Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 12 August, 2021 – Cygnus Cargo Spacecraft Arrives

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
August 13, 2021
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 12 August, 2021 – Cygnus Cargo Spacecraft Arrives
Cygnus Cargo Spacecraft Arrives.

The Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft’s hatch was opened this afternoon after successful rendezvous and berthing operations.
At 6:07 a.m. EDT, NASA astronaut Megan McArthur used the International Space Station’s robotic Canadarm2 to grapple the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet monitored Cygnus systems during its approach. Cygnus was then bolted into place on the International Space Station’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 9:42 a.m. EDT. Cygnus will remain at the space station for about three months until the spacecraft departs in November.

The spacecraft’s arrival brings more than 8,200 pounds of research and supplies to space station. Highlights of cargo aboard Cygnus include research studying 3D printing using simulated lunar regolith, seeking to utilize microgravity to develop new means to treat a degenerative muscle condition on Earth, investigating new tactics to control heat during operations in space and during the intense heating of reentry, and testing a technology to remove carbon dioxide from spacecraft atmospheres with applications to future NASA exploration missions.

These are just a sample of the hundreds of investigations currently being conducted aboard the orbiting laboratory in the areas of biology and biotechnology, physical sciences, and Earth and space science. Advances in these areas will help keep astronauts healthy during long-duration space travel and demonstrate technologies for future human and robotic exploration missions as part of NASA’s Moon and Mars exploration approach, including lunar missions through NASA’s Artemis program.

NASA has continued to assess any integrated impacts to the space station from the inadvertent firing of thrusters on the newly arrived Russian Nauka module. Routine operations have continued uninterrupted since the event, with the space station prepared for the arrival of multiple spacecraft. Consistent with NASA policies, an investigation team is being formed to review the activity. NASA’s team will begin with identifying team members and defining the scope of the investigation. The team will focus on analyzing available data, cooperating with our Russian colleagues for any information they require for their assessment, and coordinating with the other international partners.

On-Orbit Status Report


ESA-Education Payload Operations (EPO) Microbes Video: The crew recorded video, which will be used to educate children about Microbes on the ISS and will feature Paxi, ESA’s mascot for young children. The activities related to EPO Generic Videos are intended to encourage and strengthen the teaching of science curriculum, and stimulate the curiosity of students to motivate them towards further study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.

Manufacturing Device (ManD): The crew removed the printed objects, cleaned the extruder print nozzle, photographed, and stowed the pair of printed objects. The Manufacturing Device 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.

Mochii: The crew continued troubleshooting efforts to recover the Mochii hardware using several different methods to boot from an external SD card containing the Operating Software. Mochii is a miniature scanning electron microscope (SEM) with spectroscopy to conduct real-time, on-site imaging and compositional measurements of particles on the International Space Station (ISS). Such particles can cause vehicle and equipment malfunctions and threaten crew health, but currently, samples must be returned to Earth for analysis, leaving crew and vehicle at risk. Mochii also provides a powerful new analysis platform to support novel microgravity science and engineering.


Cygnus Capture/Berthing: The NG-16 Cygnus cargo spacecraft was captured today at 05:09 CT (224/10:09 GMT). The Cygnus spacecraft was then berthed to the Node1 Nadir Port and bolted into place. The crew performed leak checks, outfitted the vestibule, and ingressed into the Cygnus vehicle.

Extravehicluar Activity (EVA) Preparation: In preparation for the iROSA 4A preparation EVA currently scheduled for August 24th, the crew performed a visual review of the EVA using the Dynamic Onboard Ubiquitous Graphic (DOUG) software. This session allows the crew to view the step-by-step sequence of a specific EVA. The crew also performed the initial configuration of tools required for the EVA.

Airlock Intermodule Ventilation (IMV) Cleaning: The crew completed the Airlock IMV cleaning today. The purpose of this cleaning is to remove any foreign object or debris (FOD) from the IMV inlet flow straightener and silencers located in the Airlock. Following the cleaning, the crew used the Velocicalc tool to measure the air flow through the IMV.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

SSRMS Cygnus Install
System Configurations for Cygnus Berthing and configuring back to nominal after berthing.
Look Ahead Plan

Friday, August 13 (GMT 225)

Cardinal-Muscle sample Insert (NASA)
Cell Gravisensing Sample preparation (JAXA)
Mochii Application connect (NASA)
Ring Shear Drop hardware setup (NASA)
Standard Measures Post Sleep Questionnaire (NASA)

Cygnus Cargo Operations
EMU Loop Scrub
Cygnus Emer OBT
Ultrasound Scan
Saturday, August 14 (GMT 226)

Cardinal Muscle media exchange (NASA)
Cell Gravisensing Fixation operations (JAXA)
Mochii hardware Activation 1 (NASA)
NanoRacks-MainFrame Alpha-install (NASA)

Sunday, August 15 (GMT 227)

Cardinal Muscle Microscopy(NASA)
Cell Gravisensing Observations (JAXA)

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

Cell Gravisensing-1 Experiment Familiarization
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Downlink Message
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Tool Configuring
Portable Onboard Computers (POC) Dynamic Onboard Ubiquitous Graphics (DOUG) Software Review
Private Psychological Conference (PPC)
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Social Media Event
Cygnus/Node 1 Leak Check Preperation
A/L Adapter Plate (JCAP) and NanoRacks Kaber Plate (STEP) Gather
Food Acceptability Survey
PMM1O3 Audit
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Food Intake Tracker (ISS FIT)
Photo TV High Definition (HD) Cygnus Video Setup
Cygnus/Node 1 Vestibule Leak Check
Node 1 Nadir to Cygnus Vestibule Outfitting, Part 1
Temperature and Humidity Control (THC) Intermodule Ventilation (IMV) Flow Measurement Survey
Node 1 Nadir to Cygnus Vestibule Outfitting Part 2
Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM) Controller Panel Assembly (CPA) Rotation and Closeout
Cygnus Ingress

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