INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
STATUS REPORT #99-29
The International Space Station continued to perform well this week with flight controllers in Houston and Moscow noting no significant problems as the outpost completed its 4,000th orbit of Earth since its November 1998 launch.
In preparation for the Station's continued orbital assembly, flight controllers are planning a test later this month to rehearse the next milestone, the docking with the Russian-supplied Zvezda living quarters that is planned for launch in November. For the test, the Station will be maneuvered to the docking orientation and the Kurs automatic docking system will be activated. Meanwhile, at the Kennedy Space Center, preparations for future Station assembly continued as well with the arrival Wednesday of a second Italian-built logistics module, named Raffaello, targeted for launch to the station in mid-2000. Carried in the Space Shuttle's cargo bay, the 4.5-ton reusable module will hold up to 20,000 pounds of equipment racks for transfer to and from the Station. The first logistics module, Leonardo, was delivered to Florida in August 1998. A third module will be delivered in 2001.
As a standard station "housekeeping" activity this week, Moscow flight controllers will complete battery capacity restoration -- fully draining and then recharging -- the Zarya module's six batteries. 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. Controllers also continued to watch what may be a degradation in the performance of one battery. They expect to be able to better characterize that battery's performance during charge and discharge cycles later this month. If needed, a replacement battery could be carried to the station on the next Shuttle assembly mission, STS-101, targeted for launch in December.
The International Space Station is oriented with Unity pointed toward Earth and Zarya pointed toward space in a slow spin 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 255 statute miles and a low point of 237 statute miles, circling the Earth every 92 minutes.
Space Station viewing opportunities worldwide are available on the Internet at:
The next International Space Station status report will be issued on August 12. For further information, please contact the NASA Public Affairs Office at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, 281-483-5111.