Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 9 Apr 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
April 9, 2004
Filed under , , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 9 Apr 2004

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

FE Alexander Kaleri concluded Part 3 of his current MBI-8 Profilaktika (“countermeasures”) fitness test series, first with the usual blood tests (to determine lactate and creatine kinase levels in the blood with the AccuSport equipment), then by a physical exercise session on the TVIS treadmill, supported by tagup with a ground specialist. CDR Foale was available to assist as CMO (crew medical officer) as required. (Last time done: 3/17)   [The TVIS test is identical to the MO-3 test performed on the treadmill in idling (non-motorized) mode with free choice of speeds within certain specified ranges (idle/walk/slow run/moderate run/fast run/walk/recovery). In addition to the nominal test procedure, MBI-8/Part 3 calls for the use of the TEEM-100M gas analyzer during the test, the blood lactate measurements, and subjective evaluation of physical exertion levels (using the “Borg Perceived Exertion Scale”, viz., 10 steps from “very. very light” over “hard” and “very hard” to “maximum”) during the test. At the end of the creatine kinase tests, the results were logged, copied from Cardiocassette-2000 recording to OCA for downlink, and reported to the ground.]

Continuing the current round of monthly Russian Segment (RS) air ventilation systems preventive maintenance, Kaleri worked one hour in the Funktsionalnyi-Grusovoi Blok (FGB) for a cleanup of the protective mesh screens of its central ventilation fans (TsV1 & TsV2). The fans were powered off for the task by ground command, later turned on again. (Deferred from 3/15)

CDR/SO Michael Foale completed the fifth and final imaging session of the BCAT-3 (Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-3) experiment, photographing the sample sequentially with the Kodak 760 digital still camera and then stowing it, with the data stored on a PCMCIA 1GB micro drive. Afterwards, the BCAT MWA (maintenance work area) hardware was disassembled and stowed.

The Science Officer also transferred ~8 hours worth of FOOT (Foot/Ground Reaction Forces during Space Flight) science data from his final session on 4/7 to the HRF (human research facility) downlink list and started the downlink process on the HRF PC.   [The files were pulled down by ground command from POIC (Payload Operations & Integration Center) over a period of ~5hrs. Afterwards, the HRF was turned off again.]

Alex Kaleri downlinked log files transferred on 4/6 to the “Wiener” power laptop from the Russian payload computer (BSMM) and Matryoshka payload server (BSPN). The S-band downlink was supported by tagup with a ground specialist.

Kaleri also completed the regular task of transferring data files from the physical exercise equipment to the MEC (medical equipment computer) via memory card and RED log entries, for downlink on OCA comm. Afterwards, he performed the periodic transfer of accumulated data files from the wristband HRM (heart rate monitor) receiver stations to the MEC for downlink, then deleting them on the HRM.

Later, when the MEC was no longer occupied, Mike Foale used it for performing two activities on the U.S. TEPC (tissue equivalent proportional counter), which has been having irregularities.   [First, Mike checked out all spectrometer & detector connectors of the instrument to confirm that they are undamaged and securely mated. Then, in the evening, he initiated a nominal data transfer to the MEC, which takes ~12 hours. The data files will be useful in determining the integrity of the data coming down on S-band & Ku-band via data dump commanded from the ground. They will also aid in the continuing investigation of the current TEPC anomalies.]

The FE conducted the periodic functional open/close test of a spare emergency vacuum valve (AVK) of the COA (atmosphere purification system) Vozdukh carbon dioxide (CO2) removal system. He then restowed the valve assembly behind a Service Module (SM) panel.   [The AVKs are critical because they close the Vozdukh’s vacuum access lines in the event of a malfunction of the regular vacuum valves (BVK) or a depressurization in the Vozdukh valve panel (BOA). Access to vacuum is required to vent CO2 during the regeneration of the absorbent cartridges (PP). During nominal operation, the AVK valves remain open.]

Sasha Kaleri pulled the previously discarded Liquid Unit-5 (BZh-5) of the Elektron O2 generator from storage and re-installed its pressure setting device, which had been removed on 1/9/04.   [This is in preparation for the upcoming attempt to restore the BZh-5 to operation by bypassing its two internal micropumps with a new external pump package to be delivered on Soyuz 8S on 4/21. If successful, this IFM (in-flight maintenance) would yield a spare Elektron BZh for the station, as backup to the current BZh-7.]

Mike Foale had two hours reserved for Soyuz 7S pre-packing activities for NASA items, using an uplinked list of equipment approved for return to Earth in the Soyuz DM (descent module).   [The 7S down-cargo identified at this time totals 52.7 kg mass and 90.0 liters volume. Return cargo is classified as Station Status Monitoring, Russia, NASA, Japan, Holland, and ESA items. There are about 10 NASA return items, e.g., a crew personal dosimeter, DST dual sorbent tubes (6) with reference kit, water samples, 24 FMK (formaldehyde monitoring kit) badges with reference kit, GSC (grab sample container) with April samples, 16 local radiation dosimeters, etc.]

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

Mike conducted the regular routine status checkout of autonomously running Lab payloads, while Sasha took care of the daily routine technical maintenance of the SM’s SOZh environment control & life support system, incl. ASU toilet equipment, and prepared the daily IMS (inventory management system) “delta” file for automatic export/import to update the database.

Earlier in the day, the FE had his regular IMS (inventory management system) and cargo accommodations conference with ground specialists via S-band, today addressing potentially available FGB stowage volume to support finalization of the cargo delivery plan for Soyuz 8S.

Sasha also collected the periodic CO2 partial pressure reading in the SM and Lab using the U.S. CDMK (CO2 monitor kit), for calldown to MCC-Houston (along with the battery status) for use in trending analyses.

The crew conducted a transmission/coverage test of a planned PAO address to the residents of the city of Engels, Saratov Province, for downlink on Cosmonautics Day, 4/12 (Monday).   [The Engels region in Saratov Oblast became a part of Russian cosmonautics history when on April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin landed on his parachute here on a farm field, after having ejected from the Vostok-1 capsule at 7 km altitude in concluding his 100-min. orbit flight as the world’s first human in space. Today called Gagarin Field, the landing site is attracting a growing number of visitors every year on this holiday. It is located about 1500 km west of Baikonur’s longitude (then called Tyuratam), i.e., Yuri’s orbit was not completely “closed”, geographically speaking.]

At 4:25am EDT, the crew downlinked greetings from ISS during the by-now traditional annual comm pass with the participants of the XIVth Aerospace Festival for Ulyanovsk schoolchildren.   [The festival is sponsored by the Soyuz All-Russian Young Aerospace Association (VAKO). VAKO President is Alexander A. Serebrov, a former Soyuz/Mir cosmonaut (Soyuz TM-17, 1993).]

Preparations continue on the ground for the CMG-3 (control moment gyroscope 3) lubrication test scheduled for next week (4/14-17).   [In order to characterize the solar effect in the intended heating of the CMG-3’s gimbal bearings from an electronic box, the gimbal angles of the failed CMG-1 would be changed on 4/11-12 such that sun-induced temperatures can be measured with a CMG thermistor. Preparations are also addressing the two-CMG operation for ISS attitude control during the testing period.]

Safety experts have approved (and uplinked) revised crew emergency procedures for the eventuality of ammonia (NH3) release from the HEAT experiment, which is part of the “Delta” science program of VC-6 (Visiting Crew 6). [HEAT deals with the investigation of heat transfer performance of grooved heat pipes in microgravity. The HEAT experiment module, with a liquid NH3 coolant heat pipe inside, was delivered on Progress-260/13P and stowed in the Node. It will be performed in the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) in the U.S. Lab. If NH3 is released, safety procedures call for donning PBAs (personal breathing apparatus), retreating from the affected module to “safe haven” behind the closed Node aft hatch, and performing atmosphere analysis until the air is safe again.]

Safety personnel have also cleared the “Delta” program’s experiment ARGES, which collects plasma density measurements in micro-G using radial-resolution emission spectroscopy on 20 high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps filled with xenon, mercury and iodides of various metals, also delivered on 13P and stowed in the Node.

Yesterday’s Flight Readiness Review (FRR) for 8S Launch/7S Return/Increment 9 at NASA/JSC showed no major issues and cleared both Soyuz vehicles and ISS for flight.   [Increment 9 begins with Soyuz 8S launch on 4/18 (EDT, CDT) and extends until 8S undock on 10/19, for a total time on orbit of 183 days (181 days onboard ISS). Expedition 9 crewmembers are Gennady Padalka (CDR) & Mike Fincke (FE/SO). There are two Russian Orlan-EVAs planned for Increment 9, on 7/22 and 8/24. As currently planned, the onboard science program will include 20 U.S.-sponsored experiments and 39 experiments in the Russian Segment. The VC-6 “Delta” program for the 9-day joint phase consists of 22 experiments, plus two conducted in the Soyuz during free flight. ]

The 8S crew returned yesterday to Star City’s GCTC (Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center) from spending time at Baikonur/Kazakhstan for fit checks on capsule, seat liners, suits, etc. Following the standard Soyuz launch template, the spacecraft was fueled today and will undergo upper stage assembly tomorrow through 4/15. Mating of the upper stage to the Soyuz-U launcher takes place on 4/16, followed by rollout & launch pad ops (including propellant loading) through 4/18. Launch remains at 11:18pm EDT on 4/18, with docking on 4/21 at 1:00am.   [For latest status check .]

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 Khartoum, Sudan (the Sudanese capital is situated at the confluence of the White and the Blue Nile Rivers), Dakar, Senegal (this city sprawls over the slopes Africa’s westernmost promontory), Rome, Italy (sunny Italy may have stayed so just long enough for the crew to spot the Eternal City), Caracas, Venezuela (crew was to take advantage of the early morning pass [few clouds] to view of the Venezuelan capital. Looking just left of track and inland from the coast), Bahamas (400mm-lens:  Only fair weather cumulus clouds are expected for the time of the ISS pass. Using the long lens for near-nadir views of details of the coral reef structures of these islands), and Red River Valley Flooding (DYNAMIC EVENT: Seasonal flooding from snow and ice melt is being reported in North Dakota, Minnesota and Manitoba, especially in the Red River Valley. Looking left of track this pass for views of this event. As the crew proceeded a bit further east and looked back, sun glint enhanced views may also have been possible).
CEO images can be viewed at the websites.

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

U.S. and Russian Segment Status (as of today, 1:14pm EDT).

Environmental Control and Life Support (ECLSS) and Thermal Control (TCS):

  • Elektron O2 generator is On. Vozdukh CO2 scrubber is On. U.S. CDRA CO2 scrubber is on Standby (ready in dual-bed mode). TCCS (trace contaminant control subsystem) is operating. SM Gas Analyzer has been calibrated and is used for ppO2 and ppCO2 monitoring. MCA (major constituents analyzer) is in Life Extending Mode (LEM). BMP Harmful Impurities unit: absorbent bed #1 in Purify mode, bed #2 in Purify mode. RS air conditioner SKV-1 is On, SKV-2 is Off (SM panel mods completed 4/8; SKV-2 activation TBD). SFOG slot#2 fan suspect (not usable).
  • SM Working Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 742; temperature (deg C) — 26.1; ppO2 (mmHg) — 160.2; ppCO2 (mmHg) — 3.7;
  • SM Transfer Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) — 761; temperature (deg C) — 19.9.
  • FGB Cabin:  Pressure (mmHg) — 756; temperature (deg C) — 23.0;
  • Node:  Pressure (mmHg) — 757.88; temperature (deg C) — 24.5 (shell); ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • U.S. Lab:  Pressure (mmHg) — 759.76; temperature (deg C) — 24.9; ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • Joint Airlock (Equip. Lock):   Pressure (mmHg) — 759.97; temperature (deg C) — 26.2; shell heater temp (deg C) — n/a, ppO2 (mmHg) — n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) — n/a.
  • (n/a = data not available)
  • PMA-1:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — n/a
  • PMA-2:  Shell heater temp (deg C) — n/a.

Electrical Power Systems (EPS):

  • Both P6 channels fully operational. BGA (beta gimbal assembly) 2B and 4B both in Autotrack (solar-tracking, “sun slicer”, i.e., drag reduction-biased by 47 deg).
  • SM batteries:  Battery #6 is in “Cycle” mode; all other batteries (7) are in “Partial Charge” mode.  
  • FGB batteries:  Battery #6 is off-line (capacity restoration mode, ROM); all other batteries (5) are in “Partial Charge” mode.
  • Plasma Contactor Unit PCU-1 is in Standby mode; PCU-2 is in Standby mode.

Command & Data Handling Systems:

  • C&C-1 MDM is prime, C&C-2 is back-up, and C&C-3 is in standby.
  • GNC-2 MDM is prime; GNC-1 is Backup.
  • INT-2 is operating; INT-1 is Off.
  • EXT-1 is On (primary), EXT-2 is Off.
  • LA-1, LA-2 and LA-3 MDMs are all operating.
  • PL-1 MDM is Off; PL-2 MDM is Operational.
  • APS-1 (automated payload switch #1) and APS-2 are both On.
  • SM Terminal Computer (TVM): 2 redundant lanes (of 3) operational (string 1 dropped out 11/22/03).
  • SM Central Computer (TsVM): 2 redundant lanes (of 3) operational (string #3 dropped out 10/22/03).
  • FGB MDM-1 is Off (failed, 11/21/03); MDM-2 is Operational.

Propulsion System:

  • Total propellant load available: 3884 kg (8563 lb) as of 4/8/04;  [SM(755) + FGB(2470) + Progress M-1(659)]. (Capability: SM — 860 kg; FGB — 6120 kg).

Attitude Control Systems:

  • 3 CMGs on-line (CMG-1 failed, since 6/6/02).
  • State vector source — U.S. SIGI-1 (GPS)
  • Attitude source — U.S. SIGI-1 (GPS)
  • Angular rate source — RGA-1

Flight Attitude:

  • XPOP (x-axis perpendicular to orbit plane = “sun-fixed” [yaw: 0.5 deg, pitch: -9.0 deg., roll: 0 deg]), with CMG TA (thruster assist), until 4/14.

Communications & Tracking Systems:

  • FGB MDM-1 is powered Off; FGB MDM-2 is operational.
  • All other Russian communications & tracking systems are nominal.
  • S-band is operating nominally (on string 2).
  • Ku-band is operating nominally (may require a mask).
  • Audio subsystem is operating nominally (IAC-1 is prime, IAC-2 is off).
  • Video subsystem operating nominally.
  • HCOR (high-rate communications outage recorder) is operating nominally.


  • SSRMS/Canadarm2 based at Lab PDGF/LEE A, operational on redundant string, off on prime.
  • MBS: KA (keep alive) power on both strings. 
  • MT: latched and mated at WS4.
  • POA: KA power on both strings.
  • RWS (robotics workstations): Lab RWS is On (DCP connected); Cupola RWS is Off.

ISS Orbit  (as of this morning, 7:27am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 364.4 km
  • Apogee — 371.8 km
  • Perigee — 356.9 km
  • Period — 91.83 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0010995
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.68
  • Mean altitude loss last 24 hours — 110 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 30753

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

SpaceRef staff editor.