NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 16 December, 2021 - The Coldest Temperatures in the Universe

©NASA

Astronaut Matthias Maurer cleans smoke detectors. (Dec. 13, 2021)

The seven-member Expedition 66 crew spent Thursday servicing physics research gear and exercise hardware aboard the International Space Station.

Meanwhile, the orbiting lab's three visitors are preparing for their departure on Sunday.

The coldest temperatures in the Universe can be found inside the space station's Cold Atom Lab (CAL). Atoms are chilled to temperatures near absolute zero allowing scientists to observe fundamental behaviors and quantum characteristics not possible on Earth. NASA Flight Engineers Kayla Barron and Raja Chari opened the CAL today and replaced computer hardware inside the space physics device.

Human research is always ongoing aboard the station helping scientists understand how microgravity affects humans as NASA prepares to go to the Moon, Mars and beyond. NASA Flight Engineer Thomas Marshburn scanned his right leg's femoral artery with an ultrasound device to observe accelerated aging-like characteristics in the cardiovascular system that take place in weightlessness.

Cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov replaced a motor inside the Zvezda service module's treadmill during the afternoon. Flight surgeons regularly monitor space exercise ensuring crew members maintain muscle and bone health during long term space missions.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei took a robotics test for the Behavioral Core Measures space psychology study and continued researching how to manipulate nanoparticles. Flight Engineer Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) spent his day maintaining science and computer systems inside the Columbus laboratory module.

Three station visitors are nearing the end of their mission and getting ready to return to Earth on Sunday. Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin led Japanese spaceflight participants Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano on a review of the descent procedures they will use as they soar into the atmosphere aboard the Soyuz MS-20 crew ship. The trio will undock from the Poisk module on Sunday at 6:50 p.m. EST and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan at 10:13 p.m.

On-Orbit Status Report

Payloads:

Cold Atom Lab (CAL): To address a boot-up issue which was first seen in mid-November, the crew gained access to the CAL interior components and exchanged the Solid-State Drive (SSD) on the Central Processing Unit (CPU) card. This should allow the CAL to resume nominal operations and science collection. CAL produces clouds of atoms that are chilled to about one ten billionth of a degree above absolute zero -- much colder than the average temperature of deep space. At these low temperatures, atoms have almost no motion, allowing scientists to study fundamental behaviors and quantum characteristics that are difficult or impossible to probe at higher temperatures. In microgravity, researchers may be able to achieve even colder temperatures than what is possible on the ground and observe these cold atom clouds for longer periods of time.

Fluid Science Laboratory (FSL): As a continuation of the FSL troubleshooting efforts, the crew installed jumpers in the P101 power connector to support a checkout of the DC/DC voltage regulation in the rack. The jumpers allow the bypass of a known bad component to help determine the root cause of the rack issues. FSL is a multiuser facility designed by ESA for conducting fluid physics research in microgravity. It can be operated as a fully automatic or semiautomatic facility and can be controlled onboard by the ISS crew or from the ground in telescience mode.

Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Ellipsoids-4 (InSPACE-4): The crew set the appropriate parameters and adjusted the camera field of view for experiment runs 91-92. InSPACE-4 studies the assembly of tiny structures from colloids using magnetic fields. These structures change the properties of the assembled material, such as its mechanical response to or interaction with light and heat. Microgravity allows observation of these assembly processes free of confining sample walls and sedimentation and during timescales not possible using simulated microgravity. Results could provide insight into how to harness nanoparticles to fabricate and manufacture new materials.

ISS HAM Pass: The crew participated in an ISS HAM pass with Technisches Bildungszentrum Mitte, Bremen, Germany, and Carl Prueter Oberschule. Some of the questions asked by the students included how trash is disposed of on the ISS, which laws apply to the ISS, and how the moon and stars look when viewed from this ISS compared to when viewed from the Earth. ISS Ham Radio provides opportunities to engage and educate students, teachers, parents, and other members of the community in science, technology, engineering, and math by providing a means to communicate between astronauts and the ground HAM radio units.

Manufacturing Device (ManD): The crew accessed the interior print volume, removed and stowed the zero-degree materials test print, and cleaned the extruder head. ManD enables the production of components on the ISS for both NASA and commercial objectives. Parts, entire experiments, and tools can be created on demand utilizing the ManD printer that is installed into an ExPRESS Rack locker location. ManD is capable of producing parts out of a wide variety of thermopolymers including engineered plastics.

Payload Network Attached Storage (PL NAS): The crew verified the PL NAS was powered off, then exchanged a failed hard drive in the system. The Payload NAS is a file server with 5 hard drive bays that provides a total of 20 terabytes of raw disk space when used with 4 terabyte hard drives. Among other capabilities, the PL NAS supports user file transfers from their machine via web browser and allows onboard ISS systems to access a shared folder location on the NAS.

Sleep Monitoring in Space with Dry-EEG Headband (DREAMS): Following the completion of the over-night session, the crew removed the DREAMS headband, transferred the data, and stowed the hardware. Sleep plays a major role in human health and well-being. Insufficient sleep, or sleep disorders can increase the risk of developing medical conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, and can impair task performance. DREAMS is a technology demonstration investigation that utilizes the Dry-EEG Headband: an effective, affordable, and comfortable solution to monitor astronaut sleep quality during long-duration spaceflight aboard the ISS.

Touching Surfaces: The crew performed a periodic touching of the Touch Arrays which are deployed in five different locations in the US segment of ISS. 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.

Vascular Aging: As a continuation of the Vascular Aging investigation, the crew performed ultrasound scans, blood pressure measurements, and set up for later glucose testing. Emerging data point towards linkages among cardiovascular health risk, carotid artery aging, bone metabolism and blood biomarkers, insulin resistance, and radiation. Data indicate that aging-like changes are accelerated in many ISS crew members, particularly with respect to their arteries. As part of the Space Environment Causes Acceleration of Vascular Aging: Roles of Hypogravity, Nutrition, and Radiation (Vascular Aging) investigation, ultrasounds of the arteries, blood samples, oral glucose tolerance, and wearable sensors from ISS crew members are analyzed.

Systems:

Dragon SpX-24 Arrival Preparations: Today the crew completed activities in preparation for SpX-24 arrival at ISS next week. They first relocated Station Support Computers (SSCs) from JEM and Node 2 into Cupola, which will be used in support of monitoring tools required for SpX-24 docking. Crew set up and checked out crew monitoring tools required for US docking Visiting Vehicles, including vehicle-specific and Rendezvous and Proximity Operations Program (RPOP) software, within the Cupola Robotics Workstation (RWS). The crew then shut down the software used to monitor Dragon free flight operations and disconnected the hardware from the SSCs.

Temperature and Humidity Control (THC) Intermodule Ventilation (IMV) Flow Measurement Survey: The crew completed the THC IMV Flow Measurement Survey today using the Velocicalc device and set of measurement aids to measure the air flow exiting outlets and entering inlets throughout the USOS modules. In addition to flow rate measurements, inspections will be performed in selected locations. This activity is to support monitoring of the health of the ISS IMV system.

Columbus Portable Workstation (PWS) Activities: Crewmembers performed activities to replace the T61p Laptop shell for the Columbus PWS. They uninstalled the failed COL PWS1 laptop and removed the hard drive, and then installed that same hard drive into the new PWS1 laptop shell and connected power and data. Next, crew performed a BIOS setup of the T61p for initial PWS boot in order to comply with the PWS software and Columbus Data Management System (DMS) software. Lastly, the crew activated PWS1 in Columbus for executing Columbus Laptop Software (CLSW).

Completed Task List Activities:

None
Today's Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

PPS HIGH BETA OPERATIONS
BLB file uplink and transfer
THC IMV Flow Measurement Survey
Drain of EDV to BPA Using UTS
Initiate a Brine Processor Dewatering Cycle
PRO MSRR Deactivation Commanding
Look Ahead Plan

Friday, December 17 (GMT 351)
Payloads:

EasyMotion/CEVIS
Food Physiology Diet Brief
FSL SMD SCU exchange and Harness reconfig
GLACIER-2 desiccant swap
InSPACE-4 runs 94-95
JWRS Sample collect
MELFI1 icebrick insert 6
Repository Saliva, blood and urine collect
Standard Measures questionnaires
Vascular Aging blood collect and Glucose reading
Systems:

SpaceX-24 Dragon Review/Vehicle Ops/Rendezvous CBT
Lab Hatch Seal Leak Check Big Picture Words Review
EHS - CSA-CP Extended Maintenance
EVA SLE Training
EDAR Removal
EVA HECA Cable Removal
ECLS PEPS Audit
Handover of Increment 66 Crew
IFM Hatch Seal Inspection
Saturday, December 18 (GMT 352)
Payloads:

EasyMotion suit stow
JAXA PCG
Systems:

Lab Hatch Seal Leak Check BPW Review
IFM OGS Internal ACTEX Pre-Flush
Sunday, December 19 (GMT 353)
Payloads:

EasyMotion generic exercise
Systems:

Crew Off-Duty Day
Today's Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Dreams Dry-EEG Headband doffing after recording
Standard Measures Post-sleep Questionnaire
SSC (Station Systems Computer)13 ZBook Shell Swap
JEM Space Fight Participants Payload Laptop Terminal(PLT) Setup
Swap SSC (Station Support Computer) 10 and 20 Swap
ESA Crew Conference with two way Audio and video
Vascular Aging Resting Ultrasound Scan
Touching Event for the Touching Surfaces experiment
Cold Atom Lab Hardware Gather
Cold Atom Lab CPU SSD Replace
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Social Media Event
Dreams data transfer
Vascular Aging Oral Glucose Tolerance Test Big Picture Words Review
Environmental Health System (EHS) Acoustic Blanket Deploy
Dragon Zenith - Station Support Computer Relocate
ISS HAM Columbus Pass Kenwood
Vascular Aging CDL Holter Arterial Blood Pressure Measurement
Stowage Followup
Docking Dragon Monitoring Tools Setup
JPM Temporary Stowage NASA Relocate
Space Fight Participants JEM Enter Escort
JEM Space Fight Participants Communication Check
Food Acceptability Survey
Installation of Jumpers in support of FSL ESEM 6-1 Board Checkout
INSPACE-4 (Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions 4) Experiment Run Ops
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Food Intake Tracker (ISS FIT)
JEM Space Fight Participants Event Attendance
[aborted] EVA Battery Operations Terminal Autocycle Terminate
Temperature and Humidity Control (THC) Intermodule Ventilation (IMV) Flow Measurement Survey
Dreams Dry-EEG Headband Stow
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Battery Operations Terminal File Transfer Initiate
HRF Generic Frozen Blood Collection Hardware Setup
Initiating Brine Transfer from EDV to BPA with UTS
Vascular Aging Glucose Test Setup
Vascular Aging FRIDGE Item Insertion
Cold Atom Lab CPU SSD Closeout
HRF Generic Urine Collection Male
JEM Space Fight Participants Event Closeout
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval and Insertion Operations
Removal of Jumpers in support of FSL ESEM 6-1 Board Checkout
JPM Temporary Stowage NASA Return
New PWS1 Laptop installation part 1
Vascular Aging Ultrasound Echo Unit Stow
BIOS Setup on Portable Work Station 1
Manufacturing Device Print Removal, Clean and Stow
Portable Workstation 1 Activation
MELFI 1 Ice Brick Insert 5
On Board Training (OBT) ROBoT T&C Self Study
Payloads Network Attached Storage (NAS) HDD Replace
Dragon Monitoring Tools Teardown
Terminating Brine Transfer from EDV to BPA with UTS
INSPACE-4 (Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions 4) Experiment Run Conclude
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Battery Operations Terminal File Transfer Terminate
Flight Director/ISS CREW CONFERENCE
Standard Measures Pre-sleep Questionnaire
HRF Generic Saliva Collection 10 Minutes

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