Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 4 November 2020 – Space Botany

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
November 6, 2020
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 4 November 2020 – Space Botany
The Sun's glint beaming off the Gulf of California.

Space botany and spacesuit studies were back on the research schedule aboard the International Space Station today.
Meanwhile, the Expedition 64 crew is staying focused on an upcoming spacewalk while the SpaceX commercial crew begins its quarantine period.

NASA astronaut and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins started her day on a space agriculture study that explores how microbes and fungi can improve soil health and crop production. She serviced samples for the experiment that seeks to improve food production in space and increase crop yields on Earth.

In the afternoon, Rubins moved on to a spacesuit study installing research components in an EXPRESS science rack. The experiment looks at water evaporation as means to cool spacesuits and prevent contamination and corrosion of parts inside the suits.

Two cosmonauts continue gearing up for their mission’s first spacewalk. Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov were gathering and organizing a variety of spacewalk gear today for staging inside the orbiting lab’s Poisk module. They are due to exit Poisk in their Orlan spacesuits on Nov. 18 and spend about six hours during the spacewalk working on maintenance and science tasks.

Following the spacewalk preps, Ryzhikov worked on a Russian oxygen generator then wrapped up the day with a hearing test. Kud-Sverchkov configured communications gear and cleaned smoke detectors.

Commander Michael Hopkins with Pilot Victor Glover and Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi are in Florida for final training before they launch on Nov. 14 aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon to the station. The four commercial crew astronauts began their official quarantine period on Saturday which is a routine “flight crew health stabilization” before missions to the orbiting lab.

On-Orbit Status Report


SERFE (Spacesuit Evaporation Rejection Flight Experiment): The crew partially installed the SERFE hardware into EXPRESS Rack 11B. Data cables were connected to EXPRESS Rack 6, and the SERFE was connected to the Waste Gas QD and to the initial CWC-Iodine supply bag. SERFE demonstrates a new technology to remove heat from spacesuits and maintain appropriate temperatures for crew members and equipment during space walks. The technology uses evaporation of water for cooling. The investigation determines whether microgravity affects performance and evaluates the technology’s effect on contamination and corrosion of spacesuit material.

Rhodium Space Rhizosphere: The crew removed Samples serial numbers (S/Ns) 0008 through 0011 along with Rhodium Science Temp Log S/N 0001 from ambient stowage and took documentary photos of each item ensuring the S/Ns were visible. The Rhodium Science TempLog was stowed for return. Soil Health in Space: Determination of Gravitational Effects on Soil Stability for Controlled Environment Agriculture (Rhodium Space Rhizosphere) examines the effects of spaceflight on the soil aggregates formed by fungi and bacteria. Recent studies have shown a connection between biological activity, aggregation formation, and the overall capacity of soils to sustainably produce nutritious food crops. A better understanding of fungal and bacterial structures and functions in soil could improve food production on Earth and in space.

EML Batch 2 (Electromagnetic Levitator): The crew set the EML valves to a closed Helium and opened Argon configuration. The Batch 2 experiments aim to deepen the understanding of the physical principles that govern solidification processes in metal alloys. The patterns of the crystals resulting from transitions of liquids to solids is of substantial importance to processes in producing materials such as solar cells, thermoelectrics, and metal alloys.


Max Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization (CEVIS): The crew completed Max CEVIS today which is used by the medical community to evaluate astronauts’ aerobic fitness. The test is performed every 90 days and upon the crew’s arrival and departure from the ISS.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

Japanese Experiment Module Remote Manipulator System (JEMRMS) Deactivation
Lab Vacuum System Leak Check
Node 3 CDRA Troubleshooting
Look Ahead Plan

Thursday, 11/5 (GMT 310)

NRCSD Deploy photo (NASA)
Food Acceptability (NASA)

Lab CDRA Valve 102 R&R
EVA BSA Termination
EVA Tool Transfer
Friday, 11/6 (GMT 311)

SERFE Water Sample collect (NASA)
EKAM Node 2 setup and act (NASA)

T2 6-Month Routine Maintenance
Saturday, 11/7 (GMT 312)

Off Duty

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

Max Cycle Ergometer w/ Vibration Isolation & Stabilization (CEVIS) Portable PFS Partial Set Up
EML Helium Valve Closing and Argon Valve Opening
Comm Config for MRM2 Voice Comm
Preparation and Setup of K??? Camcorder in MRM2 for “EVA Tools Gather” TV Session in MPEG2 via Ku-band
Preparation of EVA Equipment and Tools. Packing of EVA Kits.
Max Cycle Ergometer w/Vibration Isolation & Stabilization (CEVIS) Portable PFS Power Up
Environmental Health System (EHS) Acoustic Monitor Setup (DEFERRED)
Acoustic Monitor Setup for Static Measurements (DEFERRED)
Rhodium Space Rhizosphere Science Chamber Ambient Stowage Removal
Rhodium Space Rhizosphere MELFI Sample Insertion
Max Cycle Ergometer w/Vibration Isolation & Stabilization (CEVIS) Portable PFS Subject
Activation of Camcorder, [TBC] Equipment and Closing Applications
Nominal Comm Reconfig
Max Cycle Ergometer w/Vibration Isolation & Stabilization (CEVIS) Portable PFS Partial Stow
Filling (Degassing) of EDV (KOV) for Elektron or EDV-SV
MRM1 Smoke Detection System (???) ???-4 Smoke Detector Needle Cleaning.
SERFE Hardware Installation
??? maintenance
On-Orbit Hearing Assessment (O-OHA) with EarQ Software Setup and Test
Countermeasures System (CMS) Max Cycle Ergometer w/Vibration Isolation & Stabilization (CEVIS) Portable PFS Conclude
Water Resource Management (WRM) Condensate Tank Offload Initiation (DEFERRED)
???? reconfiguration in MRM1
On Board Training (OBT) ROBoT T&C Proficiency (DEFERRED)
Water Resource Management (WRM) Condensate Tank Offload Termination (DEFERRED)
Reminder Portable O2 Monitor (POM) Reading

SpaceRef co-founder, entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, nature lover and deep thinker.