NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 13 September 2004

Status Report From: NASA HQ/SpaceRef/NASA Watch
Posted: Monday, September 13, 2004

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All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below.   Underway: Week 20 for Expedition 9.

Service Module Atmosphere Revitalization Subsystem, Book 2, Mission Operations Directorate, 9 October 2000 [Acrobat] According to this document's introduction "This book contains information for the crew about procedures and rules for the atmosphere revitalization subsystem, Elektron, Vozdukh, Micropurification Unit, and Fire Detection and Suppression Subsystem operations, as well as their schematic and operation logic."

Update on Elektron:  The Elektron O2 generator is still Off.  After the replacement of the gas analyzer for hydrogen (H2) in the O2 line by Padalka last Friday (9/10), the machine ran for about an hour and then shut down again.  Moscow subsequently diagnosed the culprit to be a pressure increase in the hydrogen (H2) line due to cross-sectional constriction caused by deposits of KOH (potassium hydroxide) crystals.  Because of the manifolds' design this also rises the gas pressure in the O2 supply line, and its increase automatically shuts down the generator.  A similar situation was encountered on the space station Mir.  The crew's extensive efforts today focused on cleaning out the deposits from the H2 line and, after that apparently didn't suffice, replaced a pressure regulator valve.  The Elektron was turned on afterwards for some time and was then shut off for the night, but it is too early to tell whether it is actually restored.  

Update on cabin atmosphere:  Cabin air was repressurized last Friday night (9/10) with 10.5 mmHg/Torr of nitrogen (N2) from U.S. Airlock HPGT (high-pressure gas tank) supplies in order to increase total pressure and avoid having to drop under the Flight Rule-specified lower limit of 14.2 psi.  Oxygen partial pressure (ppO2) this morning was reported by Moscow as 154.8 mmHg (Torr).  The minimum acceptable level of 146 mmHg is estimated to be reached by Friday/Saturday this week without Elektron, requiring a repressurization on Thursday (9/16), the details of which are currently being reviewed by Houston and Moscow.

Before breakfast, both crewmembers completed another session of the bi-monthly Russian medical experiment protocols Calf Volume Measurement (PZEh-MO-7) and Body Mass Measurement (PZEh-MO-8).  CDR Padalka set up the MO-8 "scales" equipment and FE/SO Fincke later broke it down and stowed it away.  [Calf measurements (left leg only) are taken with the IZOG device, a custom-sewn fabric cuff that fits over the calf, using the knee and lower foot as fixed reference points, to provide a rough index of deconditioning in zero-G and effectiveness of countermeasures.  For determining body mass in zero-G, where things are weightless (but not massless), the Russian IM "scales" measure the inertial forces that arise during the oscillatory motion of a mass driven by two helical metering springs with known spring constants.  By measuring the time period of each oscillation of the unknown mass (the crewmember) and comparing it to the period of a known mass, the crewmembers mass is calculated by the computer and displayed].   In support of VHF2 (very high frequency 2) ground network testing, at 5:15am EDT the crew successfully conducted the first of three two-way communication checks of the Soyuz TMA-4's VHF2 radio system with continental U.S. ground sites, today with the VHF station at Dryden Flight Research Center.  Two more sessions are planned: one with the Wallops site tomorrow (Tuesday), the other with the White Sands VHF station on Wednesday (9/15).   [The location of the Soyuz VHF2 uplink & downlink frequencies in the VHF aeronautical comm band restrict NASA VHF ground stations operations on Soyuz VHF2 to spacecraft emergencies only.  Due to the emergency nature of any possible Soyuz VHF2 support from the NASA ground sites, NASA has received permission from the FAA and other regulatory agencies to conduct a one-time test with each NASA VHF ground station.]  

Previous Reports

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

A major IFM (inflight maintenance) job by Padalka to install a new common power- switching unit (BSK-2V) in the SM for operating the Russian intercom (MBRL, intermodular radio communications system) was deferred to make time for Elektron troubleshooting.  

Also postponed for that purpose were three of Mike Fincke's scheduled tasks, viz. inspection & cleaning of CHeCS AAA (Crew Health Care Systems rack/Avionics Air Assembly) air ducts and fan, updating two copies of the onboard SODF (system operations data files) Warning Book, and another session with the laptop-based psychological MedOps WinSCAT (Spaceflight Cognitive Assessment Tool) experiment.  

Mike conducted the routine inspection of the SM's SOZh environment control & life support system, today including the periodic checkup of the BRPK air/liquid condensate separator apparatus.  He also completed the routine status checkup of the autonomous PCG-STES010 (Protein Crystal Growth-Single Locker Thermal Enclosure System) payload in the Lab (done every Monday, Wednesday and Friday), while Gennady prepared the regular IMS (inventory management system) delta file for automated export to the ground for database updating and subsequent re-import via OCA.  

The CDR performed the periodic inspection of the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("Plants-2") experiment which researches growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in the Lada-5 greenhouse.  Topping its water container off as required was an additional step included in the crew-choice task list.

Both crewmembers were scheduled for the CHeCS emergency medical operations OBT (on-board training) drill, a 30-min. exercise to refresh the Crew Medical Officer (CMO)'s acuity in applying ACLS (advanced cardio life support) in an emergency.   [Today's computer-based proficiency drill focuses on administration of intravenous (IV) fluid infusion and the diagnosis and treatment of a tension pneumothorax.  (The latter refers to a collection of gas in the pleural space in the chest resulting in collapse of the lung on the affected side.  A tension pneumothorax is a life-threatening condition, where the air within the pleural space is under pressure, displacing mediastinal structures and compromising cardiopulmonary function).]

In preparation for major SM air ventilation system IFM activities later this week aimed at deadening acoustic noise by way of isolating fans from the structure with newly delivered vibration absorbers, the CDR today assessed the feasibility of the installation of the devices and made preparations for it.  

Mike Fincke conducted the periodic external structural inspection of the ISS, observing and taking photographs of visible station parts via window ports.  

Mike and Gennady completed their daily 2.5-hr. physical exercise program on TVIS, RED exerciser and VELO cycle with bungee cord load trainer.  

As part of the current round of inflight crew debriefings, at ~4:30pm Mike Fincke will address uplinked questions on Onboard Information Technology.   [Areas of concern for PCS (Portable Computing System) and SSC (Station Support Computer, OpsLAN) are general observations, systems performance, laptop maintenance plan, OpsLAN real time support, etc.]  

After the crew transferred the OCA router hard drive from SSC1 to the SSC6/MPSD2 laptop (Multi-Purpose Support Disc-2) as per agreed-upon laptop sparing priority plan (see 9/11 Status report), the MPSD also failed.  The ground is working on a new plan for recovery and spares.  

The Science Officer was provided with a new list of options for his next Saturday Science program (9/18) for his choice.   [Suggested by POIC (Payload Operations & Integration Center) are an ISSI (In-Space Soldering Investigation) test, an MFMG (Miscible Fluids in Microgravity) test, another CFE (Capillary Flow Experiment) run, this time on supplementary techniques, and BCSS-FDI TCM (Biotechnology Cell Science Stowage-Fluid Dynamics Investigation Tissue Culture Module) bubble removal ops.]  

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 (crew earth observations) 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 Biomass burning, W Brazil (Dynamic event.  Looking left and right, and shooting any obliques that show the margins of the smoke mass that has resulted from hundreds of fires).

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:

  Major upcoming events:

  • Reboost -- 9/22 (phase angle correction for 9S)
  • Soyuz 9S launch -- 10/9, 1:04am EDT (w/Leroy Chiao, Salizhan Sharipov, Yuri Shargin);
  • Soyuz 9S dock -- 10/11, 2:15am EDT;
  • Soyuz 8S undock -- 10/18, 6:58pm EDT (w/Gennady Padalka, Michael Fincke, Yuri Shargin);
  • Soyuz 8S land -- 10/18, 10:22pm EDT;
  • Soyuz 9S port relocate -- 11/18;
  • Progress 15P undock - 11/23;
  • Progress 16P launch -- 11/24;
  • EVA-12 - 12/28;
  • Progress 16P undock - 1/29/05;
  • Progress 17P launch - 1/30/05;
  • EVA-13 - 2/21/05;
  • Shuttle/LF1 launch - NET 3/6/05;
  • Shuttle/LF1 undock - NET 3/16/05.

U.S. & Russian Segment Status  (as of today, 1:26pm EDT)   Environmental Control and Life Support (ECLSS) and Thermal Control (TCS):

  • Elektron O2 generator is Off.  Vozdukh CO2 scrubber is On.  U.S. CDRA CO2 scrubber is Off.  TCCS (trace contaminant control subsystem) is On.  SM Gas Analyzer has been calibrated and is used for ppO2 & ppCO2 monitoring.  MCA (major constituents analyzer) is Off.  BMP Harmful Impurities unit: absorbent bed #1 in Purify mode, bed #2 in Purify mode.  RS air conditioner SKV-1 is Off. SKV-2 is On (SM panel mods completed 4/8; SKV-2 activation failed 4/20; had a new replaceable condensate removal line installed on 9/9).  SFOG slot #2 fan suspect (not usable).
  • SM Working Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) -- 742; temperature (deg C) -- 26.1; ppO2 (mmHg) -- 147.7; ppCO2 (mmHg) -- 3.7.
  • SM Transfer Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) -- 741; temperature (deg C) -- 19.8.
  • FGB Cabin:  Pressure (mmHg) -- 744; temperature (deg C) -- 22.3.
  • Node:  Pressure (mmHg) -- 740.7; temperature (deg C) -- 24.6 (shell); ppO2 (mmHg) -- n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) -- n/a.
  • U.S. Lab:  Pressure (mmHg) -- 742.4; temperature (deg C) -- 23.8; ppO2 (mmHg) -- n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) -- n/a.
  • Joint Airlock (Equip. Lock):   Pressure (mmHg) -- 742.5; temperature (deg C) -- 27.6; shell heater temp (deg C) -- n/a, ppO2 (mmHg) -- n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) -- n/a.

(n/a = data not available)   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 37.5 deg angle for 2B, -37.5 deg for 4B).
  • SM batteries:  Battery #6 is in "Cycle" mode; all other batteries (7) are on line in "Partial Charge" mode.  
  • FGB batteries:  Battery #3 is off line.  All other batteries (5) are on line in "Partial Charge" mode.
  • Plasma Contactor Unit PCU-1 is in Standby mode; PCU-2 is in Standby mode.

  Command & Data Handling Systems (C&DH)

  • C&C-1 MDM is prime, C&C-2 is backup, 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 (backup).
  • 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): 3 redundant lanes (of 3) operational.
  • SM Central Computer (TsVM): 3 redundant lanes (of 3) operational.
  • FGB MDM-1 is Off (failed, 11/21/03); MDM-2 is Operational.

  Propulsion System (PS):

  • Total propellant load available: 4408 kg (9718 lb) as of 9/8/04;  [SM(552) + FGB(3388) + Progress M(468)].  (Capabilities: SM -- 860 kg; FGB -- 6120 kg).

  Attitude Control Systems (ACS):

  • 3 CMGs on-line (CMG-1 failed, since 6/6/02; CMG-2's RPC-17 failed 4/21/04; was replaced 6/30/04).
  • 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: 180.5 deg, pitch: -6.9 deg., roll: 0 deg]), with CMG TA (thruster assist) until 9/2 for EVA-11, then back to XPOP until next reboost (9/22).

  Communications & Tracking Systems (C&T):

  • 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.
  • 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 Location NOW

Full Size/Update
Real Time ISS Tracker - More Links

ISS Orbit  (as of this morning, 8:15am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude -- 360.0 km
  • Apogee height -- 363.7 km
  • Perigee height -- 356.3 km
  • Period -- 91.74 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.63 deg
  • Eccentricity -- 0.0005543
  • Solar Beta Angle -- 48.1 deg (magnitude decreasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.69
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours -- 90 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98)  -- 33219


ISS Altitude History

Apogee height -- Mean Altitude -- Perigee 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

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