Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 9 August 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
August 9, 2004
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 9 August 2004

SpaceRef note: This NASA Headquarters internal status report, as presented here, contains additional, original material produced by (copyright © 2004) to enhance access to related status reports and NASA activities.

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Underway: Week 15 for Expedition 9.

Before breakfast and physical exercise, CDR Padalka and FE/SO Fincke completed another session of the Russian crew health-monitoring program’s medical assessment MO-9/Biochemical Urinalysis.  CDR stowed the hardware afterwards. [MO-9 is conducted regularly every 30 days (and also before and after EVAs) and is one of five nominal Russian medical tests adopted by NASA for US crewmembers for IMG PHS (Integrated Medical Group/Periodic Health Status) evaluation as part of the “PHS/Without Blood Labs” exam.  The analysis uses the sophisticated in-vitro diagnostic apparatus “Urolux” developed originally for the Mir program.  Afterwards, the data were entered in the medical equipment computer (MEC)’s special IFEP software (In-Flight Examination Program).]

Later in the day, the crew completed the scheduled PHS/Without Blood Labs exam and performed the clinical evaluation, each one acting first as CMO (crew medical officer) and then as the examined subject. Afterwards, Mike Fincke completed data entry/download for both of them, and stowed the PHS hardware.  [The PHS exam is guided by special software (IFEP, in-flight examination program) on the medical equipment computer (MEC).]

Both crewmembers completed their second 48-hr. inflight diet logging session for the BIOPSY experiment.  Similarly to the Renal (kidney stone prevention) experiment in the past, nutrition consumption is recorded three times a day, this time in a spreadsheet via the crewmember’s handheld PDA. [One of the human systems most affected by extended stays in space is the neuromuscular system.  Past space missions have shown weightlessness can cause deterioration of muscle fiber, nerves and physical strength. The BIOPSY (Effect of Prolonged Space Flight on Human Skeletal Muscle) experiment investigates the reductions in limb muscle size, force and power at the cellular level that are induced by microgravity.  This research will determine how long it takes for micro-G to affect skeletal muscles, so predictions can be made regarding muscle changes that may occur on a roundtrip flight to Mars.  To help establish the cellular effects of weightlessness, biopsies are taken from the calf muscle (gastronemius) and foot-flexing muscle (soleus) 45 days before launch, and again immediately upon return to Earth.  MRI (magnetic resonance imagery) also is taken of the calf muscle 90 and 30 days before launch, and again one and 21 days after return to Earth.]

Gennady Padalka, assisted by Fincke as required, completed the Day 2 part of the IFM (inflight maintenance) of the Russian TEKh-20 Plasma Crystal-3 (PK-3) payload, which involved the removal of its N-300 turbopump and repair of a leaky nozzle (VV1) in the pump body.  Final leak checking and re-installation of the turbopump are scheduled for tomorrow (Day 3) and Wednesday (Day 4). [The N-300 is required to evacuate the PK work chamber to vacuum.]

Padalka unstowed the Russian MedOps SZM-MO-21 experiment “Ecosphera” for setup and recharge of its power supply, for a microbial air sampling run scheduled for 8/12. [The equipment, consisting of an air sampler set, a charger, power supply unit, and incubation tray for Petri dishes, determines microbial contamination of the ISS atmosphere, specifically the total bacterial and fungal microflora counts and microflora composition according to morphologic criteria of microorganism colonies.]

Mike Fincke finished the assembly of the Lab window flexhose protective box, of which he had completed 80% last Friday (8/6). [The construction job from individual pieces flown up on Progress 14P was documented with the Lab camcorder for review by ground teams.  Everything went nominally.  The date of installation of the flexhose U-jumper at the window frame still is under discussion.]

As part of regular (monthly) preventive maintenance of ISS ventilation systems, Gennady meanwhile worked in the FGB/Zarya module to clean ventilation mesh screens on interior panels.

Mike conducted the newly requested Major Constituents Analyzer (MCA) checkup to verify the torque on the manual oxygen valve (HVO2) of the VGA (verification gas assembly). [The objective is to help engineers in eliminating the valve as the putative source of an apparent leak of verification gas from the MCA tank.  MCA verification gas is normally only used during a full MCA calibration and MCA activation.  The ground has changed the activation procedure to eliminate verification gas consumption.  However, there appears to be a leak of the gas.]

Fincke also completed the daily routine inspection of the SM’s SOZh life support system, prepared the daily IMS “delta” file update and performed the standard routine checkup of autonomous Lab payloads.

Mike and Gennady completed their full regimen of physical exercise on VELO with force loader, RED (resistive exercise device) and TVIS (treadmill with vibration isolation and stabilization).  Afterwards, the FE performed the weekly maintenance of the TVIS (a five-minute task usually done just prior to power-down or end of exercise session).

Working from the Russian task list, the CDR continued the current session with the Uragan (“hurricane”) earth-imaging program, using the Kodak 760 DSC (digital still camera) with 800mm-lens from SM windows #9. [Today’s task again was to perform photo imagery of the Grushevskoye village in the Alexandrovskiy Region of Stavropol Territory.  Grushevskoye is 80 km east of Stavropol, on the highway between Svetlograd  Gofitskoye  Grushevskoye  Alexandrovskoye.]

Previous Reports

ISS On-orbit Status [HQ]
ISS Status [JSC]
Shuttle Processing [KSC]

At ~5:00pm EDT tonight, the crew will conducted an interactive educational PAO exchange with 550 middle school educators and students at Waimea Middle School, a NASA Explorer School at Kamuela, Hawaii.  SO Fincke will have the Hawaiian “Pu’ili” instrument available for use during the event. [The pu’ili (pronounced: Poo-EE’-lee) is part of EPO (Education Payload Operations), sponsored by the Museum Aerospace Education Alliance (MAEA).  The Bishop Museum in Hawaii provided the pu’ili for use in a demonstration about the properties and production of sound in microgravity. During Increment 7, Ed Lu (who considers Honolulu, HI, his home) used the pu’ili in an educational demonstration.  The pu’ili is a traditional Hawaiian musical instrument used in dances.  A piece of bamboo is split into narrow strips or strands except for a section of about five inches at one end which serves as a handle. Bamboo is cut away to leave spaces between the strands. The player or dancer produces a rustling sound when he or she taps the pu’ili rhythmically against his or his partner’s shoulder or arm, a floor mat, or another pu’ili.]

EVA-11 is scheduled for 9/2-9/3.  If it slips, it will have to wait until after 9/8 (high solar Beta angle).  The preliminary crew sleep plan for EVA-11 was reviewed and found to be favorable, requiring no sleep cycle shift except on EVA day itself.

Recent attempts at repairing the SAMS (space acceleration measurement system) payload with a software upgrade and hardware re-configuration, both from the ground and by Fincke, have been unsuccessful.  Identification of next troubleshooting steps is imminent.

The HRF (human research facility) team reports that the loading of the HRF RIC (rack interface controller) computer with new software was successful.  All payload racks are now running on the same software upgrade level.

The Russian Elektron oxygen generator in the Service Module continues to be a major source of trouble, experiencing intermittent failures of its micropumps due to gas entrapped in its BZh Liquid Unit (currently BZh-7), twice last week (once yesterday).  Russian specialists are trying hard to come up with a more effective recovery plan than the one currently being used for “debubbling”. [One possibility under consideration is to go back to the previous BZh design (BZh-5) and use its pumps to fix BZh-7.]

Early this morning, work was begun on upgrading network routers in Moscow.  There were a few small issues, but later one server worked nominally, and the work will be finished tomorrow. [These routers are providing command and telemetry links between Moscow and Houston.]

A new set of ADUM (Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in Microgravity) sessions, for which Fincke prepared on 8/6, is scheduled for this week, starting tomorrow.  The activities will involve the fourth run of bone scans and the first Scan A session. [Remaining to be done: two more bone scans and one Scan A.]

The station continues to fly in XPOP attitude (X-axis perpendicular to orbit plane), pitch: 0.8 deg, yaw: -8.0 deg, roll: 0 deg, until 9/2, when it will switch to LVLH XVV in support of EVA-11, to return to XPOP on 9/4.
Major upcoming events:

  • Progress 15P launch — 8/11 (1:01am EDT);
  • Progress 15P docking — 8/14 (1:02am EDT);
  • ISS Reboost — 8/20;
  • ISS Reboost — 8/26.

Expedition 9 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.

Today’s CEO photo target, limited in the current 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”), was Aurora, Australia (looking right for several minutes).

CEO images can be viewed at these websites:

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at:

To view the latest photos taken by the expedition 9 crew visit:

ISS Location NOW

Full Size/Update
Real Time ISS TrackerMore Links

ISS Orbit  (as of this morning, 9:30am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 357.0 km
  • Apogee height — 360.9 km
  • Perigee height — 353.0km
  • Period — 91.7 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) — 51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0006187
  • Solar Beta Angle — -35.7 deg
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.70
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 80 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 32670

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.