Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 30 October 2020 – Space botany and CubeSats

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
November 3, 2020
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 30 October 2020 – Space botany and CubeSats
The three-member Expedition 64 crew gathers for a portrait.

Space botany and CubeSats were the dominant research theme Friday as the Expedition 64 crew looks ahead to its first spacewalk in November.
NASA and its international partners are exploring ways to sustain healthy crews on space missions farther away from Earth. Growing food on spacecraft and space habitats is critical if astronauts are going to successfully explore the Moon, Mars and beyond.

Flight Engineer Kate Rubins, who was also a scientist before being recruited as a NASA astronaut, put on her green thumb today and installed new components inside the Advanced Plant Habitat. The botany research gear resides in Europe’s Columbus laboratory module and allows scientists to observe how plants grow and thrive in microgravity.

Rubins also spent some time Friday reviewing an upcoming CubeSat deployment that will take place outside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. She will be readying several tiny satellites that will provide insights into oceanography, weather, ship and aircraft tracking, as well as GPS and satellite communication technologies.

Two cosmonauts are getting ready for a spacewalk targeted for Nov. 18 on the outside of the International Space Station’s Russian segment. Commander Sergey Ryzhikov joined Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov on Friday and began setting up the Pirs docking compartment where they will stage their tools and suit up for the planned six-hour excursion. The duo will be primarily be servicing external station hardware and science experiments during their mission’s first spacewalk.

On-Orbit Status Report


Cubesat review: The crew reviewed the NRCSD-19 installation material in preparation for next week’s activities. A single NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD) has the capability to launch 6 CUs worth of CubeSats. A CU is a Cube Unit, where 1 CU is a cube with 10 cm sides. For NRCSD-19, there are 8 Deployers preassembled in two (2) Quad Deployers, and a total of seven satellites will be deployed (SpOC, Bobcat-1, NEUTRON-1, LEMUR2 (v4.7), LEMUR2 (v4.8), DESCENT, and SAT-LLA).

Plant Habitat-02: The original plan for Friday’s activities was to install the Plant Habitat-02 science carrier 1, and later in the day refill the P Hab-02 water distribution system. However, due to an issue with the Plant Hab-02 software application on the laptop, we were not able to complete the activities for today. The teams are assessing a forward plan. 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.


Mobile Servicing System (MSS) Operations – Yesterday, the Robotics Ground Controllers powered up the MSS and maneuvered the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) and Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) to the Mobile base System (MBS). The SPDM was stowed on the MBS Power & Data Grapple Fixture #2 (PDGF #2). The SSRMS released the SPDM and maneuvered to the Direct Drive position. SSRMS wrist Direct Drive test was performed yesterday and continued today.

Completed Task List Activities:

CMS Exercise Equipment Gather
Replace damaged fire port hole decals
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

JEMRMS Maneuver for transfer Handhold Exp Platform
SSRMS Direct Drive Test
Nitrogen repress of ISS cabin atmosphere
Plant Habitat Science Carrier Installation #1 support
Look Ahead Plan

Saturday, 11/1 (GMT 305)

No utilization activities

Crew off duty day
Sunday, 11/2 (GMT 306)


Crew off duty day
Monday, 11/3 (GMT 307)

NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer-19 Install on the MPEP
Radi-N2 deploy

SpX-Crew Dragon Rendezvous review CBT
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Plant Habitat-02 Science Carrier Install Hardware Gather
Setup and activation of crew onboard support kit (????) equipment for mpeg2 TV coverage Troubleshooting Power Supply System (???)
Troubleshooting SM Power Supply System (???) Filter Unit (??-1?) and Main Bus Assembly (???-1?).
Plant Habitat-02 Science Carrier Installation Procedure Review
ALGOMETRIYA. Experiment Session.
Plant Habitat-02 MWA Preparation
Plant Habitat Science Carrier Installation #1
MRM1 (MRM2) Comm Config
SEPARATION. Recovery of [???-? ??] Urine Processor Distiller Component.
??? Maintenance
On MCC GO Turning off camcorder, TV system controls, closing applications
NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer Installation Procedure Review
Nitrogen/Oxygen Recharge System configure to Lo Pressure Oxygen HPGT
Reconnecting ????2-12 telemetry system cassettes with Data Formatting Units ??515 (???)
Transfer Compartment (???) and MRM2 Preparation for EVA
Plant Habitat Water Refill [Aborted]
Transfer Compartment (???) and MRM2 Preparation for EVA
Relocation of Yakor foot restraint (for Orlan exit after A/L repress) from DC1 in MRM2
Transfer Compartment (???) and MRM2 Preparation for EVA
Comm reconfig for nominal ops
RODF replacement on FS1 and Samsung tablets
HRF Generic Urine Collection Setup
HRF Generic Frozen Blood Collection Hardware Setup

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