Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status Report 22 February, 2022 – Unpacking Cygnus Cargo Spacecraft

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
February 22, 2022
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status Report 22 February, 2022 – Unpacking Cygnus Cargo Spacecraft
ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer organizes cargo. (feb 8, 2022)

A U.S. cargo craft is being unpacked today following its robotic capture and installation at the International Space Station early Monday morning.
The Expedition 66 crew also spent Tuesday activating new research and conducting eye checks.

Three NASA astronauts, Mark Vande Hei, Thomas Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, along with ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer spent Monday unpacking research samples stowed in science freezers aboard the U.S. Cygnus space freighter. The quartet then loaded the frozen samples into research racks throughout the space station. Some of the new science samples delivered on Monday include skin cells and cancer cells being studied in the microgravity environment to improve human health on Earth and in space.

Marshburn set up the Microgravity Science Glovebox during the afternoon to begin looking at the skin cell samples. The new study getting underway today explores ways to diminish space-caused accelerated skin aging with benefits for astronauts and Earthlings.

Cygnus had launched from Virginia on Saturday as 12:40 p.m. EST loaded with 8,300 pounds of new science experiments, crew supplies, and station hardware. It arrived Monday morning when NASA Flight Engineer Raja Chari, backed up by Barron, commanded the Canadarm2 robotic arm to capture Cygnus at 4:44 a.m. Robotics controllers took over shortly afterward and guided Cygnus to the Unity module where it was installed just over two hours later.

Following a day’s worth of Cygnus cargo transfers on Tuesday, Vande Hei and Chari also participated in eye scans using standard medical imaging gear in the Harmony module. Commander Anton Shkaplerov and Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov kicked off the exams in the afternoon helping doctors understand how living in space affects the human eye and retina.

Shkaplerov first spent the morning on an exercise study exploring ways to maximize the effectiveness of working out in weightlessness. Dubrov worked on communications gear and ventilation hardware throughout the station’s Russian segment.

On-Orbit Status Report


Colgate Skin Aging: Colgate Skin Aging Samples were retrieved from MELFI cold stowage and were transferred into the SABL-1 unit. The Colgate Skin Aging hardware was then setup inside the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox) to perform media changes by transferring skin tissue samples into the new 6-Well Plates, injecting new Media, and then inserting the 6-Well Plates back into SAB -1. 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.

FLUIDICS (FLUId DynamICs in Space): A crewmember performed an audit and repack of the FLUIDICS Tanks. 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.

ISS Ham: ISS Ham contacts were made with Erasmus-Gymnasium Denzlingen, Denzlingen AND Goethe-Gymnasium, Freiburg, Germany. 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.

LSG (Life Sciences Glovebox): Cleaning was performed on the LSG and the front gloves were swapped. The LSG is a sealed work area that accommodates life science and technology investigations in a “workbench” type environment. Due to its larger size design, two crew members can work in the LSG simultaneously.

MicroQuin 3D Tumor: A crewmember reviewed BioServe needle safety protocols for upcoming MicroQuin 3D Tumor activities. Investigation of Key Signaling Cascades Involved in Tumorigenesis and Their Responsiveness to a New Therapeutic Using a 3D In Vitro Tumor Model (MicroQuin 3D Tumor) examines the effects of a drug on breast and prostate cancer cells. In microgravity, the cells can grow in a three-dimensional model, which makes it easier to characterize their structure, gene expression, and cell signaling and response to the drug. Results could provide new insight into the role of a protein in the cells that is targeted by the drug.

MVP-Plant-01 (Multi-use Variable-gravity Platform-Plant-01): Photos were taken of the three MVP-Plant-01 Petri Dishes and the imagery was downlinked to the ground. Plant RNA Regulation Redux MVP-Plant-01 profiles and monitors shoot and root development in plants in microgravity, in order to understand the molecular mechanisms and regulatory networks behind how plants sense and adapt to changes in their environment. This understanding could contribute to the design of plants better able to withstand adverse environmental conditions, including long-duration spaceflight.

NanoRacks Plug-n-Play Modules: NanoRacks Modules 63, 89, and 102 were installed onto the NanoRacks Mainframe Alpha. NanoRacks Modules allow experimenters and students to perform extended on-orbit operations using space-proven hardware. Each individual Module houses a unique experiment.

PK-4 (Plasma Krystall-4): The used Plasma Kristall-4 data Hard Drives were removed and replaced with two new hard drives for RUN 2. The Gas supply exchange was then switched from Neon to Argon. Plasma Krystall-4 (PK-4) is a scientific collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), performing research in the field of Complex Plasmas: low temperature gaseous mixtures composed of ionized gas, neutral gas, and micron-sized particles. The micro-particles become highly charged in the plasma and interact strongly with each other, which can lead to a self-organized structure of the micro-particles: so-called plasma crystals. Experiments in the facility aim to study Transport Properties, Thermodynamics, Kinetics and Statistical Physics, and Non-Linear Waves and Instabilities in the plasmas.

Rhodium Crystal Preservation: Rhodium Crystal Preservation hardware was transferred to an ambient location. The Science Chambers and Rhodium Science TempLog was retrieved to document video and photos of the S/Ns. A Novel Crystal Preservation Method for Biological Material (Rhodium Crystal Preservation) studies a technique using crystal formation to preserve biological material for research. Such preservation can present a challenge for research outside of standard laboratory settings. Crystals do not require special conditions such as cold stowage to maintain the material’s structure for future analysis and could provide a solution.

Veggie PONDS (Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System) Validation: Both Veggie units were cleaned and dried out. 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) Rack Operations: As a continuation of T2 rack troubleshooting, the crew rotated the rack out of its overnight stow configuration and performed an inspection on the Isolation Frame and Center Platform. They also verified torque settings and rotated the rack back to its overnight stow configuration in preparation for replacing the isolators this week. The crew will continue to aid ground teams in troubleshooting T2 with the goal of returning it to nominal operations by the end of the week.

Cygnus Operations: The Cygnus NG-17 cargo vehicle berthed yesterday, and the crew has begun offloading the new supplies including science experiments, crew provisions, and hardware. Once unloaded, the crew will reload the vehicle with trash and other items for disposal. This vehicle is scheduled to remain installed on the station until the end of May. Today, the crew also reviewed emergency procedures so they can be prepared to take quick action in case a Cygnus emergency takes place.

Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) Sample Collect and Analysis: As part of regular maintenance, the crew performed periodic EHS water sampling by collecting water samples from the Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) for in-flight and post-flight analysis. In-flight samples were used to perform a Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) analysis that measures the amounts of organic constituents in the potable water. The crew also tested the water samples for the presence of Coliform bacteria utilizing a Coliform test bag. These tests are used to determine if the drinking water is still safe for crew consumption.

Health Maintenance System (HMS) Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT2) Exam: The crew completed routine Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) eye exams today. OCT is an imaging technique analogous to ultrasound imaging that uses light instead of sound to capture micrometer-resolution, two- and three-dimensional images of tissue; in this case, the objects of interest are the crewmembers’ eyes. Eye exams are performed regularly on-board to monitor crewmembers’ eye health. Eyesight is one of the many aspects of the human body that may be affected by long-duration stays in a microgravity environment.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

Atmosphere Revitalization System (ARS) Lab Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Commanded to Full Calibration
Look Ahead Plan

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)
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 Operations and Habitat Restock (NASA)

Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan
EVA DOUG Startup Review
EVA A/L Unstow
Dragon SSC Swap
Friday, February 25 (GMT 56)

EasyMotion Power Box Charge (ESA)
Acoustic Diagnostics Measurement (ESA)
SABL-2 Co2 Controller Remove (NASA)
RR-18 Access Unit Clean (NASA)
Colgate Skin Media Change and Preservation (NASA)
Cold Atom Lab MTL Leak Check (NASA)
Plant Hab-05 Media Transfer (NASA)
Squares (NASA)

Training for Emergency Response On-Board ISS
Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Drain
EVA Battery Operations Terminal
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
Columbus Payload LAN Switch (CPLSW) Audit
On-board Training Cygnus Emergency Procedure Review
Polar Cygnus Uninstall, Transfer, And EXPRESS Rack Install
LSG Work Volume Deploy
EasyMotion Suit Stow
Multi-use Variable-g Platform Historical Documentation Photography 2
ISS HAM Columbus Pass Kenwood
Cold Stowage Double Coldbag Unpack
Microgravity Science Glovebox Filter Position Swap
Veggie PONDS Clean and Dry
Fluidics Tanks Audit and Repack
Polar Sample Transfer to Cold Stowage Assist
IWIS Strain Gauge CTB Stow
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) Sample Collect and Analysis
Rhodium Crystal Preservation Science Chamber Initial Transfer
LSG Primary Crew Restraint Fold, Unfold
PCS Laptop Relocate
Environmental Health System (EHS) Coliform Water Processing
SQuARES Flexible Daily Imagery
Colgate Skin Aging Media Change Ops, SABL Insert
Treadmill 2 (T2) Video Setup, Rack Rotate Part 4, Part 5, Isolation Frame Inspection
Countermeasures System (CMS) Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Cylinder Flywheel Evacuation with Slider Track Vacuum
MicroQuin 3D Tumor OBT Review
Restow Vestibule Outfitting Kit (VOK)
Nanoracks Mainframe Alpha Module Install, Module Photography
Health Maintenance System (HMS) OCT2 Exam
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ESA Nutritional Assessment

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