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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 24 May 2005

Status Report From: NASA HQ/SpaceRef/NASA Watch
Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2005

image SpaceRef note: This NASA Headquarters internal status report, as presented here, contains additional, original material produced by SpaceRef.com (copyright © 2005) to enhance access to related status reports and NASA activities.

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

The crew burned one SFOG (solid-fuel oxygen generator) "candle" today to increase ppO2 (oxygen partial pressure). An attempt to burn a second candle, however, was unsuccessful. [Russian ECLS specialists have estimated that approximately 20% of the onboard SFOGs will not ignite, which is taken into account in the onboard O2 supplies estimates. Each LiClO4 (lithium perchlorate) cartridge produces 600 liters (1.74 lb) of oxygen by thermal decomposing, enough for one person per day. SFOG operation is done with half masks, protective goggles and air sampling instruments nearby for quick access in the event of odor during candle combustion. Total number burnt to date: 5.]

CDR Krikalev serviced the Russian BMP harmful impurities removal system, starting the "bake-out" cycle to vacuum on absorbent bed #2 of the regenerable dual-channel filtration system. Before sleep time today, the bake-out will be terminated. [Regeneration of each of the two cartridges takes about 12 hours and is conducted only during crew awake periods. The BMP currently still uses the same vacuum vent valve for regeneration as the Elektron (the latter for venting hydrogen).]

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Later in the day, Krikalev readied the hardware required for the Elektron O2 generator test planned for Friday (5/27). [The testing, with the MMTs-01 Volt/Amp Multimeter and a special pin socket adapter, will not be performed on the Liquid Unit (BZh) itself, but on the suspect Signal & Command Matching Unit (BSSK) between the Elektron electrolysis machine and the station's BITS2-12 onboard telemetry measurement system (the BSSK was replaced last on 1/22/04). A new BSSK will be manifested next month on Progress 18, for potential replacement.]

In preparation for upcoming FMVM (Fluid Merging Viscosity Measurement) operations, FE/SO Phillips started warming two syringes with honey (within their bags) in the U.S. food warmer. The syringes were photographed and the food warmer later powered off again. The honey syringes were then allowed to cool. [Understanding the viscosity of molten materials is important for everything from designing laboratory experiments to industrial production of materials. One way to determine viscosity is to measure how long it takes two spheres of liquid to merge into a single spherical drop: on contact a neck will from between the two drops, increasing in thickness until the two drops become one single sphere. On Earth, gravity distorts liquid spheres, and drops are too heavy to be supported by strings. Drop distortion should not occur in the ISS's microgravity environment, and the drops can be held on strings. To verify this technique as an accurate viscosity measurement method, the FMVM experiment uses fluids with known viscosities: honey, corn syrup, glycerin and silicone oil. The crewmember releases two drops from a syringe onto strings and records digital images of the drops as they coalesce to form one drop. The initial diameters of the drops will be measured.]

Sergei Krikalev began with the first steps of scheduled upgrading of the Russian onboard computer system (BVS) to the new Version 7.03 software. Today's tasks consisted of the initial loading of the two Central Post computers (KTsP-1 & -2, for the TVM Terminal and TsVM Central Computer systems as well as four US-21 matching units) with the new menu structure and files. The work was supported by specialist tagup. [Each KTsP was checked out first, with the other one taking on primary function during the checkout, and then loaded with the software from CD-ROM set up in Laptop 1. Later, Vers. 7.03 was also installed ("ghosted") on Laptop 2 with a boot floppy disk.]

John Phillips performed routine maintenance on the CSA-CPs (compound specific analyzer-combustion products), then used the new CSA-CPs (#1020, #1021) for the monthly cabin air spot check, taking readings for O2, CO (carbon monoxide), HCN (hydrogen cyanide), HCl (hydrogen chloride) in SM and Lab, as well as battery ticks for calldown. (Done last: 4/11).

Krikalev set up the hardware for the Increment 11 stage of the Russian BIO-5 Rasteniya-2 ("plants-2") greenhouse experiment, for its initial experiment ops on 5/27. [Rasteniya-2/Lada researches growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions. After hardware installation, Sergei will plant horse radish seeds, to be grown for 45 days followed by a 7-day no watering period to let the substrate dry. After that, the first crop will be gathered and seeds planted for a second growth of radishes, to be harvested 45 days after planting. Today, the CDR set up the root module (KM) with its wicks, made power connections, installed new software, locked the tray and test-activated the hardware. Regular maintenance of the experiment (each Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday) involves monitoring of seedling growth, humidity measurements, moistening of the substrate if necessary, topping off the water tank if ~20-25% of the total amount (4 liters) remain, and photo/video recording. Data from the Lada greenhouse control unit will be recorded on floppy disk for weekly downlink via REGUL (on Thursdays).]

The FE conducted a search for two missing CDRA (carbon dioxide removal assembly) valves which were reported as "lost" during Increment 9 rack cleanup. [John was provided a "mug shot" and list of potential "hiding" places of the two valves which would be needed in the event of multiple valve failures on the CDRA.]

Phillips also finished up the task of restowing the Airlock crewlock compartment (C/L) with the temporarily removed equipment after the PMA-2 (Pressurized Mating Adapter #2) depressurization on 5/18. [The restowing, which didn't quite get done on 5/18, was performed with IMS (Inventory Management System) support.]

John also performed the monthly IMS-based PEP (portable emergency provisions) audit and inspection. The oxygen bottle of the PBA (portable breathing assembly) at the Node Port 2 location was found to be low on O2, indicating either an actual leak of the gas from the bottle or a failed gauge on the bottle. The situation is being evaluated at present. [The audit involved verification that PFEs (portable fire extinguishers), PBAs, QDMAs (quick-don mask assemblies) and EHTKs (extension hose/tee kits) are free of damage to ensure their functionality, and to track shelf life/life cycles on the hardware. There are a total of 5 PBAs in the U.S. segment (USOS). There is only one EHTK, in the Lab.]

Later, the FE took his digital camera to the Lab window and photographed the P6 portside solar array wing (SAW) 4B at orbital sunrise, for as long as lighting conditions were adequate. Pictures of SAW 2B were taken yesterday. [This photo survey is nominally performed every 6 months.]

Sergei conducted the daily routine maintenance of the SM's SOZh environment control & life support system, including its ASU toilet system, and performed the periodic routine checkup of the IP-1 airflow sensors in the various RS (Russian segment) hatchways and FGB-to-Node tunnel. John prepared the regular IMS "delta" file for export/import to the IMS databases.

The crew had ~30 minutes reserved for some skill training in preparation for photographing the Orbiter RPM (Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver) at STS-114 arrival. [During the RPM at ~600 ft from the station, the two ISS crewmembers will have ~90 seconds for taking high-resolution digital photographs of all tile areas and door seals, to be downlinked for launch debris assessment. The crew will be wearing headsets on extension cables for communicating during the maneuver.]

Working off his voluntary "job jar" task list, Sergei also conducted another session with the "Uragan" (hurricane) earth-imaging program, focusing the Nikon D1X No. 3 digital camera with 800-mm lens on targets called out on an uplinked list. [Targets for today included such views as detailed imagery of the Katun River flowing west along the western slope of the Katun Ridge and circling it to the north, forest ranges on the southern bank of the Belaya River at its confluence with the Angara and later on the eastern bank of the Angara from Baikal to Irkutsk with primary emphasis on center of area, and Lake Baikal.]

John Phillips downlinked the videotape of his PFE (physical fitness evaluation) session on the CEVIS cycle ergometer last week (5/20) as well as Sergei Krikalev's run on the TVIS treadmill.

Both crewmembers conducted their regular 2.5-hr. physical exercise program on the TVIS treadmill (aerobic), RED resistive exerciser (anaerobic) and VELO ergometer cycle with bungee cord load trainer (combination aerobic/anaerobic). [Sergei's daily protocol prescribes a four-day microcycle exercise with 1.5 hr on the treadmill and one hour on VELO plus load trainer (today: Day 1 of a new set).]

Afterwards, John transferred the exercise data files to the MEC (medical equipment computer) for downlink, as well as the daily wristband HRM (heart rate monitor) data of his workout on RED, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium.

Krikalev performed an inspection of the Russian condensation collection unit, and preliminary results indicate a line blockage. Further troubleshooting will attempt to refine the location.

At ~1:20pm EDT, the FE set up the Sputnik-SM Kenwood D700 amateur radio station in the SM and conducted a 10-min. ham radio session with students at Coronado Village School, Coronado, CA (a "John Phillips crew pick"). [Coronado Village Elementary School is a California Distinguished School and a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, serving students living in Coronado, a small island resort community off the coast of San Diego, CA, the Coronado Shores and the North Island Naval Amphibious Base. It has currently 816 students.]

During a 5-min "window" at 1:23pm, researchers on the ground once more conducted the European/Russian laser-beam experiment SPQR (Specular Point-like Quick Reference). [SPQR, installed at SM window #3 along with its Nikon D1X camera, tests a ground-based imaging system, using special optics and image processing, to determine the feasibility of detecting external damage to a spacecraft in orbit from the ground. It uses a pyramidal corner reflector (CCR, Cube Corner Reflector) at the SM window, to reflect a laser beam emitted by a ground station back to the ground. The crew was advised not to look out the portholes during the sessions, the times of which were uplinked, and there are no CEO targets scheduled during the brief sessions. The SPQR Hazard Report indicates that the laser power at the ISS remains well below the threshold for injury.]

Today, the flawed DBCL PPL (Diagnostic Buffer Collection List Pre-Positioned Load) file that caused the failure of the LA-3 MDM (Multiplexer/Demultiplexer) was corrected, uploaded successfully and loaded on the MDM.

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 Internal waves, Sea of Okhotsk SW (the crew had a rare break in the weather over this target area for sun glint enhancement of the Tartar Strait between Sakhalin Island and the mainland. After crossing Sakhalin they looked back obliquely towards the mainland for glint to appear), Central-Arizona Phoenix (this is a Long Term Environmental Research site [LTER, see 5/14 Status report] of particular interest because of its rapid land use changes in recent decades. This was a fine pass here over the NW portion of this fairly large target area. Trying for a near-nadir context mapping from near Yuma [SE of the Salton Sea] northeastward to the Colorado River east of the Grand Canyon area), and Shortgrass Steppe, Colorado (this is the first of two adjacent LTER sites in the plains of northeastern Colorado. The other is known as the Niwot Ridge Tundra. For now the crew was requested to photograph near-nadir mapping passes for context views, beginning in the vicinity of Colorado Springs [just east of Pikes Peak] and continuing northeastward to the confluence of the North and South Platte Rivers in west-central Nebraska).

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 11 crew visit:

Expedition 11 Flight Crew Plans can be found at http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/timelines/

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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ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 7:04am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude -- 352.9 km
  • Apogee height -- 356.7 km
  • Perigee height -- 349.2 km
  • Period -- 91.60 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.65 deg
  • Eccentricity -- 0.0005606
  • Solar Beta Angle -- -12.9 deg (magnitude increasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.72
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours -- 100 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 37195

Some Increment 11 Main Events (not final):

  • Progress M-52 (17P) undock -- 6/16;
  • Progress M-53 (18P) launch -- 6/17 (dock 6/19);
  • Reboost -- ~6/22 (delta-V 1.5 m/s);
  • LF-1/STS-114 launch -- 7/13 (8-day window opens);
  • Soyuz TMA-6 (10S) relocate (from DC-1 to FGB) -- ~8/16;
  • ULF1.1/STS-121 launch -- NET 9/9 (8-day window opens);
  • 12A/STS-115 launch -- NET 2/16/06;
  • 12A.1/STS-116 launch -- NET 4/23/06;
  • 13A/STS-117 launch -- NET 5/18/06.

ISS Altitude History

Apogee height -- Mean Altitude -- Perigee height

ISS Altitude History

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