Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 30 December, 2020

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
January 4, 2021
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 30 December, 2020
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 30 December, 2020

The Expedition 64 crew is packing a pair of U.S. resupply ships for departure next month. The International Space Station is also humming with microgravity research to benefit humans on and off the Earth.
Space agriculture is key to the long-term success of human exploration missions beyond low-Earth orbit. Astronauts and botanists are learning how to manage food production aboard the station and have been harvesting a variety of edible plants for several years.

NASA Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins spent Wednesday harvesting radish plants and readying them for consumption for the Plant Habitat-02 experiment. Their short cultivation time is ideal for research and evaluating nutrition and taste in microgravity.

Rodents are being studied to understand the impacts to vision and bone tissue while living in space. Today, JAXA Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi fed the mice and cleaned their specialized research habitats. Those mice will be returned to Earth for analysis next month aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon.

NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Shannon Walker packed trash inside the Cygnus space freighter today ahead of its Jan. 6 departure. Following its separation, Cygnus will orbit Earth on its own for an extended period of flight tests and science experiments. Walker also readied research and development hardware and sample modules for return to Earth aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon less than a week after Cygnus departs.

Station Commander Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos spent the day configuring communications gear and cleaning ventilation systems inside the orbiting lab’s Russian segment. His fellow cosmonaut Sergey Kud-Sverchkov wiped down module surfaces to rid the station of microbes and vacuumed the Zarya module.

On-Orbit Status Report


Cryo Chiller: The crew installed sample cartridge into the Cryo Chiller facility. Cryo Chiller is a single Expedite the Processing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) locker replacement unit which provides rapid freezing capability in support of biological sciences, as well as temperature-controlled transfer to/from the ISS on visiting vehicles.

Manufacturing Device (MAND): The crew removed and stowed a completed print sample. The Manufacturing Device enables the production of components on the ISS for both NASA and commercial objectives. Parts, entire experiments, and tools can be created on demand utilizing the MAND printer that is installed into an Express Rack locker location. MAND is capable of producing parts out of a wide variety of thermopolymers including engineered plastics.

MVP (Multi-use Variable-g Platform) Cell-06: The crew removed eight sample modules from the MVP facility and prepared them for return on SpX-21. The Cartilage-Bone-Synovium Micro-Physiological System Investigation Using the Multi-purpose Variable-G Platform (MVP Cell-06) develops a biological model to study the effects of spaceflight on musculoskeletal disease. Traumatic joint injury may lead to arthritis after loss of cartilage and bone, a disease called post-traumatic osteoarthritis. This investigation could lead to drugs to prevent the progression of this disease.

Plant Habitat-02: Plant Habitat-02: The crew performed the second Harvest of Radish plants in the Plant Habitat-02 facility. Some samples were sanitized for consumption by the crew. Assessment of Nutritional Value and Growth Parameters of Space-grown Plants (Plant Habitat-02) cultivates radishes as a model plant that is nutritious and edible, has a short cultivation time, and is genetically similar to Arabidopsis, a plant frequently studied in microgravity. Developing the capability for food production in space requires understanding cultivation conditions such as intensity and spectral composition of light and the effects of the culture medium or soil. This research could help optimize plant growth in the unique environment of space, as well as evaluation of nutrition and taste of the plants.

TangoLab Mission-19: The crew removed Card Cubes from the TangoLab-2 facility. The children investigations to TangoLab Mission-19 are: Evaluation of Powered Ascent Utility Locker, Human Muscle-on-Chip, Project Andromeda, Space Tango-Human Brain Organoids. Space Tango’s TangoLab-2 locker is a reconfigurable general research facility designed for microgravity research and development (R&D) and pilot manufacturing aboard the International Space Station (ISS). TangoLab-2 is similar to TangoLab-1 with the primary difference being an upgraded fan system which allows for a greater heat rejection capability. This upgrade enables payloads with greater power draw and lower temperature requirements to use the facility.

Rodent Research-23 (RR-23): The crew performed the activities necessary to restock the RR Habitats. Effects of Microgravity on Ocular Vascular Hydrodynamics, or Rodent Research-23 (RR-23), studies function of arteries, veins, and lymphatic structures in the eye and changes in the retina before and after spaceflight. The aim is to clarify whether these vascular changes impair visual function. At least 40 percent of astronauts experience vision impairment known as Spaceflight-Associated Neuro-ocular Syndrome (SANS) on long-duration spaceflights, which could adversely affect mission success.

Space Studio KIBO: The crew performed the setup for KIBO Studio sessions. The Space Frontier Studio KIBO is a broadcasting studio that is constructed and operated in the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM), also known as Kibo. The studio can livestream activities, interactive entertainment, and communication from space. The program can receive uplinked video and audio from a ground studio to Space Frontier Studio KIBO, and downlink video and audio from space to ground.


ISS Power Augmentation Rollout Solar Arrays (IROSA) Mod Kit Stow: The crew prepared and stowed the P6 truss Power Channel 2B and 4B mod kits. This activity is in preparation for the IROSA Prep EVA planned in January 2021 and the IROSA EVA planned for June 2021.

Completed Task List Activities:

Cardinal Heart media exchange
FOP hardware stow
Toilet inspection stow
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Payloads ops support
Cargo transfer ops
Dragon wakeup checkout
Look Ahead Plan

Thursday, 12/31 (GMT 366)

Kibo Studio Ops part 1-4 (JAXA)
Food Acceptability (NASA)
Food Physiology Brief (NASA)
Monoclonal Antiboides-PCG-5 Ops 2 (NASA)
Plant Hab-02 Facility Clean (NASA)
Rodent Injections 1 (session 2) (NASA)
ISS Experience Stow (NASA)
RR Access Unit Clean (NASA)

Cygnus cargo transfer ops
Friday, January 1 (GMT 001)

Rodent Hab Access unit clean (NASA)
Rodent Injections 1 (session 2) (NASA)
Saturday, January 2 (GMT 002)

Rodent Research ops (NASA)

Crew off duty
Sunday, January 3 (GMT 003)

Rodent Research ops (NASA)
Cardinal Heart

Dragon cargo transfer ops
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Plant Habitat-02 harvest
Rodent Research habitat restock
Cygnus cargo transfer ops
MVP Cell-06 removal
IROSA Mod Kit stow
Tangolab-2 card/cube removal

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