Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 25 July 2019 – Dragon Launched and Astronauts Prepare for Saturday Capture

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
July 28, 2019
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 25 July 2019 – Dragon Launched and Astronauts Prepare for Saturday Capture
Mission Controllers in Houston watch the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft launch atop the Falcon 9 rocket from Florida on its way to the space station. Credit: NASA.

The SpaceX Dragon cargo resupply ship has launched and reached orbit.
Dragon’s solar arrays have deployed and the spacecraft is safely in orbit following a launch on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 6:01 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, carrying more than 5,000 pounds of research, hardware and supplies to the International Space Station. Dragon is scheduled to arrive at the orbiting laboratory Saturday, July 27.

NASA astronauts Nick Hague will grapple Dragon with Christina Koch acting as a backup. NASA’s Andrew Morgan will assist the duo by monitoring telemetry during Dragon’s approach. The station crew will monitor Dragon vehicle functions during rendezvous. After Dragon capture, ground commands will be sent from mission control in Houston for the station’s arm to rotate and install it on the bottom of the station’s Harmony module.

Less than a week into their mission, astronauts Drew Morgan and Luca Parmitano are exploring how living in space impacts their visual perception and spatial orientation. The duo took turns wearing virtual reality goggles today testing how they evaluate motion and distance while free-floating.

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Nick Hague, who have been in space since March, split their schedule today between science and maintenance work. Koch set up cameras in the Columbus lab module to record Morgan and Parmitano during their experiment work. She then measured airflow throughout the station’s U.S. segment.

Hague started his day on plumbing replacing urine-recycling tanks in the Tranquility module. In the afternoon, he stowed algae samples into a science freezer and serviced a 360-degree camera that records cinematic, virtual reality experiences for audiences on Earth.

Cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Alexander Skvortsov researched cardiac activity in the station’s Russian segment this morning. Afterward, Commander Ovchinin worked on communications gear before moving on to a space physics experiment. Skvortsov continued unloading the Soyuz MS-13 crew ship and updating the station’s inventory system.

All six crewmates started Thursday morning measuring their body mass. A device applies a known force to a crewmember with the resulting acceleration providing an accurate value of their body mass in microgravity. The mass measurement principle is based on Newton’s Second Law of Motion stating that force equals mass times acceleration.

On-Orbit Status Report

SpaceX (SpX)-18 Launch Status: Following yesterday’s launch postponement due to unfavorable weather conditions, SpX-18 launched successfully today at 5:01 PM CT from Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 40. Dragon capture and berthing are scheduled to occur on Saturday, July 27. SpX-18 Dragon will deliver ~1680 kg of pressurized cargo and ~530 kg of unpressurized cargo to the ISS.

Photobioreactor: The crew retrieved two sample syringes and placed them into cold stowage for return on SpX-18. Remaining PBR hardware was removed from the cold stowage and trashed. Today the life support systems that sustain astronauts in space are based on physicochemical processes. The Photobioreactor investigation aims at demonstrating that microalgae (i.e. biological processes) can be used together with existing systems to improve recycling of resources, creating a hybrid life support system. This hybrid approach could be helpful in future long-duration exploration missions, as it could reduce the amount of consumables required from Earth, and will first be tested in space on the ISS.

NutrISS: The crew performed the first Bioelectrical impedance Analysis measurement. Long duration spaceflight induces relevant changes in body composition and a loss of body mass. In the Nutrition Monitoring for the International Space Station (NutrISS) investigation, a periodic assessment of body composition (body weight, fat mass, and fat-free mass) during spaceflight aboard the International Space Station (ISS) is carried out using a dedicated bio-impedance analysis device to allow for the measurement of long-term energy balance modification over time. On the basis of this data, it is hypothesized that an adjusted diet maintaining a near-neutral energy balance, and/or increasing protein, intake can limit microgravity-induced bone and muscle loss of crew members.

PK-4 (Plasma Krystall-4): The crew initiated the 2nd run of the PK-4 experiment and changed the hard drive. 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.

VECTION: The crew completed VECTION Experiment sessions. 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.

Velocicalc Airflow Measurement Survey: In support of monitoring the ISS InterModule Ventilation (IMV) health, the crew used the Velocicalc device and measurement aids to measure the air flow exiting and entering outlets throughout the USOS modules. In addition to flow rate measurement, inspections were performed in select locations.

Completed Task List Activities:
Equipment Hook RET S/N Label

Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
Velocicalc airflow measurement survey
Payloads ops support

Look Ahead:
Friday, 7/26 (GMT 207)

Biorock On-board Training (ESA)
RR-17 Transfer conference (NASA)
NanoRacks Module 9 On-board Training (NASA)
PK-4 Run 3 and HD exchange (Joint)
ELF Gas Bottle Unit valve close (JAXA)

TBD pending SpX-18

Saturday – Sunday, 7/27 – 7/28

TBD pending SpX-18

TBD pending SpX-18

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

??-4. Hard drive exchange
Recycle Tank Drain
USOS Window Shutter Close
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Inspection
Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) and Image Processing Unit (IPU) Video Cable Connection Part 2
Recycle Tank Drain Part 2
Progress 441 (DC1) Stowage and IMS Ops
Biolab items retrieval from JSB S/N 5141
Recycle Tank Remove and Replace
??-4. Run 2
Handover of Increment 60 Crew
Verify cover closure on SM windows 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14
Study Of Cardiac Bioelectric Activity At Rest
Vection Crew Member Training
ISS Experience Solid State Drive Change out
Relocate LAB Cobalt Bricks
Photobioreactor Melfi Retrieve
Setup and Activation of Crew Onboard Support Kit Equipment for coverage via RGS
Photobioreactor Melfi Insert
TV (ISS-MCC) TV coverage via RGS
Photobioreactor Melfi Retrial Final
JAXA EPO Item Gather
Vacuum Cleaning of ??1 and ??2 air ducts in DC1
??-4. Run 2
IMV Flow Measurement Survey
On MCC GO Filling up Progress 441 (DC1) ???? Section 2 with N2
TV (ISS-MCC) TV coverage via RGS
ISS Experience Solid State Drive Change out
TV System Closeout after RS TV coverage via RGS
Preventive Maintenance of pressure sealing mechanisms of DC1 [???] hatch cover and Progress 441 [ACA] hatch cover
PK-4. Chamber Gas Exchange
Eye Stain Medical Tech Demo
Crew Command Panel (CCP) Cable Route and Checkout

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