Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 6 December, 2021 – Three New Visitors Arriving Wednesday

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
December 7, 2021
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 6 December, 2021 – Three New Visitors Arriving Wednesday
Spaceflight participant Yozo Hirano, Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and spaceflight participant Yusaku Maezawa pose for a photo ahead of their launch.

The Expedition 66 crew is getting ready to welcome three new visitors to the International Space Station on Wednesday.
In the meantime, the seven orbital residents have started the work week on human research, space physics, and artificial intelligence.

In Kazakhstan, the Soyuz MS-20 crew ship has rolled out from its processing facility and is now standing vertical at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. It will blast off on Wednesday at 2:38 a.m. EST (12:38 pm Kazakh time) carrying Soyuz Commander Alexander Misurkin and spaceflight participants Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano to the orbiting lab. Just over six hours later, the veteran Roscosmos cosmonaut and the two Japanese space visitors will dock to the Poisk module beginning an 11-day stay at the space station. Live NASA TV coverage of the launch begins Wednesday at 2 a.m. on the agency’s website, and the NASA app.

Back in space, artery scans, eye checks and a hearing test filled a portion of the crew day. The astronauts are also continuing to clean up following last week’s spacewalk.

NASA Flight Engineer Thomas Marshburn spent Monday morning attaching electrodes to his right leg and scanning his femoral artery using an ultrasound scan device. Ground doctors monitored the activities in real-time to understand the accelerated aging characteristics that appear in an astronaut’s arteries.

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer checked the eyes of NASA Flight Engineer Raja Chari using medical imaging gear. NASA astronaut Kayla Barron had a hearing assessment before joining Chari collecting and stowing blood and saliva samples for later analysis.

Barron also partnered with Marshburn stowing the tools they used to replace a failed antenna system during a six-hour and 32-minute spacewalk last week. Chari also helped out cleaning the spacesuit’s cooling loops that keep spacewalkers comfortable in the extreme environment of microgravity.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei spent the day swapping samples inside the Materials Science Laboratory to explore ways microgravity can improve the development of new and existing materials. Maurer set up the CIMON hardware to study how artificial intelligence could provide future support to astronauts.

Station cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov readied the Poisk module for Wednesday’s docking of the Soyuz MS-20 crew ship. The station duo also familiarized themselves with the visiting crew’s timeline and prepared the Russian segment for the new guests.

On-Orbit Status Report


Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Ellipsoids (InSPACE-4): A crewmember redistributed the particles in the vial assembly, activated the InSPACE equipment, configure the MSG facility for downlink, and begin InSPACE 4 operations for runs #78 and #79. InSPACE-4 studies the assembly of tiny structures from colloids using magnetic fields. These structures change the properties of the assembled material, such as its mechanical response to or interaction with light and heat. Microgravity allows observation of these assembly processes free of confining sample walls and sedimentation and during timescales not possible using simulated microgravity. Results could provide insight into how to harness nanoparticles to fabricate and manufacture new materials.

Materials Science Research Rack-1 (MSRR-1): The crew rotated the MSRR rack and visually inspected and cleaned leaky ITCS jumpers. MSRR-1 is used for basic materials research in the microgravity environment of the ISS. MSRR-1 can accommodate and support diverse Experiment Modules (EMs). Many material types, such as metals, alloys, polymers, semiconductors, ceramics, crystals, and glasses, can be studied to discover new applications for existing materials and new or improved materials.

RElative Satellite sWArming and Robotic Maneuvering (ReSWARM): The Astrobee Free Flyers were set up, configured and checked out in preparation of future test runs. ReSWARM uses the ISS’s free-flying Astrobees to demonstrate autonomous on-orbit robotic servicing such as assembly of structures and moving cargo. The investigation tests coordination among multiple robots, robots and cargo, and robots and the environment in which they operate. Future space missions could involve a variety of robotic operations including autonomous docking and repairs.

Crew Interacitve MObile companioN (CIMON): A crewmember unstowed and performed a setup of the Cimon hardware in the Multi-Use Bracket Assembly. The unit was activated and then powered off. The Pilot Study with the CIMON is a technology demonstration project, and an observational study, that aims to obtain the first insights into the effects on crew support by an artificial intelligence (AI), in terms of efficiency and acceptance during long-term missions in space. Spaceflight missions put the crew under a substantial amount of stress and workload, and it is thought that AI could provide operational support to crew members.

Electro-static Levitation Furnace (ELF): An empty Gas Bottle Unit was exchanged to supplying the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace. ELF is an experimental facility designed to levitate, melt and solidify materials by containerless processing techniques using the electrostatic levitation method. With this facility thermophysical properties of high temperature melts can be measured and solidification from deeply undercooled melts can be achieved.

Four Bed CO2 (4BCO2) Scrubber: Sampling of CO2 effluent from the 4BCO2 Scrubber was performed. The samples will be returned to the ground for analysis. 4BCO2 Scrubber demonstrates a technology for removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere on a spacecraft. The technology is based on the current system in use on the ISS with mechanical upgrades in absorption beds, heater elements, and valves and use of an improved zeolite absorbent to reduce erosion and dust formation. A goal for next-generation systems is continuous operation for 20,000 hours without a failure, and this technology is a step toward that goal.

Materials Science Laboratory (MSL): A crewmember removed the MSL SQF (Solidification and Quench Furnace) Flight Mode 2 (FM2) unit and installed the MSL SQF FM1 unit. The MSL is used for basic materials research in the microgravity environment of the International Space Station (ISS). The MSL can accommodate and support diverse Experiment Modules. In this way many material types, such as metals, alloys, polymers, semiconductors, ceramics, crystals, and glasses, can be studied to discover new applications for existing materials and new or improved materials.

Radio Frequency IDentification-Enabled Autonomous Logistics Management-2 (RFID Recon): The RFID Recon Reader was installed on Astrobee Free Flyer and Astrobee autonomous operations were conducted. The crew was available to assist the ground teams in conducting science. RFID Recon uses a radio frequency identification (RFID) reader and antennas attached to a robotic free-flyer named Astrobee to identify RFID-tagged cargo on the ISS to determine its presence and location in order to help the crew find items quickly and efficiently. RFID tags are similar to barcodes, except they are electronic, do not require line-of-sight, and are able to respond through wireless communication.

Vascular Aging: The Vascular Echo protocol was performed with guidance from the Vascular Echo ground team. This protocol included scans of the neck, thigh, portal vein and heart. Blood pressure measurements were also performed using the Holter Arterial Blood Pressure Unit. Emerging data point towards linkages among cardiovascular health risk, carotid artery aging, bone metabolism and blood biomarkers, insulin resistance, and radiation. Data indicate that aging-like changes are accelerated in many ISS crew members, particularly with respect to their arteries. As part of the Space Environment Causes Acceleration of Vascular Aging: Roles of Hypogravity, Nutrition, and Radiation (Vascular Aging) investigation, ultrasounds of the arteries, blood samples, oral glucose tolerance, and wearable sensors from ISS crew members are analyzed.


Post-Extravehicular Activity (EVA) and EVA Mobility Unit (EMU) Prep Activities: The crew continued working on post-EVA and EMU prep activities today including an EVA Battery Installation of Lithium-Ion Batteries into the Battery Stowage Compartment followed by an auto-cycle of the EVA Batteries using the EVA Battery Operations Terminal. EVA Mobility Unit (EMU) cooling loop maintenance was also completed which consists of ionic and particulate filtering of the EMU and Airlock cooling water loops, and then crew de-configured the EMU and stowed the EVA Tools. EMU loop scrubs are required preventive maintenance needed to remove any chemical and biological contaminants from the EMU transport loop.

Joint Station LAN (JSL) Configuration Troubleshooting: Today, the crew continued to perform troubleshooting activities to restore the JSL router and firewall configuration. First, crew reconfigured the W5074 cables on Node 2 JSL Router as a cleanup from the JSL 14.0 configuration. Second, the crew performed an Ethernet cable R&R between the Lab Firewall #1 and #2 in an effort to return to the nominal prime and backup firewall config. Firewall #1 is now running nominally and syncing with Firewall #2, and team is confirming whether this has fully resolved the JSL issues.

Completed Task List Activities:

Brine Processor Odor Feedback
Unused Teflon Bag Audit Task List
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

JEMRMS Maneuver for CREAM Transfer
EFU 7 Activation and Safing Verify
EFU 7 Capture Latch Close for Cloud-Aerosol Transport System for CREAM berthing
Venting System Activation – VEDD opening
EFU 2 Capture Latch Close
Look Ahead Plan

Tuesday, December 7 (GMT 341)

Astrobee stowage replace and power-off (NASA)
BioMonitor Measurements (CSA)
FIR FBCE configuration (NASA)
InSPACE-4 experiment run 80 (NASA)
MAND print removal (NASA)
Phospho-Aging MELFI inserts (JAXA)
Repository blood, urine and saliva collect (NASA)
Standard Measure Fecal setup and Cognition test (NASA)
Vascular Aging Echo scan (CSA)

EMU LLB/METOX Installation and Regeneration
US EVA Tools Stow
Crew Dragon Hand Held Gas Detector Battery Install
Training for Emergency Response On-board ISS
Crew Dragon Location 3 and 8 Photos
Crew Dragon Under Floor Inspection
Endurance Emergency Configuration Photograph
66S Space Flight Participants Big Picture Review Conference
Wednesday, December 8 (GMT 342)

Actiwatch HRF2 setup (NASA)
ECHO Maintenance setup (ESA)
Food Acceptability (NASA)
HRF VEG questionnaire (NASA)
InSPACE-4 run 81,82, 83 (NASA)
JWRS Sample Collect (JAXA)
Repository Urine and Saliva collect (NASA)
Standard Measures Body and Fecal collect and Cognition test (NASA)
Thermo-mini Stow (ESA)
Vascular Aging BP 13hr donning (CSA)

ITCS Return to Ground Sampling
JLP HCTL Jumper W3002 Connection to Channel B
US EVA Tools Stow
METOX Regeneration Termination
ISS Safety Briefing
Thursday, December 9 (GMT 343)

FIR FBCE Configure (NASA)
Food Physiology Diet Brief (NASA)
Glacier Rack relocation and reconfiguration (NASA)
MAND Print Removal (NASA)
Plant Hab Dual MWA prep (NASA)
Repository urine, saliva and blood collect (NASA)
Standard Measures Body collect and Fecal setup (NASA)
Vascular Aging BP 13hr doff CSA)

CMS T2 6 Month Maintenance
In-Flight Maintenance RPCM N21B4A_A R&R
Swap SSC 10 and 20 Swap
Emergency Roles and Responsibilities Review
CMS T2 Uncrewed ACO
IMS Conference
IFM WHC Pre-Treat Tank R&R
Dragon Monthly Conference
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Acoustic Monitor Setup for Crew Worn Measurements
Review of Cimon Big Picture Words
Cimon Unstow and Setup
EVA Battery Operations
ISS crew familiarization with visiting crew timeline
Astrobee Stowage Clear
RFID Recon Science Run 2 Operations
Standard Measures Cognition Testing
ISS Crew Conference on Visiting Crew Timeline
Material Science Laboratory Furnace Insert SQF to SQF Exchange
JEMRMS RLT2 Activation for JEMRMS Workstation Bus C/O
Reconfiguration of VCA1-PORT
Atmosphere Revitalization System Four Bed Carbon Dioxide Scrubber Samples
EML Experiment – Speed Camera Lens Replacement
JEMRMS Deactivation Preparation After JEMRMS Workstation Bus C/O
XF705 Camcorder Setup
Electrostatic Levitation Furnace (ELF) Gas Bottle Unit (GBU) Replacement
Vascular Aging Resting Ultrasound Scan
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Cooling Loop Maintenance
Columbus WOOV Re-Clocking
Vascular Aging CDL Holter Arterial Blood Pressure Measurement
Joint Station Local Area Network (LAN) (JSL) Network Information for JSL Administration (NINJA) Print
Review Emergency OBT Simulator Functionality
Crew to unplug, powercycle, then replug USB Flashdrive for Software Update
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis
HRF Generic Urine Collection Male
SSC2 Shell Replacement. Tagup with specialists if needed
Transfer Hardware to Russian Segment
Workplace preparation for visiting crew
Crew to swap the location of the USB Flashdrive from Cimon GNC port to MMI USB port
Joint Station LAN (JSL) Node 2 Router W5074 Reconfiguration
Phospho-Aging Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval And Insertion Operations
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval and Insertion Operations
66S Big Picture Review
Airborne Particulate Monitor Status Check
Crew to unplug, put back Ethernet LAN cable to the MMI port, powercycle, then replug USB for reformatting
JSL Lab Firewall Cable Swap
US Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Tools Stow
Vascular Aging Ultrasound Echo Unit Stow Partial
Installation of laptop tables for VC-20 SFP. Tagup with specialists
Thermo Mini setup
Cimon sound, camera settings and LEDs check
RFID Recon Removal
Crew to power OFF Cimon and to unplug USB Flashdrive
EasyMotion Suit stow
Health Maintenance System (HMS) – OCT2 Exam
Photo/TV Ghost Camera Charge
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Sample Data Record
Health Maintenance System (HMS) OCT2 Stow
On-orbit Hearing Assessment (OOHA) with Kuduwave Software Setup and Test
Acoustic Monitor Battery Swap
Tissue Equivalent Proportional Counter (TEPC) Power ON
Crew Alternate Sleep Accommodation (CASA) Keep-Out Zone (KOZ) & Door Stop Check
HRF Generic Saliva Collection 10 Minutes

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