Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 25 October, 2021 – Preparing for the SpaceX Crew-3 Mission

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
October 26, 2021
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 25 October, 2021 – Preparing for the SpaceX Crew-3 Mission
SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts inside the Crew Dragon spacecraft. (Oct. 9, 2021)

Life science and spacewalk preparations are just part of the busy schedule aboard the International Space Station today.
The seven-member Expedition 66 crew is also gearing up for a Russian cargo mission and a commercial crew swap taking place over the next two weeks.

NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur joined Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) in the Columbus laboratory module for muscle scans and measurements. The duo started Monday morning taking turns using an ultrasound device scanning each other’s neck, back and leg muscles. They got back together Monday afternoon after exercise sessions and measured each other’s muscle tone, stiffness, and elasticity. The measurements are part of the Myotones study which may improve muscle rehabilitation on Earth and in space.

In the U.S. Quest airlock, NASA Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Mark Vande Hei began configuring tools and organizing the module for an upcoming spacewalk. Kimbrough also collected and stowed his blood samples before moving on to light orbital plumbing work. Vande Hei checked carbon dioxide monitors then updated station inventory systems.

Kimbrough is also getting ready for his return to Earth next month with his SpaceX Crew-2 crewmates McArthur, Pesquet and Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). He and McArthur have started packing their spacecraft, Crew Dragon Endeavour, that will return the quartet to Earth for a splashdown off the coast of Florida ending their six-and-a-half month space mission.

However, the station will soon host eleven crew members just one day after the SpaceX Crew-3 mission launches from Florida on Oct. 31 at 2:21 a.m. EDT. Flying aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance will be Commander Raja Chari, Pilot Thomas Marshburn, Mission Specialist Kayla Barron, all NASA astronauts, with Mission Specialist Matthias Maurer of ESA.

But first, there will be a cargo mission blasting off toward the station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Russian ISS Progress 79 resupply ship will launch on Wednesday at 8 p.m. and dock on Friday at 9:34 p.m. to replenish the orbital residents. Cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov are training for that mission today practicing for the unlikely event they would have to take remote command of the Progress 79. The pair from Roscosmos trained on the Zvezda service module’s tele-robotically operated rendezvous unit, or TORU, that would take control during the Progress 79’s automated approach and rendezvous.

On-Orbit Status Report


Muscle Tone in Space (Myotones): The crew located and marked measurement points on the body, performed an experiment session with the Myotones device, and performed the Myotones ultrasound scans. Myotones investigation observes the biochemical properties of muscles (e.g. muscle tone, stiffness, elasticity) during long-term exposure spaceflight environment. Results from this investigation can provide a better understanding of the principles of human resting muscle tone. This could lead to the development of new strategies for alternative treatments for rehabilitation on Earth, as well as for future space missions.

Plasma Kristall-4 (PK-4): The crew prepared for the science campaign by connecting the PK-4 chamber to a neon gas supply and configuring the video system. Plasma Krystall-4 (PK-4) is a scientific collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), performing research in the field of Complex Plasmas: low temperature gaseous mixtures composed of ionized gas, neutral gas, and micron-sized particles. The main feature of the PK-4 facility (in comparison with its predecessors onboard the ISS, such as PK-3 and PK-3+) is a new concept of its discharge chamber. Application of a combined discharge that consists of a direct current discharge, inductive HF discharge and capacitive HF discharge allows varying the topology of studied plasma-dust formations in a wide range.

Repository: The crew collected blood and urine samples in support of the Repository investigation. Repository supports scientific discovery that contributes to our fundamental knowledge in the area of human physiological changes and adaptation to a microgravity environment and provides unique opportunities to study longitudinal changes in human physiology spanning many missions. This investigation archives biosamples for use as a resource for future space flight related research.

Standard Measures: The crew collected blood samples in support of the Standard Measures investigation. The aim of the investigation 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. Among other things, the ground teams perform analyses for metabolic and chemistry panels, immune function, microbiome, etc. These measures populate a data repository to enable high-level monitoring of countermeasure effectiveness and meaningful interpretation of health and performance outcomes, and support future research on planetary missions.

Toilet: The crew verified adequate pretreat dosing from the Dose Pump, inspected the cover on the Toilet Conductivity Sensor inlet and outlet for any pretreated urine leaks, and then filled out a questionnaire. The Toilet System is an Exploration Tech Demo that has evolved into a permanent USOS system. The Toilet has the same basic design as the Orion Universal Waste Management System (UWMS). The Toilet System will be the primary WMS for USOS for up to 90-crew-days and interfaces with the Urine Transfer System (UTS) to allow concurrent WHC/Toilet operations.


JSL 20-Port Switch Install: Today, the crew installed the Node 3 JSL 20-Port Switch in place of the previous 16-Port switch. This upgrade was completed to accommodate JSL connectivity for additional wired devices in the wake of the JSL v14 upgrades.

Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Urine Receptacle (UR) / Insert Filter (IF) R&R: Today, the crew completed routine maintenance to R&R the UR/IF. Following the R&R, the crew cleaned the WHC power supply grilles, reactivated WHC, and performed functionality test.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

Mobile Transporter (MT) Pre-Translation Check Out and Survey
Mobile Transporter (MT) Translation
Mobile Servicing System (MSS) Survey of Crew Dragon
Photovoltaic Controller Unit (PVCU) R6 P4 Patch Load
Look Ahead Plan

Tuesday, October 26 (GMT 299)

CIR manifold bottle exchange
ELF sample holder exchange
FIR LMM remove
HRF urine setup
ManD print remove and stow

CQ Port Cleaning
WHC Air Hose Liquid Indicator
Dragon Departure OBT
Dragon Deorbit Sim
Dragon Conference
PMM Audit
Wednesday, October 27 (GMT 300)

Astrobee off
CAL GSC sample collect
EPO Touching Surfaces
FIR LMM remove (cont’d)
Food Acceptability
J-DMS1 cable reconnect
MELFI2 dewar clean
Plasma Kristall-4
SABL act and c/o
Standard Measures
Vascular Aging

Cygnus Cargo Ops
Dragon Prepack
EVA PHA Cleaning
EMU CCT Initiation
Thursday, October 28 (GMT 301)

Airborne Particulate Monitor
FIR LMM/FBCE exchange (cont’d)
HRF blood/urine collection
ManD print remove
Plant Habitat-04 gather
Plasma Kristall-4
Standard Measures
Vascular Aging

Cygnus Cargo Ops
BPA Filter Installation
EMER Equipment Staging
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

HRF Generic Urine Collection Male
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval and Insertion Operations
HRF Generic Urine Collection Stow
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Setup and Frozen Blood Collection Subject
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Operator
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Configure and Run
Photo documentation of the spare WOOV
Setup and connection of camcorder HDV Sony PMW-200 in SM for TV event TORU SIMULATION in MPEG2
XF705 Camcorder Setup
FROST Ice Pack Case Correction
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Spin Conclude
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Insertion
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Conclude and Stow
Myotones Kit Gathering
Urine Transfer System Backup EDV Swap for Toilet 2 Week Test
Myotones Device Setup with EPM Laptop
JEM Common Gas Support Equipment (CGSE) Upper Ar Gas Supply Stop.
NOD3 20-port Network Switch Installation
Myotones Measurements
Radio Frequency Identification Label Application
Myotones Ultrasound scan using ECHO Unit
On MCC-M Go Deactivate camcorder, TV System monitoring equipment
Echo Unit Stowage
Toilet System Pretreat Dose Check
Crew Discretionary Event
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Profile of Mood States (POMS) Questionnaire
On-orbit Hearing Assessment (OOHA) with Kuduwave Software Setup and Test – Crew Medical Officer (CMO)
Adjustment and testing of Kuduwave software for onboard hearing assessment (OOHA)
NORS Recharge Tank Bag Relocate
Extravehicular Activity Battery Installation
EVA Battery Operations Terminal Charge Init
Dragon Prepack
In-Flight Maintenance Battery Stow
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Config JEM Setup
PAO Preparation
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) – JEM
Dragon Prepack
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Social Media Event
SSC (Station Support Computer) 7 (in airlock). Connect to Wired
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Airlock Unstow
Crew Departure Preparations for Return to Earth
Long-duration Crew Compensation
Node 3 Toilet Leak Inspection
Crew Dragon Hand Held Gas Detector Battery Swap
Toilet System Weekly Questionnaire
Toilet System Daily Questionnaire
Echo Unit Setup for Myotones experiment
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Sample Data Record
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Urine Receptacle (UR) and Insert Filter (IF) Remove and Replace
Myotones Device Data Transfer
Myotones Device Charging using Multi-Port USB Charger
Echo Unit Stowage
Crew Dragon Hand Held Gas Detector Calibration
Deck 1 and 2 cargo restore
Myotones Device Stowage after charging

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