NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 20 April, 2020 - Electrostatic Levitation Furnace Research


Expedition 63 logo.

The three-member Expedition 63 crew is beginning its first full workweek and kicking off science aboard the International Space Station.

More space traffic continues this week, as Russia gets ready to launch its next Progress resupply ship late Friday.

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy is on his third spaceflight and is in command of the orbiting lab. His two crewmates, Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, will be with Cassidy until October.

Cassidy worked Monday on physics research checking out the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace in the Japanese Kibo laboratory module. The experiment facility heats samples to ultra-high temperatures to observe thermophysical properties difficult to measure in Earth's gravity.

Ivanishin and Vagner are getting ready for the arrival of a new space shipment due to arrive on Saturday at 1:23 a.m. EDT aboard the Progress 75 (75P) resupply ship. The 75P will launch Friday at 9:51 p.m. and take two orbits around the Earth before automatically docking to the rear port of the Zvezda service module. The duo tested a device on Monday that can remotely maneuver the 75P to a docking if necessary.

The two cosmonauts also collaborated on a variety of Russian space research throughout Monday. The pair looked at microgravity's effect on pain sensitivity and bone tissue. During the afternoon, they explored how future space travelers may pilot spacecraft on planetary missions.

NASA and SpaceX announced May 27 for the first launch of humans from the United States since 2011. NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Doug Hurley will lift off at 4:23 p.m. from Florida aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft and test its systems. They will join the Expedition 63 crew a day later after docking to the forward port of the station's Harmony module.

On-Orbit Status Report

ELF (Electro-static Levitation Furnace): The crew performed a cartridge sample #3 chamber swap and then opened the Air Gas bottle unit in preparation for the next sample run. ELF is an experimental facility designed to levitate, melt and solidify materials by containerless processing techniques using the electrostatic levitation method. With this facility, thermophysical properties of high temperature melts can be measured and solidification from deeply undercooled melts can be achieved.

VEGGIE PONDS (Veggie Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System): The crew performed photography on the Veggie Ponds modules. Organisms grow differently in space, from single-celled bacteria to plants and humans. Future long-duration space missions will require crew members to grow their own food. Therefore, understanding how plants respond to microgravity and demonstrating the reliable vegetable production on orbit are important steps toward that goal. Veggie PONDS uses a newly developed passive nutrient delivery system and the Veggie plant growth facility aboard the ISS to cultivate lettuce and mizuna greens which are to be harvested on-orbit, and consumed, with samples returned to Earth for analysis.


Systems Operations Data File (SODF) Update: Today, the crew performed an update to the Emergency Response book to incorporate changes to the ammonia response procedure. The updates to the procedure account for the Soyuz configuration following 61S departure.

Portable Pulmonary Function System (PPFS) Bottle Troubleshooting: The crew replaced a depleted PPFS gas bottle with a bottle from the Human Research Facility (HRF) Gas Delivery System (GDS). The PPFS previously failed calibration checks during an exercise exam late last year. The swap-out of the gas canisters today will allow the crew to perform tests to isolate the source of the leak.

Completed Task List Activities:

Transfer 62S USOS unpack
Reconfigure CEVIS control panel network connection
NH3 cleanup kit trash
Increment handover self-study
Photo TV lens bumper ring install
Reposition cables protruding into ARED Keep-Out Zone
Reconfigure EMUs on EDDAs
Cygnus Cargo Ops (ongoing)
Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) hardware locate (ongoing)

Today's Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
ATS PPL Update
Daily File Downlinks
Comm Configuration for TORY Test

Look Ahead Plan
Tuesday, 4/21 (GMT 112)
JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (SSOD-13) part 1 install (JAXA)
Food Acceptability (NASA)
FIR FCF Image Processor hard drive replace (NASA)

CB/ISS Crew Conference
Emergency Roles and Responsibilities Review
WHC Hardware Gather/Transfer to RS
ARED & T2 Video Sessions

Wednesday, 4/22 (GMT 113)
Russian blood samples into MELFI (ESA)
SSOD-13- Flag photo (JAXA)
JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer(SSOD-13) part 2&3 install (JAXA)
ELC4 Solid State Drive (SSD) removal (NASA)
VEGGIE PONDS Growout 1 &2 Harvest (NASA)

Pack and Stow Cygnus Trash
Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis

Thursday, 4/23 (GMT 114)
Russian blood samples into MELFI (ESA)
ELC4 Shell exchange (NASA)
Food Physiology Brief (NASA)
CIR-FOMA-Calibration unit replace (NASA)
VEGGIE PONDS facility clean (NASA)

Periodic Health Status (PHS) Evaluation
Urine Processing Assembly (UPA) Brine Filter Gather

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

KORREKTSIYA. Logging Liquid and Food Intake (medicine)
Intermodular TORU Test with Mated Progress 443 (DC1)
Crew Time for ISS Adaptation and Orientation
Replacement of CO Gas Analyzer Filter Unit (БФ)
ALGOMETRIYA. Experiment Ops
Electrostatic Levitation Furnace(ELF) Sample Cartridge Cleaning/Installation
Electrostatic Levitation Furnace(ELF) Sample Holder Exchange
Electrostatic Levitation Furnace(ELF) Saver Cables Connection
Electrostatic Levitation Furnace (ELF) Gas Bottle Unit (GBU) valve opening
Systems Operations Data File (SODF) Update
Environmental Health System Air Quality Monitor Adjust
Veggie Ponds Plant Photography
PILOT-T. Experiment Session with Photography (Session one)
Replacement of Filters in FGB Dust Collectors 1, 2 (panels 203, 403) (ФГБ1ПГО_4_425_1)
P/TV RED Battery Charging and Camera File Downlink
P/TV RED Camera PAO Event
Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Cylinder Flywheel Evacuation
Vacuum cleaning ventilation grille on FGB interior panels (201, 301, 401)
Nikon Camera Time Sync
KORREKTSIYA. Accelerometry. Start & Termination

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