Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 10 September, 2021 – Sunday Spacewalk a Go

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
September 14, 2021
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 10 September, 2021 – Sunday Spacewalk a Go
Russian spacewalker Pyotr Dubrov. (Sept. 3, 2021)

Two Expedition 65 astronauts are getting ready for a Sunday spacewalk to modify the International Space Station’s power system.
Meanwhile, the orbiting lab is hosting a variety of biology and botany research today as two cosmonauts clean up following Thursday’s spacewalk.

International astronauts Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) are preparing for a six-and-a-half hour spacewalk on Sunday. They will set their U.S. spacesuits to battery power at 8:30 a.m. EDT, exit the station’s U.S. Quest airlock, then translate to the Port-4 (P4) truss structure to install a modification kit. This will ready the P4 for a new Roll-Out Solar Array set to be delivered on a SpaceX Cargo Dragon mission next year. NASA TV will begin its live spacewalk coverage at 7 a.m. on the NASA app and the agency’s website.

Hoshide and Pesquet still had plenty of time for microgravity research today as they gear up for Sunday’s excursion. The JAXA astronaut, who is on his third space mission, serviced mouse embryo samples in the Kibo laboratory module to learn how the space environment affects key phases of reproduction. ESA Flight Engineer Pesquet set up the Columbus laboratory module and explored how the human central nervous system adapts to weightlessness.

NASA Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur worked on two different space botany experiments today helping mission planners and doctors learn to sustain crews on longer space missions farther away from Earth. Kimbrough harvested plants growing on petri plates for the APEX-08 genetic expression study. McArthur cleaned up debris in the Kibo lab’s Plant Habitat that is growing Hatch Green chiles for the Plant Habitat-04 space crop experiment.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei replaced components inside the Combustion Integrated Rack then relocated a detection device that studies the radiation spectrum onboard the station. Vande Hei also partnered with Hoshide and Pesquet assisting the duo with their spacewalk preparations.

Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov slept in Friday morning following their seven-hour and 25-minute spacewalk on Thursday to connect data and communication cables to Russia’s Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. The duo from Roscosmos then began disconnecting components on their Orlan spacesuits and stowing spacewalk gear in the orbiting lab’s Russian segment.

On-Orbit Status Report

Advanced Plant EXperiment-08 (APEX-08): The crew harvested plant material that that had been growing in Petri Plates in the Veggie Facilities. The plant material grown in the Petri plates in Veggie for 9 days was harvested and fixed into the KFTs. The plant material will perfuse in the KFTs for 24 hours and will then be stored at -80C for return. Compounds known as polyamines contribute to plant stress mitigation on Earth, and plants grown in microgravity display evidence of stress at the morphological level and gene-expression changes suggestive of stress response. APEX-08 examines the role of these compounds in these plant responses to microgravity in Arabidopsis thaliana. Results could provide insights into the mechanisms plants use to modulate the stress of microgravity.

Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF): A crewmember closed out the CBEF Alternative Humidifier. CBEF-L is a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) new subrack facility, which is an upgraded facility of the original CBEF currently aboard the ISS. CBEF-L provides new capabilities with additional new resources such as Full High Definition video interface, Ethernet, 24 VDC power supply, and a larger diameter centrifugal test environment. By using the original CBEF and CBEF-L as one facility for the same experiment, the payload user is provided with an upgraded experimental environment that can handle the processing of more experimental samples for a wider array of experiments.

Combustion Integrated Rack – Fluids and Combustion Facility (CIR): A crewmember replaced the FCF Hard Drive installed in the FCF Image Processor in the CIR. The crew photo documented the final configuration of the FCF Image Processor. The CIR includes an optics bench, combustion chamber, fuel and oxidizer control, and five different cameras for performing combustion investigations in microgravity.

GRASP: A crewmember performed GRASP quasi free-floating science protocols. The purpose of the Gravitational References for Sensimotor Performance: Reaching and Grasping (GRASP) investigation is to better understand how the central nervous system (CNS) integrates information from different sensations (e.g. sight or hearing), encoded in different reference frames, in order to coordinate the hand with the visual environment. More specifically, the science team seeks to better understand if, and how, gravity acts as a reference frame for the control of reach-to-grasp.

Light Ions Detector for ALTEA (LIDAL) Facility: A crewmember returned the Light Ions Detector to the bottom of EXPRESS Rack 3. The LIDAL Facility utilizes a trigger based on fast scintillators to increase the window of acceptance of the ALTEA system to low Z ions (protons and helium ions) and to provide time of flight (TOF) measurements. LIDAL is an addition to the existing Anomalous Long Term Effects in Astronauts (ALTEA) facility, upgrading ALTEA’s ability to take measurements that could be converted by dedicated software in real-time into radiation risk coefficients, effectively enabling ALTEA to become a dosimetric “risk meter” aboard the ISS.

Plant Habitat-04: A crewmember removed debris from the Science Carrier/Plant Habitat Facility and took photos of the entire Science Carrier and each of its four quadrants. Water was then injected into the Distribution System. Microgravity Growth of New Mexico Hatch Green Chile as a Technical Display of Advanced Plant Habitat’s Capabilities (Plant Habitat-04) demonstrates using the Advanced Plant Habitat (APH) by growing peppers in space for the first time. An excellent source of Vitamin C, peppers are more difficult to cultivate than many possible space crops because they take longer to germinate, grow, and develop fruit. The investigation includes microbial analysis to improve understanding of plant-microbe interactions in space and assessment of flavor and texture, which vary based on the growth environment and care such as amount of watering.

Redwire Regolith Print (RPR): A crewmember removed and swapped the Redwire Regolith Print Tray and Extruder. RRP demonstrates 3D printing with regolith feedstock material in microgravity using the Made in Space Manufacturing Device currently aboard the ISS. This demonstration could help determine the feasibility of using resources available on planetary bodies as the raw materials for on-demand construction of housing and other structures. This capability reduces the amount of materials needed on future exploration missions, thus reducing launch mass.

Space Embryo: A crewmember performed Sample Fixations. Mammalian Early Embryogenesis Under Microgravity State in Space (Space Embryo) studies the developmental potential of mammalian embryos in microgravity. Microgravity may affect preimplantation embryo development in mammalian species, but until now most studies of reproduction in space were limited to fish or amphibian species. Researchers plan to culture mouse embryos for four days to observe whether they achieve normal development.

Ceramic Manufacturing Module (Turbine CMM): A crewmember removed the Facility Cap from the Calibration Module and installed the Module into the Turbine Ceramic facility. Turbine CMM demonstrates manufacture of single-piece turbine blade/disk combinations (blisks) in microgravity for commercial use. Manufacturing blisks in space could produce parts with lower mass and residual stress and higher strength than those made on Earth due to greatly reduced sedimentation of the solution in microgravity.


ORU & Tool Change-out Mechanism (OTCM) checkout: Last night, the Robotics Ground Controllers powered up the Mobile Servicing System (MSS) and performed a checkout of OTCM-1. OTCM is a component of the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) that can be used to Loosen/Tighten fixed bolts by using a socket torque drive mechanism and can interface with Standard Dexterous Grapple Fixtures (SDGFs) by using a gripper mechanism.

Mobile Servicing System (MSS) operations: Today, the Robotics Ground Controllers powered up the MSS and maneuvered the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) to the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) Airlock and are currently extracting the ISS Experience ZCAM using SPDM arm 2. Once the camera has been completely extracted, ground controllers will reconfigure the MSS and translate the Mobile Transporter (MT) from worksite 7 to worksite 5.

Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Preparations: The crew completed several activities in preparation of the USOS 4A IROSA Prep EVA. The crew performed an EVA tool reconfiguration, Rechargeable EVA Battery Assembly (REBA) hardware checkout, and installed the EMU helmet lights and HD EMU Camera (HECA) onto the EMU helmets. Additionally, the crew inspected EVA hardware that was used by the Russian crew for RS EVA #50. The 4A IROSA Prep EVA is scheduled for Sunday, September 12th.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

Mobile Servicing System (MSS) Powerup
MSS ISS Experience Extraction from JEM Airlock [ACTIVE]
Mobile Transporter (MT) Translation [PLANNED]
SSRMS maneuver to park ISS Experience Z-CAM [PLANNED]
Look Ahead Plan

Saturday, September 11 (GMT 254)

APEX-08 insert into ICEBERG (NASA)
Cell Science-04 Procedure Review (NASA)
LSG Work Volume Deploy (NASA)

EVA Equipment lock (E-LK) preparations
EVA Tool Configuration
EVA procedure review
EVA procedure conference
Sunday, September 12 (GMT 255)

CS-04 Bioreactor Removal (NASA)
LSG Decontamination HW removal (NASA)

Monday, September 13 (GMT 256)

APEX-08 Clean and Dry (NASA)
CS-04 Crew survey (NASA)
CIR Manifold 4 bottle Change (NASA)
ESA EPO BLOB SD Clean and reinstall (ESA)
FIR ACE Module reconfigure to ACE-T1 (NASA)
Kubik 6 Bio Check (ESA)
RR-D1 HW gather and procedure Review (NASA)
Standard Measures – Saliva setup (NASA)
Standard Measures Presleep Questionnaire (NASA)
Veggie Monitor Collect Photo (NASA)

Environmental Health System (EHS) Surface Sample Kit (SSK) Collection/Incubation
EVA debrief
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Relocate PBAs for upcoming EVA
GRASP science performance in quasi free-floating configuration
Space Embryo Sample Fixation
Combustion Integrated Rack Optics Bench Translation Out
FCF Hard Drive Replace
ISS HAM Kenwood Radio Power Up
Biofilms Kubik 6 status check
Combustion Integrated Rack Optics Bench Translation In
Removal of US TV camera, light, and REBA battery from Orlan-MKS
Space Embryo Closeout
US Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Tool Transfer
JEM Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) Alternative Humidifier Closeout
Crew stows GRIP Supine Bag in COL1O0
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) – JEM
Adlink Power Chain Check
Extravehicular Activity Battery Installation
EVA Battery Operations Terminal Charge Initiate
Cargo Transfer to Dragon [Deferred]
US Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Tools Reconfigure
Light Ions Detector Return
Station Support Computer 6 Reload
APEX-08 Petri Plate Harvest
US Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Helmet Light Installation
Turbine-Ceramic Manufacturing Module (T-CMM) Module insert
Redwire Regolith Print Tray and Extruder Removal
Plant Habitat-04 Debris Removal
Rechargeable EVA Battery Assembly (REBA) Installation
Rechargeable EVA Battery Assembly (REBA) Powered Hardware Checkout

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