Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 8 Dec 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
December 8, 2003
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 8 Dec 2003

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below.  This is Week 7 for Expedition 8.

Time again for the Russian medical experiment protocols PZEh-MO-7 (calf volume measurement) and PZEh-MO-8 (body mass measurement) for both crewmembers, before breakfast, the third time for the CDR Michael Foale and FE Alexander Kaleri. [The FE set up the BMM mass measuring device, which uses calibrated springs to determine the subject’s mass in weightless space, and stowed it away after the tests.  Calf measurements (left leg only) are taken with the ISOG device, a custom-sewn fabric cuff that fits over the calf, using the knee and lower foot as fixed reference points, to provide a rough index of deconditioning in zero-G and effectiveness of countermeasures.]

After removing yellow “uncertified hardware” tags from components of the new Russian “Sputnik” ham radio system, the crew installed the Kenwood amateur radio complex in the Service Module (SM), including a holding table.  Photographs were taken for documentation.  On TsUP/Moscow request, unexpectedly, the equipment was then activated and is currently operating.  [The yellow tags indicated an as-yet uncertified firmware fix in the system’s control.  There is no risk to the crew involved; the only potential hazard to crewmembers would be due to 25W radiation from the “Sputnik” outboard antenna during an EVA, if the system were active at that time.]

As part of regular periodic preventive maintenance of Russian segment (RS) ventilation systems, Alex Kaleri performed inspection and cleaning of ventilator fans and grilles (Group C) in the SM.

Mike Foale’s scheduled deployment of acoustic dosimeters (two crew-worn, one statically placed) was deferred to a later date, as was the PFMI experiment (Pore Formation & Mobility Investigation) in the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox).

After Mike turned on the laptop of ER2 (EXPRESS Rack 2, Expedite the Processing of Experiments to Space Station #2) in the Lab, POIC activated the rack for a 16-hr. checkout run with the ARIS-ICE (Active Rack Isolation System – Isolation Characterization Experiment).  [Power-up was initiated by the ground for initial configuring of controls and then completed by the crew.  ARIS-ICE activation and POP (payload on-orbit processor) configuring for the ensuing test were performed by the ground.]

Kaleri conducted an inventory audit of Russian network accessories in a half-CTB (crew transfer bag #1003) to update the IMS (inventory management system) database. [Items such as hard drives, floppy disks, PC flash cards, PCMCIAs, mass storage cartridges and cables are to be identified via item-by-item calldown to TsUP/Moscow for IMS insertion.  If required, additional time will be scheduled in the near future.  This has relevance to Progress manifesting.] 

The Science Officer used the EHS SSK (environmental health systems/surface sample kit) to perform surface sample swabs in Lab, SM and Node for cultivation. [SSK sampling is done once per month for the first three months that a module is on orbit and once every three months thereafter.  Bacterial and fungal samples are taken at two locations in each module.  The colony growth on the sampling slides will be analyzed after five days of incubation.]

Foale also employed the MAS (microbial air sampler) kit to collect air samples in Lab, Node and SM for bacterial and fungal analysis.  [As for the SSK, the sampling analysis is done once per month for the first three months, and once every three months thereafter.  Bacterial and fungal air samples are taken at two locations in each module.  The colony growth on the sampling slides will be analyzed after five days of incubation in Petri dishes.]

In the SM, FE Kaleri started another regeneration cycle on absorbent bed #1 of the BMP harmful impurities unit, leaving channel 2 in Purify mode.  The BMP removes trace contaminants from the air. [The “bakeout” cycle in the filter beds is repeated every 20 days.  Each bakeout (to space vacuum) takes about 24 hours.]

Sasha also completed the daily RS life support systems (SOZh) maintenance, including toilet facility, food containers, water containers and solid waste containers, and prepared the daily IMS update file, while Mike performed the regular routine status checkup of the autonomous Increment 8 payloads.

The crew worked out according to their regular daily physical exercise program of 2.5 hrs (two sessions each per day) on the TVIS treadmill, RED exerciser, and CEVIS cycle ergometer and VELO bike with load trainer.  [TVIS exercise will not be performed tomorrow due to the extensive IFM (in-flight maintenance) scheduled for the treadmill, commencing at ~9:30am EST.  During the IFM, the roll-axis gyro will be inspected and the yaw & pitch stabilizers uncoupled from it to allow resumption of their use.  It is expected that TVIS can be used again on Wednesday (11/10) afternoon, after its reassembly.  Structural dynamics data, still being processed, will be discussed with the Russian side on Wednesday morning.  Since the current Go for TVIS in the unstabilized mode runs out by Saturday (12/13), the “forward plan” needs to be documented and approved by that time.]

At 9:42am, station attitude was maneuvered back to earth-fixed LVLH, YVV (y-axis in velocity vector). [After handover to the Russian MCS (motion control system), the angular turns were executed by SM and Progress thrusters, and a manual desaturation was performed afterwards on the CMGs.  All three gyros showed nominal performance, with no abnormal vibrations exhibited by CMG-3.  The preceding maneuver last Friday (12/5) from LVLH to XPOP also did not show any anomalous signatures.]

Prior to today’s attitude maneuver, at 9:20am, the P6 solar arrays 2B & 4B were configured for Autotrack with optimal solar pointing (45-deg drag-reduction bias removed).  When attitude control authority had returned to USOS at 10:30am after the maneuver, the solar arrays were moded to non-suntracking Directed Position for YVV flight.

Congratulations to Mike Foale:  At 1:57pm EST, CDR Foale broke the cumulative space endurance record set by Expedition 4’s Carl Walz of 230 days, 13 hours, 3 minutes, 38 seconds.  (Of course, Alex Kaleri will then still lead him by 238 days…). [Second and third place on the U.S. cumulative space endurance list:  Dan Bursch (227 days); Shannon Lucid (223 days).  Top list leader: Cosmonaut Sergei Avdeyev (748 days).]

Today’s CEO targets, in the current LVLH attitude (since 9:42am) no longer limited by flight rule constraints on the use of the Lab nadir/science window, were Lake Poopo, Bolivia (looking right to document water content of the usually dry lake beds south of Lake Poopo), St. Croix, Caribbean(looking a touch left of track for the fringing coral reef),St. John, Caribbean(looking a touch left of track for the fringing coral reef),St. Thomas, Caribbean(looking a touch left of track for the fringing coral reef),Mt Kilimanjaro, Kenya(ideal pass over this small mountain glacier site.  Pointing at nadir and a touch left),Nairobi, Kenya(looking left of track about 1.5 degrees),Kabul, Afghanistan(nadir pass.  The city occupies the floor of a wide valley in the mountains), and Recife, Brazil(looking right of track on the coast).

CEO images can be viewed at the websites.

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

ISS Orbit  (as of this morning, 5:03am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 371.9 km
  • Apogee — 376.0 km
  • Perigee — 367.9 km
  • Period — 92.0 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0005966
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.65
  • Solar Beta Angle:  -40.4 deg (magnitude increasing)
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 145 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 28823
  • For more on ISS orbit and worldwide naked-eye visibility dates/times, see

SpaceRef staff editor.