Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 18 March, 2021 – Microgravity Research

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
March 19, 2021
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 18 March, 2021 – Microgravity Research
Astronaut Victor Glover performs maintenance work.

A day before Expedition 64 relocates the Soyuz MS-17 to another port on the International Space Station, the seven-person crew continued studies on the effects of microgravity on humans, plants, and materials, along with a couple outreach events.
NASA astronaut Victor Glover took part in two media events, each accompanied by a different crewmate. First up, Glover and Kate Rubins spoke with Fox 11 “Good Day L.A.” about living and working aboard the space station. About two hours later, Glover joined Shannon Walker for an outreach event with U.S. Rep. Norma Torres of California, where they answered questions submitted by students.

Glover teamed up again with Rubins for an eye ultrasound. Receiving guidance from the ground, Glover served as operator for Rubins’ examination. Spaceflight, especially for prolonged missions, can affect vision and eye health. These ongoing checks provide invaluable data for researchers and test the accuracy and functionality of the portable medical equipment station crews rely upon — tools that will prove even more critical as explorers venture farther from Earth.

Meanwhile, NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins continued closing out spacesuit tools and equipment used during the previous Saturday spacewalk he and Glover completed to service the orbiting laboratory’s cooling system and communications gear. The veteran astronaut also swapped out a crystal growth chamber in support of the Industrial Crystallization Facility (ICF). The ICF is used for growing crystals in space that are not possible on Earth — specimens large enough for commercial use. These crystals are not only interesting to look at, but integral to the research and development of new materials.

JAXA’s (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s) astronaut, Soichi Noguchi, was engrossed in an investigation that studies fast-growing plants, called Asian Herb in Space. Future space travel, especially to destinations like Mars, will rely on plants for sustenance, traditional medicine, and flavor. This experiment will add to the growing body of research on plant growth, plus provide new information on the formation of aroma compounds in herbs.

Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos cultured various types of cells with the Kaskad investigation, while his counterpart, Commander Sergey Ryzhikov, was focused on setup and preparation for the Soyuz relocation activity.

On Friday, March 19, viewers can watch the Soyuz MS-17 undock and take a spin in the orbital neighborhood, so to speak, and later reattach to the Poisk module, which will free up the Rassvet port for the docking of Soyuz MS-18. Live coverage of the maneuver on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website will begin at 12:15 p.m. EDT. Undocking from Rassvet is anticipated at 12:38 p.m., with redocking at Poisk targeted for 1:07 p.m.

The new vehicle, MS-18, will embark to the station after a planned April 9 launch, carrying NASA’s Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos’ Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov.

On-Orbit Status Report


Asian Herbs in Space: The crew preserved samples in a Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI) and closed out the Asian Herb 30-day plant growth experiment. Microgravity affects the growth of plants and understanding the nature of these changes is important for future missions that will rely on plants for food. Asian Herbs in Space studies fast-growing plants used for traditional medicine and flavoring food, examining differences in their aroma that may result from microgravity-related cellular changes. This investigation benefits future plant growth efforts in space and provides new information on the formation of aroma compounds in common herbs.

Dose Distribution Inside the ISS – 3D (DOSIS-3D): The crew checked the DOSIS Main Box LEDs in order to gather information on the DOSIS Main Box Status. ISS crewmembers are continually exposed to varying levels of radiation which can be harmful to their health. DOSIS-3D uses several active and passive detectors to determine the radiation doses inside the ISS. The goal is a three-dimensional radiation map covering all sections of the ISS.

Industrial Crystallization Facility (ICF): The crew swapped out the Single Crystal Growth Chamber (SCGC) module in the ICF. There was some initial difficult getting a good connection, but this was resolved. The ICF is a small chamber that allows crystals to grow over time into large crystals appropriate for use in science labs on Earth. When grown in the microgravity environment of the ISS, the crystals are of much higher quality than those currently grown on Earth.

JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD)-16 Removal: Following the deployment of the satellites on Sunday, and in preparation of the next satellite deployer to use the JEM airlock, the J-SSOD-16 hardware was removed from the slide table. The J-SSOD provides a novel, safe, and small satellite launching capability to the ISS. The J-SSOD is a unique satellite launcher, handled by the Japanese Experiment Module Remote Manipulator System (JEMRMS), which provides containment and deployment mechanisms for several individual small satellites.

Life Support Rack (LSR): As part of the LSR maintenance, the crew replaced the hydrogen sensor with a spare unit. LSR is a Technology Demonstrator for Closed Loop Air Revitalization. LSR captures carbon dioxide from cabin air and recovers 50% of its oxygen for use by the astronauts. LSR operates for a minimum of one year on the ISS to demonstrate the robustness of the technology for future Exploration Missions.


Post Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Activities: The crew completed several activities to prepare EVA equipment for long-term stow. First, the crew stowed EVA tools. Next, the crew performed a cooling loop scrub and iodination for Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) 3009. Finally, the crew terminated the final Metal Oxide (METOX) regeneration cycle.

Temperature and Humidity Control (THC) Intermodule Ventilation (IMV) Flow Measurement: As part of system health monitoring, the crew used a Velocicalc tool to measure the amount of airflow through selected ventilation inlets and outlets. Today’s measurements were taken in Node 1, Node 2, Node 3, the Oxygen Generation System (OGS) rack, Cupola, and LAB. Additionally, the crew used the Carbon Dioxide Monitor (CDM) to take CO2 measurements in the SM, LAB, and Node 3 modules to ensure good Carbon Dioxide dispersion across the United States On-orbit Segment (USOS).

Crew-1 Rock Catcher Construction: The crew constructed a “Rock Catcher” which will eventually be installed over the IMV inlet in Node 2 that leads to the Node 2 zenith docking port. The Rock Catcher is a device that is built on-orbit to create a barrier for the IMV inlet to ensure that the airflow path to the Visiting Vehicle (VV) is protected. Although Crew-1 is currently docked to Node 2 forward, Crew-1 will relocate to Node 2 zenith prior to Crew-2 arrival.

Treadmill 2 (T2) Monthly Inspection: As part of regular maintenance to ensure that the T2 exercise device is in good operational condition, the crew inspected all four Snubber Arms for any sign of free play as well as make any necessary adjustments to reduce the free play.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

Brine Processor Assembly (BPA) Activation
WPA Troubleshooting for Catalytic Reactor Ops
EMU Loop Scrub Commanding
IMV Flow Measure Commanding
Look Ahead Plan

Friday, March 19 (GMT 078)

AC Touch
Confocal Microscopy
FIR IPSU-G Troubleshooting
Food Acceptability
Fridge-2 Troubleshooting
J-SSOD-M2 Install
Standard Measures

63S Port Relocation
EVA Tool Stow
EVA HECA Install
EVA REBA Hardware Checkout
Saturday, March 20 (GMT 079)

Crew Off-Duty

Crew Off-Duty
Sunday, March 21 (GMT 080)

HRF Saliva and Urine Collection Setup
PK-4 Familiarization/Audit

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

HRF Generic Urine Collection Male
Standard Measures Post-sleep Questionnaire
Asian Herb Closeout and MELFI Insertion
JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (SSOD) (Resupply and Multi) Removal from Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform (MPEP)
Industrial Crystallization Facility (ICF) SCGC Swap
Exchange of Hydrogen Sensor 2 with Hydrogen Sensor 1 S/N 16
US Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Tools Stow
Columbus PPSB Fuses Reinstallation
Food Acceptability Survey
Light Ions Detector Relocate
Actiwatch Plus HRF Rack 1 Setup & Stow
Preventive maintenance of MRM1 Passive Docking Assembly (???) and Soyuz 747 hatch sealing mechanisms
Reconnection of Feed Water Hose to Life Support Rack Panel 5
Reconnection of Feed Water Hose to Life Support Rack Z-Panel
Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
FOTOBIOREACTOR. Transfer of ???-? thermostat No.07 from SM to MRM2
Changing and checking load modes of Soyuz 747 Kazbek-UM chair shock absorbers
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Pivot Fitting Install
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval and Insertion Operations
Electron deactivation
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Cooling Loop Maintenance Scrub
CASKAD Operations
Vozdukh [???] deactivation
Deactivation of Potok Air Purification System [???] in SM and FGB
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Rock Catcher Build
Preventive maintenance of DC1 Passive Docking Assembly (???) and Progress 445 Active Docking Assembly [???] (DC1) hatch sealing mechanisms
Wanted Poster for CEVIS Ergometer
Temperature and Humidity Control (THC) Common Cabin Air Assembly (CCAA) Swap
Activation of Progress 445 (DC1). Air Duct Removal
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Cooling Loop Maintenance Iodination
DOSIS Main Box LED Check
Galley Refrigerator/Freezer 2 Hardware Gather
Temperature and Humidity Control (THC) Intermodule Ventilation (IMV) Flow Measurement Survey
DC1-Progress 445 hatch closure
Countermeasures System (CMS) Treadmill 2 System (T2) Monthly Inspection
In Flight Maintenance Hardware Restow
DC1-[??] and [??]- Progress 445 Hatch Leak Check
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) – JEM
Comm check and ops from Soyuz 747 via RGS
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan
EVA Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Cooling Loop Scrub Deconfiguration
Metal Oxide (METOX) Regeneration Termination
Standard Measures Pre-sleep Questionnaire

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