NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 14 April 2005

Status Report From: NASA HQ/SpaceRef/NASA Watch
Posted: Thursday, April 14, 2005

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

No breakfast this morning for FE Salizhan Sharipov until after completion of saliva and blood sampling under the standard pre-return biomedical experiment MBI-4 "Farma", using the Reflotron-4 equipment for analysis. [Farma ("Pharma") studies particulars of pharmacological effects under long-duration space flight conditions, involving onboard analysis of blood and saliva samples after taking specific pharmaceuticals (Efferalgan) after the first sample. After ingesting the medication and rinsing carefully, Sharipov collected saliva samples at seven additional times during the day, preserving them in the Russian Kriogem-03 refrigerator for analysis (breakfast was allowed after the fifth sample). Blood parameters were also analyzed with the Reflotron 4, a clinical analyzer used for periodic biochemical blood and saliva analysis to monitor crew health or to be used diagnostically on Flight Surgeon request. Built by Boehringer in Mannheim/Germany for the Mir program, the Reflotron-4 consists of the analyzer itself, which has a mass of 13-lbs. and uses 40W power, a set of measuring strips and a small equipment kit.]

Using the automatic temperature recorder (ART), Sharipov performed his regular temperature check on the BIO-11"Statokonia" payload with the ULITKA ("snail") incubator, set up in the SM since 3/3. [BIO-11 studies the composition of statoconia, i.e., the organ of equilibrium in snails, and other phenomena exhibited by "ulitka" in zero-G and post-flight.]

CDR/SO Leroy spent several hours preparing for the crew's 4/24 departure on Soyuz TMA-5/9S and for equipment return on STS-114/Discovery (LF-1).

Leroy also tagged up with ground specialists to review preparations for Discovery's arrival (first opportunity: 5/17).

Continuing the current air/water sampling activity, Salizhan transferred 150-200 milliliters of condensate water from the Russian humidity condensate sampling tank (KAV) via a BP pump unit to each of two drinking bags for return to the ground, after first flushing the hose/pump setup.

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In preparation for Visiting Crewmember #8 Roberto Vittori (VC-8), Sharipov set up the work area for Vittori's diverse European "Eneide" experiments during his 8-day stay on the station. [The equipment set up today was delivered on Progress 352 (17P), and Sharipov's preparations are vital for the success of VC-8 by reducing Roberto's time spent on them. For the BIO-10 Intercellular Interaction experiment, the FE set up the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox). Other experiment gear was prepared in the Service Module (SM) and DC-1 docking compartment at suitable power outlets (PBS). Experiments set up and installed today include the ETD-I Eye Tracking Device, the HPA Hand Posture Analyzer, the LAZIO (Low Altitude Zone Ionization Observatory) and AST hardware for studying space radiation and the magnetic environment inside the ISS using a magnetometer for LAZIO plus the AST spectrometer, and the ASIA experiment gear for evaluating radiation effects on computers. Salizhan also transferred the centrifuge from the KUBIK AMBER incubator to the KUBIK TOPAZ incubator in the DC-1, prepared the containers with Roberto's food rations, and readied his onboard garments and tool belt.]

Sharipov did the routine maintenance of the SM's SOZh environment control & life support system, today including the weekly inspection of the BRPK air/liquid condensate separator apparatus as well as the routine checkup of the IP-1 airflow sensors in the various RS (Russian segment) hatchways and FGB-to-Node tunnel. In addition, working from his discretionary task list, the FE prepared the regular IMS (inventory management system) delta file for export/import to the IMS databases, today with a special ground request to note down a mass estimate for underwear and SSGO hygiene articles used by him to date.

Leroy performed the regular monthly maintenance of the TVIS treadmill, mainly consisting of an inspection of the Russian and US tie-down harnesses for any damage. [A newly designed US harness will arrive on STS-114, to be evaluated on orbit by FE/SO Dr. John Phillips, while CDR Sergei Krikalev will continue using the Russian harness and do a comparison evaluation.]

The crew conducted their regular daily 2.5-hr. physical exercise program on TVIS treadmill, RED exerciser, and VELO cycle with bungee cord load trainer. [Salizhan's daily protocol currently prescribes a four-day microcycle exercise with 1.5 hr on the treadmill and one hour on VELO (today: Day 2 of a new set).]

Chiao then transferred the daily TVIS and RED exercise data files to the MEC (medical equipment computer) for downlink, as well as the daily wristband HRM (heart rate monitor) data, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium.

Picking a second task from his voluntary "job jar", the FE conducted another session with the "Uragan" (hurricane) earth-imaging program that had him focus the Nikon D1X digital camera with f800 mm lens from SM window #9 on targets specified by an uplinked list. [Today's "wish list" again included detailed imagery of the Volga river delta and isolated sources of spring fires of reed grass, which threaten fauna.]

At ~3:35pm EDT, the crew is scheduled for the regular (nominally weekly) teleconference with the ISS Flight Director at MCC-H.

The Elektron oxygen generator continues to run nominally so far, after its reactivation yesterday morning.

Recovery activities on the Russian SKV-1 air conditioner were completed by the crew yesterday, but it will be several days until the outcome will be known. Meanwhile, the SKV-2 operates satisfactorily, and condensate collection on the US segment (USOS) has stopped. [The Joint Airlock CCAA (Common Cabin Air Assembly) remains active in preparation for Expedition 11 crew arrival since it is expected that one of the crewmembers may be sleeping in the "Quest" Airlock during the joint Soyuz operations period.]

As a checkout toward the Soyuz-215/9S undocking on 4/24, later today the FE will support the standard ground-commanded test of the spacecraft's SUD motion control system, first pressurizing the String 2 section of the combined propulsion system propellant tanks & pressurization tanks (KDU), then conducting, at 3:01pm EDT, the standard 1-minute hot fire test with the thrusters. [KDU comprises both maneuver and attitude control engines of the Soyuz. For the test, station attitude will be handed over to Russian thruster control at 2:50pm, commanded to free drift at 2:57pm, and after the test back to LVLH XVV, but with the current bias on roll and yaw angles removed. Attitude control will return to USOS momentum management at 3:45pm. During the test firing, Sharipov remained in the Soyuz Descent Module (SA), with its gas analyzer activated for safety.]

Final launch preparations are proceeding at Baikonur for tonight's liftoff of Soyuz TMA-6/10S with the Expedition 11 crew of Sergei Konstantinovich Krikalev [47] and Dr. John Lynch Phillips [54]) plus Italian guest cosmonaut Lt.Col. Roberto Vittori [41], at 8:46pm EDT. It will be the sixth space flight for Krikalev (two on Mir, two on Shuttle [STS-60, STS-88], and one on ISS [Increment 1], and second flights for Phillips [STS-100] and Vittori [Soyuz 4S "Taxi" w/Mark Shuttleworth]. [See Appendix, below, for Soyuz 10S launch-and-ascent details.]

Today's CEO (crew earth observations) photo targets, in the current LVLH attitude no longer limited by flight rule constraints on the use of the Lab nadir/science window, were Eastern Caspian Sea Glint (DYNAMIC EVENT: The potential for extensive oil slicks and the dynamic impact of water levels on shorelines make this area an especially good feature for sun glint enhanced photography. Of particular interest is the eastern shoreline and the Gulf of Kara-Bogaz), Lake Nasser, Toshka Lakes, Egypt (the upper [south] end of Lake Nasser was CEO focus for this pass. This is the area most sensitive to changes in lake level and rises and falls of the Nile River discharge. Mapping in detail the water color/sediment plume pattern and the extent of mud flats and marginal wetlands to help baseline seasonal changes there), Lake Chad Water Levels (DYNAMIC EVENT: Water is slowly returning to this ancient lake after it lost most of its volume during severe drought in the 1980's to early 1990's. Using this pass to document the current extent of the lake. There was also the possibility of sun glint enhancement of water bodies at this time), and Red River Basin (this was an excellent nadir pass near midday for this target area. Trying to map the land use patterns along and either side of the meandering Red River itself).

CEO photography can be viewed and studied at the websites:

See also the website "Space Station Challenge" at:

To view the latest photos taken by the expedition 10 crew visit:

Expedition 10 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.

ISS Location NOW

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Real Time ISS Tracker - More Links

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 7:34am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude -- 355.7 km
  • Apogee height -- 360.2 km
  • Perigee height -- 351.3 km
  • Period -- 91.66 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
  • Eccentricity -- 0.0006574
  • Solar Beta Angle -- -13.8 deg (magnitude decreasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.71
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours -- 162 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 36566

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

Expedition 11/Expedition 10 Flight Timelines:

  • Soyuz 10S (Expedition 11+1; Sergei Krikalev, John Phillips, Roberto Vittori):
  • Launch -- 4/14 (Thu.), 8:46pm EDT; 10S Ascent template: see below.
  • Kurs-A & Kurs-P short test (15 km) -- 9:34pm;
  • Soyuz TV activation (8 km from ISS) -- 4/16 (Sat.), 9:42pm
  • Orbital Sunrise -- 10:01pm
  • Flyaround -- 10:01-10:10pm;
  • Stationkeeping & Start Final Approach -- 10:10pm;
  • Docking -- 4/16 (Sat.), 10:19pm EDT.

Soyuz 9S (Expedition 10+1; Leroy Chiao, Salizhan Sharipov, Roberto Vittori):

  • Undocking from FGB -- 4/24 (Sun.), 2:38pm EDT (undock command);
  • Sep Burn #1 (manual) -- 2:44pm;
  • Deorbiting Burn -- 5:18pm (4 min 23 sec, delta-V 115.2 m/s);
  • Module Sep -- 5:43pm;
  • Atmospheric Entry -- 5:46pm;
  • Landing in darkness -- 4/24 (Sun.) 6:09pm EDT; 3:09am (4/25) local Kustanai/Kazakhstan;
  • Sunrise at Kustanai landing site -- 5:16am. [Note: Kazakhstan remains on
  • Standard Time; thus: local time = GMT+5].

Return to Flight:

  • LF-1 (STS-114)/Increment 11 SORR -- 4/22 (Friday), at JSC;
  • LF1 (STS-114)/Discovery launch windows (all times EDT), for FD3 docking:
  • 5/15: 3:45 - 3:55pm;
  • 5/16: 2:22 - 2:32pm;
  • 5/17: 1:59 - 2:07pm;
  • 5/18: 1:34 - 1:44pm;
  • 5/19: 1:12 - 1:22pm;
  • etc.

Note: For the May/June launch period, the daily 10-minute planar launch window (i.e., in ISS orbit plane) starts an average 23 minutes earlier each day, extends into early June and closes due to current constraints of Daylight Launch (6/7) or ET umbilical photo opportunity (6/3). Figures are approximate. There are additional opportunities for docking on FD4 (Flight Day 4), not planned. <<<

Other Upcoming Main Events:

  • ULF1.1 (STS-121) launch -- NET 7/12;
  • Progress M-54 (19P) launch -- 8/24;
  • Soyuz TMA-7 (11S) launch -- 9/27.

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


The standard Soyuz Launch-and-Ascent template is as follows:

Soyuz (and Progress) fly a standard 34-orbit (2-day) timeline template from launch through docking. Actual day and time of launch must meet certain phasing requirements vis--vis the target (ISS) in order for this to work, but timelines for both Soyuz and Progress are basically the same.

Flight operations are highly automated, relying on stored program command timelines and standard command uplinks.

Soyuz crew activities are largely monitor-only functions, with a few exceptions. Consequently, many systems activities occur only when Russian Ground Sites (RGS, there are five) are in line-of-sight.

Rendezvous maneuvers are NOT constrained to occur over Russian tracking network. Post-burn telemetry and tracking is used for maneuver assessment.

Soyuz/Progress vehicles are controlled by a separate dedicated flight control team in MCC-Moscow (TsUP), not the ISS team.

Soyuz crew operates off the RODF (Russian orbital data file). These are five books that cover Ascent/Descent, Orbital Flight, Off-Nominal Situations, Reserve Modes, and Reference Materials, as well as standard radiogram formats. Medical Kit and Portable Survival Kit instructions are translated into English.

Launch -5 days:

  • Crew returned to Baikonur from Moscow where they had final medical;
  • In Baikonur: Exercise, spacecraft briefing, flight plan briefing, Soyuz Manual Docking simulation;
  • Practicing the use of handheld laser for R and R-dot, P/TV Refresher.

L-2 days:

  • Traditional events (Commission meetings on mission readiness at Baikonur Hotel)
  • Flight crew and backup crew (Mikhail Tyurin, Daniel Tani, Robert Thirsk) &
  • flight surgeon, exercise, rest and study.

Day of Launch:

L-3 hours:

  • Crew dons suits in test room
  • RSC-Energia presentation -- everything GO with crew and vehicle (RFK); Official words from VIPs (e.g., Perminov or Moiseyev of Roskosmos, Semonov of RSC-Energia);

L-2.5 hours:

  • Crew takes bus to launch pad, waters tire about 200 meters from launch pad (old Gagarin tradition);

L-2 hours:

  • Spacecraft ingress (through Orbital Module down into Descent Module);

Ascent to orbit: takes ~9 minutes. At L+508 sec the Soyuz spacecraft separates from the burnt-out booster, at 194 km altitude, 1710 km downrange from Baikonur. Elements of the attained orbit are determined at L+572 sec.

Major crew action during ascent is to monitor pressures in the Orbital Module and Descent Module, confirm all booster separation, launch escape system jettison and spacecraft separation. Crew then monitors all deployments (solar arrays, antennae, etc.), reports on no leaks, probe extension, prop pressurization, and ECLS system and health.

First orbit should be about 233 x 182 km (average = 207 km). From there, the rendezvous profile follows the two-day standard timeline.

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