NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 4 December 2017 - Three Crew Members Set to Return to Earth December 14

In the Integration Facility at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 54-55 crewmember Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) undergoes a leak check on his Sokol launch and entry suit Dec. 5 as part of the first fit check dress rehearsal activities while crewmates Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA, left) and Scott Tingle of NASA (right) look on. They will launch Dec. 17 in the Soyuz MS-07 vehicle for a five-month mission on the International Space Station. Credit: Roscosmos/NASA.

A pair of commercial resupply missions are coming and going this week at the International Space Station. Meanwhile, a new crew has arrived at its launch site to prepare for a Dec. 17 liftoff to the orbital laboratory. All missions to and from the station this month will be televised live on NASA TV.

NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba are brushing up on their robotics skills today ahead of this week's release of the Orbital ATK Cygnus resupply ship. Ground controllers will remotely command the Canadarm2 on Tuesday to detach Cygnus from the Unity module. While still attached to the Canadarm2, Cygnus will be used for a series of communications tests to assist NASA's Commercial Crew Program. Then on Wednesday, the two astronauts will be in the cupola commanding the Canadarm2 to release Cygnus into Earth orbit at 8:10 a.m. EST.

Just two days later on Friday, the SpaceX Dragon will launch at 1:20 p.m. from the Kennedy Space Center where it will begin a two-day trip to the space station. Flight Engineer Paolo Nespoli is cleaning up a pair of modules today to make way for the nearly 4,800 pounds of crew supplies and research gear Dragon is delivering to the station. Dragon is due to arrive Sunday at 6 a.m. when it will be captured by Vande Hei and Acaba once again operating the Canadarm2.

Three Expedition 53 crew members are due to return to Earth Dec. 14 after 139 days in space. Nespoli, Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik and Soyuz Commander Sergey Ryazanskiy will parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan aboard the Soyuz MS-05 spaceship.

The homebound trio will be replaced shortly after that when the Expedition 54-55 crew launches Dec. 17 for a two-day ride to its new home in space. Veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov will blast off with two first-time astronauts Scott Tingle of NASA and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to begin a four-month tour on the orbital laboratory. The crew has arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and is in final launch preparations.

On-Orbit Status Report

Earth Imagery from ISS Target Operations: Over the weekend, the crew captured images and video footage of Japan, the Sahara Desert, the India-Himalayas-Tibetan Plateau, Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, and Ireland to Moscow at night. Today the crew captured images of the Himalayas, facing northwest up the mountain range. The Earth Imagery from ISS investigation creates a series of videos showcasing Earth from space. These videos are taken with cameras on the ISS in 6K hi-resolution, then integrated into videos for screensavers for public enjoyment, exploration, and engagement.

Eli Lilly-Lyophilization Sample Tray Installation: The crew set up the Lyophilization hardware this morning, removed the two frozen sample trays from the Minus Eighty Degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI) and placed the samples into the sample chamber within the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) for processing. Lyophilization in Microgravity (Eli Lilly-Lyophilization) examines freeze-drying processes in the microgravity environment aboard the ISS. Freeze-drying is used to preserve food and medication but may create layering or other textures in the presences of gravity. The samples will be returned to the Earth for comparison with control samples.

ISS Non-invasive Sample Investigation and results Transmission to ground with the Utmost easiness (In Situ): The crew collected a saliva sample and processed it in the bio analyzer for the In Situ investigation. Crewmembers are continuously monitored for health changes, and as part of these measurements, they have to take saliva samples that are stored and returned to Earth later. The In Situ bioanalysis is a portable device that can check crewmembers' saliva on board, enabling direct real-time analysis. The device's first uses are to monitor stress levels and appetites among crewmembers. Humans living in space experience dramatic changes to their health, from weakened bone and muscle to reduced appetites and increased stress levels. The device uses disposable cartridges that check for the presence of the stress hormone cortisol. A miniature analytical device that can detect certain biomarkers using non-invasively collected samples would benefit health care workers on Earth, from emergency medical technicians on call, to small rural clinics in developing countries.

Fine Motor Skills (FMS): Today a 51S crewmember conducted a Flight Day 132 FMS session, which is executed on a touchscreen tablet, where the subject performs a series of interactive tasks. The investigation studies how fine motor skills are affected by long-term microgravity exposure, different phases of microgravity adaptation, and sensorimotor recovery after returning to Earth gravity. The goal of FMS is to answer how fine motor performance in microgravity trend/vary over the duration of a six-month and year-long space mission; how fine motor performance on orbit compare with that of a closely matched participant on Earth; and how performance trend/vary before and after gravitational transitions, including the periods of early flight adaptation, and very early/near immediate post-flight periods.

Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Preparation for Return: The crew swapped EMU 3008 and 3010 and then removed hardware from EMU 3010 in preparation for return on SpaceX-13. The EMU arms and legs will remain on ISS for future activities. After the hardware is removed, the crew installed Short EMU ancillary hardware and soft stow covers to prepare the SEMU for installation into the SEMU Launch Enclosure.

51S Cargo Pre-pack: The crew gathered hardware and labelled it for return on 51S. Some of the hardware that will be retrieved at the landing site for immediate return requires special labelling to help locate it in the Soyuz at landing.

Cygnus Release Preparations: In support of the OA-8 Cygnus unberth planned for tomorrow and the release planned for Wednesday, the crew performed a refresher session on Cygnus release operations using Robotics Onboard Trainer (ROBoT). This procedure included three Cygnus runs and instructions for self-study. Additionally, the crew activated the Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Communications Unit (CUCU), checked out the CUCU Crew Command Panel (CCP), and then restowed the CCP. Earlier this morning, ground controllers activated the Cygnus Prox system.

ORU Tool Changeout Mechanism 1 (OTCM) Troubleshooting: Last Monday, November 28th, during Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) Force Moment Sensor (FMS) Fine characterization, OTCM1 failed on two attempts to grasp the H-Fixture on the Mobile Base System (MBS). This past Friday was able to grasp the EOTP H-fixture with no issues. The successful OTCM1 testing at a second H-fixture location confirms that the MBS H-fixture issue is an oversized H-fixture. Out of spec components have been encountered on-orbit in the past and can be accommodated with an update to the payload file with increased tolerances.

Lab Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA): Early Sunday morning, Lab CDRA failed with the Fan Motor Controller (FMC) current and fan speed going to zero. Node 3 CDRA was activated to minimize CO2 impacts. The failure signature indicates this is a recurrence of a previous failure on 1/29/16. Lab CDRA was recovered with an FMC power-cycle. Node 3 CDRA was put in standby once the Lab CDRA was recovered.

Node 2 High Definition (HD) Encoder Firmware Update: On Friday, the firmware was updated on the Node 2 HD encoder. The load was successful and a checkout is in progress. This is a new version of Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) firmware for the AVN443 HD Encoder. The purpose of the AVN443 HD Encoder firmware upgrade is to implement a timestamp function in the Encoder that does not exist in the current firmware. Ground teams will confirm the update is successful before attempting to load the remaining five HD encoders on ISS.

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

MO-8. Preparation
Body Mass Measurement - BMMD
MO-8 equipment stowage. Closeout ops
Cygnus PROX Switch ON
INSITU MELFI Sample Retrieve
Fine Motor Skills Experiment Test - Subject
Atmosphere Control and Supply (ACS) Nitrogen Manual Valve Open
Collection of Condensate Water [КАВ] Samples from [СРВ-К2М] upstream ФГС using Russian Samplers
Circadian Rhythms Kit Audit
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Periodic Health Status (PHS) Evaluation
EIISS Crew Preference RED Camera Target Operations
Load Alleviating Strap (LAS) Remove and Replace
Lyophilization MELFI Sample Retrieve
Lyophilization Sample Tray Installation
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Spaceflight Cognitive Assessment Tool for Windows (WinSCAT) Test
IN SITU Saliva Collect Operations
PAO Hardware Setup Video and Voice Comm Check
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Short Extravehicular Mobility Unit (SEMU) Launch Enclosure (SLE) Preparation
Dragon Cargo Prep
TV PAO Event with students of Lomonosov State University Gymnasium (Ku+S-band)
IN SITU Saliva Collect Finish
Environmental Health System (EHS) Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) Sample Collect
JEM System Laptop Terminal Reboot
Life On The Station Photo and Video
Progress -736 SOKOL suit leak check without donning ПКО or Kentavr
Environmental Health System (EHS) Coliform Water Processing
Drying Sokol spacesuits: set up suit 1 and 2 for drying
Robotic Workstation (RWS) Setup
TV PAO Event with RSUH students (S + Ku-band)
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Pre-Treat Tank Remove & Replace
On-board Training (OBT) Cygnus Robotics Onboard Trainer (ROBoT) Release Session
Brine EDV transfer to Progress 436 [AO] Rodnik Water Tank (БВ1)
Consultation on descent and ODF updates
Countermeasures System (CMS) Cycle Ergometer w/Vibration Isolation & Stabilization (CEVIS) Isolator Inspection
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) Sample Analysis
Medical Consumables Tracking Battery Changeout
Atmosphere Control and Supply (ACS) Nitrogen Manual Valve Close
ISS HAM Service Module Pass
Node 1 Nadir CBM Controller Panel Assembly (CPA) and Vestibule Outfitting Kit (VOK) Gather
Drying out of the spacesuit 1 and 2 - termination
Drying of suit 3 and setup of the 1st pair of gloves for drying
COTS UHF Communication Unit (CUCU) Activation
ISS Crew departure preparation
Delta file prep
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) in Columbus
Photo/TV CUCU Video Setup
Glove pair #1 drying end, glove pair #2 drying setup
Pre-Soyuz 737 docking Ku-Band MPEG-2 TV test.
COTS UHF Communication Unit (CUCU) Crew Command Panel (CCP) Checkout
Synthetic Bone SABL 2 Hardware Installation
COTS UHF Communication Unit (CUCU) Crew Command Panel (CCP) Stow
Glove pair #2 drying termination
Photo TV CUCU Video Deactivation
Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation Stabilization (CEVIS) Control Panel Time Synchronization
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Vision Test
Crew Departure Preparations for Return to Earth
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Vision Questionnaire
Photo T/V (P/TV) Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Exercise Video Setup
Station Support Computer ARED Relocate
Exercise Data Downlink via OCA
Environmental Health System (EHS) - Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products (CSA-CP) Checkout Part 2
СОЖ maintenance
Drying of suit 3 - termination, drying of Pair of Gloves 3 - initiation
Multi Omics FOS Stow
Photo/TV (P/TV) Station Support Computer (SSC) Video Viewer Activation
Glove pair #3 drying termination
Multi Omics FOS Preparation
Stowage of suits and gloves post drying
Telescience Resource Kit Laptop Setup
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Sample Data Record
Completed Task List Activities

Columbus Toolbox tools swap
ESA PAO Message Finland 100
MARES Stowage Informations
Photo/TV EVA Clean up
Photo/TV Lens Stow
Cygnus Cargo Transfer Ops
PWD Filter Circuit Breaker Reset
Grab Sample Container and CO2 Monitor
Medical Checklist Update

Ground Activities
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
Prox system activation
MPEG2 test for 53S docking
Standard commanding

Three-Day Look Ahead:
Tuesday, 12/05: Cygnus Egress/Unberth (CPA/Vestibule Ops), Photobomb DTO, 51S OBT, Col HD VCA R&R, EIISS, Glacier Dessicant Swap, Lyophilization 2, Cell Science Validation, SSK/MAS Analysis
Wednesday, 12/06: Cygnus Departure, 51S Prepack, CQ Cleaning, Eye Ultrasound, Microscope Setup, Winscat, JEM Return Grill Clean, EVA Helmet Swap
Thursday, 12/07: PEPS Inspection, CQ Cleaning, Eye exams, ELF, EIISS, Crew Handover

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") - On
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

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.