NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 15 September, 2021 - Robotics Support


Astronaut Akihiko Hoshide checks out a pair of Astrobee robotic free-flyers inside the Kibo laboratory module.

A variety of robotics work took place today aboard the International Space Station to teach students programming skills and ready a science module for a new robotic arm.

The Expedition 65 crew also conducted vein scans, performed rodent research, and continued cleaning up after Sunday's spacewalk.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide began Wednesday in the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) Kibo laboratory module supporting a robotics challenge for Japanese and American students on Earth. The three-time station resident configured the toaster-sized Astrobee robotic free-flyers to perform maneuvers using programs written by the ground-based students. The event is designed to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers to improve space-based and Earth-bound technologies.

Hoshide also had his veins scanned during the afternoon with NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei taking charge as crew medical officer. Vande Hei used an ultrasound device with real-time assistance from flight surgeons on the ground and examined the JAXA astronaut's neck, clavicle, shoulder, and leg veins.

Russia's Nauka multipurpose laboratory module continues to be integrated with the orbiting lab. Two spacewalks on Sept. 3 and Sept. 9 began the cable connection work to power and communicate with the new science module. Now, cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov is configuring Nauka for operations with a new robotic arm from ESA (European Space Agency). The first-time space flyer from Roscosmos is setting up laptop computers and hardware inside Nauka that will soon control the European Robotic Arm attached to Nauka.

Rodent research is underway aboard the orbiting lab this week as mice are being observed in JAXA's Life Science Glovebox to learn how microgravity affects normal skin and healing functions. NASA Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough collaborated for the space biology study today monitoring the rodents then transferring and feeding them back in their habitats.

McArthur joined ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet earlier in the day stowing tools used during Sunday's spacewalk to prepare the station for a new Roll-Out Solar Array. Pesquet also spent a portion of his day stowing an ESA incubator and deploying a microbiology experiment.

On-Orbit Status Report


Eklosion: The crew participated in an Eklosion experiment session by observing the flower, taking photos, and reading some of the messages included with the experiment. They also gently shook the capsule to determine the quantity of water remaining. The Eklosion investigation utilizes a vase, inspired by the VEGGIE plant growth facility, specially designed for use in the microgravity environment aboard the ISS. Eklosion also contains within its hull small messages and smells from Earth for the psychological benefit of the crew member who conducts the investigation. In the experiment, the crew grows a Marigold flower (Tagetes patula).

European Space Agency (ESA) EPO Touching Surfaces: The crew set up touch arrays in 5 different locations in the USOS segment. These arrays will be deployed for at least 15 weeks. Previous space research conducted during short-term flight experiments and long-term environmental monitoring on board orbiting space stations (such as MIR or the ISS) suggests that the relationship between humans and microbes is altered in the crewed habitat in space. This interdisciplinary project Touching Surfaces aims to investigate novel, laser-structured antimicrobial surfaces onboard the ISS. The realistic testing of the tailor-made nanostructured antimicrobial surface in space allows for the determination of the most suitable design for antimicrobial surfaces for terrestrial applications such as public transportation and clinical settings, as well as future human space mission and habitation design.

JEM Water Recovery System (JWRS): The crew continued work on the JWRS by installing the Gas Trap module. JWRS generates potable water from urine. In the past on manned spacecraft, urine and wastewater were collected and stored, or vented overboard. For long-term space missions, however, water supply could become a limiting factor. Demonstrating the function of this water recovery system on orbit contributes to updating the Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) to support astronauts on the space station and future exploration missions.

Kibo Robot Programming Challenge-2 final round: This event had to be deferred to a later date due to ISS network issues which prevented the uplink of the necessary files. The Kibo Robot Programming Challenge (Robo-Pro Challenge), also known as Kibo-RPC, allows students to create programs to control Astrobee, a free-flying robot aboard ISS. This opportunity provides hands-on experience with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in space and inspires the next generation of explorers. This activity is based on Japan-U.S. cooperation through the Japan-US Open platform Partnership Program (JP-US OP3).

Rodent Research Demo-1: The crew performed experiment 1A, and then restocked the rodent habitat. RR-D1 validates equipment and procedures related to the wound healing process investigation. Normal skin function and wound healing are important for maintaining good health, but spaceflight may impair healing of wounds in astronauts. Results from this investigation are intended to support design of a subsequent study on the effects of spaceflight on wound healing.

Turbine Ceramic Manufacturing Module (T-CMM): The crew removed the processed calibration module and installed a ceramic module into the facility. Unfortunately, when the module was subsequently processed, a leak inside the module occurred and the print was not completed successfully. T-CMM demonstrates manufacture of single-piece turbine blade/disk combinations (blisks) in microgravity for commercial use. Manufacturing blisks in space could produce parts with lower mass and residual stress and higher strength than those made on Earth due to greatly reduced sedimentation of the solution in microgravity.


Mobile Servicing System (MSS) Operations: Early this morning, robotics ground controllers (ROBO) powered up the MSS and translated it from Worksite 5 to Worksite 7. Once there, ROBO maneuvered the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) and the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) to the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) Airlock and installed the ISS Experience Z-CAM to the JEM A/L slide table. Once installed, ROBO maneuvered SSRMS and SPDM clear of the JEM A/L, and the MSS was powered down.

Ultrasound Exam: Today, the crew used the ultrasound device to perform a Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) scan. This is a routine medical requirement that utilizes existing on-orbit eye exam ultrasound hardware for bilateral imaging of the internal jugular, entire subclavian-axillary axis, and lower extremity deep veins. VTE scans utilize a different frequency than the eye exams.

Post Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Activities: Today, the crew completed several activities following the successful completion of the USOS 4A IROSA Prep EVA on Sunday September 12th. The crew completed the first regeneration cycle of the EMU Metal Oxide (METOX) canisters by baking out CO2in the METOX Regenerator Oven as well as spent several hours stowing EVA tools that were used during EVA 77.

Completed Task List Activities:

Today's Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Atmosphere Revitalization System (ARS) Thermal Amine Scrubber (TAS) Deactivation
Payload Rack Officer (PRO) LSG Facility Activation Commanding
Node 3 ACS Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Activation
Mobile Servicing System (MSS) Powerup [ACTIVE]
Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) stow [PLANNED]
Look Ahead Plan

Thursday, September 16 (GMT 259)

CBEF-L LTL Box setup and VRU2 cable reconnect
Food Acceptability
Four Bed CO2 install
ISS Experience EVA Z-Cam removal
LIDAL Relocate 3
MERLIN3 icebrick insert
NanoRacks Module 9 Ops 3
PLT5 and ELT2 reconnect config
POLAR desiccant swap
Rodent Access unit clean
Standard Measures Saliva, body, fecal collect
Turbine CMM Module removal and Ice berg-2 Insert

Regenerative ECLSS Oxygen Generation System (OGS) H2 Sensor replacement
Inflight Maintenance (IFM) Crew Quarters (CQ) Battery Remove and Replace (R&R)
EVA Airlock Deconfiguration
Health Maintenance System (HMS) OCT2 Exam
Friday, September 17 (GMT 260)

Astrobee perching arm remove
BCM Robot Test
ESA EPO BLOB Deinstall
FSL VMU2 Board Exchange
ISS Experience EVA Z-Cam relocate and data transfer
JEM Microbe Sample Collect
Lumina Deinstall and reinstall
SOUNDSEE T/S ops and stow
Standard Measures Saliva Collect and stow

Dragon Cargo Ops
EVA Loop Scrub
BEAM cargo ops
IFM Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Urine Receptacle (UR) and Insert Filter (IF) R&R
Saturday, September 18 (GMT 261)

Rodent Research Experiment 1B
Veggie Monitoring

Crew off-duty
Today's Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

HRF Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval and Insertion Operations
Turbine Ceramic Module Installation
Eklosion Troubleshooting Activity
BioMole MinION Stow
Turbine Ceramic Iceberg Sample Insert
Robot Programming Challenge 2 Final Round [Deferred]
Kubik deinstallation
Kubik 6 deinstallation
FRIDGE 2 Label
Four Bed CO2 Scrubber (4BCO2) Adlink Mini PC Troubleshooting
Touching Surfaces - Unstow, Setup, Touching and taking pictures
JEM Water Recovery System (JWRS) Gas Trap Installation.
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Thermal Amine Scrubber (TAS) Preparation for Removal
Light Ions Detector Hardware Gather
Cryo Glove Locate
Rodent Research Experiment 1
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) in Columbus
US Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Tools Stow
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Oxygen Generation System (OGS) Hardware Gather
Station Support Computer (SSC) 6 Hard Disk Drive (HDD) Swap
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Vision Test
Cargo Transfer to Dragon
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Vision Questionnaire
Metal Oxide (METOX) Regeneration Termination
Metal Oxide (METOX) Regeneration Initiation

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