NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 20 February 2018 - Crew Members Set for Return to Earth

Expedition 54 crew members Alexander Misurkin and Joe Acaba work with combustion science gear inside the space station’s Destiny laboratory module. Credit: NASA.

Three Expedition 54 crew mates are in the final week of their mission and are packing up for a return to Earth. They and the rest of the crew also researched botany and biomedical science to support future crews on longer missions further into space.

Commander Alexander Misurkin is readying the Soyuz MS-06 spacecraft that will return him and Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba back to Earth Feb. 27 after 168 days in space. He and Vande Hei trained for next week's descent using a station simulator and reviewed potential return hazards.

Acaba spent his morning stowing botany samples in a science freezer for the Plant Gravity Perception study. That experiment is observing how plants detect gravity and light in the early stages of growth. The home-bound astronaut then spent the afternoon packing personal gear inside the Soyuz MS-06 space ship.

Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai attached electrodes to his chest area, wore a leg cuff and performed an ultrasound scan today. He worked in conjunction with doctors on the ground for the Vascular Echo study that looks at blood vessels and the human heart and how they change in space and on Earth.

Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov continues to unload cargo today from the new Progress 69 resupply ship that arrived last week. NASA astronaut Scott Tingle stowed rodent habitats and worked on combustion science gear.

On-Orbit Status Report

Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) 52 Soyuz (52S) Survey: Today, ground operators walked the SSRMS off to the Functional Cargo Block (FGB) and conducted a video survey of the exterior 52S prior to return. 52S will return CDR Alexander Misurkin, FE-3 Joe Acaba, FE-2 Mark Vande Hei to Earth early next week.

Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Blower Testing: Ground teams are continuing testing of CDRA blower speed capabilities in order to maximize carbon dioxide removal from the ISS atmosphere.

ExtraVehicular Activity (EVA) Battery Charging: Today the crew configured a lithium-ion battery charger and initiated an Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Long Life Battery (LLB) charge cycle. Data logging is required to extend the expiration date of the LLBs.

Veg-03: Over the weekend, the crew continued to perform Veg-03 operations by thinning out the plants to one plant per pillow and added water to the small plant pillows. The overall goal of Veg-03 is to further demonstrate proof-of-concept for the Veggie plant growth chamber and the planting pillows. Future long-duration missions into the solar system, finally culminating on Mars, will require a fresh food supply to supplement crew diets, which means growing crops in space. Previous investigations focused on improving productivity in controlled environments, but the limited quarters of the space shuttle and International Space Station made it difficult to conduct large-scale crop production tests. Veg-03 expands on previous validation tests of the new Veggie hardware, which crew members will soon use to grow cabbage, lettuce and other fresh vegetables in space.

Human Research Program (HRP) Collections (Biochemical Profile, Marrow, and Repository): Over the weekend, a 52S crewmember completed his breath and ambient air sample collections to support the Marrow experiment, and today he completed his return minus 14 day (R-14) blood, and urine sample collections to support the Biochemical Profile, and Repository experiments. The samples were placed in the Minus Eighty Degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI).

Marrow looks at the effect of microgravity on bone marrow. It is believed that microgravity, like long-duration bed rest on Earth, has a negative effect on the bone marrow and the blood cells that are produced in the bone marrow.
The Biochemical Profile experiment tests blood and urine samples obtained from astronauts before, during, and after spaceflight. Specific proteins and chemicals in the samples are used as biomarkers, or indicators of health. Post-flight analysis yields a database of samples and test results, which scientists can use to study the effects of spaceflight on the body.
Repository is a storage bank used to maintain biological specimens over extended periods of time and under well-controlled conditions. This repository supports scientific discovery that contributes to our fundamental knowledge in the area of human physiological changes and adaptation to a microgravity environment and provides unique opportunities to study longitudinal changes in human physiology spanning many missions.
Sally Ride Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students (EarthKAM) Node 2 Setup and Activation: Yesterday, the crew setup and activated the payload components for EarthKAM in Node 2 for a week-long imaging session. Sally Ride EarthKam allows thousands of students to photograph and examine Earth from a space crew's perspective. Using the Internet, the students control a special digital camera mounted on-board the International Space Station. This enables them to photograph the Earth's coastlines, mountain ranges and other geographic items of interest from the unique vantage point of space. The team at Sally Ride EarthKAM then posts these photographs on the Internet for the public and participating classrooms around the world to view.

Microbial Tracking-2 (MT-2): A 52S subject completed saliva and body sample collections in support of the MT-2 investigation. The MT-2 series continues the monitoring of the types of microbes that are present on the ISS. It seeks to catalog and characterize potential disease-causing microorganisms onboard the ISS. Crew pre-flight, in-flight, and post-flight samples and environmental samples from ISS surface and air locations are collected to identify any associations between the microbial content of the samples, as well as potential health effects.

Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR) Advanced Combustion via Microgravity Experiments (ACME) Igniter Replacement: The crew removed and replaced the damaged ACME igniter tip. CIR provides sustained, systematic microgravity combustion research and it houses hardware capable of performing combustion experiments to further research of combustion in microgravity. The ACME investigation is a set of five independent studies of gaseous flames to be conducted in the CIR. ACME's primary goal is to improve fuel efficiency and reduced pollutant production in practical combustion on Earth. Its secondary goal is to improve spacecraft fire prevention through innovative research focused on materials flammability.

Plant Gravity Perception Operations European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS): Today the crew removed the EMCS Maintenance Work Area (MWA) Rotor A and Rotor B cassettes. The cassettes were promptly placed in a Minus Eighty Degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI). The crew also replaced the EMCS Thermal Control System (TCS) cold spot sponge. The Plant Gravity Perception investigation germinates normal and mutated forms of thale cress, a model research plant, to study the plants' gravity and light perception. Results provide new information about plants' ability to detect gravity and how they adapt to an environment without it, which benefits efforts to grow plants for food on future missions. The EMCS is an experiment facility that is dedicated to studying plant biology in a reduced gravity environment. It supports the cultivation, stimulation, and crew-assisted operation of biological experiments under controlled conditions. The facility has performed multi-generation (seed-to-seed) experiments and studies the effects of gravity and light on early development and growth, signal perception and transduction in plant tropisms.

Earth Imagery from ISS Target (EIISS): Using the RED camera, the crew captured images of the Iberian Peninsula and Italy along with the Nile River and Red Sea. EIISS is used to support creation of a series of videos showcasing Earth views taken from space. The videos are taken with cameras on the ISS in 6K hi-resolution and are integrated into videos for screensavers for public enjoyment, exploration, and engagement.

Rodent Research 6 (RR-6): Today the crew prepared the habitats for stowing. The Rodent Research-6 (RR-6) mission uses mice flown aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and maintained on Earth to test drug delivery systems for combatting muscular breakdown in space or during disuse conditions. RR-6 includes several groups of mice selectively treated with a placebo or implanted with a nanochannel drug delivery chip that administers compounds meant to maintain muscle in low gravity/disuse conditions.

Vascular Echo Ultrasound Using Echo: Today, the crew attached the ECG Electrodes and Cable and performed two scanning activities with remote guidance from ground team. Near the end of the activity, the crew donned the Leg Cuffs and performed an ultrasound scan prior to disconnecting and temp stowing the EGC Cable. The crew left the Echo connected to allow ground team to remotely transfer data from the Echo unit to its External Hard Disk. Vascular Echo investigation examines changes in blood vessels, and the heart, while the crew members are in space, and then follow their recovery on return to Earth. The results could provide insight into potential countermeasures to help maintain crew member health, and quality of life for everyone.

Robotic Operations: Yesterday and overnight Robotic Ground Controllers powered up the Mobile Servicing System (MSS) and maneuvered the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) and the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) to unstow the Spare SSRMS Yaw Joint from SPDM Enhanced Orbital Replaceable Unit (ORU) Temporary Platform (EOTP) and stow it on External Stowage Platform 2 (ESP-2) site 5. Next they configured the SPDM for stow and stowed it on Mobile Base System (MBS) Power Data Grapple Fixture 2 (PDGF2). Finally the SSRMS was walked off Node2 and onto the Lab in preparation for the 52S survey.

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

Lighting Effects Sleep Log Entry - Subject
Marrow Breath And Ambient Air Sample Collection - Subject
Microbial Tracking-2 Reminder for Body Collection
HRF Generic Frozen Blood Collection Double Spin Collection
HRF Generic Refrigerated Centrifuge Double Spin
HRF Generic Urine Collection Male - Subject
ВКС Laptops Antivirus software checkout
HRF Generic Sample MELFI Insertion Operations
БМП Absorbent Cartridge Ф2 Regen (start)
Cerebral Autoregulation MAKITA battery Setup for Checkout
HRF Generic Refrigerated Centrifuge Spin Conclude
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (RGN) Wastewater Storage Tank Assembly (WSTA) Fill
ISS CREW/SSIPC CONFERENCE
Kentavr Fitcheck
Unpack Urgent and USOS Cargo from SM Aft Progress #438, Update IMS
Circadian Rhythms Deinstrumentation
Soyuz descent training
Soyuz #734 Descent OBT and Return Cargo List Conference.
PFS Gas Delivery System Portable PFS Photography
Plant Gravity Perception/European Modular Cultivation System Experiment Container Removal from Rotor B
Meteor Hard Drive Swapout
Plant Gravity Perception/European Modular Cultivation System Rotor B Sample Processing
Plant Gravity Perception/European Modular Cultivation System MELFI Sample Insertion
Vascular Echo - Echo Ultrasound Setup for Ultrasound Scan Session
Plant Gravity Perception/European Modular Cultivation System Experiment Container Removal from Rotor A
Microbial Tracking-2 Body Sample Collection
Plant Gravity Perception/European Modular Cultivation System Rotor A Sample Processing
Cerebral Autoregulation MAKITA battery Swap 1 for Checkout
Vascular Echo Leg Cuffs Ultrasound Using Echo Scan 1 - Subject
Plant Gravity Perception/European Modular Cultivation System Cleanup after Run #1
Microbial Tracking-2 Sample MELFI Insert
Crew Departure Preparation
Plant Gravity Perception/European Modular Cultivation System Experiment Container Installation
HRF Generic Sample MELFI Retrieval And Insertion Operations
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Fill Part 3
VEG-03 Dual Facility Watering for each Plant Pillow
Rodent Research Habitat Stow
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis
Rodent Research Cold Block Stow
Vascular Echo CDL Holter Arterial BP Measurement - Subject
Scheduled Maintenance of [КВ], [КН] and [КД] Valves of SM Rodnik Tanks
Cerebral Autoregulation MAKITA battery Swap 2 for Checkout
HRF Generic Frozen Blood Collection Conclude And Stow
ISS HAM Radio Power Down in Service Module
Crew Departure Preparations for Return to Earth
Combustion Integrated Rack Rack Doors Open
СОЖ maintenance
Soyuz #734 Return Cargo and Trash Prepack
Combustion Integrated Rack Front End Cap Open
ACME Igniter Replace
Removal of Navigation Module 2 (НМ-2) from SM Aft Progress #438. Tagup with specialists
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Waste and Hygeine Compartment (WHC) Activated Carbon/Ion Exchange (ACTEX) Filter Remove and Replace (R&R)
Cerebral Autoregulation MAKITA battery Swap 3 for Checkout
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Sample Data Record
Crew Discretionary Event
Vascular Echo Leg Cuffs Ultrasound Using Echo Scan 2 - Subject
Combustion Integrated Rack Front End Cap Close
Combustion Integrated Rack Rack Doors Close
Cerebral Autoregulation MAKITA battery Stow
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Long Life Battery (LLB) Initiate
Environmental Health System (EHS) - Surface Sampler Kit (SSK) and Microbial Air Sampler (MAS) Analysis T + 5
Thermostat ТБУ-В #05 Temperature Check
Galley Food Warmer Door Video
HRF Generic Frozen Blood Collection Setup
Vascular Echo - Echo Ultrasound Stow
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) - Lab
CB/ISS CREW CONFERENCE
БМП Absorbent Cartridge Ф2 Regen (end)

Completed Task List Activities
ESA Rack Maintenance Switch Replacement Connector Audit
US Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Tools Stow
Medication Vial Preparation Demonstration
JEM Wireless Instrumentation System Environmental Monitor Remote Sensor Unit Battery R&R
Photo/TV Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Camera Disassembly
P/TV Flash Trashing and Deployment
Russian EVA Hardware Transfer
Taking Photos of cable connections on T2 ZBook

Ground Activities
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
CDRA Blower Testing
SSRMS 52S Survey
Standard Commanding

Three-Day Look Ahead:
Wednesday, 02/21: Mouse Habitat C/O, VEG-03, HRF-Sampling, Lighting Effects, ISS-HAM, post-EVA activities, crew departure prep
Thursday, 02/22: Mouse Habitat, Microbial Tracking,Two Phase Flow, HRF-Sampling, Lighting Effects, BEAM Stowage, Soyuz Descent OBT
Friday, 02/23: Lighting Effects, Rock Candy, Earth Imagery, ISS-HAM, HRF-Sampling, EVA tool stow, Wisenet removal, crew departure prep

QUICK ISS Status - Environmental Control Group:
Component - Status
Elektron - On
Vozdukh - Manual
[СКВ] 1 - SM Air Conditioner System ("SKV1") - Off
[СКВ] 2 - SM Air Conditioner System ("SKV2") - Off
Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Lab - Operate
Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Node 3 - Standby
Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Lab - Idle
Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Node 3 - Operate
Oxygen Generation Assembly (OGA) - Process
Urine Processing Assembly (UPA) - Standby
Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS) Lab - Full Up
Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS) Node 3 - Off

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