NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 15 April, 2021 - Crew to Expand to 11 Astronauts for a Short Time

The crew for the second long-duration SpaceX Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2, are pictured during a training session at the SpaceX training facility in Hawthorne, California. From left are, Mission Specialist Thomas Pesquet of the (ESA (European Space Agency); Pilot Megan McArthur of NASA; Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA; and Mission Specialist Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Credit: SpaceX.

NASA astronaut Shannon Walker of Houston will assume command of the International Space Station today from Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov.

Walker will lead the Expedition 65 crew for almost two weeks until she returns to Earth with her crewmates aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.

NASA TV is broadcasting the traditional change of command ceremony beginning at 3:45 p.m. EDT today.

Ryzhikov will depart the orbiting lab on Friday with his Expedition 64 crewmates Kate Rubins of NASA and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos. The trio will undock from the Poisk module inside the Soyuz MS-17 crew ship at 9:34 p.m. and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan about three-and-a-half hours later.

The seven-member Expedition 65 crew will be waiting for the arrival of four new Commercial Crew members due to launch to the station on April 22 at 6:11 a.m. SpaceX Crew-2 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Pilot Megan McArthur will be guiding the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle toward the station with Mission Specialists Akihiko Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet. The new quartet will dock to the Harmony module's forward-facing international docking adapter a little less than 24 hours later.

11 people will occupy the orbiting lab until April 28 when the four members of SpaceX Crew-1 end their 162-day space research mission. Michael Hopkins will be in charge of the Crew Dragon as Victor Glover pilots the vehicle, with Walker and Soichi Noguchi inside, when it undocks from Harmony's space-facing port at 7:04 a.m. They will parachute to a splashdown off the coast of Florida about five-and-a-half hours later.

The day before the Crew-1 departure Walker will hand over station command to Hoshide who will lead the Expedition 65 crew. Hoshide will be the second astronaut overall from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to lead a station crew since Koichi Wakata commanded Expedition 39 in 2014.

On-Orbit Status Report

Change of Command Ceremony: A Change of Command ceremony was performed today during which Shannon Walker assumed command of the ISS from Sergey Ryzhikov. This is in preparation for 63 undock and return tomorrow, April 16.


Astrobee/Gecko-2: The crew continued science objectives for the Astrobee free-flier equipped with a Gecko perching arm. Assistive Free-Flyers with Gecko-Inspired Adhesive Appendages for Automated Logistics in Space uses the Astrobee robot aboard the space station to test an adhesive for robotic grasping and manipulating. Geckos grasp the surface of an object rather than features on it, providing many more grasping points. Adhesive grippers inspired by these reptiles, already proven to work in space, could allow robots to rapidly and controllably attach to and detach from surfaces, even on objects that are moving or spinning.

EXPRESS Rack 1: The crew replaced the RPS rack power switch. Although we are able to operate ER1 in the current configuration, this switch replacement puts the rack back in its nominal configuration. EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) Racks are multipurpose payload rack systems that store and support research aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The EXPRESS Racks support science experiments in any discipline by providing structural interfaces, power, data, cooling, water, and other items needed to operate science experiments in space.

FNS relocate: The crew relocated the Fast Neutron Spectrometer (FNS) from Columbus to Node 2, reconnected the cables, and powered it on. Neutron spectrometers are used to make a wide range of measurements, including studies of a planetary body's composition and measuring the flux of high-energy neutrons that could be harmful to humans. The Fast Neutron Spectrometer (FNS) investigation studies a new neutron measurement technique that is better suited for the mixed radiation fields found in deep space. Future manned and exploration missions benefit from clearer, more error-free measurement of the neutron flux present in an environment with multiple types of radiation.

Manufacturing Device (ManD): In order to resolve recent ManD 3D printing issues, the crew reseated the feedstock canister. The ground noted the latch for the feedstock canister may have been loose before the activity today, which could be the reason for the recent issues. ManD enables the production of components on the ISS for both NASA and commercial objectives. Parts, entire experiments, and tools can be created on demand utilizing the ManD printer that is installed into an Express Rack locker location. ManD is capable of producing parts out of a wide variety of thermopolymers including engineered plastics.

Micro-16: The crew inspected several of the Micro-16 culture bags for any indications of cloudy media, contamination, and for the number of worms remaining in the investigation. Loss of muscle mass and strength present a major challenge for astronauts on future long space voyages. Determining Muscle Strength in Space-flown Caenorhabditis elegans (Micro-16) uses this tiny worm to test whether decreased expression of muscle proteins is associated with decreased strength. The research team developed a new device to measure muscle strength in multiple generations of space-reared C. elegans worms and compare that strength to postflight muscle gene expression analyses.

Payload Network Attached Storage (NAS) vent clean: As a routine maintenance activity, the crew performed a cleaning of the front/back/left side vents on the PL NAS system. This is performed in order 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.

T2AR ops: The crew performed the science operations for the T2AR system. The objective is to use the T2AR system to assist the crew with the ISS treadmill monthly maintenance. T2AR conducts tests using augmented reality to help crew members perform inspection and maintenance on the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (COLBERT). The ability to perform such tasks without assistance from Mission Control is vital for future space exploration such as a mission to Mars, where significant time delays occur in communications between space and ground. Using augmented reality to guide astronauts through complex spacecraft maintenance and repair activities also reduces the time needed for training and task performance.

Transparent Alloys: The crew exchanged the experiment cartridge and data disk for the on-going Transparent Alloys investigation. The Transparent Alloys study is a group of several investigations, with the METCOMP being the most recent to be performed. This investigation conducts research on layered structures in peritectic systems by in-situ observation. Investigations of peritectic metallic systems show a wide range of possible microstructures. Bands, islands, tree-like microstructures and coupled growth appear when the primary and peritectic phase solidify in a competitive manner. To improve the understanding of appearing morphologies during solidification, transparent model systems with a plastic phase are quite attractive.


Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Mobility Unit (EMU) Maintenance: The crew completed the following:

Installed a new plug and replaced the cap on the EMU Camera Feedwater Supply Filter (EFSF) Quick Disconnect (QDs). During suit maintenance in October 2019, the crew noticed that the QD dust plug was missing on the inlet end of the EFSF. The cap (outlet end) and plug (inlet end) prevent Foreign Object Debris (FOD) from entering the QD interface. The QD was protected with a Ziplock bag while a new dust cap and plug were manifested. The new cap/plug use tie wraps as a more secure method of tethering than the original split ring tether.
Installed the HD EMU Camera EVA High Definition EMU Camera (HECA) power cable on the EMU 3004 Primary Life Support System (PLSS). HECA replaces the right helmet camera on the EMU, providing high-definition camera views during US EVAs
Crew-1 On Board Training (OBT): In preparation for departure later this month, the Crew-1 crew completed a free-flight fire response refresher. FE-10 and FE-11 also completed a de-orbit entry and landing contingency refresher.

Mobile Servicing System (MSS) Operations: Yesterday, Robotics Ground Controllers powered up the MSS video equipment and maneuvered the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) to perform a survey of the Crew-1 vehicle on Node2 Zenith port. SSRMS was maneuvered for the day 1 of this survey to inspect forward and aft Starboard quadrants of Crew-1 with the camera on the tip of SSRMS. SSRMS was then maneuvered to park position, ready to resume the Crew-1 vehicle survey later today.

Completed Task List Activities:

PCS CMOS battery replace
MWA utility kit audit
N2 UOP4 install
Today's Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Payloads ops support
Dragon OBTs
Cygnus transfer ops
Change of Command ceremony
Look Ahead Plan

Friday, April 16 (GMT 106)

AC Touch, AstroPi tape removal, AWP, COSMIC, DOSIS-3D, Food Acceptability, HRF Veg questionnaire, Kermit, RTPCG-2, SCEM, Standard Measures, Veg-03 hardware deactivation

63S undock
OBT Crew-1 nominal departure/deorbit
Crew-1 deorbit paper sim with ground team
Saturday, April 17 (GMT 107)

Crew sleep day
Sunday, April 18 (GMT 108)

Astrobee off, HRF saliva setup

Crew off duty
Today's Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Standard Measures Post-sleep Questionnaire
Microgravity Measurement Apparatus (MMA) Cable Connection to PLT3
Handover of Increment 65 Crew
Payload Laptop Terminal 5 (PLT5) Setup
Subscription act by handover to RS segment on ISS
Wanted - NTSC Output Cable IPU
ISS Crew Orientation
Familiarization with an onboard computer network
Astrobee Stowage Clear
Astrobee Docking Station Power Cycle
Astrobee Prep
Re-install IWIS Remote Sensor Unit in SM-PRK
ISS Crew departure preparation
Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
Rodent Research Habitat Stow
Microbial Capture Device (MCD) and Coliform Water Sample Analysis 44 +/- 4 hours post processing
SpX-CREW DRAGON Deorbit Entry and Landing Contingencies Refresher
Payloads Network Attached Storage (NAS) Vent Cleaning
ExtraVehicular Activity (EVA) HD EMU Camera (HECA) Cable Installation
Microbial Air Sampling (sample collection) Download
SpX-CREW DRAGON Free-Flight Fire Response Refresher
EXPRESS Rack 6 Locker Removal
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Respiratory Support Pack (RSP) - Checkout
JEM Micro-G Measurement Equipment (MME) Connection
Astrobee Crew Conference
Micro-16 Crew Observation
Express Rack 1 Rack Power Switch Item Gather
Gecko Perching Gripper Test Operations 2
Fast Neutron Spectrometer Relocate to Node 2
Express Rack 1 Rack Power Switch Maintenance Work Area Setup
Stowage of the equipment to be returned to earth
Express Rack 1 Rack Power Switch Solder Set Up
Sanitary-Hygiene Status Monitoring
Express Rack 1 Rack Power Switch Removal
Synchronization of NIKON camera with station time
Express Rack 1 Rack Power Switch Solder
Express Rack 1 Rack Power Switch Install
Gecko Perching Gripper Removal and Stow
Handover of Increment 65 Crew
Express Rack 1 Rack Power Switch Solder Closeout
Express Rack 1 Rack Power Switch Maintenance Work Area Closeout
Express Rack 1 Rack Power Switch Item Restow
Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
EXPRESS Rack 6 Locker Install
Gecko SD Card Removal
PILOT-Т. Closeout
Public Affairs Office (PAO) High Definition (HD) Config LAB Setup
Change of Command
Astrobee Stowage Clear
MELFI 1 Contents Audit
ТПК 63S transfer operations report
Max CEVIS Portable PFS Partial Set Up

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