Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 31 August, 2020 – Space Agriculture and Spacecraft Technologies.

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
September 5, 2020
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 31 August, 2020 – Space Agriculture and Spacecraft Technologies.
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 31 August, 2020 - Space Agriculture and Spacecraft Technologies.

The Expedition 63 crew kicked off the work week exploring space agriculture and spacecraft technologies. The trio also split the day on upcoming mission preparations and International Space Station maintenance.
Ongoing botany studies on the station have been teaching scientists, engineers and astronauts how to grow crops in space, so crews can feed themselves farther away from Earth. Future astronauts on long-term missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond will need to be self-sufficient with less support from mission controllers and resupply missions.

Commander Chris Cassidy set up the Advanced Plant Habitat during the afternoon for upcoming grow operations in the research facility. The controlled plant growth chamber automates the delivery of nutrients and light to support a variety edible plants for harvesting, analysis and tasting.

Cassidy is also gearing up for a U.S. resupply mission due to replenish the orbiting lab in early October. The NASA astronaut is sharpening his robotics skills on a computer to get ready to capture Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo craft with the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

A Russian technology experiment is using acoustics to locate micrometeoroid impacts on the space station. The two flight engineers, Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, partnered during the morning checking hardware and downloading data that may pinpoint the location of high-speed particle hits on the outside of the space lab.

On-Orbit Status Report


JEMAL Depressurization: The crew assisted with the depressurization of the JEM airlock (JEMAL) in preparation for the NREP component removal later this week. The NanoRacks External Platform represents (NREP) the first external commercial research capability for the testing of scientific investigations, sensors, and electronic components in space. The NanoRacks External Platform is installed, on a payload required basis, on the outside of the International Space Station (ISS) on the Japanese Experiment Module – External Facility (JEM-EF) using NanoRacks, LLC’s proven integration/transportation system.

Plant Habitat-02 Prep B: In continued preparation for science arriving on NG-14, the crew replaced two CO2 Bottles, one ECS (environmental control system) Inlet Filter, and one ECS Outlet Filter in the Plant Habitat-02 facility. 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.

Spacecraft Atmosphere Monitor (SCRAM): In preparation for the EXPRESS rack relocation activities, SCRAM was powered off and the crew installed the MCA (Major Constituent Analyzer) plug into the SCRAM. The MCA plug is used to protect the SCRAM’s sensor when the unit is powered off. SCRAM demonstrates the capabilities of a small, reliable, portable gas chromatograph mass spectrometer instrument aboard the ISS to conduct major and minor elements of air measurement (Nitrogen, Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide, Methane, Water, etc). The instrument transmits data back to the ground research team every two seconds, providing a continuous analysis to the ground research team. It has a mass of less than 9.5 kg, and consumes less than 40 watts of power in its nominal configuration.


Rack Transfer Preparations: Today, the crew gathered items needed for the upcoming three way rack transfers of EXPRESS Rack-10B (ER-10B), ER-11 and ER-8. The crew also cleared the rack transfer path from JPM1A5 to COLO2 and demated umbilicals from EXPRESS Rack-10B. The Light Ions Detector (LIDAL) was also relocated in order to clear the Columbus hatch for the rack relocations.

Robotics Proficiency On-Board Training (OBT): The crew reviewed the robotics OBT self-study session today. The ROBoT is an on-orbit version of the ground-based Dynamics Skills Trainer (DST) that simulates robotics operations with graphical feedback. Robotics proficiency requires crew to have hands on real-time operations or OBTs within 60 days and the Robotics Onboard Trainer (ROBoT) sessions are designed to help maintain this proficiency.

Completed Task List Activities:

Wanted Poster – APAS Hatch Cover
HMS Spaceflight Cognitive Assessment Tool for Windows (WinSCAT) Test
Columbus D2 Rack Bags Fill
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Ground Support for JEMAL Ops
Ground Support for Plant Habitat-02
PRO ER10-B Deactivation
DDCU Safing
Look Ahead Plan

Tuesday, 9/1 (GMT 245)

No Utilization Activities

Three Way Rack Transfers (ER11, ER8 and ER10-B)
Wednesday, 9/2 (GMT 246)

EXPRESS Rack Reconfig (post-relocation)
LIDAL Return
NREP Hardware Remove Overview

IFM Hatch Seal Inspections
ER-11B Umbilical Mate
WHC Piping R&R
PWD Water Collect
Thursday, 9/3 (GMT 247)

NREP Hardware Remove
SCRAM Power On

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

TBU (Universal Bioengineering Thermostat). ???-? #07 temperature monitoring and free zone availability in front of inlet and outlet orifices of ???-?
JEM Airlock Depressurization, Vent & Confirmation
PROBOY. RS?1 Laptop Ops. RSS2 Software Update. Simulator Ops
Checkout of ??-2 Pilot’s Sight and Comm Interfaces
Preparing for ????-1? R&R (?406)
Scheduled PUMA Checkout
????-1? Unit (?406) R&R
SM [Precision Vertical Wide Angle Sight (????) Checkout
Replace [????1, ????2] Dust Filters. Update IMS and Cleaning MRM1 Gas-Liquid Heat Exchanger (???)
BUPT-1M TLM connector mating
On-board Training (OBT) Robotics Onboard Trainer (ROBoT) Proficiency w/ Setup
Spacecraft Atmosphere Monitor MCA Plug Installation
Plant Habitat-02 Hardware Gather, Facility Prep and Dual MWA Prep
Auxiliary Laptop Computer System Virus Definition File Update
Rack Transfer Stowage Gather
Structures & Mechanisms (S&M) EXPRESS Rack-10B Transfer Preparation and Umbilical Demate
Light Ions Detector Move
Preparation for Antivirus Scanning on [???] Laptops

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