Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 14 June, 2021 – Preparing for a Pair of Spacewalks

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
June 19, 2021
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 14 June, 2021 – Preparing for a Pair of Spacewalks
Expedition 65 Flight Engineers in robotics training to support two spacewalks.

The Expedition 65 astronauts researched space biology while preparing for a pair of spacewalks aboard the International Space Station today.
The station’s two cosmonauts cleared their schedules and relaxed aboard the orbital lab today.

Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet spent part of Monday getting ready for a spacewalk set to begin Wednesday at 8 a.m. EDT. The duo configured tools, printed checklists and inspected their spacesuit jetpacks, also known as Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER).

The duo will spend about six-and-half hours installing the first two of six new solar arrays on the space station’s integrated truss structure. The solar arrays will roll out instead of unfurling, like the older arrays, and augment the station’s power system. NASA TV will begin its live coverage of the spacewalk activities at 6:30 a.m.

The pair also had time for pharmaceutical and botany research. Kimbrough serviced samples for a study that seeks to improve the chemical and physical stability of medicine on Earth and in space. Pesquet started the Advanced Plant Experiment-07 investigation which is exploring how microgravity affects gene expression in plants.

NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur was looking at new ways to produce high-quality protein crystals which could lead to new disease therapies on Earth. Her fellow NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei swapped fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack. The duo wrapped up the day training for the Canadarm2 robotic techniques they will use to support the spacewalkers on Wednesday.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide worked on the Confocal Space Microscope then cleaned up biology hardware inside the Kibo laboratory module.

In the station’s Russian segment, cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov took the day off in space today commemorating Russia Day which observes that country’s economic and social achievements.

On-Orbit Status Report


Advanced Plant EXperiment-07 (APEX -07): The crew configured the Veggie facility for initial APEX-07 operations and inserted data loggers and Petri Plates into the facility. APEX-07 examines how changes in gravity and other environmental factors associated with spaceflight affect plants at the level of gene expression. Previous research shows that microgravity conditions during spaceflight affects which genes turn on or off, which proteins are present and in what amounts, and the modifications made to those proteins. All of these processes are controlled by RNA, and this investigation analyzes the role of RNA regulation on gene expression during spaceflight in both roots and shoots of plants.

BioMole: The crew performed a checkout of the MinION and MinION USB Cables as part of troubleshooting efforts. The Environmental Health System (EHS) Biomole Facility non-culture based samples are capable of providing microbial identification on-orbit within days of sampling. The goal of this tech demo is to conduct comparative analysis for possible replacement of current microbial monitoring systems.

Confocal Space Microscopy (Confocal Microscope): The crew secured cables to ensure there is no twisting interference during stage moving operations. The Confocal Microscope is a JAXA facility that provides fluorescence images of biological samples aboard the International Space Station. Confocal microscopy uses spatial filtering techniques to eliminate out-of-focus light or glare in specimens whose thickness exceeds the immediate plane of focus. With the Confocal Microscope, data can be obtained on the fundamental nature of cellular and tissue structure and functions in real-time.

Cool Flames Investigation with Gases (CFI-G): The crew replaced manifold #2 and #4 bottles with bottles of the same composition. This was performed in support of part 1 of the CFI-G experiment. Cool diffusion flames were discovered during droplet combustion experiments aboard the ISS in 2012, and this initiated a rapidly growing field of combustion research. A cool flame burns at about 600 degrees Celsius. A typical candle is about three-and-a-half times hotter, burning at around 1,400 degrees Celsius. Most internal combustion engines are designed using computer models that neglect cool flame chemistry, but ignition and flame propagation in engines depend on cool flame chemistry. Cool flame chemistry also has a significant impact on fuel octane and cetane numbers, whose understanding has large economic consequences.

Lyophilization-2 in Microgravity (Lyophilization-2): The crew removed the processed sample tray from the sample chamber and stowed it for return to the ground and then inserted a new sample tray. 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.

Nanoracks Cubesat Deployer-20 (NRCSD-20): The crew took photos of the NRCSD-20 deploys. NRCSD-20 will be used to launch 2 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 for to the satellite deployment position.

Real-Time Protein Crystal Growth-2 (RTPCG-2): The crew set up the appropriate microscope hardware, observed and took photos of the crystal growth screening plate S/N C1C and then loaded plate 1C1. The protein crystals in the plate have been growing for seven days under varying conditions. Phase II RTPCG-2 demonstrates new methods for producing high-quality protein crystals in microgravity. Previous work has shown that 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.


Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Preparations: The crew performed EVA activities for the upcoming P6 IROSA 2B EVA on Wednesday, June 16. They performed an EVA battery checkout, EVA tool config, and EMU cuff checklist print. They configured the EVA TV camera, practiced EVA Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER) using virtual reality training and had an EVA Conference with teams on the ground.

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.

Dragon Cargo Transfer: Today, the crew performed SpX-22 cargo transfer operations and will continue to work cargo operations throughout the week.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) ISS Power Augmentation (IPA) Unstow
Mobile Transporter (MT) Translation
Mobile Servicing System (MSS) Maneuver to Park
Look Ahead Plan:

Tuesday, June 15 (GMT 166)

OBIS Bag1 initiate (NASA)

EVA tool config
EVA tool audit
Equipment Lock (E-LK) Preparation
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Procedure Review
Wednesday, June 16 (GMT 167)

OBIS Bag2 initiate (NASA)
AC Touch (NASA)

Thursday, June 17 (GMT 168)

OBIS Bag 3 initiate (NASA)
Food Acceptability (NASA)
ManD print of AstroVest parts (NASA)
Lyo-2 Sample stow and install (NASA)
Food Physiology Brief (NASA)
Standard Measures Presleep Question (NASA)
NRCSD-20 Deployer removal (NASA)

EVA debrief
EVA battery charge
EMU water recharge
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Pre-Treat Tank Remove & Replace
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Photo TV Battery Charge Initiation
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Social Media Event
Dragon Cargo Transfer
Confocal Space Microscopy Temp Logger Replacement
Combustion Integrated Rack Bottle Gather
Combustion Integrated Rack Manifold #2 Bottle Replacement
APEX-07 Science Insertion
Combustion Integrated Rack Manifold #4 Bottle Replacement
LSG Work Volume (WV) Stow
Environmental Health System (EHS) Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) Sample Collect
Gathering CWC-Is in prep for RS water transfers
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) Sample Analysis
Rechargeable EVA Battery Assembly (REBA) Powered Hardware Checkout
Relocate PBAs for upcoming EVA
Real-time Protein Crystal Growth Screening Plate Load S/N C1, Row C
Environmental Health System (EHS) Coliform Water Processing (CFM)
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Cuff Checklist Print
Setup of the RS CWC-I to EDV transfer station
Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM) Center Disk Cover Turnbuckle pull ring repair
Move PS-120 Junction Box at NOD3O3 & relocate D-Ring from NOD3A3 Port-side seat track to comply with safety assessment.
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Tool Configuring
Biomole MinION SSC 12 and 23 Troubleshooting
Virtual Reality Training (VRT) Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER)
Robotics Procedure Review
Robotics Procedure Review Conference
Simplified Aid For EVA Rescue (SAFER) Checkout
Power cycle LAB AVN443 HD Encoder

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