NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 20 April 2006

Status Report From: NASA HQ/SpaceRef/NASA Watch
Posted: Thursday, April 20, 2006


SpaceRef note: This NASA Headquarters internal status report, as presented here, contains additional, original material produced by (copyright © 2006) to enhance access to related status reports and NASA activities.

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

In preparation for Progress M-356/21P docking next week (4/26), CDR Pavel Vinogradov and FE/SO Jeff Williams completed the standard three-hour training course with the TORU teleoperator system, which provides a manual backup mode to the Progress KURS automated rendezvous radar system. Afterwards, Pavel and Jeff tagged up with TORU specialists at TsUP/Moscow via S-band audio.  [The drill included procedure review, rendezvous, docking data and rendezvous math modeling data review, fly-around, final approach, docking and off-nominal situations (e.g., video or comm loss). Two modes were simulated on the RSK1 laptop: 21P from stationkeeping range (30 m) in sunlight (insolation), and 21P in final approach in darkness (eclipse). The TORU teleoperator control system lets a Service Module (SM)-based crewmember perform the approach and docking of automated Progress vehicles in case of KURS failure. Receiving a video image of the approaching ISS, as seen from a Progress-mounted docking television camera ( Klest ), on a color monitor ( Simvol-Ts , i.e. symbol center ) which also displays an overlay of rendezvous data from the onboard digital computer, Vinogradov would steer the Progress to mechanical contact by means of two hand controllers, one for rotation (RUO), the other for translation (RUD), on adjustable armrests. The controller-generated commands are transmitted from the SM's TORU control panel to the Progress via VHF radio. In addition to the Simvol-Ts color monitor, range, range rate (approach velocity) and relative angular position data are displayed on the Klest-M video monitor (VKU) which starts picking up signals from Progress when it is still approximately 7 km away. TORU is monitored in real time from TsUP over Russian ground sites (RGS) and via Ku-band from Houston, but its control can not be taken over from the ground. On 4/26, Progress KURS will be activated at 12:12pm EDT on Daily Orbit 1 (DO1), SM KURS two minutes later. Progress headlight will be switched on at a range of ~8 km. Flyaround to the SM aft end port (~400 m range, in sunlight) starts at 1:22pm. Start of final approach: 1:45pm. Local sunset: ~1:50pm. Estimated time of contact: 1:54pm.]

The standard TORU hardware test will be performed tomorrow with Progress in the loop, and the crew will conduct another docking training session on 4/25.

The crewmembers completed periodic (~monthly) routine air sampling in the cabin (last time done: 3/29).   [Williams took air samples in the Lab and SM with the Dual Sorbent Tube (DST), using the Russian AK-1M/Draeger tube pump instead of the broken DST pump, and then with a GSC (grab sample container) at the center of the SM. Vinogradov used the AK-1M adsorber to sample the air in the SM and FGB and for checking for leaked-out Freon. Additionally, to check for CO (carbon monoxide), he took samples in the SM with the IPD-CO Draeger tubes sampler.]

The FE also ran his daily atmospheric status check for ppO2 (Partial Pressure Oxygen) and ppCO2 (pp Carbon Dioxide), using the CSA-O2 (Compound Specific Analyzer-Oxygen Sensor) and the CDMK (CO2 Monitoring Kit).

In addition, Jeff deployed two passive FMK (formaldehyde monitoring kit) sampling assemblies in the Lab (below CEVIS) and SM (most forward handrail), to catch any atmospheric formaldehyde on a collector substrate for subsequent analysis.

Processing Status
Daily Mission
Return to Flight
Weekly Status
Weekly Science
Daily On-Orbit Status
Daily Crew Timeline
Soyuz | Progress
ISS News | ATV

The Russian CDR prepared his first NOA (Nitric Oxide Analyzer) regular (non-EVA) weekly session in the Pirs Docking Compartment (DC1), and then conducted the procedure, afterwards dumping the measurements from the RSE1 laptop to the ground via the BSR-TM telemetry channel.  [Purpose of the ESA VC9 payload ESANO1, consisting of the Platon analyzer and its power supply, is to monitor expired nitric oxide (NO) in the subject's exhaled air to detect signs of airway inflammation and indications of venous gas emboli (bubbles) that may be caused by inhalation of pollutants on the ISS and increased risk of decompression sickness. The test sessions are being conducted once a week, with two NO measurements in the exhaled air (after rinsing out with Rodnik water) taken in each session through a bacterial filter. Today s measurement ops were recorded in the Platon log and supported by ground specialist tagup via S-band. To prevent skewing the measurements, Pavel had to prepare yesterday for the session by excluding food items containing nitrites and nitrates (such as in processed meat, assorted vegetables, stewed cabbage, etc.) from his diet for 24 hours before the weekly experiment.]

Vinogradov also completed the periodic (about twice a month) replenishing of the Elektron s water supply for electrolysis, his first, filling the KOV thermal loops EDV container with water from an EDV containing water from the BKO multifiltration/purification column unit.  [The 40-minute procedure is specially designed to prevent air bubbles larger than ~10 mm from getting into the BZh-8 Liquid Unit where they could cause Elektron shutdown. In the procedure, the BKO water is carefully transferred with a pump (BP), located behind SM panel 420, from the EDV-1 through the air/liquid separator unit (GZhS) into the empty EDV-2 while the crewmember checks for any air bubbles accumulating in the GZhS (and, if visible, estimates their number, with no more than two 1 cm diameter bubbles permitted in EDV-2). Elektron water is also supplied from U.S. condensate in a CWC (collapsible water container) that is checked for its contents of air bubbles and is rejected if the estimated total air bubble volume is more than 30 cubic centimeters (1 cm air bubble is about 0.5 ccm).]

Jeff Williams prepared for his first kidney stone experiment session, starting tomorrow, by reviewing the computer-based on-board training (OBT) material.  [This long-range preventive medicine investigation features regular daily ingestion of either potassium citrate or placebo tablets at dinnertime. It is a double blind research study by NASA/JSC, investigating statistically whether potassium citrate is as effective in zero-G in preventing formation of renal stones as it is on the ground. The experiment requires keeping a metabolic diet log (food & fluid intake), followed by collection of urine samples several times per day during the three-day session, with collections ending today. There will be two more session during this Increment.]

Working on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer), Jeff filled out the regular weekly FFQ (food frequency questionnaire), his second, which keeps a log of his nutritional intake over time on special MEC software.  [The FE is using his personalized file that reflects the food flown for his Increment. The FFQ records amounts consumed during the past week of such food items as beverages, cereals, grains, eggs, breads, snacks, sweets, fruit, beans, soup, vegetables, dairy, fish, meat, chicken, sauces & spreads, and vitamins. IBMP/Moscow (Institute of Biomedical Problems, Russian: IMBP Institute of Medico-Biological Problems) recommended average daily caloric value of the crew s food intake is 2200-2300 cal. If larger quantities of juices and fruits are taken into account, the value can go to 2400-2500 cal.]

The CDR performed the routine daily maintenance of the SOZh environment control & life support system in the SM, which today included the regular weekly inspection of the air/liquid condensate separation and pumping unit (BRPK).  [The BRPK is part of the condensate water processor (SRVK) that processes the condensate coming from the currently active air conditioner (SKV) for the Elektron.]

Pavel also updated/edited the standard IMS (Inventory Management System) delta file , including locations, for the regular weekly automated export/import to its three databases on the ground (Houston, Moscow, Baikonur).

The FE conducted the regular weekly audit/inventory of the available CWCs (collapsible water containers) and their contents, to keep track of onboard water supplies.  [Updated cue cards based on Jeff s water calldowns are sent up every other week. The new card lists 16 water containers (~304.5 liters total) for the four types of water identified on board: technical water (for Elektron, flushing, hygiene; five CWCs were found leaking), potable water (~180 liters), condensate water (for processing) and other (TCS fluid, EMU waste water). Current assumed rate of water use is 2.2 liters per person per day with Elektron (vs. 1.7 liters per person per day without Elektron). Total water currently on board is 884 liters, which would last ~201 days without resupply. Progress 21 will deliver another 300 l, 22P ~144 l, and ULF1.1 ~645 l.]

Early in the morning, Jeff Williams opened the Lab science window shutters to allow resumption of EarthKAM operations.  [A total of 247 great images have been downlinked to date and posted to the web for students from 116 schools to enjoy and study. The ground team is looking forward to many more .]

Both crewmembers worked out in their regular 2.5-hr. physical exercise program (about half of which is used for setup & post-exercise personal hygiene) on the TVIS treadmill (FE, CDR), RED resistive exerciser (FE) and VELO bike with bungee cord load trainer (CDR).  [Pavel Vinogradov s daily protocol prescribes a strict four-day microcycle exercise with 1.5 hr on the treadmill in unmotorized mode and one hour on VELO plus load trainer (today: Day 3 of the first set).]

Afterwards, Williams transferred the exercise data files to the MEC for downlink, as well as the daily wristband HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) data of the workouts on RED, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).

As all new station crews, CDR Vinogradov and FE Williams had one hour each set aside on today s schedule for ISS familiarization and adaptation, to help in adjusting to their new surroundings and activities.  [This unstructured and discretionary session has become a valuable standard requirement for new station occupants for the first two weeks.]

Still remaining on Pavel s discretionary time available task list was the search for the IK0501 gas analyzer converter (for measuring humidity partial pressure) and for a short air duct section (used for Soyuz docking during Expedition 1).]

ISS Reboost:  The test of the SM main engines scheduled yesterday at 3:49pm EDT was aborted without engine ignition when the onboard software received no signal that the sun cover on engine #2 had opened. Attitude control was handed back to US without problems. TsUP/Moscow will not plan a retry until the data is fully analyzed and understood.  [The two main engines (KD1, KD2) at the SM aft end, intended for orbit changes, with a thrust of 315 kgf (694 lbf) each, are certified for up to 75 starts. They have never been fired since the SM docked to the embryonic ISS almost six years ago (7/25/2000, 8:45pm EDT). Positioned symmetrically besides the docking port at center, they are canted 15 deg outward and have a two-axis swivel range of plus/minus 5 deg. Thus, a reboost can be performed using only one (appropriately gimbaled) engine if necessary, and they could also be fired with a Progress docked.  Engine start is automatically inhibited by the control software as long as the sun cover is closed. In addition to the two main engines, the SM has 32 smaller engines, in two redundant manifolds at 16 thrusters each (12 for translation & attitude control), 4 for roll control).]

Update on SM thruster test: The retest of one of the SM yaw thrusters (-RZ) is scheduled for today at 4:11pm EDT. Attitude control handover from US to Russian MCS (motion control system) will take place at 3:45pm, to be returned at 4:35pm.  [Of the two parts to the test conducted on 4/13, Part 2 was conducted successfully, but Part 1 was not completed due to an improper configuration.]

Update on SSC (Station Support Computer) issues:  The shell of the failed SSC-10 (Station Support Computer 10) laptop was swapped with an A31p shell and is now operational.

Update on RPCM (Remote Power Controller Module) LA1B_H:  The removal and replacement (R&R) of the failed RCPM in the Lab will be performed on Monday (4/24). Access to the RPCM will require moving the TeSS (Temporary Sleep Station) rack temporarily out of the way. A review session will precede the R&R tomorrow (4/21). In preparation for the R&R, PL MDM-2 (Payload Multiplexer/Demultiplexer 2) was swapped to prime and PL MDM-1 to backup (then powered off) by ground commanding.  [Per crew request, the R&R will also be task-listed on Sunday for the crew to work on as a get-ahead for Monday.]

Update on Progress M-56/21P:  Prelaunch processing activities at Baikonur continue. Today, the orbital stage of the Soyuz launch vehicle containing the Progress spacecraft was transported from the spacecraft processing facility for the general integration with the launch vehicle (see picture, below).

Today's CEO (Crew Earth Observation) photo targets, in the current LVLH attitude no longer limited by flight rule constraints on the use of the Lab nadir/science window, were Kerguelen Islands, South Indian Ocean (Dynamic Event. ISS orbit track and predicted clear weather provided an opportunity to photograph glaciers in this island group. Snowfields and glaciers are located among the jagged mountain peaks of the islands. Overlapping imagery along track of the islands enables mapping and monitoring of glacier extent and provides a means to assess regional climate change), and Tropical Cyclone Monica, Australia (Dynamic Event. This tropical cyclone is predicted to be a Category 1 storm at the time of the overflight. Looking to the left of track for the storm center, predicted to be over the Gulf of Carpentaria. The low sun elevation should accentuate cloud banding features of the storm).

To date, more than 186,000 of CEO images have been taken in the first five years of the ISS, almost one third of the total number of images taken from orbit by astronauts. Increment 12 alone produced 12,962 pictures.

EO 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 13 crew visit:

Expedition 13 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

Full Size/Update

ISS Orbit  (as of this morning, 7:23am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude -- 343.1 km
  • Apogee height -- 349.3 km
  • Perigee height -- 337.0 km
  • Period -- 91.40 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
  • Eccentricity -- 0.0009176
  • Solar Beta Angle -- 62.2 deg (magnitude increasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.75
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours -- 58m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 42406

Significant Events Ahead (all dates subject to change):

  • 04/20/06 -- Retest of SM yaw thruster (-RZ, manifold-2)
  • 04/24/06 -- Progress M-56/21P launch
  • 04/26/06 -- Progress M-56/21P docking (SM aft port)
  • 05/20/06 -- Progress M-56/21P loading complete; hatches closed
  • 06/14-16/06 -- Russian EVA-16
  • 06/17/06 -- Progress M-55/20P undocking (DC1) & reentry
  • 06/18/06 -- Progress M-57/22P launch
  • 06/20/06 -- Progress M-57/22P docking (DC1)
  • 07/01/06 -- NET STS-121/ULF1.1 launch
  • 07/??/06 -- US EVA-5
  • 08/28/07 -- NET STS-115/12A launch
  • 09/13/06 -- Progress M-56/21P undocking (SM aft port) & reentry
  • 09/14/06 -- Soyuz TMA-9/13S launch (Expedition 14 + VC11)
  • 09/16/06 -- Soyuz TMA-9/13S docking (SM aft port)
  • 09/24/06 -- Soyuz TMA-8/12S undocking (FGB nadir port) & reentry
  • 10/08/06 -- Soyuz TMA-9/13S relocation (SM aft port to FGB nadir port)
  • 10/18/06 -- Progress M-58/23P launch
  • 10/20/06 -- Progress M-58/23P docking (SM aft port)
  • 11/16/06 -- NET STS-116/12A.1 launch
  • 12/19/06 -- Progress M-57/22P undocking (DC1) & reentry
  • 12/20/06 -- Progress M-59/24P launch
  • 12/22/06 -- Progress M-59/24P docking (DC1)
  • 02/06/07 -- Progress M-59/24P undocking (DC1) & reentry
  • 02/07/07 -- Progress M-60/25P launch
  • 02/09/07 -- Progress M-60/25P docking (DC1)
  • ??/??/07 -- Progress M-58/23P undocking (SM aft port) & reentry
  • 03/09/07 -- Soyuz TMA-10/14S launch (Expedition 15 + VC12)
  • 03/11/07 -- Soyuz TMA-10/14S docking (SM aft port)
  • 03/19/07 -- Soyuz TMA-9/13S undocking (FGB nadir port)
  • 03/22/07 -- NET STS-117/13A launch
  • ??/??/07 -- Soyuz TMA-10/14S relocation (SM aft port to FGB nadir por <> t)
  • 06/14/07 -- NET STS-118/13A.1.

   (NET = no earlier than)

Today at Baikonur/Kazakhstan, the Soyuz orbital stage containing Progress M-56/21P was transferred to be integrated with the Soyuz launch vehicle. (4/20/06).

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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