Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 9 March, 2021 – Preparing for the Next Spacewalk

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
March 11, 2021
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 9 March, 2021 – Preparing for the Next Spacewalk
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 9 March, 2021 - Preparing for the Next Spacewalk.

The Expedition 64 astronauts are gearing up for the third spacewalk in two weeks at the International Space Station.
The orbital residents also fit in a variety of space agriculture studies and orbital maintenance tasks on their busy schedule today.

NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins will partner up for their third spacewalk together on Saturday to work on the station’s cooling system and communications gear. The duo will begin their excursion when they set their spacesuits to battery power around 7:30 a.m. EST. NASA TV starts its broadcast of all the spacewalk activities at 6 a.m.

They will spend the first part of their six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk venting and relocating ammonia lines on the far-left side of the station at the Port-6 truss structure. Next, Glover will replace a wireless communications antenna on the Unity module. Hopkins will complete cable connections on the Bartolomeo external payload facility located on Europe’s Columbus laboratory module.

Following that, the spacewalkers will meet back up to install a “stiffener” on the Quest’s airlock cover. Finally, they will route high-definition video camera cables before wrapping up the fifth spacewalk of 2021.

Hopkins and Glover were joined by Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Soichi Noguchi on Tuesday afternoon for a review of this weekend’s spacewalk procedures. NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker began cleaning and servicing their spacesuits and components today.

Hopkins and Noguchi also spent some time Tuesday on space gardening tasks. Hopkins began harvesting Amara Mustard and Extra Dwarf Pak Choi plants today for the Veg-03 botany study. Noguchi watered fast-growing plants used for traditional medicine and food flavoring for the Asian Herb investigation.

Commander Sergey Ryzhikov sampled the Zvezda service module’s air quality today. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov worked on payload cable connections in the station’s Russian segment.

On-Orbit Status Report


Asian Herb Watering: The crew performed a periodic watering for the plants growing in the Asian Herb experiment. The plants will grow for a period of around 30 days, then be preserved for return to the ground. Microgravity affects the growth of plants and understanding the nature of these changes is important for future missions that will rely on plants for food. Asian Herbs in Space studies fast-growing plants used for traditional medicine and flavoring food, examining differences in their aroma that may result from microgravity-related cellular changes. This investigation benefits future plant growth efforts in space, and provides new information on the formation of aroma compounds in common herbs.

Combustion Integrated Rack/Advanced Combustion via Microgravity Experiments (CIR/ACME): The crew performed the first part of the work needed to reconfigure the ACME chamber insert from Coflow Laminar Diffusion (CLD) support to Cool Flames Investigation with Gases (CFIG) support, the next ACME experiment to be performed. Cool diffusion flames were discovered during droplet combustion experiments aboard the ISS in 2012, and this initiated a rapidly growing field of combustion research. A cool flame is one that burns at about 600 degrees Celsius. A typical candle is about two-and-a-half times hotter, burning at around 1,400 degrees Celsius. Most internal combustion engines are designed using computer models that neglect cool flame chemistry, but ignition and flame propagation in engines depend on cool flame chemistry. Cool flame chemistry also has a significant impact on fuel octane and cetane numbers, whose understanding has large economic consequences.

Fluids Integrated Rack/Light Microscopy Module (FIR/LMM)/(Advanced Colloids Experiment (ACE): The crew gathered and took images of ACE Modules S/Ns 2018, 2014, 2016. These images are used to determine the status and viability of the various modules in order to better plan future science. The FIR is a fluid physics research facility designed to host investigations in areas such as colloids, gels, bubbles, wetting and capillary action, and phase changes, including boiling and condensation. It has also been used to hold plant growth experiments.

ISS Experience Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Z-cam: The crew removed The ISS Experience EVA Z-Cam from the JEM Airlock Slide Table. During its time outside the ISS, the team was not able to successfully power up the camera system. Several resistance and diode troubleshooting checks were performed during the removal, but all values were within the nominal range. The ground team is discussing a forward plan. The ISS Experience is a cinematic virtual reality (VR) series documenting life and research aboard the space station. Filmed over multiple months, the immersive VR series documents different crew activities – from science conducted aboard the station to preparation for a spacewalk.

JAXA Video Take-6: The crew set up the appropriate hardware and recorded various experiment activities as requested by junior and high school students. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Public Relations Activity (JAXA EPO) includes conducting cultural activities such as writing reports about and filming video of activities aboard the ISS. These tools can help inform the public about the importance of the ISS, JAXA’s Kibo module, and human spaceflight.

Packed Bed Reactor Experiment – Water Recovery (PBRE-WR): The crew performed a routine inspection for water leakage during the PBRE-WR series of experiments. They also exchanged two experiment data hard drives. PBRE-WR examines flow rates of gas and liquid through a filtering substrate in the space station water processor, replacing oxygen with nitrogen. This investigation could help identify optimum conditions and enhance accuracy of models that predict simultaneous flow of gas and liquid (two-phase flow) in microgravity.

VEG-03K/L Harvest: The crew performed partial harvests from the plants growing in the two Veggie facilities, allowing the plants to continue growing to support future harvests. Organisms grow differently in space, from single-celled bacteria to plants and humans. But future long-duration space missions will require crew members to grow their own food, so understanding how plants respond to microgravity is an important step toward that goal. Veg-03 I/J/K/L (Veg-03) uses the Veggie plant growth facility to cultivate Extra Dwarf Pak Choi, Amara Mustard and Red Romaine Lettuce using Seed Film which are harvested on orbit with samples returned to Earth for testing.


Post-EVA Operations: The crew performed several activities in order to put hardware used during the ISS Upgrades 3 EVA into a good post-EVA configuration. The crew performed a cooling loop scrub on Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMUs) 3004 and 3015 as well as the spare Hard Upper Torso (HUT) 2036. During the loop scrub, the EMU Data Recorder (EDaR) software for EMU 3004 was updated via ground uplink. After completion of the loop scrubs, the crew configured the hardware for a two-hour Iodination. Due to a leaking jumper the crew was unable to complete the Iodinations in parallel and instead performed the Iodination for EMU 3004 first and then reconfigured the good jumper to perform the Iodination to EMU 3015 and HUT. Finally, the crew terminated the 1st Metal Oxide (METOX) regeneration cycle and initiated then initiated the 2nd cycle for METOX Canisters.

EVA Preparations: The crew performed several activities in preparation for the ISS Upgrades 3.5 EVA. The crew completed an EVA Ammonia On-Board Training (OBT) and reviewed EVA fluid Quick Disconnect (QD) operational procedures. The crew also reviewed Dynamic On-board Ubiquitous Graphics (DOUG) animations to view the step-by-step sequence of the EVA. Finally, the crew completed a checkout of the Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER) to verify sufficient Nitrogen quantity is available and performed battery operations for EMU Long Life Batteries (LLBs) and Lithium Rechargeable EVA Battery Assemblies (LREBAs).

Completed Task List Activities:

SpX-21 CD Transfer
WHC KTO Replace
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

EMU Loop Scrub Support
EDaR Software Update
Offload EDV Transfer
JEMAL Commanding
Look Ahead Plan

Wednesday, March 10 (GMT 069)

Antimicrobial Coatings Touch
Asian Herbs
Astrobee On
CIR/ACME reconfig 2
CCU – crew use
Food Acceptability
Grape Microbiota
JEMAL prep from SSOD
RTPCG microscopy
WORF h/w locate.

EVA Procedure Review
EVA Procedure Conference
EMU Swap
EMU Resize
EVA Tool Configuration
EVA METOX Regeneration Term
HECA Cable Install
Thursday, March 11 (GMT 070)

Astrobee cleanup
CCU questionnaire
EML lens switch
Food Acceptability
Food Physiology
HRF1 t/s
ISS HAM pass
JEMAL/SSOD-16 installation
Micro-16 Microscopy Operations
MUSES Server Vent Cleaning
Transparent Alloys hardware locate

EVA Procedure Review
EVA Procedure Conference
EVA Tool Configuration
MPEG-2 TV Downlink Test via KU-band
Friday, March 12 (GMT 071)

Astrobee off
FIR/LMM troubleshooting
Food Acceptability
Grape Microbiota
JEMAL/J-SSOD-16 install

EVA Procedure Review
EVA Procedure Conference
EVA Tool Configuration & Audit
EVA Equipment Lock Prep
JPM CGSE Gas Line Switch
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

A/L Adapter Plate (JCAP) & NanoRacks Kaber Plate (STEP) Removal
ACE Module Photo Documentation
Asian Herb Watering 2
COLKA IVA Cabling Connection
Combustion Integrated Rack Hardware Gather
Crew Choice Event
Environmental Health System (EHS) Day/Night Glasses Swap
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Waste Water Bag (WWB) Changeout
EVA Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Cooling Loop Scrub Deconfiguration
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Ammonia On-Board Trainer (OBT)
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Lithium Rechargeable (EVA) Battery Assembly (LREBA) Operations (OPS) Initiation (INIT)
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) QD Training Review
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Cooling Loop Maintenance Iodination
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Hard Upper Torso (HUT) Scrubber Deconfiguration (IN WORK)
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Hard Upper Torso (HUT) Scrubber Install
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Long Life Battery (LLB) Operations Terminate
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Swap
GoPro installation in ???
Hematocrit Hardware Setup
ISS Experience EVA Z-Cam Removal From JEM Airlock Slide Table
JAXA Video Taking Part 6
JEM Airlock Slide Table (ST) Extension to JPM Side
JEM Airlock Slide Table (ST) Retraction from JPM Side
Kaber Removal from JEM Airlock Slide Table
Metal Oxide (METOX) Regeneration Initiation
Metal Oxide (METOX) Regeneration Termination
Packed Bed Reactor Experiment Hard Drive Exchange
Payload Interface Monitoring Unit (?????). Install ????? [???-1?] and connect cables to ????? [???-1?]
Payload Interface Monitoring Unit (?????). Removal of ????? [???-1?]
Payload Interface Monitoring Unit (?????). ????? installation/deinstallation assistance
Portable Onboard Computers (POC) Dynamic Onboard Ubiquitous Graphics (DOUG) Software Review
PROFILAKTIKA-2. Hardware Setup
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Drain and Fill
Replacement of FU5 fuse insert in ??-12 plug on ????5-12 device
Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue GN2 Check
SM air sampling using ??-1? sampler
Urine Transfer System Offload EDV Swap
VEG-03 MELFI Insertion #1
VEG-03K and VEG-03L Harvest
Vozdukh switchover to manual mode

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