With no major activities or checkouts planned this week, flight controllers in Houston and Moscow continue to monitor the International Space Station, reporting that all systems aboard are operating normally and the spacecraft is in excellent condition.
The station has remained in a naturally stable orientation, with the Unity module pointing toward Earth and the Zarya module pointed toward deep space, slowly spinning at a rate of about one revolution each half hour. This orientation conserves propellant and provides moderate temperatures for the station. Flight controllers successfully completed a round of deep-cycling the six station batteries housed in Zarya late last week, individually fully discharging and recharging them as a routine housekeeping procedure that optimizes the batteries' performance. Similar deep-cycling activities will be conducted about every two weeks.
During the next week, the station is planned to continue in its current spinning orientation with no major systems work expected. The X-nadir spin, as the orientation is called, is the preferred station orientation as it awaits the next station assembly mission, a visit by the Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-96 in May.
The International Space Station is in an orbit with a high point of 256 statute miles and a low point of 248 statute miles, circling Earth once every 92 minutes.
Current opportunities available
for locations worldwide to view the station from the ground as it passes
overhead can be found on the internet at
The progress of preparations for Discovery's upcoming visit to the station can be found on the Kennedy Space Center's Space Shuttle status report located on the internet at
The next International Space Station status report is planned to be issued on Wednesday, January 13, 1999.
Note: For further information, please contact the NASA Public Affairs Office at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, 281-483-5111.