Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 16 October 2019 – Friday’s Spacewalk will Replace Just Failed Battery Unit

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
October 18, 2019
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 16 October 2019 – Friday’s Spacewalk will Replace Just Failed Battery Unit
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 16 October 2019 - Friday's Spacewalk will Replace Just Failed Battery Unit.

NASA is targeting a spacewalk for no earlier than Friday to replace a failed power controller, also known as the battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU).
The Expedition 61 crew is adjusting its schedule this week to accommodate the new spacewalk plans at the International Space Station.

Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are continuing their preparations for the upcoming excursion. The duo will set their suits to battery power on Friday at 7:50 a.m. when the spacewalk officially starts and exit the Quest airlock. NASA TV begins its live coverage beginning at 6:30 a.m.

The pair in their U.S. spacesuits will venture to the far side of the station on the Port 6 truss structure. Once there, the spacewalkers will take about five-and-a-half hours to replace the failed power regulator with a spare BCDU. The BCDU had been in operation since December 2000 and is due to return to Earth on the next SpaceX Dragon resupply ship for inspection. The device regulates the charge to batteries that collect and distribute power to the station.

Station managers will investigate the loss of the BCDU and reschedule the three battery replacement spacewalks for a future date. In the meantime, the five planned spacewalks to repair a cosmic particle detector, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, are still on the calendar for November and December.

On-Orbit Status Report:

US Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Battery Charging Discharging Unit (BCDU) 2B2 Replacement Preparations: Over the past weekend when activating the new Li-Ion 2B2 battery BCDU, the converter close command failed; ground teams have determined that performing an EVA to replace the failed BCDU with a new spare will restore full functionality to the Channel 2B. Today, the ISS crew worked on a number of EVA preparatory activities including Equipment Lock Preparation, Robotics EVA Onboard Training (OBT), and Procedure Reviews. Additionally, the crew performed some Rechargeable EVA Battery Assembly (REBA) hardware checkouts, including verifying that the Extravehicular Activity Mobility Unit (EMU) glove heaters are functional and that the EMU RF Camera Assembly (ERCA) is receiving power.


Astrobee battery charge: The crew performed charging activities on eight of the Astrobee batteries. Astrobee is a series of three free-flying, cube-shaped robots. The robots 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 ISS. The autonomous robots, powered by fans and vision-based navigation, perform crew-monitoring, sampling, logistics management, and accommodate up to three investigations.

EML (Electro-Magnetic Levitator) gas valve reconfiguration: The crew closed the Helium valve and opened the Argon valve in the EML. EML uses the various gasses (or vacuum) to process their samples in different environments. The EML is a 360 kg multi-user facility designed for containerless materials processing in space. It supports research in the areas of meta-stable states and phases along with the measurement of highly accurate thermophysical properties of liquid metallic alloys at high temperatures. EML can accommodate up to 18 samples, each 5 to 8 mm in size. Heating rates of up to 100 Kelvin per second can be achieved with a maximum temperature of 2,100°C.

Veg-04B plant check: The crew checked the plants growing in the two Veggie facilities, took photos, and watered as needed. The ground has reported that 11 of the 12 plant pillows have Mizuna plants growing in them. It’s not unexpected for the occasional plant pillow fail to produce a seedling. The ground team typically places more than one seed in each plant pillow to increase the chance of at least one seed germinating, but it’s not always successful. The currently ongoing Veg-04B session started on 01-October-2019. The research of Veg-04B focuses on the impact of light quality and fertilizer on leafy crop growth for a 56-day grow-out, microbial food safety, nutritional value, taste acceptability by the crew, and the overall behavioral health benefits of having plants and fresh food in space. A healthy, nutritious diet is essential for long-duration exploration missions, which means that the typical pre-packaged astronaut diet needs to be supplemented by fresh foods during flight; the Veggie Vegetable Production System (Veggie) has begun testing aboard the space station to help meet this need, and validation tests have demonstrated that leafy greens can be grown in spaceflight.

Completed Task List Activities:
No Task List Activities completed

Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
Payload Support Operations
Mobile Support System EVA support

Look Ahead:
Thursday, 10/17 (GMT 290)

BEST sample transfer
EXPRESS rack 6 laptop software load
Food Physiology
ISS HAM pass
Microgravity Crystals
SAIBO panel install
Standard Measures

BCDU 2B2 R&R EVA Prep (Currently being planned)

Friday, 10/18 (GMT 291)

Veg-04B check

BCDU 2B2 R&R EVA (Currently being planned)

Saturday, 10/19 (GMT 292)

Veg-04B check

EVA Debriefs
EVA EMU Water Recharging

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

Astrobee Battery Setup
Portable Onboard Computers (POC) Dynamic Onboard Ubiquitous Graphics (DOUG) Software Review
COSMOCARD. Health check of the device
ISS RS Plug-In Audit
Photo TV Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) Camera Turnaround
Checking RSK2 laptop charge for video recording ops and recharging, if needed
Progress 442 (DC1) transfers and IMS Ops
Battery Stowage Assembly (BSA) Operation Termination
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Long Life Battery (LLB) Terminate
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Inspection
Astrobee Battery Swap
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Suit Intravehicular (IV) Review
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Tool Configuring
Equipment Lock (E-LK) Preparation
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Procedure Review
VEG-04B Plant Check/Watering for each Plant Pillow with 20 cm setting
Astrobee Battery Swap
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (RGN) Wastewater Storage Tank Assembly (WSTA) Fill
Monthly health check of video recording equipment in the RS
On-board Training (OBT) EVA Robotics Onboard Trainer (ROBoT) Session
Preventive Maintenance of SM Ventilation Subsystem. Group А
Astrobee Battery Swap
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Procedure Review
ТГК 73P transfer operations
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Procedure Conference
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Cuff Checklist Print
Rechargeable EVA Battery Assembly (REBA) Powered Hardware Checkout
Hematocrit Equipment setup
CONTENT. Experiment Ops
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Cuff Checklist Incorporation
EML Gas Valves Opening
СОЖ maintenance
IMS Delta File Prep
CONTENT. Experiment Ops
Astrobee Battery Stow

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