Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 29 September, 2021 – Departing Cargo Dragon

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
October 2, 2021
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 29 September, 2021 – Departing  Cargo Dragon
The SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle approaches the ISS on Aug. 30, 2021.

The SpaceX Cargo Dragon is due to wrap up its month-long resupply mission to the International Space Station on Thursday morning.
Amidst today’s cargo transfers, the Expedition 65 crew pursued a host of microgravity research on the orbital lab including robotics and biology.

Cargo Dragon’s automated undocking from the Harmony module’s forward international docking adapter is set for Thursday at 9:05 a.m. EDT. The station’s astronauts will continue loading Dragon with hardware and science experiments until about two hours before its departure. Just over half-a-day later the U.S. cargo craft will parachute to a nighttime splashdown off the coast of Florida. NASA TV will begin its live coverage of the spacecraft’s undocking at 8:45 a.m. on the NASA app and the agency’s website. NASA TV will not broadcast the Cargo Dragon’s return to Earth.

NASA Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough took turns on Wednesday carefully packing and safely attaching cargo inside the U.S. space freighter. Commander Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) joined ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet installing science freezers containing research samples inside the Cargo Dragon for analysis back on Earth.

Hoshide, a three-time station veteran, began his day setting up the Astrobee robotic helpers inside the Kibo laboratory module. The toaster-sized robotic free-flyers then performed maneuvers using programs written by Japanese and American students competing in a robotics challenge. The event is designed to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers to improve space-based and Earth-bound technologies.

Pesquet and NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei partnered up for a space exercise study inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module on Wednesday morning. The duo each spent about an hour on Destiny’s exercise cycle wearing sensors and breathing equipment to measure how working out affects pulmonary function in weightlessness.

Roscosmos Flight Engineer Oleg Novitskiy started his morning servicing a variety of Russian life support gear and electronics hardware before an hourlong cardiac study. Pyotr Dubrov, a first time space-flyer from Roscosmos, joined Novitskiy for the cardiac study that measured their heart function during a rest period with electrocardiogram sensors. Dubrov then spent the day removing camera gear from the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft and downloading imagery captured during Tuesday’s relocation maneuver.

On-Orbit Status Report


Food Acceptability: Using the data collection tool on a Station Support Computer (SSC), the crew completed their Food Acceptability surveys. This investigation seeks to determine the impact of repetitive consumption of food currently available from the spaceflight food system. Results will be used in developing strategies to improve food system composition to support crew health and performance on long duration missions.

Food Physiology: The crew gathered several types of body samples in support of the Food Physiology experiment. They also set up hardware to support tomorrow’s blood collection activities. The Integrated Impact of Diet on Human Immune Response, the Gut Microbiota, and Nutritional Status During Adaptation to Spaceflight (Food Physiology) experiment is designed to characterize the key effects of an enhanced spaceflight diet on immune function, the gut microbiome, and nutritional status indicators. These factors are interlinked, but diet is the only one that can be easily and meaningfully altered on Earth or during flight. This investigation aims to document the effects of dietary improvement on human physiology and the ability of those improvements to enhance adaptation to spaceflight.

Kibo Robot Programming Challenge-2 Final Round: The Robo-Pro Challenge event was completed successfully. The event was previously deferred due to ISS network issues which prevented the uplink of the necessary files. The Kibo Robot Programming Challenge (Robo-Pro Challenge), also known as Kibo-RPC, allows students to create programs to control Astrobee, a free-flying robot aboard the ISS. This opportunity provides hands-on experience with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in space and inspires the next generation of explorers. This activity is based on Japan-U.S. cooperation through the Japan-US Open platform Partnership Program (JP-US OP3).


Temperature and Humidity Control (THC) Intermodule Ventilation (IMV) Flow Measurement: As part of Station’s standard system health monitoring, the crew used a Velocicalc tool to measure the amount of airflow through selected ventilation inlets and outlets. Today’s measurements were taken onboard an ISS visiting vehicle.

Cargo Dragon Departure Preparations: The crew completed several activities in preparation for Cargo Dragon SpaceX-23 (SpX-23) departure. The crew completed nearly all cargo transfer and stowage operations, completed a Cargo Dragon Departure On-Board Training (OBT), transferred a Polar from the ISS to Cargo Dragon, and transferred two Polars from NG-16 to Cargo Dragon. Tomorrow, the crew will transfer cold stowage coldbags to ensure frozen samples remain at the proper temperature as they return to the ground. SpX-23 undock is scheduled for tomorrow at 08:00 AM CT to return cargo and payloads to the ground.

Treadmill (T2) Snubber Cup Inspection: To ensure the T2 exercise device is in good operational condition, the crew inspected all four snubber cup liners and cleaned the snubber pins. T2 is the on-orbit treadmill used to maintain crew health during extended visits to the ISS.

ISS Stowage Audit: the crew performed an audit of the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) to ensure ground teams are in sync with the onboard configuration. This audit is performed to enable future stowage optimization. The crew also performed an audit of the Tape Pantry todetermine the current number of consumables. This audit will be used as a reference to update manifesting resupply rates at this location.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

Attitude Control System (ACS) Optimized Propellant Maneuver (OPM) Execution
Cargo Dragon C2V2 checkout
Cargo Dragon hotfire thruster test
Cargo Dragon GN&C checkout
Look Ahead Plan

Thursday, September 30 (GMT 273)

Astrobee off
Cold Stowage DCB packing
CBEF UOP cable connection
ESA EPO Touching Surfaces
Food Physiology blood, urine and Saliva collect
FSL SMD laser troubleshooting
J-SSOD-19 install part 2 and 3
Plant Habitat-04 Debris Removal
Ring Sheared Drop-2 sample new retrieve from MELFI
Standard Measures Cognition test

SpX-23 Cargo Dragon undock
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Portable Emergency Provisions (PEPS) Inspection
ECLSS Urine Processor Assembly (UPA) Brine Filter Changeout and Recycle Tank Drain
Friday, October 1 (GMT 274)

ELF Tether attach, Holder change, Fastener R&R and Cartridge install
Food Acceptability
Food Physiology MELFI transfer
JEM Water Recovery System
Ring Sheared Drop-2 sample install
Rodent Research closeout

Health Maintenance System (HMS) Venous Thromboembolism (VTB) scan
T2 Snubber Inspection
Saturday, October 2 (GMT 275)

ISS HAM pass

Crew off-duty day
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

HRF Generic MELFI Sample Insertion Operations
Utility Outlet Panel (UOP) Activation
JEM Temporary Stowage Relocate
Temperature and Humidity Control (THC) Intermodule Ventilation (IMV) Flow Measurement Survey
Cold Stowage Double Coldbag Gather
ISS HAM Kenwood Radio Power Up
In-Flight Maintenance (IFM) Tape Audit
Max Cycle Ergometer w/Vibration Isolation & Stabilization (CEVIS) Portable PFS [ABORTED]
Robot Programming Challenge 2 Final Round
On-Board Training (OBT) Cargo Dragon Depart Review
Dust Filter Transfer
PMM1D1 Audit
JEM Temporary Stowage Return
Station Support Computer 13 Power Cable Deploy
HAZ 1 AC Dry Vacuum Cleaner R&R
Polar Cygnus Uninstall, Transfer And Handover
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis
HRF Generic Ambient Blood Collection Setup
Polar Express Rack Uninstall, Transfer And Handover
Cargo Transfer to Dragon
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval and Insertion Operations
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Vision Test
Countermeasures System (CMS) Max Cycle Ergometer w/Vibration Isolation & Stabilization (CEVIS) Portable PFS Conclude
Polar Cygnus Uninstall, Transfer, and Dragon Install
Food Physiology MELFI Sample Insertion 1
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Sample Data Record
Deploy Sleeping Bag in Dragon

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