Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 17 November, 2021 – Crew Operations Return to Normal

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
November 19, 2021
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 17 November, 2021 – Crew Operations Return to Normal
Astronaut Mark Vande Hei sets up hardware for a space physics study. (Nov. 4, 2021)

NASA and U.S. Space Command continue to monitor the debris cloud created by a recent Russian anti-satellite test.
The International Space Station and crew members are safe and have resumed normal operations. The largest risk from the debris was in the first 24 hours and telemetry from the space station indicates no issues during that time. About 1:20 a.m. EST today, radial hatches extending from the space station’s center, including Kibo, Columbus, the Permanent Multipurpose Module, Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, and Quest Joint Airlock, were reopened.

Following the incident, crew members were awoken, notified of the debris and asked to close specific hatches based on the space station’s safe haven procedures. Hatches between the U.S. and Russian segments also were closed initially, but were later opened when the higher risk period passed. Crew members’ daily tasks were adjusted during this time to accommodate the hatch closure. After closing the hatches, the crew then entered their Soyuz and Crew Dragon spacecraft for approximately two hours, from 2 a.m. – 4 a.m. EST. No debris avoidance maneuver was performed.

Space debris is tracked by Space Command and conjunction analysis is performed by NASA, with mitigations available for debris clouds and individual conjunction threats (such as debris avoidance maneuvers). If orbital debris were to strike the station and cause an air leak, the crew would close hatches to the affected module. If crew members do not have time to close the affected module, they would enter their respective spacecraft and, if necessary, undock from the space station to return to Earth.

This debris cloud that was just created has increased the risk to the station. The cataloging of the total number of identifiable pieces of debris is ongoing. Once the debris cloud is dispersed and items are tracked and catalogued, NASA will receive notifications of potential conjunction threats to the station and perform maneuvers as necessary. In addition, NASA will continue to perform visual inspections and review telemetry data to ensure vehicle health.

Teams are assessing the risk levels to conduct various mission activities. Any changes to launches, spacewalks, and other events will be updated as needed.

On-Orbit Status Report

Radial Hatch Opening: This morning, FE-12 opened all radial hatches in the USOS. This allowed the crew to opportunity to perform several activities, notably EVA preparation activities in the US Airlock. The ISS team continues to monitor the effects of a Russian satellite breakup that created sufficient debris and posed a conjunction threat to the ISS. As part of the nominal procedure for ISS conjunctions, the crew closed all radial hatches and both Dragon and Soyuz crews sheltered in their respective vehicles on Monday, November 15th. Out of caution for crew safety, all hatches remained closed until this morning when ground teams determined the appropriate risk level to return to nominal operations. The debris cloud from the satellite event has impacted several of this week’s activities.


Grip Seated Science 1 Experiment Session: From an upright seated posture, the crew performed experiment tasks looking at friction, oscillations, targeted and sensors verification. Not all tasks were able to be performed in the allotted time and the ground team will discuss a forward plan. The Grip experiment studies the long-duration spaceflight effects on the abilities of human subjects to regulate grip force and upper limbs trajectories when manipulating objects during different kind of movements: oscillatory movements, rapid discrete movements and tapping gestures.

Metabolic Space: The crew set up the Metabolic Space experiment instrumentation and performed a Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization (CEVIS) exercise session. The aim of the Metabolic Space experiment is to perform a technology demonstration of cardio-pulmonary diagnosis in space during physical activities of astronauts living aboard the International Space Station, while maintaining unrestricted mobility. This is achieved with a wearable measurement system that is directly worn by an astronaut. For this, a customized space qualified version of the MetaMax3B system is used as basis.

Nutrition Monitoring for the International Space Station (NutrISS): The crew set up the NutrISS bioimpedance device and performed a measurement session with the device. Long-duration spaceflight induces relevant changes in body composition and a loss of body mass. In the NutrISS investigation, a periodic assessment of body composition (body weight, fat mass, and fat-free mass) during spaceflight aboard the ISS is carried out using a dedicated bio-impedance analysis device to allow for the measurement of long-term energy balance modification over time. It is hypothesized that an adjusted diet maintaining a near-neutral energy balance, and/or increasing protein, intake can limit microgravity-induced bone and muscle loss.

Solidification Using Baffles in Sealed Ampoules Sample Exchange-BRazing of Aluminum alloys IN Space (SUBSA-BRAINS): The crew completed the initial ampoule exchange, inserting sample B5 into the SUBSA hardware to be processed via ground commanding. SUBSA operates inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG). SUBSA-BRAINS examines differences in capillary flow, interface reactions, and bubble formation during solidification of brazing alloys in microgravity. Brazing technology bonds similar materials (such as an aluminum alloy to aluminum) or dissimilar ones (such as aluminum alloy to ceramics) at temperatures above 450°C. It is a potential tool for construction of human space habitats and manufactured systems as well as repair of damage from micrometeoroids or space debris.

Thermo-Mini: Following the completion of the monitoring session, the crew doffed and stowed the Thermo-Mini hardware. The goal of the Thermo-Mini investigation is to gain insight into human thermoregulation during long-duration spaceflight. Thermo-Mini is a new device that measures the core body temperature by calculating the heat flux at the head or chest. Because of its non-invasiveness, it is possible for the astronauts to wear it for many hours a day.


Cygnus Return Preparations: The crew has worked cargo ops the past several days in preparation for NG-16 Cygnus return on November 20th. Minor impacts from the hatch closure affected some of the return activities yesterday. Today, there was an end-of-life survey completed for the STP-H6 payload and it will then be transferred to the Cygnus for disposal, along with the Flight Releasable Attachment Mechanism (FRAM) on which the payload is attached. Approximately two hours of remaining cargo ops time is available to complete return preparations activities.

Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Urine Filter Hose Remove and Replace (R&R): Today, the crew completed this routine maintenance to R&R the Urine Filter Hose. Following the R&R, the crew performed a power checkout, a functionality test, and a leak check as part of the reactivation prior to panel re-install to close out the activity.

Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Prep: The crew completed several activities on EMUs 3015 and 3004 in preparation for the upcoming US EVA P1 SASA R&R currently scheduled for November 30th. The crew performed a Rechargeable Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Battery Assembly (REBA) Powered Hardware Checkout. REBAs are used to power the glove heaters on the Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMUs) and a successful checkout is required prior to the EVA. The crew also performed an EVA EMU Cooling Loop Scrub as part of the cooling loop maintenance and EMU Water Recharge. EMU Loop Scrubs are required preventive maintenance needed to remove any chemical and biological contaminants from the EMU transport loop. Next, the crew performed an EMU Liquid Cooling Ventilation Garment (LVCG) Water Fill using water from the recharged water tanks, which ensures there is a full supply of fresh cooling water to each EMU suit. Finally, the crew performed On-board Training (OBT) on the EVA Robotics Onboard Trainer (ROBoT) Session, which is also a self-study activity for the crew. The SASA R&R EVA will replace the P1 SASA Radio Frequency Group (RFG) unit which was deemed hard-failed.

Completed Task List Activities:

Metabolic Space Big Picture Words Reading (11/16)
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

THC IMV Reposition
EMU Loop Scrub Ground Support
External Multiplexer-Demultiplexer (MDM) Dynamic Buffer Collection List (DBCL) Load
EVA Robotics Onboard Trainer (ROBoT) Session Ground Support
Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator (SPDM) Flight Releasable Attachment Mechanism (FRAM) Removal
Mobile Transporter (MT) Translation
Look Ahead Plan

Thursday, November 18 (GMT 322)

EPO-Touching Surfaces Ops
GRASP Seated Sci 2
HRF Bracket Reconfiguration
Plant Habitat-04 Debris Removal
SUBSA-Brains Sample exchange

EVA Equipment Lock Preparation
WHC Manual Fill
EHS Total TOCA Calibration Check
EVA SAFER Install Practice
Cygnus Cargo Operations
OBT Cygnus Review
Friday, November 19 (GMT 323)

APM Data Transfer
Behavioral Core Measures
Food Physiology
GRIP Supine Sci 3
KREPE Hardware Activation
Lumina Data Transfer
MELFI-2 to Icebrick Transfer
SERFE Water Sample

EVA Battery Installation
CHeCS Emergency HMS Contingency Drill Training
JEM Stowage Reconfiguration
Cygnus Egress
Saturday, November 20 (GMT 324)

Acoustic Diagnostics BPW
HRF Urine/Saliva Setup

Cygnus Departure Ops
ISS EMER Hardware Fam OBT
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Hatch Open
NutrISS Bioimpedance Device Setup
NUTRISS MO8 Questionnaire
First Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis Measurement
Standard Measures Post-Sleep Questionnaire
CASA Crew Move In Again
ISS Crew Orientation
Microgravity Science Glovebox Activation
Rechargeable EVA Battery Assembly (REBA) Powered Hardware Checkout
CEVIS exercise session for Metabolic Space experiment
Stow EVA items in Airlock
GRIP Big Picture Words
Metabolic Space de-instrumentation and instrumentation
REAL. Sample replacement in SUBSA
Solidification Using Baffles in Sealed Ampoules OBT and Sample Exchange
Installation of 6 PDP in USOS and photo-document
Stowage of Metabolic Space Electronic Belt and Mask
[ABORTED] Onboard Training (OBT) Robotics On-board Trainer (ROBoT) Setup
COLUMBUS Bay 1, 2, 3 clean-up
COL Payload Laptop Change of power outlet
Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
EVA Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Cooling Loop Scrub
Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Urine Filter Hose Remove and Replace (R&R)
GRIP setup and science performance in seated position
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Water Recharge
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Liquid Cooling Ventilation Garment (LVCG) Water Fill
USOS Window Shutter Close
On-board Training (OBT) EVA Robotics Onboard Trainer (ROBoT) Session
Food Acceptability Survey
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Food Intake Tracker (ISS FIT)
Environmental Health System (EHS) Crew Active Dosimeter Battery Replacement

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