Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 31 July, 2020 – Astronauts Set to Return Sunday

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
August 8, 2020
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 31 July, 2020 – Astronauts Set to Return Sunday
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 31 July, 2020 - Astronauts Set to Return Sunday.

NASA and SpaceX mission managers met Thursday night and are proceeding, weather permitting, with the return to Earth of two astronauts.
Meanwhile, space research to improve life for humans on and off the planet kept the Expedition 63 crew busy today.

NASA astronauts (from left) Bob Behnken, Chris Cassidy and Doug Hurley talk to journalists on Earth. The trio answered media questions before Behnken and Hurley return to Earth.
Flight Engineers Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are packing up to end a two-month mission aboard the International Space Station. They are scheduled to board the Crew Dragon spacecraft and undock on Saturday evening from the Harmony module’s international docking adapter. The duo would splashdown on Sunday wrapping up NASA’s first crewed mission since 2011. NASA TV will provide continuous coverage of the departure and Earth return activities.

The veteran astronauts also completed their science assignments today that saw studies into unique fluids, biomedicine, autonomous robotics and more. However, Commander Chris Cassidy, who is staying in space until October, was busy all-day researching water droplets, observing extreme temperatures and sequencing microbial DNA.

Hurley serviced science freezers that preserve biological samples for later analysis. He finally powered down the Astrobee free-flying robots that will soon see students competing to create the best algorithms to control the devices. Behnken finalized his work observing microgravity’s effects on water droplets to improve conservation and pressure techniques.

The orbiting lab’s two cosmonauts from Roscosmos, Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, continued their schedule of science and maintenance today. Ivanishin worked on a variety of communications gear during the morning before activating Russian radiation detectors in the afternoon. Vagner once again photographed Earth landmarks today then sampled the station’s air and surfaces to analyze and identify microbes.

On-Orbit Status Report


BioMole: The crew performed BioMole part 3 of the science session, which consists of preparation of the previously amplified DNA (DeoxyriboNucleic Acid), followed by sequencing using the MinION. The BioMole Facility non-culture based samples are capable of providing microbial identification on-orbit within days of sampling. The goal of this tech demonstration is to conduct comparative analysis for possible replacement of current microbial monitoring systems.

Droplet Formation Study (DFS): The crew performed the setup and initiation of recording for additional runs of the DFS investigation. Data will be archived by an alternate method which will actually result in a quicker delivery time to the experiment team. Droplet Formation Studies in Microgravity (Droplet Formation Study, or more simply DFS) evaluates water droplet formation and water flow of Delta Faucet’s H2Okinetic shower head technology. To conserve water, flow rates in shower devices have been reduced, but this lower flow rate also reduces the effectiveness of these devices and often causes consumers to take longer showers, undermining the goal of using less water. Gravity’s full effects on formation of water droplet size are unknown, and research in microgravity could help improve the technology, creating better performance and improved user experience while conserving water and energy.

Radi-N2 deploy: Following initialization and handover from the Russian crew, all eight bubble detectors were deployed in the US Lab Panel 1S4 location. They will remain in this location for a week to collect data on the neutron radiation environment in that location. The objective of this Canadian Space Agency investigation is to better characterize the ISS neutron environment, define the risk posed to the crew members’ health, and provide the data necessary to develop advanced protective measures for future spaceflight. It’s been recognized that neutrons make up a significant fraction (10-30%) of the biologically effective radiation exposure in low-Earth orbit. The bubble detectors used in the investigation are designed detect neutrons and ignore all other radiation.


On-Board Training (OBT) Crew Dragon Depart Review: In preparation for their departure from ISS, the crew completed this proficiency training covering the departure profile, crew procedures, interfaces, nominal and off-nominal actions. SpaceX Demo-2 is currently planned for undock on Saturday, August 1 at 6:34 pm CT with splashdown on Sunday, August 2 at 2:42 pm CT.

Cabin Fan Assembly 1 (CFA1) R&R Closeout Operations: Today the crew completed the final closeout activities after successfully installing the new cabin fan in the CO1D1 rack yesterday. As part of closeout, the crew installed the vacuum and vent hose, the high speed camera and the Electromagnetic Levitation (EML) sample chamber back into the experiment module. The R&R activity required approximately a half hour to perform but equipment had to be removed to allow rack tilting to access the fan. The suite of activities was subdivided across three consecutive days.

Crew Dragon Prepack Transfer: The crew continued to perform Dragon cargo transfer operations. Ground teams estimate approximately 1 hour remains to complete available cargo ops. The remaining time will be performed per dedicated activities on undock day.

Completed Task List Activities:

Crew Dragon Tablet Sync
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

C2V2 Checkout
Ground Support for JEM RMS Ops
LAB S6 CCAA TCCV Troubleshooting
Look Ahead Plan

Saturday, 8/1 (GMT 214)

BioMole Stow
GLACIER Transfer

Emergency Equipment Transfer
Dragon Cargo Ops/Closeout
Dragon IDA Egress
Dragon Undock
Sunday, 8/2 (GMT 215)

No Utilization Activities

Crew Off Duty
Monday, 8/3 (GMT 216)

MELFI Icebrick insert
Plant Hab-02

EHS Benzene CMS Operations
IFM N1 Filter R&R
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Droplet Formation Study Water Charging Test Operations
???. Check ???-? #07 Thermostat Temperature and Keep Out Zones in front of ???-? Inlets and Outlets
SCENARIO. Observation and Photography of Catastrophic Events and Their Impact
Environmental Health System (EHS) Biomole Maintenance Work Area Prep 2
Crew Departure Preparations for Return to Earth
MELFI 2&3 Ice Brick Insert 3
Transfer Crew Dragon Forward Prepack
ISS Crew and ???? (RSA Flight Control Team) weekly conference
On-Board Training (OBT) Crew Dragon Depart Review
Charging D4 Battery for return
??? Video Server Setup and Test
ASEPTIC. Surface Sample Collection and Start of Air Samples Collection.
Post-Installation ??? Video Server Test
Elektron-V? post-deactivation purge
DUBRAVA. Observation and Photography using [BCC] Equipment
Radiation Dosimetry Inside ISS-Neutrons & Handover
MATRESHKA-R. BUBBLE Dosimeters Setup, Activation, Deployment and Handover to USOS
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) – Node 2
Countermeasures System (CMS) Don Orthostatic Intolerance Garment (OIG) & Doff
Connecting Hose EDR LUDP
Polar Cygnus Uninstall, Transfer, And EXPRESS Rack Install
Crew Dragon Seat Actuator Checkout
Crew Dragon Hand Held Gas Detector Battery Swap & Stow
Vacuum Cleaning of the FGB ?? and [??-7] Screen on ???4 behind Panel 108 in the FGB
Installation of EML Sample Chamber & High Speed Camera
BioMole MELFI Retrieve
URAGAN. SOVA Equipment and Photo Equipment Setup/Activation (with closeout/teardown)
Gather D4 Battery for visiting vehicle return
Astrobee Off
OBT debrief conference for after DM-2 OBT events related to departure
Dragon Departure Conference

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