Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 29 March, 2021 – Riding in a Dragon

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
April 3, 2021
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 29 March, 2021 – Riding in a Dragon
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 29 March, 2021 - Riding in a Dragon.

Four Expedition 64 astronauts will take a quick ride inside their SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle to a new docking port next week as the International Space Station ramps up for a series of crew swaps.
Resilience, the first operational crew ship from SpaceX, will back out from its forward-facing port on the Harmony module on April 5 at 6:30 a.m. EDT. Dragon Commander Michael Hopkins, Pilot Victor Glover and Crew-1 astronauts Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi will be inside the Crew Dragon as it autonomously maneuvers to a docking on Harmony’s space-facing port about 45 minutes later.

April will be a busy month on the orbital lab as three new Expedition 65 crew members, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov, get ready for their April 9 launch to the station aboard the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft. Expedition 64 will end on April 16 when NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov undock from the Poisk module inside the Soyuz MS-17 crew ship and return to Earth.

The four Crew-1 astronauts are also due to return to Earth at the end of April. They will be replaced about a week before by four SpaceX Crew-2 crewmembers including Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur from NASA, Thomas Pesquet from ESA (European Space Agency), and Akihiko Hoshide from Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Meanwhile, the station’s seven orbital residents are still keeping up an array of research into microgravity’s impact on biology and physics.

Rubins was the Crew Medical Officer on Monday scanning neck, shoulder and leg veins in Hopkins and Noguchi using the Ultrasound-2 device. Hopkins then joined Glover and Walker for cognition tests for the Standard Measures investigation observing how astronauts adapt to weightlessness.

On the Russian side of the station, station Commander Sergey Ryzhikov packed hard drives containing plasma physics research data for return to Earth with the Expedition 64 trio. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov swabbed surfaces inside the Zvezda service module to collect microbe samples for later analysis.

On-Orbit Status Report


Plant Water Management: The crew set up cameras, MWA, and the Sorbent Test Stand Kit for Plant Water Management (3&4) operations. The Plant Water Management investigation demonstrates passive measures for controlling fluid delivery and uptake in plant growth systems. Reduced gravity creates challenges in providing adequate fluid and nutrition for plant growth. This investigation examines using other physical properties such as surface tension, wetting and system geometry to replace the role of gravity.

Real-Time Protein Crystal Growth-2 (RTPCG-2): The crew performed Real-time Protein Crystal Growth Screening Plate Loading for B1 and B2 samples. Phase II Real-time Protein Crystal Growth on Board the International Space Station (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.

Ribosome Profiling: The crew removed the Humidifier 2 from the Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) IU Micro-G facility. Since life on Earth emerged about 4 billion years ago, living species have evolutionally adjusted to Earth’s gravity. However, how cells utilize gravity for their gene expression has remained largely unknown. The Genome-wide Survey of Translational Control in Microgravity (Ribosome Profiling) investigation aims to provide insight into how gravity impacts gene expression, with a special focus on translation regulation utilizing a state-of-art technique called “ribosome profiling”.

The ISS Experience: The crew relocated and configured the ISS Experience EVA Z-CAM in NOD2 for ground retrieval of data and diagnostics. The International Space Station Experience (The ISS Experience) is a cinematic virtual reality (VR) series documenting life and research aboard the space station. Filmed over multiple months, the immersive VR series documents different crew activities – from science conducted aboard the station to preparation for a spacewalk.

Thermolab: The crew performed an audit and checkout of the Thermolab hardware in order to verify functionality. Thermoregulation in Humans During Long-Term Spaceflight (Thermolab) investigates the thermoregulatory and cardiovascular adaptations during rest and exercise in the course of a long-duration microgravity exposure.


Water Processing Assembly (WPA) Oxygen (O2) Pressure Sensor Fault: Following last Friday’s installation of a new Catalytic Reactor, the WPA successfully completed a process cycle. On Sunday, March 28, during the second process, the WPA faulted out due to a tolerance limit indication of the O2 pressure at the reactor inlet to the reactor water pressure. A review of data by teams over the weekend showed consistent performance between the first run and second attempted run. Pre-launch data was additionally reviewed and the performance of this unit was noted to have a higher O2 flow rate during acceptance testing, which would account for the higher pressure. The limit is not for safety assurance, so teams agreed to a tolerance increase from 8 psi to 12 psi. Following the uplink of the new tolerance limit, the WPA successfully completed a process cycle. Review of data post-run, indicates pressure tolerance values continue to operate right at the original limit. The WPA continues to function nominally and teams will continue to monitor the system.

Joint Station Lan (JSL) Cable Routing: The crew continued routing of the new Gigabit Ethernet cables for JSL in the LAB. They routed cables from the Forward area of the LAB to Aft endcone. Connection of cables will be performed later to allow for checkout of other systems due to vestibule jumpers being replaced, which carry other signals to other modules in addition to Ethernet.

External TV Camera Group (ETVCG) Disassembly: On Monday February 1 during the ISS Upgrades 2 EVA the Camera Port 3 (CP3) ETVCG was removed and replaced (R&R’d). Today, the crew disassembled the ETVCG that was removed to prepare the pan tilt unit (PTU) for return. The Color TV Camera (CTVC) portion will be trashed due to degradation in color output and intermittent iris issues.

Node 3 (N3) Aft Port Intermodule Ventilation (IMV) Fan Cleaning: The crew cleaned the N3 aft port IMV fan and silencer inlets to improve airflow into BEAM. This is regularly scheduled maintenance.

Velocicalc Airflow Measurements: To support monitoring of the health of the ISS IMV system, the crew used the Velocicalc device and set of measurement aids to measure the air flow exiting outlets and entering inlets throughout the USOS modules. In addition to flow rate measurements, inspections were performed in N1, N2, N3, Airlock, Cupola, Lab, IDA, and BEAM.

Mobile Servicing System (MSS) Operations: Last Friday, Robotics Ground Controllers maneuvered the Space Spation Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) to start the MSS Applications Computer (MAC) Watchdog Timer Testing using the Cupola MAC Unit (MACU). Had a recurrence of AR 9879 while powering the Cupola MACU. Four SSRMS motion runs were completed with MAC without any Watchdog timer issues. During the first run, SSRMS joint 4 oscillation was observed but oscillations were within expected threshold. Ground Controllers maneuvered the SSRMS back to park, MAC log files were downloaded and the MSS was powered down.

Completed Task List Activities:

WRS restow
WHC KTO replace
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Payloads ops support
JSL Lab cable routing
Look Ahead Plan

Tuesday, March 30 (GMT 089)

GRIP Seated session 1 (ESA)
Confocal Microscope Temp Logger reading (JAXA)
Standard Measures Saliva collect (NASA)
PWM prime ops (NASA)
J-SOLISS install (JAXA)

N2 manual flow control valve adjustments
N1/N3 JSL cable connect
N2 forward IDA control panel checkout
Wednesday, March 31 (GMT 090)

GRIP Seated session 2 (ESA)
CSA blood setup and BioAnalyzer (CSA)
AC Touch (NASA)
PWM 3&4 cylinder test ops and Plant swap (NASA)
Standard Measures Saliva, body , Fecal collect and survey (NASA)
Actiwatch Plus HRF1 setup (NASA)
Transparent Alloys Data Exchange (NASA)

WHC pre-treat tank R&R
IBOT task review
EVA battery stowage compartment mod
Thursday, April 1 (GMT 091)

CSA Blood collect (CSA)
ESA EPO Paxi robotic (ESA)
GRIP Supine #3 (ESA)
KOBAIRO Water refill (JAXA)
RTPCG-2 Plate load (NASA)
Standard Measures Saliva and fecal collect (NASA)
ISS Experience EVA lens focus (NASA)
Astrobee Mapping (NASA)
Food Acceptability (NASA)
WORF Bumpshield Install (NASA)

Dragon OBT
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Greetings Video
Reminder Standard Measures Cognition Testing
ISS Experience SSC 25 Connection to JSL-1
Astrobee Off
Photo TV Battery Charge Initiation
Standard Measures Cognition Testing
Disconnect Lab Bypass Duct from closeout panels (Fwd and Aft)
ISS Experience EVA Z-cam Relocate to Node 2
Standard Measures Cognition Testing
Ribosome Profiling Humidifier Closeout
??? Laptops (T61P) antivirus software refresh
Joint Station LAN (JSL) Lab Gigabit Ethernet Cable Routing – Part 2
Standard Measures Cognition Testing
Real-time Protein Crystal Growth Recipe Card Print
Real-time Protein Crystal Growth Maintenance Work Area Preparation
CSA-CP Label. Apply label to both CSA-CP sampling pumps with a reminder to perform a flow test prior to use and perform checkout of S/N 1015
Install software update No.3 to CP laptop (RS1, RS2, RS3, Remote RS) Tagup with specialists as necessary Note 12
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Profile of Mood States (POMS) Questionnaire
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound Scan Prep
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan
Thermolab Hardware Audit and Checkout
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan
External Television Camera Group (ETVCG) Disassembly – Color TV Camera Removal from Pan Tilt Unit
Countermeasures System (CMS) Orthostatic Intolerance Garment (OIG) Doff
Real-time Protein Crystal Growth Screening Plate Load S/N B1, Row C
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Venous Thromboemboelism (VTE) Scan Prep
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan
In-flight Maintenance (IFM) Node 3 Aft Port Intermodule Ventilation (IMV) Fan Cleaning
Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Manual Fill Initiation [Deferred]
Countermeasures System (CMS) Orthostatic Intolerance Garment (OIG) Don
PK-4 Experiment – replacement of HDDs with data
Real-time Protein Crystal Growth Screening Plate Load S/N B2, Row C
Countermeasures System (CMS) Orthostatic Intolerance Garment (OIG) Doff
Packing of PK-4 Hard Drives inside Bubble Wrap Bags for return stowage on Soyuz
HRF Generic Saliva Collection Setup
Temperature and Humidity Control (THC) Intermodule Ventilation (IMV) Flow Measurement Survey Part 2
Photo/TV RED Camera Troubleshooting
Delta file prep
Antimicrobial Coatings Touch
Antimicrobial Coatings Documentation Photos
Public Affairs Office (PAO) High Definition (HD) Config JEM Setup
PAO Preparation
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) – JEM
Radio Frequency Identification Logistics Reader Troubleshooting

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