Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 29 June, 2021 – Uncrewed Russian Progress 78 Launches

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
June 30, 2021
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 29 June, 2021 – Uncrewed Russian Progress 78 Launches
Russia’s ISS Progress 78 resupply ship blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the space station.

The uncrewed Russian Progress 78 is safely in orbit headed for the International Space Station following launch at 7:27 p.m. (4:27 a.m. Wednesday, June 30, Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The resupply ship reached preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas as planned for a two-day rendezvous on its way to meet up with the orbiting laboratory and its Expedition 65 crew members.

After making 34 orbits of Earth on its journey, Progress will dock to the station’s Poisk module on the space-facing side of the Russian segment at 9:03 p.m. Thursday, July 1. Live coverage on NASA TV of rendezvous and docking will begin at 8:15 p.m.

Carrying more than 3,600 pounds of food, fuel, and supplies for the Expedition 65 crew, the Progress 78 resupply spacecraft will spend almost five months at the station. The cargo craft is scheduled to perform an automated undocking and relocation to the new “Nauka” Multipurpose Laboratory Module in late October. Named for the Russian word for “science,” Nauka is planned to launch to the space station in mid-July.

Progress 78 will undock from the orbiting laboratory in November for a re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere that results in its safe destruction.

Earlier at 12:32 p.m. EDT, flight controllers on the ground sent commands to release the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft from the Canadarm2 robotic arm after earlier detaching Cygnus from the Earth-facing port of the Unity module. At the time of release, the station was flying 270 miles over southern Wyoming.

The Cygnus spacecraft successfully departed the International Space Station four months after arriving at the space station to deliver about 8,000 pounds of scientific experiments and supplies to the orbiting laboratory.

After departure, Cygnus will remain in orbit to deploy five cube satellites, including the Ionosphere Thermosphere Scanning Photometer for Ion-Neutral Studies (IT-SPINS), which will add to researchers’ fundamental understanding of Earth’s Ionosphere, and the Khalifa University Students Satellite-2 (MYSat-2), which will train graduate students through the development and evaluation of its software.

Thursday evening Cygnus will perform a deorbit engine firing to set up a destructive re-entry in which the spacecraft, filled with waste the space station crew packed, will burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

On-Orbit Status Report

Cygnus Northrup Grumman-15 (NG-15) Release: NG-15 (named the S.S. Katherine Johnson) was successfully released by the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) and departed the ISS today at 11:31 AM CT while the crew monitored from the Cupola. The completion of the NG-15 mission on ISS marks both the longest Cygnus mission duration to-date of 127-days and the highest Cygnus disposal mass to-date of approximately 3846 kg. NG-15 will complete several post-departure science objectives during free-flight prior to destructive re-entry planned for July 1st.


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.

Dreams: The crew charged up the Dreams Dry-Electroencephalography (EEG) headband and donned it prior to going to sleep. Sleep plays a major role in human health and well-being. Insufficient sleep, or sleep disorders can increase the risk of developing medical conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, and can impair task performance. The Sleep Monitoring in Space with Dry-EEG Headband (Dreams) is a technology demonstration investigation that utilizes the Dry-EEG Headband: an effective, affordable, and comfortable solution to monitor astronaut sleep quality during long-duration spaceflight aboard the ISS.

Industrial Crystallization (ICF) Troubleshooting: To resolve suspected internal ICF computer issues, the crew set up a video camera, and connected peripherals to attempt a startup of the internal computer. Recovery will allow the ground team to continue the observation of the protein crystal chamber prior to its return to the ground. The ICF is a small chamber that allows crystals to grow over time into large crystals, appropriate for use in science labs on Earth. When grown in the microgravity environment of the ISS, the crystals are of much higher quality than those currently grown on Earth.

Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Ellipsoids (InSPACE-4): The crew performed steps to recover the video cameras, then installed the InSPACE-4 sample module. After working through some camera positioning issues, a science run for this experiment was started. Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Ellipsoids (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 continued with the week-long sampling operations for MT-3. 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 of investigations 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.

Oral Biofilms in Space (OBIS): The crew initiated the experiment operations for Session Packs (SP) 21-25. The connection to the waste bag in SP 24 was loose and could not be attached successfully, but due to a self-sealing feature in the system, the science was able to be started. Effect of Environmental Stressors on Oral Biofilm Growth and Treatment (Oral Biofilms in Space) studies the effect of gravity on the behavior of oral bacteria, including the structure of the bacterial community, and changes in bacterial response to common oral care agents. The findings could support development of novel treatments to fight oral diseases such as caries, gingivitis, and periodontitis. The investigation also could provide insights into how microgravity affects the microbiome of other mucosal surfaces in the body.


Cargo Dragon Cargo Operations: Today, crew performed cargo transfer operations for Cargo Dragon SpaceX-22 (SpX-22). SpX-22 undock is scheduled for July 6th to return cargo and payloads to the ground.

Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Recovery Activities: The crew completed several activities in order to recover from the ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (IROSA) 2B and 4B Install EVA series and return equipment to a nominal configuration. The crew replaced expiring components from Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMUs) 3006 and 3009, performed a Remove & Replace (R&R) of the Umbilical Interface Assembly (UIA) Supply Biocide Filter, and installed Lithium-Ion Rechargeable EVA Battery Assemblies (LREBAs) and Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) batteries into the Battery Stowage Compartment to initiate a charging autocycle. Finally, the crew reconfigured stowage in the Airlock.

Space Station Computer (SSC) Shell Swap: The crew reported that SSC3 was unresponsive. The crew performed a field-strip of the SSC to attempt recovery of the hardware, but the signature persisted. Finally, the crew swapped the SSC shell with a spare, and the hardware recovered nominally.

Completed Task List Activities:

Wanted Poster: Condensate Transfer Manifold
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Cygnus Unberth and Release Commanding
Node 1 Active Common Berthing Mechanism Inspection
SSRMS Double-Walkoff and PMA-1 Survey (In Work)
Look Ahead Plan

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
Oral Biofilms Bag 2 (21-25) Init
Phospho Aging
Plant Hab Procedure Review
Plant Water Management 3 and 4 Hardware Locate
Repository Urine and Blood Collect
SABL3 CO2 Controller Remove
SideKick Initiation Configuration and Remote Checkout
Tangolab2 and 4 Cardcube Replace
Veggie Monitor Photo

SpX-22 Cargo Operations
Crew Dragon Tablet Sync
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 2C1/7 Observation

SpX-22 Cargo Operations
IMV Flow Measure
Friday, July 2 (GMT 183)

AC Stow
CIR/ACME Reconfigure for CFI-G Part 2
Food Acceptability
Food Physiology
GLACIER Sample Transfer
POLAR CS Transfers
PWM 3 and 4 Preparation

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

HRF Generic Urine Collections
Phospho-Aging Generic MELFI Sample Insertion Operations
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection and MELFI Insertion
EMU Swap
Water Recovery and Management CWC-Iodine Transfer
Cygnus PCS Command and PROX Link Verification
Phospho-Aging Generic Sample MELFI Retrieval and Insertion
USOS Window Shutter Close
EMU Resize
Dragon Cargo Transfer
InSPACE-4 Cable Swap
EVA UIA Biocide Filter Changeout
Phospho-Aging Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval and Insertion Operations
Microbial Tracking-3 Environmental Sample Collection and POLAR Insert
EVA Battery Install
EVA Battery Operations Terminal Autocycle Initiation
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis and Data Record
OBiS Assembly Hydration
InSPACE-4 Experiment Run Ops
Behavioral Core Measures ROBoT-r Test
N1 Deck hatch MPEV close
Pressure Management Device (PMD) Teardown
Antimicrobial Coatings Touch
Robotic Workstation (RWS) High Definition (HD) Monitor Downlink
Progress 77 USOS Cargo Trash Gather/Pre-gather
Dreams Dry-EEG Headband charge and Setup
SSRMS Cygnus Release and departure monitoring
ICF Troubleshooting
Progress 77 USOS Trash Handover
Restow Vestibule Outfitting Kit (VOK)
PMD SSC Return
EVA Airlock Restow
Artemis HERA Adlink Mini PC Reboot [Aborted]
iPad Flight Group 9/10 Stow
MERLIN OBiS Assemblies Insertion
RWS Monitor Deactivation
RWS Teardown
Dreams Dry-EEG Headband doffing after recording

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