NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 19 November 2018 - Cygnus Spacecraft Berthed to the ISS

©NASA

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 19 November 2018 - Cygnus Spacecraft Berthed to the ISS.

The Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo ship was bolted into place on the International Space Station's Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 7:31 a.m. EST.

The spacecraft will spend about three months attached to the space station before departing in February 2019. After it leaves the station, the uncrewed spacecraft will deploy several CubeSats before its fiery re-entry into Earth's atmosphere as it disposes of several tons of trash.

The spacecraft's arrival brings close to 7,400 pounds of research and supplies to space station. Highlights of NASA-sponsored research to advance exploration goals and enable future missions to the Moon and Mars include:

Sensory input in microgravity

Changes in sensory input in microgravity may be misinterpreted and cause a person to make errors in estimation of velocity, distance or orientation. VECTION examines this effect as well as whether people adapt to altered sensory input on long-duration missions and how that adaptation changes upon return to Earth. Using a virtual reality display, astronauts estimate the distance to an object, length of an object and orientation of their bodies in space. Tests are conducted before, during and after flight. The investigation is named for a visual illusion of self-movement, called vection, which occurs when an individual is still but sees the world moving past, according to principal investigator Laurence Harris. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) sponsors the investigation.

Solidifying cement in space

The MVP-Cell 05 investigation uses a centrifuge to provide a variable gravity environment to study the complex process of cement solidification, a step toward eventually making and using concrete on extraterrestrial bodies. These tests are a follow-on to the previous studies known as Microgravity Investigation of Cement Solidification (MICS), which studied cement solidification in microgravity. Together, these tests will help engineers better understand the microstructure and material properties of cement, leading to design of safer, lightweight space habitats and improving cement processing techniques on Earth. This investigation is sponsored by NASA.

Investigations sponsored by the U.S. National Laboratory on the space station, which Congress designated in 2005 to maximize its use for improving quality of life on Earth, include:

From stardust to solar systems

Much of the universe was created when dust from star-based processes clumped into intermediate-sized particles and eventually became planets, moons and other objects. Many questions remain as to just how this worked, though. The EXCISS investigation seeks answers by simulating the high-energy, low gravity conditions that were present during formation of the early solar system. Scientists plan to zap a specially formulated dust with an electrical current, then study the shape and texture of pellets formed.

Principal investigator Tamara Koch explains that the dust is made up of particles of forsterite (Mg2SiO4), the main mineral in many meteorites and related to olivine, also known as the gemstone peridot. The particles are about the diameter of a human hair.

Growing crystals to fight Parkinson's disease

The CASIS PCG-16 investigation grows large crystals of an important protein, Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2, or LRRK2, in microgravity for analysis back on Earth. This protein is implicated in development of Parkinson's disease, and improving our knowledge of its structure may help scientists better understand the pathology of the disease and develop therapies to treat it. Crystals of LRRK2 grown in gravity are too small and too compact to study, making microgravity an essential part of this research.

Better gas separation membranes

Membranes represent one of the most energy-efficient and cost-effective technologies for separating and removing carbon dioxide from waste gases, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions. CEMSICA tests membranes made from particles of calcium-silicate (C-S) with pores 100 nanometers or smaller. Producing these membranes in microgravity may resolve some of the challenges of their manufacture on Earth and lead to development of lower-cost, more durable membranes that use less energy. The technology ultimately may help reduce the harmful effects of CO2 emissions on the planet.

On-Orbit Status Report

Northrop Grumman 10 (NG-10): NG-10 Antares 230 Rocket successfully launched on
Saturday, November 17 at 3:01AM CT from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Once in orbit, Cygnus S.S. John Young performed a series of phasing burns over the course of two days to rendezvous with ISS. The crew successfully captured Cygnus with the Space Station Remote Manipulation System (SSRMS) today at 4:28AM CT. Once captured, they handed off control of the SSRMS to ground Robotics Controllers who then maneuvered the vehicle to the Node 1 nadir Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM) interface where it was securely bolted to the ISS. Once the CBM bolting operations were complete, the crew and ground teams worked together to perform Node 1 CBM vestibule pressurization followed by hatch opening and ingress at 11:17 AM CT. NG-10 brings ~3266 kg of cargo to ISS.

Progress (71P) Docking: Following Friday's launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, 71P successfully performed a 34 orbit rendezvous with ISS and automatically docked to the Service Module Aft docking port on Sunday, November 18 at 1:28PM CT. The hatch was subsequently opened later that same day. 71P brings ~1404 kg of cargo to ISS.

Probiotics: Today the crew collected samples in support of the ongoing Probiotics investigation. Some species of harmful bacteria such as Salmonella grow stronger and more virulent in the microgravity environment of space. At the same time, the human immune system is weaker in space, leading to increased health risks. The objective of the Probiotics investigation is to study the impact of continuous consumption of beneficial bacteria (probiotics) on immune function and intestinal microbiota in astronauts in a closed microgravity environment. The results of this investigation may be used to support improvements in crew members' intestinal microbiota and their immune function on long-duration space missions.

Veg-03: The Veg-03 plants were checked for dryness, watered as necessary, and imagery was taken of the overall Veggie facility with the bellows up. Per recent reports from the team, there are currently have 3 healthy plants and 3 delayed plants growing in the 6 plant pillows. Veg-03G is currently in a 28 day growth cycle which began on October 25 for the Red Russian Kale and Dragoon Lettuce plants. The primary goal of the Veg-03 G/H/I testing is to demonstrate plant growth in the Veggie hardware using leafy green vegetables as a test crops.

Completed Task List Activities:
None

Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
Cygnus Berthing and CBM Operations

Two Day Look Ahead:

Tuesday, 11/20:

Payloads:
Probiotics (continuing)
BCAT-CS all sample photo
MERLIN4 status check

Systems:
Cygnus Cargo Operations
Cygnus Emergency Review OBT

Wednesday, 11/21:

Payloads:
At Home in Space
MERLIN4 status check
Nanoracks Platform 1
JEMAL/Loop Heat Pipe retrieval
Probiotics (continuing)
Veg-03 plant check

Systems:
Cygnus Cargo Operations

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

IMS Delta File Prep
R PAO event report preparation
Downlink Images of Berthing Cone Interior Surface
ECON-M. Observation and Photography
СОЖ Maintenance
Robotics Workstation (RWS) Configuration
Cygnus PCS Command and C2V2 Link Verification
Centerline Berthing Camera System (CBCS) Powerup
USOS Window Shutter Close
Cygnus/Node 1 Pressurization and Leak Check Preparation
Robotic Workstation (RWS) High Definition (HD) Monitor Downlink
Photo/TV Ghost Camera in Cuopla on SSC power recording
Cygnus R-BAR Approach
Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) Cygnus Capture
Environmental Health System (EHS) - Formaldehyde Monitoring Kit (FMK) Deployment Operations
Environmental Health System (EHS) Grab Sample Container (GSC) Sampling Operations
Probiotics Item Gathering
Probiotics Fecal Sample Operations
Probiotics Fecal Sample MELFI Insertion
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis
Ghost camera teardown in Cupola
Node 1 Centerline Berthing Camera System (CBCS) Removal
Cygnus/Node 1 Pressurization and Leak Check
PHOTOBIOREACTOR. Visual Inspection with Photography
PRODUTSENT. Installation and Activation of [ТБУ-В] Thermostat #2 at +29°C
Remote Workstation Monitor HD Video Downlink Deactivation RWS.
Photo TV High Definition (HD) Cygnus Video Setup
Photography of Traces Left by the Active Docking Mechanism Probes on the SM Aft Passive Mechanism Receiving Cone
Node 1 Nadir to Cygnus Vestibule Outfitting, Part 1
Checking БД-2 Treadmill Carriage Position. Photograph [БД-2] Carriage Position Relative to the Pullout Roller by Lifting БД-2 Shield. Downlink Images Node 1 Nadir to Cygnus Vestibule Outfitting Part 2
PRODUTSENT. Retrieval from ТБУ-В #05 (+4°С) Thermostat and Transfer to ТБУ-В #02 (+29°С)
Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM) Controller Panel Assembly (CPA) Rotation and Closeout
PRODUTSENT. Photography of Bioekologiya Case in ТБУ-В #02 Thermostat
Cygnus Ingress
Air Sample Collection Using AK-1M Adsorber in Cygnus (NG-10) Prior to Air Duct Laying
Progress 440 (DC1) Transfers of Priority and US Cargo Items, and IMS Ops
Cygnus Cargo Photo
VEG-03G Plant Check/Water
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Sample Data Record
VZAIMODEISTVIYE-2. Experiment Ops

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