Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 10 June, 2021 – Preparing for New Solar Arrays Installation

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
June 11, 2021
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 10 June, 2021 – Preparing for New Solar Arrays Installation
Expedition 65 Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei.

Mission controllers will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to remove a new pair of solar arrays from the SpaceX Cargo Dragon resupply ship tonight.
Four Expedition 65 astronauts are also training for robotics activities to support two spacewalks scheduled to begin next week.

Packed inside the unpressurized segment of the Cargo Dragon, also known as its trunk, is a pair of unique solar arrays that will soon be attached to the International Space Station’s Port-6 truss structure. Also called iROSA, or ISS Roll Out Solar Arrays, they will be extracted tonight from Dragon’s trunk by robotics controllers remotely commanding the Canadarm2. It will be staged on the truss structure where two spacewalkers will install it on the station starting next week.

In the meantime, Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet are preparing for those two installation spacewalks planned for June 16 and 20. The duo joined fellow flight engineers Mark Vande Hei and Megan McArthur on Thursday afternoon for computerized training to prepare for the robotics activities necessary to support the solar array installation work.

Kimbrough and Pesquet this week have been inspecting their spacesuits, organizing their tools and readying the U.S. Quest airlock where they will stage both spacewalks. They will set their spacesuit batteries to battery power at 8 a.m. EDT on both days signifying the start of their spacewalk. NASA TV will begin its live coverage of both spacewalks at 6:30 a.m.

Science is still ongoing aboard the orbital lab as the astronauts and mission controllers get ready for the two spacewalks.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide and Pesquet took turns wearing a virtual reality headset and clicking a trackball for the Time Perception experiment. Kimbrough inventoried medical supplies and photographed cotton plants growing for the TICTOC space botany study. McArthur worked on a pharmaceutical freeze-drying study while Vande Hei loaded a CubeSat deployer for upcoming satellite deployments.

In the Russian segment of the orbital lab, Flight Engineer Oleg Novitskiy checked on Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 77 resupply ship gear today. Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov assisted with the Soyuz work and worked throughout the day on Russian life support and computer maintenance.

On-Orbit Status Report


Bioculture system: The crew removed the Bioculture system from Dragon, installed it into EXPRESS rack 4, and successfully powered it up. This facility will be used to support the Cell Science-04 investigation in mid-July. The tardigrade (water bear) is the model organism for studying biological survival under the most extreme environmental stress conditions on Earth and in space. The objective of the Using Water Bears to Identify Biological Countermeasures to Stress during Multigenerational (Cell Science-04) investigation is to characterize the molecular biology of short term and multigenerational survival in the space environment by identifying genes that are required for adaptation and survival in high stress environments. The findings from this study can be applied to understanding the stress factors of humans in the space environment and identification of countermeasures.

Lyophillization-2: The crew installed one sample tray into the sample chamber. Although originally intended to accommodate two samples at a time, the crew was only able to fit the one sample and still reliably seal the chamber door. This frozen sample will be exposed to vacuum to allow it to freeze dry. Lyophilization-2 in Microgravity (Lyophilization-2) examines gravity’s effects on freeze-dried materials. Lyophilization, or freeze-drying, is a common method for formulating pharmaceuticals with improved chemical and physical stability. On Earth, the process leads to formation of layers with structural differences, but if such stratification is due to gravity, it may not occur in microgravity. This investigation, which follows up on previous work, could result in improved freeze-drying processes for the pharmaceutical and other industries.

NRCSD-20: The crew gathered the appropriate items and installed the Nanoracks Cubesat Deployer-20 (NRCSD-20) onto the JEM Airlock (JEMAL) slide table. NRCSD-20 will be used to launch two satellites: RamSat and SOAR. RamSat is a 20x10x10 cm satellite equipped with multispectral and near-infrared cameras to study large-scale disturbances to forests. SOAR is a 30x10x10 cm satellite which looks at the effects various materials have on aerodynamic drag and performance, measures thermospheric winds, and demonstrates various maneuver capabilities. NRCSD is a stackable, modular, ground loaded launch case. Each NRCSD accommodates up to six launch cases. NRCSD is passed through the JEM Airlock, and manipulated robotically to the satellite deployment position.

RTPCG-2: The crew set up the appropriate microscope hardware, observed and took photos of the crystal growth screening plate. The protein crystals in the plate have been growing for seven days under varying conditions. Phase II Real-time Protein Crystal Growth on Board the International Space Station (RTPCG-2) demonstrates new methods for producing high-quality protein crystals in microgravity. Previous work has shown microgravity can sometimes produce high-quality protein crystals that can be analyzed to identify possible targets for drugs to treat disease. RTPCG-2 tests high-quality proteins crystals for detailed analysis back on Earth.

Tangolab: The crew completed the Tangolab-2 card cube install and Tangolab-4 card cube replace activities. Space Tango’s TangoLab locker is a reconfigurable general research facility designed for microgravity research and development (R&D) and pilot manufacturing aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

TICTOC: As a continuation of the experiment which started this past weekend, the crew set up the appropriate hardware and took photos of the 12 plant growth chambers for science day 5. They also reviewed the procedure for the harvest, currently scheduled for Friday. The ground teams will use the images to evaluate the status of the growing plants. Target, the retail store, is funding the investigation Targeting Improved Cotton Through On-orbit Cultivation (TICTOC) that studies how root system architecture affects plant resilience to stress, water-use efficiency, and carbon sequestration during the critical phase of seedling establishment. Roots play a central role in plant stress resistance and survival, but their growth patterns depend upon gravity. This investigation examines how environmental factors and genes control development of roots in the absence of gravity.

Time Perception: The crew set up the appropriate hardware and participated in a Time Perception science session. The accurate perception of objects in the environment is a prerequisite for spatial orientation and reliable performance of motor tasks. Time perception in microgravity is also fundamental to motion perception, sound localization, speech, and fine motor coordination. The Time Perception in Microgravity experiment quantifies the subjective changes in time perception in humans during and after long-duration exposure to microgravity.


Treadmill-2 (T2) Status: This morning the crew completed the re-alignment of the right bottom snubber pin and verified the rack was centered. Review of the photos indicated the T2 rack was back to its nominal configuration and crew is now able to exercise on T2.

Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Imbalance: On Tuesday June 8th, Engineering teams reported an imbalance occurrence in ARED since completing a tensioning adjustment back on May 25th. The load was concerning enough that the team had requested crew limit loads to under 60lbs. Today crew performed an inspection of the detents and performed additional un-tensioning and re-tensioning of the cable arm rope. Ground teams reviewed photos and three subsequent exercise sessions deemed ARED was back in a nominal configuration. ARED is again GO for nominal use with the load restriction lifted.

Crew Quarters (CQ) Exhaust Airflow Sensor Remove and Replace (R&R): This morning the crew replaced the failed exhaust airflow sensor in the deck crew quarters. This sensor was deemed failed back on May 18th.

Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) 3009 Dump and Fill: This morning an additional dump and fill was performed on EMU 3009. This was to verify nominal water sensor pressure after it was reading slightly higher than expected during suit operations back on June 3rd. Pressure readings looked nominal with no discrepancies.

Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) Node 3 Maintenance Canister removal: After being installed for 28 hours to allow for dispersal of Ortho-Phthalaldehyde (OPA) into the Node 3 Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) and thermal equalization of the ITCS Maintenance Canister, the ITCS Maintenance Canister was removed from the Cupola quick disconnects (QDs). The gas trap plug was then replaced on the Node 3 Moderate Temperature Loop (MTL) Pump Package Assembly (PPA).

Completed Task List Activities:

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

PRO Bioculture System Activation Commanding
JEM Airlock and ACDU-RC Activation
SSRMS Extraction of IROSA solar arrays [ACTIVE]
MSS maneuver to inspect magnetic elements with P1UPOB EHDC. [PLANNED]
Look Ahead Plan:

Friday, June 11 (GMT 162)

AC Touch, BCM, Food Acceptability, FSL/Board exchange, FSL/Soft Matter Dynamics, GLACIER logistics, Kidney Cells-02, Lyophillization-2, Molecular Muscle Experiment-2, NanoRacks Module 93 photo, TICTOC harvest

Atmosphere Revitalization System (ARS) Thermal Amine Scrubber (TAS)
Accessing and sampling ITCS fluid from the Node 3 Sampling Adapter
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Drain
Saturday, June 12 (GMT 163)

BPA housekeeping, TICTOC closeout

Crew off-duty day
Sunday, June 13 (GMT 164)

No utilization activities

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

HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Insertion
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Tool Configuring
Deck 1 cleanup from cargo
Phospho-Aging Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval And Insertion Operations
Lyophilization MELFI Sample Retrieve
Time experiment science
TICTOC MWA Preparation
Bioculture System Hardware Transfer and Install Ops
ISS HAM Columbus Pass Kenwood
Treadmill 2 (T2) Right Bottom Snubber Fix
SpX Cargo Dragon Payload Unpack
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) – JEM
Deck Crew Quarters Powerdown Prep
Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) Node 3 Maintenance Canister Removal
Deck Crew Quarters Exhaust Airflow Sensor Remove and Replace
Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) Node 3 Gas Trap Plug Replace
HRF Rack 1 Supply Kit Inventory
JEM Airlock Slide Table (ST) Extension to JPM Side
NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer Installation on the MPEP
Microscope Reposition Preparation
TangoLab-2 Card Cube Install
Real-time Protein Crystal Growth Microscopy Plate S/N C1 Row B, Day 7
EVA Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Water Tank Dump and Fill
Inventory Management System (IMS) Conference
Microscope Reposition Post Ops
Robotics Procedure Review
On-board Training (OBT) EVA Robotics Onboard Trainer (ROBoT) Session
JEM Airlock Stowage Replace
LSG Work Volume Deploy

SpaceRef co-founder, entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, nature lover and deep thinker.