Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 12 January, 2021 – SpaceX Cargo Dragon Spacecraft Undocks

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
January 14, 2021
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 12 January, 2021 – SpaceX Cargo Dragon Spacecraft Undocks
The SpaceX Cargo Dragon resupply ship docked to the space station.

With NASA astronaut Victor Glover monitoring aboard the International Space Station, an upgraded SpaceX cargo Dragon spacecraft undocked from the International Docking Adapter on the station’s space-facing port of the Harmony module at 9:05 a.m. EST.
It is the first undocking of a U.S. commercial cargo craft from the complex. Previous cargo Dragon spacecraft were attached and removed from the space station using the station’s robotic Canadarm2.

Dragon will fire its thrusters to move a safe distance from the space station during the next 36 hours. On Wednesday, Jan. 13, Dragon will conduct a deorbit burn at 7:37 p.m. to begin its re-entry sequence into Earth’s atmosphere. Dragon is expected to splash down west of Tampa off the Florida coast about 8:27 p.m. The splashdown will not be broadcast.

The upgraded cargo Dragon capsule used for this mission contains double the powered locker availability of previous capsules, allowing for a significant increase in the research that can be carried back to Earth.

Splashing down off the coast of Florida enables quick transportation of the science aboard the capsule to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center’s Space Station Processing Facility, delivering some science back into the hands of the researchers as soon as four to nine hours after splashdown. This shorter transportation timeframe allows researchers to collect data with minimal loss of microgravity effects. Previous cargo Dragon spacecraft returned to the Pacific Ocean, with quick-return science cargo processed at SpaceX’s facility in McGregor, Texas, and delivered to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Dragon launched Dec. 6 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, arriving at the station just over 24 hours later and achieving the first autonomous docking of a U.S. commercial cargo resupply spacecraft. The spacecraft delivered more than 6,400 pounds of hardware, research investigations and crew supplies.

On-Orbit Status Report

SpaceX -21 Undock and Return: SpaceX-21 undocked from the ISS today after a 1 day delay due to bad weather and is scheduled to splash down off the coast of Tampa, Florida tomorrow at 7:27 CT. This concludes a 36-day mission for Cargo Dragon aboard the ISS.


Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) Alt remove: The crew removed a DC-DC voltage converter from the SAIBO rack power distribution box. This was done in support of the on-going configuration change from “M” to “B”, which is needed to support later science. The CBEF is a JAXA subrack facility and includes an incubator with an artificial gravity generator. CBEF is housed in the Saibo (living cell) Experiment Rack with the Clean Bench.

Food Physiology and Standard Measures: The crew performed a series of ambient blood collections in support of the SM and Food Physiology investigations. Ambient blood samples allow ground teams to perform different analyses when compared to frozen blood samples. The Food Physiology experiment is designed to characterize the key effects of an enhanced spaceflight diet on immune function, the gut microbiome, and nutritional status indicators. The goal of the Standard Measures study is to ensure consistent capture of an optimized, minimal set of measures from crewmembers until the end of the ISS Program in order to characterize the adaptive responses to and risks of living in space.

Rodent Research checks: The crew completed the health checks on the mice returning on SpX-21. Effects of Microgravity on Ocular Vascular Hydrodynamics, or Rodent Research-23 (RR-23), studies function of arteries, veins, and lymphatic structures in the eye and changes in the retina before and after spaceflight. The aim is to clarify whether these vascular changes impair visual function. At least 40 percent of astronauts experience vision impairment known as Spaceflight-Associated Neuro-ocular Syndrome (SANS) on long-duration spaceflights, which could adversely affect mission success.


Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Drain: The crew set up the recycle tank to drain to a ???-?. Following the setup the ground performed the tank drain using the Urine Transfer System (UTS). Once the ground specialists completed the transfer, the crew verified the recycle tank was empty, terminated the drain, and repositioned the fill/drain valve to fill.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

FSL file uplink and transfer
Cargo Dragon Configuration for Departure
Primary Power System (PPS) Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ) FDIR Configuration for Cargo Dragon Departure
Dragon Vestibule Depressurization
EDV Fill from Toilet Support
Look Ahead Plan

Wednesday, January 13 (GMT 013)

HRF blood/saliva stow
Veg-03J plant check

Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Swap
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Cooling Loop Maintenance Scrub Initiation
Extravehicular Activity Mobility Unit (EMU) Enhanced Caution and Warning System (ECWS) On-Board Training
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Drain
Thursday, January 14 (GMT 014)

Actiwatch plus
CBEF-umbilical demate
FIR/LMM module exchange
J-HDTV pan change
J-SOLISS removal

Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Equipment Lock Preparation
SOLISS Removal from EFU Adapter
Friday, January 15 (GMT 015)

Antimicrobial Coatings
CCU video
Cryochiller clean
Food Acceptability
Food Physiology
HRF urine setup
ISS Experience
RR access unit clean
Veg-03J plant check

Water Recovery Management (WRM) Water Balance
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Fill
Health Maintenance System (HMS) OCT2 Setup
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Cleaning protective screen in FGB circulation fan 1 (??1)
Cleaning vent screens on FGB interior panels (panels 116, 316, 231, 431)
Docking Dragon Monitoring Tools Setup
Dragon Departure Monitoring
Dragon Departure Photos
Dragon Egress in Preparation for Departure.
Dragon Monitoring Tools Teardown
EDV Fill from Toilet connection Setup
EDV Fill Swap to a 2nd EDV
HRF Generic Ambient Blood Collection Operator
HRF Generic Ambient Blood Collection Pack And Handover
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval And Insertion Operations
IMS Delta File Prep
JEM Cell Biology Experiment Facility Alternative PB24J removal
Node 2 to Dragon Final Pressurization and Vestibule prep for Ingress
Node2 Forward Stowage Replace
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Drain
Rodent Research Transporter Health Check
Setting up the Compressor-N to perform RT Drain/Fills
Teardown the EDV Fill transfer configuration
Wanted Poster-Service and Performance Checkout Unit (SPCU) Heat Exchanger (HX) Insulation Kit

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