Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 8 Mar 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
March 8, 2004
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 8 Mar 2004

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below.  Day 140 for the crew on board the station.   Underway:  Week 20 for Increment 8.

Because of today’s holiday (International Women’s Day), Michael Foale and Alexander Kaleri enjoyed a third rest day with just a few necessary tasks.  

Sasha Kaleri performed his regular inspection of the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 (“Plants-2”) experiment which studies growth and development of plants (peas) under spaceflight conditions in the Lada-4 greenhouse.

Foale terminated the newly automated charge/discharge process for the two EMU/spacesuit batteries (#2029 & #2030) in the Airlock’s battery stowage assembly (BSA), then stowed them in the A/L after resetting their 50-day clock.

Mike also performed the regular routine status checkup of autonomous Increment 8 payloads in the Lab (CGBA, PCG-STES010), while Sasha did the regular SOZh life support systems maintenance in the Service Module (SM), comprising the water supply equipment, food supply subsystem (SOP), and sanitary hygiene equipment (SGO).

At 10:55am EST, the crew conducted a teleconference with the Program Scientist.   [Participants in the discussion of the current payload experiment program included ISS Program Scientist Don Thomas, Lead Increment Scientist Janice Voss, and Payload Operations Manager George Norris.] 

On the occasion of today’s holiday, the FE had a weekly PFC (private family conference), with video (two-way via PC/Netmeeting) between MCCs over Ku- & S-band.

Both crewmembers worked out on TVIS treadmill, RED exerciser and VELO cycle with load trainer.

At 9:32am EST, Mike Foale conducted a ham radio session with students at DuBose Middle School, Summerville, South Carolina USA   [Questions by the students were uplinked beforehand.]

The crew conducted a teleconference with ground specialists at MCC-H to discuss tomorrow’s major TVIS maintenance work (replacement of bearings in the roll-stabilizing gyroscope inside the TVIS chassis).

The Elektron is still down.  The station had another O2 repress from Progress 13P stores on Saturday (3/6).

Expedition 8 may not include a woman, but in space and on ground our women are an important and highly respected part of the ISS family.  To them:  Happy “International Women’s Day”!

Today’s CEO (Crew Earth Observations) 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 River patterns, S Chad (glint opportunity to reveal the present pattern of rivers in the large inland delta that occupies the divide between the Chad and Congo basins.  Shooting half left for a mapping swath following the glint point as it crosses the swampland.  The position and morphology of such deltas, which are major zones of sedimentation far from the coast, are forming the basis of a new model of Africa-style basin sedimentation), Cyclone Gafilo, Madagascar (Dynamic event.  This storm will be breaking up over the island.  Oblique views from ISS looking N up the axis of Madagascar may show the interaction of this cloud mass with the mountain spine of that runs the length of the island), and Saharan dust, Eastern Atlantic (Dynamic event.  The previous major Saharan outblow in February was characterized by two pulses of dust into the Atlantic.  It is suspected that a second surge will follow the present early March pulse: looking left towards the African coast.  Any results will be of special interest to scientists on NOAA’s science ship the Ronald H. Brown [cruise day 9]).

CEO images can be viewed at the websites.

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

ISS Orbit  (as of this morning, 3:09am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 368.7 km
  • Apogee — 376.1km
  • Perigee — 361.3 km
  • Period — 91.92 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.6288 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0011009
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.66
  • Mean altitude loss last 24 hours — 75 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 30249

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

SpaceRef staff editor.