Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 27 December 2019 – Celebrating Christina Koch’s Record

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
December 30, 2019
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 27 December 2019 – Celebrating Christina Koch’s Record
NASA astronaut Christina Koch broke a major space record this weekend! On Saturday, Koch spent her 289th day orbiting Earth on the International Space Station, setting a new record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman. Congratulations to Christina on reaching new heights! Credit: NASA.

The Expedition 61 crew is learning how to live and work in space and researching ways to adapt to long-term human spaceflight. Meanwhile, the International Space Station is orbiting higher today to support Russian spacecraft activities planned for 2020.
Rodents are being studied aboard the orbiting lab today since their physiology is similar to humans and reacts the same way to microgravity. NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan set up the Life Sciences Glovebox to research therapies that may prevent space-caused muscle and bone loss in mice. Commander Luca Parmitano and Flight Engineer Jessica Meir supported the research activities cleaning the rodent habitats and feeding the mice.

Safety in a spacecraft is crucial for the success of long-term mission to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Combustion research on the station helps scientists understand how a variety of materials burn and how flames expand in weightlessness. NASA Flight Engineer Christina Koch used the Microgravity Science Glovebox today observing how different fabrics burn under controlled conditions. Results could improve fire safety on Earth and in space.

Veteran cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka conducted a variety of space research in the orbital lab’s Russian segment. The duo partnered together in the morning for an exercise study. Skvortsov also explored ways to detect micrometeoroid impacts on the station. Skripochka routed and installed cables supporting a study to observe and forecast Earth catastrophes.

Overnight, a docked Progress 74 cargo craft fired its engines in a sequence of two burns raising the space station’s orbit. The orbital maneuvers set the stage for upcoming Soyuz crew ship and Progress cargo craft missions scheduled in 2020.

On-Orbit Status Report

Confined Combustion: The crew continued the test sessions using fabric and acrylic samples. The crew was very active in the investigation and performed the ignitions, gave visual observations of the flames, and adjusted the fan speed and other parameters as-needed. Confined Combustion examines the behavior of flame as it spreads in differently-shaped confined spaces in microgravity. Flame spread observations are translated into mathematical models for use in understanding the results and applying them to areas with different shapes. In a recent NASA project (Saffire), a large-scale flame spread investigation shows that flames spread more slowly in a large confined space than in a smaller space even if all other environmental conditions are the same (oxygen, pressure, flow speed, etc). The faster flame spread in smaller chambers is suspected to be due to a combination of thermal expansion during combustion and tunnel flow acceleration. Radiation heat feedback from chamber walls may also be a factor.

ISS Experience astronaut log: The crew participated in an astronaut log recording session. Among some of the items discussed were the effects of spaceflight on human eyesight, sound in space, the current mission and training to prepare for it, etc. 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.

Rodent Research-19: In support of the continuing RR-19 science session, the crew performed routine activities including habitat restocks and access unit cleaning. Mighty Mice in Space: Preclinical Evaluation of a Broad Spectrum Myostatin Inhibitor to Prevent Muscle and Bone Loss Due to Disuse uses rodent models on the ISS to investigate the potential benefits of targeting the myostatin (MSTN) and activin signaling pathways to prevent skeletal muscle and bone loss during spaceflight. It also looks at the effect on the recovery of muscle and bone following return to Earth. This research could provide valuable preclinical data to support clinical trials for MSTN therapies for a wide range of conditions that affect muscle and bone health. Such research is particularly important for conditions that involve disuse muscle atrophy (muscle wasting due to immobility or lessened activity)–for example, patients recovering from hip fracture surgery, intensive care patients, and the elderly.

SPHERES-ReSwarm prep: The crew located the batteries needed for next week’s SPHERES-ReSwarm session. Unfortunately, due to adapter issues, charging was not able to be performed on any of the batteries and the ReSwarm session next week will be aborted. Due to software license issues, it will not be possible to reschedule the session, which was intended to be a continuation of partially complete science objectives from previous sessions. Swarms of small spacecraft are expected to become feasible in the near future, creating a new range of capabilities for Earth and space observation missions. The ReSwarm control algorithms are applicable to swarms of small to femto-spacecraft. They scale easily with the formation size and remain applicable to multiple mission scenarios.


Lab Port 6 (LAB1P6) Common Cabin Air Assembly (CCAA) Components Remove and Replace (R&R): The crew completed replacement of the degraded LAB1P6 CCAA Heat Exchanger and Water Separator with on-orbit spares. After the R&R, the crew had some trouble attaching the degraded Heat Exchanger to the Flight Support Equipment (FSE) needed for return. Ground teams are assessing a forward plan to configure the Heat Exchanger for return. The CCAA is the primary component responsible for the control of temperature and humidity in the USOS segment and consists of a fan, a condensing heat exchanger, an air/water separator, temperature and liquid sensors, and electrical controlling hardware.

ISS Reboost: Last night, the ISS performed a nominal reboost using the Progress 74P Mid-Ring thrusters. 74P is docked to DC1-Nadir. This reboost is one in a series of reboosts targeting conditions for the 2020 Russian Visiting Vehicle plan.

Completed Task List Activities:

Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Payload Operations Support

Friday, 12/27 (GMT 361)
Confined Combustion
Food Acceptability
ISS Experience
Rodent Research-19
Standard Measures
SPHERES reswarm prep (not successful)


Saturday, 12/28 (GMT 362) – Off Duty Day
No utilization activities

No systems activities

Sunday, 12/29 (GMT 363) – Off Duty Day
No utilization activities

No systems activities

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

Preparation of reports for Roscosmos website and social media
SCENARIY. Observation and photography of catastrophic events and their aftermath. Monitoring of fires in the south of Australia
ECON-M. Observation and Photography
Standard Measures Post-sleep Questionnaire
Hematocrit Test
Hematocrit Hardware Stowage
SPHERES Rechargeable Battery Install
Common Cabin Air Assembly (CCAA) Maintenance Big Picture Words Review
ISS crew and ГОГУ (RSA Flight Control Management Team) weekly conference (S-band)
In-Flight Maintenance (IFM) Common Cabin Air Assembly (CCAA) Stowage Gather
IMS Tag-up (S-band)
PROFILAKTIKA-2. Preparation for the Experiment.
IDENTIFIKATSIYA. Copy ИМУ-Ц micro-accelerometer data to laptop
ISS Experience JEM Setup
PROFILAKTIKA-2. MO-3 Test Assistance.
PROFILAKTIKA-2. Perform the experiment IN ROTATION MODE per БД-2 and МО-3
ISS Experience Recording Preparation
PROFILAKTIKA-2. Closeout Ops.
In-Flight Maintenance (IFM) Common Cabin Air Assembly (CCAA) Heat Exchanger Remove and Replace
ISS Experience Astronaut Log Recording
Vozdukh Atmosphere Purification System [СОА] Switchover to Mode 1 (Valve Group БВК1, БВК2). [СОА] Cycle =30 min, Vacuum Pump [ВН] cycle -1 min, Air Flow = 100%
PAO Preparation
Public Affairs Office (PAO) High Definition (HD) Config Columbus Setup
PROFILAKTIKA-2. Hygiene Procedures
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) in Columbus
SM Air Sampling for CO using ИПД Samplers
ISS Experience Record Conclude
Collecting SM and FGB Air Samples Using АК-1М Sampler
Food Acceptability Survey
ISS Experience Hardware Relocate
Confined Combustion Test Operations
LSG Work Volume Deploy
Video Recording of Greetings
PILOT-T. Preparation for the experiment.
URAGAN. Routing and installation of cable 17КС.600Ю8260А59-30.
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Respiratory Support Pack (RSP) – Checkout
Power on the Adlink Mini PC
PILOT-T. Experiment Ops.
Rodent Research Habitat Restock
URAGAN. Routing and installation of cables 17КС.600Ю8260А59-10 and 17КС.600Ю8260А59-20.
PILOT-T. Closeout Ops
Rodent Research Polar Sample Removal
СОЖ maintenance
LSG Secondary Crew Restraint Unfold
Rodent Research Weekly Injection
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Food Intake Tracker (ISS FIT)
Return CCAA Airflow back to nominal
IMS Delta File Prep
ISS Experience Hardware Stow
LSG Secondary Crew Restraint Fold
Rodent Research Access Unit Clean
LSG Work Volume Stow
SPHERES Rechargeable Battery Charge and Stow
Reminder Rodent Research Thermal Consideration

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