Status Report

Space Station On-Orbit Status 18 May 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
May 18, 2003
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Space Station On-Orbit Status 18 May 2003

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously or below.  Begin of Week 3 for Expedition 7. 

A Sunday rest day for the crew, with a few standard maintenance tasks and some public affairs and family downlink fun.

CDR Yuri Malenchenko collected the weekly data readings of the SP toilet flush and SVO water supply status counters for calldown to MCC-M via S-band, then completed the periodic inspection of the Elektron oxygen generator’s gas/liquid system (VM) for the air bubbles that sometimes linger after an IFM (in-flight maintenance).

Malenchenko also performed the daily routine tasks of SOZh life support systems maintenance and checkup of the BIO-5 “Rasteniya-2/Lada-2” zero-G plant growth experiment.

Yuri then completed the regular inspection of the active BRPK-1 air/liquid condensate separator system in the Service Module (SM), while FE/SO Edward Lu prepared the daily IMS (inventory management system) delta file for automatic export/import to update the database.

At 10:50am EDT, both crewmembers participated in two TV downlinks with congratulatory greetings from the ISS, one to the annual Eurovision-2003 song competition conducted by European TV networks, the other to Russia on the occasion of the 300-Year Anniversary of the city of St. Petersburg (Leningrad).  The city, which was founded by Peter the Great as the Russian State Capital 300 years ago, today is the “largest industrial, scientific and cultural center of Russia and the world” (crew’s scripted greeting message).

Lu and Malenchenko completed their daily physical exercise program, on TVIS treadmill, RED expander, CEVIS bike and, for the CDR, on the Russian VELO cycle ergometer with load trainer.

The crew had their weekly PFCs (private family conferences), via S-band/audio.

Last night at 11:15pm EDT, as the solar Beta angle reached the 60-deg limit, the station maneuvered from XPOP (x-axis perpendicular to orbit plane) to the thermally more forgiving YVV/”barbecue” flight attitude of earth-“fixed” LVLH (local vertical/local horizontal).  [Yaw 90.2 deg, pitch 10.8 deg, roll 3.2 deg.]

As a result of Ed Lu’s EXPRESS Rack 1 and 4 (ER1 & ER4) activities on 5/16 (Friday), is was discovered that the ER4 RIC (rack interface controller) has a software task that is suspended; it will require a RIC reboot in the future.  [POC (Payload Operations Center) also uplinked a description of cable hookups of ER1 in response to some questions by Lu.]

The crew will be reviewing an OBT (on-board training) course to prepare for the upcoming Educational Payload Operations (EPO).  [The CD-ROM walks Ed and Yuri through the mechanics of the three planned EPO objectives using a slide presentation and some demonstration videos.  The first two experiments, scheduled for Week 4, will demonstrate paper airplane props and the Wright Flyer, topical for the education community as we approach the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brother’s first flight.]

Weekly Science Update (Expedition Seven — 2nd):
The crew was commended by the Lead Increment Scientist on having accomplished a lot already in their short time on orbit.  Their picture of the Anatahan Volcano erupting was one of the first images captured, and they relocated the BSTC, GSM and CGBA hardware.  Next week they will “crank up” the MSG rack to begin InSPACE operations.  Also next week MCC-H has planned a crew conference to review the revised increment science plan and invite Lu and Malenchenko to identify any science or education activities “out of the box” they may find rewarding if there is time later in the increment.

GASMAP:   First 30 Day Health Check is scheduled for 5/20 (Tuesday).
Human Research Facility/Workstation (HRF WS):   Continuing.

Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation (PFMI):  Waiting to begin operations.

Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS):  SAMS is nominal and currently analyzing data in support of general characterization efforts toward tracking down numerous unknown disturbance sources.

Microgravity Acceleration Measurement System (MAMS):  MAMS is nominal and currently analyzing data in support of general characterization efforts toward tracking down numerous unknown disturbance sources.

Protein Crystal Growth-Single Locker Thermal Enclosure System (PCG-STES):   Temperatures are holding steady (nominal).  Crystals are still growing.  Requires only regular status check by the crew, including cleaning the filters.

Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions (InSPACE):   Three InSPACE test runs are scheduled for the upcoming Week 3.  The nominal plan involves tests with Coil Assembly 005 which is installed in the MSG.  Prior operations with this Coil that contains particles that are 0.4 microns in diameter have resulted in structure formation that becomes masked quickly once the mode is switched from steady to pulse.  As a result some additional, but abbreviated monitor steps have been added that will direct Ed Lu to switch to the steady mode so that the structures (hopefully) become evident.

Materials ISS Experiment (MISSE):  In progress.  Deployed outside. Nominal and collecting data.

Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students (EarthKAM):  Waiting to begin operations.

Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures-2 (CSLM-2):  Waiting to begin operations.

Educational Payload Operations (EPO):  Waiting to begin operations (Week 4).

Crew Earth Observations (CEO):  The image of erupting Anatahan Volcano in the Northern Mariana Islands was one of the earliest images taken of this eruption.  It was acquired while other government agencies were still gearing up to acquire their more remote, satellite-based images. The handheld images with a caption are being prepared for immediate release to NASA’s Earth Observatory website.
Today’s CEO targets, now no longer restricted by the Lab science window ruled off-limit due to flight attitude, were Smoke, Central & South Mexico (Dynamic event.  Looking right for smoke masses being transported by winds from the south towards northern Mexico and Texas, across the west side of the Gulf of Mexico), Argentine floods (Dynamic event.  Waters from the worst floods in record have inundated the major southern Parana River valley:  sunglint point parallels the river), Patagonian Glaciers (a break for one day between cloud masses should allow views of the southern Andean ice sheets.  Detailed views of the dynamic ends of glaciers around the ice sheets are requested in particular), Anatahan Volcano, N. Marianas (Dynamic event.  Anatahan Volcano ash has reached Manila, and poses a danger to commercial aircraft.  A state of emergency was declared in the Northern Mariana Islands on Wednesday as the eruption gained strength.  The ISS track, well west of the volcano, should reveal the ash plume [but probably not the island], especially the margin of the plume, in oblique views left and right of track), Perth, Australia(night target; nadir pass), Calcutta, India (night target; nadir pass), Dhaka, Bangladesh (night target; nadir pass), Cape Town, South Africa (night target; nadir pass), Johannesburg, South Africa (night target; nadir pass.  Looking left and right for the lights of this strung-out metroplex), Karachi, Pakistan (night target; nadir pass), and Tunis, Tunisia (night target; nadir pass).
CEO images can be viewed at the websites and

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 6:40am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude — 389.5 km
  • Apogee — 393.6 km
  • Perigee — 385.5 km
  • Period — 92.35 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) —  51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity — 0.0005972
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day — 15.59
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours — 80 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. ’98)  — 25636
  • For more on ISS orbit and worldwide naked-eye visibility dates/times, see

SpaceRef staff editor.