NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 20 November 2018 - The ISS 20 Years Later

Backdropped against a blanket of heavy cloud cover, the Russian-built FGB, also called Zarya, nears the Space Shuttle Endeavour and the U.S.-built Node 1, also called Unity (foreground). Inside Endeavour's cabin, the STS-88 crew readies the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) for Zarya capture as they await the carefully choreographed dance of the rendezvous. Credit: NASA
Dec. 6, 1998. See full size image.

The International Space Station turned 20 years old today with the launch of the first element, the Zarya module, occurring on Nov. 20, 1998.

The three-person Expedition 57 crew commemorated the beginning of the orbital lab's construction during a Facebook Live event today and answered questions submitted via social media.

The crew also continues to unpack the newest U.S. and Russian cargo ships to visit the International Space Station today.

The Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman arrived Monday delivering almost 7,400 pounds of crew supplies and new science experiments. The Progress 71 (71P) resupply from Russia docked Sunday packed with almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies

Astronauts Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst opened Cygnus's hatch a few hours after it was captured and attached to the Unity module. Today they are installing new science freezers, transferring the new cargo and replenishing the orbital laboratory. Cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev opened the 71P hatch after its automated docking Sunday and began unloading the new gear.

In between all the cargo work today, the three-person crew had time to conduct science and maintain station systems.

Gerst photographed samples for a physics study that is observing how quartz/clay particles interact in microgravity. Results could benefit future planetary studies and the petroleum industry. Auñón-Chancellor measured light levels in the Columbus lab module for a study researching how new station lights impact crew wellness. Prokopyev worked primarily in the station's Russian segment maintaining life support systems.

On-Orbit Status Report

ISS 20th Anniversary: The largest and most complex international construction project in space began in Kazakhstan 20 years ago today. Atop its Proton rocket, on November. 20, 1998, the Zarya Functional Cargo Block (FGB) lifted off its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The launch of the first element of the ISS kicked off an incredible journey of orbital assembly, operations, and science. Today the ISS crew participated in a Public Affairs Event answering a sequence of questions from participants around the world on Facebook Live.

Binary Colloidal Alloy Test - Cohesive Sediment (BCAT-CS): Today the crew performed the final set of sample photos and stowed BCAT-CS experiment hardware. The PI team was present to monitor the activities from the ground and was very happy with the results. Due to the very interesting data produced from BCAT-CS, the experiment was extended substantially past the original 2-4 week run duration to around 90 days in order to observe the continued evolution of the aggregates. BCAT-CS focuses on the study of forces between particles that cluster together by using sediments of quartz and clay particles. Conducting the research in the microgravity environment of the ISS makes it possible to separate the forces acting on the particles over a short range (adhesive forces) versus those acting over a long range (cohesive forces). The quartz/clay system is commonly found in a wide variety of environmental settings (such as rivers, lakes, and oceans) and plays an important role in technological efforts related to deep-sea hydrocarbon drilling and carbon dioxide sequestration.

Multiple User System for Earth Sensing Facility (MUSES) server boot swap: Due to degradation observed in boot drive 1, today the crew switched the MUSES server to use boot drive 2 instead. The MUSES facility hosts earth-viewing instruments (Hosted Payloads), such as high-resolution digital cameras, hyperspectral imagers, and provides precision pointing and other accommodations. It hosts up to four instruments at the same time, and offers the ability to change, upgrade, and robotically service those instruments. It also provides a test bed for technology demonstration and technology maturation by providing long-term access to the space environment on the ISS.

Probiotics: Today the crew collected samples and answered a questionnaire 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.

Team Task Switching (TTS): The crew completed a Team Task Switching Survey using the Data Collection Tool on a space station computer. When crewmembers are required to switch their attention between tasks frequently, performance on each of the tasks can be negatively affected. The objective of the TTS investigation is to gain knowledge about whether or not crewmembers have difficulty in switching tasks and determine the impacts of these switches, in order to both reduce any negative consequences and improve individual and team motivation and effectiveness

Northrop Grumman 10 (NG-10) Cygnus Cargo Operations: Following yesterday's Cygnus hatch opening, the crew completed approximately 3 hours of cargo operations today.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

Three Day Look Ahead:
Wednesday, 11/21:

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

Cygnus Cargo Operations

Thursday, 11/22:
Crew Off Duty for Thanksgiving Holiday

Friday, 11/23:

MERLIN4 Status Check
MVP Cell Insertion

Cygnus Cargo Operations

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

ARED Photo/TV Ops Reminder
Reminder Probiotics Saliva Operations
IMS Update
Bringing ODF on IPAD and Samsung up to date
Preparation of Reports for Roscosmos Web Site and Social Media
ECON-M. Observations and photo (Task list)
СОЖ maintenance
Probiotics Saliva Operations
Probiotics Salive Sample MELFI Insertion
On MCC Go Regeneration of Micropurification Unit (БМП) cartridge Ф1 (start)
PHOTOBIOREACTOR. Visual monitoring and photography
JEMRMS Console Remote Interface Panel Checkout
PCS Laptop Relocate
COSMOCARD. Setup. Starting 24-hr ECG Recording
Replacement of АСУ components
Polar Cygnus Uninstall, Transfer, And EXPRESS Rack Install
Rodent Research 8 Access Unit Configuration
Glacier Tray Insert
Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
PAO hardware setup. Audio/Video check with Glavny
Crew Prep for PAO
TV Conference with VKontakte Hostess
Bringing ODF up to date using Progress 440-delivered files
Lighting Effects Light Meter Setup
Cygnus Cargo Operations Conference
Lighting Effects Light Meter Readings
Restow Vestibule Outfitting Kit (VOK)
Lighting Effects Light Meter Stow
PCS Laptop Relocate
Robotic Workstation (RWS) Teardown
Status Check of MERLIN in Cygnus
Multiple User System for Earth Sensing Boot Drive Swap
Team Task Switching Experiment Survey
Water Recovery and Management (WRM) Waste Water Bus (WWB) Split
MATRYOSHKA-R. Monitoring Tritel Readings and Data Downlink
Probiotics Item Gathering
On board Training Cygnus Emergency Procedure Review

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