NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 11 June, 2021 - Cotton Plants and Kidney Cells

©NASA

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 11 June, 2021 - Cotton Plants and Kidney Cells.

Cotton plants and kidney cells were the dominant research topics aboard the International Space Station today. NASA TV will also broadcast a preview on Monday of two upcoming Expedition 65 spacewalks.

The orbiting lab is hosting a variety of life forms to help researchers understand how weightlessness affects biology. Observations provide insights often advancing health and improving conditions for humans on and off the Earth.

During Friday morning, NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough harvested cotton plants growing for the TICTOC botany study. The investigation looks at gene expression and root growth in microgravity which may improve both space agriculture and cotton cultivation on Earth.

The Kidney Cells-02 investigation is under way this week following its delivery aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon resupply ship on Saturday. NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Megan McArthur collaborated on the biotechnology study today that is seeking treatments for conditions such as kidney disease and osteoporosis affecting both astronauts and Earthlings.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet worked on a variety of science hardware on Friday ensuring orbital research continues at full pace. Hoshide, currently on his third spaceflight, serviced medical imaging gear the crew uses regularly for eye checks. Pesquet, who is working his second station mission, stowed a small incubator after the completion of a study exploring how drugs work in space. The European Space Agency astronaut then swapped samples inside the Fluid Science Laboratory for a foam study potentially impacting consumer products, fire safety and the petroleum industry.

Kimbrough and Pesquet will go on two spacewalks set for June 16 and 20. The duo will spend six-and-half hours on both excursions installing a new pair of solar arrays robotically-extracted overnight from the Cargo Dragon's trunk. NASA TV will go live on Monday at 2 p.m. EDT with station managers discussing the upcoming spacewalk activities to augment the station's power system.

Over in the Russian segment of the space station, cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov worked on a variety of communications gear during the morning. After lunchtime, the duo split up to inventory cargo transferred to and from the ISS Progress 77 cargo craft and inspect the Zvezda service module.

On-Orbit Status Report
Payloads:

AC Touch: Per standard procedure, the crew touched both the coated and uncoated coupons for this long-term investigation. Boeing Environment Responding Antimicrobial Coatings tests an antimicrobial coating on several different materials that represent high-touch surfaces. Some microbes change characteristics in microgravity, which could create new risks to crew health and spacecraft systems as well as creating the possibility of contaminating other planetary bodies. The samples remain in space approximately six months then return to Earth for analysis.

BCM: The crew set up the appropriate robotics hardware in research mode, and performed test 1 and 2. These sessions are nominally planned to be completed once per month, starting 2 weeks after a crewmember's arrival on ISS. The Standardized Behavioral Measures for Detecting Behavioral Health Risks during Exploration Missions (Behavioral Core Measures, or simply BCM) experiment initially examined a suite of measurements to reliably assess the risk of adverse cognitive or behavioral conditions and psychiatric disorders during long-duration spaceflight, and evaluated the feasibility of those tests within the operational and time constraints of spaceflight for two crewmembers. Subsequent subjects perform a subset of the original activities to measure the performance capabilities of deconditioned crew members to complete either individual or crew telerobotic operations within the first 24 hours after landing. This information could help characterize what tasks a crewmember who has spent months in weightlessness can reasonably be expected to perform after landing on the surface of Mars.

FSL (Fluid Science Laboratory): The crew performed the steps necessary to exchange 4 Compacted Granulars sample cell units (SCUs) with 4 Foam Coarsening SCUs. They also exchanged a board in the Video Management Unit. FSL Soft Matter Dynamics - Hydrodynamics of Wet Foams (Foam Coarsening) aims to investigate bubble size and rearrangement dynamics for "wet foams". Microgravity offers the opportunity to investigate such "wet" foams, which cannot be stabilized on Earth because of drainage. Moreover, microgravity conditions are essential to study rearrangement phenomena, such as coarsening and coalescence, disentangled from drainage.

Kidney Cells-02: The crew performed sample fixations and sample insertions into the MELFI for preservation. 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.

Lyophillization-2: The crew removed the processed sample tray from the sample chamber and stowed it for return to the ground. Lyophilization-2 in Microgravity (Lyophilization-2) examines gravity's effects on freeze-dried materials. Lyophilization, or freeze-drying, is a common method for formulating pharmaceuticals with improved chemical and physical stability. On Earth, the process leads to formation of layers with structural differences, but if such stratification is due to gravity, it may not occur in microgravity. This investigation, which follows up on previous work, may result in improved freeze-drying processes for pharmaceutical and other industries.

Molecular Muscle Experiment-2 (MME-2): Following the completion of the 5.5 day experiment run, the crew removed the Experiment Containers (ECs) from Kubik-5 and transferred them to cold stowage. The Molecular Muscle Experiment 2 (MME-2) uses a validated model organism, the C. elegans worm, to study human health changes in space. MME-2 tests a series of drugs to see if they can improve health in space, as well as evaluating if a specific molecule controls some of the health changes in space.

TICTOC harvest: The crew took the final set of photos of the plant growth chambers, and then performed the harvest. In the harvest activity, some of the plants were fixed for return, and others were frozen for return. Fixation refers to a group of techniques which are used to preserve various aspects of the samples for later analysis. 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.

Systems:

IROSA Extraction: Yesterday, the Robotics ground controllers (ROBO) powered up the Mobile Servicing System (MSS) and maneuvered the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) to extract the ISS Power Augmentation (IPA) payload in the Dragon trunk. After reconfiguration maneuvers the ground teams performed an inspection of the ISS Roll-Out Solar Arrays (IROSA). The SSRMS was then moved to the Payload ORU Accommodation (POA) pre-grapple position but was unable to begin grapple operations due to issues with the POA camera. Today, ground teams met and decided to install IROSA on the POA this evening.

Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Drain/Fill: Today, the crew set up the recycle tank to drain to a ЕДВ-У. Following the setup the ground performed the tank drain using the Urine Transfer System (UTS). Once the ground specialists completed the transfer, the crew verified the recycle tank was empty, terminated the drain, and repositioned the fill/drain valve to fill. The crew also swapped the ЕДВ in the offload ЕДВ spot of the UTS.

Thermal Amine Scrubber (TAS) Sampling: The crew purged and took samples of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the TAS effluent. TAS is a system used to remove CO2 from air on-board the ISS, by using actively heated and cooled amine beds. The system includes elements that reduce loss of water vapor, and recover CO2 for use in electrolysis to produce oxygen.

Completed Task List Activities:

JAXA video message
Today's Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Atmosphere Revitalization System (ARS) Lab Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Zero Calibration
Mobile Servicing System (MSS) Hover Maneuver [Planned]
MSS maneuver for SSRMS walkoff to MBS PDGF 4. [Planned]
Look Ahead Plan:

Saturday, June 12 (GMT 163)
Payloads:

Payload NAS deep clean, TICTOC closeout
Systems:

Crew off-duty day
Sunday, June 13 (GMT 164)

Crew off-duty day
Monday, June 14 (GMT 165)
Payloads:

AC Touch, APEX-7, CIR manifold bottle replace, COSMIC logger replace, Cubesat deploy photos, Lyo-02, RTPCG-2
Systems:

Dragon cargo ops
EVA tool config
EVA cuff print
EVA camera config
EVA Robotics procedure review
Today's Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Removal of Molecular Muscle 2 Experiment Containers from Kubik 5
Insertion of Molecular Muscle 2 Experiment Containers into MELFI
TICTOC Plant Harvest Part 1
Lyophilization Sample Tray Removal
Disconnection and stowing of Kubik 5
Nanoracks Module Photography
Disconnection and stowing of Kubik 6
Columbus Rack Fronts restore
Health Maintenance System (HMS) OCT2 Troubleshooting
Atmosphere Revitalization System (ARS) Thermal Amine Scrubber (TAS) Sample
Behavioral Core Measures ROBoT-r Test 1
Urine Transfer System Offload EDV Swap
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Drain
Charging EVA Camera D4 Battery
HDD4 Board Exchange for the Video Management Unit MkII (VMU2)
FSL Facility Core Element release in preparation of SMD or RUBI operations
Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) Node 3 Return to Ground Sampling
Kidney Cells-02 MELFI
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Tool Configuring
LSG Primary Crew Restraint Fold

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