Status Report

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 9 Mar 2004

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

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below.  Day 143 in space for Expedition 8 (141 days aboard ISS).

The long-awaited IFM (in-flight maintenance) on the TVIS treadmill began at ~4:15am EST.  The entire operation was estimated to take the two crewmembers ~11 hours, and today’s part is the first 6-hr. installment, divided into a morning and an afternoon session.  The activity is closely coordinated with and monitored by ground specialists.    [The treadmill was to be removed from the SM floor (the “pit”) and its chassis opened up to allow access to the roll-stabilizing gyroscope for removal of its flywheel.  The failed gyro bearings are then replaced, followed by reassembly of the gyro with careful torque calibration.  This requires measuring shims and building a new shim stack, while verifying the running torque for the fasteners.  After reassembly, an acceptance checkout and power draw test are necessary before nominal TVIS ops can be resumed.]

Preparatory to tomorrow’s scheduled replacement of the BKO purification column unit in the Service Module (SM)’s condensate water processor (SRV-K2M), Alex Kaleri collected water samples from the KAV water sampler attached to the SRV and from the heating unit of the air/liquid condensate separator (BRPK-M).  Closeout of the KAV setup will be performed tomorrow before the BKO replacement.

Mike Foale attended to the regular transfer of the accumulated TVIS exercise files to the MEC (medical equipment computer) for subsequent downlink to the ground.

Sasha Kaleri performed the regular SOZh life support systems maintenance in the SM, comprising the water supply equipment, food supply subsystem (SOP), and sanitary hygiene equipment (SGO).  He also prepared the daily IMS “delta file” for automatic export/import to update the databases.

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 Cyclone Gafilo, Madagascar (Dynamic event.  This storm has strengthened again after moving offshore into the Mozambique Channel.  But it is forecast to recurve, making landfall in southern Madagascar as ISS tracked just north: looking right for a general view of this well-formed storm), Dust and smoke, Nigeria (Dynamic event. Dust and smoke mass appears to be blowing SW from Chad/northern Nigeria.  Looking right over the ocean for a possible strong margin between dust-laden desert air and maritime air), Saharan dust (Dynamic event.  Another major dust pulse has exited Africa and has almost reached South America.  The crew had the opportunity to see the northern margin over the central Atlantic; about eight minutes later they crossed the southern margin of the mass, looking left and right for probable well defined margins.  Their images would be of great interest to the scientists on NOAA’s research ship, now in the central Atlantic), Internal waves, Central America (looking left towards the glint disc for images of near-shore internal waves on the Pacific side of the isthmus), La Paz, Bolivia (looking slightly left for this major city that lies on the high, desert plateau and in a major canyon that leads off the high plateau), Lake Poopo (recent rains over the generally dry central Andes should be filling this lake that has no outlet to the sea.  Nadir pass), Tuamotu Archipelago (nadir pass over the southernmost islands in the chain.  Detailed images requested for the global map of reefs), Howland Island, Central Pacific (400mm-lens.  Looking just right of track.  This 1.5 mile-long island is completely surrounded by a coral reef.  Its navigation beacon is known as Earhart Light), Baker Island, Central Pacific (400mm-lens.  Looking just right of track.  Smaller than Howland, Baker is about 2.5 times the size of The Mall in Washington, D.C.  Guano was mined here for decades), and Palmerston Island, Central Pacific (400mm-lens.  Looking just right of track.  This atoll is mainly a coral reef enclosing a lagoon ~ 7 miles across.  Six small islets are small part of the polygonal atoll).

CEO images can be viewed at the websites.

See also the website “Space Station Challenge” at

ISS Orbit  (as of this morning, 7:06am EST [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 368.6 km
  • Apogee — 376.0 km
  • Perigee — 361.3 km
  • Period — 91.92 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.629 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.001092
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.66
  • Mean altitude loss last 24 hours — 80 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 30267

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

SpaceRef staff editor.