2 p.m. CST, Wednesday, February 3, 1999
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

The International Space Station flight control team watched over the first two components of the orbiting outpost, performing routine housekeeping activities while testing commanding capability of the Zarya module through the communications system of the Unity connecting node.

With the station's systems in excellent shape, flight controllers sent commands to adjust the controlled spin of the station to maintain uniform temperatures on its outside surfaces. This slow spin also conserves fuel by minimizing firings of the thruster jets to manage the motion control system.

Along with flight controllers in Russia's Mission Control Center outside Moscow, the teams tested the ability to command Zarya systems by using communications hardware installed inside and outside Unity during December's STS-88 mission. The test objectives included demonstrating the general commanding capability using NASA's communications satellites while training flight controllers in both centers for commanding sequences that could be required primarily during contingency situations when commanding capability is interrupted through Russian ground stations. This testing will continue for the next several weeks. Battery cycling also continued this week in order to maximize peak operation of the power generating components of the Zarya.

The International Space Station is in an orbit with a high point of 259 statute miles and a low point of 245 statute miles, circling Earth once every 92 minutes.

ISS viewing opportunities from the ground can be found on the internet at:

The next station assembly mission by Space Shuttle Discovery is planned for May, carrying interior supplies and U.S. and Russian cranes to be installed on the exterior. Updates on the progress of the orbiter's processing can be found in the Kennedy Space Center's shuttle status report located on the internet at:

The next International Space Station status report is planned to be issued on Wednesday, February 10, 1999.

Note: For further information, please contact the NASA Public Affairs Office at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, 281-483-5111.