Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Update 21 February, 2022 – Cygnus Cargo Spacecraft Arrives

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
February 21, 2022
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Update 21 February, 2022 – Cygnus Cargo Spacecraft Arrives
Feb. 21, 2022: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon; Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter; and Russia’s Soyuz MS-19 crew ship and the Progress 79 and 80 resupply ships.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft installation on the International Space Station is now complete.
Cygnus launched atop an Antares rocket at 12:40 p.m. EST Saturday, Feb. 19 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. At about 4:44 a.m., NASA astronaut Raja Chari, along with NASA astronaut Kayla Barron as backup, captured Cygnus, carrying 8,300 pounds of research, hardware, and science experiments to the International Space Station.

Highlights of space station research facilitated by this mission include:

– A study that examines the effects of a drug on breast and prostate cancer cells.
– A new combustion facility.
– An investigation from Colgate-Palmolive that will leverage the acceleration of skin aging in microgravity to help create and validate an engineered tissue model to serve as a platform for testing potential products to protect aging skin.
– A demonstration of a lithium-ion secondary battery capable of safe, stable operation under extreme temperatures and in a vacuum environment.
– New hydrogen sensors that will be tested for the space station’s oxygen generation system.
– A system that will test hydroponic and aeroponic techniques for plant growth and will allow scientists to observe root growth through video and still images.

Findings from these and other investigations aboard the space station will contribute to keeping astronauts healthy during long-duration space travel and demonstrate technologies for future human and robotic exploration missions as part of NASA’s Moon and Mars efforts, including lunar missions through the agency’s Artemis program.

Cygnus will also deliver critical hardware to be installed during the upcoming ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (IROSA) spacewalks, as well as other components for the successful functioning of astronaut life on the space station, such as a trash deployer and acoustic covers for the waste management system.

This Cygnus mission is the first to feature enhanced capabilities that will allow the spacecraft to perform a reboost, using its engines to adjust the space station’s orbit as a standard service for NASA. The agency has one reboost is planned while Cygnus is connected to the orbiting laboratory. A test of the maneuver was performed in 2018 during Cygnus’ ninth resupply mission.

Cygnus will remain at the space station until May before it deploys CubeSats, then disposes of several thousand pounds of trash during its re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, which will result in its destruction.

On-Orbit Status Report

Cygnus NG-17 Arrival: The Cygnus NG-17 cargo vehicle launched on Saturday, February 19th at 11:40 AM CT, and this morning at 3:35 AM CT, the team successfully captured it using the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS), also known as the robotic arm. Cygnus was installed at the Node 1 Nadir port, and bolt loading was complete at 6:54 AM CT. The crew performed leak checks and vestibule outfitting prior to ingress. After photographing the arrival cargo, the crew began cargo transfer operations which will continue through the rest of the week.


Airborne Particulate Monitor (APM): Data was transferred from the Airborne Particulate Monitor Hardware to an SSC laptop which was then downlinked to the ground. Air quality in crewed spacecraft is important for keeping astronauts healthy and comfortable. Although requirements exist for maximum allowable concentrations of particulate matter, currently no measurement capability verifies whether these requirements are met. The Airborne Particulate Monitor (APM) demonstrates an instrument for measuring and quantifying the concentration of both small and large particles in spacecraft air. The data can be used to create a map of air quality in terms of particles and shed light on the sources of such particles.

Cold Atom Lab (CAL): A crewmember performed a visual inspection of the CAL MTL Jumper attached at LAB panel and cleaned any fluid that was present. The CAL produces clouds of atoms that are chilled to about one ten billionth of a degree above absolute zero, much colder than the average temperature of deep space. At these low temperatures, atoms have almost no motion, allowing scientists to study fundamental behaviors and quantum characteristics that are difficult or impossible to probe at higher temperatures. In microgravity, researchers may be able to achieve even colder temperatures than what is possible on the ground, and observe these cold atom clouds for longer periods of time.

Colgate Skin Aging: The MSG Life Science Ancillary Hardware (LSAH) was setup for decontamination in preparation for Colgate Skin Aging operations. Deterioration of skin tissue is a normal part of aging but occurs over decades. Microgravity leads to changes in the human body very similar to aging, but these changes happen much more quickly. Microgravity Effects on Skin Aging and Health (Colgate Skin Aging) uses a 3D model of engineered human skin cells to evaluate cellular and molecular changes in microgravity. These cells may serve as a valid model to rapidly assess products aimed at protecting skin from the aging process.

Sally Ride Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle Schools (EarthKAM): The EarthKAM software was shut down and the hardware was stowed. 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.

ISS Ham: A crewmember reprogramed the frequency presets on the Columbus HAM Radio unit. 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.

Space Automated Bioproduct Laboratory (SABL): The spent CO2 Incubator Controller for SABL 2 was swapped with a fresh unit. The SABL supports a wide variety of investigations in the life, physical and material sciences with a focus on supporting research of biological systems and processes. It has over 23 liters of temperature-controlled volume with LED lighting for scientific hardware and investigations. It can be fitted to provide 5% CO2 (or any required concentration of CO2) for cell cultures or other types of investigations and has two USB 2.0 ports and two Ethernet LAN connections. It also has switchable 28V D/C and 5V D/C power supplies for investigation use.

Sampling Quadrangle Assemblages Research Experiment (SQuARE): A crewmember photographed each of the six photo locations in the COL, JEM, NODE1, NODE2, NODE3, and LAB. ISS Archaeological Project – Sampling Quadrangle Assemblages Research Experiment (SQuARE) focuses on different kinds of material culture – objects and built spaces together with their symbolic and social meanings. Results could help define the significance of material culture in a space habitat and ultimately help space agencies understand how different objects and spaces are used over time.

Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System (Veggie PONDS) Validation: The Veggie-PONDS grow outs for Locker 1 and 3 were harvested and prepared for return. Organisms grow differently in space, from single-celled bacteria to plants and humans. Future long-duration space missions will require crew members to grow their own food. Therefore, understanding how plants respond to microgravity and demonstrating the reliable vegetable production on orbit are important steps toward that goal. Veggie PONDS uses a newly developed passive nutrient delivery system and the Veggie plant growth facility aboard the ISS to cultivate lettuce and mizuna greens which are to be harvested on-orbit, and consumed, with samples returned to Earth for analysis.


Treadmill 2 (T2) Isolator Inspections: Over the weekend the crew rotated the T2 rack to an open position in preparation for today’s T2 isolator inspections. This is continuing troubleshooting which began last week after planned maintenance on the T2 MTL Return Line repair, T2 isolation frame removal and replacement (R&R), and snubber cup R&R. During the isolator inspections, the crew took photos of the Upper, Y-Axis and Z-Axis Isolators for downlink. Ground teams are analyzing the results and determining the next steps. T2 remains no-go for crew exercise as ground teams work a forward plan.

Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Battery Operations Terminal (EBOT) Charge: There are two United States On-orbit Segment (USOS) EVAs planned for March. The first EVA will be to conduct ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (IROSA) 3A Preparations, and the second EVA will be for the Radiator Beam Valve Module (RBVM) Jumper Cable Installation. In preparation for the first EVA, the crew charged Li-Ion batteries in the EBOT. The EBOT consists of three redundant chargers, a Battery Stowage Compartment (BSC), a Rack Adapter, and Interface cables.

Hatch Seal Inspection: In case of an emergency, the crew must be able to close and seal the hatches that separate the modules on the ISS. For this reason, the crew performs periodic cleaning and inspections on the Hatch Seals, Hatch Plate Sealing Surface, and Crank Handle Mechanism for foreign object debris (FOD) or damage. Today, the crew performed this activity for a subset of open hatches in Node 1, along with other USOS Common Hatches.

Brine Processor Assembly (BPA) Exhaust Duct Wrap: Today, the crew used duct tape to make a seal around the BPA exhaust to prevent odor permeation in the cabin. The BPA is part of the Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS), and it uses forced convection of dry spacecraft cabin air coupled with a robust membrane distillation process to retrieve metabolically produced water (such as from crew breathing and sweat) that can be reused on the space station. The added water recovery from brine contributes directly to NASA’s goal to achieve an overall water recovery rate of 98% for future water recovery systems. Developing this technology may also help communities on Earth, especially those experiencing water poverty.

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) Kit Audit: The crew had previously reported this kit was overfull, so today, an audit was performed to ensure the safety equipment was still accessible. Ground teams will review photos to verify.

Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Manual Fill: Today, the crew initiated a manual fill of the WHC E??-?? (Water Container) using a Post-Flight Analysis Bag to capture any pressure relief to protect the dose pump. The ???-CB is intended for short-term storage and manual water transportation between facilities. After successfully filling the E??-??, the crew returned the WHC to nominal use.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) Cygnus Install
Node 1 Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM) Capture and A-bolts
Node 1 Nadir to Cygnus Vestibule Outfitting
EVA Battery Operations Terminal Charge
Structural Dynamics Measurement System (SDMS) Data Dump
Look Ahead Plan

Tuesday, February 22 (GMT 53)

Colgate Skin Sample Insert and Media Change (NASA)
Fluidics Tank Audit (ESA)
LSG Front Glove Swap (NASA)
MVP Plant-01 Photo (NASA)
NanoRacks Module 89 Photo (NASA)
Rhodium Synthetic Chamber Transfers (NASA)
Square-Flex Imagery (NASA)
Veggie PONDS Clean and Dry (NASA)

Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
Environmental Health System (EHS) Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) Sample Collect
EVA APFR Crowfoot Tool Assembly
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Optical Coherence Tomography 2 (OCT2) Exam
Countermeasures System (CMS) Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Cylinder Flywheel Evacuation with Slider Track Vacuum
Wednesday, February 23 (GMT 54)

Brine Processor Bladder Changeout (NASA)
Colgate Skin Preserve (NASA)
MQ3D Insert and BCELL Injection and Fixation (NASA)
MVP Plant -01 Trash (NASA)
RR-18 Habitat Stow (NASA)
Square (NASA)
TangoLab 3 Activation (NASA)
Veggie PONDS Deact (NASA)
WICO BCG don and doff (ESA)

Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
Environmental Health System (EHS) Grab Sample Container (GSC) Sampling Operations
BPA Bladder Changeout
Thursday, February 24 (GMT 55)

Immersive Exercise Session-CEVIS (ESA)
Food Acceptability (NASA)
Food Physiology Diet Brief (NASA)
LSG Front Glove Swap (NASA)
MQ3D fixation (NASA)
Plant Hab-05 Media Transfer Gather (NASA)
RR-18 Ops and Hab Restock (NASA)

Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan
EVA DOUG Startup Review
EVA A/L Unstow
Dragon SSC Swap
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Centerline Berthing Camera System (CBCS) Powerup, Stow
Cygnus PCS Command and C2V2 Link Verification
USOS Window Shutter Close
Cygnus R-BAR Approach
PPE Kit Audit
Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) Cygnus Capture
Health Maintenance System (HMS) – ESA Nutritional Assessment
Colgate Skin Aging MSG Setup
SQuARES Flexible Daily Imagery
Polar Cygnus Uninstall, Transfer, And EXPRESS Rack Install Overview
Robotic Workstation (RWS) High Definition (HD) Monitor Configuration, Downlink, Deactivation, Teardown
Stall Alternate Handrail Fitcheck
Hatch Seal Inspection
T2 Isolator Inspection
ISS HAM Columbus Radio Reprogram
Cygnus/Node 1 Pressurization and Leak Check Preparation, Vestibule Leak Check
EVA Battery Operations Terminal Charge
Node 1 Centerline Berthing Camera System (CBCS) Removal
Photo TV Cygnus Video Setup
Veggie Ponds Growout 1, 2 Termination, MELFI Insertion, MWA Preparation
Airborne Particulate Monitor Data Transfer
CAL MTL Jumper Leak Check
Sidekick Stow
Russian Trash Handover
Multi-use Variable-g Platform Historical Documentation Photography 2
Countermeasures System (CMS) Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Exercise Session with EasyMotion Electro-Myo-Stimlation (EMS)
Node 1 Nadir to Cygnus Vestibule Outfitting
Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM) Controller Panel Assembly (CPA) Rotation and Closeout
Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Manual Fill
Cygnus Ingress, Cygnus Cargo Photo, Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Vision Questionnaire, Test

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