Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 23 September 2020 – New Toilet Headed to the Station

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
October 3, 2020
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 23 September 2020 – New Toilet Headed to the Station
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 23 September 2020 - New Toilet Headed to the Station.

The International Space Station is gearing up for an advanced bathroom set to arrive on a U.S. resupply ship early next month.
Meanwhile, the Expedition 63 crew continued this week’s eye checks and more space research and life support maintenance.

The orbital lab will get a new space toilet scheduled to be delivered inside Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo craft on Oct. 3. The upgraded restroom facility will be smaller, more comfortable and support a larger crew as NASA’s Commercial Crew Program sends more astronauts to the station.

Station crewmates Chris Cassidy and Ivan Vagner will be at the robotics workstation commanding the Canadarm2 robotic arm to capture Cygnus next Saturday. The duo began reviewing Cygnus’ mission profile today and are getting up to speed with the tasks necessary to support the upcoming space delivery.

The two crewmates then joined their colleague cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin for regularly scheduled eye checks in the afternoon. Wednesday’s tests looked at the retina using non-invasive light wave technology, or optical coherence tomography. The weeklong exams also consist of reading vision charts with one eye covered, as well as self-administered ultrasound eye scans with real-time support from ground doctors.

Cassidy’s science work today saw him activate the Astrobee robotic helpers and check out hardware for a perception and orientation in space study. The NASA astronaut then collected samples of the station’s U.S. segment drinking water for microbial analysis.

Working from the Russian side of the station, Ivanishin spent the morning replacing smoke detectors in the Zarya module. Vagner also gathered drinking water samples for later analysis both on the orbiting lab and back on Earth.

On-Orbit Status Report


Astrobee: The crew powered on the Astrobee systems and cleared stowed items from the Astrobee area. Following this, ground teams performed ground commanding to further checkout and prepare Astrobee for support of the upcoming Kibo Robot Programming Challenge. 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.

Electromagnetic Levitator (EML): In support of the on-going EML science operations, the crew closed the argon gas valve and opened the helium valve. The EML is a 360 kg multi-user facility designed for containerless materials processing in space. It supports research in the areas of meta-stable states and phases along with the measurement of highly accurate thermophysical properties of liquid metallic alloys at high temperatures. EML can accommodate up to 18 samples, each 5 to 8 mm in size. Heating rates of up to 100 Kelvin per second can be achieved with a maximum temperature of 2,100°C.

Vection: In preparation for later science activities, the crew replaced a foam neck brace pad. This routine maintenance is performed as-needed. Vection is made up of 3 tasks that test how orientation perception, motion processing, and depth perception are affected by long duration 0g and return to 1g. The objective of the study is to determine to what extent an astronaut’s ability to visually interpret motion, orientation, and distance may be disrupted in a microgravity environment, and how it may adapt, and how it may be changed upon return to Earth. Multiple experimental time points inflight and upon return to Earth allows for the adaptation and recovery process to be investigated.


Environmental Health System (EHS) Operations: Today, the ISS crew performed periodic EHS water sampling by collecting water samples from the Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) for in-flight and post-flight analysis. In-flight samples were used to perform a Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) analysis that measures the amount of organic constituents in the potable water. The crew also tested the water samples for the presence of Coliform bacteria utilizing a Coliform test bag. These tests are used to determine if the drinking water is safe for crew consumption.

Health Maintenance System (HMS) Eye Exams: Today, the 62S crew completed the third day of routine eye exams using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT). OCT is an imaging technique analogous to ultrasound imaging that uses light instead of sound to capture micrometer-resolution, two- and three-dimensional images of tissue. In this case, the objects of interest are the crewmember’s eyes. Eye exams are performed regularly onboard in order to monitor crewmembers eye health. Eyesight is one of the many aspects of the human body that is affected by long-duration stays in a microgravity environment.

Cygnus Rendezvous On-Board Training (OBT): In preparation for the Northrop Grumman (NG)-14 launch currently planned on September 29th and berth on October 3rd, today the crew completed this proficiency training covering the mission profile, rendezvous crew procedures and crew interfaces for monitoring and commanding Cygnus. The crew also participated in a conference with ground specialists to review the NG-14 OBT plan and receive extra details from the ground specialists.

Completed Task List Activities:

ZBook Client Swap (SSC10 – Airlock)
ESA FSL items repack
IWIS equipment in the RSOS photo documentation
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

SSRMS Direct Drive Test
ARS Lab MCA Zero Calibration
Robotics Video Support
Look Ahead Plan

Thursday, 9/24 (GMT 268)

Astrobee Battery Exchange
AWP Eval Setup
Food Physiology
Kibo Robot Programming Challenge Rehearsal
MATISS 2.5 Remove
MELFI Icebrick Transfer
SABL 3 CO2 Controller Install

EHS WRS Analysis
EHS WWB Changeout
Friday, 9/25 (GMT 269)

Astrobee Off
MELFI Dewar Clean & Icebrick Insert
SABL 1 Tray insert

62S QDMA Fitcheck
Cygnus ROBoT OBT
C2V2 Checkout
Saturday, 9/26 (GMT 270)

No utilization activities

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

Biochemical urine test
URISYS Hardware Stowage. Data downlink via OCA
ТБУ (Universal Bioengineering Thermostat). Checking ТБУ-В No.07 thermostat temperature and unobstructed area near ТБУ-В inlet/outlet vents
Urine Transfer System Offload EDV Swap
Water sampling to drink bags from water distribution and heating system (БРП-М)
Replacing ИДЭ-3 smoke detectors Nos. 5, 6, 7, 10 in FGB with ИДЭ-3М (4count)
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Leak Check
[СВО-ЗВ] water sampling to Russian drink bags
[СРВ-К2М] Purification Column Assembly (БКО) Changeout
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) Sample Collect, Analysis & Data Record
Environmental Health System (EHS) Coliform Water Processing
EML. Gas Valves Operations
On-Board Training (OBT) CYGNUS OBT Conference
On-board Training (OBT) Cygnus Robotics Review
On-board Training (OBT) Cygnus Rendezvous Review
MELFI 1 Ice Brick Insert 4
Astrobee Stowage Clear
Astrobee On
VECTION Neck Brace Replacement
Health Maintenance System (HMS) OCT2 Exams
URAGAN. Installation and activation of Auto Orientation System For Video Spectral Equipment (SOVA) and of photo equipment

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