reduction of HF discharge power, then to observe melting of the structures formed earlier. The experiment is conducted in automated mode.]

In support of the upcoming ground-commanded BCAT-3 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test) activity, CDR/SO McArthur conducted another check of the alignment and focus of the camera on the sample and of the position of the flash.  [Ground specialists are looking forward to the first set of time-lapse photographs, to be taken with the ground-commanded EarthKAM equipment over the next three weeks, at 20 minutes past each even hour. See yesterday s On-Orbit Status for descriptive words on the experiment.]

McArthur conducted routine maintenance on the new CSA-CP (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products) units, #1012 & #1017, currently in use as prime and backup units.  [As usual, the #1012 prime unit received a new battery, and both units were zero-calibrated. The backup unit was then returned to its location in the Node. After data take, the data logger was deactivated again.]

Bill also collected the periodic (weekly) reading of the cabin air’s current carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the SM and Lab using the U.S. CDMK (Carbon Dioxide Monitoring Kit, #1015), to be called down for use in trending analyses, along with its battery status, taken after pump start-up.

Valery meanwhile took the weekly cabin air data with the Real-Time Harmful Contaminant Gas Analyzer system (GANK-4M) of the SM SOGS, which tests particularly for NH3 (ammonia) and HCl (hydrogen chloride).

The CDR filled out the regular weekly FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire), his tenth, which keeps a log of his nutritional intake over time on special MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) software.  [On the MEC, Bill is using his personalized file that reflects the food flown for his Increment. The FFQ records amounts consumed during the past week of such food items as beverages, cereals, grains, eggs, breads, snacks, sweets, fruit, beans, soup, vegetables, dairy, fish, meat, chicken, sauces & spreads, and vitamins. IBMP/Moscow (Institute of Biomedical Problems, Russian: IMBP Institute of Medico-Biological Problems) recommended average daily caloric value of the crew s food intake is 2200-2300 cal. If larger quantities of juices and fruits are taken into account, the value can go to 2400-2500 cal.]

McArthur completed the regular weekly maintenance reboot on the operational PCS (portable computer system) laptops and did the bi-monthly restart of the OCA comm SSC router laptop.

As new standard early-morning task, the FE checked the operation of 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.]

Also continuing as a reminder for Tokarev on his voluntary “time available” task list was the search for a power supply unit (BP) for the Russian SKV air conditioner, reported as “lost” in the IMS.  [Due to the unstable operation of SKV-2, TsUP/Moscow plans to have its BP replaced in case of SKV-2 failure.]

The crewmembers conducted the weekly TVIS routine maintenance with SLD (subject loading devices) contingency configuration, primarily inspecting the condition of the SLDs, SLD cables and SPDs (subject positioning devices), plus recording time & date values.  [While one crewmember pulls out the cables about 10 inches (approximately 80 lbs of load), the other does the inspection. Temperature readings of motor box and electronics box are recorded on a PCMCIA memory card and downloaded to the MEC for subsequent downlink to the ground.]

Both crewmembers 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.

The CDR performed the daily routine maintenance of the SM’s environment control & life support system (SOZh), including its toilet system (ASU), while the FE updated/edited the standard IMS (Inventory Management System) delta file , including locations, for the regular weekly automated export/import to its three databases on the ground (Houston, Moscow, Baikonur).

At ~4:40am EST, the FE conducted the weekly IMS tagup with specialists at TsUP/Moscow, discussing open issues concerning identification of equipment and stowage locations for the IMS databases via S-band.  [Today s topics dealt with Progress M-55 unloading issues, equipment transfers, location of an electronics box for the Akvarius experiment found by Valery, et al.]

At ~1:55pm EST, Bill and Valery conducted their eighth 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 crew was thanked for their excellent downlink yesterday of a TV message to MCC-H on the occasion of NASA s upcoming Day of Remembrance. That day, the final Thursday in January (this year 1/26), commemorates and honors the fallen heroes of Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia and all of those who have given their lives in the cause of exploration and discovery.

Current station flight attitude is LVLH XVV (local vertical local horizontal/x-axis in velocity vector), to be maintained until 1/13 next week, when the ISS will rotate horizontally through 90 deg.

Looking Ahead:  On 3/23, Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov, NASA Flight Engineer Jeff Williams and Brazilian Visiting Cosmonaut Marcos Pontes will launch aboard Soyuz TMA-8/12S. Vinogradov and Williams will spend six months on the station. Pontes will spend eight days conducting research under a commercial agreement between the Brazilian Space Agency and the Russian Federal Space Agency. He will return to Earth on April 1 with the Expedition 12 crew, Bill McArthur and Valery Tokarev.

Today’s CEO (Crew Earth Observations) photo targets, in the current LVLH attitude no longer limited by flight rule constraints on the use of the Lab nadir/science window, were Hyderabad, India (an overlapping mapping swath along track was requested for this megacity. An along-track nadir mapping swath will provide a useful rural-urban-rural section across the city), and Internal waves, South Patagonian Shelf (a clearing trend was predicted for the southern South American coastline. Looking to the right of track and north of the Falkland Islands for the sunglint point and internal wave patterns).

To date, over 177,000 of CEO images have been taken in the first five years of the ISS.

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

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ISS Orbit  (as of this morning, 8:02am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 348.0 km
  • Apogee height — 355.2 km
  • Perigee height — 340.7 km
  • Period — 91.50 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0010836
  • Solar Beta Angle — -3.7 deg (magnitude increasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.74
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 71 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 40768

Events Ahead (all dates Eastern; tentative):

  • 01/09/06 — 100 days for Expedition 12
  • 02/02/06 — Russian EVA-15
  • 03/03/06 — Progress M-54/19P undocking & reentry
  • 03/22/06 — Soyuz TMA-8/12S launch (Exp. 13 + Marcus Pontes/Brazil)
  • 03/24/06 — Soyuz TMA-8/12S docking (DC1)
  • 04/01/06 — Soyuz TMA-7/11S undocking & return (Exp. 12 + Marcus Pontes)
  • 04/06/06 — Soyuz TMA-8/12S relocation (DC1 to FGB nadir port)
  • 04/09/06 — Progress M-55/20P undocking & reentry
  • 04/10/06 — Progress M-56/21P launch
  • 04/12/06 — Progress M-56/21P docking
  • 06/28/06 — Progress M-57/22P launch
  • 06/30/06 — Progress M-57/22P docking
  • 09/12/06 — Progress M-56/21P undocking & reentry
  • 09/13/06 — Soyuz TMA-9/13S launch
  • 09/15/06 — Soyuz TMA-9/13S docking
  • 09/23/06 — Soyuz TMA-8/12S undocking & reentry
  • 09/28/06 — Soyuz TMA-9/13S relocation (DC1 to FGB nadir port)
  • 10/18/06 — Progress M-58/23P launch
  • 10/20/06 — Progress M-58/23P docking
  • 12/19/06 — Progress M-57/22P undocking & reentry
  • 12/20/06 — Progress M-59/24P launch
  • 12/22/06 — Progress M-59/24P docking.

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.