Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 4 May, 2021 – Welcome Back to Houston

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
May 7, 2021
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 4 May, 2021 – Welcome Back to Houston
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 4 May, 2021 - Welcome Back to Houston.

The SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts are back in Houston after splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico early Sunday completing a 168-day mission.
The quartet will have a news conference on NASA TV then participate in a Facebook Live event on Thursday.

NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Victor Glover with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi will talk to reporters and answer social media questions on Thursday. The NASA TV news conference starts at 3:45 p.m. EDT. The Facebook Live event will begin at 4:35 p.m. and last 20 minutes.

Back in space, seven Expedition 65 crew members will be orbiting Earth on the International Space Station until October. The five astronauts and two cosmonauts are participating in a variety of research today to understand how living in space affects the human body.

Microbes can change characteristics in microgravity and scientists are testing anti-microbial coatings on the station. Today, an astronaut touched a sample with the coating representing a high-touch surface. The sample was stowed in a science freezer and will be returned later to Earth for analysis. Results could mitigate health issues on spacecraft and planetary surfaces.

The Celestial Immunity study taking place today on the orbiting lab is exploring how the immune system adapts to weightlessness. The astronauts look at human blood cells for age-associated effects giving scientists insights into the development of new vaccines and drugs to treat diseases.

Some of the crewmates also had ultrasound scans today to understand how long-term microgravity affects their muscle’s biochemical properties such as tone, stiffness and elasticity. Samples, including blood, saliva and urine, were also collected and stowed for the Standard Measures and Repository biology studies.

On-Orbit Status Report


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 is 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 create the possibility of contaminating other planetary bodies. The samples will remain in space for approximately six months and then will return to Earth for analysis.

Celestial Immunity: The crew performed activities related to the inoculation, treatment injection, and sample collection for the Celestial Immunity cultures. This starts the 3 weeks of activities related to the experiment. This project seeks to gain a broad understanding of how gravity affects overall human immune function and potentially uncover novel pathways of immune function that can be exploited to develop better vaccines and immunobiologics for human use. The project will build on earlier studies that evaluated lymphocyte (a type of white blood cell) function in microgravity. The project will also evaluate whether gravity-regulated immune pathways are affected by age by examining cells from young adult and elderly donors in parallel.

Myotones: The crew reviewed the big-picture words, set up the appropriate hardware, and performed a Myotones measurement session with the Myotones device. The Muscle Tone in Space (Myotones) investigation observes the biochemical properties of muscles (e.g. muscle tone, stiffness, elasticity) during long-term exposure spaceflight environment. Results from this investigation can provide a better understanding of the principles of human resting muscle tone. This could lead to the development of new strategies for alternative treatments for rehabilitation on Earth, as well as for future space missions.

SUBSA prep: The crew gathered the appropriate hardware and reviewed the procedures for the later installation of the SUBSA hardware in the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG). The first SUBSA investigation to be performed will be the BRAINS investigation. BRazing of Aluminum alloys IN Space (SUBSA-BRAINS) examines differences in capillary flow, interface reactions, and bubble formation during solidification of brazing alloys in microgravity. Brazing technology bonds similar materials (such as an aluminum alloy to aluminum) or dissimilar ones (such as aluminum alloy to ceramics) at temperatures above 450°C. It is a potential tool for construction of human space habitats and manufactured systems as well as repair tool for damage from micrometeoroids or space debris.


Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Communications Unit (CUCU) Removal – The CUCU system was retired in place post SpaceX-20, with the hardware remaining installed in Expedite the Processing of Experiments to the Space Station (ExPRESS) Rack 6 Locker 7. In order to prepare for an upcoming payload that will be installed in the Locker 7 location, the CUCU was disconnected and removed from the rack today. The connection made today also applies to the external UHF antennas which will be tested via ground pass tests scheduled tomorrow and Thursday with Armstrong Flight Research Center. The ground pass tests will evaluate the SSSR/UHF signal strength and full end to end path as a final confirmation that the system is operating nominally.

Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Secondary Oxygen Pack (SOP) Swap – Crew completed an activity to swap SOPs between EMU 3006 and EMU 3004. The SOP (S/N 1013) originally installed on EMU 3004 has a leak rate within spec that is approaching the minimum Go/No-Go pressure. Swapping the SOPs between suits will install SOP S/N 1013 on EMU 3006, which is closer to the end of its certified life and is planned to return on SpaceX-24.

Crew Alternate Sleep Accommodation (CASA) Bumpout Configuration – Ground teams reviewed photos of CASA with the bumpout collapsed as part of the final approval for internal stowage and identified that the front panel is not installed onto the side panels as expected. Teams are working a forward plan to resolve the configuration.

Robotic Operations – Yesterday the Mobile Transporter (MT) was translated from Worksite 7 to Worksite 2, and the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) was maneuvered to a park position. Today the SSRMS was maneuvered to External Stowage Platform 3 (ESP-3) and Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) successfully grasped and extracted the NiH2 Battery Flight Releasable Attachment Mechanism (FRAM) from Site 6. Robotic operators are preparing to translate the MT to Worksite 3 and install the NiH2 battery and FRAM on Cygnus Site 1 for disposal.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) Flight Releasable Attachment Mechanism (FRAM) Stow
HRF Rack 1 Rack Power Up Commanding
Atmosphere Revitalization System (ARS) Lab Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Zero Calibration
Look Ahead Plan

Wednesday, May 5 (GMT 125)

AC Touch
Astrobee off
Celestial Immunity
ManD canister swap
Standard Measures/Repository
SUBSA hardware setup

Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
Crew Dragon Tablet Sync
Node 3 Endcone Stowage Cleanout
Thursday, May 6 (GMT 126)

Astrobee on
Celestial Immunity
CIR bottle gather
Food Acceptability
Standard Measures/Repository

Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Oxygen Generation System (OGS) Hydrogen Sensor ORU Purge Adapter (HOPA) Operations
Adlink Mini PC Restow
Friday, May 7 (GMT 127)

AC Touch
Astrobee off
Celestial Immunity
CIR manifold bottle replace
ELF sample holder change
ESA EPO AstroPi config
Food Acceptability
Food Physiology
JAXA video take 1
HRF2 troubleshooting deconfiguration
Nanoracks Platform 2 module remove
Standard Measures/Repository

Crew Provisions Consolidation
Environmental Health System (EHS) – Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products (CSA-CP) Extended Maintenance
In-Flight Maintenance Starboard Stall Mounting Bracket Remove & Replace
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Resupply Air Tank Setup and Initiation
Antimicrobial Coatings Touch
Celestial Immunity Thaw and Centrifuge
Celestial Immunity LSG Staging
Celestial Immunity MELFI Sample Insertion
Celestial Immunity MELFI Sample Retrieve
Celestial Immunity Treatment and Sample
Countermeasures System (CMS) Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Cylinder Flywheel Evacuation
Columbus cleanup for Myotones
Columbus cabin restore after Myotones experiment
iWatch Charge for SpX CREW DRAGON
Remove SpX-CREW DRAGON iWatch from charger
Acoustic Monitor Battery Swap
Acoustic Monitor Setup for Crew Worn Measurements
Environmental Health System (EHS) – Formaldehyde Monitoring Kit (FMK) Deployment Operations
Environmental Health System (EHS) Grab Sample Container (GSC) Sampling Operations
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Sample Data Record
ETHOS CTB Reorganization
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Installation In EMU Don-Doff Assembly (EDDA) Upside Down
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Secondary Oxygen Pack (SOP) Swap
Health Maintenance System (HMS) – ESA Nutritional Assessment
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Profile of Mood States (POMS) Questionnaire
HRF Generic Frozen Blood Collection Hardware Setup First Time Performance
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Insertion Operations
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval And Insertion Operations
HRF Generic Saliva Collection 10 Minutes
HRF Generic Urine Collection Male
COTS UHF Comm Unit (CUCU) Removal with RF Coupler Demate
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) Quick Disconnect (QD) Locate
In-Flight Maintenance Port Stall Mounting Bracket Remove & Replace
IMS delta file prep
ISS Crew Orientation
LSG Primary Crew Restraint Initial Fold
LSG Crew Restraint Installation Initial (Primary)
Discharge Makita drill tool batteries (4 count: No.2, No.3, No.4, No.5). Charging Makita Drill Tool Battery No.2. Tagup with specialists as necessary
Myotones Device Data Transfer
Myotones Big Picture Words reading
Myotones Kit Gathering for Session 1
Myotones Device Setup with EPM Laptop – Session 1
Myotones Measurements
Photo T/V (P/TV) Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Exercise Video Stow
Photo/TV Camcorder Setup Verification
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) – JEM
Public Affairs Office (PAO) High Definition (HD) Config JEM Setup
Station Support Computer (SSC) Ethernet Swap
Story Time 8 Thermal Balance Black Light On
Story Time 8 Thermal Balance Black Sphere Setup
Story Time 8 Thermal Balance Hardware Stow
Story Time 8 Thermal Balance White Light Off
Solidification Using Baffles in Sealed Ampoules Hardware Gather
REAL. Solidification Using Baffles in Sealed Ampoules (SUBSA) OBT
Solidification Using Baffles in Sealed Ampoules OBT
Emergency RS ISS VHF-1 Comm Checkout from USOS

SpaceRef co-founder, entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, nature lover and deep thinker.