Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 29 January 2020 – Two Spacecraft Set to Leave

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
January 30, 2020
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 29 January 2020 – Two Spacecraft Set to Leave
NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan, both Expedition 61 Flight Engineers, work on orbital plumbing tasks inside the Waste and Hygiene Compartment aboard the International Space Station's Tranquility module. Credit: NASA. (Jan. 26, 2020)

The Expedition 61 crew’s schedule was packed today as they researched space biology and packed a pair of spaceships for departure.
Wednesday morning also saw the deployment of an experimental satellite outside the International Space Station.

Blood draws and eye checks are part of the crew’s regimen of biomedical activities to help doctors keep astronauts healthy during long-term space missions. Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) collected his blood samples this morning before spinning them in a centrifuge and stowing them in a science freezer for later analysis. NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Meir had her eyes scanned in the afternoon by fellow NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan using optical coherence tomography gear.

Meir and Morgan started the day finishing up packing the Cygnus space freighter with trash and discarded gear before it leaves at the end of the week. Cygnus will be detached from the Unity module with the Canadarm2 robotic arm and released into Earth orbit on Friday at 9:35 a.m. EST. NASA TV will cover the release and departure live as mission controllers on the ground remotely command all the robotics work.

Cygnus has another mission to deploy eight CubeSats for communications and atmospheric research once it reaches a safe distance away from the orbiting lab. The space station also saw the deployment early this morning of a Department of Defense CubeSat that is testing space weather and satellite sensor technology. That satellite was deployed outside of the Kibo laboratory module using the specialized Cyclops deployer.

Christina Koch of NASA is returning to Earth next week after 328 days in space on her first mission. She will land in Kazakhstan with Parmitano and cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov. The trio will board the Soyuz MS-13 crew ship, undock from the Poisk module and parachute to a landing Friday, Feb. 6, at 4:13 a.m. (3:13 p.m. Kazakh time).

Koch will be second only to former astronaut Scott Kelly who lived in space 340 days for the single longest spaceflight by a U.S. astronaut.

On-Orbit Status Report

CAL (Cold Atom Lab): The crew inspected, replaced when needed, and reconnected the Fiber Optics Cabling and ports. The CAL produces clouds of atoms that are chilled to about one ten billionth of a degree above absolute zero, much colder than the average temperature of deep space. At these low temperatures, atoms have almost no motion, allowing scientists to study fundamental behaviors and quantum characteristics that are difficult or impossible to probe at higher temperatures. In microgravity, researchers may be able to achieve even colder temperatures than what is possible on the ground, and observe these cold atom clouds for longer periods of time.

Confined Combustion: The crew continued the experiment using an acrylic samples with black baffles to ignite and observe combustion results. This project aims to study flame spread in confined spaces, specifically the interactions between spreading flames and surrounding walls. Flame spread in confined spaces (such as buildings and vehicles) may pose a more serious fire hazard than flame spread in open spaces because of acceleration caused by radiative heat feedback from the surrounding walls and a tunnel flow acceleration effect. However, several aspects of flame spread are difficult to study in normal gravity conditions. Gravity-driven buoyancy flow complicates the fire growth process and prohibits a fundamental understanding of the underlying physics. However, in microgravity, buoyancy is eliminated, allowing scientists to better study the physics of flame spread.

EXPRESS Rack (EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments for Space Station Racks): The crew verified the BIOS parameter setting for the Express 6 laptop and updated the software. The EXPRESS Racks support science experiments in any discipline by providing structural interfaces, power, data, cooling, water, and other items needed to operate science experiments in space.

Electro-static Levitation Furnace (ELF): The crew configured the Gas Bottle Unit to the open supply valve position and the ground initiated an experiment run. ELF is an experimental facility designed to levitate, melt and solidify materials by containerless processing techniques using the electrostatic levitation method. With this facility thermophysical properties of high temperature melts can be measured and solidification from deeply undercooled melts can be achieved.

Rodent Research-19 (RR-19): The crew stowed the Rodent Research Habitats 1 and 3. 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 and Activin signaling pathways to prevent skeletal muscle and bone loss during spaceflight and on the recovery of muscle and bone following return to Earth. This research could provide valuable preclinical data to support clinical trials for Myostatin 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.

SlingShot: The crew reviewed procedures for the Slingshot deployable installation onto the Cygnus hatch. SlingShot is a small satellite deployment system that fits inside the Cygnus spacecraft’s Passive Common Berthing Mechanism (PCBM). SlingShot can accommodate up to 18 satellites that are deployed post Cygnus unberth.

STPSat-4: The crew performed video and still imagery photography of the STPSat-4 satellite deployment via the Cupola windows. One of the four arrays (Modular RF Tiles experiment) did not deploy as expected after the satellite was launched. It is hopeful that free flying thermal conditions will eventually allow the array to mechanically deploy. Launched from the ISS, Space Test Program Satellite-4 (STPSat-4) is a suite automated for robotic space tools and sensors that test new equipment configurations and monitor space conditions. STPSat-4 specifically includes space weather sensors, solar panels, an antenna array and devices for tracking location of both satellites and their astronomic surroundings. This project demonstrates how a range of new technologies can be integrated on nanosatellite platforms.

Vascular Aging: The Crew ingested the glucose drink and later performed blood draws which were processed and placed in cold stowage. Emerging data point towards linkages among cardiovascular health risk, carotid artery aging, bone metabolism and blood biomarkers, insulin resistance, and radiation. Data indicate that aging-like changes are accelerated in many ISS crew members, particularly with respect to their arteries. As part of the Vascular Aging investigation, ultrasounds of the arteries, blood samples, oral glucose tolerance, and wearable sensors from ISS Crew members are analyzed.

AstroRad Vest: The Crew took photos of the AstroRad vest hardware during a day pass in the Cupola and Lab. The AstroRad Vest is a personal protective equipment (PPE) device which functions as a radiation shield for astronauts. The AstroRad shields astronauts from space-borne ionizing radiation in an efficient way, provides operational simplification, and allows for the use of recycled material on-board the vehicle. The concept behind the AstroRad evolved from a commercially available device (360 Gamma Shield), which is an effective wearable shield for first responders to radiation incidents on the Earth.


Northrop Grumman 12 (NG-12) Departure Preparation: With the NG-12 Cygnus spacecraft planned for departure this Friday January 31st, the ISS crew completed the final cargo transfers and close-out procedures including inspecting the packing straps, tucking-in loose straps, and taking images of the final cargo configuration.

On-Board Training (OBT) Soyuz Descent Training: In preparation for 59S departure scheduled for February 6th, Luca and Sasha performed an OBT using the Soyuz simulator. During the drill, they practiced a nominal descent and the transition to Manual Entry Control [???]. Responses to emergencies caused by nominal decent hazards were also reviewed.

Completed Task List Activities:
Dzus Fastener Photo Document
Rodent Research Sample Trash

Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
Thermal Amine de-activation
Lab CDRA activation
EPS ORU 5 year prefreshes
RWS power cycle

Thursday, 1/30 (GMT 030)
Vascular Echo Leg Scans and Blood Pressure Measurements (CSA)
HISUI data recover unit relocated to the Forward side of JPM106 panel (JAXA)
ELF Cartridge retrieve, clean and install (JAXA)
Standard Measures -Post sleep – (NASA)
Slingshot Deployer Install (NASA)
Saliva and blood collect for Standard measures and Vascular Echo (NASA)
Food Acceptability Survey (NASA)
Confined Combustion Ops (NASA)
ISS Experience H/W Stow (NASA)

59S Crew Departure Preparations
Cygnus Egress and Hatch Close
N1n CPA Installation
PMD Setup
N1 Nadir Depress
Cygnus Vestibule Depress

Friday, 1/31 (GMT 031)
Vascular Echo Leg Doppler scan (CSA)
DOSIS-3D passive detectors de-install (10 PDP and 1 TDP) (ESA)
CIMON procedures review and battery charge (ESA)
HOURGLASS removal from CBEF (JAXA)
CYCLOPS hardware JEM table retract and stow (NASA)
CBEF Disinfect prep and Humidifier 2 installation (JAXA)
JEMAL Slide Table retract and Cyclops hardware stow (NASA-JAXA)
Food Acceptability Survey (NASA)
VEGGIE Monitoring Review and surface Sample collect Photo (NASA)
MIS-RECYCLER Print removal and photo and material kit A insertion (NASA)
CAL Removal and Fiber Optics Inspection part 2 (NASA)
ISS Experience H/W Stow (NASA)

59S Crew Departure Preparations
Cygnus Command Link Verification
Cygnus Release Command and Monitoring
N1 Nadir VOK Stow
PMD Teardown

Saturday, 2/1 (GMT 032) Crew Off-Duty
CIMON unstow and sound-cam chk (ESA)
Probiotics Fecal collect (JAXA)
HRF Saliva setup (NASA)

59S Crew Departure Preparations
Portable Computer System (PCS) Connect
ISS Housekeeping

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

Reminder Probiotics Intake & Operations
KORREKTSIYA. Venous blood collection
Reminder 3 Vascular Aging CSA Generic Frozen Blood Collection
Reminder 3 Vascular Aging Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
Reminder 1 Vascular Aging Resting Ultrasound Scan
KORREKTSIYA. Processing venous blood sample using Plasma-03 centrifuge.
Insertion of Russian experiments blood samples into MELFI
KORREKTSIYA. Handover to USOS for MELFI Insertion
Vascular Aging MERLIN Sample Removal
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection
Satellite Deploy Video Setup
Vascular Aging Glucometer Reading And Drink Consumption
KORREKTSIYA. Data transfer from Actimeter device to data storage device
Waste Hygiene Compartment (WHC) to Internal EDV
Sampling condensate water [???] upstream of [???-?2?] Gas-Liquid mixture filter (???) to drink bags, end
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Insertion
Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
[????] Configuration for MRM1
Cell Biology Experiment Facility-Left (CBEF-L) and Video Compression and Recording Unit 2 (VRU2) Cable Reconfiguration 2
PROBIOVIT. Plugging into power outlet and activation of ???-? No.04 thermostat at +37 deg C
Collecting condensate water samples [???] up to ???-?2? ???, equipment setup, sampler installation
JEM Water Recovery System (JWRS) Bag Check
PROBIOVIT. Insertion of Probiovit kit No.3 in Glovebox-S and turning the light on.
ISS Crew departure preparation
CSA Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Operator
Cygnus Cargo Closeout
Vascular Aging HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection 15 Minutes Subject
PROBIOVIT. Filling Kit No. 3 Water container from [????].
Vascular Aging Glucometer Reading And Data Transfer
CSA Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Configuration
PROBIOVIT. Filling Kit No.3 “Product” container in Glovebox-S.
Collecting condensate water samples [???] up to [???-?2?] ???, sampler replacement
CSA Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Spin Conclude
CSA Generic MELFI Sample Insertion
EXPRESS Rack 6 ELC6 BIOS check
PROBIOVIT. Insertion of Probiovit kit No.4 in Glovebox-S.
Crew Departure Preparations for Return to Earth
Electrostatic Levitation Furnace (ELF) Gas Bottle Unit (GBU) valve opening
PROBIOVIT. Filling Kit No.4 Water container from [????].
ISS Experience Solid State Drive Change out
ISS Experience Z-Cam Setup on the MWA
PROBIOVIT. Filling Kit No.4 Product container in Glovebox-S.
Setup and Activate Crew Onboard Support Kit (????) Equipment for Soyuz 746 Descent OBT Mpeg2 TV coverage from SM
Countermeasures System (CMS) Treadmill 2 System (T2) Monthly Inspection
Soyuz 746 Descent OBT, Returning Equipment & Stowage Consultation.
Soyuz descent training
EXPRESS Rack ZBook Setup
PCS Laptop Relocate
PROBIOVIT. Kit retrieval from Glovebox-S, Transfer and insertion of Priobivit kits No.3 and No.4 in ???-? No.04 at +37 deg C. Photography.
Robotic Workstation (RWS) Setup
Hourglass Box installation to Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF)
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Sample Data Record
Confined Combustion Test Operations
Glacier Desiccant Swap
On MCC Go Deactivate camcorder, TV system monitoring equipment, close applications
HRF Generic Frozen Blood Collection Hardware Setup
Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Manual Fill Initiation
SlingShot Procedure Review 2
Relocate SSC6 from CUP to NOD2S6 to support OCT2 ops.
Sampling condensate water [???] upstream of [????-2?] ???, removing sampler, equipment disassembly
Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Manual Fill Termination
Cold Atom Lab Remove And Replace Fiber Optics Inspection Part 1
COLUMBUS Bay 1, 2, 3 restow
Soyuz 746 stowage operations
Recharging Iridium EXTREME 9575 phone in Soyuz 744 – configuration setup, start recharge
EDV Build for Water Balance
Thermal Amine Scrubber Powercycle
Gather Vestibule Outfitting Kit (VOK)
Metal Oxide (METOX) Regeneration Initiation
Food Acceptability Data Conference
Countermeasures System (CMS) Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Cylinder Flywheel Evacuation
Recharging Iridium EXTREME 9575 phone in Soyuz 744 – battery status check
Health Maintenance System (HMS) – OCT2 Exam
Recharging Iridium EXTREME 9575 phone in Soyuz 744 – Photography of configuration setup, disconnect the charge, disassemble the setup and stow
Standard Measures Pre-sleep Questionnaire
Reminder 2 Vascular Aging Resting Ultrasound Scan
Reminder HRF Generic Frozen Blood Collection
Reminder Standard Measures Multi-day Saliva Collection
HRF Generic Saliva Collection 10 Minutes
Reminder Max CEVIS Exercise E-1

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