Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 23 December 2019 – Biology Studies and Housekeeping

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
December 27, 2019
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 23 December 2019 – Biology Studies and Housekeeping
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 23 December 2019 - Biology Studies and Housekeeping.

The six Expedition 61 crewmembers aboard the International Space Station started Christmas week exploring how weightlessness affects biology. The orbital residents also focused on housekeeping and lab maintenance tasks.
NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan tested a specialized anti-gravity suit today that reverses the upward flow of fluids in humans caused by microgravity. Cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov attached sensors to Morgan and assisted him into the suit. NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Meir scanned his veins and arteries with an ultrasound device downlinking the data real-time to doctors on the ground.

ESA (European Space Agency) Commander Luca Parmitano and Flight Engineer Christina Koch continued the upkeep of a variety life support hardware and science gear. Parmitano was sampling fluid throughout the station’s thermal control systems to ensure a safe breathing environment. Koch configured air ducts to prevent dust buildup then installed a new combustion experiment that will study how flames spread in space.

Over in the station’s Russian segment, veteran cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka juggled research and life support duties. He first checked on gear collecting data about the station’s external environment of gases and charged particles. Skripochka then logged his meals for a dietary study before turning on sensors recording his cardiac activity.

On-Orbit Status Report

CBEF-L (Cell Biology Experiment Facility – Left) configuration change: The crew worked on steps to change the CBEF-L configuration from ‘G’ (sample tray and centrifuge) to ‘F’ (large centrifuge), but were not able to accomplish all the tasks within the time allocated. The ground is working on plan revisions to accommodate the tasks. CBEF-L is a new JAXA subrack facility, which is an upgraded facility of the original Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) currently aboard the International Space Station (ISS). CBEF-L provides new capabilities with additional new resources such as Full High Definition video interface, Ethernet, 24 VDC power supply, and a larger diameter centrifugal test environment. By using the original CBEF and CBEF-L as one facility for the same experiment, the payload user is provided with an upgraded experimental environment that can handle the processing of more experimental samples for a wider array of experiments.

Confined Combustion setup: The crew set up the experiment hardware in the MSG Work Volume to support the Confined Combustion experiment. Confined Combustion examines the behavior of flame as it spreads in differently-shaped confined spaces in microgravity. Flame spread observations are translated into mathematical models for use in understanding the results and applying them to areas with different shapes. In a recent NASA project (Saffire), a large-scale flame spread investigation shows that flames spread more slowly in a large confined space than in a smaller space even if all other environmental conditions are the same (oxygen, pressure, flow speed, etc.). The faster flame spread in smaller chambers is suspected to be due to a combination of thermal expansion during combustion and tunnel flow acceleration. Radiation heat feedback from chamber walls may also be a factor.

Fluid Shifts Chibis ops: The crew performed tasks associated with Fluid Shifts imaging with Chibis. Fluid Shifts is a NASA investigation, divided into Dilution Measurements, Baseline Imaging, and Imaging with Chibis. The Chibis hardware is used to perform the Lower Body Negative Pressure (LBNP) part of the experiment. The Fluid Shifts experiment investigates the causes for severe and lasting physical changes to astronaut’s eyes. Because the headward fluid shift is a hypothesized contributor to these changes, reversing this fluid shift with a LBNP device is being evaluated as a possible intervention. Results from this study may help to develop preventative measures against lasting changes in vision and prevention of eye damage.

Food Physiology: The crew participated in a diet briefing with the Principal Investigator for the investigation. 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.


Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) Sampling: Today, the ISS crew completed the ITCS fluid sampling procedure. The crew accessed the ITCS sampling adapters and took samples of the ITCS fluid from the Lab, Node 2, Node 3 and JEM module. ITCS sampling is used to analyze the current level of NH3 within an ITCS water loop to determine the rate of attrition of OPA within the coolant or whether or not there is an NH3 micro fissure leak across an IFHX.

Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Snorkel Removal: The ground teams have been performing at Detailed Test Objective (DTO) that examines using the newly installed CDRA Snorkel device to prevent water bypass into the CDRA device. Today the ISS completed the removal the CDRA Snorkel and USOS Endoscope (S/N 1002) from the LAB1P6 CCAA Heat Exchanger. These were installed to perform a test of the CDRA Snorkel hardware, but will be removed while the test data is analyzed.

Mobile Servicing System (MSS) Operations: Overnight, Robotic Ground Controllers performed a walkoff and base change to the Node 2 Power Data Grapple Fixture (PDGF). The Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS), then captured the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) PDGF. MSS was positioned over the Dragon trunk and the ROBOs maneuvered the SPDM Arm 2 to stow the empty Battery Charge Discharge Unit (BCDU) Flight Support equipment (FSE) Flight Releasable Attachment Mechanism (FRAM) in the Dragon trunk. Once completed, the Ground Controllers commanded the SPDM Arm2 to release the FRAM fixture and back the robotic system away from the trunk. Finally, MSS was parked.

Boeing CST-100 (Starliner) Status: The uncrewed OFT mission completed a successful launch; however, Starliner experienced an issue with the on-board Mission Elapsed Time (MET) data resulting in an off-nominal Orbit Insertion burn. This anomaly prevented the spacecraft from docking with the ISS. The Starliner spacecraft landed at White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico on Saturday at 6:58 a.m. CST, within the anticipated landing zone.

Completed Task List Activities:
No completed task list activities.

Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
Payload Operations Support

Monday, 12/23 (GMT 357)
Confined Combustion
Fluid Shifts
Food Physiology
HERMES vacuum valve
POLAR5 desiccant swap
Standard Measures questionnaire
Z Book battery retrieval

CST SSC4 Cleanup
ITCS Sampling – Node 2, JEM, Node 3, lab
CCAA Snorkel Removal
Emergency PBA Deploy

Tuesday, 12/24 (GMT 358)
CIR/ACME MFC replacement
Combined Combustion
ER6 laptop CMOS battery
Fluid Shifts
Food Acceptability
Standard Measures

CMS T2 Monthly Inspection

Wednesday, 12/25 (GMT 359) Off- Duty (Christmas Holiday)
No planned utilization activities

No planned systems activities

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

KORREKTSIYA. Logging Liquid and Food Intake (Medicine)
FLUID SHIFTS. Comm configuration for the experiment
On MCC Go [???] [?1] absorption cartridge cycling (start)
FLUID SHIFTS. Gathering and Connecting Equipment for TV coverage
Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) Sample Gathering
FLUID SHIFTS. [???] activation for ultrasound equipment
Fluid Shifts Ultrasound Service Module Power On And Preparation
JPM Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) Sample Collection
Hermes Vacuum Valve Open
Acoustic Monitor Data Transfer and Stow
CONTROL. “Indicator-ISS” P/L Mode Switchover
FLUID SHIFTS. Assistance with “Chibis” and “KMA-1”
Columbus ITCS water sample using Columbus Coolant Fluid Servicer for Return to Ground
Replacement of [????] thermal insulation covers on “Glisser” video complex pressurized boxes
Fluid Shifts Ultrasound Service Module Scan Operator
Fluid Shifts Ultrasound Service Module Scan Subject
Node 2 Low Temperature Loop (LTL) Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) Sample Collection
Vacuum cleaning of [???4]’s [??-7] screen behind FGB panel 108
Node 2 Moderate Temperature Loop (MTL) Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) Sample Collection
PCS Laptop Relocate
XF305 Camcorder Setup
Vacuum cleaning of ventilation grille on FGB interior panels (201, 301, 401)
CBEF-L Configuration Change
FLUID SHIFTS. Deactivation of [???] and USND P/L from ???
Lab Low Temperature Loop (LTL) Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) Sample Collection
Fluid Shifts Ultrasound Service Module Stow
MATRYOSHKA-R. Tritel Hardware Monitoring
Fluid Shifts SSC Cable Setup
CST Station Support Computer (SSC) 4 Cleanup
FLUID SHIFTS. Connecting SSC1 to Ethernet
FLUID SHIFTS. Deactivation of [????] Equipment and Closing Applications on SSC1
Node 3 Moderate Temperature Loop (MTL) Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) Sample Collection
??? Maintenance
FLUID SHIFTS. Restore nominal comm config
Fluid Shifts HRF PC CCFP Service Module Setup
MSK-2. Glove box sterilization activation
Fluid Shifts Ultrasound Hardware Transfer
Food Physiology Crew Diet Briefing
Temperature and Humidity Control (THC) Common Cabin Air Assembly (CCAA) Swap
MSK-2. Equipment Reconfig
Discharge Failed PBA and Deploy PBAs from HTV
CBEF-L Configuration Change
MSK-2. Disable Glove Box Sterilization
KOSMOKARD. 24hr electrocardiogram recording (prep + init)
MSK-2. First replacement of vessels with nutritive media. Stowage location in Universal Biotech Incubator – High T (???-?)(+4 deg. ?)
Vacuum Cleaning of ??1 and ??2 air ducts in DC1
MSK-2. Cultivator test fitting in [??] descent module for return
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Wring Collector (COT) Remove and Replace
Laptop model T61h equipment handover to USOS for disposal
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis
Confined Combustion Hardware Setup
Polar Desiccant Swap
MSK-2. Connect MSK-2 to onboard power source
URYSIS Hardware Setup
Trash RS T61P H/W
MSK-2. Glovebox-S equipment removal
IMS update
Common Cabin Air Assembly (CCAA) Maintenance Big Picture Words Review
In-Flight Maintenance (IFM) Common Cabin Air Assembly (CCAA) CDRA Snorkel and Endoscope Removal
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (RGN) Wastewater Storage Tank Assembly (WSTA) Fill
Zbook Battery Retrieve
Exercise Data Downlink via OCA
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Sample Data Record
Daily Planning Conference

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