Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 24 September, 2020 – October Will be Busy

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
September 25, 2020
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 24 September, 2020 – October Will be Busy
Expedition 64 prime and backup crew members.

October is shaping up to be a busy traffic period as the International Space Station gears up for a space delivery, a crew exchange and a commercial crew mission.
Meanwhile, the Expedition 63 crew focused on science, eye exams and leak inspections today.

The next U.S. cargo mission to resupply the station is due to launch on Tuesday at 10:27 p.m. EDT from Virginia. The Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman will arrive on Saturday, Oct. 3, packed with nearly 8,000 pounds supplies and gear including an advanced space toilet and brand-new science experiments. Cygnus’ preflight events, launch, rendezvous and robotic capture will be broadcast live on NASA TV.

Three new Expedition 64 crew members will then set their sights on their Oct. 14 launch aboard the Soyuz MS-17 crew ship to the orbiting lab. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins will ride alongside cosmonauts Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov as they prepare for a 185-day mission in space.

One week later, the new station crew will say goodbye to the Expedition 63 trio that has been living in space since April. Commander Chris Cassidy with Flight Engineers Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner will parachute to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft on Oct. 21 completing a 195-day station research mission.

SpaceX is targeting Oct. 23 for the launch of four astronauts on its first operational Crew Dragon mission. NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins will command the commercial crew vehicle piloted by first-time space flyer Victor Glover. They will be supported by Mission Specialists and veteran astronauts Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi for the six-month stay at the orbital lab. The quartet will join the Expedition 64 crew one day after launch.

Back on the space station today, Cassidy looked at Ivanishin’s retinas using non-invasive light wave technology, or optical coherence tomography. The commander then prepared Astrobee robotic assistants for an upcoming student competition before servicing an incubator and a science freezer. Ivanishin and Vagner continued checking power and life support systems in the station’s Russian segment.

As part of ongoing work to isolate the source of a slight increase above the standard cabin air leak rate, the Expedition 63 crew used specialized detectors to inspect several windows, seals and valves across the space station. Results from their inspections will be analyzed on the ground.

On-Orbit Status Report


Kibo Robot Programming Challenge Rehearsal: The Astrobee satellite performed several maneuvers and tasks as a checkout for the upcoming Robo Pro challenge. Astrobee was able to successfully perform several of the practice tasks for the rehearsal. The Kibo Robot Programming Challenge (Robo-Pro Challenge), also known as Kibo-RPC, allows students to create programs to control Astrobee, a free-flying robot aboard the International Space Station (ISS). This opportunity provides hands-on experience with science, technology, engineering and mathematics in space and inspires the next generation of explorers. This activity is based on Japan-U.S. cooperation through the Japan-US Open Platform Partnership Program (JP-US OP3).

MATISS 2.5 Remove: The crew removed two MatISS (Microbial Aerosol Tethering on Innovative Surfaces in the International Space Station) sample holders and prepared them for return to the ground. These samples have been deployed for one year, passively gathering data. The MATISS experiment investigates the antibacterial properties of various materials in space for possible application in future spacecraft. MATISS is expected to provide additional insight into the mechanisms of attachment of biofilms in microgravity conditions.

Space Automated Bioproduct Lab (SABL3): In preparation for the upcoming Onco-selectors experiment, a CO2 incubator controller system and CO2 probe/meter were installed in SABL3. SABL supports a wide variety of experiments in the life, physical and material sciences with a focus on supporting research of biological systems and processes. It has over 23 liters of temperature controlled volume with LED lighting for scientific hardware and experiments. It can be fitted to provide 5% CO2 for cell cultures and has two USB 2.0 ports and two Ethernet LAN connections. It also has switchable 28 Vdc and 5 Vdc power supplies for experiment use.


ISS Leak Detection Operations: Today, the crew used the Ultrasonic Leak Detector (ULD) to inspect for air leaks at the JEM windows, SM Windows #1 and #12, and DC1 EV hatch window #2. Ground teams are currently working to schedule a second isolation test over the upcoming weekend.

Health Maintenance System (HMS) Eye Exams: Today, the crew completed a routine eye exam 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.

Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis & Data Record: Crew performed an analysis of the water processing assembly (WPA) using the TOCA. The TOCA unit oxidizes organic carbon species present in the water to carbon dioxide gas and measures the concentration using nondispersive infrared spectroscopy. Analysis of the potable water using the TOCA occurs on a weekly basis. The crew also replaced the TOCA Waste Water Bag (WWB) to preclude overfill.

Completed Task List Activities:

In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Ultrasonic Leak Detector Leak Checks

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

Ground Supt for Astrobee Ops (ROBO PRO Rehearsal)
Nitrogen Repress (6mmHg)
SSRMS Soyuz Survey
Lab MCA Zero Calibration
LSR OGA PSM Valve Driver Check-Out Test
SSRMS Elbow Pitch Joint Testing

Look Ahead Plan

Friday, 9/25 (GMT 269)

Astrobee Off
MELFI Dewar Clean & Icebrick Insert


62S QDMA Fitcheck
C2V2 Checkout

Saturday, 9/26 (GMT 270)

No Payload Activities


Crew Choice Event
Crew Off Duty

Sunday, 9/27 (GMT 271)

No Payload Activities


Crew Off Duty

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

??? (Universal Bioengineering Thermostat). Checking ???-? No.07 thermostat temperature and unobstructed area near ???-? inlet/outlet vents
URAGAN. SOVA PL and photo equipment closeout ops and stowage
Measuring temperature of ????-1? (A307) housing and connectors on battery module No.7
Air sample collection using Draeger tube air sampler (???) in SM for CO
SM and LAB air sampling using ??-1? sampler
NanoRacks Cable Locate
Robot Programming Challenge Rehearsal
Life on the Station Russian Photo/Video
Actiwatch Plus HRF Rack 1 Setup/Stow Evaluation
Space Automated Bioproduct Lab, CO2 Incubator Installation
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis & Data Record
ULD familiarization
Pre-treatment of a distillate
Inspection, photography and ULD ultrasonic leak detector check of RS windows (SM windows #1, 12 and DC1 EV hatch window #2)
Uninstallation of MATISS Sample Holders
MELFI Icebrick Gather & Transfer
SEPARATION. ???-? swap in [???-?] urine water regeneration system
Food Physiology Crew Diet Briefing
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Ultrasonic Leak Detector JPM Windows
UF-ATMOSFERA. Hardware and electrical connections setup, check and activation
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Waste Water Bag (WWB) Changeout
Health Maintenance System (HMS) OCT2 Exam

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