Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status Report 8 February, 2022 – Station Orbit Raised for Crew Swap

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
February 9, 2022
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status Report 8 February, 2022 – Station Orbit Raised for Crew Swap
Astronaut Mark Vande Hei peers at the Earth below. (Feb. 4, 2022)

The International Space Station is orbiting slightly higher today placing it in position for a crew swap taking place in March.
Meanwhile, the seven-member Expedition 66 crew participated in life science and physics research and a variety of robotics activities.

Russia’s ISS Progress 79 cargo craft, docked to the aft end of the Zvezda service module, fired its engines early Tuesday morning for two minutes and 22 seconds. The orbital maneuver boosted the station’s orbit by six-tenths of a mile in preparation for the Soyuz MS-20 crew ship arriving in mid-March as well as the Soyuz MS-19 trio departing on March 30. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei will be returning to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-19 crew ship completing a NASA single spaceflight record-breaking mission of 355 days.

Today’s science schedule aboard the orbiting lab covered a wide variety of subjects exploring phenomena benefitting astronauts in space and humans on Earth.

NASA Flight Engineer Thomas Marshburn configured the Combustion Integrated Rack to begin operations for a pair of studies exploring fire growth in microgravity. Marshburn also took a robotics test for the Behavioral Core Measures investigating how living in space affects crew stress, performance, and behavior. ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer watered and photographed plants growing for the Veggie PONDS space agriculture study.

NASA astronaut Kayla Barron set up an Astrobee robotic assistant to collect visual data and create a localization map inside the Harmony module. She also joined fellow NASA Flight Engineer Raja Chari and reviewed spacewalk responsibilities and configured spacewalk tools. Vande Hei swapped samples and cleaned the inside the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace, a research device that enables the observation of thermophysical properties at high temperatures.

In the station’s Russian segment, Commander Anton Shkaplerov joined Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov and studied how the heart and circulation system adapt to weightlessness . The duo from Roscosmos also partnered together on cargo activities and air repressurization activities inside the Progress 79 vehicle.

On-Orbit Status Report


Behavioral Core Measures (BCM): A crewmember completed a ROBoT-r Research session consisting of a set of 12 runs/tests. The Standardized Behavioral Measures for Detecting Behavioral Health Risks during Exploration Missions (Behavioral Core Measures) experiment initially examined a suite of measurements to reliably assess the risk of adverse cognitive or behavioral conditions and psychiatric disorders during long-duration spaceflight and evaluated the feasibility of those tests within the operational and time constraints of spaceflight for two crewmembers. Subsequent subjects perform a subset of the original activities to measure the performance capabilities of deconditioned crewmembers to complete either individual or crew telerobotic operations within the first 24 hours after landing. This information could help characterize what tasks a crewmember who has spent months in weightlessness can reasonably be expected to perform after landing on the surface of Mars.

Cell Biology Experiment Facility Left (CBEF-L): The Low Temperature Loop (LTL) valves and turn table were set up to support the configuration H checkout of the facility. CBEF-L is a JAXA subrack facility, which is an upgraded facility of the original CBEF currently aboard the ISS. CBEF-L provides new capabilities with additional new resources such as Full High-Definition video interface, Ethernet, 24 VDC power supply, and a larger diameter centrifugal test environment. By using the original CBEF and CBEF-L as one facility for the same experiment, the payload user is provided with an upgraded experimental environment that can handle the processing of more experimental samples for a wider array of experiments.

Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR): The crew performed steps in support of the multi-part rack reconfiguration from the Advanced Combustion via Microgravity Experiments (ACME) experiment insert to the Solid Fuel Ignition and Extinction (SoFIE) experiment insert. Specifically, the crew exchanged bottles at manifold 2 and 4, exchanged the adsorber cartridge, set the CIR valve timers, and disconnected the static mixer hose inside the CIR combustion chamber. SoFIE is a hardware insert for CIR that enables a wide range of solid-material combustion and fire suppression studies, providing common infrastructure including sample holders, flow control, test sections, external radiant heaters, igniters, and diagnostics for multiple investigations. While SoFIE initially meets the requirements of five investigations, is intended for use by any researchers who propose related solid combustion studies to NASA in the future.

Electrostatic Levitation Furnace (ELF): The crew gained access to the experiment chamber, collected any samples liberated from the sample holder, and then exchanged the sample holder 2 in the sample cartridge. 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.

Electromagnetic Levitator (EML): In support of upcoming science activities, the high-speed camera was switched to ‘STD’ mode. EML is a multi-user facility that provides containerless melting and solidification of electrically conductive, spherical samples, under ultra-high vacuum and/or high purity gas environments. Heating and positioning of the sample is achieved by electromagnetic fields generated by a coil system. The EML supports research in the field of meta-stable states and phases and in the field of measurement of highly accurate thermophysical properties of liquid metallic alloys in the stable and undercooled state.

Integrated System for Autonomous and Adaptive Caretaking (ISAAC): Using one of the Astrobee free-fliers and multiple passes down the long axis of Node 2, the crew obtained visual navigation images in the Node 2 area. The ISAAC project demonstrates using autonomous robots in human exploration vehicles to track vehicle health, transfer and unpack cargo, and respond to critical faults such as leaks and fires. ISAAC uses the space station’s Astrobee and Robonaut robots for the demonstration. This technology could be used on vehicles and habitats on future exploration missions to the Moon and Mars to maintain vehicles while astronauts are away for extended periods.

Payload NAS (Network Attached Storage): As a routine maintenance activity, the crew performed a deep cleaning of the inlet and outlet vents. This is performed to prevent automatic shutdown of the unit due to inadequate airflow and resulting higher heat levels. The Payload NAS is a file server with 5 hard drive bays that provides a total of 20 terabytes of raw disk space when used with 4 terabyte hard drives. Among other capabilities, the PL NAS supports user file transfers from their machine via web browser and allows onboard ISS systems to access a shared folder location on the NAS.

Plasma Krystall-4 (PK-4): In preparation for upcoming science activities, the configuration was verified for the laptop used to support PK-4. PK-4 is a scientific collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), performing research in the field of Complex Plasmas: low temperature gaseous mixtures composed of ionized gas, neutral gas, and micron-sized particles. The micro-particles become highly charged in the plasma and interact strongly with each other, which can lead to a self-organized structure of the micro-particles: so-called plasma crystals. Experiments in the facility aim to study Transport Properties, Thermodynamics, Kinetics and Statistical Physics, and Non-linear waves and Instabilities in the plasmas.

Sampling Quadrangle Assemblages Research Experiment (SQuARE): The crew took photos of the SQuARE experiment sites located in the Node 1 Galley, JEM, Columbus, Node 2, Node 3, and the US Lab. SQuARE is an investigation that aims to document items within six defined locations around the ISS over time. The idea is to look at the ISS as an archaeological site, and each of the Squares as a “test pit”.

Veggie Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System (PONDS): The crew added water to the 12 PONDS modules as needed. Some modules had no visible plant growth and were not watered, but others had healthy plants visible. The crew also took photos of the plants growing in the modules. Organisms grow differently in space, from single-celled bacteria to plants and humans. Future long-duration space missions will require crew members to grow their own food. Therefore, understanding how plants respond to microgravity and demonstrating the reliable vegetable production on orbit are important steps toward that goal. Veggie PONDS uses a newly developed passive nutrient delivery system and the Veggie plant growth facility aboard the ISS to cultivate Romaine lettuce and Mizuna mustard greens which are to be harvested on-orbit, and consumed, with samples returned to Earth for analysis.


Water and Recovery System (WRS) CWC-I (Iodinated Contingency Water Container): The CWC is a soft container with an inner bladder that can store a variety of liquids including humidity condensate, wastewater, and other unique fluids such as Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) wastewater. Today’s activities involved manually removing as much air as reasonable before pumping fluid into the system. The crew set up the CWC-I Transfer Station, and then the Fluid Transfer Pump was activated to transfer fluid to a Water Storage System (WSS) Water Resupply Tank (RST). This assembly utilizes a Microbial Check Valve and Water Check Valve Hose to maintain the potable integrity of the CWC-Iodine.

Extravehicular Activity (EVA) #1 Procedure Review for Extravehicular Crew: There are two EVAs planned for March. The crew will install ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (IROSA) 3A during the first EVA and the Radiator Beam Valve Module (RBVM) Jumper during the second EVA. In preparation for these EVAs, the crew has already begun reviewing their training which includes hazard avoidance, timeline procedure reviews, and a tool configuration summary.

Health Maintenance System (HMS) Spaceflight Cognitive Assessment Tool for Windows (WinSCAT) Test: NASA developed a screening tool to monitor astronauts and their neuro-cognitive status while in space. The test also provides a way for NASA Flight Surgeons to be notified of any accuracy or reaction time changes in astronaut performance. During today’s activity, WinSCAT tested the crew’s working memory, computational skills, attention, visual tracking, and spatial processing. This test is performed monthly.

Habitability Photo Survey: To help train future crews and photo document an unidentified item, the crew completed a habitability photo survey at specified locations around the space station. Some of these locations included the toilet area, current location of hygiene kits/comfort kits, Galley Rack and Galley Rack Control Panel, and the hygiene area of the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM).

Food Consolidate: Today, the crew refilled and consolidated the NOD1S1 food pantry to ensure the crew had easy access to food while also helping to reduce the overall stowage footprint in the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM). Crew time is often allocated toward stowage management to maintain safety, organization, and habitability.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

Reboost with 79P
CWC-Iodine Transfer to Waste Water Bus
Structural Dynamics Measurement System (SDMS) Data Dump
Look Ahead Plan

Wednesday, February 9 (GMT 40)

Astrobee Stowage Replace
CIR/ACME to SOFIE Reconfiguration Prep H/W Gather and Review
Food Acceptability
MSRR/MSL Sample Exchange
MVP-Plant-01 Remove
Wireless Compose-2 T/S

In-Flight Maintenance (IFM) Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Urine Hydraulic Components Remove & Replace
Payload Data Handling Unit 3 (PDH3) Remove & Replace
US Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Airlock Audit
Thursday, February 10 (GMT 41)

CBEF-L Configuration
CIR/ACME to SOFIE Reconfig prep
Food Physiology Diet brief
GRIP-Seated Science 2
Plant Habitat-05 Harvest 3
Rodent Research-18 Hab Restock and Access Unit Clean
Standard Measures Presleep Questionnaire
Temperature Logger Data Transfer
Touching Surfaces

HMS Periodic Health Status (PHS)
HMS Lumbar Spine Ultrasounds
Station Support Computer (SSC) 10 and 20 Swap
Friday, February 11 (GMT 42)

CIR Hardware Return
EML Gas Valve Close
GRIP-Supine Science 3
MVP Plant-01 Bonus Run Setup
Plant Habitat-05 MELFI Insert
Standard Measures Postsleep Questionnaire
Veggie PONDS Water Fill and Photos
Wireless Compose-2 Ballistocardiograph

Water and Recovery System (WRS) CWC-I (Iodinated Contingency Water Container) Degas
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) #2 Procedure Review for Extravehicular Crew
On-board Training (OBT) Cygnus Robotics and Rendezvous Reviews
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Measuring Hematocrit Number
Water and Recovery System (WRS) CWC-I (Iodinated Contingency Water Container) Degas
CBEF-L LTL Distribution Box Setup and Turntable Lock
Light Ions Detector Move 2
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Spaceflight Cognitive Assessment Tool for Windows (WinSCAT) Test
Network Monitoring Laptop Load Prep
Payloads Network Attached Storage (NAS) Deep Cleaning
Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR) Bottle Configuration for SoFIE Payload
Electrostatic Levitation Furnace (ELF) Item Gathering and Sample Holder Change
Russian Laptop Labeling
PK-4 Hard Disk Audit
VEGGIE Hardware On-Board Training, Set Up
SQuARE Fixed Daily Imagery
CWC-Iodine Waste Water Bus Transfer Station Bag Swap, Fill
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) #1 Procedure Review for Extravehicular Crew
Behavioral Core Measures ROBoT-r Research Testing
Habitability Photo Survey
Food Consolidate
Astrobee ISAAC Node 2 Mapping Operations
Odor Control Mask Retrieval from PMM Endcone
Artemis HERA (Hybrid Electronic Radiation Assessor) on Space Station (A-HoSS) Adlink Mini PC Reboot

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