Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 28 June, 2021 – Cygnus to Depart

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
June 30, 2021
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 28 June, 2021 – Cygnus to Depart
Cygnus is gripped by the Canadarm2.

The Cygnus resupply ship will complete its cargo mission to the International Space Station on Tuesday.
Several hours later, Russia’s ISS Progress 78 (78P) cargo craft will launch on a two-day trip to replenish the Expedition 65 crew.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide joined Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet and closed the hatch on the trash-filled Cygnus early Monday morning. Following that, NASA Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Mark Vande Hei installed the Slingshot small satellite deployer on Cygnus’ hatch.

Cygnus will be released from the Canadarm2 robotic arm at 12:25 p.m. EDT on Tuesday. Once Cygnus reaches a safe distance from the station, the Slingshot will deploy five CubeSats for a variety of research including atmospheric physics as well as software evaluation and development.

The 78P cargo craft sits atop its rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad in Kazakhstan. It will launch Tuesday at 7:27 p.m. carrying over 3,600 pounds of food, fuel and supplies for the seven space station residents.

Roscosmos Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov spent Monday morning preparing for the arrival of the 78P scheduled on Thursday at 9:03 p.m. The duo practiced telerobotically operated maneuvers to manually dock the ISS Progress 78 to the Poisk module in the unlikely event the Russian cargo craft was unable to automatically dock on its own.

NASA TV, on the agency’s website and the NASA app, will broadcast all three mission events live. Cygnus departure coverage begins at noon. The ISS Progress 78 launch broadcast starts at 7 p.m. on Tuesday with docking coverage starting Thursday at 8:15 p.m. View the NASA Television schedule here.

Despite the cargo craft preparations, there was time for science today aboard the orbiting lab. Kimbrough set up the InSpace-4 physics study that will explore advanced materials and manufacturing techniques. NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur studied ways to produce high-quality protein crystals in microgravity to benefit the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries on Earth.

On-Orbit Status Report


Behavioral Core Measures (BCM): The crew set up the appropriate robotics hardware and performed the BCM testing. These sessions are nominally planned to be completed once per month, starting two weeks after a crewmember’s arrival on ISS. The Standardized Behavioral Measures for Detecting Behavioral Health Risks during Exploration Missions (Behavioral Core Measures, or simply BCM) experiment initially examined a suite of measurements to reliably assess the risk of adverse cognitive or behavioral conditions and psychiatric disorders during long-duration spaceflight, and evaluated the feasibility of those tests within the operational and time constraints of spaceflight for two crewmembers. Subsequent subjects perform a subset of the original activities to measure the performance capabilities of deconditioned crew members to complete either individual or crew telerobotic operations within the first 24 hours after landing. This information could help characterize what tasks a crewmember who has spent months in weightlessness can reasonably be expected to perform after landing on the surface of Mars.

ELaboratore Immagini TElevisive – Space 2 (ELITE-S2): The crew removed the ELITE-S2 hardware from its location in Expedite the Processing of Experiments to the Space Station (EXPRESS) rack 4 and prepared it for return to the ground. ELITE-S2 investigated the connection between brain, visualization and motion in the absence of gravity. By recording and analyzing the three-dimensional motion of crewmembers, this study helps engineers apply ergonomics into future spacecraft designs and determines the effects of weightlessness on breathing mechanisms for long-duration missions. This experiment is a cooperative effort with the Italian Space Agency, ASI.

ElectroMagnetic Levitator (EML) Valve Configuration: In support of science operations, the crew closed the Helium valve, opened the Argon valves, and opened the sample chamber valve. EML is a multi-user facility that provides containerless melting and solidification of electrically conductive, spherical samples, under ultra-high vacuum and/or high gas-purity conditions. Heating and positioning of the sample is achieved by electromagnetic fields generated by a coil system. The EML supports research in the field of meta-stable states and phases and in the field of measurement of high-accurate thermophysical properties of liquid metallic alloys in the stable and undercooled state.

Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Ellipsoids (InSPACE-4): The crew gathered the appropriate items and set up the InSPACE-4 hardware in the Microgravity Sciences Glovebox (MSG). Unfortunately, the ground was not able to successfully checkout the camera systems needed for the experiment. It’s currently believed alternate video cables will resolve the issue and the ground teams will discuss a forward plan. InSPACE-4 studies the assembly of tiny structures from colloids using magnetic fields. These structures change the properties of the assembled material, such as its mechanical response to or interaction with light and heat. Microgravity allows observation of these assembly processes free of confining sample walls and sedimentation and during timescales not possible using simulated microgravity. Results could provide insight into how to harness nanoparticles to fabricate and manufacture new materials.

Microbial Tracking-3 (MT-3): The crew participated in a conference with the MT-3 payload developer, and then performed surface sample collections per plan. The Quantifying Selection for Pathogenicity and Antibiotic Resistance in Bacteria and Fungi on the ISS – a Microbial Tracking Study (Microbial Tracking-3 or MT-3) investigation continues a series focused on ongoing monitoring of pathogenicity (ability to cause disease) and antibiotic resistance in potentially disease-causing bacteria and fungi present on the ISS. The investigation aims to identify, analyze, and characterize pathogenicity, antibiotic resistance, and genomics to augment the NASA GeneLab with the statistical confidence to characterize microbes associated with closed habitation and predict those that may pose a threat to crew health.

Phase II Real-time Protein Crystal Growth on Board the ISS (RTPCG-2) Plate Load 2C1: The crew pipetted and mixed solutions of varying viscosities onto the crystallization plate, and sealed the wells, and transferred the completed plate into Space Automated Bioproduct Laboratory (SABL) for incubation. 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.

SlingShot Bracket and Deployer Install: In preparation for the Cygnus departure from ISS, the crew installed and connected the SlingShot hardware to the Cygnus vehicle. SlingShot is a small satellite deployment system that fits inside the Cygnus spacecraft’s Passive Common Berthing Mechanism (PCBM). SlingShot can accommodate up to 18 satellites that are deployed post Cygnus unberth.


Cygnus Departure Preparations: The crew performed several activities in order to prepare Cygnus Northrup Grumman-15 (NG-15) for departure. The crew de-routed the Intermodular Ventilation (IMV) supply duct from Cygnus, closed the Cygnus hatch, reconfigured Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM) Controller Panel Assemblies (CPAs), and demated power and data connections in the Cygnus/Node 1 vestibule. Finally, the crew closed the Node 1 Nadir hatch and began depressurization of the Cygnus/Node 1 vestibule. NG-15 release is scheduled for Tuesday, June 29th at 11:15 AM CT.

Cargo Dragon Cargo Operations: The crew performed cargo transfer operations for Cargo Dragon SpaceX-22 (SpX-22). There are approximately 11 hours of SpX-22 cargo operations remaining to complete prior to departure. SpX-22 undock is scheduled for July 6th to return cargo and payloads to the ground.

Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Loop Scrubs and Iodinates: The crew degassed a newly flown water processing jumper and then initiated water loop scrubs on EMUs 3009 and 3015. Following the water loop scrubs, the crew acquired and tested water samples for conductivity for both units. Finally, the crew performed an Iodination of the EMU cooling loops. EMU loop scrubs and Iodinates are required preventative maintenance needed to remove any chemical and biological contaminants from the EMU transport loop.

Alternating Current (AC) Inverter R&R: Today, the Node 2 Wireless Access Point (WAP) went offline prompting the crew to inspect the power configuration. Upon inspection, the crew noted that upstream Node 2 120 Volts Direct Current (VDC) to 120 Volts AC (VAC) Inverter S/N 1001 was receiving power in but not supplying power out through any of its ports. The crew performed an R&R of the suspect AC Inverter S/N 1001 and the downstream loads returned nominally.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

Cygnus Departure Preparation Commanding
Cygnus-SSRMS Power Apply
EMU Loop Scrub Support
SDMS Activation
Look Ahead Plan

Tuesday, June 29 (GMT 180)

AC Touch
BCM test
ICF Troubleshooting
InSPACE-4 Experiment Run Operations 1-2
Microbial Tracking 3
OBiS Bag 1 (21-25) Initiation

NG-15 Unberth and Release
SpX-22 Cargo Operations
EVA Tool Stow and Battery Operations
EVA A/L Restow
Wednesday, June 30 (GMT 181)

AC Touch
APEX-07 Clean and Dry
CAL Hololens C/O
EML Lens Switch
InSPACE-4 Experiment Runs 3-4
OBiS Bag 2 (21-25) Initiation
Repository Urine and Blood Collect
SideKick Initiation Configuration and Remote C/O
Tangolab2 and 4 Cardcube Replace
VEG Monitor Analysis Photo

SpX-22 Cargo Operations
Thursday, July 1 (GMT 182)

APEX-07 Deactivation
CAL Science Module Pack for Return
CBEF Measurement Experiment Unit
InSPACE-4 Run Operations 5-6
Microbial Tracking-3
NanoRacks Mod-9 Operations 4
OBiS Bag 3 (21-25) Initiation
Plant Habitat Facility Preparation
RTPCG-2 Plate 2C17

78P Dock
SpX-22 Cargo Operations
IMV Flow Measure
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Body Mass Measurement – BMMD
Gather Vestibule Outfitting Kit (VOK)
Dragon Cargo Transfer
MSG Activation
SlingShot BPW and Procedure Review
Cygnus Cargo Closeout
InSPACE-4 Hardware Setup
RTPCG-2 Recipe Card Print
RTPCG-2 MELFI Vial Retrieve
Cygnus Egress
Real-time Protein Crystal Growth Maintenance Work Area Preparation
EVA Water Processing Jumper Degas
EMU Cooling Loop Maintenance Scrub Initiation
CBM CPA Rotation and Closeout
Remove CBM CPAs
InSPACE-4 Hardware Historical Photo
Cygnus/Node 1 Vestibule Configuration for Demate – Part 1
SlingShot Hardware Gather
Polar Desiccant Swap
Microbial Tracking-3 Crew Conference
EMU Cooling Loop Maintenance Iodination
MT-3 Environmental Sample Collection
SlingShot Bracket Installation Assist
SlingShot Bracket Installation
Glacier Desiccant Swap
SlingShot Deployer Install
RTPCG-2 Production Plate Load S/N 2C1
MT-3 Sample POLAR Insert
Discharge PBA with low pressure
USOS Window Shutter Close
Node 1 Nadir CBM CPA Installation
Relocate Station Support Computer (SSC) 23 in Node 1 support Pressure Management Device (PMD)
Cygnus/Node 1 Vestibule Configuration for Demate – Part 2
EMU Cooling Loop Scrub Deconfiguration
PMD Equipment Setup and Power and Data connections
Behavioral Core Measures ROBoT-r Test
ELITE-S2 IMU (Interface Management Unit) Removal and Return
N1 Deck hatch MPEV open

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