Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 17 March, 2021 – Astrobee Demonstration

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
March 19, 2021
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 17 March, 2021 – Astrobee Demonstration
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 17 March, 2021 - Astrobee Demonstration.

The crew of Expedition 64 took time to catch up on maintenance tasks for the International Space Station during a week bookended by some major activities: a spacewalk including NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins the previous Saturday and a Soyuz relocation maneuver coming up on Friday.
NASA astronaut Shannon Walker worked with Astrobee, a technology demonstration starring small, free-flying cube-shaped robots, for the Astrobatics investigation. Like the name implies, the handy robots demonstrate what kind of acrobatics they are capable of performing using robotic manipulators to execute “hopping,” or self-toss maneuvers, as a means of propulsion. The increasingly complex moves attempted within the safe confines of the orbiting laboratory show what future robotic explorers may be capable of doing not only for advanced human space exploration missions, but as mechanical assistants to the astronauts.

In the Russian segment, Commander Sergey Ryzhikov tested space station circuitry while Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov conducted an eye examination — part of an ongoing effort track changes that occur to the shape of the crew members’ eyes during and after extended stays in microgravity.

Hopkins, along with crewmate Kate Rubins, performed additional upkeep for the spacesuits used during the latest excursion outside the station — this the fifth spacewalk of 2021. The pair stowed spacewalking tools and took care to scrub and disinfect the tubing that moves water throughout the suits.

Another duo hard at work aboard the orbiting outpost — Glover and Soichi Noguchi of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) — performed maintenance to the Water Recovery System-1 Rack to regain functionality of its water-processing capability, also switching out a smoke detector in the midst of their efforts. The pair later returned the T2 treadmill to its normal configuration.

On-Orbit Status Report


Antimicrobial Coatings (AC) Touch: Per standard procedure, the crew touched both the coated and uncoated coupons for this long-term investigation. Boeing Environment Responding Antimicrobial Coatings 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.

Astrobatics: The crew relocated items out of the experiment area, set up the appropriate hardware, and performed the Astrobatics experiment session. Astrobee Maneuvering by Robotic Manipulator Hopping (Astrobatics) demonstrates the Astrobee robotic vehicles using robotic manipulators to execute a hopping or self-toss maneuver as the primary mean of propulsion, making it mostly propellant-less. Astrobee performs increasingly complex maneuvers between handrails using its perching arm to demonstrate vehicle dynamic modeling and guidance and control of the robot. These maneuvers may be incorporated into future robotic missions and advanced terrestrial robotic applications.

Actiwatch Plus: Several crewmembers doffed their Actiwatch plus units, verified the display showed the correct data collection mode, then stowed them in the kit. The Actiwatch is a waterproof, nonintrusive, sleep-wake activity monitor worn on the wrist of a crewmember. The device contains a miniature uniaxial accelerometer that produces a signal as the subject moves. The data are stored in nonvolatile memory within the Actiwatch until they are downloaded for analysis.

Catalytic Reactor: The crew performed the activities necessary to change out the Catalytic Reactor and oxygen filter in the Water Processing Assembly (WPA). The replacement demo Cat Reactor is redesigned with a new catalyst, metal seals, and adjustable oxygen flow rates. Its function is to break down various organic contaminants including small aldehydes and alcohols. While the previous Cat Reactor had an expected lifetime of 2-3 years, this new unit’s life is assumed to be indefinite. Performance of the new Cat Reactor and new oxygen flow controller will be evaluated for 6 months.

ISS Amateur (HAM) Radio Pass: The crew participated in an ISS HAM radio pass with Goodwood Primary School, Adelaide, Australia. Some of the questions from the pre-school through year-7 students included if the ISS crew believes there may be another planet besides Earth humans can live on, what kind of exercise program the Astronauts need to follow, and what the future of the ISS is. The ISS HAM radio provides opportunities to engage and educate students, teachers, parents and other members of the community in science, technology, engineering and math by providing a means to communicate between astronauts and the ground HAM radio units.

Standard Measures: The crew logged into the data collection tool and filled out their Standard Measures pre-sleep questionnaires. The aim of the investigation is to ensure consistent capture of an optimized, minimal set of measures from crewmembers until the end of the ISS Program in order to characterize the adaptive responses to and risks of living in space. Among other things, the ground teams perform analyses for metabolic and chemistry panels, immune function, microbiome, etc. These measures populate a data repository to enable high-level monitoring of countermeasure effectiveness and meaningful interpretation of health and performance outcomes, and support future research on planetary missions.


Salsa Service Pack: Yesterday, ground specialists successfully loaded Space Station Computers (SSCs) with the Salsa Service Pack. One of the many updates included in the Salsa Service Pack was Arcturus updates for the Brine Processor Assembly (BPA) which arrived on Northrup Grumman (NG)-15.

Columbus Water On Off Valve 8 (WOOV8) Remove & Replace (R&R): Today the crew was scheduled to R&R the WOOV8. Prior to removing the old WOOV8, the crew encountered dried condensate near some of the WOOV8 electrical connectors and WOOV insulation. After spending some time cleaning the site with a vacuum cleaner, teams agreed to keep the old WOOV8 in place and return Experiments to the Space Station (EXPRESS) Rack 3 to the nominal configuration. The WOOV8 is a control valve connected to the Columbus module’s Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS). The Columbus ITCS is in a good configuration and the WOOV8 R&R will be rescheduled for a future date.

Post-Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Activities: The crew completed several activities to prepare EVA equipment for long-term stow. First, the crew stowed EVA tools. The crew also performed a cooling loop scrub and iodination for Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) 3006. Finally, the crew initiated a third Metal Oxide (METOX) regeneration cycle and took photos of EMU gloves for downlink to the ground.

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:

Crew Dragon Gas Detector Checkout Part 1 and Part 2
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Dragon Weekly Checkout
Cat Reactor and WOOV8 R&R Support
EMU Loop Scrub Commanding
Node 3 CDRA Fan Speed Change
Look Ahead Plan

Thursday, March 18 (GMT 077)

Asian Herb
Food Acceptability
HUNCH Tape Dispenser
J-SSOD-16 Removal
LSR Maintenance
Standard Measures

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

AC Touch
FIR Troubleshooting
Food Acceptability
Fridge-2 t/s
J-SSOD-M2 Install

63S Soyuz Relocation
EVA Tool Stow
EVA HECA Install
Saturday, March 20 (GMT 079)

Crew Off-Duty

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

Urine Biochemical Test
Biochemical urine test
URISYS Hardware Restow. Data Downlink via ???
Actiwatch Plus Watch Doff
??? Micropurification Unit ?2 Absorption Cartridge Regeneration (Termination)
Water Processing Assembly (WPA) Process Line Disconnect
??? ?? Operations
ISS HAM Service Module Pass
Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) Ethernet Cable Fix
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Catalytic Reactor Remove and Replace
Light Ions Detector Uninstall
US Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Tools Stow
SM Atmosphere Sampling for Freon using FIT Analyzer
In-Flight Maintenance (IFM) O2 Manifold Hose Install
Columbus ITCS WOOV8 Remove and Replace (ABORTED)
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Cooling Loop Maintenance Scrub
In-Flight Maintenance (IFM) WRS-1 Filter Kit Installation
Astrobatics Operations
HRF2 Vacuum Demate
KORREKTSIYA. Vozvrat [Return] Bag Fit Check in Soyuz 747 (63S)
VZAIMODEYSTVIYE-2. Experiment Operations
Joint Station Local Area Network (LAN) (JSL) Network Information for JSL Administration (NINJA) Swap
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Cooling Loop Maintenance Iodination
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) WRS1 Rack Closeout
[TBC] ??-123? Analog Receiver Health Check
Antimicrobial Coatings Touch
Micro-16 SABL USB Drive Removal
USB-Flash Test on RS1 LAPTOP RS1
Closing Applications and MPEG2 Multicast Downlink via ??? / ???
Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) Post-EVA Activities
Crew Dragon Tablet Sync
EVA Glove Photo Downlink
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Combustion Integration Rack (CIR) PaRIS Snubber Pin Secure
T2/WRS1 Nominal Config
Ultrasound 2 HRF Rack 2 To HRF Rack 1 Transfer
Health Maintenance System (HMS) – OCT2 Exam
Ultrasound 2 HRF Rack 1 Power On
Crew Choice Event
Metal Oxide (METOX) Regeneration Initiation
T2 SSC Power Relocate
Standard Measures Pre-sleep Questionnaire
HRF Generic Urine Collection Male

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