ISS Daily Summary Report – 12/18/2020


Astrorad Vest: The crew continued with the assessment of the Astrorad vest and its impacts to various activities.  The AstroRad vest is a personal protective equipment (PPE) device which functions as a radiation shield for astronauts. The AstroRad shields astronauts from space-borne ionizing radiation in an efficient way, provides operational simplification, and allows for the use of recycled material on-board the vehicle. The concept behind the AstroRad evolved from a commercially available device, the 360 Gamma shield, which is an effective wearable shield for first responders to radiation incidents on the Earth.

Fiber Optic Production (FOP):  In a continuation of the on-going FOP experiment, today the crew performed two sample exchanges, allowing samples #7 and #8 to be subsequently processed.  The crew also compared a processed preform (ZBLAM source material) to a new preform to assess how the preform melts and necks down as the fiber is pulled.  The FOP investigation creates optical fibers with high commercial value aboard the ISS using a blend of zirconium, barium, lanthanum, sodium, and aluminum called ZBLAN. It operates in the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG). Extensive theoretical studies along with a limited number of experimental studies suggest that ZBLAN optical fibers produced in microgravity should exhibit far superior qualities to those produced on Earth. The resulting optical fiber from FOP is expected to help verify these studies and guide further engineering efforts to manufacture high value optical fiber in large volume aboard the ISS. 

JEM Microbe:  The crew gathered samples in support of the JEM Microbe experiment. Space habitation is a simple ecosystem that mainly consists of humans and microbes, and in the near future, plants. Microbes play important roles for the material cycles and human health, but sometimes cause hazardous infectious diseases. The Evaluation of Indoor Microbial Environment in JEM, Kibo Japanese Experiment Module (JEM Microbe) investigation’s continuous microbiological monitoring provides greater insight on changes in microbial community structure during prolonged space habitation to reduce potential hazards for the crew and the infrastructure. 

J-SOLISS:  In a continuation of the recent JEM airlock ops, the crew installed the SOLISS experiment hardware and removed the cover from the HDTV system. These items will later be transferred to an external JEM location.  SOLISS is demonstrates the use of an optical communication system to provide more than 100Mbps downlink speed from the International Space Station (ISS). This optical communication system employs a 1550nm laser emitted from an Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifier (EDFA) with a 500mW maximum laser output.  SOLISS power, communication and cooling are provided from the EFU Adapter on the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) exposed facility platform interface.

Micro-14A yeast inoculation: The crew performed an inoculation and preservation session for the Micro-14A experiment.  The Characterizing the Effects of Spaceflight on the Candida albicans Adaptation Response (Micro-14) investigation aboard the International Space Station (ISS) extends previous flight and ground-based studies on an opportunistic yeast, Candida albicans, to define mechanisms that lead to cellular adaptation responses to the spaceflight environment. As an opportunistic pathogen, C. albicans is capable of causing severe, life-threatening illness in immunocompromised hosts. This investigation seeks to evaluate the responses of the microorganism to microgravity conditions and, in particular, to assess changes at the physiological, cellular, and molecular level and to characterize virulence factors.

Myotones: In a continuation of the multi-day Myotones experiment session, the crew completed additional ultrasound scans, and measurements with the Myotones device. The Myotones investigation observes the biochemical properties of muscles during long-term exposure to the spaceflight environment. Results from this investigation are expected to provide insight into principles of human resting muscle tone, which could lead to the development of new strategies for alternative treatments for rehabilitation both on Earth and for future space missions.


Node 3 Airlock Restow:  The crew unstowed items from the N3 Airlock to make room for the crew to perform EVA activities this week. Today, the crew re-stowed those items following successful completion of EVA tasks.

Dragon Cargo Transfer Operations: The crew continued transferring cargo from the Dragon vehicle to the ISS. They have completed approximately 38 hours of transfer with approximately 9 hours remaining to be completed.

Completed Task List Activities:

  • Astrobee OBT review
  • ISS Experience RS setup
  • LSG hardware review
  • NRAL Big Picture review
  • SSC6 UBA hard drive swap

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

  • SSRMS NRAL survey
  • N3 CBCS activities
  • Payloads ops support

Look Ahead Plan

Saturday, 12/19 (GMT 354)

  • Cardinal Heart, Micro-14A, MVP2-Cell-06 replace, Rotifer-B2


  • Crew off duty; housekeeping

Sunday, 12/20 (GMT 355)

  • Bioasteroid, Cardinal Heart, ISS Experience, Plant Habitat-02 leaf gather, Repository


  • Dragon cargo ops

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

  • EVA Airlock restow
  • Myotones
  • JEM microbe sample collect
  • SOLISS install to EFU adapter
  • Node 3 endcone cleanout
  • Node 3 Port CBCS install/checkout
  • JSL Ethernet switch ground wire mod
  • Micro-14A inoculation and preservation
  • Eye imaging/ultrasound
  • Nanoracks A/L press [Deferred]