Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 13 August, 2020 – Orbital Housekeeping

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
August 15, 2020
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 13 August, 2020 – Orbital Housekeeping
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 13 August, 2020 - Orbital Housekeeping.

The Expedition 63 crew trio continued ongoing space research and orbital housekeeping aboard the International Space Station today.
Mission controllers are also preparing the Canadarm2 robotics arm for departure operations with Japan’s ninth resupply ship.

Commander Chris Cassidy split his Thursday shift with physics research in the morning and plumbing and electronics maintenance in the afternoon. The veteran NASA astronaut first checked samples inside the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace that levitates, melts and solidifies materials exposed to extreme temperatures. After lunch, he connected water recovery system cables then checked emergency communications gear.

Astrobee, a set of cube-shaped robotic free-flyers, was turned on today inside the Japanese Kibo laboratory module. The devices were autonomously maneuvering throughout Kibo and live-streaming video during the afternoon so engineers could monitor the operations.

Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner tackled their portion of research and maintenance today in the Russian segment of the orbiting lab. Ivanishin once again continued his space biology and Earth studies. Vagner worked on another Earth observation experiment and also organized the Pirs docking compartment.

Attached to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module since May 25, Japan’s H-II Transfer Vehicle-9 (HTV-9) is nearing the end of its mission. Robotics controllers will maneuver the Canadarm2 in position on Friday before grappling and removing the HTV-9 from Harmony on Tuesday.

Cassidy will take over afterward and command the 57.7-foot-long robotic arm to release the HTV-9 into Earth orbit the same day. Nicknamed Kounotori, or “white stork” for its delivery mission, the Japanese resupply ship will end its mission two days later for a fiery, but safe demise over the South Pacific.

On-orbit Status Report


Astrobee: The crew powered up the Astrobee free flyers and cleared away and stowed items within the JEM module in preparation for Astrobee flyer operations. Astrobee is made up of three 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 accommodate up to three investigations.

Electro-static Levitation Furnace (ELF): The crew installed the Round Robin #2 Sample Cartridge into the ELF facility. The MSPR work bench was then closed out. ELF is an experimental facility designed to levitate, melt and solidify materials by containerless processing techniques using the electrostatic levitation method. With this facility thermophysical properties of high temperature melts can be measured and solidification from deeply undercooled melts can be achieved.

JEM Water Recovery System (JWRS): The crew performed cable connections to hoses and bags as part of closeout procedures. The demonstration of JEM Water Recovery System (JWRS) generates potable water from urine. In the past on manned spacecraft, urine and waste water were collected and stored, or vented overboard. For long-term space missions, however, water supply could become a limiting factor. Demonstrating the function of this water recovery system on orbit contributes to updating the Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) to support astronauts on the space station and future exploration missions.


In-Flight Maintenance (IFM) Node 2 Intermodule Ventilation (IMV) Screen Installation: Today, the crew installed an IMV screen over the Node 2 Starboard Forward IMV Inlet. The fine mesh screen was installed to decrease foreign object debris (FOD) in the Columbus module and ventilation hardware. The original mesh size of the current screen was fine enough to catch larger particles but over time smaller debris can pass through the screen and collect in the ducting downstream of the IMV and cabin fans. Adding the finer mesh screen will protect the ventilation hardware from debris build up over time.

Emergency Communication Verification: Today, the crew performed an emergency communication checkout from the US segment using the Very High Frequency (VHF)-1 comm system over US ground sites. During the Wallops ground site pass, the crew conducted a comm check with each center in Houston, Huntsville, Munich, Tsukuba, and Moscow. VHF-1 provides the emergency back-up for ISS to ground communication. Due to the rarity of using the VHF system over the US ground sites, emergency VHF comm verifications offer the only means of assuring the end-to-end VHF systems, equipment and personnel are operational and ready to support an emergency.

H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV)9 Cargo Operations: Today, the crew continued with HTV9 cargo transfer operations. Ground teams estimate approximately 2 hours remain to complete available cargo ops. The crew will continue to focus on HTV9 cargo operations in preparation for HTV9 close out and departure early next week. HTV9 is scheduled to unberth from the ISS on Tuesday, August 18th.

Completed Task List Activities:

Packed Bed Reactor Experiment (PRBE) Hardware Setup
HTV Cargo Ops (on-going)
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Comm Config for MRM Ops
Ground Supt for P/TV ARED
Ground Cmding for Astrobee Ops
Look Ahead Plan

Friday, 8/14 (GMT 227)

RADI-N2 Deploy-Node 3 F3 Rack (CSA)
JWRS Closeout (JAXA)
Food Physiology (NASA)
Astrobee Off and JEM Cargo replacement (NASA)

HTV Departure OBT
CMS ARED Qtrly Maint
HTV Cargo Ops
Saturday, 8/15 (GMT 228)


Crew Off Duty
Sunday, 8/16 (GMT 229)


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

Photo T/V Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Exercise Video Session
URAGAN. Setup and activation of SOVA and VSS PL
TBU (Universal Bioengineering Thermostat). Checking ???-? No.07 thermostat temperature and unobstructed area near ???-? inlet/outlet vents
Electrostatic Levitation Furnace(ELF) Sample Cartridge Exchange & Sample Holder Install
TERMINATOR. Terminator-Limb PL Installation
Audit of working areas for prep of AL in MRM2
???? comm configuration for MRM1
Checkout of comm quality and operability of low-noise headset ???-?-24 S/N 0009310 and PTT switch S/N 10329170
CONCTANTA-2. Preparation and execution
Transfer Operations – Pack and stow items on HTV
Checkout of ??5-15? micro-compressors (fans) (2 count) with [???] control panel from spares (???)
Crew relocates stowage items from JPM Rack Fronts, in prep for Astrobee Ops.
Astrobee On
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Food Intake Tracker (ISS FIT)
Inventory Management System (IMS) Conference
JEM Water Recovery System (JWRS) Cables Connection
Life On The Station Photo and Video
Emergency RS ISS VHF-1 Comm Checkout from USOS
In-Flight Maintenance Node 2 Intermodule Ventilation Screen Installation
UF-ATMOSFERA. PL activation

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