NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 21 April 2006

Status Report From: NASA HQ/SpaceRef/NASA Watch
Posted: Friday, April 21, 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.

CDR Vinogradov, assisted by the FE, worked in the Progress-355/20P vehicle, dismantling the Kurs-A rendezvous & approach radar system of its motion control & navigation system (SUDN) and removing it from the transport drone, a 3-hr. job. These valuable components, stowed in the FGB, will be returned to Earth on the next Shuttle for reuse.  [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. The system s passive transponder counterpart (KURS-P) is on the Service Module (SM), with one antenna each at the tip of the two solar array wings.]

After their successful 3-hr. training course with the TORU teleoperator radio system yesterday, the crew today conducted the standard 40-min. vehicle-to-vehicle test of the TORU between the SM and the docked Progress-355/20P, closely monitored by ground personnel during DO14 (Daily Orbit 14). Progress thrusters (DPO) were inhibited and not involved.  [TORU lets a Service Module (SM)-based crewmember perform the approach and docking of automated Progress vehicles in case of KURS failure.]

Jeff Williams began his first NASA/JSC renal (kidney) stone session (of three planned), starting his diet log and later setting up the experiment hardware for the 24-hr. void-by-void urine collection starting tomorrow morning and ending on Sunday morning (4/23). [This long-range preventive medicine investigation features daily random ingestion of either potassium citrate or placebo tablets. It is Dr. Peggy Whitson's double-blind research study investigating methods to prevent formation of kidney stones in zero-G. Part of the experiment consists in keeping a metabolic diet log (food and fluid intake), followed by collection of samples several times per day.]

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

The FE had an hour set aside for reviewing the RPCM (Remote Power Controller Module) replacement activities scheduled next Monday (4/24), along with a tagup with ground specialist.  [The R&R of RPCM LA1B-H RPC-3 is complicated by the fact that the TeSS (Temporary Sleep Station) rack in the Lab must be removed to access the RPCM, as well as the fact that significant power-downs are required to safe the RPCM for removal. With TeSS removed, the crew will also remove an IWIS (Internal Wireless Instrumentation System) sensor from behind it, which is no longer providing valid data. In addition, they will inspect and photograph an SPDA (Secondary Power Distribution Assembly) cable and other power equipment to help with ground troubleshooting of previous power system anomalies not related to the failed RPCM. Due to the duration of this task, TeSS will be out for Monday night (requiring setup of a temporary sleep station) unless the crew can complete some activities that are task-listed on Sunday as possible get-aheads .]

After Vinogradov s unsuccessful attempt to modify the software of the Russian payload server (BSPN) on 4/13 for the ROKVISS experiment, he today repeated the task with additional software already transferred to the ISS Wiener laptop. The finished BSPN log file was then downlinked to the ground for s/w installation verification.  [The ESA/German ROKVISS external remote-control robotics experiment uses ground commanding and the onboard "Sigma" application (a ballistic navigation program to compute the station s ground track on the Earth, to determine RGS {Russian ground site} comm windows) for automated files downlinking without crew involvement via the Russian BSR-TM Regul interface unit (part of the Russian radio control & communications system) and the BITS2-12 onboard data/telemetry system.]

Later, Pavel collected the weekly cabin air readings with the GANK-4M Real-Time Harmful Contaminant Gas Analyzer system of the SM SOGS (Pressure Control & Atmospheric Monitoring System), which tests particularly for NH3 (ammonia) and HCl (hydrogen chloride).

Jeff ran another periodic atmospheric status check for ppO2 (partial pressure oxygen) and ppCO2 (pp carbon dioxide), using the CSA-CP (Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products), CSA-O2 (CSA-Oxygen Sensor) and CDMK (CO2 Monitoring Kit).

The FE worked at the Lab condensate tank, offloading ~20 liters of water collected by the CCAA (Common Cabin Air Assembly) from the air into a CWC (collapsible water container, #1042), which took him about 15 minutes.  [The water will be used in the Elektron to generate O2 (and H2) by electrolysis.]

The CDR completed the regular bi-monthly reboot of the OCA (Orbit Communications Adapter) comm router SSC (Station Support Computer) laptop.

Still remaining on Pavel s discretionary time available task list was the low-priority 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).

The CDR performed the routine daily maintenance of the SOZh environment control & life support system in the SM, including ASU toilet system facilities, and he also updated/edited the standard IMS (Inventory Management System) delta file after completion of all Progress M-55/20P transfers, for the regular weekly automated export/import to its three databases on the ground (Houston, Moscow, Baikonur).

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 4 of the first set).]

Afterwards, Williams 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 the workouts on RED, followed by their erasure on the HRM storage medium (done six times a week).

As all new station crews, Pavel and Jeff 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.]

At ~4:15am EDT, the CDR conducted the weekly IMS tagup with specialists at TsUP/Moscow, discussing open issues concerning identification of equipment and stowage locations for the IMS databases via S-band.  [Topics of discussion included the whereabouts of two EDV-U containers, the 800A FGB battery removed on 4/17, the centrifuge, etc., and tips for a more convenient IMS database search.]

At 10:40am, Jeff and Pavel had their standard weekly teleconference with the JSC Astronaut Office (Kent Rominger), via S-band S/G (space-to-ground).

At ~1:15pm, the crew will downlink televised messages of greetings to two Russian PAO events, one to the participants in the Polytechnic Lecture Series From Space Stations to Interplanetary Travel at the Moscow Polytechnic Museum, the other to the participants in the Russian Nationwide School Law Olympics in Korolev near Moscow.

At ~3:15pm, the crew is scheduled for their second regular (nominally weekly) tagup with the Lead Flight Director at MCC-H and TsUP/Moscow via S-band/audio, with a phone patch between Houston and Moscow.

Yesterday, starting at 2:00am EDT and running for seven hours, MCC-Houston and its Moscow support group (HSG) conducted another BCC (Backup Control Center) dry run in test mode, with no involvement of the ISS crew or vehicle. Purpose of this periodic exercise is to demonstrate BCC functionality under Russian assets while providing proficiency training for HSG personnel at the HSR (Houston Support Room) and TsUP-Moscow specialists.  [The ISS EMCC (Emergency Mission Control Center), located in Russia, comprises TsUP/Moscow as the Lead Control Center, coupled with HSR at TsUP. The BCC facility provides a command and control capability from TsUP if the EMCC must be activated. This is the case in situations that render MCC-Houston unable to provide telemetry, voice, and command capability for extended periods. EMCC is also used when the threat of severe weather results in evacuation of the MCC-H building for extended periods. In such an emergency, both Russian servers (CMD/command & TM/telemetry) are transitioned from MCC-H connectivity to BCC configuration, after which only the BCC can connect to the CMD and TM ports. An actual contingency requiring switchover to the BCC occurred on 10/2/2002 when Hurricane Lili forced MCC-H to shut down at 4:00am EDT, and more recently during the severe Hurricane Katrina emergency.]

Update on SM thruster test: Yesterday s test firing of the SM manifold #2 yaw thruster (-RZ) was executed as planned, and preliminary reports indicated that there were no issues.  [This was a repeat of Part 1 of the thruster test attempted on 4/14 which was unsuccessful due to a procedural error.]

Ground planning is underway to prepare for on-board prepacking for STS-121/ULF1.1. A total of ~25 hours prepack time remains. There will be a prepack conference with the crew prior to the start of prepack activities. ULF1.1 will launch and return items that create major changes to the stowage environment on ISS.

At Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, prelaunch processing activities for the launch of 21P on Monday (4/24) continue. In the Launch Vehicle Processing Facility, the orbital stage was integrated with the Soyuz rocket (see picture, below). The regular Governmental Commission and Technical Management met and approved the rollout of the Soyuz carrying Progress M-56 to the launch pad.

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 Tropical Cyclone Monica, Australia (Dynamic Event. This storm was predicted to be Category 1-2 strength at the time of the near-nadir overpass of ISS. The predicted position of the storm center was in the western Gulf of Carpentaria (northern Australia). Cloud banding features should have been highlighted by the low sun elevation, but a well-formed eye was not likely to be visible), and Patagonian Glaciers, South America (a break in the prevailing cloud cover over southernmost South America provided an opportunity for glacier photography. ISS tracked over the southernmost end of the Patagonian ranges. Looking to the left of track for mountain glaciers among the southernmost peaks. Patchy cloud cover may have been present; the crew s best glacier views were on the eastern side of the mountains).

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.

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 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, 7:40am EDT [= epoch]):

  • Mean altitude -- 343.0 km
  • Apogee height -- 349.1 km
  • Perigee height -- 336.9 km
  • Period -- 91.40 min.
  • Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
  • Eccentricity -- 0.0009016
  • Solar Beta Angle -- 63.4 deg (magnitude increasing)
  • Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.75
  • Mean altitude loss in last 24 hours -- 129 m
  • Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 42422

Significant Events Ahead (all dates subject to change):

  • 04/24/06 -- Progress M-56/21P launch (12:03pm EDT)
  • 04/26/06 -- Progress M-56/21P docking (1:52pm EDT; SM aft port)
  • 05/20/06 -- Progress M-56/21P loading complete; hatches closed
  • 06/01-08/06 -- Russian EVA-16 (planning window)
  • 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
  • 07/03-11/06 NET STS-121/ULF1.1 docked mission w/ISS
  • 07/??/06 -- US EVA-5
  • 08/28/07 -- NET STS-115/12A launch
  • 08/30-09/06 -- NET STS-115/12A docked mission w/ISS
  • 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
  • 09/??/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/??/06 -- Russian EVA-17
  • 12/14/06 -- NET STS-116/12A.1 launch
  • 12/16-23/06 -- NET STS-116/12A.1 docked mission w/ISS
  • 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)
  • 01/22/07 -- US EVA-6
  • 01/26/07 -- US EVA-7
  • 01/31/07 -- US EVA-8
  • 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)
  • 02/22/07 -- NET STS-117/13A launch
  • 02/24-03/03/07 -- NET STS-117/13A docked mission w/ISS
  • 03/08/07 -- 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 port)
  • 06/11/07 -- NET STS-118/13A.1.

   (NET = no earlier than)

In Energia s Launch Vehicle Processing Facility at Baikonur, the Soyuz orbital stage containing Progress 21 was integrated with the launch vehicle for subsequent rollout (4/21/06).

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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