The International Space Station continues to operate in excellent shape on orbit with no systems problems of any significance. Meanwhile, station managers are preparing to travel to Moscow next week for a review of the program and the readiness of the Russian Aviation and Space Agency to support the launch of the stationís next component Ė the Zvezda service module.
A Joint Program Review (JPR) Feb. 10, followed by a General Designerís Review on the 11th will assess the readiness of the Zvezda module for flight to become the third pressurized piece of the station. A target launch date for Zvezda is expected following the signing of the official protocols and the notification of all International Partners next Friday. Following the meetings in Moscow, NASA will determine if an early maintenance mission by the shuttle to the ISS is required as currently scheduled in mid April.
On orbit, the Stationís power system remains in good shape with four batteries operating normally providing more than enough power for the systems onboard. Battery number 2 remains disconnected from the electrical bus with battery number 1 available for short periods when necessary.
Meanwhile, post-flight photographic analysis of the STS-96 mission indicates that the Orbital Replacement Unit Transfer Device (OTD), installed on the outside of Zarya, may not be in its expected position. Analysis is under way to determine if there are any impacts to operations. The OTD is a small crane used to assist astronauts conducting spacewalks in moving large pieces of equipment around the station.
The International Space Station is in an orbit of 244 by 229 statute miles. Since the launch of Zarya in 1998, the ISS has completed more than 6,885 orbits. Space Station viewing opportunities worldwide are available on the Internet at: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/
NOTE: The next International Space Station status report will be issued on Friday, February 11, unless mission events warrant. For further information, please contact the NASA Public Affairs Office at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, 281-483-5111.
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