Status Report

Tommy Gram 25 – ISS 7A Mission Accomplished: Phase 2 and Onward!

By SpaceRef Editor
August 6, 2001
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Sent: Monday, August 06, 2001 11:24 AM To: DL JSC Senior Staff; DL ISS CIVIL

Subject: Tommy Gram 25 – ISS 7A Mission Accomplished: Phase 2 and Onward!

STS-104 is safely on the ground, and the ISS and the Program marks the
accomplishment of a major milestone in the construction and operations of ISS
Phase 2 that is complete and close to the schedule we set 18 months ago.

In the last year, the Program accomplished an unprecedented series of 14
space flights. From the time of Service Module launch in July 2000 until
installation of the Airlock in July 2001, the U.S. and Russia have each
launched seven missions to the ISS. We had unparalleled execution of the
major element installation flights, and we overcame several problems before
they became major concerns.

Due to the dedication and technical excellence of the men and women in
human space flight, we overcame several critical hurdles. On ISS 3A, the
control moment gyro (CMG) heater analysis and understanding the impact of a
potential CMG failure caused a lot of last minute adjustments in testing and
procedures, yet the mission launched on time. On ISS 4A, efforts to keep
astronauts safe and installing a probe measuring plasma build up on the ISS
yielded some creative thinking. The unexpected dynamics in the solar array
blankets, as the P6 PV array unfurled, also required a tremendous effort to
get the guide wire back on the pulley and fix the procedures so that the
second array deployment was flawlessly executed.

On ISS 5A, the ISS accepted its most capable module as the U.S.
Laboratory “Destiny” was attached with almost perfect systems activation (98
out of 99 subsystems and components activated). Software use jumped
significantly. On ISS 6A, we had our toughest challenge so far, as mainline
command computers failed, and a series of activities was set in motion where
ground engineers and flight teams worked around the clock to solve the
problem and to get a new hard drive onorbit on the next Progress flight. We
also had our first traffic jam in orbit on the flight, as delays with
computer problems came close to the time of planned Soyuz taxi flight docking
– with the visit of an ISS tourist on board. We have learned a lot of
lessons, and we are gaining experience integrating the improvements back into

At the close of Phase 2, the ISS is already a functional and operational
station. It has living and workspace for a permanent crew of three. It has
ample power. It has a lifeboat. It has a laboratory already equipped with
standard research racks. It has an arm and state-of-the-art robotics for ISS
construction and maintenance. It has an airlock or “doorway” where space
walks can go on independent of the Space Shuttle.

The ISS is maintaining attitude control with electrically powered CMG’s,
saving on precious fuel. It is transmitting data and voice communications
through S-band and Ku equipment. The era of ISS utilization and research has
begun. Scientists are already sending commands to their experiments on board
ISS, using their laptops, through processes established by the Payload
Operations Center at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.
Hardware for the next 2 years of Space Shuttle flights are in line at the
Operations and Checkout and Space Station Processing Facilities at the
Kennedy Space Center, awaiting final checkout, testing, and integration for

The Future — For the rest of 2001, the ISS awaits the arrival of
Expedition 3 on the next Space Shuttle mission, ISS 7A.1. The ISS will get
two more EXPRESS research racks and the pace of scientific investigations
increases as the last Space Shuttle flight of the year, ISS UF.1, brings
Expedition 4 onorbit in the fall. The Russian docking compartment is making
its way to the launch pad, in Baikonur, and will join the ISS soon. Two more
Progress supply flights are planned before the end of the year and another
Soyuz taxi flight is going to the ISS in October.

In 2002, the ISS truss structure gets built and outfitting continues.
In 2003, a very challenging series of flights will bring all U.S. solar
arrays to orbit, and ISS will become configured for maximum power.

All of this is possible because of you. Your dedication, commitment,
and technical excellence make it happen. So, thanks to all of you: some who
have worked from conception to installation (10 to 15 years); some who worked
through the Christmas holidays to get the Lab launched on time; some who
worked day and night to solve problems in real-time so the flights and
Program could proceed smoothly; and many others.

So, take time to appreciate the fruits of your labor. Take your leave
this fall and get refreshed and let us continue on the journey to the Top.


SpaceRef staff editor.