Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 2 November, 2021 – Physics Research

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
November 4, 2021
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 2 November, 2021 – Physics Research
Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov. (Oct. 25, 2021)

Space experiments filled the Expedition 66 crew’s day on Tuesday with a variety of physics research and science hardware maintenance on the schedule.
Four astronauts on the International Space Station are also continuing to pack up as they prepare for a return to Earth.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei partnered throughout the day with international crewmates Akihiko Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet servicing research gear and managing cables. He started the morning supporting Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as he retrieved the multipurpose experiment platform from the Kibo laboratory module’s airlock.

Just after lunch, Vande Hei stowed old hardware uninstalled last week from the Fluids Integrated Rack. Finally, the NASA astronaut who is over midway through his near yearlong mission, wrapped up the day with Pesquet from ESA (European Space Agency) organizing and cleaning up cables throughout the station’s U.S. segment.

Hoshide and Pesquet are also getting ready for their return to Earth soon with NASA Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur. The quartet have been packing personal items and other cargo inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour that has been docked since April to the Harmony module’s space-facing port. Kimbrough will be in command and McArthur be Endeavour’s pilot alongside Hoshide and Pesquet when NASA and SpaceX finalize a November date for a splashdown off the coast of Florida.

In the meantime, Kimbrough and McArthur have still been busy maintaining orbital lab systems. Kimbrough spent most of Tuesday reconfiguring and replacing hardware inside the Combustion Integrated Rack, while McArthur checked personal carbon dioxide monitors and deployed USB chargers inside the Harmony and Tranquility modules.

The two cosmonauts from Roscosmos, Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov, spent their day on several space research activities. Dubrov explored ways to ensure safe and sterile lab gear when studying microbiology on the station. Shkaplerov installed EarthKAM imaging hardware in the Harmony module then stowed plasma physics hardware after several runs of the Plasma Crystal-4 experiment last week.

On-Orbit Status Report


Advanced Combustion via Microgravity Experiments (ACME): A crewmember replaced the ACME Fiber Arm 1, Pressure Switch 2 with the ACME Pressure Switch Jumper, and replaced the ACME Igniter Tip 2. This is in preparation of Flame Design part 2 operations. The ACME project is a set of six independent studies of gaseous flames to be conducted in the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR). ACME’s primary and secondary goals are (1) improved fuel efficiency and reduced pollutant production in practical combustion on Earth, and (2) spacecraft fire prevention through innovative research focused on materials flammability.

Sally Ride Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle Schools (EarthKAM): A crewmember performed the setup of the EarthKam hardware components in Node 2 for a week-long imaging session and performed the activation during a daylight pass. EarthKAM allows thousands of students to photograph and examine Earth from a space crew’s perspective. Using the Internet, the students control a special digital camera mounted on-board the ISS. This enables them to photograph the Earth’s coastlines, mountain ranges and other geographic items of interest from the unique vantage point of space. The EarthKAM team then posts these photographs on the Internet for viewing by the public and participating classrooms around the world.

Light Microscopy Module (LMM): A crewmember prepared the LMM and associated Fluids Integrated Rack (FIR) Hardware for return. The LMM is a modified commercial, highly flexible, state-of-the-art light imaging microscope facility that provides researchers with powerful diagnostic hardware and software onboard the ISS. The LMM enables novel research of microscopic phenomena in microgravity, with the capability of remotely acquiring and downloading digital images and videos across many levels of magnification. The way that matter is organized and moves on the microscopic level profoundly affects the macroscopic world and an understanding of such processes helps scientists and engineers build more efficient materials and machines both for both the earth and space environments.

Fiber-optic Active Dosimeter (Lumina): A crewmember executed a data transfer using the EveryWear application. Lumina is an active fiber dosimeter that monitors, in real-time, the received radiation dose by exploiting the capacity of optical fibers to darken when exposed to radiation. The dosimeter provides reliable dose measurements in complex environments such as the ones associated with electrons, protons, gamma-ray or X-ray photons or neutrons.

Plasma Krystall-4 (PK-4): A crewmember closed and disconnected gas connections to the sample chamber and configured the sample chamber for stowage. The data hard drives were then packed for return and new PK-4 hard drives were inserted in preparation for the next set of experiment runs. Plasma Krystall-4 (PK-4) is a scientific collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), performing research in the field of Complex Plasmas: low temperature gaseous mixtures composed of ionized gas, neutral gas, and micron-sized particles. The micro-particles become highly charged in the plasma and interact strongly with each other, which can lead to a self-organized structure of the micro-particles: so-called plasma crystals. Experiments in the facility aim to study Transport Properties, Thermodynamics, Kinetics and Statistical Physics, and Non-linear waves and Instabilities in the plasmas.

Vascular Aging: A crewmember completed the Glucometer data transfer and performed the closeout of the test. Emerging data point towards linkages among cardiovascular health risk, carotid artery aging, bone metabolism and blood biomarkers, insulin resistance, and radiation. Data indicate that aging-like changes are accelerated in many ISS crew members, particularly with respect to their arteries. As part of the Space Environment Causes Acceleration of Vascular Aging: Roles of Hypogravity, Nutrition, and Radiation (Vascular Aging) investigation, ultrasounds of the arteries, blood samples, oral glucose tolerance, and wearable sensors from ISS crew members are analyzed.


Alternate Current (AC) ZBook Power Chain Deploy: Today, the crew deployed a new AC ZBook power chain in Node 3 and relocated SSC9 to the newly deployed AC ZBook power chain. This deploy was in support of T2 operations.

Solid Waste Container [???] USOS Audit: The crew performed an audit of the current ???s onboard ISS to ensure appropriate ??? manifesting on future visiting vehicle flights.

Crew Departure Prep: Crewmembers returning on the Space-X Dragon vehicle are scheduled time to allow them to prepare the ISS for the arriving crew and prepare personal items for return. This preparation includes cleaning, stowage, inventory management and Portable Computer System (PCS)/Station Support Computer (SSC) management.

Completed Task List Activities:

Waste & Hygiene Compartment (WHC) KTO Replace
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

JEM Slide Table Ground Support
Water Processor Assembly (WPA) Gas and Liquid Sensor Parameter Overrides
Node 1 Fan Speed Test – Part 3
Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) Node 3 Low Temperature Loop (LTL) Setpoint Change
Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) LAB Low Temperature Loop (LTL) Setpoint Change
Look Ahead Plan

Wednesday, November 3 (GMT 307)

CIR ACME Hardware Replace Part 2 (NASA)
CIR O2 and Manifold 4 Bottle Exchange (NASA)
Food Acceptability (NASA)
Repository Urine and Blood Collect (NASA)
TOILET Dose Check (NASA)

AQM Troubleshooting
WHC Manual Fill Init/Term
Cargo Dragon Station Support Computer (SSC) Relocate
Dragon Table Sync and Stow
Thursday, November 4 (GMT 308)

EarthKam Node 2 Lens Change (Joint)
MAND Print Removal and Stow (NASA)

Crew Departure Prep
Friday, November 5 (GMT 309)

Actiwatch Plus Setup (NASA)
DOSIS-3D Deinstall (ESA)
Food Physiology Diet Brief (NASA)
MAND Print Removal (NASA)
Probiotics Saliva Setup and Questionnaire (JAXA)
Standard Measures Saliva Collect (NASA)

Crew Departure Prep
SSC System Vent Clean
Crew Waste Management System (WMS) Supply Transfer
REGEN Recycle Tank Drain/Fill
Dragon Departure OBT
Dragon Departure Review
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Public Affairs Office (PAO) Social Media Event
T2 Monthly Maintenance performed with Sidekick
Crewmember fills out questionnaire following T2 Maintenance with Augmented Reality.
Environmental Health System (EHS) Personal CO2 Monitor Charging
JEM Airlock Slide Table (ST) Extension/Retraction to/from JPM Side
LUMINA data transfer with EveryWear and re-import of past imported files
Stow Sidekick After Use
Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform (MPEP) , Passive Capture Mechanism and MPEP Adapter Plate Removal from JEM AL Slide Table
COL Payload Laptop Change of EPM power outlet
Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform (MPEP) Removal JEM Airlock Slide Table Support
Deploy AC ZBook Power Chain
EarthKAM setup and activation in Node 2
COL Payload Laptop EPM VM Login
Crew reads the Post-flight R+0 Test Overview message.
HRF Veg Questionnaire
Crew Departure Preparations for Return to Earth
PK-4. Demating gas supply flex hose for
PK-4. Deinstallation of video monitor
Combustion Integrated Rack Hardware Gather
P?-4. Replacement of data hard drives
Packing of PK-4 Hard Drives inside Bubble Wrap Bags for return stowage on Soyuz
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Food Intake Tracker (ISS FIT)
Fluids Integrated Rack Hardware Return
Deploy (2) Multi-Port USB Chargers
Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR) Rack Doors Open
Portable CO2 Monitor Power On and Deploy
HRF Generic Frozen Blood, Saliva, and Urine Collection with MELFI Sample Operations
Combustion Integrated Rack Chamber Open
Crew pairs the Glucometer with the EveryWear App on an iPad, transfers the data from the Glucometer to the EveryWear App, and stows the equipment.
ACME Chamber Insert Configuration
Crew retrieves 72mm Bumper Ring from the PMM and stows it in the EKAM CTB
Countermeasures System (CMS) Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Cylinder Flywheel Evacuation
Cable Management

SpaceRef co-founder, entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, nature lover and deep thinker.