NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 28 November 2017 - SpaceX Targets Dec. 8 for Cargo Launch

©NASA

File photo: NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 28 November 2017 - SpaceX Targets Dec. 8 for Cargo Launch.

The Expedition 53 crew is configuring the orbital complex for a pair of cargo missions and a crew swap in December. Two colorful soccer ball-sized satellites were also floating around inside the International Space Station being tested today.

SpaceX has announced it is now targeting Dec. 8 for the launch of its Dragon cargo craft to the space station's Harmony module. Among the variety of crew supplies and research gear Dragon will deliver are mice to be observed for the Rodent Research-6 muscle drug study. 20 mice will be housed in a rodent habitat that Vande Hei is configuring today in the U.S. Destiny laboratory.

Orbital ATK pushed back the release of its Cygnus resupply ship from the Unity module to Dec. 6 after the SpaceX announcement. Flight Engineers Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei are preparing for the departure this week loading Cygnus with trash and training for its robotic release.

Finally, the station is set to slightly raise its orbit Wednesday enabling a crew swap set to begin Dec. 14 when Expedition 52-53 crew members Randy Bresnik, Sergey Ryazanskiy and Paolo Nespoli return to Earth. They will be replaced Dec. 19 when Expedition 54-55 crew members Anton Shkaplerov, Scott Tingle and Norishige Kanai dock to the Rassvet module two days after their launch from Kazakhstan.

Acaba and cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin were inside the Kibo laboratory module today testing a pair of tiny satellites better known as SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites). The SPHERES can be pre-programmed on Earth using algorithms to conduct a series of maneuvers demonstrating formation flying or rendezvous and docking techniques. Teams of high school students will be competing in January to see who can design the best maneuvering algorithms for the SPHERES on the station.

On-Orbit Status Report

Sabatier Removal for Return: In preparation for returning Sabatier, today the crew completed the first of two days of activities by removing the Sabatier unit from the Oxygen Generation System (OGS) Rack. They also completed some near term preventive maintenance activities by performing an H2 Sensor Removal and Replacement (R&R) and Avionics Air Assembly (AAA) cleaning. During Sabatier removal, the crew removed the Compressor, Main Controller, and Motor Controller. These components will remain on orbit and stowed inside the OGS Rack. Tomorrow the crew is scheduled to return the OGS Rack Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) flow to the pre-Sabatier configuration and functionality. The Sabatier unit will be returned on SpaceX-13 in January for investigation.

Multi-Omics Sample Collections: A 52S crewmember conducted fecal sample collections for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Multi-Omics experiment. The samples were placed into the Minus Eighty Degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI). The Multi-omics analysis of human microbial-metabolic cross-talk in the space ecosystem (Multi-Omics) investigation evaluates the impacts of space environment and prebiotics on astronauts' immune function, by combining the data obtained from the measurements of changes in the gut microbiological composition, metabolites profiles, and the immune system.

Rodent Research 6 (RR-6): During today's Rodent Habitat installation, the crew noticed a leak on the outside of the first two habitats. After inspecting and later temporarily stowing the first two habitats until the ground teams confirm the identity of the substance, the crew installed the third and fourth habitats. The power and data cables were configured into the specified rack locations and ground teams were able to successfully conduct software checkouts on the third and fourth habitats. A forward plan is in work to clean and install the first two habitats that will support the upcoming RR-6 investigation arriving on SpaceX-13. 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. Two groups of 20 mice will live aboard the ISS in the rodent habitat for durations of one and two months. The first group of treated and controlled mice will return to Earth live after approximately 30 days. The second group of animals will remain on the ISS for approximately 60 days. In both cases, animals are euthanized humanely, and tissue samples are harvested for subsequent study and comparison with Earth-based control groups.

Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) Zero Robotics (ZR): Today the crew set up the SPHERES work area, then activated and checked out the hardware and the EXPRESS laptop computer before running a unit test for the SPHERES ZR competition that is scheduled to be performed in January 2018. The SPHERES Zero Robotics investigation establishes an opportunity for high school students to design research for the ISS. As part of a competition, students write algorithms for the SPHERES satellites to accomplish tasks relevant to future space missions. The algorithms are tested by the SPHERES team and the best designs are selected for the competition to operate the SPHERES satellites on board the ISS.

Sarcolab-3 De-configure and Stow: After successfully completing the final Sarcolab-3 session that began on GMT 324 and ended yesterday, today the crew disconnected and stowed the Electromyography (EPM), Percutaneous Electrical Stimulation (PEMS) and Muscle Atrophy Research & Exercise System (MARES). The crew verified and downlinked the data before removing and stowing the MARES-EPM hard disk from EPM laptop. The Sarcolab-3 data will be compared to pre and post flight measurements to assess the impact of hypothesized microgravity induced muscle loss. Myotendinous and Neuromuscular Adaptation to Long-term Spaceflight (Sarcolab) investigates the adaptation and deterioration of the soleus (calf muscle) where it joins the Achilles tendon, which links it to the heel and carries loads from the entire body. Muscle fiber samples are taken from crew members before and after flight, and analyzed for changes in structural and chemical properties. MRI and ultrasound tests and electrode stimulation are conducted to help assess muscle and tendon changes caused by microgravity exposure.

NanoRacks Platform-1 Hardware Upgrade: The NanoRack Platform-1 locker was replaced with an upgraded unit. The NanoRack Platform is a multipurpose research facility on board the International Space Station (ISS). NanoRack Platforms support NanoRacks Modules in the CubeSat form factor by providing power and data transfer capabilities to operate investigations in microgravity. NanoRacks Platform-1 is one of three Platforms and is used for modules not needing power.

Cygnus cargo ops and departure OBT: Today the crew continued cargo operations in preparation for the upcoming departure of OA-8.

Robotic Operations: Yesterday and overnight, the Robotic Ground Controllers powered up the Mobile Servicing System (MSS) and maneuvered the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) as required to stow the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) on Mobile Base System (MBS) Power Data Grapple Fixture 2 (PDGF2). They then walked the SSRMS off MBS PDGF4 onto Node 2 and started the data gathering required to characterize the SSRMS Latching End Effector A (LEE-A) Force-Moment Sensor (FMS). First they performed a Thermal Drift Filter Checkout and a Wrist Roll (WR) Compensation Checkout. Next they unstowed the SPDM from MBS PDGF2 and repeated the Thermal Drift Filter and WR Compensation Checkouts. The Robotic Ground Controllers then maneuvered the SSRMS and SPDM as required to position SPDM Arm1 to grasp the MBS Starboard H-Fixture in order to be able to perform the SSRMS LEE-A FMS Fine Characterization. Two attempts were made to grasp this fixture but in both attempts Orbital Replaceable Unit (ORU) Tool Changeout Mechanism 1 (OTCM1) safed before achieving the "load secure" position. The operation was terminated and the SPDM was maneuvered to a park position. Further troubleshooting will be attempted this evening.

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

Auxiliary Computer System [ВКС] Laptops Antivirus Software Checkout and Report
EHS ACOUSTIC MONITOR BATTERY SWAP
JEM Camera Robot Cable Swap 2
Regeneration of БМП Ф2 Micropurification Cartridge (start)
EPM Laptop relocation for files downlink preparation
Multi Omics Fecal Sample Operations
PEMS and EMG final stowage
SPHERES Payload OBT
Marrow Breath And Ambient Air Sample Setup - Subject
SPHERES Crew Conference
Multi Omics Fecal Sample MELFI Insertion
Hardware prepack for return and disposal via Soyuz
Multi Omics Fecal Stow
MARES disconnection and stowage
In-Flight Maintenance (IFM) NOD3O1 Alcove Stowage Relocate
Multi-purpose Small Payload Rack (MSPR) Two-Phase Flow Experiment Equipment Activation
MARES stowage assistance
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Maintenance Work Area Columbus Relocate
Max Cycle Ergometer w/Vibration Isolation & Stabilization (CEVIS) Portable PFS Power Up
In-Flight Maintenance (IFM) Sabatier Removal
HRF Generic Urine Collection Setup
HRF Generic Frozen Blood Collection Setup
On-Orbit Hearing Assessment (O-OHA) with EarQ Software Setup and Test
Ultrasound 2 HRF Rack 1 Setup And Power On
SPHERES Test Session Setup
Max Cycle Ergometer w/Vibration Isolation & Stabilization (CEVIS) Portable PFS Subject
Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan Prep
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan
SPHERES Test Session Run
Filling (separation) of ЕДВ [КОВ] for Elektron or ЕДВ-СВ
Max Cycle Ergometer w/Vibration Isolation & Stabilization (CEVIS) Portable PFS Partial Stow
Rodent Research Habitat Install
СОЖ Maintenance
Taking measurements on SM interior panels
MARES-EPM Hard Disk removal and stowage
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Maintenance Work Area Node 2 Relocate
Countermeasures System (CMS) Max Cycle Ergometer w/Vibration Isolation & Stabilization (CEVIS) Portable PFS Conclude
SPHERES Test Session Shutdown
NanoRacks Platform-1 Remove and Replace
On-board Training (OBT) Dragon Rendezvous Review
ISS HAM Service Module Pass
EHS Acoustic Monitor Crew Setup
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Post Exam
High Definition (HD) Config LAB Camera Setup for Crew Choice Event
CCE Preparation
Cygnus Cargo Operations Conference
Crew Choice Event
Regeneration Micropurification Unit (БМП) Ф2 Absorption Cartridge (end)

Completed Task List Activities
None

Ground Activities
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
SSRMS FMS characterization

Three-Day Look Ahead:
Wednesday, 11/29: Sabatier removal, Dragon capture OBT, TangoLab retrieval, NR Vuze, Meteor, Circadian Rhythms, CIR maintenance
Thursday, 11/30: HRF blood and urine sample collections, MAS and SSK sampling, Cygnus release OBT, Dragon Offset Grapple OBT, Plant Habitat Sound Level Measurements
Friday, 12/01: Max CEVIS, Sabatier Return, ZBOT Hardware Stow, Circadian Rhythms

QUICK ISS Status - Environmental Control Group:
Component - Status
Elektron - On
Vozdukh - Manual
[СКВ] 1 - SM Air Conditioner System ("SKV1") - On
[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) - Shutdown
Urine Processing Assembly (UPA) - Standby
Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS) Lab - Full Up
Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS) Node 3 - Off

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.