Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 28 August, 2020 – Mission Control Normal Operations Resume

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
August 31, 2020
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 28 August, 2020 – Mission Control Normal Operations Resume
The night lights of the southeastern U.S. are pictured as the International Space Station orbited over the Gulf of Mexico. Credit: NASA.

Mission controllers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center are returning to normal operations today after setting backup control centers at remote locations.
The International Space Station support team returned to Houston after setting up remote operations earlier this week when Hurricane Laura neared the Texas-Louisiana border.

The three Expedition 63 crew members continued their standard science and maintenance tasks this week after orbiting above Laura and sending down video and imagery of the storm. This comes after a four-night stay in the station’s Russian segment during a test to locate the source of a minor cabin air pressure leak.

Today, Commander Chris Cassidy worked on swapping components on a U.S. oxygen generator. He replaced a hydrogen sensor then cleaned the critical life support device. Afterward, the NASA astronaut checked samples in the Materials Science Laboratory which processes experiments to discover new uses for a variety of materials such as metals, alloys, polymers, and more.

Veteran cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin worked Friday morning servicing communications gear inside the Soyuz MS-16 crew ship. During the afternoon, the three-time station resident handed Russian radiation detection gear to Cassidy for deployment in the orbiting lab’s U.S. segment.

First-time space flyer Ivan Vagner of Roscosmos spent his day focusing on a variety of space technology studies using advanced photography gear. He explored ways to improve orbital navigation and improve the detection of landmarks on Earth.

On-Orbit Status Report


MSRR/MSL (Materials Science Laboratory) SCA exchange: The crew removed the processed calibration cartridge and inserted the first ESA batch-2b Sample Cartridge Assembly (SCA). Batch-2b serves two projects investigating how different phases organize in a structure when metallic alloys are solidified. The project Metastable Solidification of Composites (METCOMP) studies the phase formed by the reaction of the remaining liquid phase with an already formed solid, to form a second solid phase on cooling. For this purpose, Bronze (Copper-Tin Alloys) of different compositions will be processed. The other project, Solidification along a Eutectic path in Ternary Alloys (SETA), looks at how two phases that form together organize into lamellar, or fiber, structures when cooling Aluminum (Copper-Silver Alloys). Both projects will provide benchmark samples that will enable to test numerical models that aim to predict these structures.

Radi-N2 Deploy: Chris retrieved the Radi-N2 detector package from the Russian crew and deployed the eight bubble detectors at the NODE2 Panel P3 location where they will remain for one week. The objective of this Canadian Space Agency investigation is to better characterize the ISS neutron environment, define the risk posed to the crew members’ health, and provide the data necessary to develop advanced protective measures for future spaceflight. It’s been recognized that neutrons make up a significant fraction (10-30%) of the biologically effective radiation exposure in low-Earth orbit. The bubble detectors used in the investigation are designed to detect neutrons and ignore all other radiation.


Oxygen Generation System (OGS) Hydrogen (H2) Sensor Orbital Replacement Unit (ORU) Remove & Replace (R&R): Today, the crew performed an R&R of the OGS H2 sensor and cleaned the associated Avionics Air Assembly (AAA) inlet. The H2 sensor R&R is routine maintenance activity and is necessary due to nominal degradation of the H2 sensor materials over time. Following today’s R&R, ground specialists will conduct a checkout of the new sensor.

Hurricane Laura Response/Backup Control Center (BCC) Ops: Today, the Houston flight control team (FCT) resumed control of ISS operations from the Backup Control Center Activation Team (BAT) located in Palestine, TX. The MCC-H team began the shift logged in to the BCC platform and transitioned to the Mission Critical Environment (MCE) today. Final close-out steps to return MCC-H to nominal operations should be complete by the end of the day. Hurricane Laura made landfall on August 27th in Cameron, LA located approximately 125 miles east of the MCC-H. The Houston area remained unscathed by the impacts of the storm.

Completed Task List Activities:

PMM1O2 Cleanup
WORF Failed Light Bulb Replacement
ExPRESS Rack Failed Light Bulb Replacement
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Ground Support for OGS R&R
Transition from BCC to MCE
Look Ahead Plan

Saturday, 8/29 (GMT 242)

Payload NAS Vent Clean

Crew Off Duty
Sunday, 8/30 (GMT 243)

POLAR2 Desiccant Swap

Crew Off Duty
Monday, 8/31 (GMT 244)

JEMAL Depress
Plant Habitat-02 Prep B
SCRAM MCA Plug Install

OBT ROBoT Proficiency
Rack Transfer BPW Review
ER-10 Rack Transfer Gather/Prep
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

TBU. Check temperature
ISS Crew and ???? (RSA Flight Control Team) weekly conference
URAGAN. Earth imagery with use of still camera
VEKTOR-T. Hardware preparation & setup
Inspection of voltage converter ??28-120 (behind SM panel 231?)
Filling ??? (KO?) for Elektron
Oxygen Generation System (OGS) Hydrogen Sensor R&R
Recharging Iridium EXTREME 9575 phone in Soyuz 745 – battery status check
Checkout of Condensate Supply Unit (???) from spares. ??? replacement
MATRIOSHKA-R. Initialization & Handover. Tritel Hardware Monitoring
VIZIR. Session with Photo image coordinate referencing – smart drawers system (????-??)
Radiation Dosimetry Inside ISS-Neutrons Hardware Handover & Deploy
Weekly Checkout of RS video recording equipment
Combustion Integrated Rack Hardware Return
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Food Intake Tracker (ISS FIT)
?? ISS plug inventory
Inventory Management System (IMS) Conference
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) – Node 1 Camcorder Towards Airlock
Material Science Laboratory SCA Exchange2B #15
Urine Transfer System Offload EDV Swap
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Inspection

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