1 p.m. CDT, Thursday, Aug. 12, 1999
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

Flight control teams in Houston and Moscow continue to monitor the health of International Space Station systems with no significant problems on board other than a balky battery that currently is not being used for electrical power.

Plans continue to be finalized for the tests later this month to rehearse the docking of the Zvezda service module at the ISS planned for November. The test will have the ISS maneuver to the desired docking orientation and the Kurs automatic docking system will be activated. Zvezda will serve as the early living quarters for the crew as well as providing life support and command and control capability.

Routine activities this week included completing battery capacity restoration, which is conducted about every six months on each of the six batteries in Zarya. This procedure fully drains and then recharges batteries to maintain as long a life as possible on the units. Capacity restoration of the batteries is performed about every six months to minimize charge memory, similar to the maintenance of rechargeable batteries used in consumer electronics.

The possible degradation seen in battery number one continues to be monitored and the battery currently has been removed from the electrical bus. A replacement battery and associated electronics may be carried to the station on the next Shuttle assembly mission, STS-101, targeted for launch in December.

Here on the ground, a command server problem has been solved that briefly prevented command transfer from Moscow to Houston. Though the Russian Mission Control and ground stations is the prime means for commanding to the ISS, the Unity node's early communications system can be used through NASA's tracking network as a backup. An inadvertent file prevented the two servers to 'talk' to one another, but was corrected within a day.

The International Space Station is oriented with Unity pointed toward Earth and Zarya pointed toward space in a slow spin (.03 degree/second) to conserve fuel and maintain an even temperature for both modules. The ISS is flying in a slightly elliptical orbit with a high point of 249 statute miles and a low point of 236 statute miles, circling the Earth every 92 minutes. The complex has completed 4,132 orbits since launch of Zarya last November.

Space Station viewing opportunities worldwide are available on the Internet at:

The next International Space Station status report will be issued on August 19. For further information, please contact the NASA Public Affairs Office at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, 281-483-5111.


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