Space Stations

NASA Space Station Status Report 9 December, 2022 – Botany and Physics Hardware

By SpaceRef Editor
Status Report
December 10, 2022
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NASA Space Station Status Report 9 December, 2022 – Botany and Physics Hardware
Cosmonaut Dmitri Petelin works on an Orlan spacesuit. (Dec. 5, 2022)

The workweek wrapped up with the Expedition 68 crew working on botany and physics hardware aboard the International Space Station. Spacesuit maintenance is still proceeding as the astronauts and cosmonauts continue preparing for more spacewalks before the end of the year.

Growing fresh food off the Earth is a key mission objective as NASA and its international partners plan longer human missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. NASA Flight Engineer Josh Cassada spent all day on Friday configuring hardware and installing components on the Veggie space botany facility located in the Columbus laboratory module. Soon the plant growth unit will host a small crop of dwarf tomatoes growing for the Veg-05 study investigating ways to maintain a continuous fresh-food production system in space.

NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio was working in the Microgravity Science Glovebox at the end of the day exchanging samples for a fluid physics study. The investigation explores the coarsening and coalescence of foams in weightlessness with potential applications for the firefighting, petroleum, and medicine industries among others.

Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) took turns with Rubio on Friday collecting blood and urine samples, processing them, then stowing them in science freezers for later examination. Wakata also cleaned and serviced components inside the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace, an experimental facility that enables safe research of high temperature physics above 2,000 degrees Celsius.

Several more spacewalks are scheduled before the end of the year. The first is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 14, and a second for Dec. 19. Both spacewalks will be broadcast live on NASA TV, on the agency’s app and website.

NASA Flight Engineer Nicole Mann was back on spacesuit duty on Friday removing and replacing life support components inside the Extravehicular Mobility Units, or EMUs. She later removed a small satellite deployer from inside the Kibo laboratory module’s airlock.

Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin partnered once again checking their Orlan spacesuits for leaks and reviewing procedures for the Dec. 14 spacewalk. The duo also took turns working out on the station’s exercise bike while attached to sensors for a fitness evaluation. Flight Engineer Anna Kikina wrapped up her week transferring water and repressurizing nitrogen from the docked ISS Progress 82 resupply ship to tanks aboard the space station.

On-Orbit Status Report


JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer-23 (J-SSOD-23): The J-SSOD-23 experiment hardware was removed from the JEM Airlock slide table and stowed. The four J-SSOD-23 satellites were successfully deployed in early December. J-SSOD provides a novel and safe small satellite launching capability to the ISS. The J-SSOD is a unique satellite launcher, handled by the JEM Remote Manipulator System (JEMRMS), which provides containment and deployment mechanisms for several individual small satellites. Once J-SSOD is installed onto the slide table by the crew, it is passed through the JEM Airlock for retrieval, positioning, and satellite deployment by the JEMRMS.

Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation-Asymmetric Sawtooth and Cavity-Enhanced Nucleation-Driven Transport (PFMI-ASCENT):  The crew removed the calibration ampoule and installed the first science ampoule into the PFMI-ASCENT experiment hardware. PFMI-ASCENT demonstrates a passive cooling system for electronic devices in microgravity using a microstructured surface. When fluids boil over flat heated surfaces in microgravity, vapor bubbles grow larger in size, causing poor heat transfer that can lead to damage of devices. Adding microscopic ratchets on the surface may passively enable mobility of vapor bubbles and prevent this damage.

Plant Habitat facility: In response to reports of a faulty Quick Disconnect (QD) in the Plant Habitat water system, the crew began work to install a series of jumpers in the facility. Plant Habitat will be used to support the Plant Habitat-03 experiment in the near future. Plants exposed to environmental stress, including spaceflight, undergo epigenetic changes that involve adding extra information to deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) rather than changing existing information. Epigenetic Adaptation to the Spaceflight Environment – Accumulated Genomic Change Induced by Generations in Space (Plant Habitat-03) assesses whether epigenetic adaptations in one generation of plants grown in space can transfer to the next generation. This investigation could help identify genetic elements that increase the adaptability of plants to spaceflight, a first step toward developing cultivars better suited to provide food, air, and water purification in life support systems on future space missions.

Veg-05:  The crew installed 5 of the 12 plant pillows in support of the Veg-05 experiment session. This will be completed next week, at which time we will begin the 104-day growth cycle for the Red Robin dwarf tomato species. The Pick-and-Eat Salad-Crop Productivity, Nutritional Value, and Acceptability to Supplement the ISS Food System (Veg-05) investigation is the next step in efforts to address the need for a continuous fresh-food production system in space. A healthy, nutritious diet is essential for long-duration exploration missions, which means that the typical pre-packaged astronaut diet may need to be supplemented by fresh foods during flight; the Veggie Vegetable Production System (Veggie) has been testing aboard the ISS to help meet this need, and leafy greens have successfully been grown in spaceflight. The research of Veg-05 expands crop variety to dwarf tomatoes and focuses on the impact of light quality and fertilizer on fruit production, microbial food safety, nutritional value, taste acceptability by the crew, and the overall behavioral health benefits of having plants and fresh food in space.


In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Urine Receptacle (UR) and Insert Filter (IF) Remove and Replace: Today, the crew removed and replaced the Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Urine Receptacle and Insert Filter. After replacement, the crew performed a functionality test of the WHC. This routine maintenance is performed to ensure that the WHC and its internal filter systems are operating at peak efficiency for the crew on-orbit. The WHC acts as the main toiletries system in the US operating segment.

Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Fan Pump Separator (FPS) Remove and Replace (R&R) Part 3: Today, the crew completed the activities related to the removed and replaced Fan Pump Separator (FPS). Parts 1 and 2 of this R&R were completed yesterday. Today, crew primed the EMU water pump, performed a hardware dry out, and completed EMU closeout activities. The FPS assembly is a component of the Primary Life Support System (PLSS) that provides circulation of the ventilation and cooling fluids for the EMU.

SpX-Crew Dragon Deorbit Entry and Landing Contingencies Refresher: Today, the crew participated in an On-Board Training (OBT) to refresh themselves on the procedures in the event of a SpaceX Crew Dragon contingency deorbit and landing. Crew reviewed CBT locations, Ops Products, and SpaceX Crew Dragon documentation. These OBTs are performed regularly to ensure that the Crew is up-to-date on the latest safety and contingency procedures.

Completed Task List Activities:

  • None

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

  • VEG-05 Experiment Install
  • Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment Data Downlink
  • JAXA International Circuit (HOSC-6) Maintenance

Look Ahead Plan

Saturday, December 10 (GMT 344)

  • HRF urine collection/stow
  • ISS HAM pass
  • Neural Integration System fixations
  • STaARS BS-15 group 1 insert into MELFI


  • Crew Off-Duty Day

Sunday, December 11 (GMT 345)

  • No utilization activities


  • Crew Off-Duty Day

Monday, December 12 (GMT 346)

  • ELF gas bottle exchange
  • HRF blood/urine setup
  • HRF Veg questionnaires
  • MELFI icebrick insertions
  • STaARS BS-15 second/final MELFI insertion
  • Veg-05 plant check


  • Russian Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Tool Gather
  • Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Battery (BATT) Removal
  • Electrostatic Levitation Furnace (ELF) CYGNUS Cargo Transfer

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

  • Swap SSC (Station Support Computer) 20 and 12 Swap
  • Environmental Health System (EHS) – Formaldehyde Monitoring Kit (FMK) Stow Operation
  • Electrostatic Levitation Furnace (ELF) Cartridge Cleaning and Removal
  • Electrostatic Levitation Furnace (ELF) AC Dry Vacuum Cleanser Bag R&R Support
  • Electrostatic Levitation Furnace (ELF) Sample Holder Gather and Change
  • Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Fan Pump Separator (FPS) Remove and Replace (R&R) Part 3
  • Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Swap
  • Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Fan Pump Separator (FPS) Tool Stow Part 1
  • HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Operator
  • HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Setup and Frozen Blood Collection Subject
  • HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Conclude and Stow
  • HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Configure and Run
  • HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Spin Conclude
  • HRF Generic MELFI Sample Insertion
  • HRF Generic MELFI Sample Insertion Operations
  • HRF Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval and Insertion
  • HRF Generic Urine Collection
  • In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Urine Receptacle (UR) and Insert Filter (IF) Remove and Replace
  • JEM Airlock Slide Table (ST) Extension to JPM Side
  • JEM Airlock Slide Table (ST) Retraction from JPM Side
  • MPEP Removal from JEM Airlock Slide Table
  • Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform (MPEP) Removal JEM Airlock Slide Table Support
  • Stow MPEP to JLP1 Bay 2 Corridor
  • JAXA Payload Laptop Terminal 6 (PLT6) Setup
  • JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (SSOD) Resupply (1 Deployer) Removal from Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform (MPEP)
  • SpX-CREW DRAGON Deorbit Entry and Landing Contingencies Refresher
  • Photo TV EVA camera Battery Charging
  • Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation Historical Documentation Photography
  • Pore Formation and Mobility Experiment Sample Exchange
  • Plant Habitat MWA Preparation
  • Plant Habitat Facility Procedure Review
  • Plant Habitat QD Troubleshoot
  • Program Management/ISS Crew Conference
  • HRF Generic Urine Reclamation
  • VEG-05 Experiment Install

SpaceRef staff editor.