Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 31 December, 2020

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
January 4, 2021
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 31 December, 2020
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 31 December, 2020.

The seven Expedition 64 crew members aboard the International Space Station will see the New Year sixteen times today and take the day off on the first day of 2021.
The orbital residents are also exploring how microgravity affects mice and protein crystals to improve human health.

The station orbits the Earth at 17,500 miles per hour (28,000 kilometers per hour) giving the crew the opportunity to see 16 sunrises and sunsets each day. The space residents set their clocks to GMT, or Greenwich Mean Time, and will start their new year at 12:00 a.m. GMT on Jan. 1, or five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Rodent research has been taking place all December aboard the station so scientists can understand how living in space impacts vision and bone tissue. NASA astronaut Victor Glover tended to mice today for the two studies before they will return in January aboard the SpaceX Cargo Dragon for analysis on Earth.

NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins photographed scientific samples for a study that seeks to commercialize the production of medical therapies in space. The Monoclonal Antibodies investigation is specifically exploring the creation of protein crystals that target cancer cells and could improve the crystallization process on Earth.

Rubins also joined Flight Engineers Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi as the trio packed the Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter throughout Thursday. The trio packed Cygnus with trash and discarded gear for its departure scheduled on Jan. 6. After its separation, Cygnus will orbit Earth on its own until Jan. 26 for flight tests and science experiments.

Station Commander Sergey Ryzhikov serviced a variety of Russian hardware today before loading the Progress 76 cargo craft ahead of its February departure from the Pirs docking compartment. Cosmonaut Sergey Kud-Sverchkov spent Thursday on engineering and plumbing tasks in the orbiting lab’s Russian segment.

On-Orbit Status Report


Space Studio KIBO: The crew performed the Kubo studio operations parts 1-4. 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.

Plant Habitat-02: The crew performed a cleaning of 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

Rodent Research-23 (RR-23): The crew performed rodent injections. 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.

Monoclonal Antibodies PCG: The crew performed microscope observations ops for the Monoclonal Antibodies experiment. Structural and Crystallization Kinetics Analysis of Monoclonal Antibodies (Monoclonal Antibodies PCG) assesses the differences in crystallization in space of various therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. Monoclonal antibodies are lab-created immune system proteins designed to interact with specific targets such as cancer cells. Microgravity enables production of higher quality crystals that could support development of drugs with reduced cost, improved stability and greater ease of administration.


Cygnus Cargo Operations: The crew continued Cygnus cargo transfer operations. NG-14 is scheduled to undock on January 6.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

Cygnus cargo ops
Payloads ops support
Look Ahead Plan
Friday, January 1 (GMT 001)

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

Rodent Research ops (NASA)

Crew off duty, housekeeping
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.

Public Affairs Office (PAO) New Year Event
LSG Work Volume Deploy
Rodent Research Access Unit Clean
JPM Aft Window Shutter Open
LSG Primary Crew Restraint Unfold
Kibo Studio Setup Part 2
PAO Preparation
Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Food Intake Tracker (ISS FIT)
Kibo Studio Setup Part 3
Rodent Research MELFI Remove
Rodent Research Animal Transfer to LSG
Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
EDV Fill from Toilet connection Setup
Freon in ?? atmosphere analysis
Rodent Research Animal Transfer to LSG
Teardown the EDV Fill transfer configuration
Kibo Studio Camera View Check
Rodent Research MELFI Remove
Rodent Research Animal Transfer to LSG
Rodent Research Injection
Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
Rodent Research Animal Transfer to LSG
Microscope Reposition Preparation
Food Acceptability Survey
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Food Intake Tracker (ISS FIT)
Monoclonal Antibodies MELFI Sample Retrieve
Rodent Research HD Video Teardown
Monoclonal Antibodies PCG MERLIN Sample Removal
Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
Monoclonal Antibodies PCG Card Microscope Photo Operations
LSG Primary Crew Restraint Fold
LSG Work Volume Stow
Kibo Studio Operation Part 1 for Live Event
Food Acceptability Survey
ISS Experience Hardware Stow
Kibo Studio Operation Part 2 for LIVE Event
Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
Kibo Studio Operation Part 3 for LIVE Event
Environmental Health System (EHS) – Formaldehyde Monitoring Kit (FMK) Stow Operation
Kibo Studio Operation Part 4 for LIVE Event
Monoclonal Antibodies PCG MELFI PCG Card Insertion
Microscope Reposition Post Ops
Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
Food Acceptability Survey
Plant Habitat-02 Facility Final Clean
Inventory of docking and internal transfer system (????) kits
Kibo Studio Closeout
Kibo Studio Payload Laptop Terminal 4 (PLT4) Closeout
JPM Aft Window Shutter Close
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Food Intake Tracker (ISS FIT)
Food Physiology Crew Diet Briefing
Kibo Studio CF card Stow

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