Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 3 July 2019 – VEG-04 Research Study

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
July 5, 2019
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 3 July 2019 – VEG-04 Research Study
Expedition 60 Flight Engineer Christina Koch of NASA playfully demonstrates how fluids behave in the weightless environment of microgravity aboard the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA - June 29, 2019)

The Expedition 60 crew explored space biology and radiation exposure aboard the International Space Station today. The orbital residents also filmed a virtual reality experience and oversaw the deployment of a set microsatellites.
NASA astronaut Christina Koch tended plants and stored microalgae samples for a pair of biology studies investigating ways to support long-term missions farther away from Earth. The two-part VEG-04 study is researching space agriculture as a method to nourish future crews as NASA prepares to go to the Moon and beyond. Microalgae is being observed for the Photobioreactor experiment that aims to demonstrate a hybrid life support system.

A series of seven CubeSats were deployed outside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module today. NASA Flight Engineer Nick Hague configured the seven microsatellites last week and installed them in a Kibo’s small satellite deployer. An international team of engineers and students designed the CubeSats for a variety of experiments and technology demonstrations.

Both astronauts teamed up in the afternoon for another filming session depicting life aboard the orbital outpost. The crew has been videotaping a cinematic, virtual reality experience on the station to share with audiences on Earth.

Commander Alexey Ovchinin set up radiation detectors throughout the station’s Russian segment this morning. The Matroyshka experiment is observing the amount of radiation the station and the crew are exposed to on its flight path.

The orbiting trio will take a day off on July 4 and relax aboard the station. Back on Earth, a new set of Expedition 60 crewmates will fly from Russia on the U.S. Independence Day to their launch site at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Astronauts Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano are in final preparations with cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov for a July 20 liftoff to their new home in space. Their launch comes 50 years to the day NASA landed humans on the Moon for the first time.

On-Orbit Status Report

Fluids Integrated Rack (FIR)/Light Microscopy Module (LMM): The crew replaced the confocal camera which stopped responding on June 22. The confocal system allows observation of very narrow depths-of-field in 3 dimensional samples, essentially allowing many different layers of the sample to be observed and later reconstructed as a 3 dimensional image. Recovery of this system will allow the currently installed ACE-T10 primary science to continue.

ISS HAM Pass: The crew participated in a HAM pass with Santa Barbara Public Library, Santa Barbara, CA. Every summer, the Santa Barbara Public Library holds a Summer Reading and Learning Program for readers of all ages, which especially targets school age children. The students’ questions involved how the crew takes a shower, if the ISS has ever been hit by space debris, and the difference in the speed of radio waves in space. ISS Ham Radio provides opportunities to engage and educate students, teachers, parents and other members of the community in science, technology, engineering and math by providing a means to communicate between astronauts and the ground HAM radio units.

Nano Rack CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD)-16: Seven satellites were successfully launched in 4 separate deployments today.

The IOD-1 GEMS satellite demonstrates a commercial microwave weather observation satellite service developed by Orbital Micro Systems. This technology could provide more accurate and timely weather data and help reduce the cost of weather observation infrastructure.
The KRAKsat tests the concept of using a ferrofluid reaction wheel device to stabilize a nanosatellite. Swiatowid studies miniaturization technology in space within the CubeSat.
EntrySat measures its trajectory, orientation and heating processes during re-entry phase which will assist with atmosphere and debris re-entry understanding.
The 3 Virginia CubeSat Constellation CubeSats obtain measurements of the orbital decay of multiple satellites to obtain in situ quantification of atmospheric drag and the variability of atmospheric properties.
The NRCSD is a self-contained CubeSat deployer system for small satellites staged from the ISS. It is transported to orbit inside cargo resupply vehicles and utilizes the ISS Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) as a staging facility for operation.

Photobioreactor (PBR) Troubleshooting: As a continuation of the troubleshooting efforts, the crew replaced the power cable for the PBR. Although the PBR has been non-responsive for more than a week, ground team believes the algae contained in the system may still be viable. Currently, 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.

Radi-N2 deploy: The crew deployed the 8 bubble detectors at the Node1O3 Rack Front location. 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 detect neutrons and ignore all other radiation.

The ISS Experience: The crew set up the ISS Experience hardware and recorded the insertion of Icebricks into a MELFI (Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS) and crew social interaction. 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.

Veg-04A: The crew performed a routine plant check, watered the plants, and weighed broken leaves using the Mass Measurement Device. A healthy, nutritious diet is essential for long-duration exploration missions, which means that the typical pre-packaged astronaut diet needs to be supplemented by fresh foods during flight; the Veggie Vegetable Production System (Veggie) has begun testing aboard the space station to help meet this need, and validation tests have demonstrated that leafy greens can be grown in spaceflight. The research of Veg-04A focuses on the impact of light quality and fertilizer on leafy crop growth for a 28-day grow-out, microbial food safety, nutritional value, taste acceptability by the crew, and the overall behavioral health benefits of having plants and fresh food in space.

Remote Power Controller Module (RPCM) LAD62B_A Remove & Replace (R&R): On June 30, this RPCM tripped and could not be reclosed. The signature indicated a Field Effect Transistor (FET) Controller Hybrid failure, which requires the RPCM to be R&Rd to restore functionality. The crew performed the R&R today and stowed the degraded RPCM. Ground teams subsequently performed a successful activation and restored power to the affected smoke detector within the Lab.

Water Storage System (WSS) Leak Inspection: The crew opened the WSS resupply tank top and bottom covers, removed the potable tank soft cover and checked the Water Storage System QDs and confirmed the manifold had no leaks. The crew also removed the air vent insert on the rear of air manifold on the controller panel to increase vent capability.

Treadmill 2 (T2) Quarterly Maintenance: The crew performed regularly scheduled maintenance to inspect isolators, bottom corner hardware witness marks, and bottom snubbers for signs of free play.

Completed Task List Activities:
WRS restow
SPHERES beacon stow
EEGS IP install
ARED slide cover fix
AQM power cycle

Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
CubeSat deploy
LMM confocal camera R&R

Look Ahead:
Thursday, 7/4 (GMT 185)

VEG-04 check and MMD

Crew holiday

Friday, 7/5 (GMT 186)

CBEF water bag photo
ECHO maintenance
ER1 Zbook setup
Food Acceptability
FROST condensate cleaning
GLACIER sample transfer
MVP door replacement
VEG-04 check and MMD

ER1 ZBook setup
T2 quarterly maintenance
EMU swap

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

Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) Sample Collect
XF305 Camcorder Setup
Two-Phase Flow Experiment Equipment Valves Setting
Water Storage System (WSS) Acoustic Test Setup
AMPROBE 38XR-A Multimeter R&R
TOCA Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) Sample Analysis
RPCM LAB1D6 Remove and Replace
Connect SSC4 to alternate power source.
ISS Experience Lab Setup
MATRYOSHKA-R. Prep and Initialization of Bubble-Dosimeter Detectors
Radiation Dosimetry Inside ISS-Neutrons Hardware Handover
MATRYOSHKA-R. Handover of BUBBLE-dosimeter detectors to USOS
Radiation Dosimetry Inside ISS-Neutrons
MATRYOSHKA-R. BUBBLE-dosimeter initialization and deployment for exposure
NanoRacks CubeSat Deployment Photos
TOCA Sample Data Record
Environmental Health System (EHS) Coliform Water Processing
[СТТС] Configuration for MRM1 comm
SEPARATION. Activation of [СРВ-У-РС] system Starting Distillation Cycle 1
ISS Experience Recording Preparation
MELFI 1 Ice Brick Insert 3
Updating Auxiliary Computer System laptop settings to provide access to USOS servers
MELFI 2 Ice Brick Insert 4
MELFI 3 Ice Brick Insert 3
ISS Experience Social Moments Recording
ISS Experience Hardware Relocate
Team Task Switching Experiment Survey
NanoRacks CubeSat Deployment Photos
Photobioreactor Cable Swap
Fluids Integrated Rack Doors Open
Remove and Replace LMM Confocal Camera
VEG-04 Water Check and Mass Measurement Device Operations
Fluids Integrated Rack Doors Close
SEPARATION. Distillation Cycle 2 Auto Start
Water Storage System (WSS) Leak Inspection
Team Task Switching Experiment Survey
Countermeasures System (CMS) Treadmill 2 (T2) Quarterly Maintenance
Countermeasures System (CMS) Treadmill 2 System (T2) Monthly Inspection
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Food Intake Tracker
ISS HAM Service Module Pass
SEPARATION. Deactivation of [СРВ-У-РС] system. Log-file downlink
ISS Experience Hardware Stow
Comm reconfig for nominal ops
INTERACTION-2. Experiment Ops
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Food Intake Tracker
Water Storage System (WSS) Acoustic Test Data Transfer/Stow

SpaceRef co-founder, entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, nature lover and deep thinker.