Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 1 December 2020 – Cargo Resupply Preparations

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
December 2, 2020
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 1 December 2020 – Cargo Resupply Preparations
Radish plants are pictured growing for the Plant Habitat-02 experiment.

Cargo operations are underway at the International Space Station as a U.S. resupply ship prepares for launch and another prepares for departure.
Meanwhile, a host of microgravity research is keeping the Expedition 64 crew busy.

SpaceX is preparing its upgraded SpaceX Dragon cargo craft for a launch from Florida on Dec. 5 and a rendezvous with the orbiting lab about 24 hours later. This will be the first automated docking of the Cargo Dragon. Astronauts Kate Rubins and Victor Glover will be monitoring Dragon’s arrival to the Harmony module’s space-facing port with more than 6,400 pounds of space freight, including the NanoRacks Bishop airlock.

However today, Rubins worked on science gear stowing external experiments brought in from outside the Kibo laboratory module then cleaned up the Advanced Plant Habitat after Monday’s radish harvest. Glover joined JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi for a physical fitness test on the station’s exercise bike to evaluate microgravity’s impact on their cardiopulmonary function.

The Earth-facing port of the Unity module hosts the outgoing Cygnus resupply ship from Northrop Grumman. Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins worked today packing the cargo craft with trash and old gear. Cygnus will depart the space station later this month, conduct an automated space combustion experiment then reenter the atmosphere for a fiery, but safe demise above the Pacific Ocean.

Hopkins later joined fellow NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker for health checks Wednesday morning consisting of temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiratory measurements. Walker then spent the afternoon reorganizing food items making space for additional cargo aboard the station.

Commander Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos worked on electronics and life support maintenance tasks throughout Wednesday. Cosmonaut and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov primarily worked on life support gear before servicing the power supply system in the Zarya module.

On-Orbit Status Report


Plant Habitat-02: The crew cleaned the Plant Habitat-02 facility. Assessment of Nutritional Value and Growth Parameters of Space-grown Plants (Plant Habitat-02) cultivates radishes as a model plant that is nutritious and edible, has a short cultivation time, and is genetically similar to Arabidopsis, a plant frequently studied in microgravity. Developing the capability for food production in space requires understanding cultivation conditions such as intensity and spectral composition of light and the effects of the culture medium or soil. This research could help optimize plant growth in the unique environment of space, as well as evaluation of nutrition and taste of the plants.

Bio-Monitor: The crew performed a full overwrite update to the Bio-Monitor Application database on the crew I-Pad. Although the ISS is equipped with health and life sciences research tools, the existing instrumentation for continuous and simultaneous recording of several physiological parameters is lacking. To tackle this issue, the Bio-Monitor Commissioning activity tests the Bio-Monitor facility; a wearable garment capable of monitoring relevant physiological parameters for up to 48 hours in a non-invasive and non-interfering way. The physiological parameters which can be monitored consist of heart rate, respiration rate, ECG (Electrocardiogram), skin temperature, peripheral blood oxygen saturation, etc.

Fluid Science Laboratory (FSL) Soft Matter Dynamics & Compacted Granulars: The crew repacked the Soft Matter Dynamics Sample Cell Unit 06 with wet packaging. FSL Soft Matter Dynamics – Hydrodynamics of Wet Foams (Foam Coarsening) aims to investigate bubble size and rearrangement dynamics for “wet foams”. Microgravity offers the opportunity to investigate such “wet” foams, which cannot be stabilized on Earth because of drainage. Moreover, microgravity conditions are essential to study rearrangement phenomena, such as coarsening and coalescence, disentangled from drainage.

Materials ISS Experiment Flight Facility (MISSE-FF): The crew removed the MISSE Transfer Tray #2 along with seven returning MSCs (Material Sample Carriers) from the JEM Airlock slide table and temporarily stowed items for return. The MISSE-FF platform provides the ability to test materials, coatings, and components or other larger experiments in the harsh environment of space, which is virtually impossible to do collectively on Earth. Testing in low-Earth orbit (LEO) allows the integrated testing of how materials react to exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV), atomic oxygen (AO), ionizing radiation, ultrahigh vacuum (UHV), charged particles, thermal cycles, electromagnetic radiation, and micro-meteoroids in the LEO environment.

Drop Vibration: The crew continued with the Drop Vibration experiment. These tests occurred at several different frequencies and on different substrates. Inertial Spreading with Vibration and Water Coalescence (Drop Vibration) examines the behavior of big liquid drops whose perimeter of contact, called the contact line, moves rapidly as the drops change shape either forced by vibration or freely by merger. These motions, fast and small on Earth, become slower and larger in microgravity and so can be more closely observed. Such observations improve the currently limited understanding of contact lines, important in applications such as self-cleaning surfaces, water harvesting devices, anti-frost coatings and the fabrication of semiconductors.

Food Physiology: The crew performed Urine and Blood collections in support of the Food Physiology and Repository studies. The crew also performed the Saliva collection setup. The Integrated Impact of Diet on Human Immune Response, the Gut Microbiota, and Nutritional Status During Adaptation to Spaceflight (Food Physiology) experiment is designed to characterize the key effects of an enhanced spaceflight diet on immune function, the gut microbiome, and nutritional status indicators. These factors are interlinked, but diet is the only one that can be easily and meaningfully altered on Earth or during flight. This investigation aims to document the effect of dietary improvements on human physiology and the ability of those improvements to enhance adaptation to spaceflight.

Standard Measures: The crew performed the setup to allow Actiwatch data to be downlinked to the ground in support of the Standard Measures study. The aim of the investigation is to ensure consistent capture of an optimized, minimal set of measures from crewmembers until the end of the ISS Program in order to characterize the adaptive responses to and risks of living in space. Among other things, the ground teams perform analyses for metabolic and chemistry panels, immune function, microbiome, etc. These measures populate a data repository to enable high-level monitoring of countermeasure effectiveness and meaningful interpretation of health and performance outcomes, and support future research on planetary missions.


Max Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization (CEVIS): The crew completed Max CEVIS today which is used by the medical community to evaluate astronauts’ aerobic fitness. The test is performed every 90 days and upon the crew’s arrival and departure from the ISS.

Crew On-board Training (OBT): The crew completed several OBT activities. First, the crew completed Dragon rendezvous OBT in order to become familiar with Dragon docking to Node 2 Zenith where SpaceX-21 is planned to dock. The crew also completed OBT required for Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) proficiency using the Robotics Onboard Trainer (ROBoT). The ROBoT is an on-orbit version of the ground-based Dynamics Skills Trainer (DST) that simulates robotics operations with graphical feedback.

Completed Task List Activities:

Station Support Computer (SSC) 19 HDD Swap
WHC KTO Replace
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

JEMAL Pressurization
JEM Airlock Slide Table (ST) Extension to JPM Side
PMA Ventilation Prior to Ingress
Look Ahead Plan

Wednesday, 12/2 (GMT 337)

BioServe Microscope Configuration
Drop Vibration Coalescence Runs
Food Acceptability Survey
Food Physiology Sample Collection
Glacier Desiccant Swap
HRF Sample Collection
Iceberg Desiccant Swap
Microscope Hardware Setup via SABL Power
Plant Habitat-02 Water Fill
Rodent Research Video Test Start

Docking Dragon Monitoring Tools Setup
Airlock Unstow
CWC-I Degas
ISS Emergency Review & Simulation OBT
Thursday, 12/3 (GMT 338)

CIR Manifold #2 Bottle Replacement
Drop Vibration Stow
Food Acceptability Survey
Food Physiology Sample Collection
HRF Sample Collection
Plant Habitat-02 Science Carrier Installation
Rodent Research Activity Review
Tomatosphere Big Picture Words

EVA Tether Inspect
Dragon Cargo Conference
RGN Recycle Tank Drain, Fill, & Process
Friday, 12/4 (GMT 339)

Food Physiology Saliva and urine collect and Diet brief (NASA)

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

Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Manual Fill
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood, Urine, Saliva Collection Conclude and Stow
JEM Airlock Slide Table (ST) Extension to and Retraction from JPM Side
Materials ISS Experiment (MISSE) MTT Removal and Stowage
Recharging Soyuz 747 Samsung tablet prior to training, start recharge
Regeneration of Micropurification Unit (???) ?1 Absorption Cartridge end and ?2 Cartridge, start
Actiwatch Plus HRF Rack 1 Setup, Swap, and Stow
Materials ISS Experiment (MISSE) MSC Pack
Crew to repack FSL Sample Cell Unit 06 with wet packaging.
SEPARATION.???? drive with rotor spin check
Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations (DEFERRED)
Max Cycle Ergometer w/Vibration Isolation & Stabilization (CEVIS) Portable PFS Subject
PMA3 Hardware Clearout
INTER-MAI-75. Hardware Setup And Activation in SSTV Mode Note 9
Fungistat treatment of SM structural elements and shell surfaces
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Periodic Health Status (PHS) Stow Hardware
On-board Training (OBT) Robotics Onboard Trainer (ROBoT) Proficiency
SpX-21 DRAGON Rendezvous Review CBT
BIOLAB T61P Battery removal
Drop Vibration Final Frequency Runs
Troubleshooting FGB Power Supply System ??-2 and ???-2 devices using infrared camera and oscilloscope
Food Consolidation
Express Rack 8 Label Replace
Environmental Health System (EHS) – Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products (CSA-CP) Checkout Part 2
Plant Habitat-02 Facility Clean
Bio-Monitor Application Configuration File Upload Verify
N2 Hatch Open and Close
Life Science Glovebox LLC Crew Boot
Acoustic Monitor Battery Swap and Setup for Crew Worn Measurements
Review Emergency OBT Simulator Functionality

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