Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 1 September, 2021 – Preparing for Three Spacewalks

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
September 2, 2021
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 1 September, 2021 – Preparing for Three Spacewalks
Astronaut Megan McArthur assembles an Emergency Air Supply tank. (Aug. 24, 2021)

The Expedition 65 crew continued unloading a variety of cargo including rodents from the SpaceX Cargo Dragon today.
The International Space Station residents are also headlong into preparations for two Russian spacewalks and one U.S. spacewalk.

Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) spent Wednesday morning transferring rodents from the Cargo Dragon into a habitat in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module. The animals are being observed for the Rodent Research Demonstration-1 experiment that is exploring how microgravity affects the healing process.

Space botany is also a critical part of the station research program as scientists learn to support astronauts longer and farther in space. During a break in today’s rodent transfers, Kimbrough serviced petri plates for the new APEX-08 investigation that is studying how plants adapt to space-caused stress.

NASA Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei also partnered together unpacking science gear from Dragon. McArthur installed a new NanoRacks module, recently delivered aboard the U.S. space freighter, during the morning that will soon host science experiments. Vande Hei helped out in the afternoon continuing to unload the more than 4,800 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware.

Pesquet will join Commander Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for a spacewalk on Sept. 12 to modify the station’s Port-4 (P4) truss structure. They will install a modification kit that will prepare the P4 for future Roll-Out Solar Array installation work. Hoshide worked Wednesday afternoon cleaning their U.S. spacesuit cooling loops today with assistance from Vande Hei.

The first two spacewalks will be conducted by Roscosmos Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov. The duo will first exit the Poisk airlock on Friday at 10:35 a.m. EDT to route and mate power and ethernet cables on the Nauka multipurpose laboratory. The second spacewalk will be on Sept. 9 to install handrails and finish the cable work on Nauka. NASA TV will broadcast both excursions live.

On-orbit Status Report


APEX-8: The crew gathered the appropriate hardware and installed thirty APEX-08 petri plate plant growth chambers into the Veggie facility. Compounds known as polyamines contribute to plant stress mitigation on Earth, and plants grown in microgravity display evidence of stress at the morphological level and gene-expression changes suggestive of stress response. Advanced Plant EXperiment-08 (APEX-08) examines the role of these compounds in these plant responses to microgravity in Arabidopsis thaliana. Results could provide insights into the mechanisms plants use to modulate the stress of microgravity.

Eklosion: The crew participated in an Eklosion experiment session by observing the flower, taking photos, and reading some of the messages included with the experiment. The Eklosion investigation utilizes a vase, inspired by the VEGGIE plant growth facility, specially designed for use in the microgravity environment aboard the ISS. Eklosion contains within its hull small messages and smells from Earth for the psychological benefit of the crew member who conducts the investigation. In the experiment, the crew grows a Marigold flower (Tagetes patula).

ISS Experience EVA Z-camera: Although the IROSA EVA was delayed, the ISS Experience EVA Z-camera was still able to capture some science objectives during its time outside. In today’s activity, the crew set up the camera to allow transfer of the data off the camera. The ISS Experience is a cinematic virtual reality (VR) series documenting life and research aboard the space station. Filmed over multiple months, the immersive VR series documents different crew activities – from science conducted aboard the station to preparation for a spacewalk.

JAXA Video take 8: The crew set up the appropriate equipment and recorded the JAXA video take 8 session. In the session, ISS science, crew launch vehicles, and other items were discussed. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Public Relations Activity (JAXA EPO) includes conducting cultural activities such as writing reports about and filming video of activities aboard the International Space Station (ISS). These tools can help inform the public about the importance of the ISS, JAXA’s Kibo module, and human spaceflight.

Nanoracks Module-92: The crew installed Nanoracks Module-92 to the Nanoracks Mainframe Alpha facility. Module-92 is a 2U (10cm x 10 cm x 20 cm) module, which aims to verify whether presence of collagen and nutraceuticals may improve bone cell physiology and response to low gravity exposure.

Redwire Regolith Print (RRP): Following the print on Tuesday, the crew removed and stowed the printed item and its tray, and then installed new extruder and print tray hardware to prepare for the next print. RRP demonstrates 3D printing with regolith feedstock material in microgravity using the Made In Space Manufacturing Device currently aboard the International Space Station. This demonstration could help determine the feasibility of using resources available on planetary bodies as the raw materials for on-demand construction of housing and other structures. This capability reduces the amount of materials needed on future exploration missions, thus reducing launch mass.

Rodent Research-Demonstration 1 (RR-D1): The crew participated in a conference with the RR-D1 ground team, and then transferred the rodents from SpX-23 to their habitat home in the ISS. Rodent Research-Demonstration 1 (RR-D1) validates equipment and procedures for surgical techniques related to the wound healing process. Normal skin function and wound healing are important for maintaining good health, but spaceflight may impair healing of wounds in astronauts. Results from this investigation are intended to support design of a subsequent study on the effects of spaceflight on wound healing.

T2AR monthly maintenance: 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. Autonomous Systems and Operations (T2 Treadmill Augmented Reality Procedures or simply 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.


Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMU) 3009/3015 Loop Scrub and Iodination: The crew performed EMU water loop scrubs and then acquired and tested water samples for conductivity on units 3009 and 3015. EMU Loop Scrubs are required preventive maintenance needed to remove any chemical and biological contaminants from the EMU transport loop.

In-Flight Maintenance (IFM) High-rate Communications Outage Recorder (HCOR) and High Rate Modem (HRM) Removal: The crew removed both the HCOR and HRM from the Lab module. The HCOR and HRM have not been used since the Integrated Communications Unit (ICU) activation and will be returned on a future flight.

Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) In Flight Maintenance (IFM): As part of regularly scheduled preventative maintenance, the crew performed a manual WHC flush tank fill. By using a post-flight analysis bag to capture any pressure relief, also known as the burp, they depressurized the flush water tank and water valve block to protect the dose pump. This pump is critical as it injects the pre-treat required to properly recycle waste urine.

Environmental Health System (EHS) Operations: Today, the ISS crew performed periodic EHS water sampling by collecting water samples from the Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) for in-flight and post-flight analysis. In-flight samples were used to perform a Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) analysis that measures the amount of organic constituents in the potable water. The crew also tested the water samples for the presence of Coliform bacteria utilizing a Coliform test bag. These tests are used to determine if the drinking water is still safe for crew consumption.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

SSRMS OTCM1 survey
Monthly awake Crew Dragon checkout
LAB CDRA Heater Controller A Troubleshooting
Look Ahead Plan

Thursday, September 2 (GMT 245)

Astrobee stowage replace
ELF cartridge replace
EPO Blob conclude
FIR/ALL/ACE oil dispense
ICE cube 8/9 experiment install
Nanoracks module-9 ops 2
POLAR desiccant swap
SALI 1 install

Dragon Cargo ops
EVA procedure review
IWIS RSU Firmware update
Node 1 20 port switch install
Friday, September 3 (GMT 246)

Astrobee perching arm removal
Cold Stowage unpack
Food Acceptability survey
ISS Experience SSD change-out
MUSES server vent clean
POLAR desiccant swap/media retrieve
RSD sample exchange
Space Embryo
Technology Box

RS EVA #49
EHS TOCA checkout
Dragon Cargo Ops
EVA procedure review
Saturday, September 4 (GMT 247)

RR-Demo 1 water check

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

Cargo Dragon Powered Payload Receptacle Verification
ISS Experience EVA Z-cam Relocate to Node 2
NanoRacks Platform-2 Module Install
Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Manual Fill Initiation
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Cooling Loop Maintenance Scrub
Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Manual Fill Termination
APEX-08 Science Insertion
ExPRESS Rack 6 ZBook Configuration Change
Remove Single Stowage Locker from UA12
EDV Gather and Install
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) Sample Analysis
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Cooling Loop Maintenance Iodination
Treadmill 2 Augmented Reality On Orbit Training
T2 Monthly Maintenance performed with Sidekick
Crew Dragon Forward Monthly PCS Checkout
Astrobee Light On
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) – Lab
Eklosion Message Retrieval
Redwire Regolith Print Tray and Extruder Removal
In-Flight Maintenance High-rate Communications Outage Recorder and High Rate Modem Removal
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Sample Data Record
Polar Dragon Uninstall, Handover, Transfer and EXPRESS Rack Install
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Hard Upper Torso (HUT) Scrub
Cargo Transfer to Dragon
Cryo Gloves Relocation
Extravehicular Activity Hard Upper Torso Stow
Polar Samples to Cold Stowage

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