Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 31 October 2019 – Cygnus Resupply Launch Scheduled for Saturday

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
November 1, 2019
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 31 October 2019 – Cygnus Resupply Launch Scheduled for Saturday
The wildfires in California north of the San Francisco Bay Area were photographed by Expedition 61 crewmember as the International Space Station orbited 254 miles above the Golden State. Credit: NASA. (Oct. 29, 2019)

A Japanese cargo craft is preparing to end its mission at the International Space Station, as a U.S. resupply ship stands ready to launch to the orbiting lab.
The Expedition 61 crew is gearing up for the space traffic while also staying fresh on station emergency procedures.

Japan’s HTV-8 cargo craft, also called Kounotori, will complete its 34-day mission attached to the station’s Harmony module on Friday. NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are sharpening their Canadarm2 robotic arm skills today as they train to release the Kounotori packed with trash and obsolete gear at 1:20 p.m. EDT. It will fall to Earth over the Pacific Ocean and burn up harmlessly in the atmosphere on Saturday.

The 12th U.S.-made Cygnus resupply ship sits atop an Antares rocket and will blast off Saturday from Virginia at 9:59 a.m. EDT. The space delivery vehicle from Northrop Grumman will arrive Monday, when Meir with Koch as her backup will capture it at 4:10 a.m. EST with the Canadarm2. Robotic controllers on the ground will take over and remotely guide Cygnus and attach it to the Unity module where it will stay for 70 days.

NASA TV will cover all the mission activities live.

Three station crewmates brushed up on their emergency response skills today in the unlikely event they would need to evacuate the station in their Soyuz crew ship. Koch with Commander Luca Parmitano and Flight Engineer Alexander Skvortsov practiced quickly entering their Soyuz and simulated emergency undocking and descent procedures.

On-Orbit Status Report

AMS-02 (Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer) EVA preparation: The crew continued preparation for the AMS repair EVAs with procedure reviews. The multiple AMS-02 repair EVAs are being performed to recover a series of cooling pumps within the AMS-02 experiment. The first of the EVAs are currently planned to start in roughly 2 weeks. AMS-02 is a state-of-the-art particle physics detector that uses the unique environment of space to advance knowledge of the universe and lead to the understanding of the universe’s origin by searching for antimatter, dark matter and measuring cosmic rays.

ISS Experience: The crew set up the appropriate ISS Experience hardware in Node-2 and performed recordings related to the H-II Transfer Vehicle-8 (HTV-8), which is planned to depart from the ISS Friday. In this recording, the crew discussed the ISS replacement batteries, science experiments, food, and other items delivered on HTV-8, as well as the trash disposal function of HTV-8 when it departs. The ISS Experience creates a virtual reality film documenting daily life aboard the ISS. The 8 to 10 minute videos created from footage taken during the six-month investigation cover different aspects of crew life, execution of science aboard the station, and the international partnerships involved. The ISS Experience uses a Z-CAM V1 Pro Cinematic Virtual Reality (VR) 360-degree camera with nine 190° fisheye lenses.

Standard Measures: The crew performed pre-sleep and post-sleep questionnaires in support of the Standard Measures experiment. The aim of the investigation is to ensure consistent capture of an optimized, minimal set of measures from crewmembers until the end of the ISS Program in order to characterize the adaptive responses to and risks of living in space. Among other things, the ground teams perform analyses for metabolic and chemistry panels, immune function, microbiome, etc. These measures populate a data repository to enable high-level monitoring of countermeasure effectiveness and meaningful interpretation of health and performance outcomes, and support future research on planetary missions.


H-II Transfer Vehicle 8 (HTV8) Cargo Operations: In preparation for the HTV8 departure from the ISS tomorrow, Friday November 1st, the crew completed the final packing of HTV Cargo Transfer Bags (CTBs) loaded with items for disposal. Following the final packing, the crew closed the HTV hatch and configured the vestibule for unberthing by removing Air Revitalization System (ARS) jumper, Intra-modular Ventilation (IMV) supply jumper, and the power/data jumpers. They also installed the Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM) Controller Panel Assemblies (CPAs). HTV-8 is scheduled for release at 12:20 CT.

Mobile Servicing System (MSS): Today, the robotics ground controllers powered up the MSS in preparation for the crew offset grapples practice. The crew took turns flying the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) into the grapple envelope of the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) Flight Releasable Grapple Fixture (FRGF) in preparation for Northrop Grumman 12 (NG-12) capture on Monday, November 4th. The crew also practiced contingency recovery procedures by switching from the Cupola Robotic Workstation (RWS) to the Lab RWS and backing the SSRMS away. After the offset grapples practice session, the robotics ground controllers moved SSRMS to HTV8 pre-grapple position, in preparation of HTV8 unberth and release tomorrow.

On Board Training (OBT) Soyuz Emergency Drill: Today the 59S crew performed an Emergency Egress Drill. During this drill, the 59S crew reviewed procedures needed during off-nominal situations before using the onboard trainer to practice the actions required in the event of an emergency egress and Soyuz descent. This training is scheduled every 12-14 weeks and ensures the crew is adequately prepared to respond to an on-orbit emergency.

Completed Task List Activities:
Cygnus Attached Phase/Ingress Operations OBT
Galley Rack Troubleshooting
AMS Procedure Reviews
EVA Tool Configurations
CWC-I Degas

Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
Payload Support Operations
Maneuver JEMRMS for SFA Installation to SSE
SSRMS Commanding in Support of Offset Grapples Practice

Friday, 11/1 (GMT 305)

AMS EVA procedure review
Astrobee Ops
Food Acceptability
Food Physiology
ISS Experience Stow
RR Transfer Crew Conference
Standard Measures
Veg-04B Plant Check

PMD Depress
HTV Unberth
HTV Release Monitor
Cygnus Capture Review
Cygnus Robotics OBT
AMS EVA Procedure Review

Saturday, 11/2 (GMT 306) Crew Off Duty

Veg-04B plant check

Overlay Camera Calibration
N2N VOK Stow
NORS Repress Terminate
UPA Recycle Tank Fill Part 3
Overlay Camera Calibration

Sunday, 11/3 (GMT 307) Crew Off Duty

Veg-04B plant check


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

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