Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 14 January, 2021 – Microgravity and Perception

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
January 16, 2021
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 14 January, 2021 – Microgravity and Perception
Streaks of a starry field above Earth.

Understanding how microgravity impacts perception, vision and combustion highlighted Thursday’s research aboard the International Space Station.
The Expedition 64 crew also explored ways to improve space exercise and space piloting techniques.

NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins kicked off her day inside Europe’s Columbus laboratory module conducting a session for the Vection perception study. The investigation is exploring how an astronaut adapts to visually interpreting motion, orientation, and distance in weightlessness.

Rubins also configured hardware for a suite of studies known as the Advanced Combustion via Microgravity Experiments, or ACME, that takes place in the Combustion Integrated Rack. JAXA Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi worked on installing the Solid Combustion Experiment Module in a science rack located in Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. Combustion studies on the station help improve fire safety and fuel efficiency on Earth and in space.

NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Shannon Walker joined each other for ultrasound eye scans at the end of the work day. The duo had worked earlier on an array of science and life support maintenance tasks throughout the orbital lab.

Commander Sergey Ryzhikov joined Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov for a Russian exercise study that seeks to maintain a crewmember’s fitness during long-term space missions. Ryzhikov then explored how pilots might operate future spacecraft and robots on planetary missions.

On-Orbit Status Report

SpaceX-21 Splashdown: Following Tuesday’s successful undock, Dragon splashed down off the coast of Tampa, Florida at 7:27PM CT last night. This completes the mission and cargo has been offloaded.


Airborne Particulate Monitor (APM): The crew relocated the APM experiment hardware from Node 3 to the US Lab. This hardware is routinely moved to different locations to allow monitoring of the particulate environment in those areas. Although requirements exist for maximum allowable concentrations of particulate matter, currently no measurement capability verifies whether these requirements are met. The APM demonstrates an instrument for measuring and quantifying the concentration of both small and large particles in spacecraft air. The data can be used to create a map of air quality in terms of particles and shed light on the sources of such particles.

Antimicrobial Coatings: As part of the ongoing experiment, the crew touched each coupon on the placard. The investigation 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.

Collapsible Contingency Urinal (CCU) In-Cabin Demonstration: Today’s demonstration enabled ground personnel to observe fluid dynamics of liquid in the CCU. The crew performed multiple fill and drain cycles with varied rates and methods to analyze performance characteristics. An evaluation of the test was completed following the demonstration.

Exposed Facility Unit (EFU) Adapter Hardware Reconfig: In an effort to verify good communication for the EFU adapter, the SOLISS hardware was removed, the JEF HDTV hardware was panned 10 degrees, and good MLI coverage of the hardware was verified. EFU adapters are used as an interface between a JEM external payload location and the various experiment hardware.

Fluids Integrated Rack/Light Microscopy Module/Advanced Colloids Experiment (FIR/LMM/ACE): The crew removed the processed ACE-T11 module and installed the new ACE-TR2 (ellipsoid) module. The investigation designs and assembles complex three-dimensional colloids – small particles suspended within a fluid medium – and controls density and behavior of the particles with temperature. These so-called ‘self-assembled colloidal structures’ are vital to the design of advanced optical materials and the control of particle density and behavior is important for their use in 3D printing and additive manufacturing. Microgravity provides insight into the relationships among particle shape, crystal symmetry, density, and other fundamental issues.

Multi-use Variable-g Platform (MVP): The crew removed and stowed Everroad modules A and D from the MVP facility. The commercially developed, owned and operated Techshot MVP includes 2 internal carousels that simultaneously can produce up to 2 g of artificial gravity. MVP is used to conduct research in space with a wide variety of sample types, such as fruit flies, flatworms, plants, fish, cells, protein crystals and many others.

Solid Combustion Experiment Module (SCEM) Installation: The crew continued work to install the SCEM into the Multi-purpose Small Payload Rack (MSPR) work volume. The SCEM hardware is used for FLARE, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) investigation, which 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.

Vection: The crew deployed the hardware and performed an experiment session. Vection is made up of 3 tasks that test how orientation perception, motion processing, and depth perception are affected by long duration 0g and return to 1g. The objective of the study is to determine to what extent an astronaut’s ability to visually interpret motion, orientation, and distance may be disrupted in a microgravity environment, and how it may adapt, and how it may be changed upon return to Earth. Multiple experimental time points inflight and upon return to Earth allows for the adaptation and recovery process to be investigated.


Urine Transfer System (UTS) SD Card Removal and Replacement (R&R): On January 5, the UTS controller lost communication and the heartbeat stopped incrementing. Additionally, the automatic response to WHC stopped working and all urine was directed to the Backup EDV. Initial troubleshooting was unsuccessful and teams recommended replacing the UTS SD card. Following the R&R, the ground received communication and heartbeat from UTS upon power up. Ground teams are completing software configuration prior to taking UTS to nominal operation.

Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Urine Receptacle (UR) and Insert Filter (IF) R&R: The crew completed this routine maintenance to R&R the UR/IF. Following the R&R, the crew cleaned the WHC power supply, reactivated WHC, and performed a leak check to close out the activity.

Battery Stowage Assembly (BSA) Operation: The crew terminated the first round of the automated Charge-Discharge-Charge (C-D-C) maintenance cycle on all helmet light batteries, Pistol Grip Tool (PGT) batteries, two Rechargeable EVA Battery Assemblies (REBAs). The crew then initiated a second round of C-D-C maintenance on both REBAs in the BSA via the Battery Charger Assembly (BCA).

Completed Task List Activities:

VEG03 experiment OBT
VEGGIE display OBT
Photo/TV D5 Camera Deploy
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Columbus Smoke Detector (SD) ABIT Synchronization
Powerup UTS
HRF Rack 1 Rack Power Up Commanding
JEM Airlock and ACDU-RC Ops
Urine Processor Assembly (UPA) P16 Pumpdown
Look Ahead Plan

Friday, January 15 (GMT 015)

Veg-03J plant check

Crew off duty
Saturday, January 16 (GMT 016)

AC touch

Crew off duty
Sunday, January 17 (GMT 017)

HRF blood/urine collections, Veg-03J plant check

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

Vection Hardware Deployment
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Urine Transfer System (UTS) Card R&R
Airborne Particulate Monitor Data Transfer
Spaceflight Cognitive Assessment Tool for Windows (WinSCAT) Test
Vection Experiment Session
Airborne Particulate Monitor LAB Install
Rodent Research Access Unit Clean
VECTION Hardware Teardown
Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis
ISS Experience Z-Cam Setup on the MWA
Multi-use Variable-g Platform Module Removal
ISS Experience SSC 25 USB Connection Troubleshooting
BRIC LED Hardware Remove
EXPRESS Rack 7 Locker Relocate
Multi purpose Small Payload Rack (MSPR) Cold Plate Check
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Inspection
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Waste and Hygeine Compartment (WHC) Urine Receptacle (UR) and Insert Filter (IF) Remove and Replace
BRIC LED Hardware Install
Solid Combustion Experiment Module (SCEM) install to Multi purpose Small Payload Rack (MSPR) Work Volume
In Flight Maintenance Service and Performance Checkout Unit Gather
Fluids Integrated Rack Rack Doors Open
CHEART/BAC Hardware Relocate
Actiwatch Plus HRF Rack 1 Setup
Antimicrobial Coatings Touch
Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Sample Data Record
Collapsible Contingency Urinal In-Cabin Demo
In Flight Maintenance Airlock Stowage Removal
JEM Airlock Slide Table (ST) Extension to JPM Side
SOLISS Removal from EFU Adapter
Actiwatch Plus HRF Rack 1 Stow
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Long Life Battery (LLB) Terminate
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan
JEF HDTV PTU Pan angle change
JEM Airlock Slide Table (ST) Retraction from JPM Side
Cryo Chiller Sample Cartridge Removal and Decontamination
Vection Flash Drive Stow
Battery Stowage Assembly (BSA) Operation Termination
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Fill Part 3
Battery Stowage Assembly (BSA) Operation Initiation

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