NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 20 March 2018 - One Day to Launch

Expedition 55-56 crew members (from left) Ricky Arnold, Oleg Artemyev and Drew Feustel are seen in quarantine, behind glass, during a press conference at the Cosmonaut Hotel in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA.

A Soyuz rocket stands at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan ready to blast off Wednesday with three Expedition 55-56 crew members to the International Space Station. In the following two weeks the expanded Expedition 55 crew will conduct a spacewalk and welcome a new SpaceX Dragon cargo craft.

Today, NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel and cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev held a press conference while in quarantine at the Cosmonaut Hotel talking to journalists behind a glass partition. The trio will blast off inside the Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft Wednesday at 1:44 p.m. EDT for a two-day ride to the station. The experienced space travelers will dock to the orbital laboratory's Poisk module Friday at 3:41 p.m. NASA TV will begin its live launch coverage at 12:45 p.m.

Feustel and Arnold will then get busy preparing for a March 29 spacewalk while familiarizing themselves with space station operations. Both astronauts are experienced spacewalkers and will work to install wireless antennas on the Tranquility module and replace cameras on the Port-1 truss structure. The spacewalk will be broadcast live on NASA TV and is expected to start at 8:10 a.m. and last about six and a half hours.

SpaceX is ramping up for a launch no earlier than April 2 of its Dragon commercial cargo craft to resupply the Expedition 55 crew with new science gear and crew supplies. The crew onboard the station has been configuring the orbital lab to enable the new research such as the Wound Healing and Metabolic Tracking experiments.

On-Orbit Status Report

Mouse Stress Defense: Today the crew continued preparations for the Mouse Stress Defense investigation which will start after the arrival of mice on the SpaceX-14 Dragon vehicle. The crew reconfigured laptop cables and connected the Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) to a backup power source. Space flight brings an extreme environment with unique stressors. Microgravity provokes cellular mechanical stresses and perturbs cellular signaling, leading to reduction of muscle and bone density. To overcome these stresses, one of the promising strategies is to activate Nrf2, a master regulator of antioxidant pathway. Mouse Stress Defense investigates how Nrf2 contributes to effective prevention of space-originated stresses.

NanoRacks Vuze (One Strange Rock): The crew opened all Cupola Window shutters this morning and deployed the NanoRacks Vuze Camera in the Cupola to record views for one full Earth rotation, including sunrise and sunset. The mounted camera captures day-in-the-life style footage as the crew goes about their nominal tasks in the ISS. This is one of a series of videos recorded by the crew to be used in the "One Strange Rock" virtual reality educational series recorded for the National Geographic Channel. Each episode in the series will feature a different crew member and address different natural history and solar system topics, raising awareness of the space program and the Earth as a life-support system.

Manufacturing Device (MD): The crew removed and stowed a 3D printed item from the Manufacturing Device today. They also cleaned the extruder nozzle in preparation for subsequent MD prints. The Manufacturing Device supports the production of components on the ISS for both NASA and commercial objectives. It is capable of producing parts out of a wide variety of thermopolymers including engineered plastics.

Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR): The crew removed and replaced manifold bottles today to support the ongoing microgravity combustion research operations in the CIR. Testing for the ACME investigation is currently being performed in the CIR. ACME includes a set of five independent studies of gaseous flames. The primary goals of ACME are to improve fuel efficiency and reduce pollutant production in routine fuel combustion activities on Earth. Its secondary goal is to improve spacecraft fire prevention through innovative research focused on materials flammability.

Lighting Effects: A 53S crewmember completed a daily sleep log entry this morning upon waking to record his sleep patterns and wakefulness. The Lighting Effects investigation studies the impact of the change from fluorescent light bulbs to solid-state light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with adjustable intensity and color and aims to determine if the new lights can improve crew circadian rhythms, sleep, and cognitive performance. Results from this investigation also have major implications for people on Earth who use electric lights.

Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Preparations: In preparation for the Node 3 (N3) Assembly External Wireless Communications (EWC) EVA currently planned for March 29th, the crew initiated charging of the EVA Helmet Interchangeable Portable Light (EHIP), Pistol Grip Tool (PGT), Rechargeable EVA Battery Assembly (REBA) and EVA Camera D4 batteries and terminated a MetOx Regeneration cycle.

US Lab Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Orbital Replacement Unit (ORU)-2 Remove and Replace (R&R): Today the crew replaced the Lab MCA Mass Spectrometer (ORU 02) with the on-orbit spare. The previously installed ORU 02's ion pump failed in April 2017. Replacing the mass spectrometer regains MCA capability onboard while the team continues to troubleshoot the unexpected readings coming from the Node 3 MCA following the Verification Gas Assembly replacement on March 1. The ground is in the process of activating the Lab MCA. They will then perform an up-to 72 hour dryout and calibration before data is considered to be within spec accuracies.

Common Communications for Visiting Vehicles (C2V2) Checkout: This morning, a checkout of the C2V2 system was performed in support of the Orbital-ATK Cygnus (OA-9) mission which will utilize the C2V2 system for approach and capture for the first time. The test verified command capability from MCC-H (Houston), MCC-D (Dulles for Orbital) and from on board via the Portable Computer System (PCS). Ground teams are reviewing the results of the checkout.

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

Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR) Upper Rack Doors Open
Mouse Habitat Unit (MHU) Experiment Laptop Terminal 2 (ELT2) Setup
Combustion Integrated Rack Manifold #2 Bottle Replacement
Medical Laptop Power Cable Reconfiguration
Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) Backup Power Cable Connection to Utility Outlet Panel (UOP)
Combustion Integrated Rack Manifold #4 Bottle Replacement
Combustion Integrated Rack Upper Rack Doors Close
Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis
UDOD. Experiment Ops with DYKNANIYE-1 and SPRUT-2 Sets.
VEG-03 Dual Facility Watering for each Plant Pillow
Portable air samples with CDM
Utility Outlet Panel (UOP) Activation
NanoRacks Vuze Camera Setup
Common Communications for Visiting Vehicles (C2V2) Portable Computer System Command Test
Lab Mass Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Mass Spectrometer R&R Gather
NanoRacks Vuze Camera Operations
Lab Mass Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Mass Spectrometer (ORU-2) R&R
NanoRacks Vuze Camera Teardown
Preparation for diagnostics of FGB Power Supply System Devices.
Battery Stowage Assembly (BSA) Operation Initiation
Metal Oxide (METOX) Regeneration Termination
СКПФ1, СКПФ2 Dust Filter Replacement and MRM1 Gas-Liquid Heat Exchanger (ГЖТ) Cleaning
Charging EVA Camera D4 Battery
Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Sample Data Record
СОЖ maintenance
Flush СРВК-2М Water Conditioning Unit Purification Columns [БК БКВ] (end)
Lab Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Jumper Install
Manufacturing Device Print Removal, Clean and Stow
NanoRacks Vuze SD Card Removal from SSC
Opening of Lab MCA Hand Valve 01

Completed Task List Activities

Ground Activities
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
C2V2 Checkout
MCA Troubleshooting
Standard Commanding

Three-Day Look Ahead:
Wednesday, 03/21: 54S launch, JEM Ethernet Extender Internal Installation, OBT Dragon Robotics Review, FIR YAG Laser Replace
Thursday, 03/22: MSS Walkoff Maneuver, EVA Robotics Onboard Trainer (ROBoT) Session
Friday, 03/23: 54S Docking, EMU Resizing, PCG #14 Install

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

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