NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status Report 20 January, 2022 - Weather Delays Cargo Dragon Departure


Russian spacewalker Anton Shkaplerov works outside Nauka. (Jan. 19, 2022)

A U.S. resupply ship will wait at least one extra day to undock from the International Space Station while being packed with critical research samples for return to Earth.

Meanwhile, two Expedition 66 cosmonauts are cleaning up following a spacewalk to activate a Russian docking module.

A forecast of inclement weather has caused a postponement of the departure of the SpaceX Cargo Dragon from the Harmony module's space-facing port from Friday to Saturday. Undocking is now targeted for Saturday, Jan. 22 at 10:40 a.m. EST. NASA TV coverage, on the NASA app and the agency's website, will begin Saturday at 10:15 a.m.

The next weather briefing by SpaceX is planned for 12 p.m. Friday. If undocking occurs on Saturday, splashdown would be scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 23 around 4 p.m. The final splashdown site will be selected closer to deorbit and splashdown time.

Meanwhile, NASA Flight Engineers Kayla Barron and Thomas Marshburn spent Thursday morning loading biology samples inside the Cargo Dragon for return and analysis on Earth. Barron also joined ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer transferring science freezers filled with more research samples into the U.S. resupply ship.

Life science moved right along throughout Thursday as Maurer and NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei continued studying how a long-term space mission affects an astronaut's visual function. NASA astronaut Raja Chari collected his blood and urine samples for stowage in a science freezer and later analysis. Chari later worked on the Food Physiology human research study that is exploring how diet and nutrition affect a crew member's health in space.

Cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov called down to Russian mission controllers in the morning for a post-spacewalk conference. The duo activated the new Prichal docking module successfully integrating it with the orbiting lab's Russian segment during Wednesday's seven-hour and 11-minute spacewalk. Vande Hei, who assisted the spacewalkers on Thursday, also joined the pair on Friday helping remove U.S. lights and cameras installed on the Orlan spacesuits.

On-Orbit Status Report


Micro Monitor: A 350 ml water sample was collected from the Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) to be returned to the ground for analysis. Development of the On-board Monitoring System for Microorganisms in Potable Water on Manned Spacecraft (Micro Monitor) examines a high-performance, real-time system for monitoring spacecraft water systems. It uses an ultraviolet light and a fluorescence detector to measure microbes in the space station's potable water and compares results with conventional cultivation methods. This monitoring system could be used on future deep space exploration missions.

Moderate Temperature Protein Crystal Growth (MT-PCG): The crew removed the MT-PCG payload box and associated items and prepared them for return to the ground on SpX-24. The objective of the JAXA MT PCG investigation is to grow high quality protein crystals in microgravity. The crystals are returned to Earth to determine protein structures in detail; the structures are used to develop pharmaceutical drugs, and to explore the mystery of our lives. The protein samples are launched to the ISS by a cargo resupply vehicle and crystallized at 20°C using the counter-diffusion method.

Powered Ascent Utility Lockers (PAUL): PAUL 1 and 2 were removed from their ISS locations and installed in the Dragon for return. The PAUL is reconfigurable hardware that provides power to payloads during ascent to the ISS. This makes it possible to control temperature and other conditions for investigations during their trip to the space station, expanding the possibilities for research aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Rodent Research-18: Subjects were moved from their habitats to the transporters, and the transporters were then moved from the ISS to the Dragon in preparation for return to the ground on SpX-24. Astronauts returning from space can experience eye problems, along with headaches and blurred vision. Scientists suspect environmental conditions during spaceflight lead to oxidative stress that adversely affects the eye structure and function. Space Flight Environment Induces remodeling of Vascular Network and Glia-vascular Communication in Mouse Retina (Rodent Research-18) investigates how spaceflight affects visual function, examining changes in the vascular system of the retina, tissue remodeling and cell-cell interactions in mice.

Rhodium Synthetic Cryptobiology: The crew gathered the Rhodium Science Chamber from on-board ambient stowage and packed it for return to the ground on SpX-24. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) components are integral to synthetic biology and bioengineering of organisms for a variety of applications, such as producing pharmaceuticals, improving consumer products, and developing clean plastics. Rugged Platforms for Synthetic Biological Component Transport (Rhodium Synthetic Cryptobiology) tests using specific bacterial strains to protect and preserve DNA through the stresses of launch, on-orbit stowage, and return to Earth. Results could help create more rugged biological components and advance these technologies for use in space and in extreme environments on Earth.

Sleep Monitoring in Space with Dry-EEG Headband (Dreams): Following the completion of the overnight science session, the experiment data was transferred, and the Dreams hardware was stowed. Sleep plays a major role in human health and well-being. Insufficient sleep, or sleep disorders can increase the risk of developing medical conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, and can impair task performance. Dreams is a technology demonstration investigation that utilizes the Dry-EEG Headband: an effective, affordable, and comfortable solution to monitor astronaut sleep quality during long-duration spaceflight aboard the ISS.


SpX-24 Undock Slip: Due to unfavorable weather at the landing site, tomorrow's planned SpX-24 undock has been scrubbed and is now planned for Saturday, January 22.

Cargo Dragon Departure Preparations: The crew completed activities in preparation for SpX-24 undock. The crew transferred cargo, payloads and two Polar units to Cargo Dragon. They also performed a Dragon Docking System cleaning and inspection, which included an inspection of the Dragon System Forward Hatch vestibule Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI) for any Foreign Object Debris (FOD) or damage.

Cargo Dragon Ground Checkouts: In preparation for SpX-24 undock, SpaceX ground teams powered on Cargo Dragon and performed checkouts of various systems including, the Mechanism system, guidance, navigation and control (GN&C) system, and Propulsion system.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

JEM Remote Manipulator System (JEMRMS) operations
Nitrogen/Oxygen Recharge System N2 Repress
Cargo Dragon Systems Checkout
Look Ahead Plan

Friday, January 21 (GMT 21)

Cold Stowage packing for return
Food Physiology
Host Pathogen
Rodent Research-18
Standard Measures

SpX-24 packing
US Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Helmet Light Installation
IWIS (Internal Wireless Instrumentation System) RSU (Remote Sensor Unit) Firmware Update
Saturday, January 22 (GMT 22)

Food Physiology

Crew off-duty
SpX-24 Undock
Sunday, January 23 (GMT 23)


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

Cold Stowage Dragon Double Coldbag Pack Review
Polar Express Rack Uninstall, Transfer, Handover And Dragon Install
Water Refill Kit Battery Charge
Micro Monitor Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) Water Collect
Powered Ascent Utility Locker Hardware Removal
ISS HAM Kenwood Radio Power Up
Rhodium Synthetic Cryptobiology Historical Documentation Photography
Rhodium Synthetic Cryptobiology Transfer and Pack for Return
Dragon Zenith Docking System Hatch Seal Inspection & Cleaning
HRF Generic Ambient Blood Collection Setup
JAXA MT PCG Sample retrival and installation
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Crew Medical Restraint System (CMRS) Move
Nitrogen/Oxygen Recharge System N2 Repress
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Food Intake Tracker (ISS FIT)
Health Maintenance System (HMS) - ESA Nutritional Assessment
ARED Cable System Tension Adjustment
Rodent Research Operations
Configuring the N2 system valves, post NORS N2 repress.
Food Physiology Reference Material Review And Sample Collection Hardware Setup
Transfer Crew Dragon Cargo Operations
HRF Generic Saliva Collection

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.