Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 8 December 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
December 11, 2005
Filed under , , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 8 December 2005

SpaceRef note: This NASA Headquarters internal status report, as presented here, contains additional, original material produced by (copyright © 2005) to enhance access to related status reports and NASA activities.

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below.  

After wake-up (1:00am EST), morning hygiene and breakfast, the crew worked in the Progress-354/19P vehicle, dismantling the Kurs-A rendezvous & approach radar system of its motion control & navigation system (SUDN) and removing it from the transport drone, a 3-hr. job.  These valuable components will be returned to Earth on the Shuttle for reuse.   [KURS-A is the active half of the Russian space program’s proven S-band radar system for automated flight, which measures relative motion parameters between Progress (or Soyuz) and the ISS during rendezvous operations, to enable the autopilot’s calculation of corrective impulses.  The system’s passive transponder counterpart (KURS-P) is on the Service Module (SM), with one antenna each at the tip of the two solar array wings.]

CDR McArthur was thanked by POIC (Payload Operations & Integration Center) for yesterday’s successful loading of the EXPRESS Rack 3 RIC (Rack Interface Controller) computer with the new Revision 4A software, the first of five.  Today, he worked on upgrading ER-5 and ER-4.  ERs -2 & -1 will follow tomorrow.   [The new software improves ER payload water leg operations for future water-cooled payloads, such as EMCS (European Modular Cultivation System) and SpaceDRUMS (Space-Dynamically Responding Ultrasonic Matrix System).]

The CDR conducted routine maintenance on the new CSA-CP (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products) units, #1012 & #1017, that are currently in use as prime and backup units.   [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.]

Later the prime CSA-CP was deployed at the SM Central Post (CP) for a 1-hr. data logging session, after which the data logger was turned off and the activated CSA-CP returned to its CP place.

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

In the Lab, Bill McArthur conducted another visual inspection of ITCS QDs (Internal Thermal Control System Quick Disconnects) on seven Lab racks that have been manipulated in the last several months.   [The intent is to monitor for an apparent slight decrease in average ITCS accumulator coolant quantity observed over the last few weeks, at a somewhat higher (but not alarming) rate than the nominal decrease of ~1% per month.  Note: The rate of release is sufficiently slow that water escaping from a QD could be evaporating at about the same rate as the leak, i.e., would not accumulate in puddles.]

Valery Tokarev conducted an extensive 3-hr. audit of all SD1-7 lighting units in the Russian segment (RS, i.e., SM, FGB, and DC1).  The health check of the 38 lamps consisted of turning them on and checking their condition.  If required, failed units were to be replaced with spares.

The FE also performed the daily routine maintenance of the SM’s environment control & life support system (SOZh), including its toilet system (ASU) plus the weekly inspection of the air/liquid condensate separator apparatus (BRPK), while the CDR later 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).

McArthur conducted the 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 Bill’s water calldowns are sent up every other week.]

The CDR also performed the periodic (once every six months) bolt maintenance of the RED (resistive exercise device), tightening the hardmount plate bolts of the anaerobic workout machine on the Node “ceiling”. 

Both crewmembers completed their regular 2.5-hr. physical exercise program on the TVIS treadmill, RED, 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 3 of the first set).]

Afterwards McArthur transferred the TVIS and RED exercise data files to the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) for downlink, as well as the daily wristband HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) data from the workouts, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).

At ~12:30pm EST, the crew used the Sputnik-SM Kenwood D700 amateur radio station in the SM to conduct a 10-min. ham radio session with students at Sanderson High School, Sanderson, TX.   [Sanderson is a small community in the Chihuahuan Desert, and the total population of the school (grades Pre-K through 12) is around 100 students.  The ISS contact has been and will continue to be integrated into the Math, Science, English and Art curricula.  All students saw a video of the recent space walk and discussed it in their Science classes.  In Art class the elementary students drew posters reflecting their knowledge of space.  The middle school kids integrated both Math and Science when they built scale models of ISS, and the high school students wrote essays for English class and will study orbits of planets and satellites in Math and Science classes.  Questions for the crew were uplinked beforehand (“Is traveling in space like being in the Army, since you never know for sure when you’ll be coming home?”).]

At ~1:10pm EST, ISS attitude control was handed over to the Russian SUD motion control system (MCS), followed by a small thruster-effected maneuver (~38-kg prop) to the test attitude required for conducting today’s SM and FGB solar array efficiency testing.  The test itself takes ~6.5 hrs, and ISS will maneuver back to XPOP TEA (x-axis perpendicular to orbit plane/torque equilibrium attitude) tonight at 7:25pm, followed by control handover to the U.S. CMGs (control moment gyroscopes) at ~7:35pm.   [The periodic efficiency testing keeps track of the energy-output performance of the Russian segment (RS) photovoltaics over time under the degrading effects of the space environment (mostly from ultraviolet radiation and atomic oxygen).  Since the test requires the full power output of the solar arrays and the FGB itself does not have sufficient loads for drawing it, the U.S. side today increased U.S. loads via RACU 6 (Russian-to-American Converter Unit #6) up to 1200 Watts, ramping up and later down in steps of ~200 W each two minutes by judicious switching of Node heaters.  U.S. and Russian power specialists will then compare power draws seen by MCC-H and TsUP.  This will help to check the calibration coefficients for RACU power draw values necessary to accurately coordinate Russian-to-US power transfer.  Official results will be available in a couple of weeks.  The procedure has been used five times before (4/3/03, 11/11/03, 3/5/04, 6/16/04, and 10/31/04.)] 

Reconditioning activity on the P6 EPS (Electrical Power System) Battery Set 2B3 continues.  The second discharge started yesterday afternoon.   [Reconditioning will end on 12/11 (Sunday).  PPLs (Pre-Positioned Loads) will then be prepared based on reconditioning results and uplinked to the computers on 12/16.  A capacity test on 12/22 will conclude the activities.  Nickel hydrogen batteries can develop and display “memory loss” resulting in a temporary loss of capacity that should be periodically erased by cycling all material via fully discharging and charging cells (“reconditioning”).] 

Russian specialists have informed NASA that they are considering not performing the originally planned installation of a ventilation fan (VKYu-1) with its manual speed control unit (BRUS) and a sound-deadened air duct in the SM crew quarters, because of Tokarev’s comments that the fans are not the source of the noise within the crew sleep quarters.

Today’s CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets, limited in the current XPOP attitude by flight rule constraints on the use of the Lab nadir/science window, which is available for only ~1/4 of each orbit when not facing forward (“in ram”), were S Asian haze (Dynamic event.  Winter smoke and smog haze, from the Ganges valley in particular, is spreading SW into the Arabian Sea.  Aiming left [inland] and hard right in the general direction of the sun.  Haze could have been strongly visible seen with backlighting), Sobat fans, SE Sudan (shooting obliques looking right towards the East African highlands for megafan apexes: the Nile gives rise to the Sudd megafan and other ill-defined smaller megafans are also sourced nearby on both sides of the Sudd), and Hurricane Epsilon, Atlantic (Dynamic event. Still a hurricane [minimal] more than a week outside the hurricane season, this unusual storm is now moving SW).

Some CEO Imagery Results:  Sobat fans, SE Sudan:  Recent CEO imagery has shown the existence of a continuous series of fans along the base of the Ethiopian plateau (north end of the formal Sobat Fans site).  Two new fans, with good definition of these and one other, are confirmed by topographic data (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission/SRTM).  The significance of these findings is that mesoscale sedimentation patterns in Nile-type basins can now be attempted.

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

Full Size/Update
Real Time ISS TrackerMore Links

ISS Orbit  (as of this morning, 6:18am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 350.7 km
  • Apogee height — 357.1 km
  • Perigee height — 344.4 km
  • Period — 91.55 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) — 51.64 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0009458
  • Solar Beta Angle — -22.8 deg (magnitude decreasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.73
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 80 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) — 40311

Upcoming Events (all dates Eastern):

  • 12/20/05?? — Progress M-54/19P undocking & reentry (baseline date under review)
  • 12/21/05 — Progress M-55/20P launch
  • 12/23/05 — Progress M-55/20P docking
  • 01/09/06 — 100 days for Expedition 12
  • 02/02/06 — Russian EVA-15
  • 03/22/06 — Soyuz TMA-8/12S launch
  • 03/24/06 — Soyuz TMA-8/12S docking
  • 04/01/06 — Soyuz TMA-7/11S undocking & return.

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.