As Expedition 8 Commander Mike Foale celebrated his 47th
birthday on aboard the International Space Station Wednesday and
Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri observed the Russian Orthodox
Christmas, they both concentrated on troubleshooting a small decay
in the Station cabin’s atmospheric pressure.
The pressure decay poses no threat to the crew's safety or to the
continued operation of the Station and its systems, but Russian and
US engineers are conducting a thorough investigation of the
decrease, which appears to have begun about Dec. 22. The decline
occurs at a rate so small, only a few hundredths of a pound per
square inch (psi) of pressure per day, that it is difficult to
Sea Launch Company successfully deployed Loral's Telstar
14/Estrela do Sul 1 communications satellite into orbit tonight.
All systems aboard the Space Systems/Loral 1300- series spacecraft
are reported in excellent condition.
The Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket lifted off at 8:13 pm PDT from the
Odyssey Launch Platform, positioned at 154 degrees West Longitude,
on the Equator. All systems performed nominally throughout the
flight. The Block DM-SL upper stage inserted the 4,694 kg (10,350
lb) spacecraft into a high perigee geosynchronous transfer orbit
right on target. As planned, a ground station in Western Australia
received the spacecraft's first signal, shortly after spacecraft
separation. The spacecraft's final orbital position will be 63
degrees West Longitude.