Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 7 Dec 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
December 7, 2003
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 7 Dec 2003

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below. Congratulations, Mike & Sasha! As of early this morning, the Expedition 8 crew has completed Day 50 days in space (48 on station). (See also Note, below).

CDR/SO Michael Foale and FE Alexander Kaleri had an off-duty Sunday, except for a few necessary routine maintenance tasks.

Kaleri completed the weekly SOZh/ECLSS maintenance chores of collecting SP toilet flush counter and SVO water supply readings in the Service Module (SM) for calldown to TsUP, followed by the regular inspection of the Elektron oxygen generator’s VM gas/liquid system (GZhS) for obstructing air bubbles.

The crew worked out according to their regular daily physical exercise program of 2.5 hrs on the TVIS treadmill, RED exerciser, and CEVIS cycle ergometer and VELO bike (with load trainer).

Yesterday’s maneuver to change flight attitude was successful, and the station is now again flying in XPOP, i.e. its top side facing always the Sun as it revolves around the Earth (yaw: 0.52 deg; pitch: 9.0 deg; roll 0.04 deg.). Attitude will switch back to LVLH tomorrow (9:42am EST), but turned 90 degrees, to YVV (y-axis in velocity vector). [The maneuver will again be conducted by the Russian MCS (motion control system) and SM & Progress thrusters, with the U.S. CMGs standing by for subsequent attitude hold if needed. All maneuver steps are designed to minimize the CMG gimbal rates (i.e., stress). PPLs (preplanned loads) were again put in place to ensure that 5Hz vibratory data of all three gyros are captured from one hour before the maneuver until six hours after the maneuver to ensure the 5Hz data is captured for CMGs 2, 3, and 4, and that data preserved on the ZOE (zone-of-exclusion) recorder during LOS (loss-of-signal periods) are downlinked for all LOS occurring during the three hours following initialization of the CMG’s momentum manager. Background recap: This continues to support investigations of the previously unobserved vibration signature on CMG 3 on 11/8. Further analysis revealed other vibration responses on CMG 3, all associated with CMG desaturations. While the direct cause of the vibrations is not understood at this time, limiting the gimbal rates associated with desaturations is clearly less stressful on the CMG bearings and may aid in mitigating the vibration causing mechanism.]

Mike Foale was thanked for his successful troubleshooting of a failed network card in the SSC FS (station support computer file server) laptop on 11/30.

As listed on the discretionary U.S. “job jar” task, the crew is asked to locate a number of video cables and set up the camcorder for real-time video downlink during next Tuesday’s TVIS IFM (in-flight maintenance). [Strung together, the cables are required to extend about 90 ft from the U.S. video recorder (VTR) equipment to the TVIS treadmill in the SM.]

The long-term search for missing Russian segment (RS) equipment continues to be an open item on Kaleri’s discretionary task list. Clarification of the “lost” items issue is increasingly relevant to ongoing 13P manifesting activities. [Uplinked in mid-October, the assignment concerns well over 100 items listed in the IMS (inventory management system) as “missing”, including critical equipment, filter cartridges, and spares designed to support station systems operation. The uplinked list breaks out the items and shows their images to facilitate their identification in Sasha’s search. ]

Note for tomorrow: On 12/8, at 1:57pm EST, Mike Foale will make U.S. Space Program history: At that time he will pass Carl Walz as the U.S. Astronaut with the most cumulative time spent away from our planet: 230 days, 13 hours, 3 minutes, and 38 seconds. (Of course, Alex Kaleri will then still lead him by 238 days …).

Today’s optional CEO (crew earth observation) targets, limited in the current XPOP attitude by flight rule constraints on the use of the Lab nadir/science window, were Smog event, India (Dynamic event: Calm weather was expected to persist, with smog density increasing correspondingly in the Ganges valley), Inland deltas, SE Sudan (nadir swath requested for this remote and poorly mapped part of the world. Inland deltas are a newly discovered class of landform, with application as analogs in buried rocks andMartian landscapes [especially in understanding the large, smooth northern plains of Mars]), Cairo, Egypt (nadir pass), Nile River Delta (a nadir swath across the delta was requested for landuse change detection), Bamako, Mali (nadir pass over this small capital city), Inland deltas, Brazil (clear weather will allow imaging of newly identified major inland deltas that have formed in the north Amazon basin between the Rio Negro and mountain massifs. Images will provide information on evolution of these features. Pointing at nadir and left of track), Puebla, Mexico (looking left of track against the mountains for Puebla, sister city of Mexico City), El Paso, Texas (nadir pass), Tuamotu-Austral Islands (detailed, near nadir views requested of coral reefs around atolls), andPlankton bloom, New Zealand (looking right along the coasts of North Island for discoloration due to a major spring bloom that almost envelops New Zealand).

CEO images can be viewed at the websites.

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 6:05am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 372.1 km
  • Apogee — 376.2 km
  • Perigee — 368.0 km
  • Period — 92.0 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) — 51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0006087
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.65
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 170 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98) — 28808
  • For more on ISS orbit and worldwide naked-eye visibility dates/times, see

SpaceRef staff editor.