Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 27 August, 2021 – Cargo Dragon Set for Launch

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
August 30, 2021
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 27 August, 2021 – Cargo Dragon Set for Launch
Astronaut Megan McArthur sets up an Astrobee robotic free-flyer. (Aug. 19, 2021)

A U.S. cargo craft stands at its Florida launch pad less than 24 hours from a mission to resupply the International Space Station.
Back in space, the Expedition 65 crew stayed focused on human research and while moving headlong toward upcoming spacewalks.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Cargo Dragon vehicle atop is counting down to a liftoff from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Saturday at 3:37 a.m. It will arrive at the station on Sunday for an autonomous docking at 11 a.m. packed with over 4,800 pounds of new science experiments, crew supplies and lab hardware. The launch and docking will be broadcast live on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough will be on deck Sunday morning monitoring the Cargo Dragon’s approach and rendezvous as it targets the Harmony module’s forward international docking adapter. The duo was joined Friday afternoon by Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Thomas Pesquet and Commander Akihiko Hoshide to review Dragon’s cargo manifest and upcoming transfer activities.

Continuing ongoing space research, Pesquet and Hoshide started Friday morning taking turns on an ESA (European Space Agency) experiment to understand how living in space affects time perception and cognitive performance. They each wore virtual reality goggles and clicked on a track ball to measure their time reaction and how they estimate time duration.

In the orbiting lab’s Russian segment, cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov are getting ready for two spacewalks to configure the Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module for upcoming science operations. First on Friday’s schedule, the duo had a cardiovascular exam to monitor their physical fitness ahead of the excursions scheduled for Sept. 3 and 9. Next, the Roscosmos Flight Engineers were joined by Vande Hei in the afternoon installing lights and cameras on the Orlan spacesuit helmets.

The spacewalk that had been scheduled for Aug. 24 is being moved to Sept. 12. This is the earliest opportunity to accomplish U.S. EVA 77 after arrival of the SpaceX CRS-23 cargo Dragon spacecraft and the first two Russian spacewalks to begin outfitting the newly arrived Nauka laboratory. Mark Vande Hei will provide internal support for spacewalkers Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) and Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) while Vande Hei continues to recover from a minor medical issue. All spacewalkers are trained in a variety of tasks they may need to perform, and Pesquet has performed similar tasks in previous spacewalks. This will be the first spacewalk conducted out of the Quest airlock by two international partner astronauts at the space station.

On-Orbit Status Report

Phospho-Aging: The crew took blood and urine samples in support of the Phospho-Aging investigation. Phospho-aging Mechanism of Accelerated Aging Under Microgravity (Phospho-aging) examines the molecular mechanism behind aging-like symptoms, such as bone loss and muscle atrophy, that occur more rapidly in microgravity. Using analysis of human premature-aging syndromes (progeria) in mouse models, scientists identified calciprotein particles (CPPs) as a pro-aging factor in mammals. CPPs behave like a pathogen, inducing chronic inflammation and systemic tissue damage that could be the mechanism behind accelerated aging in space.

Ring Sheared Drop: The crew removed the processed sample syringe and installed a new syringe. The Ring Sheared Drop investigation examines the formation and flow of amyloids without the complications associated with the solid walls of a container, because in microgravity, surface tension provides containment of the liquid. Fibrous, extracellular protein deposits found in organs and tissues; amyloids are associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Results could contribute to better understanding of these diseases as well as to development of advanced materials.

Time Perception: The crew set up the appropriate hardware and participated in the Time Perception science sessions. 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.


Deck Airlock Stowage Platform (ASP) Install: Today, the crew completed installing the new ASP in the Airlock Deck location. Today’s steps including installing the closeout panels, reconfiguring the Airlock UOP and transferring stowage into the new ASP.This week the crew replaced the old Airlock deck stowage bins with the new ASP, increasing the stowage capability by approximately 10 CTBE.

Hatch Seal Inspection: The crew cleaned and inspected the N1 Aft, Port, Starboard, Forward, Nadir and Cygnus hatches, hatch plate sealing surface and crank handles for damage or foreign object debris (FOD) following the transfer of the Airlock closeout panels during the ASP install activities.

Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustible Products (CSA-CP) Extended Maintenance: Today, the crew replaced the battery packs in all CSA-CPs and calibrated the units. The CSA-CP provides real-time readings following a combustion event and subsequent clean-up efforts. The CSA-CP are also used for continuous monitoring of carbon monoxide levels in the ISS.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

JEM Airlock Repress [Planned]
Look Ahead Plan

Saturday, August 28 (GMT 240) – SpX-23 Launch 7:37 GMT

Astrobee off

Sunday, August 29 (GMT 241) – SpX-23 Dock 15:00 GMT

Nanoracks mod 9 OBT
POLAR procedure reviews

Dragon Ingress
SpX-23 priority cargo transfer
Monday, August 30 (GMT 242)

CIR manifold bottle replace
Cols Stowage unpack
Faraday facility installation
HRF Blood/urine
JAXA Video take 8
Nanoracks Module-9 ops 1
POLAR desiccant swap
SAMS sensor-ER6
SCEM closeout

SpX-23 Cargo Transfer
EMU Suit IV Review
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Standard Measures Post-sleep Questionnaire
Phospho-Aging Generic Sample MELFI Insertion
Stowing of ESA Power Bank
Airlock Closeout Panel Installation
Phospho-Aging Generic MELFI Sample Insertion Operations
Time experiment science
Dragon Cargo Operations Review
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) – JEM
Airlock Stowage Platform (ASP) Equipment Restow
Bag Culture PWD water collection
XF305 Camcorder Setup
Bag Culture set up
Payload Data Router Power off
Deck 1 cleanup from cargo
Kubik 5 setup on COL1D1
Kubik 6 setup on COL1D2
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) – Lab
ExPRESS Rack 6 Laptop Troubleshooting
Dragon Cargo Operations Conference
Atmosphere Control and Supply (ACS) Nitrogen Manual Valve Open
Hatch Seal Inspection
Photo TV High Definition (HD) Dragon Video Setup
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Airlock Restow
Node 2 Fwd Hatch Open
Polar Desiccant Swap
Polar Desiccant Swap in Cygnus
Emergency Equipment Restow
Node 2 Fwd Hatch Close
On-Board Training (OBT) Conference after Rendezvous CBT review
Ring Sheared Drop Procedure Review
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Crew Medical Restraint System (CMRS) – Checkout
Ring-Sheared Drop Syringe and Test Cell Removal
Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products (CSA-CP) Extended Maintenance
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan
MSG Glove Swap
Ring-Sheared Drop Syringe and Test Cell Install
RSD MELFI Sample Insertion
Phospho-Aging Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval And Insertion Operations
Record ESA PAO Message with Thomas Pesquet

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