Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 4 November, 2021 – Four Crew Members Packing for Departure

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
November 5, 2021
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 4 November, 2021 – Four Crew Members Packing for Departure
Astronaut Mark Vande Hei samples a space-grown red chile pepper. (Oct. 29, 2021)

Four International Space Station astronauts continue packing their U.S. spacecraft as they plan for a return to Earth this month.
Meanwhile, the Expedition 66 crew continued its ongoing space research and maintenance aboard the orbital lab.

Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA, who are also the commander and pilot of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission respectively, have been loading and readying the Crew Dragon Endeavour for its upcoming undocking and splashdown. The duo may undock for the ride back to Earth as early as Sunday, Nov. 7, with astronauts Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) ending a mission that began in April. NASA and SpaceX are continuing to review launch and return opportunities for Crew-3 and Crew-2, respectively.

Kimbrough also spent the day uninstalling incubator components before inspecting portable emergency gear. McArthur photographed a variety of space station tools for a survey. Hoshide replaced air filters as Pesquet organized cables and checked camera sensors.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei, who is over halfway through his near yearlong mission, opened up the Microgravity Science Glovebox on Thursday morning and began setting up a semiconductor crystal experiment. The study takes advantage of microgravity and lessons from previous studies to produce higher-quality semiconductor crystals potentially resulting in smaller, more powerful electronic devices.

The station’s two cosmonauts, Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov from Roscosmos, focused their activities today on the docked ISS Progress 78 and 79 resupply ships. The duo checked docking components on the both cargo craft while also unpacking science gear from the Progress 79 spacecraft.

On-Orbit Status Report


Sally Ride Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle Schools (EarthKAM): A crewmember performed a lens configuration to the 180mm lens on the EarthKAM camera. EarthKAM allows thousands of students to photograph and examine Earth from a space crew’s perspective. Using the Internet, the students control a special digital camera mounted on-board the ISS. This enables them to photograph the Earth’s coastlines, mountain ranges and other geographic items of interest from the unique vantage point of space. The EarthKAM team then posts these photographs on the Internet for viewing by the public and participating classrooms around the world.

Manufacturing Device (MAND): A crewmember removed and stowed a completed the fifth of six 90-degree panel prints for materials testing. MAND enables the production of components on the ISS for both NASA and commercial objectives. Parts, entire experiments, and tools can be created on demand utilizing the MAND printer that is installed into an Express Rack locker location. MAND is capable of producing parts out of a wide variety of thermopolymers including engineered plastics.

Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG): A crewmember performed a visual inspection and activation of the MSG facility prior to payload operations. The Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) is a rack-level payload facility located in the U.S. Laboratory module on the International Space Station (ISS). MSG provides resources such as power, data, video, heat rejection, vacuum, nitrogen, and containment for investigations. The facility is well suited for handling hazardous materials when crew are present. MSG is capable of accommodating both physical science and biological research payloads.

Solidification Using a Baffle in Sealed Ampoules-BRazing of Aluminum alloys IN Space (SUBSA-BRAINS): A crewmember installed the SUBSA hardware on to the MSG work volume and installed the calibration sample. A calibration will be performed in preparation of SUBSA-BRAINS samples from Crew-3 arrival. 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 of damage from micrometeoroids or space debris.

Exploration ECLSS-TOILET: A crewmember performed the Node 3 Toilet Leak Inspection and then performed R&Rs (Removal and Replace) of the Toilet Fecal Cannister and Air filter. The Toilet System is an Exploration Tech Demo that has evolved into a permanent USOS system. The Toilet has the same basic design as the Orion Universal Waste Management System (UWMS). The Toilet System will be the primary WMS for USOS for up to 90-crew-days and interfaces with the Urine Transfer System (UTS) to allow concurrent WHC/Toilet operations.


Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Portable Emergency Provisions (PEPS) Inspection: The crew verified that the Portable Fire Extinguisher (PFE), the Extension Hose Tee Kit, the Portable Breathing Apparatus (PBA) [a PBA consists of a Quick Don Mask (QDM) Assembly connected to a PBA Oxygen Reducer/Cylinder Assembly], and Pre-Breathe Mask are all free of damage to ensure functionality in the case of an emergency.

Crew Departure Preparations: The crew began loading stowage and other necessities in preparation for Crew Dragon departure. Crew Dragon is tentatively scheduled to undock from the ISS on November 7th and return the Endeavor crew safely to earth.

Completed Task List Activities:

Review Toilet System BPW prior to crew use
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

MSG to install SUBSA software on MLC
Repressing Lab Low temperature Loop (LTL) system
Atmosphere Revitalization System (ARS) Lab Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Activation
Atmosphere Revitalization System (ARS) Thermal Amine Scrubber (TAS) Deactivation [ABORTED]
Look Ahead Plan

Friday, November 5 (GMT 309)

Actiwatch Plus HRF1 setup (NASA)
Food Physiology Diet Brief (NASA)
MAND Print removal (NASA)
PILOTE Session and VR T/S (ESA)
Probiotics Saliva collect and questionnaire (JAXA)
Standard Measures Saliva Collect (NASA)

Crew Departure Preparations
LAB MFCV adjustment
Data Preparation for Return
Dragon Cargo Transfer
Saturday, November 6 (GMT 310)

Actiwatch Plus check (NASA)
APM Status Check (NASA)
Standard Measures Saliva collect (NASA)

Photo TV Flyaround Camera config
Crew arrival prep
Sunday, November 7 (GMT 311)

Actiwatch Plus Don (NASA)
Probiotics Capsule stow (JAXA)
Standard Measures Saliva collect (NASA)

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

HRF Generic MELFI Sample Insertion Operations
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in Columbus
Photo TV D5 Camera Sensor Cleaning
Cable Management
Solidification Using Baffles in Sealed Ampoules Hardware Gather
Plug-in Plan – AC Inverter Audit
Microgravity Science Glovebox Activation
Space Automated Bioproduct Lab, CO2 Incubator Removal
Manufacturing Device Print Removal, Clean and Stow
ISS HAM Kenwood Radio Power Up
Configure the Columbus HAM Radio
Environmental Health System (EHS) LAB Radiation Environment Monitor 2 (REM2) Location Adjust
Node 3 Toilet Leak Inspection
Toilet Fecal Canister Remove & Replacement
Solidification Using Baffles in Sealed Ampoules Hardware Setup
Replace the Toilet Air Filter
Artemis HERA Adlink Mini PC Reboot
Virtual Reality Heaset charge
Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Portable Emergency Provisions (PEPS) Inspection
EarthKAM. Camera lens change in Node 2
Crew Departure Preparations
Probiotics Item Gathering

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