INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
STATUS REPORT #99-23
ISS flight controllers in the United States and Russia began the first scheduled full charge and discharge of the six batteries on the Zarya module as part of a twice-yearly procedure to maintain as long a life on the electrical storage units as possible. This maintenance of "training" the batteries is similar to what one would do with a cellular phone or cordless tool battery here on the ground.
This procedure is performed on each battery every six months and is the first time to be done on Zarya's batteries. The next opportunity to perform this procedure will be after the Zvezda service module's arrival scheduled for November.
At the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the next stage of multi-element integrated testing (MEIT) was completed Sunday on components scheduled for launch to the ISS next year. For this test, components are actually cabled together on the ground in the Space Station Processing Facility, as they will be in space, to verify they work together well.
Also at KSC this week, NASA station managers accepted the "keys" from prime contractor Boeing for the next U.S. piece to be delivered to the ISS in February 2000. This includes the backbone of the long truss structure, called the Z1, which will be attached to a port on the already orbiting Unity node. The Acceptance Review Board also accepted for final processing toward flight of the Control Moment Gyros that will provide non-propulsive control of the station, which is most beneficial in experiment operations and fuel consumption.
The Z1 will provide the support and clearance for an early set of solar arrays and a future truss segment. The first flight segment of the truss was delivered to KSC earlier this week. A structural test article for the second piece is set to arrive at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, next week for use in engineering testing mirroring that of the actual flight article in final processing at the Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville.
Meanwhile, a review is underway of policies and procedures related to maneuvers of the station in situations where a close approach with space debris is possible. This is in response to last week's predicted close pass of a spent Russian rocket upper stage. The debris ultimately passed 7 kilometers from the station. While the procedure review is ongoing, managers have determined that all appropriate mass properties and center of gravity data was loaded into the software after the recent supply delivery mission of Discovery.
International Space Station's orientation in space is the same as previously with Unity pointed toward Earth and Zarya pointed toward space. The station is spinning very slowly about its axis to maintain even temperatures on all surfaces.
The next shuttle flight to
visit the ISS is scheduled for December following the launch, docking
and checkout of the Zvezda living quarters in November. Updates on
the status of shuttle launch preparations are available on the Internet
The International Space Station is in an orbit with a high point of 256 statute miles and a low point of 237 statute miles, circling the Earth once approximately every 92 minutes. The Station has completed more than 3,379 orbits of Earth since its launch. As it passes overhead at dawn or dusk, the station is easily visible from the ground.
Space station viewing opportunities for locations worldwide are available on the Internet at: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/
The next International Space Station status will be issued July 1.
Note: For further information, please contact the NASA Public Affairs Office at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, 281-483-5111.