Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 12 February, 2021

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
February 20, 2021
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 12 February, 2021
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 12 February, 2021.

The next rocket to launch a resupply ship to the International Space Station rolled out to its launch pad on the other side of the world this morning.
Back on the orbiting lab, the seven-member Expedition 64 crew kept up its space studies while servicing U.S. spacesuits.

Russia’s ISS Progress 77 cargo craft is standing atop its rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad in Kazakhstan. It is counting down to liftoff on Sunday at 11:45 p.m. EST to deliver just over one ton of nitrogen, water and propellant to the station. It will dock Tuesday at 1:20 a.m. to the Pirs docking compartment.

The Progress 77 will later detach Pirs from the station readying the Zvezda service module’s port for a new module. Pirs will then be replaced with the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module to be delivered on a Proton rocket. The Pirs undocking occurs a few days after Nauka’s launch to enable Russian flight controllers to confirm a good vehicle in orbit heading to the station.

In the meantime, science is the main mission aboard the station. Microgravity research has the potential to reveal new insights and potential therapies that otherwise wouldn’t be possible on Earth due to gravity’s interference.

NASA Flight Engineers Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover partnered up on Friday for a pair of different experiments. The duo demonstrated how hydroponics may support space agriculture then explored how the human nervous system adapts to weightlessness.

Astronauts Kate Rubins of NASA and Soichi Noguchi of JAXA joined each other for maintenance work inside the Tranquility module. Rubins also collected microbe samples to understand how they survive and adapt on the station. NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker spent the day working on batteries that keep life support systems powered inside U.S. spacesuits.

Cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov continued studying how the lack of gravity impacts the effectiveness of a workout. Ryzhikov also checked seating inside the Soyuz MS-17 crew ship as Kud-Sverchkov worked on ventilation and radiation hardware.

On-Orbit Status Report


3DMM: The crew continued the 3DMM experiment by collecting samples from the Node 2 area. This investigation will conduct a series of over 800 swab sample collections throughout several modules of the International Space Station. Surfaces in the space station contain microbes and associated biomolecules excreted by these microorganisms. Three-dimensional Microbial Mapping of ISS Environment (3DMM) uses DNA sequencing and other analyses to construct a 3D map of bacteria and bacterial products throughout the station. The team also plans to characterize how these microbes respond at a molecular level to specific stress conditions, including altered gravity and atmospheric composition.

Antimicrobial Coatings (Boeing Environment Responding Antimicrobial Coatings or AC): The crew touched each coupon on AC placard. Boeing Environment Responding Antimicrobial Coatings tests an antimicrobial coating on several different materials that represent high-touch surfaces. Some microbes change characteristics in microgravity, which could create new risks to crew health and spacecraft systems as well as creating the possibility of contaminating other planetary bodies. The samples remain in space approximately six months then return to Earth for analysis.

Astrobee: The Astrobee systems were powered on and stowage in the area cleared away to allow the performance of free-flight maneuvers. This type of activity is commonly called “crew minimal” and the goal is for the ground to command the Astrobee units and their dock to complete the objectives for the session. Astrobee is made up of free-flying, cube-shaped robots which are designed to help scientists and engineers develop and test technologies for use in microgravity to assist astronauts with routine chores, and give ground controllers additional eyes and ears on the space station. The autonomous robots, powered by fans and vision-based navigation, perform crew monitoring, sampling, logistics management, and can accommodate up to three investigations.

GRIP: The crew set up the appropriate hardware and performed tasks associated wth a “supine science 3” session. In this test, the crew performed the same tests as seated Sci-2 (tasks related to friction, collisions, etc), but in the supine position. The GRIP experiment studies the long-duration spaceflight effects on the abilities of human subjects to regulate grip force and upper limbs trajectories when manipulating objects during different kind of movements: oscillatory movements, rapid discrete movements and tapping gestures.

JEM airlock: In preparation for the later installation of an ISS Experience camera, the crew reconfigured the hardware/adapters on the JEM airlock slide table. The International Space Station Experience (The ISS Experience) is a cinematic virtual reality (VR) series documenting life and research aboard the space station. Filmed over multiple months, the immersive VR series documents different crew activities – from science conducted aboard the station to preparation for a spacewalk. The ISS Experience uses a Z-CAM V1 Pro Cinematic Virtual Reality (VR) 360-degree camera with nine 190° fisheye lenses.

Light Ions Detector (LIDAL) for ALTEA Relocate: The crew relocated the LIDAL hardware in a different orientation to begin a 6 month radiation observation period in the different orientation. LIDAL upgrades the ability of ALTEA (Anomalous Long Term Effects in Astronauts) to make measurements that can be converted, by dedicated software in real-time, into radiation risk coefficients – effectively enabling ALTEA to become the first ever dosimetric “risk meter” aboard the International Space Station. Knowledge of the radiation environment aboard the ISS is mandatory to provide information for radiation risk assessment, and to validate models and define possible countermeasures.

Plant Water Management: The crew completed the second part of the PWM hydroponics operations, followed by the cleanup and stow. The ground team was very happy with the science obtained by the session. The hydroponics activities served to demonstrate the first stable microgravity hydroponic watering method ever using a unique, open capillary watering channel and a simulated plant (s). The PWM investigation demonstrates passive measures for controlling fluid delivery and uptake in plant growth systems. Reduced gravity creates challenges in providing adequate fluid and nutrition for plant growth. This investigation examines using other physical properties such as surface tension, wetting and system geometry to replace the role of gravity.

Solid Combustion Experiment Module (SCEM)/FLARE: The crew set the configuration of the SCEM valves to continue the setup/checkout of the SCEM/FLARE hardware. Fundamental Research on International Standard of Fire Safety in Space – Base for Safety of Future Manned Missions (FLARE), a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) investigation, explores the flammability of materials in microgravity. Various solid fuels are burned under different conditions and observed inside a flow tunnel. Microgravity significantly affects combustion phenomena and results are expected to contribute to the improvement of fire safety in space

SUBSA-CETSOL Sample Exchange: The crew performed the steps necessary to remove the processed science ampoule and install a new one. Effect of Convection on the Columnar-to-Equiaxed Transition in Alloy Solidification (SUBSA-CETSOL) examines the effects of gravity-driven melt convection and sedimentation or floatation of unattached solid on the columnar-to-equiaxed transition (CET) in the grain structure of metals. CET occurs during metal alloy solidification when round (equiaxed) crystals block the growth of elongated columnar crystals. A better understanding of this complex physical phenomenon is important for predicting and controlling properties of metal alloys, including steel, aluminum alloys and nickel-based superalloys. The investigation compares samples solidified on the International Space Station (ISS) and on Earth.


Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Battery Operations Terminal (EBOT) Installation – Yesterday, the crew continued with installation of the EBOT Battery Cables into the Avionics Rack in the Airlock (A/L). During the install, there was interference with the Moderate Temperature Loop (MTL) supply line and the Battery Stowage Compartment (BSC). Crew was able to move the flexible MTL supply line out of the way and fully insert the BSC into the Avionics Rack. A Failure Investigation Team (FIT) was convened to determine next steps. Today, the crew removed the BSC and reinserted the Battery Stowage Assembly (BSA) to protect the A/L rack. The crew will stow the BSC in the A/L while the ground team troubleshoots the issue.

A/L Adapter Plate (JCAP) and NanoRacks Kaber Plate (STEP) Installation for ISS Experience – the crew installed the A/L Adapter Plate (AKA JEM CLPA Adapter Plate or JCAP) and the NanoRacks Kaber Plate (AKA Slide Table Extension Plate or STEP) in support of the ISS Experience EVA.

US Lab Intermodular Ventilation (IMV) Bypass Duct: Today, the crew completed the US Lab IMV bypass duct installation. This involved installing a Bypass Duct that will run through the LAB to send air from Node 3 directly to Node 2 in order to provide better air mixing across the USOS.

Completed Task List Activities:

Label ARED Cylinder Cover Fastener as Non-Captive
EVA PAPOS Cap Photos
Unstowing and installing the NORS N2 tank from the AIK
ACS NORS Nitrogen transfer Initiation
ACS NORS nitrogen transfer termination
Uninstalling and stowing the NORS N2 tank from the AIK
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

ARS CDRA 2 half cycles
JEM Airlcok and ACDU-RC activation
PRO EXPRESS Rack 3 Configuration commanding
Airlock charger and PSA power up support
Look Ahead Plan
Saturday, February 13 (GMT 044)

Crew off duty day
Sunday, February 14 (GMT 045)

Crew off duty day
Monday, February 15 (GMT 046)

3DMM, AC Touch, APM relocate, Astrorad, CBEF-L, Confined Combustion, GLCIER 2/5 desiccant swap, LSG delta-P sensor replacement, Plant Water Management, SAIBO cable connect, SUBSA sample exchange, Vascular Echo, Wetlab 2 BPW review

OBT Cygnus Rendezvous review
ZBOOK hard drive installation
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Plant Water Management Hydroponics Operations
Pressure Management Device equipment teardown
JEM airlock slide table passive Capture Mechanism Removal
Antimicrobial Coatings Touch
A/L Adapter Plate (JCAP) and NanoRacks Kaber Plate (STEP) Installation for ISS Experience
EVA Battery Operations Terminal (EBOT) Cable Routing [ABORTED]
GRIP science performance in supine position
Astrobee Dock Power Cycle
Node 3 Endcone Stowage Replace
Solidification Using Baffles in Sealed Ampoules Sample Exchange
EVA Battery Operations Terminal (EBOT) Closeout [ABORTED]
HRF Rack 1 Rack Handle Removal and Replacement
Solid Combustion (SCEM) Valve operations Part 4
Fluid System Servicer (FSS) Restow
EVA Battery Operations Terminal Power Checkout [ABORTED]
Crew stows GRIP Supine Bag in COL1O0
EVA Power Supply Assembly Checkout
Light Ions Detector Relocate
EVA Battery Operations Terminal Charge Init [ABORTED]
Functional Inspection of CSA-CP Probes on ISS
In Flight Maintenance – LAB IMV Bypass Duct Installation
Three Dimensional Microbial Monitoring (3DMM) Node 2 Sample Collection
3DMM MELFI Sample Insertion
Temperature and Humidity Control (THC) Oxygen Generation System (OGS) Avionics Air Assembly (AAA) Flow Measurement

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