Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 9 September, 2020 – Working Towards Extending the Life of the ISS

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
September 10, 2020
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 9 September, 2020 – Working Towards Extending the Life of the ISS
A snow-capped portion of the Andes Mountain Range.

The three Expedition 63 crewmates continued working on tasks aboard the International Space Station that will not only extend the outpost beyond its current 20-year tenure maximizing science in space, but also facilitate human travel deeper into the solar system.
Commander Chris Cassidy was again in the JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Kibo laboratory module to continue setup with the Confocal Space Microscopy. The apparatus provides many advantages over conventional optical microscopy, some of which include the ability to control depth of field and collect sequential optical sections from thick biological specimens. Next up, Cassidy disconnected and stowed the Biomolecule Sequencer, which he had just used the day before with the Genes in Space 6 investigation.

The station commander also served as the test subject for additional ultrasound eye scans, performed by cosmonaut Ivan Vagner, who serves as the crew medical officer approximately 240 miles above Earth. It has now long been understood that crew members’ bodies change in a variety of ways during spaceflight, and some can even experience impaired vision. Gathering data on how ocular health changes during the course of a months-long mission will help inform scientists and mission planners for future expeditions requiring greater time in space and exploration at different destinations, like the Moon and Mars.

Vagner, along with fellow cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, spent time transferring waste to the two cargo vehicles docked at station, Progress 75 and Progress 76. In addition, Ivanishin wiped down surfaces in the Russian segment and disconnected his electrocardiogram monitor after a full 24-hour test that surveyed the health of his heart.

NASA commercial provider Northrop Grumman announced that it will name the NG-14 Cygnus spacecraft, the cargo ship slated to launch Sept. 29 to replenish station with supplies and new science, after astronaut Kalpana Chawla. It is the company’s tradition to name each Cygnus after an individual who has played a pivotal role in human spaceflight, and Chawla was selected in honor of her prominent place in history as the first woman of Indian descent to go to space.

On-Orbit Status Report


Confocal Space Microscopy: The crew performed a partial Setup of the Confocal Space Microscopy in the JAXA Module. The Confocal Space Microscope (Confocal Microscope) is a JAXA facility that provides fluorescence images of biological samples aboard the International Space Station. Confocal microscopy uses spatial filtering techniques to eliminate out-of-focus light or glare in specimens whose thickness exceeds the immediate plane of focus. With the Confocal Microscope, data can be obtained on the fundamental nature of cellular and tissue structure and functions in real-time.

Multi-purpose Small Payload Rack (MSPR): The crew powered off the MSPR2 Work Bench in support of the Confocal Microscope setup. The MSPR is a multipurpose payload rack system used in the JEM. It has two workspaces and a work table that can be used for wide fields of space environment utilization including science and educational missions.

Genes in Space-6: The crew stowed the Biomolecule Sequencer unit and removed and stowed the Flow Cell. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage caused by increased exposure to radiation can affect the long-term health of astronauts. Genes in Space-6 determines the optimal DNA repair mechanisms that cells use in the spaceflight environment. The investigation evaluates the entire process in space for the first time by inducing DNA damage in cells and assessing mutation and repair at the molecular level using the miniPCR and the Biomolecule Sequencer tools aboard the space station.


Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis & Data Record: Crew performed an analysis of the water processing assembly (WPA) using the TOCA. The TOCA unit oxidizes organic carbon species present in the water to carbon dioxide gas and measures the concentration using nondispersive infrared spectroscopy. Analysis of the potable water using the TOCA occurs on a weekly basis.

Ultrasound Eye Exam: Today the crew used an ultrasound device to perform an eye scan, one of several routine ultrasound eye exams during their stay on ISS. Eye exams are performed regularly onboard in order to monitor crewmember’s eye health. Eyesight is one of many aspects of the human body affected by long-duration stays in a microgravity environment.

On-Orbit Sampling: The crew deployed two Formaldehyde Monitoring Kits (FMKs) in designated sample locations for post-flight analysis of on-orbit formaldehyde levels. The crew also used a Grab Sample Container (GSC) to collect instantaneous air samples for post-flight analysis. Sampling is performed every 45 days.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

IAS Comm Config for MRM Ops
MAC Software Commissioning
ISS External Video Survey
Look Ahead Plan

Thursday, 9/10 (GMT 254)

Astrobee Power-On (NASA)

Friday, 9/11 (GMT 255)

FLUIDICS Run 2,3 & Closeout (ESA)
CBEF CO2 Sensor Replace (JAXA)
Astrobee Poweroff (NASA)
Rodent Habitat-4 Stow (NASA)
Food Physiology Brief (NASA)

EHS Acoustic Monitor
Saturday, 9/12 (GMT 256)

Crew Off Duty

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

TBU (Universal Bioengineering Thermostat). Thermostat ???-? #07 temperature monitoring and free zone availability in front of inlet and outlet of ???-?
URAGAN. Closeout Ops and removal of SOVA PL and photo hardware
Measuring temperature of ????-2 (?301) SB current converter housing and connectors on SM battery module No.1
MSPR2 Work Bench (WB) 16V Off Verification
JEM Microscope Setup
ALGOMETRIYA. Experiment Ops
Progress 444 (DC1) Cargo Transfers and IMS Ops
MRM1 Comm Config to support tagup
SEPARATSIA. ???-?-?? distillation run in auto mode
24-hour ECG (termination)
Preparation for ???-3 Smoke Detectors Replacement by ???-3? in FGB
Progress 448 [AO] Cargo Transfers and IMS Ops
Environmental Health System (EHS) – Formaldehyde Monitoring Kit (FMK) Deployment Operations
Environmental Health System (EHS) Grab Sample Container (GSC) Sampling Operations
Fungistat Treatment of FGB structural elements and shell areas
Genes in Space 6 Biomolecule Sequencer Stow
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis & Data Record
Photo T/V (P/TV) Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Exercise Video Session
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan
SCENARIY. Observation and photography using camera

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