Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 9 March 2020 – Grappling a Dragon

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
March 14, 2020
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 9 March 2020 – Grappling a Dragon
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 9 March 2020 - Grappling a Dragon.

While the International Space Station was traveling more than 262 miles over the Northeast Pacific near Vancouver, British Columbia, Expedition 62 Flight Engineer Jessica Meir of NASA grappled Dragon at 6:25 a.m. EDT using the space station’s robotic arm Canadarm2 with NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan acting as a backup.
Ground controllers will now send commands to begin the robotic installation of the spacecraft on bottom of the station’s Harmony module. NASA Television coverage of installation is now scheduled to begin at 8:00 a.m. Watch online at

Here’s some of the research arriving at station:

New Facility Outside the Space Station

The Bartolomeo facility, created by ESA (European Space Agency) and Airbus, attaches to the exterior of the European Columbus Module. Designed to provide new scientific opportunities on the outside of the space station for commercial and institutional users, the facility offers unobstructed views both toward Earth and into space. Potential applications include Earth observation, robotics, material science and astrophysics.

Studying the Human Intestine On a Chip

Organ-Chips as a Platform for Studying Effects of Space on Human Enteric Physiology (Gut on Chip) examines the effect of microgravity and other space-related stress factors on biotechnology company Emulate’s human innervated Intestine-Chip (hiIC). This Organ-Chip device enables the study of organ physiology and diseases in a laboratory setting. It allows for automated maintenance, including imaging, sampling, and storage on orbit and data downlink for molecular analysis on Earth.

Growing Human Heart Cells

Generation of Cardiomyocytes From Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-derived Cardiac Progenitors Expanded in Microgravity (MVP Cell-03) examines whether microgravity increases the production of heart cells from human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). The investigation induces stem cells to generate heart precursor cells and cultures those cells on the space station to analyze and compare with cultures grown on Earth.

On-Orbit Status Report

SpaceX Capture/Berthing (SpX-20): Today, the ISS crew completed robotic capture of the SpX-20 Dragon at 10:26 am CT using the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS). This was followed by berthing to the Node 2 Nadir port. Next, the ISS crew performed a Node 2 vestibule pressurization and leak check and installed the power data jumper cables for Dragon activation. Additionally, the crew ingressed the Dragon vehicle one day earlier than planned. The vehicle delivered 4300 kilograms of cargo to the ISS.


Double Cold Bag (DCB) Unpack Review: The crew reviewed procedures in preparation for transfer and unpack of one -32 deg C DCB and two +4 deg C DCBs. The DCBs are passive (non-powered) bags which are used to maintain temperatures at acceptable levels during the vehicle ascent or descent.

JAXA/Mouse Mission-5 Prep: The crew reviewed procedures and prepared the hardware in advance of the transfer of the mice from SpX-20 to ISS. The purpose of this mission is to analyze any alterations of the gene expression patterns in several organs and the effects on the germ-cell development of mice exposed to a long-term space environment.

STaARS Bioscience 9: As part of the continuing investigation, the crew performed insertion # 4 into a Box Module within MELFI (Minus Eighty-degree Freezer for ISS). Tapping Microgravity to Enhance Biofuel Production (STaARS BioScience-9) aims to identify novel biological mechanisms using genetically modified Escherichia coli (E. coli) to improve the bio-production of isobutene to an extent that economically competes with petrochemical production processes. Isobutene is a key precursor for numerous chemicals and products including butyl rubber, terephthalic acid, and a gasoline performance additive that improves combustion, reduces emissions and prevents engine knock.

Standard Measures: The crew performed the periodic saliva collection as part of the on-going Standard Measures investigation. The aim of the SM 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.


Urine Processing Assembly (UPA) Status: Yesterday, at approximately 2 hours and 12 minutes into a UPA process cycle, ‘UPA Fail’ annunciated and UPA transitioned to ‘stop’. An error code was received indicating the Pressure Control and Pump Assembly (PCPA) pump motor current was too high. After ground discussions, UPA was reactivated, however, after approximately 2 hours and 23 minutes of processing UPA faulted out. Teams stood down from additional troubleshooting while the forward plan is discussed.

Mobile Servicing System Operations: Yesterday, in preparation for SpX-20 berthing, Robotics Ground Controllers powered up SSRMS and performed a visual survey of the Node 2 Nadir Active Common Berthing System (CBM). Today, the ISS crew monitored Dragon approach to the ISS from the Cupola Robotic Workstation (RWS) and captured the Dragon using the SSRMS. Controllers then maneuvered the SSRMS to support inspection of the Dragon Passive CBM sealing surface and installed the Dragon on Node2 Nadir Active CBM. Once the CBM Ground Controllers had captured and A-bolted the Dragon to Node2, Robotics Ground Controllers de-configured the MSS from the Hot Backup Configuration and powered it down.

Completed Task List Activities:

Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
Payload operations support
SpX-20 capture
Lookahead Plan

Tuesday, 3/10 (GMT 070)
CGBA-4 sample insert
Cold Stowage transfers
Locker reconfigurations
Mouse Mission-5
Nanoracks Mod-9

Dragon ingress/cargo transfer

Wednesday, 3/11 (GMT 071)
Cold Stowage transfers
Engineered Heart Tissue
Medium Temp PCG
Mouse Mission-5
Nanoracks Mod-51
Standard Measures

Restow Dragon Vestibule Outfitting Kit (VOK)

Thursday, 3/12 (GMT 072)
Food Acceptability
Locker reconfigurations
MELFI Icebrick insert
Nanoracks Mod-9 ops 2

JOTI config for MISSE transfer tray

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

Cupola Window Shutter Close
Check Closure of SM window shutters
Robotics Workstation (RWS) Dragon Configuration
SEPARATSIA. [???-?-??] System Activation. Distillation cycles activation
Cold Stowage Double Coldbag Unpack Review
Auxiliary Laptop Computer System Virus Definition File Update
Robotic Workstation (RWS) High Definition (HD) Monitor Downlink
Dragon R Bar Approach
Filling (separation) of ??? (???) for Elektron or ???-??
Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) Dragon Capture
Robotic Workstation (RWS) High Definition (HD) Monitor Deactivation
Crew Command Panel (CCP) Cable Deroute
URAGAN. Installation and activation of SOVA scientific hardware
XF305 Camcorder Setup
JAXA Mouse Mission 5 Equipment Preparation
JAXA Mouse Mission 5 Water Refill
JAXA Mouse Mission Cage Detachment 3 from CBEF-L IU
JAXA Mouse Mission 5 Sample Transfer Preparation
SEPARATSIA. [???-?-??] System Deactivation. Log file Downlink
SpaceX/Node 2 Leak Check Preparation
JAXA Mouse Mission 5 Pre-mission Transfer Familiarization 1
URAGAN. Closeout Ops and removal of SOVA science hardware
Robotic Workstation (RWS) Teardown
STaARS Cryotube Kit MELFI Insertion #4
Video Footage of Greetings
Cleaning MRM1 Fan Screens (group B)
Photo TV High Definition (HD) Dragon Video Setup
Sp`+X/Node 2 Pressurized Leak Check
Dragon Vestibule Outfitting
Exercise Data Downlink via OCA
Node 2 Nadir Controller Panel Assembly (CPA) Removal/Rotation
OsteoOmics-2 MELFI Sample Retrieve
LSG Work Volume Deploy
LSG Primary Crew Restraint Unfold
Preparation for Antivirus Scanning on [???] Laptops

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