Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 3 August, 2020 – Expedition 64 to Launch in October

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
August 8, 2020
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 3 August, 2020 – Expedition 64 to Launch in October
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 4 August, 2020 - Expedition 64 to Launch in October.

Three humans are orbiting Earth today aboard the International Space Station following the return on Sunday of NASA’s first commercial crew.
Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy and Flight Engineers Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner will stay in space until October. The orbital trio are continuing critical space research benefitting humans on and off the Earth as well as maintaining the orbital lab.

Back on Earth, NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are adapting to Earth’s gravity following a two-month mission on the station. Representing NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, duo is the first crew to launch to space and splashdown on Earth inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle.

SpaceX has completed its demonstration mission phase and has already booked two operational Crew Dragon missions. Crew-1 is planned for later this year and Crew-2 is targeted for Spring 2021. Both commercial crew missions will launch four astronauts each to the space station to continue microgravity science.

Russia will launch three Expedition 64 crew members to the station one week before the Expedition 63 crew returns to Earth in October. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov will liftoff inside the Soyuz MS-17 crew ship to begin a six-month mission aboard the orbital lab.

On-Orbit Status Report

Crew Dragon Return: SpaceX Demo-2 undocked from the ISS on Saturday, August 1st. The Crew Dragon vehicle splashed down safely in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, August 2nd at 1:48pm CT. The Demo-2 crew spent 9 weeks aboard the ISS performing maintenance and payloads activities during this time. The crew completed approximately 100 hours of utilization while performing technical demonstrations and checkouts of the Dragon vehicle.


Electromagnetic Levitator (EML): The crew closed the helium gas valve and opened the argon gas valve on the EML (ElectroMagnetic Levitator). The also reconfigured other EML valves to support a leak check following the hardware removal/installation last week. The ground team reports the test is going well so far. The EML is a 360 kg multi-user facility designed for container-less materials processing in space. It supports research in the areas of meta-stable states and phases along with the measurement of highly accurate thermophysical properties of liquid metallic alloys at high temperatures. EML can accommodate up to 18 samples, each 5 to 8 mm in size. Heating rates of up to 100 Kelvin per second can be achieved with a maximum temperature of 2,100°C.

Plasma Kristal-4: The crew removed the Ultra Bay Adapter of the PK4 Video Monitor and inserted the Floppy disk. PK-4 is a scientific collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), performing research in the field of “Complex Plasmas”: low temperature gaseous mixtures composed of ionized gas, neutral gas, and micron-sized particles. The micro-particles become highly charged in the plasma and interact strongly with each other, which can lead to a self-organized structure of the micro-particles: so-called plasma crystals. PK -4 aims to study transport properties, thermodynamics, kinetics and statistical physics, dynamical processes, and instabilities in complex plasmas.


In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Node 1 Filter Remove and Replace (R&R): Today, the crew removed Charcoal Filters in Node 1 and replaced them with Charcoal HEPA Integrated Particle Scrubber (CHIPS) filters. The charcoal filters were originally swapped last month to mitigate benzene levels in the ISS. The ground team was concerned over time the charcoal portion of the CHIPS filter had absorbed benzene potentially causing other compounds to push the benzene off the filters contributing to an elevated benzene level.

Completed Task List Activities:

Node 3 Ethernet Switch Assessment
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Ground Support for N1 Filter R&R
Look Ahead Plan

Tuesday, 8/4 (GMT 217)

Astrobee On
Droplet Formation Study
FSL/SMD/SCU Replacement
Mag Vector Cable Remove

Emer Roles/Resp Review
Recycle Tank Drain/Fill
Wednesday, 8/5 (GMT 218)

Astrobee Off
CGBA4 Relocate
Droplet Formation Study
HXP2 Item Prep
SAMS Screen Clean

PWD Water Collect
WHC Manual Fill
Thursday, 8/6 (GMT 219)

HXP2 Sample Remove

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

[ТБУ] Universal Bioengineering Thermostat. Check ТБУ-В #07 Thermostat Temperature and Keep Out Zones in front of ТБУ-В Inlets and Outlets
Regeneration of Micropurification Unit (БМП) Ф1 Absorption Cartridge
Condensate Unit [БПК] Functionality Check
EML Gas Valves Opening
KONSTANTA-2. Research No. 3 Preparation and Execution
ВБ-3М Cycle Ergometer. Installation of the right crank lock spring
EML Sample Chamber Valve opening
Diagnostics of FGB Power Supply System Filter Units (БФ-1М) and Main Bus Assembly (БСШ-1М), Preparation
URAGAN. Photography of Republic of Tatarstan (using SOVA Science Hardware and [BCC])
SEPARATSIYA. Test Activation/Deactivation
Auxiliary Computer System [ВКС] Laptops Antivirus Update
MERLIN EXPRESS Rack Relocation
PK4 UltraBay Adapter Removal
IMPAKT. Photography of IMPAKT plate No.1 from DC1 EV Hatch 1 window
HRF Hardware Trash
Maintenance And Repair Equipment [СТОР] Audit
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Node 1 Filter Remove and Replace (R&R)
VIZIR. Session with СКПФ-УМ Science Hardware
Robotic Workstation (RWS) Teardown
Preparation for Antivirus Scanning on [ВКС] Laptops

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