Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 30 April 2018 – Freezing Science Samples for a Return to Earth

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
May 2, 2018
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 30 April 2018 – Freezing Science Samples for a Return to Earth
Flight Engineer Drew Feustel holds a bag containing samples that had been collected, documented and inspected for the Protein Crystal Growth-9 experiment. Feustel was in the Cupola as the International Space Station was orbiting over southern Mexico near the Guatemalan border. Credit: NASA.

The Expedition 55 crew members are packing up the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft today for its return to Earth on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the six International Space Station residents continue operating a multitude of space experiments while ensuring the orbital lab remains in tip-top shape.

NASA astronauts Scott Tingle and Ricky Arnold transferred an array of biological samples from station science freezers to specialized freezers stowed inside Dragon. The research samples are for analysis by scientists and are among a variety of cargo, including station hardware for refurbishment, returning to Earth inside Dragon Wednesday.

NASA TV begins its live coverage of the Dragon departure at 10 a.m. EDT on Wednesday. Robotics controllers on the ground will command the Canadarm2 to release Dragon at 10:22 a.m. Tingle will be in the Cupola monitoring the release and departure activities. Dragon will fire its engines for the final time at 3:06 p.m. beginning its descent back into Earth’s atmosphere before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean around 4 p.m. NASA TV will not cover Dragon’s splashdown about 260 miles southwest of Long Beach, Calif.

Flight Engineer Drew Feustel tended to a variety of experiment hardware today supporting life science and biomedical research. He spent the morning working on the Multi-Use Variable-G Platform that houses tiny organisms such as fruit flies, flatworms, plants, fish and cells. Feustel then configured the Human Research Facility-2 with gear enabling ongoing observations of the physical and mental changes taking place in astronauts living in space.

On-Orbit Status Report

Japanese Small Satellite Orbital Deployer 8 (J-SSOD#8): Today the crew extended the Slide Table into the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) from the JEM Airlock (JEMAL) and installed the Multipurpose Experiment Platform (MPEP). They then installed two J-SSOD#8 deployers on the MPEP. The J-SSODs are used to launch small satellites from the JEM Remote Manipulator System (JEMRMS). The crew will also set up and photograph flags for the United Nations, Costa Rica, Kenya and Turkey. The Slide Table will then be retracted back into the JEMAL.

Multi-Use Variable-G Platform (MVP): The crew fixed specific Drosophila modules and inserted them into a Minus Eighty Degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI) today. MVP is used to conduct research in space with a wide variety of sample types, such as fruit flies, flatworms, plants, fish, cells, protein crystals and many others. It includes internal carousels that simultaneously can produce up to 2 g of artificial gravity. Each carousel hosts 6 separate removable experiment modules on each carousel. Video and still imagery, including microscopy, can be included. The platform also provides temperature and humidity controls and monitors and records oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.

Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) Protein Crystal Growth (PCG)-9: The crew removed PCG-9 sample bags containing Copper Sulfate from a Minus Eighty Degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI) and checked them for crystal growth. Crystals were observed in all of the sample bags, so the crew photographed and extracted fluid from the bags prior to the samples being returned to the MELFI. The Wisconsin Crystal Growing Contest-Wisconsin Space Crystal Mission (CASIS PCG 9) investigation provides student researchers the opportunity to explore crystal growth in the microgravity environment of the ISS. Crystals grown without the influence of gravity have shown to contain fewer imperfections and grow to larger sizes. Middle and high school students compete to grow the most perfect ground-based crystal, as judged by experts in the crystallography field. The students who present the crystals with the fewest imperfections have the opportunity to fly their experiments to the space station.

Divert Unwanted Space Trash (DUST): On Saturday the crew collected samples and photographs of various vents in the US Laboratory and Nodes 1, 2 and 3. They then inserted the samples into cold stowage and downlinked the photographs. The DUST investigation collects and analyzes particulates in airborne debris from the ISS cabin. Unique aspects of the spacecraft environment, such as lack of gravity and no fresh air, influence the size, quantity, and components of airborne particulate matter, which in turn affects air quality aboard the station. The data also provides baseline information for future spacecraft particle detector design, and the debris can be used for realistic testing of possible particulate monitors for future long-duration missions.

Human Research Facility (HRF)-2: Today the crew installed a payload drawer containing the new HRF centrifuge into the HRF-2 rack. The HRF racks support human life science research that evaluates the physiological, behavioral, and chemical changes induced by space flight. Experiments that use the capabilities provided by the racks will produce data to help scientists understand how the human body adapts to long-duration space flight.

Dragon Cargo Transfer: The crew continued transferring cargo to the Dragon vehicle today. Samples were moved from Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI)-2 and MELFI-3 to the Polar freezers identified for return. Tomorrow, the crew will load the center stack cargo as well as close out and egress the vehicle. While release of Dragon is currently scheduled for Wednesday, 2 May, the weather forecast at the Prime Recovery site is marginal. Teams continue to evaluate weather conditions and planners will rescheduled cargo operations if necessary to support a slip to the backup landing date of 5 May.

Node 3 (N3) Low Temperature Loop (LTL) Status: Saturday, the N3 LTL pump unexpectedly shutdown. This pump was installed last Thursday due to degraded performance of the old N3 LTL pump. The system successfully transitioned to single Moderate Temperature (MT) and cooling to all N3 hardware was maintained. Engineering teams reviewed the data and were not able to identify the cause of the pump shutdown; pump performance appeared to be nominal until the event. The N3 LTL pump was restarted Sunday morning and has been operating nominally in single LTL mode. Tomorrow, the N3 will be transitioned to Dual Loop Mode in order to put the system in a nominal configuration prior to SpaceX-14 unberth. Ground teams will continue to monitor pump performance.

Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) Operations: Saturday morning, the Robotics Ground Controllers maneuvered the SSRMS and the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) Arm2 to stow Robot Micro Conical Tool 2 (RMCT2) on SPDM Tool Holder Assembly 2 (THA2). After performing the SPDM Backup Drive Unit (BDU) checkouts (required every 180 days), they maneuvered SSRMS as required to stow SPDM on MBS PDGF2. Next they maneuvered SSRMS to walk off on Node2 PDGF and finally they grapple Dragon Flight Releasable Grapple Fixture (FRGF). SSRMS is now in position for Dragon Unberth and Release planned Wednesday, May 2nd. MSS performance was nominal.

Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Preparations: Today the crew initiated a Metox canister regeneration cycle in preparation for the upcoming US EVA Pump Flow Control System (PFCS) Relocate currently planned on May 16th. Shortly after initiating the cycle, however, the LAB Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) unit shutdown due to a fault. Flight Rules do not allow for Metox regeneration when CDRA is unavailable and the operation was terminated and rescheduled for tomorrow.

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

Multi-use Variable-g Platform On-Board Training Review
Multi-use Variable-g Platform Module Ops
Space Pup Bio Dosimeter Retrieval in MELFI
Set up KMA-01 unit and KMA-TM telemetric adapter. Check out KMA-01
XF305 Camcorder Setup
JEM Airlock Slide Table (ST) Extension to JPM Side
KOSMOKARD. 24hr electrocardiogram recording (prep + init).
Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Full Fill
MPEP Installation to JEM Airlock Slide Table
Install additional fans to improve SM power control system’s 800? units thermal performance.
ISS ROS light inventory taking in MRM1, MRM2, DC1
MPEP Installation to JEM Airlock Slide Table Support
JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (SSOD) onto Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform Installation
DC1 ?3 fan grid cleaning
Small Satellite Orbital Deployer Checkout Prep
On-board Training (OBT) for Dragon Ground Release
[???] Laptops Virus Definition File Update
Polar Sample Transfer From Cold Stowage 3
Mouse Stress Defense Post-mission Transfer Familiarization 2
Multi-Use Variable-G Platform Sample MELFI Insertion
EDV (KOV) or EDV-SV fill (separation) for ELEKTRON
Polar Sample Transfer From Cold Stowage 2
FAZOPEREKHOD. Prep ops and science ops launch
Polar Sample Transfer From Cold Stowage 1
??? maintenance
Measure the meal table’s side handrail fixture points
Cold Stowage Dragon Double Coldbag Pack Overview Review
WORF Laptop Connect
Small Satellite Orbital Deployer Checkout Cleanup
Countermeasures System Advanced Resistive Exercise Device Cue Card Print
Cargo Transfer to Dragon
ELEKTRON [???] treatment assy R&R
Vacuuming [???4]’s [??-7] screen behind FGB panel 108
Countermeasures System Advanced Resistive Exercise Device Exercise Bench Photos
Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis
HRF1 And HRF2 Payload Drawer Reconfiguration And Installation
On-board Training (OBT) Dragon Departure Review
SSOD 8 Flag Set and Photo
FAZOPEREKHOD. Closeout ops.
JEM Airlock Slide Table (ST) Retraction from JPM Side
Retrieval of PCG-9 Hardware from MELFI
Polar and TCU Transfer from ISS Overview
Inspection of Sample Bags for Crystal Growth
FAZOPEREKHOD. Prep ops and science ops launch
HRF Centrifuge Post-Installation Setup
Dragon Cargo Operations Conference
Extraction of Liquid from Sample Bags and Association Photos
Umbilical Interface Assembly (UIA) R&R Audit
Interest Photos and Recorded Video for Downlink
Polar and TCU Transfer from ISS Overview
Condensate Tank to Water Processor Assembly (WPA) Transfer
Delta file prep
TReK Laptop Reconnect
BD-2 position verify
InvitroBone-2 Transfers from ExPRESS Rack to Dragon capsule
Cold Stowage Dragon Double Coldbag Pack Overview Review
Node 2 Nadir Vestibule Outfitting Kit (VOK) Gather
FAZOPEREKHOD. Closeout ops
Metal Oxide (METOX) Regeneration Initiation [Aborted]
Wastewater Storage Tank Assembly (WSTA) Fill [Aborted]
Exercise Data Downlink via OCA
Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Sample Data Record

Completed Task List Activities
Solid Waste Container [KTO] R&R [Completed GMT 119]
Invitrobone Fan Setup [Completed GMT 118]
Veggie Ponds Wick Open [Completed GMT 118]

Ground Activities
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
MVP Support
MELFI/POLAR Transfer Support
JEM RMS Support

Three-Day Look Ahead:
Tuesday, 05/01: Dragon Cargo Ops: Coldbag Pack, Payload Transfer, and Transfer Dragon Center Stack. Mouse Stress Defense Ops, ARED Quarterly MX.
Wednesday, 05/02: Dragon Unberth and Departure Ops, EVA Procedure Review, Educational Image Recording, ASIM Checkout Ops, EHS Air and Surface Samples.
Thursday, 05/03: ETVCG Assembly, JEM ZSR Photo Survey, EMU Loop Scrub and Conductivity Test, Mini Exercise Device Ops

QUICK ISS Status – Environmental Control Group:
Component – Status
Elektron – On
Vozdukh – Manual
[???] 1 – SM Air Conditioner System (“SKV1”) – Off
[???] 2 – SM Air Conditioner System (“SKV2”) – On
Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Lab – Operate
Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Node 3 – Standby
Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Lab – Operate
Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Node 3 – Idle
Oxygen Generation Assembly (OGA) – Process
Urine Processing Assembly (UPA) – Process
Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS) Lab – Full Up
Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS) Node 3 – Off

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