Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 27 August 2019 – SpaceX Dragon Returns to Earth With Cargo Full of Research Results

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
August 28, 2019
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 27 August 2019 – SpaceX Dragon Returns to Earth With Cargo Full of Research Results
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 27 August 2019 - SpaceX Dragon Returns to Earth With Cargo Full of Research Results.

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 4:21 p.m. EDT (1:21 p.m PDT), approximately 300 miles southwest of Long Beach, California, marking the end of the company’s 18th contracted cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA.
The spacecraft returned more than 2,700 pounds of valuable scientific experiments and other cargo.

Some of the scientific investigations Dragon will return to Earth include:

Bio-Mining in Microgravity

The Biorock investigation provides insight into the physical interactions of liquid, rocks and microorganisms in microgravity and improving the efficiency and understanding of mining materials in space. Bio-mining eventually could help explorers on the Moon or Mars get needed materials on site, lessening the need for precious resources from Earth and reducing the amount of supplies explorers must take with them.

Mechanisms of Moss in Microgravity

Space Moss compares mosses grown aboard the space station with those grown on Earth to determine how microgravity affects its growth, development, and other characteristics. Tiny plants without roots, mosses need only a small area for growth, an advantage for their potential use in space and future bases on the Moon or Mars. This investigation also could yield information that aids in engineering other plants to grow better on the Moon and Mars, as well as on Earth.

Improving Tire Manufacturing from Orbit

The Goodyear Tire investigation uses microgravity to push the limits of silica fillers for tire applications. A better understanding of silica morphology and the relationship between silica structure and its properties could provide improvements for increased fuel efficiency, which would reduce transportation costs and help to protect Earth’s environment.

These are just a few of the hundreds of investigations aimed at keeping astronauts healthy during space travel and demonstrating technologies for future human and robotic exploration beyond low-Earth orbit, including missions to the Moon by 2024 and on to Mars. Space station research also provides opportunities for other U.S. government agencies, private industry, and academic and research institutions to conduct microgravity research that leads to new technologies, medical treatments, and products that improve life on Earth.

For more than 18 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration into deep space. A global endeavor, more than 230 people from 18 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 2,500 research investigations from researchers in 106 countries.

On-Orbit Status Report

60 Soyuz (60S) Status: Following Saturday morning’s aborted attempt to dock to MRM2 and subsequent 59S relocation to MRM2, 60S docked nominally to the Service Module (SM) Aft port yesterday at 10:08 PM CT. This uncrewed vehicle is currently scheduled to undock on September 6.

SpaceX (SpX)-18 Departure: Robotics Ground Controllers successfully released Dragon today utilizing the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) at 9:59 AM CT, while the Crew monitored its departure. Splashdown is planned at 3:20 PM CT.

Astrobee: The crew monitored the Astrobee system while the ground team performed software validations in preparation for the localization and mobility session on Wednesday. Astrobee is a series 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 ISS. The autonomous robots, powered by fans and vision-based navigation, perform crew monitoring, sampling, logistics management, and accommodate up to three investigations.

ISS Experience: The crew set up the ISS Experience camera system and recorded the Spacesuit and EVA presentation. In this recording the astronauts discussed the use of the spacesuits, their components, and spacesuit evolution over the years. They also discussed tools used during a space walk and aspects of the space walks themselves. The ISS Experience creates a virtual reality film documenting daily life aboard the ISS. The 8 to 10 minute videos created from footage taken during the six-month investigation cover different aspects of crew life, execution of science aboard the station, and the international partnerships involved. The ISS Experience uses a Z-CAM V1 Pro Cinematic Virtual Reality (VR) 360-degree camera with nine 190° fisheye lenses.

MVP-Cell-02: The crew installed twelve Everroad Modules into the Multi-use Variable-g Platform which initiated MVP-Cell-02 experiment. The investigation seeks to understand how organisms adapt to the space environment, an important component of future space exploration. Microbes may play fundamental roles in the development of biologically-based closed-loop regenerative life support, in-situ resource utilization, and will have extensive interactions with human and plant hosts. Further, microbes may pose challenges through virulence and contamination, and as nuisance factors such as biofilms in water supply and ventilation systems.

NanoRacks Module 82 Photo: The crew accessed the NanoRacks Module-82 stowed in NanoRacks Platform-3, took photos of the Palm Seed in the module, and restowed it. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Palm Tree Growth Experiment examines germination of palm tree seeds in order to determine the best conditions for generating tissue samples for research. A process for growing healthy plant tissue in microgravity could be adapted for testing other indigenous plants of scientific, commercial or educational interest in the UAE. The investigation also observes and documents root growth in microgravity for educational purposes.

NutrISS: Using the EveryWear application, the crew performed the ESA Nutritional Assessment. Long duration spaceflight induces relevant changes in body composition and a loss of body mass. In the NutrISS investigation, a periodic assessment of body composition (body weight, fat mass, and fat-free mass) during spaceflight aboard the 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.

Mobile Servicing System (MSS) Operations: Yesterday, the Robotics Ground Controllers powered up the MSS in the hot backup configuration. Today, the Ground Controllers demated SpaceX-18 Dragon from the Node2 Nadir Active Common Berthing Mechanism (ACBM) and maneuvered it to the release position with the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS). At 9:59 AM CT, the Ground Controllers released the Dragon and backed away the SSRMS while Crew monitored departure. After Dragon had departed, the Ground Controllers maneuvered the SSRMS to a park position and supported a video survey of the Node 2 Nadir ACBM with the SSRMS cameras. Later today and early tomorrow the SSRMS will be maneuvered and walked-off to the Mobile Base System (MBS) Power & Data Grapple Fixture 1 (PDGF 1), the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) will be un-stowed by SSRMS and the Mobile Transporter (MT) will translate from Worksite 6 (WS6) to WS2. From there the Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) payload survey will be performed.

Completed Task List Activities:
iPad Air 2 swap with iPad Pro for FE-5
AstroPi IR check
FSL FCE lock

Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
SpX-18 unberth
SSRMS walkoff to MBS1 (In work)
Payloads ops support

Look Ahead:
Wednesday, 8/28 (GMT 240)

AMS Zbook Deploy and Software load
Fluid Shifts setup
HRF rack handle r&r
Microgravity Crystal review
NUTRISS Enablement
Spacecraft Atmosphere Monitor (SCRAM) grab sample collection-LAB

EVA EMU loop scrub
AMS ZBook deploy

Thursday, 8/29 (GMT 241)

Biolab maintenance
Food Acceptability
Fluid Shifts
ISS Experience
RR hab restock and access unit clean
Slime check
Space Moss
Team Task Switching

EVA tool deconfig
JEMAL valve box remote controller frame swap prep

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

Dragon Vestibule Configuration for Demate
LSG Work Volume Stow
Photo of traces left by the Active Docking Assembly Probe on the SM Aft Passive Docking Assembly (АСП) Receiving Cone
JEM Camera Robot Preparation for JAXA-EPO-DRUN
Downlink of Docking Cone Internal Surface Photos via OCA
JEM ORU Transfer Interface (JOTI) Kit, Main Bus Switching Unit (MBSU) Maintenance Kit and Test Hardware Gather
BIOPLENKA. MICROVIR. Kit Transfer and Setup in Cryogem-03 (+4 deg C)
JEM Airlock Slide Table (ST) Extension to JPM Side
Kubik software update [Aborted]
Magnetic 3D-bioprinter. Hardware transfer from Soyuz 743
Handhold Exp Platform Adapter removal.
Magnetic 3D-bioprinter. Visual Inspection of the Cuvettes Kits
MPEP and Passive Capture Mechanism Removal from JEM Airlock Slide Table
Magnetic 3D-bioprinter Setup and moding ТБУ-В thermostat No.07 to +4 deg С
Crew Command Panel (CCP) Cable Route and Checkout
JEM Active Mechanism Tether Loop (JAT) Removal
JEM ORU Transfer Interface Installation
Environmental Health System (EHS) Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) Sample Collect
Turning off camcorder, TV System control equipment
Countermeasures System (CMS) Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Cylinder Flywheel Evacuation
JEM Airlock Slide Table (ST) Retraction from JPM Side
Cupola Window Shutter Close
Robotic Workstation (RWS) High Definition (HD) Monitor Downlink
Multi-use Variable-g Platform Historical Documentation Photography
JEM JEM Network Storage (NeST) Mesh Cleaning
Robotic Work Station (RWS) Dragon Release Procedure Review and Briefing
Space Station Remote Manipulator Systme (SSRMS) Dragon Release from Node 2 Nadir (N2N) Preparation
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Urine Processor Assembly (UPA) Brine Filter Changeout
Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) Dragon release and departure monitoring
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Drain
Robotic Workstation (RWS) High Definition (HD) Monitor Deactivation
Environmental Health System (EHS) Coliform Water Processing
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Drain Part 2
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) Sample Analysis
Crew Command Panel (CCP) Cable Deroute
Robotic Workstation (RWS) Teardown
NanoRacks Module-82 Photography
Stanchion Cover Build
Astrobee Monitor
COTS UHF Communication Unit (CUCU) Deactivation
In-Flight Maintenance Thermal Amine Closeout
Rodent Research Water Box and Light Check
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Sample Data Record

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