NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status

Space Ref
March 29 2004

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted
previously or below. Underway: Week 23 for Increment 8.

Before breakfast, both crewmembers completed their first session of
the periodic Russian medical experiment protocols PZEh-MO-7 (calf
volume measurement) and PZEh-MO-8 (body mass measurement). FE Alex
Kaleri set up the MO-8 “scales” equipment and subsequently broke it
down and stowed it away.

Later, Kaleri was to perform a major 5-hr. IFM (in-flight
maintenance) inside the Soyuz TMA-3/7S, to repair the V1 fan of the
KhSA cooler/dryer unit in the crew return vehicle’s Descent Module
(SA), but the activity was deferred after a tagup with ground
specialists when Alex encountered a problem with the fan. [The
planned R&R is in response to the finding of the investigation &
status check done by Kaleri on the KhSA fans on 11/1/03, which in
turn was prompted by higher-than-expected humidity (18 mmHg)
encountered in the Soyuz cabin during the stand-alone Expedition 8
crew flight to the ISS (10/18-10/20/03). To repair or, if necessary,
replace the fan, Sasha had to gain access to the fan outlets by
reconfiguring the SA, disassembling the air duct between DC-1 and
Soyuz, relocating the Sokol spacesuits, flipping back the foot rests
on the three couches, and using a local light in the confined work

CDR Michael Foale completed another session on the new BCAT-3 (Binary
Colloidal Alloy Test-3) experiment for NASA GRC (Glenn Research
Center)’s microgravity research program. Today’s activities focused
on BCAT-3 sample homogenizing and the first two photography runs.
The images were to be downlinked for review by the ground team, which
then will provide feedback in tomorrow’s BCAT conference. Foale was
also asked to document his activities on videotape. [BCAT-3 is a
Small Payload for ISS using the Kodak DCS760 digital camera with
MagLite at the MWA. Experiment hardware for homogenizing samples in
micro-G include a Slow Growth Sample Module with sample couvettes and
the BCAT Magnet for homogenizing the alloy samples (toxicity level 1)
to initiate growth of colloidal structures. Forerunners were the
glovebox investigations BCAT & BCAT-2 launched on STS-79 & STS-86 to
the Russian space station Mir during the fall of ’96 and ’97. BCAT-3
is a precursor for the LMM (Light Microscopy Module) scheduled to fly
in 2006. BCAT-3 is also a follow-on experiment to CGEL (Colloidal
Gelation) operated by Mike Foale on Mir/Increment 5. Possible future
applications of the colloidal alloy experiments are photonic crystals
for telecommunications and computer applications (e.g., optical
switches and waveguides, “computing with light”), extremely low
threshold lasers, and improved use of supercritical fluids (e.g. CO2
for food extractions, pharmaceuticals, dry cleaning, etc.)]

Afterwards, Mike Foale reinstalled four DZUS fasteners on a panel in
the Lab module.

After yesterday’s task-listed Diatomeya work on Service Module
windows, Alex Kaleri conducted more activities today for the Russian
ocean research program, performing observation, photo and video
imagery of bio-productive aquatic areas of the South Atlantic Ocean
and of cloud formations above them. [He used the Nikon F5 with f/80
mm lens and the DVCAM 150 digital camcorder (minimum zoom mode) for
recording of video and voice-over audio of color-contrasting
formations on the open aquatic areas, local anomalies in the cloud
field structure, and manifestations of water dynamics on the ocean

Sasha also continued yesterday’s task-listed session of the Russian
Uragan earth imaging program, today focusing the Kodak DCS760 digital
camera with 800-mm and 400mm lenses on new targets of nature and
industry environment conditions. [They included the southern coast
of Cyprus, the shoreline of the Bay of Gulf of Iskenderun, volcanoes
in Turkey and Armenia, the Koura river valley, the Chirkeiskoe water
reservoir, the shoreline of the Caspian Sea, and panoramic imagery of
the western Caspian shore from the Volga estuary to Apsheron.]

The FE performed his regular maintenance/inspection of the BIO-5
Rasteniya-2 (“Plants-2”) greenhouse. [Rasteniya studies growth and
development of plants (peas) under spaceflight conditions in the
Lada-4 greenhouse. Regular maintenance involves monitoring of
seedling growth, humidity measurements, watering to moisten the
substrate if necessary, and photo/video recording.] Mike conducted
the daily routine maintenance of the SM’s SOZh life support system
(including ASU toilet facilities), and he also prepared the daily IMS
inventory “delta” file for automated updating the IMS databases.

Both crewmembers completed their daily physical exercise program.
They also performed the weekly maintenance of the TVIS treadmill (a
five-minute task for each treadmill user, usually done just prior to
power-down or end of exercise session).

Starting at 9:00am EST, MCC-Houston began a remote-commanded checkout
of software for the two TRRJs (thermal radiator rotary joints) of the
U.S. segment that will run for the next several days. [The TRRJs
are needed to support the ETCS (external thermal control system) when
it is activated during the 12A.1 mission (NET 12/1/05), and this test
is the first of several in support of that activation. Both TRRJs
have had a full hardware checkout in previous expeditions (Loop A on
the S1 truss during 9A, Loop B on P1 during Increment 6), but this is
the first time that the automated software algorithms will be used
for checking out the flight hardware. The C/O includes several
orbits of Autotrack mode for the BGAs (Beta gimbal assemblies)
andseveral orbits in each of two configurations of Blind mode.]

Today’s CEO (Crew Earth Observations) targets, in the current LVLH
attitude no longer limited by flight rule constraints on the use of
the Lab nadir/science window, except for the shutter closure and
condensation-prevention plan (limited to 90 min. in 24 hours), were
Ganges River Delta (looking left for a mapping pass of land use in
the delta. The major visual is the protected outer islands where
native forests still appear dark green, with a sharp boundary on the
inshore side where agriculture begins), Dhaka, Bangladesh (nadir pass
over this city), Cape Town, South Africa (good pass just south of
Table Mountain. Looking nadir and left), Johannesburg, South Africa
(looking left towards the center of the Witwatersrand region. Crews
ask about the numerous white patches scattered throughout the city
[bigger further out from the center]. These are “mine dumps,” or
spoil tips from the gold mines, older dumps being re-mined for their
remnant gold content), Karachi, Pakistan (looking a touch left),
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (looking right at the foot of the mountains),
Tropical storm, Brazil (Dynamic event. This unusual storm went
ashore last evening and started breaking up. Documenting the
evolution of the storm, whether well formed offshore or breaking up
over land, is of great interest. Looking left towards the Brazilian
coastline), Lima, Peru (nadir pass), Mexico City, Mexico (nadir
pass), and Albuquerque, New Mexico (nadir pass).