Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 6 Mar 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
March 6, 2004
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All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below.   Day 140 in space for Expedition 8 (138 days aboard ISS).

First weekend rest day for CDR/SO Michael Foale and FE Alexander Kaleri.

As generally on Saturdays, the crew performed the weekly 3-hr. station cleaning.  [This includes removal of food waste products, cleaning of compartments with vacuum cleaner, wet cleaning of the Service Module (SM) dining table and other surfaces with “Fungistat” disinfectant and cleaning fan screens to avoid temperature rises.]

Alex Kaleri continued the Elektron troubleshooting program recommended by the special Romanov Commission.   [Today’s job was to purge the BZh Liquid Unit with N2 from the recently connected BPA nitrogen purge assembly.]

The crew conducted the weekly planning conference with the ground, discussing next week’s “Look-Ahead Plan” (regularly prepared jointly by MCC-H and MCC-M planners), via S-band/audio.

The FE performed the daily routine environmental control & life support systems (SOZh) maintenance in the Service Module (SM).

Mike and Sasha conducted their regular daily physical exercise program of 2.5 hrs on TVIS treadmill, CEVIS bike, RED exerciser and VELO cycle with load trainer.

Sasha had his weekly PFCs (private family conference), via VHF/home phone.

The CDR performed the regular once-a-week maintenance reboot on the operational PCS laptops and also restarted the OCA comm router laptop (normally every two weeks).

A recurring item on the Russian “job jar” task list is the continuing search, on the crew’s free time, for “missing” equipment, including some critical items required to support system operation that may be needed in the nearest future.  [Sasha is to use an uplinked list of this equipment, with pictures to facilitate search & identification.]

Weekly Science Update (Expedition Eight — 16th):

GASMAP:   Next GASMAP 30 Day Health Check activity is scheduled for 3/22.

Human Research Facility/Workstation (HRF WS):   Continuing.

Advanced Ultrasound (ADUM):   Mike Foale was thanked for his successful completion last week of the audio driver load.  The HRF PC is now in the proper configuration for next week’s OPE (on-board proficiency enhancer) session.

Hand Posture Analyzer (HPA:  Looking forward to future operations.

In-Space Soldering Investigation (ISSE):   Nothing new.

Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation (PFMI):   Looking forward to future operations, after the PromISS operations.
Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS):   SAMS captured acceleration data of the re-boost on 3/2.
Microgravity Acceleration Measurement System (MAMS):   MAMS captured acceleration data of the re-boost on 3/2.

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

Protein Crystal Growth Monitoring by Digital Holographic Microscope (PromISS):   Experiment has ended.  The crew was thanked for all of their hard work and support with PromISS stowage activities.

Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions (InSPACE):    Planned.

Renal Stone (RS):   The crew’s last in-flight data collection session will occur in April.  Thanks to the crew for their continued support with taking their daily pills at dinner time.

Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SHERES):   Pre-Increment requirements have been completed.  A second BBT (Beacon & Beacon Tester) session will be scheduled in US Lab.

Foot/Ground Reaction Forces during Space Flight (FOOT):   The PI has analyzed the data that were successfully downlinked on 3/3.  Mike’s second data take was successful and the data obtained were excellent.  He was thanked for all his work towards ensuring quality data.

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

Cellular Biotechnology Support Systems-Fluid Dynamics Investigation (CBOSS-FDI):   Looking forward to the next set of FDI Tissue Culture runs.

Yeast Group Activation Packs (Yeast GAP):   Nothing new.

Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students (EarthKAM):  Nothing new. 

Earth Science Toward Exploration Research (ESTER):  Looking forward to the upcoming sessions.

Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures-2 (CSLM-2):  Planned.

Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA):   CGBA continues to run nominally at 20C.

Miscible Fluids in Microgravity (MFMG):    Nothing new.

Educational Payload Operations (EPO):  Education looks forward to the upcoming Flight Demonstration, which supports national science education standards.  The video will be used in museum and science center student and educator programs.

Crew Earth Observations (CEO):   The crew’s excellent recent image of snow-clad Mount Fuji will be published on Earth Observatory this weekend.  The volcano is Japan’s highest and its national symbol.   Thanks to the crew for their perfect response to the ground’s request for views of snow cover on the Pyrenees Mountains.  CEO investigators have also reviewed very useful mapping passes of the Bahamas Islands and noted some excellent sun glint shots with internal waves off Central America.  A large percentage of the recent CEO images have been high obliques or pans.  Camera times remain true.  Some improvement has been noted on the long-lens views.
Today’s optional CEO targets, limited in XPOP attitude by flight rule constraints on the use of the science window, which is available for only ~1/4 of each orbit when not facing forward (in “ram”), were Tropical Cyclone Gafilo, Madagascar (Dynamic event. This Category 3 storm is due to hit the NE coast of Madagascar on Sunday morning.  Looking left for a view of the whole storm.  The eye will be ~8 deg off track, but the cloud bands of this well-formed cyclone, with Madagascar in the foreground, may make a dramatic dynamic event picture), Saharan dust, Cape Verde Island (Dynamic event.  This is the 7th

day of the cruise of NOAA’s research ship, the Ronald H. Brown. Although the ship is still off the South American coast, a major outblow of dust from the Sahara has produced a sharp dust front over the Cape Verde islands.  These aerosols will undoubtedly be sampled by shipboard scientists.  The crew was to shoot the marked aerosol margin, looking left and right of track.  In left-looking views the Cape Verde Islands may have been visible as an added point of visual interest.  The dust is being entrained far to the N, into a storm crossing the Iberian Peninsula), Internal waves, Florida Keys (good pass to the W of the keys, with the glint point passing over the area of greatest interest for mapping internal waves), Havana, Cuba (nadir pass), Internal waves, Nicaragua (ISS/CEO images of 3/2 successfully captured complex internal waves off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.  This is a science data point.  Today’s pass should have revealed internal waves in the enigmatic area off southern Mexico: looking half left towards the coast and glint point), and Internal waves, Patagonia (looking far left for internal waves along the coast, in a large setting-sun glint disc.  Then looking right for major plankton blooms as ISS approached the Falkland Islands).
CEO images can be viewed at the websites

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

ISS Orbit  (as of this morning, 7:24am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 368.9 km
  • Apogee — 376.4km
  • Perigee — 361.3 km
  • Period — 91.92 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.629 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0011142
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.66
  • Mean altitude loss last 24 hours — 80 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 30220

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

SpaceRef staff editor.