Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 30 June, 2021 – Physics and Biology Studies

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
July 2, 2021
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 30 June, 2021 – Physics and Biology Studies
Astronaut Shane Kimbrough sets up the InSpace-4 physics study. (June 28, 2021)

A Russian resupply ship is racing toward the International Space Station as another U.S. cargo craft nears the end of its mission. Meanwhile, the Expedition 65 crew focused its research activities today on a variety of physics and biology studies.
Russia’s ISS Progress 78 resupply ship is orbiting Earth today following its Tuesday launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Progress will arrive on Thursday with over 3,600 pounds of food, fuel and supplies, for an automated approach and docking to the Poisk module at 9:03 p.m. NASA TV will broadcast its arrival beginning at 8:15 p.m. on the agency’s website and the NASA app,.

The next cargo craft to depart the station will leave on July 6 at 11:05 a.m. EDT. The SpaceX Cargo Dragon will undock from the Harmony module’s space-facing international docking adapter and parachute to a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida two days later.

NASA Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei worked throughout Wednesday readying the Cargo Dragon for next week’s departure. Commander Akihiko Hoshide and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet joined the NASA trio packing and organizing Dragon before final loading of critical research samples begins for analysis back on Earth.

Hoshide also kicked off the InSpace-4 physics study that will explore advanced materials and manufacturing techniques. Pesquet collected and stowed his blood samples before charging a headband device that monitors an astronaut’s sleep patterns for the Dreams study.

McArthur and Vande Hei collected samples of microbes from station surfaces and air for incubation and analysis. Some of those samples will be returned to Earth next week inside the Cargo Dragon.

Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov concentrated on maintenance and science in the orbiting lab’s Russian segment. Novitskiy checked Orlan spacesuit gloves and analyzed the air in the Zvezda service module. Dubrov serviced a variety of life support hardware.

On-Orbit Status Report

78 Progress (78P) Launch: Yesterday at 6:27 PM CT, 78P launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome carrying food, fuel, and supplies to the ISS. 78P will dock to the ISS on Thursday, July 1st at 8:03 PM CT after completing a 33-orbit rendezvous.


Antimicrobial Coatings (AC) Touch: Per standard procedure, the crew touched both the coated and uncoated coupons for this long-term investigation. Boeing Environment Responding Antimicrobial Coatings tests an antimicrobial coating on several different materials that represent high-touch surfaces. Some microbes change characteristics in microgravity, which could create new risks to crew health and spacecraft systems as well as creating the possibility of contaminating other planetary bodies. The samples remain in space for approximately six months and then are returned to Earth for analysis.

Cold Atom Lab (CAL) HoloLens Checkout: In preparation for support of upcoming CAL activities, the Sidekick HoloLens system was checked out. Due to some difficulties loading software, some of the objectives may need to occur later. Crew members on the ISS have plenty of devices and reference guides to help them complete tasks, but none are as immersive and simple to use as the new Sidekick tool. Investigating Immersive Visualization Capabilities (Sidekick) is a hands-free, wearable remote assistance system that enables high-definition 3-D holograms mixed with real-time views, enabling new ways to communicate and work. Sidekick improves efficiency for crew tasks such as science experiments, maintenance and operations on the ISS.

Dreams: Continuing the experiments operations from yesterday, 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.

ElectroMagnetic Levitator (EML): The crew changed the EML high speed camera mode to ‘STD’. EML is a multi-user facility that provides container-less 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) Experiment Runs 2-3: The crew continued the science runs for InSPACE-4. Oscillation of the Field of View (FOV) has been noted in several of the experiment sessions, but the area of interest typically remains visible. 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) Day 2 (Session Packs 21-25): The crew performed day 2 of the experiment session by configuring fluid to flow through the appropriate areas. A leak was found in one of the session packs, but processing will continue. 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.

Tangolab2 and 4 Cardcube Replace: The crew reconfigured the appropriate cards and cubes in TangoLab-2 and TangoLab-4 and reinstalled them as appropriate. TangoLab lockers are reconfigurable general research facilities designed for microgravity Research and Development (R&D) and pilot manufacturing onboard the ISS.

Veggie Monitor Material Review and Photo: The crew took photos while performing Veggie Monitoring surface sample collection operations. Culture-based Environmental Monitoring of Crop-based Space Food Systems (Veggie Monitoring) collects microbial samples from the surface of the station’s Veggie plant production system in conjunction with quarterly Environmental Health System (EHS) sample collection. Longer exploration missions require space-based systems for growth of plants, and this investigation is expected to help establish requirements to protect these systems, plants, and crew from contamination.


Cargo Dragon Cargo Operations: The 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.

Robotics On-Board Trainer (ROBoT) On-Board Training (OBT): The crew completed ROBoT OBT sessions to reset their Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) free-flyer proficiency. The training sessions include practice runs for Cygnus approach and grappling.

Space Station Computer (SSC) Shell Swap: The crew reported that SSC 14 in Columbus was unresponsive, similar to SSC 3’s signature yesterday. Initial troubleshooting of the SSC to recover was unsuccessful leading the crew to the SSC shell swap with a spare, which recovered the hardware nominally.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

Thermal Amine Scrubber Sample Support
Crew Dragon Quiescent Checkout
SSRMS Install IPA in Cargo Dragon Trunk (In Work)
Look Ahead Plan

Thursday, July 1 (GMT 182)

APEX-07 Deactivation
CAL Science Module Pack for Return
CBEF Measurement Experiment Unit
NanoRacks Mod-9 Operations 4
OBiS Bag 3 (21-25)
Plant Habitat Facility Preparation
RTPCG-2 Plate 2C1/7

78P Dock
SpX-22 Cargo Operations
IMV Flow Measure
Friday, July 2 (GMT 183)

AC Stow
CIR/ACME Reconfiguration for CFI-G Part 2
Food Acceptability
Food Physiology
GLACIER Sample Transfer
POLAR CS Transfers
PWM 3 and 4 Preparation
Wanted Poster for W302 Cable

SpX-22 Cargo Operations
PMA-1 Screen Clean
Saturday, July 3 (GMT 184)

Food Physiology

Crew Off-Duty
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Dreams Dry-EEG Headband Doffing After Recording
HRF Generic Urine Collections
Phospho-Aging Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval and Insertion Operations
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval and Insertion Operations
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection
Dragon Cargo Transfer
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Insertion
Plant Habitat Facility Prep Procedure Review
TangoLab-2 Card Cube Replace
TangoLab-4 Card Cube Replace
MT-3 Environmental Sample Collection
Dreams Dry-EEG Headband charge
EHS – Air Quality Monitor (AQM) Power Cycle
InSPACE-4 Experiment Run Ops
MT-3 Sample POLAR Insert
Space Automated Bioproduct Lab, CO2 Incubator Removal
AC Touch
Sidekick Initial Configuration
EHS Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) Sample Collect
Veggie Monitoring Reference Material Review
EHS – Microbial Air Sampler (MAS) Kit Sample Collection
OBiS MERLIN OBiS Assemblies Removal
OBiS Flow Reconfiguration
Atmosphere Revitalization System (ARS) Thermal Amine Scrubber (TAS) Sample Part 1
Plant Water Management 3&4 Hardware Locate
OBiS MERLIN OBiS Biofilms Session Pack Insertion
EHS Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) PWD Sample Analysis
OBT ROBoT T&C Self Study
Artemis HERA Adlink Mini PC Reboot
Sidekick Remote Assist Checkout (Aborted)
Cold Atom Lab HoloLens Checkout (Aborted)
Crew Dragon Tablet Sync & Stow
EHS – Surface Sample Kit (SSK) Collection/Incubation
Sidekick Stow (Aborted)
ARS TAS Sample Part 2
Veggie Monitoring Surface Sample Collection Historical Documentation Photography
APEX-07 Clean and Dry
EHS Coliform Water Processing
EHS TOCA Sample Data Record
Dreams Dry-EEG Headband Setup

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