Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 16 March, 2021 – Preparing to Relocate the Soyuz MS-17

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
March 19, 2021
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 16 March, 2021 – Preparing to Relocate the Soyuz MS-17
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 16 March, 2021 - Preparing to Relocate the Soyuz MS-17 .

In between ongoing investigations to further our understanding of how spaceflight impacts the human body, the Expedition 64 crew devoted time to brushing up on procedures to relocate the Soyuz MS-17 to another port on the International Space Station — a reconfiguration maneuver that hasn’t been done since August 2019.
Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, both of Roscosmos, as well as NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, reviewed the timeline and operations plan to accomplish the port relocation, which will free up the Rassvet port for the docking of Soyuz MS-18. That vehicle will carry three Expedition 65 crew members to the orbiting laboratory after launch April 9 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan: NASA’s Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos’ Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov. Live coverage of the Soyuz flight around the space station may be seen beginning at 12:15 p.m. EDT Friday, March 19, on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

Later, Rubins joined fellow NASA astronaut Victor Glover in the Kibo laboratory module to field questions from students during a Senate Youth Forum event involving multiple members of Congress, allowing participants a glimpse of some of the cutting-edge research being performed around the clock in space.

Glover also teamed up with crewmates Michael Hopkins and Shannon Walker to work with Myotones, a study that observes how long-term exposure to a spaceflight environment influences the biochemical properties of muscles — qualities like muscle tone, stiffness, and elasticity.

Soichi Noguchi of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), meanwhile, worked to unfreeze samples as part of the Ribosome Profiling investigation. This experiment uses a state-of-the-art technique to decode gravity’s role in gene expression, and will one day help scientists understand how space impacts age-related changes in astronauts.

On-Orbit Status Report


Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR) / Advanced Combustion via Microgravity Experiments (ACME): The crew performed the steps necessary to lubricate the quick disconnect (QD) for the gas chromatograph argon gas bottle. They also replaced the N2/O2 gas bottle at manifold 2 and installed an ethane fuel bottle at the manifold 4 location. This was performed in support of the Cool Flames Investigation with Gases (CFI-G) experiment. Cool diffusion flames were discovered during droplet combustion experiments aboard the ISS in 2012, and this initiated a rapidly growing field of combustion research. A cool flame is one that burns at about 600 degrees Celsius. A typical candle is about three-and-a-half times hotter, burning at around 1,400 degrees Celsius. Most internal combustion engines are designed using computer models that neglect cool flame chemistry, but ignition and flame propagation in engines depend on cool flame chemistry. Cool flame chemistry also has a significant impact on fuel octane and cetane numbers, whose understanding has large economic consequences.

Human Research Facility (HRF)-1 improved Payload Ethernet Hub Gateway (iPEHG) Install: Following the resolution of the coolant line interference with the iPEHG power cable last week, the crew continued the activities to replace the Payload Ethernet Hub Bridge (PEHB) with an iPEHG. HRF-1 provides an on-orbit laboratory that enables scientists conducting human life science research to evaluate the physiological, behavioral, and chemical changes induced by space flight. Research performed using HRF-1 provides data to help scientists understand how the human body adapts to long-duration spaceflight.

Myotones: The crew marked the location of the seven muscles, two tendons and one area of fascia studied in the investigation and took measurements with the Myotones device. The Myotones investigation observes the biochemical properties of muscles during long-term exposure to the spaceflight environment. Results from this investigation are expected to provide insight into principles of human resting muscle tone, which could lead to the development of new strategies for alternative treatments for rehabilitation both on Earth and for future space missions.

Ribosome Profiling: Tuesday was planned to be day-1 of the experiment, but issues were encountered with a cable connection. This was resolved, but the experiment will need to be replanned to a later date. Since life on Earth emerged about 4 billion years ago, living species have evolutionally adjusted to Earth’s gravity. However, how cells utilize gravity for their gene expression has remained largely unknown. The Genome-wide Survey of Translational Control in Microgravity (Ribosome Profiling) investigation aims to provide insight into how gravity impacts gene expression, with a special focus on translation regulation utilizing a state-of-art technique called “ribosome profiling”.


Soyuz Relocation Preparations: The 63S crew completed an On-board Training (OBT) in preparation for the upcoming 63S Soyuz port relocation. The training session covered undocking and docking procedures as well as a walkthrough of associated relocation milestones. Additionally, the 63S Soyuz performed a thruster test to verify flight readiness. The 63S crew will board their Soyuz and relocate the vehicle from the MRM1 port to the MRM2 port on Friday March 19th in order to allow for 64S Soyuz docking at the MRM1 port planned on April 9th.

Catalytic Reactor Remove & Replace (R&R) Preparations: In preparation for the Catalytic Reactor R&R planned for tomorrow, the crew removed portions of Treadmill 2 (T2) in Node 3 and installed Active Rack Isolation System (ARIS) pivot fittings to the Water Recovery System (WRS) Rack. This activity allows access to rotate WRS-1 Rack. T2 will not be available for exercise until after the Catalytic Reactor R&R is completed.

Ultrasound Eye Exam: Today the crew used an ultrasound device to perform an eye scan, one of several routine ultrasound eye exams during their stay on ISS. Eye exams are performed regularly onboard in order to monitor crewmember’s eye health. Eyesight is one of many aspects of the human body affected by long-duration stays in a microgravity environment.

Completed Task List Activities:

HRF Veg Taste Test and Survey
PL Cntl Box SD Card Unit Removal and Stow
WHC Solid Waste Container [???] Replace
JEM Stowage Consolidation for SpX-22 Part 1 and Part 2
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Thermal Amine Scrubber Activation for 2-bed Operations
Weekly Lab MCA Zero Calibration
UTS Offload EDV Swap
T2 Deactivation
Thruster and LS Inh/Ena for 63S Thruster Test
Salsa SSC Service Pack Deploy (IN WORK)
Look Ahead Plan

Wednesday, March 17 (GMT 076)

AC Touch
CGBA4 Label
Micro-16, Repository
Ribosome Profiling
Standard Measures
Catalytic Reactor R&R

Dragon Tablet Sync
EVA Tool Stow
EMU Loop Scrub & Iodinate
LIDAL Uninstall
Thursday, March 18 (GMT 077)

Asian Herb
Food Acceptability
Hunch Tape Dispenser
J-SSOD-16 Removal
LSR Maintenance
Ribosome Profiling
Standard Measures

Cygnus Cargo Operations
EMU Loop Scrub & Iodinate
EVA Tool Stow
THC IMV Flow Measure
LIDAL Relocate
Friday, March 19 (GMT 078)

AC Touch
FIR Troubleshooting
Food Acceptability
Grape Microbiota
J-SSOD-M2 Install
Ribosome Profiling

63S Port Relocation
EVA Tool Stow
EVA HECA Install
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Drain
Micropurification Unit (???) Absorption Cartridge ?1 Regeneration (Termination)
Micropurification Unit (???) Absorption Cartridge ?2 Regeneration (Initiation)
WOOV8 R&R Big Picture Words reading
Station Support Computer (SSC) 6 Shell Swap
???? (COSS) Camcorder Preparation and Setup in the SM for the OBT Video Downlink in MPEG2. Note 10
Myotones Measurements
Soyuz 747 (63S) Relocation OBT
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis
Ribosome Profiling Medium Exchange Part1 and Part 2 (DEFERRED)
Combustion Integrated Rack GC Argon Bottle Replace
Power Off Camcorder and [TBC] Television Subsystem. Close Applications
T2 System Shutdown
T2 SSC Relocate
USB Flash Drive to be removed from ICF
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) – JEM
Human Research Facility (HRF) Rack 1 PEHG Install 2
URISYS Hardware Setup
[???] Activation in Soyuz 747 (63S) Prior to Relocation
Soyuz 747 (63S) ???? Test Prior to Relocation
In-flight Maintenance (IFM) Pivot Fitting Scavenge
In-flight Maintenance (IFM) Treadmill 2 and Water Recovery System 1 Rack Prep
Micro-16 SABL USB Drive Install
Hardware Setup for ??? ?? Ops
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Urine Transfer System (UTS) Removal and Install
Health Maintenance System (HMS) – OCT2 Exam
Waste & Hygeine Compartment (WHC) Water Container (???) Remove and Replace
Urine Transfer System Offload EDV Swap

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