NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 8 April, 2021 - It's About to Get Crowded

©NASA

NASA Weekly ISS Space to Ground Report for 8 April, 2021 - It's About to Get Crowded.

It is the day before three new Expedition 65 crew members launch and dock to the International Space Station from Kazakhstan.

Meanwhile, three orbital lab residents are preparing to return to Earth while the rest of the crew studies space science and keeps the station in tip-top shape.

The Soyuz MS-18 rocket that will liftoff Friday at 3:42 a.m. EDT with one NASA astronaut and two Roscosmos cosmonauts was blessed on Thursday by a Russian Orthodox priest. The traditional ceremony takes place at the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad before each Soyuz crew mission.

Two veteran station residents, Mark Vande Hei of NASA and Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos, will take a ride to the station with first time space-flyer Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos. Novitskiy will lead the short space flight to the station's Rassvet module where the Soyuz crew ship will dock at 7:07 a.m. The hatches will open about two hours later and the trio will join seven new crewmates for a welcoming ceremony with officials on the ground. NASA TV will broadcast the launch and docking activities beginning at 2:45 a.m.

Little more than a week after the new crew's arrival, three Expedition 64 residents will end their stay in space and land on Earth inside the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, alongside Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, will undock from the Poisk module officially ending their mission on April 16 at 9:33 p.m. They will parachute to a landing inside their Soyuz crew ship less than three-and-a-half hours later in Kazakhstan.

Science is keeping pace aboard the space station as the crew explored biotechnology and fluid physics today. The astronauts also worked on life support systems and U.S. spacesuit components.

NASA Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins observed protein crystal samples in a microscope for a study exploring the production of advanced medicines in space. Flight Engineer Victor Glover of NASA observed how fluids behave in microgravity to help engineers design optimal fuel tanks for satellites and spaceships.

Hopkins also serviced nitrogen and oxygen transfer gear inside the station's Atmospheric Control System. Glover assisted NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker as she swapped parts on U.S. spacesuits. Finally, Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi installed a materials exposure study in the Kibo laboratory module's airlock where it will soon be placed into the harsh space environment for observation.

On-Orbit Status Report

Payloads

Biolab: The crew searched and found a missing incubator inspection window. The window has been installed in the desired location. The BioLab is a multiuser research facility located in the Columbus laboratory. It's used to perform space biology experiments on microorganisms, cells, tissue cultures, small plants, and small invertebrates. BioLab allows scientists to gain a better understanding of the effects of microgravity and space radiation on biological organisms.

FLUIDICS: The crew set up the Fluidics experiment facility, however, due to some potential interference between one of the sample spheres and a connector, the first experiment run will not occur today as originally planned. The ground team will discuss a forward plan. The measurement of liquid displacement within a sphere in microgravity relates to a given kinematic representation of a spacecraft's fuel tank. The FLUIDICS investigation evaluates the Center of Mass (CoM) position regarding a temperature gradient on a representation of a fuel tank. The observation of capillary wave turbulence on the surface of a fluid layer in a low-gravity environment can provide insights into measuring the existing volume in a sphere.

JAXA Video Take 8: The crew set up the hardware and participated in the JAXA video take 8 event with the ground. JAXA EPO includes conducting cultural activities such as writing reports about and filming video of activities aboard the ISS. These tools can help inform the public about the importance of the ISS, JAXA's Kibo module, and human spaceflight.

ManD Feedstock Resolution: The feedstock filament for the Manufacturing Device (ManD) is having difficulty feeding smoothly into the system. The crew activity today is to manually feed the filament into the extruder in an attempt to recover nominal functionality. ManD enables the production of components on the ISS for both NASA and commercial objectives. Parts, entire experiments, and tools can be created on demand utilizing the MAND printer that is installed into an Express Rack locker location. MAND is capable of producing parts out of a wide variety of thermopolymers including engineered plastics.

Micro-16: In a continuation of the Micro-16 experiment, the crew inspected the Micro-16 sample containers. Loss of muscle mass and strength present a major challenge for astronauts on future long space voyages. Determining Muscle Strength in Space-flown Caenorhabditis elegans (Micro-16) uses this tiny worm to test whether decreased expression of muscle proteins is associated with decreased strength. The research team developed a new device to measure muscle strength in multiple generations of space-reared C. elegans worms and compare that strength to postflight muscle gene expression analyses.

MISSE-14 MSC (Material Sample Carrier) install: The crew installed the MISSE-14-NASA MSCs onto the JEMAL slide table. The MISSE-14 hardware will later be passed through the JEM Airlock and installed onto its external location. Materials International Space Station Experiment-14-NASA (MISSE-14-NASA) continues a series of tests by NASA Glenn Research Center on how the harsh environment of space affects the performance and durability of various materials. Each mission tests new materials and material configurations, and similar materials fly on multiple MISSE missions. MISSE-14-NASA exposes de-orbit, phase change and radiation shielding materials as well as 10 types of crop seeds to the space environment.

RTPCG-2 Microscopy Observation: The crew set up the microscope, observed and took imagery of the sample wells, and then returned the samples to SABL. During the observation, several larger, well-defined crystals were seen. RTPCG-2 demonstrates new methods for producing high-quality protein crystals in microgravity. Previous work has shown that microgravity produces high-quality protein crystals that can be analyzed to identify possible targets for drugs to treat disease. RTPCG-2 produces high-quality protein crystals for up to eight proteins for detailed analysis back on Earth.

Vascular Aging: As a continuation of the Vascular Aging experiment operations, the crew set up the hardware and reviewed the big picture words for the Vascular Aging oral glucose tolerance test. Emerging data point towards linkages among cardiovascular health risk, carotid artery aging, bone metabolism and blood biomarkers, insulin resistance, and radiation. Data indicate that aging-like changes are accelerated in many ISS crew members, particularly with respect to their arteries. As part of the Space Environment Causes Acceleration of Vascular Aging: Roles of Hypogravity, Nutrition, and Radiation (Vascular Aging) investigation, ultrasounds of the arteries, blood samples, oral glucose tolerance, and wearable sensors from ISS crew members are analyzed.

Systems

Hard Upper Torso (HUT) Changeout: In preparation for future EVAs, the crew changed the HUT on EMU 3006 from an extra large to a medium.

Intravehicular Activity (IVA) Tool Box Labeling: The ISS Tool Box consists of five drawers, each filled with foam with the tool cut outs, each cut out labeled with the appropriate tool. Drawers 1, 3, 4 & 5 needed new decals as well as label error correction, replacement with larger decals and color added to the labels for easier identification. Today the crew permanently installed new labeling decals on the appropriate drawers.

63S Pre-Pack: The crew began pre-packing items for return on the 63S vehicle. 63S is scheduled to undock and return on April 17.

Crew Quarters (CQ) Starboard Cleaning: In preparation for arrival of the 64S crew, the starboard CQ was cleaned including intake and exhaust ducts, fans and airflow sensors.

Completed Task List Activities:

None
Today's Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Payloads ops support
EVA EMU ops
Look Ahead Plan

Friday, April 9 (GMT 099)
Payloads:

AC touch, Actiwatch plus, Astrobee/Gecko, AstroPi, CIR manifold bottle exchange, ELF sample holder exchange, Fluidics, Food Acceptability, Food Physiology, Nanoracks Rotational Dynamics ball deflate, PLDR card exchange, POLAR and MERLIN desiccant swaps, RTPCG-2, Standard Measures, Vascular Aging
Systems:

64S launch/dock
ISS Safety Briefing
FRIDGE 2 reconfig
Saturday, April 10 (GMT 100)
Payloads:

No utilization activities
Systems

Crew adaptation
Crew handover
Sunday, April 11 (GMT 101)
Payloads:

Astrobee off
Systems

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

HRF Generic Saliva Collection 10 Minutes
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval And Insertion Operations
MTT/MSC Installation Review
JAXA Video Taking Part 8 Preparation
Extravehicular Activity Hard Upper Torso Gather
Micro-16 Crew Observation
Countermeasures Systems (CMS) Exercise Equipment Gather
JAXA Video Taking 8 Part1
Personal CO2 Monitor Charging
In Line Cable Voltage Regulator Remove and Replace
EMU Hard Upper Torso (HUT) On-Orbit Replaceable Unit (ORU) R&R
PMA2/PMA3 Crew Suitcase Swap
COLUMBUS Deck 1 and 2 clean-up
Columbus decks height measurement
JAXA Video Taking 8 Part2
Payload Data Router Power off
Japanese Experiment Logistics Module Hygiene Cover Video Overview
Vascular Aging Oral Glucose Tolerance Test Review
CSA Generic Frozen Blood Collection Hardware Setup
Vascular Aging Glucose Test Setup
MISSE Rack Front Stowage Clear
MISSE-FF MSC Installation for JEM RMS Small Fine Arm Deployment
Vascular Aging FRIDGE Item Insertion
BIOLAB Incubator Inspection Window Lid Wanted Poster
EMU Hard Upper Torso (HUT) On-Orbit Replaceable Unit (ORU) R&R
ISS Crew departure preparation
Microscope Reposition Preparation
Real-time Protein Crystal Growth Microscopy Plate S/N 1B2, Day 7
Fluidics hardware installation [Deferred]
Microscope Reposition Post Ops
Extravehicluar Activity In-Line Cable Voltage Regulator Remove and Replace
EMU Hard Upper Torso (HUT) On-Orbit Replaceable Unit (ORU) R&R
Extravehicular Activity Hard Upper Torso Stow
XF305 Camcorder Setup
JEM Airlock Slide Table (ST) Extension to JPM Side
Materials ISS Experiment (MISSE) MTT Install
Nitrogen Oxygen Recharge System(NORS) Nitrogen Transfer Termination
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Airlock Restow
JEM Airlock Slide Table (ST) Retraction from JPM Side
Crew quarters prep for the arriving crew
Fluidics Run 1 execution [Deferred]
Hardware pre-pack for return and disposal on Soyuz 747. Note 13
Personal CO2 Monitor Calibration
Public Affairs Office (PAO) High Definition (HD) Config JEM Setup
PAO Preparation
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) - JEM
Manufacturing Device Manual Feedstock Feed to Extruder
IVA Tool Box Label Installation
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Food Intake Tracker (ISS FIT)
Nitrogen Oxygen Recharge System(NORS) Nitrogen Transfer Termination
ISS Crew departure preparation
Nitrogen Oxygen Recharge System (NORS) Oxygen Transfer Initiation
ARED Cylinder Flywheel Stow
HMS Spaceflight Cognitive Assessment Tool for Windows (WinSCAT) Test
Fluidics Power OFF [Deferred]

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