NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 16 April 2015

"Rainbow double Aurora" greet the astronauts and cosmonauts on board the International Space Station on Apr. 11, 2015 as a bonus during their busy workdays of science experiments, maintenance and operational duties. Credit: NASA.

The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft is less than a day away from arriving at the International Space Station. The Expedition 43 crew is getting ready for its arrival and five-week stay at the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module. Read more about the SpaceX CRS-6 mission.

Commander Terry Virts set up hardware inside Harmony to assist Dragon's installation after its capture tomorrow. Virts and Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti also brushed up on robotics skills necessary to capture Dragon with the Canadarm2.

NASA TV will begin rendezvous coverage Friday at 5 a.m. EDT. Dragon is scheduled to be grappled about 7 a.m. by Cristoforetti inside the cupola at the controls of Canadarm2 with Virts assisting.

Though it was a light day, the rest of the crew worked on human research and advanced microgravity experiments. Dragon is also delivering new science gear to support hundreds of experiments aboard the orbital laboratory. Read more about research on the space station.

On-Orbit Status Report

SpaceX-6(SpX-6) Status: Dragon has successfully completed several burns today on its way to station. Cristoforetti and Virts are scheduled to capture Dragon tomorrow morning at approximately 06:00 CDT.

Space Aging and Nematode Muscle Familiarization: Kelly reviewed overview messages on 2 JAXA experiments currently onboard SpX-6. Both experiments will study the impacts of the zero-gravity environment on C. elegans roundworms. In Alterations of C. elegans muscle fibers by microgravity (Nematode Muscles), investigators hope to clarify how and why these changes take place in microgravity. Studying worms exposed to both microgravity, and gravity-like conditions in a centrifuge, could help scientists understand the molecular mechanisms responsible for muscle atrophy and other spaceflight-induced changes. In the Study of the Effects of Spaceflight on the Aging of C. elegans (Space Aging), the crew will grow millimeter-long C. elegans roundworms in microgravity and compare their health and longevity with control specimens on Earth. Both experiments will be incubated in the JAXA Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF).

The Effect of Long-Term Microgravity Exposure on Cardiac Autonomic Function (Biological Rhythms): Kelly continued his 48-hour data collection using Holter Electrocardiogram (ECG). This morning, he completed the first 24-hour collection then exchanged the memory card and battery and started the next 24-hour collection. Biological Rhythms 48 hours studies the effects of long-term microgravity exposure on heart function by analyzing an astronaut's electrocardiogram for 48 hours. While space station keeps Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), it remains unknown whether a separate biological rhythm is imposed on long-term flight crews. To study this astronauts wear an Actiwatch sleep monitor for 96 hours and a Holter electrocardiograph for 48 hours in the middle of that sequence.

Russian Joint Research (RJR) Microbial Air Sampler (MAS) and Surface Sample Kit (SSK) Sampling: Padalka is currently taking air samples and will later take surface samples (fungal and microbial) in modules throughout the ISS. These samples will be incubated and analyzed on Tuesday, April 21. The investigation refines locations and surfaces prone to microbial contamination throughout the ISS, shares monitoring technologies and data between NASA and Roscosmos, and provides a scientific basis for decisions about future microbial monitoring, both on ISS through its extended life, and on other future human exploration spacecraft.

Dragon Robotics On-Board Trainer (RoBOT) On-Board Training (OBT): In preparation for tomorrow's capture and berthing of the Dragon vehicle, the USOS crew conducted the second session of this training. They completed 2 Capture Point (CP) Hold runs which allows practice free drift timing, malfunction resolution and nominal rate approaches. They also practiced 2 meter approaches. Following the training, the crew reviewed Dragon attached phase operations.

Centerline Berthing Camera System (CBCS): Virts installed the CBCS and all related avionics for Dragon mating at Node 2 Nadir. He performed a video system checkout by routing CBCS to the Robotic Work Station (RWS) and Ground, then powered down prior to removing the CBCS.

Today's Planned Activities
All activities were completed unless otherwise noted.

Calf Volume Measurement
Study of veins in lower extremities
ESA Weekly crew conference
CASKAD. Manual Mixing in Bioreactor
Life On The Station Photo and Video
СТТС Configuration for MRM2
Installation of Command Generator Unit (БФК) in MRM2
Microbiology Air Sampling using Microbial Air Sampler (MAS) Kit
Node 3 Forward Midbay IMV Reconfiguration Restow Preparation
Comm reconfig for nominal ops
Node 3 Forward Midbay IMV Reconfiguration Restow
VIRU. Software Update.
VIRU. Hardware Setup for Relaksatsiya Experiment.
Dragon RPOP Setup
Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ)
Urine Transfer from EDV-U to ТКГ 424 (DC1) БВ1 tank
VIRU. Earth Observation Relaksatsiya Experiment. Tagup with specialists
ISS O2 Repress from ТКГ 424 (DC1) СрПК Section 1 (start)
Dragon Robotics Onboard Trainer (ROBoT) Session 2
Surface Sample Kit (SSK) Collection/Incubation
ISS O2 Repress from ТКГ 424 (DC1) СРПК Section 1 (terminate)
Progress 424 (DC1) Water Tank 2 Bladder Compression
Preparing for replacement of SIGNAL-VM ДС-7А smoke detectors.
Habitability And Human Factors Observations
MATRYOSHKA-R. BUBBLE-Dosimeter initialization and deployment.
Robotics Onboard Trainer (ROBoT) Debrief
Calibration of Force Loader 1M
Centerline Berthing Camera System (CBCS) and Vestibule Outfitting Equipment Gather
CASKAD. Manual Mixing in Bioreactor
On-board Training (OBT) SpaceX Attached Phase Operations Review
IMS Update
Progress 424 (DC1) Rodnik Water Tank2 Bladder Compression - Closeout Ops
Completed Task List Items

Ground Activities
All activities were completed unless otherwise noted.

CUCU broadcast test
CBM Prep for Mate
N2 Nadir ACBM inspection
Three-Day Look Ahead:

Friday, 04/17: Dragon capture/berthing, prep for ingress
Saturday, 04/18: Dragon ingress, begin cargo transfer, OSTEO4 tray 1 ops, Space Aging
Sunday, 04/19: Rodents Research transfer, OSTEO4 tray2 ops, OBT Dragon emergency review
QUICK ISS Status - Environmental Control Group:

Component - Status
Elektron - Off
Vozdukh - Manual
[СКВ] 1 - SM Air Conditioner System ("SKV1") - On
[СКВ] 2 - SM Air Conditioner System ("SKV2") - Off
Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Lab - Operate
Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Node 3 - Operate
Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Lab - Shutdown
Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Node 3 - Operate
Oxygen Generation Assembly (OGA) - Process
Urine Processing Assembly (UPA) - Standby
Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS) Lab - Off
Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS) Node 3 - Full Up

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