Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 25 April 2018 – More Space Gardening

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
April 28, 2018
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 25 April 2018 – More Space Gardening
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 25 April 2018 - More Space Gardening.

The Expedition 55 crew is experimenting with space gardening today while packing research samples and cargo for return to Earth.
The space residents are also breaking down gear brought in from last month’s spacewalk and getting ready for the next spacewalk.

Botany research aboard the International Space Station helps scientists and astronauts learn how to grow food off Earth to sustain future missions. Today’s space gardening work performed by Flight Engineer Drew Feustel will test the automated nourishment of lettuce and mizuna greens grown in the Veggie facility. The plants will be harvested and samples sent back to Earth for analysis.

Botanical samples are just one example of the multiple types of research and cargo that is sent to Earth packed inside the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft. Radiation monitors that recorded exposure levels in the station’s crew quarters were collected by Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai today for stowage inside Dragon. Engineers on the ground will examine the radiation data and determine the exposure risk to the crew and develop countermeasures.

NASA astronauts Scott Tingle and Ricky Arnold disassembled an external television camera group (ETVCG) brought in from last month’s spacewalk. Tingle then replaced a failed light bulb in a light to be used on another ETVCG which will be installed on the next spacewalk scheduled for mid-May. Parts from the old ETVCG will be shipped back to Earth in Dragon for refurbishment.

Dragon is due for two more work days of packing before its return to Earth next week. Ground controllers will remotely detach Dragon from the Harmony module before releasing it from the grips of Canadarm2 into space at 10:22 a.m. EDT Wednesday, May 2. Tingle will monitor the robotics activities as NASA TV broadcasts the departure activities live starting at 10 a.m. Splashdown in the Pacific Ocean is planned for 4:02 p.m. and will not be seen on NASA TV.

On-Orbit Status Report

Integrated Communications Unit (ICU) R4 Transition: Yesterday, a software patch was loaded for the Ku-Band Command and Data Processer (KCDP) to correct the anomaly experienced where large packets of data were disrupting Ku Band forward data flow. After the load was complete, ground teams transitioned from KU Comm Unit (KCU)1 to KCU2, which contains the new R4 software, without issue. Two sporadic events were noticed, however, shortly after the transition: Intermittent Ku Forward Link Dropouts and KU Return power fluctuations impacted all Ku return end items. Engineering is monitoring the data as we continue to operate on KCU2. Ultimately, ICU R4 is expected to double the return link rate and storage record and playback rates from 256 Mbps to 517 Mbps.

Veggie Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System (PONDS): The crew installed the Veggie PONDS experiment hardware and then initiated the experiment. Organisms grow differently in space, from single-celled bacteria to plants and humans. Future long-duration space missions will require crew members to grow their own food. Understanding how plants respond to microgravity and demonstrating the reliable vegetable production on orbit are important steps toward that goal. Veggie PONDS uses a newly developed passive nutrient delivery system and the Veggie plant growth facility aboard the ISS to cultivate lettuce and mizuna greens which are to be harvested on-orbit, and consumed, with samples returned to Earth for analysis.

Miniature Exercise Device (MED-2): The crew set up cameras in Node 3 and the Cupola to capture video from multiple views of the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED). They applied body markers, performed exercises and then transferred the video for downlink. The ISS’s exercise equipment is large and bulky, while the MED-2 aims to demonstrate small robotic actuators can provide motion and resistance for crew workout sessions, reducing the size and weight of exercise equipment for long-duration space missions. The MED-2 technology is critical for the design and development of second and third generation countermeasure hardware that is an order of magnitude lighter and smaller than existing ISS countermeasure hardware and that has significantly greater reliability.

Mouse Stress Defense: The crew provided water to the Mouse Habitat Cage Units and checked their water nozzles today. Microgravity provokes cellular mechanical stresses and perturbs cellular signaling, leading to reduction of muscle and bone density. To overcome these stresses, one of the promising strategies is to activate Nrf2, a master regulator of antioxidant pathway. Mouse Stress Defense investigates how Nrf2 contributes to effective prevention of space-originated stresses.

Radiation Area Monitoring (RAM) retrieve: The crew retrieved a total of 68 Radiation Area Monitors from all four Crew Quarters for return on SpX-14. Radiation exposure levels in the four Node 2 Crew Quarters (CQs) significantly differ between the highest and lowest as measured by the passive Radiation Area Monitors (RAMs). Measurements using active instruments reflects the differences in CQ radiation levels. It is well understood that these differences arise from a non-isotropic trapped radiation source, coupled with irregular shield factors. In the past there has been only one RAM located in each CQ, so as part of a CQ radiation assessment it was necessary to deploy several more RAMs inside each CQ to gather more data on radiation levels. Ground specialist hope to improve risk and exposure management based on the data from this assessment.

External TV Camera Group (ETVCG) Disassembly and Bulb R&R: This morning the crew disassembled the ETCVG that was R&R’d on the Node 3 External Wireless Communication (EWC) US Extra-vehicular Activity (EVA). The purpose of this disassembly was to remove the Video Camera Luminare (VCL) with limited life remaining, and replace with a new VCL for future use. The disassembly proceeded nominally, but issues arose when testing the E2 (secondary) location, which is the backup light, on the ETVCG. During checkout of the secondary blub, there was a fault experienced that caused the upstream Utility Outlet Panel (UOP)’s relay to open. To determine if the bulb was the cause, the old VCL with limited life located in E1 (primary) was placed in the E2 location, and a new bulb installed in E1. The E1 bulb successfully illuminated and is considered operational.

Dragon Cargo Operations: Today the crew continued with loading Dragon cargo scheduled for return. The crew worked via the third Dragon Cargo Message, uploaded yesterday evening; ground specialists estimate 10h 30m of cargo operations remain. SpaceX-14 is currently scheduled to unberth on 2 May at 9:32 AM CDT.

Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Preparation: Today the crew set up the Enhanced Caution and Warning System (ECWS) Onboard Trainer to review operations of the EMU (ECWS) and practice EVA Cuff Checklist procedures. This task was the start of EVA preparation for US EVA 50, currently planned on May 16.

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

Hematocrit Test
FAZOPEREKHOD. Preparation steps and starting the experiment
ISL Ethernel Cable swap of the AstroPi Vis in COL
Configuration following Water Processing Assembly (WPA) Activation
24-hour ECG Recording (start)
Powering up of AstroPi Vis in Columbus
SPHERES Rechargeable Battery Install
Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Pre-Treat Tank Remove &
HRF2 BRIC Retrieve
24-hour Blood Pressure Recording (start)
Cleanup HRF-2 rotation path
Verification of ??-1 Flow Sensor Position
High Definition (HD) Config LAB Setup
HRF2 Troubleshoot Disconnect
IMS Update
Replacement of ???-? in ???-?2?
Crew Prep for PAO
COL1A4 HRF2 Rack Rotate Down
TV-Conference with the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation (Ku + S-band)
Retrieval of PCG-9 Hardware from MELFI
SPHERES Rechargeable Battery Charge and Stow
Second Inspection of Sample Bags for Crystal Growth – Rerun of GMT 108
HRF2 BRIC Change
Extraction of Liquid from Sample Bags and Association Photos – Rerun of GMT 108 [Deferred]
Interest Photos and Recorded Video for Downlink
ABOUT GAGARIN FROM SPACE. HAM Radio Session with the Artek tour campers
Regen Urine Processing Assembly (UPA) 6.3 Setup
DAN. Experiment Session
Lab Light Connector Capping
COL1A4 HRF2 Rack Rotate Up
Medical Consumables Tracking Battery Change-out
MATRYOSHKA-R. Replacing Personal Hygiene Items (???) in the Bottom Store of the Protective Screen Experimental Hardware (middle left, middle right, and upper) and photography in the starboard crew quarters
Recovery of Condensate Feed Unit (???)
MERLIN Desiccant Swap
Regen Urine Processing Assembly (UPA) 6.3 Initiation
Columbus Bay 4 Restore
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) – Lab
Filling (separation) of ??? (???) for Elektron or ???-??
Multi-use Variable-g Platform Desiccant Replace
SPHERES Rechargeable Battery Charge and Stow
Regen Urine Processing Assembly (UPA) 6.3 Teardown
??? Maintenance
US Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Tether Inspection
Oxygen Generation System (OGS) Oxygen ORU Flight Support Equipment (FSE) Removal
US Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Tether and CL Bag Inspection
Joint Station Lan (JSL) Firewall Install in NODE 2
SPHERES Rechargeable Battery Charge and Stow
Checking ??-2 treadmill carriage position
Downlink via RSPI of audio files recorded by acoustic logger during Soyuz 738 flight
Circadian Rhythms Instrumentation with Armband
SPHERES Rechargeable Battery Charge and Stow

Completed Task List Activities

Ground Activities
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
Nominal Ground Commanding

Three-Day Look Ahead:
Thursday, 04/26: SM 8.10 uplink, MSS MTT Insertion to JOTI, Node 3 LTL PPA R&R, EVA Prep (EMU swap, EMU water dump), Dragon Cargo Ops, Dragon LiOH install, Meteor HD Swap, Mouse Stress Defense, Circadian Rhythms.
Friday, 04/27: N3 EWCS installation, Dragon Cargo Ops, N3 MCA ORU Removals, CUCU checkout, MISSE MTT Removal and Stow, JEM Camera Robot Checkout, Tangolab Card Swap, and RMCT/SPDM Stow for walkoff.
Saturday, 04/28: Housekeeping, DUST Sample Collection, SSRMS walkoff to Node 2 PDGF, Edge Router to BRI Troubleshooting, Crew Off Duty

QUICK ISS Status – Environmental Control Group:
Component – Status
Elektron – On
Vozdukh – Manual
[???] 1 – SM Air Conditioner System (“SKV1”) – Off
[???] 2 – SM Air Conditioner System (“SKV2”) – Off
Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Lab – Operate
Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Node 3 – Standby
Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Lab – Operate
Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Node 3 – Standby
Oxygen Generation Assembly (OGA) – Process
Urine Processing Assembly (UPA) – Process
Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS) Lab – Full Up
Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS) Node 3 – Off

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