Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 2 December 2020 – Simulated Emergency Drill

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
December 5, 2020
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 2 December 2020 – Simulated Emergency Drill
NASA astronaut and Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Kate Rubins is pictured with radish bulbs after harvesting operations for the Plant Habitat-02 experiment. The space botany investigation seeks to optimize plant growth in the unique environment of space and evaluate nutrition and taste of the plants.. Credit: NASA.

December is shaping up to be a busy month as the Expedition 64 crew gears up for space freighter traffic.
All seven crew members also practiced responding to a simulated emergency aboard the International Space Station.

NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins set up the tools that she and fellow Flight Engineer Victor Glover will use when the new SpaceX Dragon cargo craft arrives this weekend. The duo will monitor Dragon’s arrival on Sunday almost 24 hours after it launches from Florida on Saturday at 11:39 a.m. EST.

Rubins’ science work today consisted of setting up a microscope then servicing botany gear supporting the Plant Habitat-02 experiment. Rubins harvested the first crop of radish plants on Monday. Glover researched how diet affects the immune system in space for the Food Physiology study.

Flight Engineer Shannon Walker organized hardware inside the Human Research Facility today making room for future space deliveries. JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi worked in the Kibo laboratory module servicing external experiment hardware.

The behavior of water droplets is being observed in the orbiting lab’s Microgravity Science Glovebox today. Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins closely watched how the droplets react to different surfaces which may help improve the design of fuel and life support systems.

The entire crew, including cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, gathered together Wednesday afternoon and trained for the unlikely event of an emergency at the orbiting lab. They coordinated with mission controllers around the world practicing their communication, locating safety gear and maneuvering through escape routes.

On-Orbit Status Report


JEM Airlock (Japanese Experiment Module): The crew removed the JEM ORU Transfer Interface (JOTI) from the JEM Airlock. Kibo’s airlock is dedicated to goods and cannot accommodate people. The maximum size of an item that can pass through this airlock is 576x830x800 mm. The airlock attached to the Kibo’s Pressurized Module (PM) will be utilized when experiment equipment or materials need to be transferred between the PM pressurized to one Earth atmosphere and the Exposed Facility (EF) located in the space vacuum.

Drop Vibration: The crew performed coalescence tests on various substrates. This completes the seventh and last day of experiment runs. Inertial Spreading with Vibration and Water Coalescence (Drop Vibration) examines the behavior of big liquid drops whose perimeter of contact, called the contact line, moves rapidly as the drops change shape either forced by vibration or freely by merger. These motions, fast and small on Earth, become slower and larger in microgravity and so can be more closely observed. Such observations improve the currently limited understanding of contact lines, important in applications such as self-cleaning surfaces, water harvesting devices, anti-frost coatings and the fabrication of semiconductors.

Food Physiology: The crew performed Urine and Saliva collections in support of the Food Physiology and Repository studies. The crew also performed the Glovebag setup and collected fecal samples for processing. The Integrated Impact of Diet on Human Immune Response, the Gut Microbiota, and Nutritional Status During Adaptation to Spaceflight (Food Physiology) experiment is designed to characterize the key effects of an enhanced spaceflight diet on immune function, the gut microbiome, and nutritional status indicators. These factors are interlinked, but diet is the only one that can be easily and meaningfully altered on Earth or during flight. This investigation aims to document the effect of dietary improvements on human physiology and the ability of those improvements to enhance adaptation to spaceflight.

Plant Habitat-02: The crew performed the Water fill for the Plant Habitat-02 facility and took photos. Assessment of Nutritional Value and Growth Parameters of Space-grown Plants (Plant Habitat-02) cultivates radishes as a model plant that is nutritious and edible, has a short cultivation time, and is genetically similar to Arabidopsis, a plant frequently studied in microgravity. Developing the capability for food production in space requires understanding cultivation conditions such as intensity and spectral composition of light and the effects of the culture medium or soil. This research could help optimize plant growth in the unique environment of space, as well as evaluation of nutrition and taste of the plants.

Cardinal Heart: The crew performed the microscope setup in preparation of Cardinal Heart operations. Effect of Microgravity on Drug Responses Using Engineered Heart Tissues (Cardinal Heart) studies the effects of change in gravitational force on cardiovascular cells at the cellular and tissue level using engineered heart tissues (EHTs). Microgravity significantly affects heart tissues that perform work and exert an opposite force to gravity and is known to cause molecular and structural abnormalities in cells and tissues that can lead to disease. The investigation could provide new understanding of similar heart issues on Earth and help identify new treatments.


ISS Emergency Simulation On-board Training (OBT): The crew participated in a training exercise for ISS fire and toxic atmosphere emergency scenarios. The training consisted of:

Crew and ground controllers utilizing simulator data to identify each of the emergency scenarios and executing the appropriate response procedure(s).
The crew physically translating through ISS to the appropriate response locations to visualize the use of equipment and interfaces.
Practicing communication and coordination with the mission control centers in Houston and Moscow for the each of the scenarios.
A post-simulation crew conference to discuss/evaluate the crew/ground control responses during the training event.
Emergency Communication Verification: The crew performed an emergency communication checkout from the US segment using the Very High Frequency (VHF)-1 communication system over US ground sites. During the ground site pass, the crew conducted a communication check with each center in Houston, Huntsville, Munich, Tsukuba. Due to time constraints, the crew was unable to perform a communication check with the Moscow center. VHF-1 provides the emergency back-up for ISS to ground communication. Due to the rarity of using the VHF system over the US ground sites, emergency VHF comm verifications offer the only means of assuring the end-to-end VHF systems, equipment and personnel are operational and ready to support an emergency.

Dragon Monitoring Tools Checkout: The crew setup the Dragon crew monitoring tools hardware in the Lab in order to perform a checkout of the hardware and the Rendezvous/Proximity Operations Program (RPOP) in preparation for SpaceX-21. The Dragon monitoring tools are used by the ISS crew to assist Dragon docking to the ISS. The first launch attempt for SpaceX-21 is on Saturday, December 5th.

Completed Task List Activities:

EDV Transfer Hose Hydronnector Cleaning Part 1
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Life Support Rack Water Management System Check Out
Crew Dragon Wakeup and Checkout
ISS Emergency Simulation and Conference
Look Ahead Plan

Thursday, 12/3 (GMT 338)

CIR Manifold #2 Bottle Replacement (NASA)
Drop Vibration Stow (NASA)
Food Acceptability Survey (NASA)
Food Physiology Sample Collection (NASA)
HRF Sample Collection (NASA)
Plant Habitat-02 Science Carrier Installation (NASA)
Rodent Research Activity Review (NASA)
Tomatosphere Big Picture Words (NASA)
APM status check (NASA)
MSL SCA exchange Batch 2b (ESA)

EVA Tether Inspect
Dragon Cargo Review and Conference
RGN Recycle Tank Drain, Fill, & Process
Friday, 12/4 (GMT 339)

Food Physiology Saliva and urine collect and Diet brief (NASA)

Crew Off-Duty
Saturday, 12/5 (GMT 340)

Food Physiology Saliva (NASA)

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

HRF Generic Saliva and Urine Collection
Structures and Mechanisms (S&M) JEM ORU Xfer I/F (JOTI) Gather
Microscope Hardware Setup via SABL Power
Test degassing of water in ??? with the use of [??-??] condensate water separator pump
Regeneration of ??? Micropurification Cartridge ?2 (termination)
HRF Rack Hardware Consolidation
BioServe Microscope Configuration
PILOT-T Experiment Ops
JEM Airlock Slide Table (ST) Extension to and Retraction from JPM Side
JEM ORU Xfer I/F Removal
24-hour ECG Holter monitoring (start)
JEM Airlock Passive Capture Mechanism Installation
Drop Vibration Coalescence Runs
Life Science Glovebox Cable Swap and LLC Shell Deploy
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis
Cleaning FGB Gas-Liquid Heat Exchanger (???) Detachable Screens 1, 2, 3
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Food Intake Tracker (ISS FIT)
Environmental Health System (EHS) – Formaldehyde Monitoring Kit (FMK) Stow Operation
Plant Habitat-02 Water Fill
INTER-MAI-75. Moding HAM Radio Hardware to SSTV
TIMER. Camcorder Battery Charge (start) and setup in work area
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Airlock Unstow
Rodent Research Video Test
Glacier, Iceberg, and Polar Desiccant Swap
Docking Dragon Monitoring Tools Setup
Training for Emergency Response On-board ISS
Contingency Water Container – Iodinated (CWC-I) Degas
Food Acceptability Survey
On-Orbit Hearing Assessment (O-OHA) with EarQ Software Setup and Test
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Sample Data Record
Food Physiology Fecal Sample Collection and Stow
On-board Training (OBT) ISS Emergency Drill Conference
Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Right Upper Stop Cable Tension Cap Realignment
Acoustic Monitor Battery Swap
Emergency RS ISS VHF-1 Comm Checkout from USOS
Crew Choice Event

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