Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 7 June, 2021 – Unloading the Dragon Resupply Spacecraft

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
June 8, 2021
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 7 June, 2021 – Unloading the Dragon Resupply Spacecraft
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 7 June, 2021 - Unloading the Dragon Resupply Spacecraft.

The SpaceX Cargo Dragon resupply ship is open for business at the International Space Station following its automated docking early Saturday.
Now, the Expedition 65 crew turns its attention to a pair of U.S. spacewalks to upgrade the orbiting lab’s power system.

Flight Engineer Megan McArthur and Commander Akihiko Hoshide worked throughout Monday unpacking and activating science experiments delivered Saturday aboard the SpaceX Cargo Dragon. The U.S. space freighter launched from Kennedy Space Center on Thursday carrying over 7,300 pounds of new science, supplies and solar arrays to replenish the orbiting lab.

McArthur started the day transferring research hardware from Dragon to begin work for the Kidney Cells-02 study that seeks to improve treatments for kidney stones and osteoporosis. She followed that up configuring MERLIN and POLAR science freezers containing biological samples inside Dragon.

NASA Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Mark Vande Hei assisted the duo with the cargo transfers throughout Monday.

Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet partnered together Monday afternoon readying the U.S. Quest airlock and their U.S. spacesuits for two spacewalks set for June 16 and 20. The experienced spacewalkers, who had two spacewalks together in 2017 during Expedition 50, will work both days to install the first two of six new solar arrays on the space station’s integrated truss structure. Robotics controllers will soon command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to extract the new pair of solar arrays from Dragon’s trunk and stage it in time for the installation spacewalks.

Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov spent the morning testing satellite navigation gear, studying space exercise and replacing orbital plumbing gear. The duo then wrapped up stowing and inventorying the tools they used during a seven-hour and 19 minute spacewalk on June 2.

On-Orbit Status Report

SpaceX (SpX)-22 Docking: Following last Thursday’s successful launch, Dragon was docked on Saturday at 4:20 AM CT at the Node 2 Zenith port. Prior to docking the crew gathered and set up necessary tools required for the crew to monitor vehicle approach. After the vehicle docked, the crew completed Dragon International Docking Adapter (IDA) Vestibule pressurization and leak checks, opened Node 2 Overhead Forward Hatch, Pressurized Mating Adapter (PMA)3 Androgynas Peripheral Assembly (APAS) hatch, and ingressed the vehicle.


ADSEP2 (Advanced Space Experiment Processor-2): The crew removed the ADSEP-2 facility from SpX-22 and installed it into an EXPRESS rack 5. ADSEP-2 was used to support the UMAMI investigation during its ride up on SpX-22. Understanding of Microgravity on Animal-Microbe Interactions (UMAMI) examines the effects of spaceflight on the molecular and chemical interactions between beneficial microbes and their animal hosts. Gravity’s role in shaping these interactions is not well understood and microgravity provides the opportunity to improve that understanding. The project uses a simplified symbiosis between the bobtail squid Euprymna scolopes and its symbiotic bacterium, Vibrio fischeri.

ISS HAM pass: The crew participated in an ISS HAM pass with College Maurice Genevoix, Couzeix, France. Some of the questions asked included how to deal with the stress of a spacewalk, if the practice of Judo helped in the preparation for the first mission, and if the crew has encountered any serious malfunctions during their time in space. ISS Ham Radio provides opportunities to engage and educate students, teachers, parents and other members of the community in science, technology, engineering and math by providing a means to communicate between astronauts and the ground HAM radio units.

Kidney Cells-02: The crew transferred the Kidney Cells-02 hardware from SpX-22 to SABL (Space Automated Bioproduct Laboratory), which is used to provide a controlled environment. Effects of Microgravity on the Structure and Function of Proximal and Distal Tubule MPS (Kidney Cells-02) uses a 3D kidney cell model or chip to study the effects of microgravity on formation of microcrystals in kidney tubules. In microgravity, these microcrystals are expected to remain evenly suspended, allowing better observation of their effects. Astronauts living in microgravity can experience dehydration, stasis, and bone demineralization, all frequent contributors to kidney stones. Results could support design of better treatments for conditions such as kidney stones and osteoporosis for astronauts and people on Earth.

MTPCG: The crew transferred the thermal insulation bottle ice pack and JAXA PCG Payload Box from the inner insulated container to FROST2 (Freezer-Refrigerator Of STirling cycle 2) for freezing. The Moderate Temperature Protein Crystallization Growth (MTPCG) investigation is designed to grow high quality protein crystals in microgravity. The crystals are returned to Earth to determine protein structures in detail; the structures are used to develop pharmaceutical drugs, and to explore the mystery of our lives. The protein samples are launched to the International Space Station by a cargo resupply vehicle and crystallized at 20°C using the counter-diffusion method.

NanoRacks Module-9 ops 2: As a continuation of the NR Mod-9 science, the crew performed the second set of ops. These involved the opening of the clips on tubes 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 from box 1052, and shaking to mix the contents. The experiments range from studies of enzyme activity to the effects of microgravity on various plants and animals. The experiments use NanoRacks MixStix, miniature laboratories activated and deactivated by space station crew and eventually returned to the student teams on Earth for analysis.

Oral Biofilms in Space: The crew performed the steps necessary to hydrate and stimulate bacterial growth within the Oral Biofilms Session Packs for bag 1. However, it was noted there were disconnections of some of the fluid bags within several of the experiment bags. It was not possible to reconnect all of these. The team is discussing the issues and possible causes. 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.

TICTOC: The crew set up the appropriate hardware and took photos of the 12 plant growth chambers. Th ground teams will use the images to evaluate the status of the growing plants. Target, the retail store, is funding the investigation Targeting Improved Cotton Through On-orbit Cultivation (TICTOC) that studies how root system architecture affects plant resilience to stress, water-use efficiency, and carbon sequestration during the critical phase of seedling establishment. Roots play a central role in plant stress resistance and survival, but their growth patterns depend upon gravity. This investigation examines how environmental factors and genes control development of roots in the absence of gravity.


Robotics Onboard Trainer (ROBoT) Troubleshooting: On May 28th, during activation of ROBot via Space Station Computer (SSC) 12 and 16, ground teams were unable to communicate with the SSCs. On board troubleshooting attempts, thus far, have been unsuccessful at recovering communication. Troubleshooting steps have included attempts to ping IP addresses from the ground, rebooting the SSCs and verifying their respective modes, bypassing the Joint Station LAN (JSL) 20 port switch, and swapping out the Ethernet cable. Ground teams are currently discussing further on board troubleshooting options.

Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Preparations: Today, the crew performed EVA activities for the upcoming EVA on Wednesday, June 16. They performed an EVA Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) On-orbit Fitcheck Verification (OFV), an EVA Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER) Installation Practice and initiated EMU Metal Oxide cartridge regeneration. The crew also cleaned their EMU helmets.

Completed Task List Activities:

PPSB switches status report
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

MSS power-up
SPDM stow
ARS CDRA 4th half cycle
Look Ahead Plan:

Tuesday, June 8 (GMT 159)

FIR/LMM/ACE-T2 remove and T-11 install, CIR manifold bottle exchange, GLACIER EXPRESS remove, HRF urine setup, Iceberg-2 installation and Iceberg-1 t/s, Oral Biofilms, POLAR6/8 desiccant swap, TICTOC, Toilet maintenance, Vascular Aging

ITCS node 3 Maintenance Canister install
EVA HECA install
Cargo Dragon cargo ops
Wednesday, June 9 (GMT 160)

AC Touch, AWP, BRIC-24, HRF blood/urine collection (repository), Kidney Cells-02, Lyophillization-2, Oral Biofilms, Phospho-aging, TICTOC

EVA procedure review
EVA procedure conference
Cargo Dragon cargo ops
Thursday, June 10 (GMT 161)

AC Touch, Bioculture system install, NRCSD-20, Food Acceptability, HRF blood/urine collection (repository), HRF supply inventory, Lyophillization-2, Phospho-aging, RTPCG-2, TICTOC, TIME Perception

EVA tool config
ITCS node 3 gas trap plug replace
OBT EVA ROBoT session
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Configuration
Advanced Space Experiment Processor-2 Payload Install
ADSEP-2 Historical Documentation Photo 2
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval and Insertion Operations
Mouse Habitat Unit 6 Item Gathering
Cygnus Cargo Photo
Kidney Cells Transfer from Dragon
Cold Stowage Double Coldbag Icebrick Stow
TICTOC MWA Preparation
Mouse Habitat Unit 6 Mice Transfer for Another Cage
TICTOC Science Photography
Antimicrobial Coatings Touch
Nanoracks Module-9 Ops Session 2
Dragon Unpack Locker Remove
Extravehicular Mobility Unit Helmet Cleaning
Polar (Unpowered) Dragon Uninstall, Transfer, And Dragon Install
ISS HAM Columbus Pass Kenwood
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Equipment Lock Preparation Part 1
MERLIN (Ambient) Dragon Installation
MERLIN Pouch/D-Ring Assembly Install
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) On-orbit Fitcheck Verification (OFV) Extravehicular (EV)
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) On-orbit Fitcheck Verification (OFV) Intravehicular (IV)
Oral Biofilms In Space (OBiS) Fluid Chamber Power On
Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER) Installation Practice
Metal Oxide (METOX) Regeneration Initiation

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