Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 18 August, 2020 – Japan’s HTV-9 Departs

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
August 19, 2020
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 18 August, 2020 – Japan’s HTV-9 Departs
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 18 August, 2020 - Japan's HTV-9 Departs.

Eleven years after the launch of the first H-II Transfer cargo vehicle (HTV) to the International Space Station, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA’s) HTV-9 departed the orbital laboratory today at 1:36 p.m. EDT.
Earlier today, flight controllers operating from NASA’s Mission Control Center at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston used the space station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to detach the cargo spacecraft from the station’s Harmony module, then moved the spacecraft into its release position. Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA used the Canadarm2 robotic arm to release the spacecraft from the station at 1:35 p.m., ending its three-month stay.

This was the final station departure of JAXA’s first-generation Kounotori, or “white stork,” cargo craft, nine of which have delivered more than 40 tons of supplies to space station crews. JAXA is developing a new fleet of HTV cargo craft, the HTV-X, which is targeted for its first launch in 2022.

The spacecraft launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan on May 20, arriving May 25 to deliver about four tons of supplies and experiments to the orbital complex, including new lithium-ion batteries that were used to upgrade the station’s power systems. The new-technology batteries were installed through a series of spacewalks along the far port truss “backbone” of the station.

HTV-9 will be commanded by JAXA flight controllers at its HTV control center in Tsukuba, Japan, to move away from the station and, on Aug. 20, to fire its deorbit engine in a burn that will send it back into Earth’s atmosphere. Loaded with trash from the space station, the spacecraft will burn up harmlessly over the Pacific Ocean.

For nearly 20 years, astronauts have continuously lived and work on the space station, testing technologies, performing science and developing the skills needed to explore farther from Earth. As a global endeavor, 240 people from 19 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 3,000 research and educational investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.

On-Orbit Status Report


Astrobee: The crew powered up the Astrobee free flyers and cleared away and stowed items within the JEM module in preparation for Astrobee flyer operations. Astrobee is made up of three free-flying, cube-shaped robots which 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 space station. The autonomous robots, powered by fans and vision-based navigation, perform crew monitoring, sampling, logistics management, and accommodate up to three investigations.


HTV9 Unberth: Today, both the crew and ground controllers worked together to prepare the HTV9 for unberth. The crew activities included a Node 2 vestibule configuration for demate, followed by the depress of the Node 2 deck vestibule using the Pressurized Management Device (PMD). The ground team utilized the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) to maneuver the HTV9 vehicle for release from the ISS. The crew completed release of HTV9 at 12:36 pm CT and atmospheric reentry over the south Pacific is planned for Thursday morning.

Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Portable Emergency Provisions (PEPS) Inspection: Today, the crew performed the periodic PEP inspection, which involves utilizing a PEPs matrix and inspecting various emergency provisions such as the Portable Fire Extinguisher (PFE), Portable Breathing Apparatus (PBA), Quick Don Mask (QDM), and Extension Hose Tee Assemblies at multiple locations throughout the space station. The crew spends several minutes on each item and notes any visible damage. Inspections are performed routinely to ensure the PEPs are in good operational condition.

Completed Task List Activities:

Made In Space Wrench Historical Photo
Structures & Mechanisms (S&M) Vestibule Barrier Assembly Audit
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Ground support for HTV9 Unberth/Release
IAS Russian Comm Config for MRM Ops
Vacuum Exhaust System PGT sensor bias update
Look Ahead Plan

Wednesday, 8/19 (GMT 232)

JPM Handheld Exp Adapter Plate & MPEP Removal (JAXA)

Recycle Tank R&R
Thursday, 8/20 (GMT 233)

Myotones Ops (ESA)
Astrobee Off & JEM Cargo Replacement (NASA)

Isolation Prep/Gather
Friday, 8/21 (GMT 234)

Radi-N2 Retrieve (CSA)

WHC Ops Break
Isolation Prep/Gather
Hatch Closure
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Auxiliary Computer System [???] laptops anti-virus scan and report
Node2 HD Camera On
Pressure Management Device (PMD) Equipment Setup Part 1&2
??? (Universal Bioengineering Thermostat). Checking ???-? No.07 thermostat temperature and unobstructed area near ???-? inlet/outlet vents
HTV Vestibule Configure for Demate – Part 2
Filling (degassing) of ???-?? or ??? (???) for Elektron-VM
[????] Reconfiguration for MRM2
Deinstallation of a 3-m electrical umbilical and harness-insert in DC1 and installation in MRM2
Photo TV Robotic Workstation (RWS) Monitor High Definition (HD) Setup
N2 Deck MPEV open/close
CARDIOVECTOR. Experiment Session
Progress 444 (DC1) Transfers (????-1? and ????-1?) and IMS Ops
VIZIR. Conducting Coordinate Referencing System – Smart Drawers (???-??) PL Session
Spill Purification Column Unit (???) water for Elektron-MV and Condensate Water Recovery System [???-?2?]
Preparation for replacing Storage Battery Current Converter ????-1? (?308) and Current Converter Controller ????-1? (A408)
LSG LLC Software Update
TERMINATOR. Closeout ops with Terminator-Nadir Electronics Unit. Turn off the electronics unit (??)
USOS Window Shutter Close
Monitoring closed covers on SM windows 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14
Astrobee Stowage Clear
Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Portable Emergency Provisions (PEPS) Inspection
MSS HTV Release Setup
HTV Departure Preparations
SSRMS HTV Release and Departure Monitoring
INTERACTION-2. Experiment Ops
Remote Workstation Monitor HD Video Downlink Deactivation RWS.
URAGAN. Installation and activation of Auto Orientation System For Video Spectral Equipment (SOVA) and photo equipment
Pressure Management Device (PMD) Teardown
Restow Node 2 Nadir Vestibule Outfitting Kit (VOK)
Power up Soyuz 745 Angular Rate Integration Unit (????)
Astrobee On
URAGAN. SM Window No.9 cover opening

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