Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 15 March 2018

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
March 19, 2018
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 15 March 2018
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 15 March 2018.

As the International Space Station orbits Earth with three occupants already onboard, on the ground below in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, three more crewmates are engaged in activities leading up to a March 21 liftoff on a Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft to join them. (You can watch this launch live on NASA TV, with coverage beginning at 12:45 p.m. EDT.)
Today the future Expedition 55-56 crew members, NASA Flight Engineers Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel, along with Soyuz Commander Oleg Artemyev, engaged with journalists for media day, sharing how they will continue work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard humanity’s only permanently occupied microgravity laboratory. This crew will build on the trend of long-term increase in U.S. crew size from three to four, allowing NASA to maximize time dedicated time for investigative research.

Meanwhile, off the Earth, the Expedition 55 crew reconfigured the JEM Airlock in support of an upcoming experiment: Materials on ISS Experiment – Flight Facility (MISSE-FF) payload operations. This study exposes sample plates containing a variety of surface materials to the harsh environs of space outside the station for varying durations. Data collected will inform satellite designers how different materials can degrade over time–a topic of great importance when it comes to designing and building spacecraft and structures to withstand a journey through the cosmos.

On Friday, Flight Engineer Scott Tingle of NASA will wrap up the week talking to science teachers–and lots of them–via an educational in-flight event with the National Science Teachers Association National Conference. During this downlink highlighting the Year of Education on Station, teachers from as far as the United Arab Emirates will pose their own burning questions for the astronaut and learn more about how to living–and working–is accomplished in microgravity.

On-Orbit Status Report

Remote Power Control Modules (RPCM) P14B-G and P13A-G Swap: Ground robotic operations using the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) and Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) to perform a swap of RPCM P14B-G and P13A-G continue. The installation of the new RPCM P14B-G was successful; however, the ground team was unable to fully seat the RPCM in the P13A-G location within operational time constraints. The SPDM, along with RPCM for the P13A-G location, was backed away from the work site. The specialists are planning to re-attempt the installation overnight tonight. The RPCM installed in the P14B-G location has been powered up, and RPC 11, feeding the PTR MDM survival heaters, was successfully closed recovering the survival heaters functionality.

Two Phase Flow (TPF): Today the crew deactivated the TPF experiment equipment in the Multi-Purpose Small Payload Rack (MSPR) for the experiment run completed overnight, adjusted the MSPR valve setting and then reactivated the equipment for a four-day experiment run that begins tonight. The Two-Phase Flow experiment investigates the heat transfer characteristics of flow boiling in the microgravity environment. This experiment provides a fundamental understanding of the behaviors of bubble formation, liquid-vapor flow in a tube, and how heat transfers in cooling systems. Two-phase flow employs a sample cooling loop using perfluorohexane, often used in coolants for electronics, to establish flow rate and heating power in different conditions.

Manufacturing Device (MD): The crew removed and stowed a 3D printed item from the Manufacturing Device today. They also cleaned the extruder nozzle in preparation for subsequent MD prints. The Manufacturing Device supports the production of components on the ISS for both NASA and commercial objectives. It is capable of producing parts out of a wide variety of thermopolymers including engineered plastics.

NeuroMapping: A 53S crewmember set up the Neuromapping hardware today and performed their Flight Day 90 tests in “strapped in” and “free floating” body configurations. The NeuroMapping investigation studies whether long-duration spaceflight causes changes to brain structure and function, motor control, and multi-tasking abilities. It also measures how long it takes for the brain and body to recover from possible changes. Previous research and anecdotal evidence from astronauts suggests movement control and cognition can be affected in microgravity. The NeuroMapping investigation includes use of structural and functional magnetic resonance brain imaging (MRI and fMRI) to assess any changes that occur after spending months on the ISS.

Lighting Effects: Today a crewmember set up the Actiwatch hardware to prepare for a two week sleep study session that starts today and will include the time of crew sleep shifting prior to the arrival of the 54S vehicle on March 23rd. The Actiwatch and sleep logs will be used to track the crewmember’s sleep patterns and wakefulness. The Lighting Effects investigation studies the impact of the change from fluorescent light bulbs to solid-state light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with adjustable intensity and color and aims to determine if the new lights can improve crew circadian rhythms, sleep, and cognitive performance.

JEM Airlock (JEMAL): Today the crew reconfigured the JEM ORU Transfer Interface (JOTI) in support of upcoming Materials ISS Experiment – Flight Facility (MISSE-FF) payload operations. MISSE-FF will be a permanent external platform on the ISS that is modular and robotically serviceable. Remotely controllable sample carriers will provide sample protection and on-demand picture data previously unavailable on prior experiments. Sample plates containing a variety of surface materials will be exposed to the space environment outside the ISS for varying durations to inform satellite designers on how different materials degrade over time. MISSE-FF is currently manifested on SpaceX-14.

Eye Exams: Today the crew completed the second day of routine eye exams using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) and a Fundoscope. Eye exams are performed regularly onboard in order to monitor crewmembers eye health. Eyesight is one of the many aspects of the human body that is affected by long-duration stays in a microgravity environment.

Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Li-Ion Battery Data Logging: Today the crew initiated a charging Autocycle of two EMU Long Life Batteries (LLB). Over the course of three days, the Autocycle will both charge the batteries and capture battery health data. These two batteries will support the upcoming US EVA #49 scheduled for later this month.

Linguini SSC Service Pack: Overnight the MCC-H ground team will deploy the Linguini Space Station Computer (SSC) service pack. This service pack will add the 54S/55S crew accounts, software to support Pressure Management Device (PMD), migrate the Bigelow Expandable Aerospace Module (BEAM) laptop to ZBook, expand the SpaceX Vehicle Data Transfer capability, and add NextGen Printer software support.

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

Portable air samples with CDM
XF305 Camcorder Setup
Multi-purpose Small Payload Rack (MSPR) Two-Phase Flow Experiment Equipment Deactivation
EML Gas Valves Opening
Two-Phase Flow Experiment Equipment Valves Setting
??? Receptacle and Hoses Replacement
Multi-purpose Small Payload Rack (MSPR) Two-Phase Flow Experiment Equipment Activation
JEM Airlock Slide Table (ST) Extension to JPM Side
NeuroMapping Experiment Neurocognitive Test – Subject
Structures and Mechanisms JEM ORU Xfer I/F (JOTI) Reconfiguration from MBSU to MTT
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Long Life Battery (LLB) Initiate
JEM Airlock Slide Table (ST) Retraction from JPM Side
Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) 6-Month Maintenance
Health Maintenance System (HMS) OCT Setup
VEG-03 Dual Facility Watering for each Plant Pillow
ISS HAM Service Module Pass
Health Maintenance System (HMS) – OCT Exam
Consolidation of Personal Hygiene Article for Priority Use
Partial disassembly and leak check of Accuro pumps
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Educational Imagery Recording
Health Maintenance System (HMS) OCT Stow
Actiwatch Spectrum HRF1 Setup
MELFI 3 Ice Brick Insert 9
??? maintenance
Manufacturing Device Print Removal, Clean and Stow
Video Recording of Greetings
Actiwatch Spectrum HRF1 Stow
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Fundoscope
Lighting Effects Sleep Log Entry

Completed Task List Activities
JAXA Video Taking Part 5 & 6

Ground Activities
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
RPCM P13AG and P14BG Swap
OGA Vacuum Pressure Sensor Trending
Linguini Service Pack Deploy for ZBook SSC Clients
MCC-H Step-up to CA2.0.1 [Aborted – rescheduled for Saturday 03/18 GMT 076]
Standard Commanding

Three-Day Look Ahead:
Friday, 03/16: EVA Loop Scrub, LLB Autocycle, CBEF Reconfig, Veggie Harvest, N3 MCA Connector Inspection
Saturday, 03/17: Housekeeping Tasks, Crew Off-Duty
Sunday, 03/18: EIISS Targets, Crew Off-Duty

QUICK ISS Status – Environmental Control Group:
Component – Status
Elektron – Off
Vozdukh – Manual
[???] 1 – SM Air Conditioner System (“SKV1”) – Off
[???] 2 – SM Air Conditioner System (“SKV2”) – On
Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Lab – Standby
Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Node 3 – Operate
Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Lab – Idle
Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Node 3 – Operate
Oxygen Generation Assembly (OGA) – Process
Urine Processing Assembly (UPA) – Standby
Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS) Lab – Full Up
Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS) Node 3 – Off

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