NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 24 September 2004

Status Report From: NASA HQ/SpaceRef/NASA Watch
Posted: Friday, September 24, 2004

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All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below.  

Update on Elektron:  The Elektron remains off at this time and troubleshooting continues.   [Yesterday the crew cleaned the H2 line upstream of the ZLVK vacuum valve and the valve itself in a time-consuming repetitive process using water injected with a syringe.  This morning, the procedure was repeated with several hot water flushes, which still yielded some debris.  A subsequent flow resistance test, after a successful pressure test of the reconnected line, indicated that the H2 line still appears to be clogged at the ZLVK valve.  Proper seating of the valve also may be an issue.  No further troubleshooting for today.]  

Another repressurization of the ISS cabin air with fresh oxygen from Progress 15P storage was performed at ~10:00am.   [Prior to the activity, the U.S. MCA (major constituent analyzer) was turned on overnight and zero-calibrated for null settings about 1 hr. before the repress.  After monitoring the repress, the instrument was deactivated again in LEM (life extension mode).]  

Mike Fincke took the periodic (weekly) reading of the cabin airs current CO2 partial pressure in the SM and Lab, using the U.S. CDMK (CO2 monitor kit), for calldown (along with the battery status) for use in trending analyses.  

Later, the FE also completed the "zero" calibration and air data take with the two U.S. CSA-CPs (compound specific analyzer-combustion products) that were deferred on 9/16 because of Elektron troubleshooting.  [CSA-CP #1015 is deployed at the SM Central Post and #1016 in the Lab.]

Before breakfast, FE/SO Michael Fincke performed the 24-hr. data registration of the acoustic dosimeters (two body-worn and one static) deployed yesterday.  Readings will again be taken tonight before sleep time, after which Mike will deactivate and stow the dosimeters.  [Before turning the dosimeters back on again, their batteries were changed out.  The dosimeters were then statically deployed for approximately 12 hrs in specified locations.]

Also scheduled sound level meter (SLM) readings in the cabin for a periodic acoustic survey were deferred due to Elektron troubleshooting priority.  [These acoustic measurements are regularly obtained once per month at 41 locations in the Lab, Node, Airlock, FGB, SM and DC-1 modules.  The SLM gives instantaneous noise levels and their frequency spectra, which are transferred to the MEC laptop via an RS232 cable and later downlinked with regular CHeCS (crew health care systems) data dump or via OCA.]  

Time again for the crew to perform the standard Russian task of dismantling the Kurs-A rendezvous and approach radar system of the current Progress cargo ship (#250/15P)'s motion control and navigation system (SUDN), and removed it from the cargo drone, a three-hour job.  These valuable components, which include the BTsVK onboard digital computer, will be returned to Earth for "recycling" (when Shuttle flights have resumed).   [KURS-A is the active half of the Russian space program's proven S-band radar system for automated flight, which measures relative motion parameters between Progress (or Soyuz) and the ISS during rendezvous operations, to enable the autopilot's calculation of corrective impulses.  There are two sets of KURS-A electronics (for redundancy) housed in a common container in the Cargo Module.  The passive counterpart (KURS-P) of the system is on the Service Module (SM), with one antenna each at the tip of the two solar array wings.]

Padalka continued the current round of periodic preventive maintenance of Russian segment (RS) ventilation systems, today in the "Pirs" DC-1, where he cleaned the V3 ventilator fan screen.

At 3:30am EDT, commanded by the SM's automated daily timeline sequencer (SPP), an additional portion of the recently recorded video footage of the Russian segment (RS) air ducts was transmitted to the ground from the DVCAM PD-1P camcorder via S-band.  

In preparation for tomorrow's "Saturday Science" program, which features several hours of research work with the ISSI (In-Space Soldering Investigation) experiment, Fincke checked out the batteries of the soldering iron for possible need of recharging.  

The CDR completed the routine inspection of the SM's SOZh environment control & life support system and prepared the regular IMS (inventory management system) delta file for automated export to the ground for database updating and subsequent re-import via OCA, while the FE attended to 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).  

The crew held their weekly IMS tagup with ground specialists, discussing open issues concerning identification of equipment and storage locations for updating the IMS database.   [Today's topics focused mainly on barcode identification and stowage locations of items to be returned on Soyuz 8S.]

Mike also tagged up with TVIS engineers to discuss future use of the treadmill.  While the subject load restriction of 160 lbs has been lifted due to the recent successful 6-month maintenance, the speed limitation of 6 mph on TVIS operations remains in force.   [A Russian backup treadmill, BD-1, will arrive on Soyuz 9S.  It could be used during Increment 10 if the TVIS chassis fails but must be on TVIS stabilizers.]    

Gennady took the monthly sensor readings of the Pille-MKS radiation dosimetry experiment that has ten sensors placed at various locations in the RS (Russian segment; port cabin window, starboard cabin window, ASU toilet facility, control panel, etc.).  Pille dosage values are called down or downlinked via Regul Paket/Email or OCA.  (Last time done: 8/19).

Padalka also conducted the periodic inspection of the BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("Plants-2") experiment hardware, which researches growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in the Lada-5 greenhouse.    

At ~3:10pm EDT, the crew was scheduled for their weekly teleconference with the ISS Flight Director at MCC-H.    

Both crewmembers completed their regular daily physical exercise program on TVIS, RED exerciser and VELO cycle with load trainer.    

After Mike Fincke's PFE (periodic fitness evaluation) test yesterday, his BP/ECG (blood pressure/electrocardiogram) data from the MEC (medical equipment computer) were not received on the ground, whereas the HRM (heart rate monitor) file was downlinked OK.  Without the BP/ECG data, a repeat of Fincke's final PFE may be required.    

The recharging of the Motorola-9505 Iridium satellite phone's lithium-ion battery did not take place yesterday as reported but was deferred due to the Elektron troubleshooting.  Plans are to reschedule the task sometime this weekend.  The satellite phone is a safety requirement for the crew return and landing.    

After yesterday's successful transition of Primary position from C&C1 MDM (control & command computer #1) to C&C2 in support of this weekend's channel 4B battery reconditioning activity (reported on 9/22), the new primary C&C2 failed last night and switched to Diagnostics state.  The backup C&C3 MDM became automatically the new primary.  The loss-of-redundancy event is under investigation.    

Shortly after C&C3 took over as Prime MDM, fire and smoke alarms were set off from the FGB, annunciated (and reacted to) both in the Russian and U.S. segments.  The crew reported no smoke or smell in the cabin and felt comfortable enough to return to bed.  It is unclear at this time how the FGB alarm was triggered and whether it was related to the C&C MDM transitions.  Currently under investigation.    

The extended testing of the Russian ASN-M satellite navigation system, which will run through 9/25 and requires daily telemetry monitoring, is continuing, controlled by the SM's automated timeline sequencer (SPP).   [When functioning, the ASN will use GLONASS satellites (the Russian GPS equivalent) to update the state vector (SV, position & velocity data) without using the ground (which up to now has to uplink daily SV updates) or requiring SV transfers from the U.S. segment (USOS) from time to time.]

Testing of the U.S. TRRJ (Thermal Radiator Rotary Joint) has proceeded on schedule without problems.  After today's checkout activities, the TRRJ will be moded back to Autotrack.


Previous Reports

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

Yesterday's successful altitude reboost of the station produced a delta-V of 2.7 m/s and raised mean altitude by 4.8 km.  Since it was a single-burn maneuver near perigee, most of the increase went to apogee height, thereby also increasing orbital eccentricity ("ellipticity").  Main purpose of the reboost was to improve lighting conditions for Soyuz 8S during landing in northern Kazakhstan.    

For the Uragan earth-imaging program listed today on his discretionary task list, Padalka again had a number of opportunities for using the Kodak 760 DSC (digital still camera) with 800mm-lens from SM windows #9, now available again in LVLH attitude, on selected targets of interest.   [Today's targets were convergence imagery of one of the 8000-m peaks in the Himalayas, African volcanoes, Kabul, the Fedchenko glacier in the Pamir mountains, the Irtysh River, flowing from Russia into China (it is gradually drying out in Russia, and the question is whether there are any dams in it in China), the Caspian Sea with its mountain enclosure and possible oil slicks, dust storms over the Aral Sea, and logging on mountain slopes.]

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 targets, in the current LVLH attitude no longer limited by restrictions on the use of the Lab nadir/science window, were Aerosols, Lower Yangtze Basin, China (this pass provided a good opportunity to capture aerosol plumes moving eastward from the Chinese interior), Mt. Kilimanjaro, Kenya (this pass brought ISS directly over the mountain.  High resolution photography of the summit glaciers and mountain flanks are useful for tracking ice movement and geomorphic changes [such as landslides]), Kabul, Afghanistan (weather was predicted to be mostly clear over eastern Afghanistan.  This nadir pass provided an opportunity for detailed mapping of the urban-rural fringe for land cover change characterization.  The 800 mm lens was also recommended for use if weather conditions were clear), Lake Nasser, Toshka Lakes, Egypt (the overpass provided an opportunity for photography of the Toshka Lakes for monitoring of shoreline change.  Looking to the left of track for the lakes), and Hurricane Jeanne, Western Atlantic Ocean (Dynamic Event.  Jeanne is moving westwards and is expected to threaten the eastern Florida coast.  Looking to the right of track for the eye and cloud banding).

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:

At today's SORR (Stage Operations Readiness Review) of Soyuz 9S Launch/8S Return/Increment 10 readiness at NASA/JSC, the Soyuz 9S vehicle was presented as being ready for launch at 10/11.  [Besides its three-member crew, 9S will carry 150 kg of cargo comprising 74 manifested items, i.e., 29 Russian items (including Elektron repair components), four items for ESA experiments, and 42 U.S. cargo items (including EMU spacesuit hardware, PCS computer systems, and crew provisions).  The Soyuz TMA-5 spacecraft is the first with two new features that are welcome improvements of the reliable old crew transport: two additional forward-pointing DPO approach & attitude control thrusters (#27, #28) besides the two engines (#17, #18) already near the Orbital Modules docking ring, along with a related software patch for the BTsVK onboard computer, and a thermoelectric cooling system (STZO) for extending the duration of the vehicle's on-orbit lifetime.]     

Current Soyuz 9S (Expedition 10 + 1) flight plan (Leroy Chiao, Salizhan Sharipov, Yuri Shargin):

  • Launch -- 10/11, 12:17am ET (Moscow: 8:17am; Baikonur: 10:17am)
  • Docking @ DC1 -- 10/13, 2:05am ET (Moscow: 10:05am)
  • Hatch Opening (docking + 2 orbits) -- 10/13, 5:05am EDT (Moscow: 1:05pm).

Current 8S (Expedition 9 + 1) flight plan (Gennady Padalka, Michael Fincke, Yuri Shargin):

  • Hatch Closing -- 10/19, 3:15pm ET (Moscow: 11:15pm; Kustanai: 10/20, 1:15am)
  • Undocking from FGB -- 10/19, 6:20pm ET (Moscow: 10/20, 2:20am; Kustanai: 10/20, 4:20am)
  • Deorbit Burn -- 10/19, 8:52pm ET (Moscow: 10/20, 4:52am; Kustanai: 10/20, 6:52am)
  • Landing -- 10/19, 9:45pm ET (Moscow: 10/20, 5:45am; Kustanai: 10/20, 7:45am.

Other upcoming events:

  • Soyuz 9S relocate to FGB nadir port -- 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;
  • Soyuz 10S (TMA-6) launch -- 4/13/05;
  • Soyuz 9S (TMA-5) undock & land -- 4/23/05.

U.S. & Russian Segment Status  (as of today, 1:02pm 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; new replaceable condensate removal line installed on 9/9).  SFOG slot #2 fan suspect (not usable).
  • SM Working Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) -- 746; temperature (deg C) -- 25.9; ppO2 (mmHg) -- 159.5; ppCO2 (mmHg) -- 3.7.
  • SM Transfer Compartment:  Pressure (mmHg) -- 741; temperature (deg C) -- 18.1.
  • FGB Cabin:  Pressure (mmHg) -- 744; temperature (deg C) -- 20.3.
  • Node:  Pressure (mmHg) -- 744.5; temperature (deg C) -- 22.6 (shell); ppO2 (mmHg) -- n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) -- n/a.
  • U.S. Lab:  Pressure (mmHg) -- 746.2; temperature (deg C) -- 22.8; ppO2 (mmHg) -- n/a; ppCO2 (mmHg) -- n/a.
  • Joint Airlock (Equip. Lock):   Pressure (mmHg) -- 746.4; temperature (deg C) -- 22.2; 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 directed position (dual angle/blind mode, non solar-tracking, biased for drag reduction).
  • SM batteries:  All batteries (8) 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 failed, C&C-2 is backup, and C&C-3 is prime.
  • GNC-1 MDM (vers. R4) is prime; GNC-2 (vers. R4) 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: 4109 kg (9059 lb) as of 9/22/04;  [SM(552) + FGB(3557) + Progress M(0)].  (Capabilities: SM -- 860 kg; FGB -- 6120 kg).

  Attitude Control Systems (ACS):

  • 3 CMGs on-line (CMG-1 failed, since 6/6/02; CMG-2s RPC-17 failed 4/21/04; was replaced 6/30/04).
  • State vector source -- RS
  • Attitude source -- RS
  • Angular rate source -- RGA-1

  Flight Attitude:

  • LVLH XVV (local vertical/local horizontal = earth-fixed: z-axis in local vertical, x-axis in velocity vector [yaw: -10 deg, pitch: -7.2 deg, roll: 0 deg]), with CMG/TA (thruster assist) Momentum Management.

  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, 8:09am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude -- 363.4 km
  • Apogee height -- 370.2 km
  • Perigee height -- 356.6 km
  • Period -- 91.81 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
  • Eccentricity -- 0.0010062
  • Solar Beta Angle -- -1.7deg (magnitude increasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.68
  • Mean altitude gain in last 24 hours -- 4700 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98)  -- 33391


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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