NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status Report 29 December, 2021 - Working on Spacesuits


Astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron work on U.S. spacesuits. (Nov. 24, 2021)

The astronauts and cosmonauts of Expedition 66 worked throughout Wednesday on U.S. and Russian spacesuits.

The orbital residents will also end 2021 working on life science and cargo operations aboard the International Space Station.

Among the 6,500 pounds of cargo delivered aboard the SpaceX Cargo Dragon on Dec. 22 were a U.S. spacesuit and other spacewalking gear. NASA Flight Engineers Kayla Barron and Thomas Marshburn removed the new spacesuit from Dragon on Wednesday then installed communications gear and configured it. The duo also packed an older U.S. spacesuit inside the Cargo Dragon for return to Earth in January. The next U.S. spacewalk is targeted for spring when two astronauts will install a third set of roll-out solar arrays on the orbiting lab.

Russian spacewalks are also planned at the station in 2022 to outfit the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module that arrived in July. Cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov began reviewing procedures today for the upcoming excursions when they will configure Nauka to operate with the rest of the space station. The pair from Roscosmos also started organizing Russian Orlan spacesuit components and spacewalking tools.

The last days of 2021 will see the station crew move headlong into a variety of space biology research. The astronauts have already begun initiating some of the nearly 2,500 pounds of science experiments and research gear delivered in Dragon. Barron and Marshburn will start observing mice on Thursday to understand how microgravity affects the visual function. ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer has already started the new Cytoskeleton experiment and will work on it the rest of the week to study how the human cell adapts to weightlessness.

Orbital maintenance is critical to ensure ongoing and safe station operations. NASA Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Raja Chari will focus on that work the rest of the week. Vande Hei will be configuring different research hardware while also assisting the cosmonauts with their Russian spacesuit work. Chari will spend the next few days unpacking the Cargo Dragon and work on station life support and plumbing tasks.

The space station blog is taking a short break until Monday, Jan. 3, as the station's five astronauts and two cosmonauts orbit Earth into the New Year.

On-Orbit Status Report


Ring Sheared Drop: Ring Sheared Drop hardware was removed and stowed. The Ring Sheared Drop investigation examines the formation and flow of amyloids without the complications associated with the solid walls of a container, because in microgravity, surface tension provides containment of the liquid. Amyloids - fibrous, extracellular protein deposits found in organs and tissues - are associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. Results could contribute to better understanding of these diseases as well as to development of advanced materials.

Thermal Amine System: A crewmember performed sampling of CO2 effluent from the Thermal Amine System. Thermal Amine System tests a method to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from air aboard the ISS, using actively heated and cooled amine beds. Controlling CO2 levels on the station reduces the likelihood of crew members experiencing symptoms of CO2 buildup, which include fatigue, headache, breathing difficulties, strained eyes, and itchy skin. The system includes elements that reduce loss of water vapor, and recover CO2 for use in electrolysis to produce oxygen.


Environmental Health System (EHS) Operations: As part of regular maintenance, the crew performed periodic EHS water sampling by collecting water samples from the Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) for in-flight and post-flight analysis. In-flight samples were used to perform a Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) analysis that measures the amount of organic constituents in the potable water. The crew also tested the water samples for the presence of Coliform bacteria utilizing a Coliform test bag, and then changed out the Waste Water Bag (WWB). These tests are used to determine if the drinking water is still safe for crew consumption.

In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Activities: Additional maintenance activities were performed by the crew including cleaning of the ducting and area behind the Node 1 Intermodule Ventilation (IMV) Linear Diffusers. Crew also performed a manual Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) flush tank fill. By using a post-flight analysis bag to capture any pressure relief, also known as the burp, they depressurized the flush water tank and water valve block to protect the dose pump. This pump is critical as it injects the pre-treat required to properly recycle waste urine.

Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) Sample Gathering: The ISS crew completed several regular ITCS sampling activities. The first sample was collected using the Columbus Coolant Fluid Servicer (CCFS) installed on the Columbus Water Pump Assembly #2 (WPA2). The next samples were collected from the Node 2 Moderate Temperature Loop (MTL) and Low Temperature Loop (LTL) ITCS Sampling Adapters. These samples were then stowed and will be returned to ground for analysis.

Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Mobility Unit (EMU) Activities: Crew continued working several EMU activities today starting with a training activity to prepare for the upcoming EMU rotation using the Short EMU (SEMU) Launch Enclosure (SLE). The SLE rotation then took place to unpack the EMU from the SpX-24 Launch Enclosure and to install the return EMU currently on ISS into the Launch Enclosure, which also included a swap of the EMUs on the EMU Don/Doff Assembly. The EMU that arrived on SpX-24 was then configured for on-orbit operations, including installation of the EMU Data Recorder (EDAR) Box, Antenna, and Antenna Cable on the EMU.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

SPDM MSC Transfer
Adjusting Node 2 ITCS Limits
Crew Dragon System Checkout
MSS Hover Maneuver
MT Pre-Translation Check Out and Survey
MT Translation
JEM Airlock and ACDU-RC Activation
JEM Airlock Slide Table Extension to JEF side
JEM Airlock Capture Mechanism Capturing
Look Ahead Plan

Thursday, December 30 (GMT 364)

Cytoskeleton Deinstall (ESA)
Food Physiology Brief (NASA)
RR-18 Hab restock access clean and ops (NASA)

Regenerative ECLSS Recycle Tank Drain/Fill
Transfer Crew Dragon Cargo Ops
Russian EVA Tool Gather
IMS Conference
SSC 10 and 20 Swap
Friday, December 31 (GMT 365)

Cytoskeleton setup and Experiment container install (ESA)
MISSE MSC removal and stow for return (NASA)
NanoRacks Module-48 Imagery (NASA)
T2AR OBT, inspect and questionnaire (NASA)

EHS - Coliform Water Sample Analysis
Water Recovery System CWC-Iodine Fill
Transfer Crew Dragon Cargo Ops
S&M JOTI Gather & JOTI Removal
IFM Node 3 Deck Starboard IMV Cleaning
Saturday, January 1 (GMT 366)

MVP desiccant swap (NASA)
Polar 2 Desiccant swap (NASA)

Crew Off-Duty Day
Today's Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Acoustic Monitor Setup for Crew Worn Measurements
Environmental Health System (EHS) Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) Sample Collect
In-Flight Maintenance (IFM) Node 1 Linear Diffuser Cleaning
Microgravity Science Glovebox Activation/Power Down
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Short Extravehicular Mobility Unit Launch Enclosure (SLE) Training
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) Sample Analysis
Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Manual Fill Initiation/Termination
[deferred] Atmosphere Revitalization System Four Bed Carbon Dioxide Scrubber Samples
[aborted] AC Dry Vacuum Cleaner Hose Remove & Replace
Food Acceptability Survey
Ring Sheared Drop Hardware Stow 2
Environmental Health System (EHS) Coliform Water Processing
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Social Media Event
ESA Weekly crew conference
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Food Intake Tracker (ISS FIT)
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Short Extravehicular Mobility Unit (SEMU) Launch Enclosure (SLE) Rotation.
Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) Return to Ground Sampling Gathering
Columbus ITCS water sample using Columbus Coolant Fluid Servicer for Return to Ground
Internal Thermal Control System Node 2 MTL Return to Ground Sampling
Internal Thermal Control System Node 2 LTL Return to Ground Sampling
Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) Sample Stow
Handover of Increment 66 Crew
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Swap
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) 3013 Configuration
Atmosphere Revitalization System (ARS) Thermal Amine Scrubber (TAS) Sample
Transfer Crew Dragon Cargo Operations
Extravehicular Mobility Unit Data Recorder (EDAR) Installation
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in JEM
EasyMotion Suit stow
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Sample Data Record
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Waste Water Bag (WWB) Changeout
Food Consolidate
Acoustic Monitor Battery Swap
Emergency Mask OBT

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