Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 30 December 2019 – SpaceX Dragon Set to Leave January 5

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
December 31, 2019
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 30 December 2019 – SpaceX Dragon Set to Leave January 5
The shadow of the Moon is cast over portions of Malaysia and the Philippines during today's solar eclipse. The International Space Station was orbiting 259 miles above the South China Sea at the time this photograph was taken. In the foreground is the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship and part of the ESA (European Space Agency) Columbus laboratory module. Credit: NASA. (Dec. 26, 2019)

A U.S. cargo craft is getting ready to depart the International Space Station early next week loaded with research results and degraded hardware for analysis on Earth. Meanwhile, the Expedition 61 crew explored a variety of space phenomena including how flames spread in weightlessness.
The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship is being configured for its departure on Jan. 5 after a month attached to the Harmony module. Dragon will be released from the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm on Sunday at 9:41 p.m. EST and splashdown in the Pacific off the coast California a few hours later.

NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan is leading the packing activities today with assistance from fellow NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch. The trio will be preserving and loading finalized experiment results inside Dragon. Obsolete hardware exposed to the harshness of space will also be returned to Earth for engineering inspections.

3-D surround video recordings of station science operations has been ongoing aboard the orbiting lab for months and today was no exception. Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) set up the unique video camera this morning to record him and Koch as they worked on combustion research. The duo burned acrylic and fabric samples in the Microgravity Science Glovebox to help scientists understand how flames expand in space to increase fire safety.

Parmitano and Meir also partnered together in the afternoon for life support maintenance tasks. The duo checked out hardware inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module that condenses water vapor from air.

Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka spent Monday dividing their time between setting up communications gear and studying Russian science. The duo activated video hardware and explored advanced imaging techniques for locating targets on Earth to photograph.

On-Orbit Status Report

Bone Densitometer (BD): The crew completed on-board Training for upcoming operations. Approximately the size of a consumer microwave oven, the Bone Densitometer uses X-rays to measure the bone mineral density (and the lean and fat tissue) of mice living aboard the ISS. As a result, researchers hope to develop medical technology that will combat bone density loss in space and on Earth, helping millions of senior citizens who suffer from osteoporosis.

Biomolecule Extraction and Sequencing Technology (BEST): The crew transferred three Cell kits into cold stowage for Dragon return. The BEST investigation studies the use of sequencing for identification of unknown microbial organisms living on the ISS, and how humans, plants and microbes adapt to living on the ISS.

The ISS Experience: The crew completed an Astronaut Log and recorded a portion of the Confined Combustion operations. 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.

Confined Combustion: The crew performed Acrylic and Fabric sample ignitions with the black baffles installed in the system. 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.

SoundSee Mission: The crew completed unpack and inspection of the SoundSee hardware. Investigation of Deep Audio Analytics on the International Space Station (SoundSee Mission) tests monitoring of the acoustic environment using an audio sensor on Astrobee, a mobile robotic platform aboard the space station. Microphones collect acoustic information, and the Astrobee determines the sensor’s position. The system can detect anomalies in the sound of components inside a machine, providing autonomous monitoring of the health of infrastructure such as life support and exercise equipment.

Fluid Science Laboratory (FSL): The crew locked and released the Core Element inside the FSL rack in support of Multi-Boiling operations. The Fluid Science Laboratory (FSL) is a multiuser facility designed by the European Space Agency (ESA) for conducting fluid physics research in microgravity. It can be operated as a fully automatic or semiautomatic facility and can be controlled onboard by the International Space Station (ISS) crew or from the ground in telescience mode.

Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI): The crew took still photos of the GEDI hardware from the JEM window. The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) provides high-quality laser ranging observations of the Earth’s forests and topography required to advance the understanding of important carbon and water cycling processes, biodiversity, and habitat.


Lab Port 6 (LAB1P6) Common Cabin Air Assembly (CCAA) Component Stow: Today, the crew secured the degraded LAB1P6 CCAA Heat Exchanger to the Flight Support Equipment (FSE) for return. This CCAA was replaced last week, and is the primarycomponent 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.

SpX-19 Cargo Operations: In preparation for the SpX-19 unberth and return to the ground, the ISS crew took the opportunity to work on Cargo transfer operations. The ISS crew, working off a Cargo Transfer list, packed and transferred a variety cargo items on the Dragon vehicle. SpX-19 is scheduled to depart ISS on Monday, January 6.

Completed Task List Activities:
Acoustics Audio Wanted Poster (found and stowed)
Taping Fluidics Tank 5

Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
SPS Power Down/Up for OPM
PPS Array Operations for OPM
SDMS Data Downlink

Tuesday, 12/31 (GMT 365)
NUTRISS ON and log (ESA)
RADI-N detectors deploy (8) Cupola Deploy (CSA)
Standard Measures Post Sleep (NASA)
CBEF-L Reconfiguration from config G to F (Large centrifuge) for Mouse ops (JAXA)
Confined Combustion Ops (NASA)
ISS Experience SLAMMD Bag Install (NASA)
Bone Densitometer Calibration (NASA)
Thermal Amine blower fan Header Scrubber Install (NASA)

Thermal Amine Scrubber Blower Installation
Dragon Cargo Transfer
Dragon Release OBT

Wednesday, 1/1 (GMT 001) – Off Duty Day
NUTRISS ON and log (ESA)

Crew Off Duty

Thursday, 1/2 (GMT 002)
NUTRISS ON and log (ESA)
TangoLab-2 Card 07 removal and telemetry check (NASA)
BioFabricator Media replace (NASA)
Food Acceptability (NASA)
Bone Dosimeter QC check (NASA)
CIR Manifold-4 H2 and CH4 Bottle Replace (Joint)
ISS Experience H/W Stow (NASA)
HERA H/W stow (NASA)
Rodent Bone Densitometer Scans (NASA)
ADSEP Historical Photo (NASA)

WHC Urine Receptacle and Insert Filter R&R
Dragon Cargo Transfer

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

SREDA-ISS. Setup Ops and Photo hardware adjustment.
Food Acceptability Survey
120 to 28 VDC Conv, S/N 005 Relocation
SREDA-ISS. Hardware Focusing and Activation
Polar Desiccant Swap
Confined Combustion Payload Overview
Equipment Setup and Activation for MPEG2 TV coverage via Ku-band in SM.
Polar to Polar Transfer
ISS Experience Solid State Drive change out
Medical Latpop Hard Drive removal and replacement
Cargo Transfer to Dragon
SEPARATSIA. [СРВ-У-РС] System Activation. Distillation Cycle Start.
SoundSee Unpack and Inspection
Filling (separation) of ЕДВ (КОВ) for Elektron or ЕДВ-СВ
ISS Experience Astronaut Log Recording
VIZIR. Experiment Ops run with PL SKPF-UM. Tagup with specialists as necessary
БД-2 Treadmill belt tension force check out and adjustment/ SM IVA IFM Book 2, item 11.2 pp. 12-1 through 12-5 (112-116)
P/TV setup for MPEG-2 video via Ku-band from SM
Polar Desiccant Swap in Cygnus
TV Conference with RSC Energia, IBMP, GCTC Management. New Year Greetings.
[КСПЭ] camcorder, TV-system control hardware deactivation and application shutdown
Adlink Mini PC SD Card Move
Biomolecule Extraction and Sequencing Technology (BEST) MELFI Sample Transfer
ISS Experience Introduction Recording
Confined Combustion Test Operations
MELFI 1 Nitrogen Pressure Check
URAGAN. Test Activation of СОВА Hardware.
MELFI 2 Nitrogen Pressure Check
SEPARATSIA. [СРВ-У-РС] System Deactivation. Log files downlink
MELFI 3 Nitrogen Pressure Check
GEDI Payload Photo
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Common Cabin Air Assembly (CCAA) Heat Exchanger (HX) Prep for Return
Fungistat Treatment of FGB structural elements
Checking БД-2 treadmill carriage position and photography
ISS Experience Hardware Relocate
FSL Facility Core Element locking at the end of scientific operations
FSL Facility Core Element release in preparation of scientific operations
Monitoring shutter closure on SM windows 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14. Note 10
Reminder Rodent Research Thermal Consideration
PL “UF-ATMOSFERA” Hardware Check
Standard Measures Post-sleep Questionnaire

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