2 p.m. CDT, Thursday, September 16, 1999
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

As the International Space Station orbits 245 miles above the Earth, work on the ground continues to focus on monitoring the health of onboard systems in preparation for the arrival in about two months of its next major component - the Zvezda service module.

Part of the preparation this week includes the checkout of pumps and electrical systems associated with the Zarya control module's fuel and oxygen tanks in preparation for actual fuel transfer scheduled about a month from now.

The test used nitrogen to serve as the 'fuel' to verify the functionality of the electrical system and compressor. An identical test will be performed tomorrow (Friday) on the oxygen tank, again using nitrogen.

All other systems on the station are performing well as teams continue to prepare station hardware on the ground for future assembly missions to the ISS.

The next major component to be launched is Zvezda, the name given the service module earlier this year meaning Star. Plans continue toward launching the module atop a Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in November with an actual target launch date to be decided later this month or early in October.

International Space Station components at the Kennedy Space Center were unharmed by winds and rain associated with Hurricane Floyd, though processing activities were halted for the days around Floyd's close approach to the center. Focus continues on testing hardware together, as it will perform in space after the pieces are joined in orbit.

The ISS is orbiting at an altitude with a high point of 246 miles and a low point of 233 miles. Since launch of Zarya last November, the Station has completed more than 4,685 orbits of the Earth.

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

The next International Space Station status report will be on September 24. For further information, please contact the NASA Public Affairs Office at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, 281-483-5111.