Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 7 May, 2020 – Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus Spacecraft Set to Leave

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
May 9, 2020
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 7 May, 2020 –  Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus Spacecraft Set to Leave
The U.S. Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply ship is featured in this image as the International Space Station orbited above the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central America. Credit: NASA. (Apr. 8, 2020)

The Expedition 63 crew will monitor the departure of an American resupply ship on Monday and welcome a Japanese cargo craft when it arrives two weeks later.
Meanwhile, the three International Space Station residents are configuring the orbital lab for the spaceship activities and continuing microgravity science.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter is nearing the end of its stay attached to the Unity module. Robotics controllers on the ground will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to detach Cygnus from Unity then release the U.S. cargo craft on Monday noon EDT. NASA Commander Chris Cassidy will finalize the installation of the SlingShot small satellite deployer on Cygnus’ hatch on Sunday.

NASA TV will begin its live broadcast of Cygnus’ release and departure at 11:45 a.m. on Monday. Cygnus will reenter the Earth’s atmosphere over the south Pacific for a safe, but fiery destruction at the end of the month.

Japan is targeting May 20 for the launch of its ninth station cargo mission aboard the H-II Transfer Vehicle-9 (HTV-9) resupply ship. The HTV-9 will launch from the Tanegashima Space Center and a take five-day trip to the orbital lab. It will be captured with the Canadarm2 and installed to the Harmony module for a two-month stay.

NASA Commander Chris Cassidy is setting up HTV-9 communications gear today inside the Kibo laboratory module from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency). The Proximity Communication Systems (PROX) sends and receives spacecraft location and speed data during approach and rendezvous operations.

The two cosmonauts continued their set of maintenance and science duties today over in the station’s Russian segment. Anatoly Ivanishin picked up a camera for more photo inspections in the Pirs and Poisk modules. The veteran cosmonaut then serviced power tools and life support gear. Ivan Vagner started his day cleaning vents and filters. In the afternoon, Vagner photographed the effects of Earth catastrophes and studied ways to improve the identification and location while picturing targets on the ground.

On-Orbit Statur Report

Food Physiology: The crew participated in a briefing with the Food Physiology team. The Integrated Impact of Diet on Human Immune Response, the Gut Microbiota, and Nutritional Status During Adaptation to Spaceflight (Food Physiology) experiment is designed to characterize the key effects of an enhanced spaceflight diet on immune function, the gut microbiome, and nutritional status indicators. These factors are interlinked, but diet is the only one that can be easily and meaningfully altered on Earth or during flight. This investigation aims to document the effect of dietary improvements on human physiology and the ability of those improvements to enhance adaptation to spaceflight.

JAXA Wireless Access point: In support of the Wireless Access Point checkout, the crew installed the JEM Infrared (IR) camera, Ethernet extender, and associated hardware onto the MPEP (Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform) on the JEMAL (JEM airlock) slide table. The airlock was depressurized and the ground prepared for a checkout of the systems. This activity is in support of the future HTV wireless LAN demo. HTV Wireless LAN Demonstration (HTV WLAN Demo) will demonstrate real-time wireless video transfer between the International Space Station (ISS) and a visiting spacecraft. Autonomous docking technology is important for future missions, such as to the Moon and Mars, that will be unable to rely on human operations the same way as current vehicle logistics. Stable and high-rate data transfer is critical to the real-time video monitoring required for docking.

Slingshot: The crew worked on the controller data cables today. These cables are attached to the slingshot controller which is inside Cygnus – the 2 cables were taped side-by-side, jumpers were installed at the appropriate connector locations, then selected pins were continuity checked. This reconfiguration is needed to support the planned Slingshot activities following NG-13 undock. SEOPS’ SlingShot is a small satellite deployment system that fits inside the Cygnus spacecraft’s Passive Common Berthing Mechanism (PCBM). SlingShot can accommodate up to 18 satellites that are deployed post Cygnus unberth.


H-II Transfer Vehicle 9 (HTV9) Proximity Communication System (PROX) Review and Checkout: Today the crew checked PROX baseband functionality and performance by sending commands to an HTV Simulator at a ground site in Tanegashima, Japan. HTV missions use the PROX system for communication with ISS via a Portable Computer System (PCS) version of the Hardware Command Panel (HCP). This checkout is required to meet the Launch Commit Criteria (LCC) required prior to HTV9 launch currently scheduled May 20th.

Robotic Transfer of High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV): The Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) demated the High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment from Columbus today and then transferred the payload to Cygnus for disposal. HDEV was declared to have reached its end of life in late August 2019. The experiment was previously mounted on the ISS External Payload Facility of the Columbus module and activated April 30, 2014. During the 5+ year operating period, downlink video from HDEV was seen by more than 318 million viewers across the globe on USTREAM alone.

Completed Task List Activities:
Actiwatch Plus Evaluation Display Check
Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis

Today’s Ground Activities:
Ground Supt for HDEV Transfer
ATS PPL Update
HTV Prox Ops Cmding
JEM Robotic Ground Supt

Look Ahead Plan
Friday, 5/8 (GMT 129)
Radi-N2 retrieve

Crew Off Duty
HTV PCS HCP Checkout (Side A)

Saturday, 5/9 (GMT 130)
Saffire prep

Cygnus Cargo Ops & Closeout
N1N VOK Gather
PCS Relocate
Cygnus Departure OBT

Sunday, 5/10 (GMT 131)
Slingshot install

Cygnus Closeout Activities for Egress

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

JEM Airlock Slide Table (ST) Extension & Retraction
Cleaning vent screens on FGB interior panels (panels 116, 316, 231, 431)
WAP/Camera Unit, JEM IR Camera and JEM Ethernet Extender External Installation onto MPEP
Photography of RS ISS Module Interiors (DC1 and MRM2)
Vacuum cleaning of dust collectors ?C1, ??2 filter cartridges in FGB (panels 203, 403)
Vacuum clean FGB
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Sample Data Record
USOS Window Shutter Close
Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
VIZIR. Photo image coordinate referencing system (????-??) PL Session
JEM Airlock Depressurization
Replacement of RSE1 laptop main HDD
URAGAN. Observation and Photography using VSS
SlingShot Jumper Fix
Discharge Makita tool batteries (No.6,7,8,9). Charging Makita Drill Tool Battery No.6
Nikon camera sync with station time
HTV PCS HCP Checkout (Side B)
PLT3 Setup for WAP/Camera Unit Checkout
RS Photo Equipment Inventory and Checkout
????1, ????2 dust filter replacement and MRM1 Gas-Liquid Heat Exchanger (???) Cleaning
TERMINATOR. Deinstall from the window, closeout ops with Terminator-Nadir PL
JEM Airlock Vent & Confirmation
Columbus Payload Power Switching Box (PPSB) – SDN switches reconfigured to DISCHARGE
Food Physiology Crew Diet Briefing

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