Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 6 January, 2021 – Northrop Grumman Cygnus Cargo Spacecraft Departs

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
January 8, 2021
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 6 January, 2021 – Northrop Grumman Cygnus Cargo Spacecraft Departs
Cygnus space freighter departs the International Space Station.

At 10:10 a.m. EST, flight controllers on the ground sent commands to release the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft from the Canadarm2 robotic arm after earlier detaching Cygnus from the Earth-facing port of the Unity module.
The Cygnus spacecraft successfully departed the International Space Station three months after arriving at the space station to deliver about 8,000 pounds of scientific experiments and supplies to the orbiting laboratory.

Prior to departure, the crew packed Cygnus with the Saffire V investigation and the SharkSat hosted payload to be conducted during an extended mission in orbit. On Jan. 26, Northrop Grumman flight controllers in Dulles, Virginia, will initiate Cygnus’ deorbit to perform a safe re-entry, burning up in Earth’s atmosphere.

On-Orbit Status Report

Cygnus Departure: Cygnus was successfully released by the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) and departed the ISS today at 9:10 AM CT with the crew monitoring from the Cupola. The vehicle has several post-departure science objectives to complete prior to destructive re-entry on January 26.


Cardinal Heart: The crew performed microscopy ops on the sample chambers. Cardinal Heart studies the effects of change in gravitational force on cardiovascular cells at the cellular and tissue level using engineered heart tissues (EHTs). Microgravity significantly affects heart tissues that perform work and exert an opposite force to gravity and is known to cause molecular and structural abnormalities in cells and tissues that can lead to disease. The investigation could provide new understanding of similar heart issues on Earth and help identify new treatments.

FLUIDICS: The crew performed the second and three FLUIDICS sessions and performed the hardware closeout. The measurement of liquid displacement within a sphere in microgravity relates to a given kinematic representation of a spacecraft’s fuel tank. The FLUIDICS investigation evaluates the Center of Mass (CoM) position regarding a temperature gradient on a representation of a fuel tank. The observation of capillary wave turbulence on the surface of a fluid layer in a low-gravity environment can provide insights into measuring the existing volume in a sphere.

NanoRacks Module-9: The crew performed the 4th operations of sample tube mixtures. NanoRacks Module-09 is a combination of 35 experiments provided by school students from 5 different countries. The experiments are housed within a NanoRacks Module container and is a combination of biological static experiments and some experiments that require crew interaction to mix materials to activate. The experiments within the module are returned to the ground for analysis.

Rodent Research: The crew stowed Rodent Habitats #6 and #8 The Rodent Research Facility provides rodent housing on board the ISS. Animal research is essential for understanding the impacts of spaceflight on the systems of the human body, and for development of potential therapies that will ease harmful responses to space flight. The advisory panel for Animal and Human Biology appointed by the Committee for the Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space was unanimous in its recommendation that an animal habitat be incorporated as soon as possible into the ISS.

Solidification Using Baffles in Sealed Ampoules(SUBSA): The crew removed the current Ampoule (sample 05) from the SUBSA Thermal Chamber and installed a new SUBSA Science Ampoule (sample 10). The objective of the SUBSA investigation is to advance understanding of the processes involved in semiconductor crystal growth. It offers a gradient freeze furnace for materials science investigations that can reach 850°C. Samples are contained in transparent quartz or ceramic ampoules with high definition video imaging available in real-time along with remote commanding of thermal control parameters.

Actiwatch Plus: The crew prepared Actiwatch units for return. The Actiwatch is a waterproof, nonintrusive, sleep-wake activity monitor worn on the wrist of a crewmember. The device contains a miniature uniaxial accelerometer that produces a signal as the subject moves. The data are stored in nonvolatile memory within the Actiwatch until they are downloaded for analysis.

Boeing Environment Responding Antimicrobial Coatings: The crew touched each coupon on Antimicrobial Coatings placard. 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 approximately six months then return to Earth for analysis.


Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Activities: In preparation for upcoming planned EVAs, the crew performed the following:

Reviewed the step-by-step EVA sequences via the Dynamic Onboard Ubiquitous Graphics (DOUG) software.
CWC-I degas
Unstowed hardware from the Airlock not needed for upcoming EVAs and prepared the Airlock to support EVA operations.
Dragon Departure Preparations: The following activities were performed in preparation for SpX-21 departure scheduled for Monday, January 11.

Cargo transfer
Dragon departure On-Board Training
Completed Task List Activities:

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

Cygnus release
Payloads ops support
Dragon departure OBT
Look Ahead Plan
Thursday, January 7 (GMT 007)

VEG-03 wick open (NASA)
Food Physiology Saliva collect (NASA)
BAC Cell fixation (NASA)
Food Acceptability (NASA)

Crew partial off duty day
Friday, January 8 (GMT 008)

BioAsteroid Deinstall (ESA)
KUBIK 5, 6 Deinstall (ESA)
MicroMonitor Water sample collect (JAXA)
Food Accept Survey (NASA)
Antimicrobial Coatings pad touch ops(NASA)
Repository: Saliva collect and Urine setup (NASA)
Food Physiology Brief (NASA)
BAC Cell fixation (NASA)

EVA procedure review/conference
Collapsible Contingency Urinal in-cabin demo
Saturday, January 9 (GMT 009)

NanoRack Module 9 mixture ops 5 (NASA)
CommuBios Hardware pack (NASA)
Rodent Transfer setup (NASA)
Food Physiology Historical photo and Fecal setup and collect and ambient blood setup (NASA)
MVP module removal (NASA)
Food Physiology Saliva setup and collect (NASA)
Repository Urine collect (NASA)
Cardinal Heart Media change (NASA)
STaARS Bio-4 MELFI insert (NASA)

Sunday, January 10 (GMT 010)

PAUL Hardware removal and TangoLab mission 19 cube removal
Repository saliva and urine collect (NASA)
Food Physiology Historical photo and fecal processing (NASA)
Rodent Live animal return (NASA)
Rodent Habitat stow (NASA)
Food Physiology: ambient blood collect (NASA)
POLAR 8 dragon insert (NASA)

Dragon cargo transfer ops
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

HRF Generic Saliva Collection 10 Minutes
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Insertion Operations
Reminder HRF Generic Urine Collection End
HRF Generic Urine Collection Male
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval And Insertion Operations
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Setup And Frozen Blood Collection Subject
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Operator
Cygnus PCS Command and PROX Link Verification
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Configuration
Robotic Workstation (RWS) High Definition (HD) Monitor Downlink
USOS Window Shutter Close
Microscope Reposition Preparation
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Spin Conclude
Audit of the free space in РС МКС storage zone
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Insertion
Cardinal Heart Tissue Chamber Microscopy
Fluidics Run 2 preparation
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Conclude And Stow
HRF Generic Urine Collection Stow
Fluidics Run 2 execution
Cargo Transfer to Dragon
Actiwatch Spectrum Hardware Audit and Return
Microscope Hardware Teardown
DOUG Software Review
Solidification Using Baffles in Sealed Ampoules Sample Exchange
Cargo Transfer to Dragon
Cardinal Heart SABL Thumb Drive Install
Fluidics Run 3 execution
Rodent Research Habitat Stow
CommuBioS Ice Brick Retrieve
Rodent Research Sample Relocation
Atmosphere Revitalization System (ARS) Thermal Amine Scrubber (TAS) Sample Part 1
Rodent Research Habitat Stow
HRF Veg Subject Ops Veg Questionnaire
N1 Deck hatch MPEV close
CommuBioS SABL Ice Brick Insertion
In Flight Maintenance Duct Removal
Fluidics Closeout Activities
HRF Veg Subject Ops Veg Questionnaire
Delta file prep
Crew Dragon Tablet Sync
Pressure Management Device (PMD) Teardown
Fluidics completion of data copy and T61p Laptop stowage
Crew Dragon Tablet Stow
HRF Veg Subject Ops Veg Questionnaire
Restow Vestibule Outfitting Kit (VOK)
Cargo Transfer to Dragon
Antimicrobial Coatings Placard Touch
HRF Veg Subject Ops Veg Questionnaire
Contingency Water Container – Iodinated (CWC-I) Degas
Space Station Remote Manipulator Systme (SSRMS) Cygnus Release Preparation
Space Station Remote Manipulator Systme (SSRMS) Cygnus Release Briefing
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Airlock Unstow
Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) Cygnus Release and departure monitoring.
Making a documentary about life onboard the ISS
Photo/TV Camcorder Setup Verification
Atmosphere Revitalization System (ARS) Thermal Amine Scrubber (TAS) Sample Part 2
Cargo Transfer to Dragon
On-board training (OBT) Cargo Dragon Departure CBT
On-Board Training (OBT) Cargo Dragon Depart Review
ISS MCS SpaceX Undocking Cargo Dragon CBT
ISS HAM Columbus Pass Kenwood
Photo/TV Camcorder Setup Verification
Fluids Integrated Rack Rack Doors Open
NanoRacks Maintenance Work Area Preparation
Nanoracks Module-9 Ops Session 4
PMA1 Intermodule Ventilation (IMV) Cone Screen Cleaning
Fluids Integrated Rack Rack Doors Close
Robotic Workstation (RWS) High Definition (HD) Monitor Deactivation
Robotic Workstation (RWS) Teardown
BAC MELFI Sample Retrieve
Cardinal Heart SABL Thumb Drive Install

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