Activity surrounding the operation of the International Space Station settled down a bit following the maneuver of the complex earlier this week to avoid a close approach of a piece of space debris.
The Station's orbit was raised by one statute mile to place it at a safe distance from a piece of orbital debris. Actual tracking data showed the debris passed a safe 87 statute miles by the Station at the time of closest approach early Wednesday morning. Had the burn not taken place, the spent Pegasus rocket body would have passed one half statute mile from the ISS.
Coincidentally, the raising burn puts the Station in a slightly higher orbit that will be increased more during a rendezvous test to be performed in January in preparation for the arrival of the Zvezda service module.
At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, processing of Zvezda continues in preparation for its launch to the ISS early next year. NASA was informed that an investigation is underway into yesterday's loss of a similar rocket carrying a commercial satellite, but it is much too early to determine what, if any, impact this failure could have on Zvezda's planned launch in the January timeframe.
The ISS is now in its normal position in space with the Unity module pointed at Earth and Zarya pointed to deep space. The complex continues in a very slow spin to minimize the need for thruster firings and to maintain even temperatures on systems.
Earlier today routine tests were conducted of the command path to Zarya from Mission Control in Korolev, outside Moscow, using Unity's early communications system and to Unity from Mission Control in Houston, via the Komparus system inside Zarya.
Next week, Zarya battery cycling of the five units connected to the electrical system will commence once again to maintain their proficiency in charging during daylight passes around the Earth.
All other Station systems are in excellent shape as it orbits at an altitude of 248 by 230 statute miles. Since the launch of Zarya last November, the ISS has completed more than 5,348 orbits. Space Station viewing opportunities worldwide are available on the Internet at:
The next International Space Station status report will be on November 4. For further information, please contact the NASA Public Affairs Office at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, 281-483-5111.