Space Stations

NASA Space Station Status Report 19 December, 2022 – Life Science Experiments to Start the Week

By SpaceRef Editor
Status Report
December 20, 2022
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NASA Space Station Status Report 19 December, 2022 – Life Science Experiments to Start the Week
Astronaut Nicole Mann replaces life support gear on a spacesuit. (Dec. 8, 2022)

Life science and cargo operations kicked off the week for the Expedition 68 crew aboard the International Space Station. Two astronauts are also planning to exit the orbiting lab on Wednesday for a seven-hour spacewalk. NASA Space Station Update 16 December, 2022 –

NASA Flight Engineers Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann took turns with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata on Monday servicing research samples for an experiment exploring how bones heal in space. The investigation may provide insights into debilitating bone conditions helping advance bone healing therapies for patients on and off the Earth.

All three astronauts also partnered with NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio and worked throughout Monday inside the Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter attached to the Earth-facing port of the Unity module. The quartet rotated in and out of the vehicle unpacking cargo including crew supplies, new science experiments, and station hardware, as well as stowing trash and old gear inside the space freighter for disposal.

Rubio then spent the afternoon installing multi-layer insulation inside the Harmony module’s space-facing international docking adapter to which the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship is docked. Wakata started his day preparing samples for an experiment run inside the Materials Science Laboratory, a space physics research device sponsored by ESA (European Space Agency). Mann photographed a student-designed study that is exploring new methods to degrade plastic waste in space.

Cassada and Rubio are planning to go on their third spacewalk together at 7:45 a.m. EST on Wednesday. The pair will install another roll-out solar array, also known as an International Space Station Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA), on the space station’s truss structure. This time the duo will maneuver to the opposite side of the truss structure and install the station’s fourth iROSA on the Port-4 truss structure. The pair will spend about seven hours on the installation job live on NASA TV on the agency’s app and its website.

NASA and Roscosmos continue to evaluate an external cooling loop leak from the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft docked to the Rassvet module of the International Space Station. Temperatures and humidity within the Soyuz spacecraft remain within acceptable limits. Roscosmos has identified the source of the leak as the external cooling loop of the Soyuz.

As part of the ongoing evaluation and investigation, a robotic inspection of the suspected leak area was completed Dec. 18, using cameras on the Canadarm2 robotic arm. A small hole was observed, and the surface of the radiator around the hole showed discoloration. Roscosmos is evaluating the imagery to determine if this hole could have resulted from micrometeoroid debris.

Space station operations and research continue while station managers and international partners collect and analyze data, and work to develop a forward course of action for the Soyuz and its crew.

With help from the cosmonauts aboard the station, Roscosmos conducted tests on additional Soyuz systems on Dec. 16, including a short demonstration of the spacecraft’s propulsion system. So far, testing has shown no additional issues.

The Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft carried NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin into space after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sept. 21.

The leak was first detected around 7:45 p.m. EST Dec. 14, when pressure sensors in the cooling loop showed low readings. Data analysis indicates the majority of the cooling fluid had leaked out by 1:30 p.m. Dec. 15.

At the time of the leak, Prokopyev and Petelin were preparing to conduct a spacewalk. The spacewalk was postponed, so the cosmonauts did not exit the space station or become exposed to the leaking coolant.

Back inside station, Prokopyev and Petelin configured the Poisk module and its airlock to its normal status. Prokopyev later collected obsolete hardware for disposal aboard Cygnus and also tested a 3D printer. Petelin inspected cable connections and inventoried spare parts aboard the station. Flight Engineer Anna Kikina spent the morning exploring futuristic spacecraft and robotic piloting techniques then worked in the afternoon servicing an oxygen generator.

On-Orbit Status Report


Materials Science Research Rack/Materials Science Laboratory (MSRR/MSL): The crew gained access to the MSL furnace area, removed the Growth of Ternary Compound Semiconductors (GTCS) Sample Cartridge Assembly (SCA) and installed the Fabrication of Amorphous Metals in Space (FAMIS) C2 SCA. FAMIS studies the microstructure of composites of Bulk Metallic Glass (BMG) and tungsten spheres processed in microgravity. BMGs, also known as amorphous metals, have excellent mechanical properties such as wear resistance. Forming composites with tungsten and BMGs could create a new class of high-performance alloys and coatings, but the vast density difference between the two makes this challenging in Earth’s gravity. Results could support development of new-generation elements for gears and coatings for applications in space and on Earth.

Nanoracks Module-51: The second set of photo operations were performed for the experiments in Module-51. The experiments in Module-51 include plant growth, Haloarchea growth, and worm composting. NanoRacks Modules allow experimenters and students to perform extended on-orbit operations using space-proven hardware. Each individual module houses a unique experiment or set of experiments. Anything approved for transport to ISS can be incorporated into a module, representing any field of science.

Ryutai/Protein Crystallization Research Facility (PCRF): The crew relocated the three maintenance units to other cell tray positions, and took photos of the signal cable connections. This is part of the semi-annual maintenance for the PCRF. The PCRF is a JAXA sub rack facility which investigates protein crystal growth in microgravity. PCRF is housed in the Ryutai (fluid) Experiment Rack (ER), along with the Fluid Physics Experiment Facility (FPEF), Solution Crystallization Observation Facility (SCOF), and the Image Processing Unit (IPU).


In Flight Maintenance (IFM) International Docking Adapter (IDA) Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI) Remove and Replace (R&R) and Bracket Installation: The crew began by removing the IDA MLI to facilitate the Bracket installation. The crew then installed a new design IDA MLI Blanket that is outfitted for integration of MLI retention Floating Brackets. This new design was installed around the entire circumference of the IDA docking ring primary structure internal cavities underneath the IDA MLI Blanket. The IDA converts the Pressurized Mating Adapter (PMA) from the Shuttle-era Androgynous Peripheral Attachment System (APAS) docking system to a standardized docking system that allows automated docking of future vehicles to the US Segment of ISS.

Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations: The crew continued cargo transfer operations between the ISS and the Cygnus NG-18 cargo vehicle. NG-18 is scheduled to remain at the ISS until the end of January before it departs the ISS for an eventual destructive re-entry in the Earth’s atmosphere.

IFM Cupola Window Scratch Pane Cleaning: The crew completed maintenance by cleaning the inboard surface of the installed Cupola Window Scratch Panes and the Acrylic Scratch Panes. The panes were carefully cleaned with a lens cloth and water, wiping gently in only one direction. The Cupola has seven windows that provide an observation and work area for the ISS crew giving visibility to support the control of the ISS remote manipulator system and general external viewing of Earth, celestial objects and visiting vehicles.

Completed Task List Activities:

  • None

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

  • COL-CC Prime MPLS Maintenance
  • PRO Basic Express Rack 10B Activation Commanding
  • SPDM Unstow
  • MSS Walkoff Maneuver
  • PRO MSRR Commanding
  • JEMRMS Activation

Look Ahead Plan

Tuesday, December 20 (GMT 354)

  • CBEF – Temp Controller Cable Swap
  • JEM UOP Cable Reconfiguration
  • VEG-05 Plant Check And Wick Open


  • EVA Tool Configuring and Audit
  • EVA Procedure Review and Conference
  • Equipment Lock Preparation
  • ROBO Procedure Review

Wednesday, December 21 (GMT 355)

  • No Payload Activities


  • 4A IROSA Install EVA

Thursday, December 22 (GMT 356)

  • CIR O2 Bottle Replace
  • Food Physiology Diet Brief
  • HRF Resupply
  • HRF Veggie POMS Questionnaire
  • JAXA ExBAS Removal
  • LSG Laptop Battery Replacement
  • MELFI-3 Icebrick Insertion
  • Plant Hab-03A SC Install And Water Refill
  • Repository Blood and Urine Setup
  • Standard Measures Post Sleep Questionnaire
  • Sphere Camera-1 Cupola Ops
  • Veg-05 Plant Check
  • Veggie Monitoring Surface Collect


  • EVA EMU Water Recharge
  • THC IMV Flow Measurement Survey
  • EVA Debrief Conference
  • ESA Trash Pre-Gather for NG-18 Disposal
  • EVA A/L Deconfiguration

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

  • NanoRacks Maintenance Work Area Preparation
  • PCRF Maintenance Unit Relocation
  • NanoRacks Module Photography
  • NanoRacks Module-51 Experiment Operations 2
  • Utility Outlet Panel (UOP) Activation
  • MSL SCA Review
  • Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
  • Photo/Video of Life on Station
  • MSL SCA Exchange
  • Preparation of Russian Hardware (HW) to be disposed by NG-18
  • Multipurpose Small Payload Rack (MSPR) Experiment Laptop Terminal (ELT) Cable Connection
  • Countermeasures System (CMS) Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Cylinder Flywheel Evacuation
  • PMM Cleanup
  • Urine Transfer System (UTS) Offload EDV Swap
  • Environmental Health System (EHS) Air Quality Monitor (AQM) Vent Vacuum
  • IFM Cupola Window Scratch Pane Cleaning
  • IFM IDA MLI R&R and Bracket Installation
  • IFM MLI Installation Assist
  • JEM Stowage Audit Part 2
  • VEG Series Experiment On-Board Training (OBT)

SpaceRef staff editor.