NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 13 December, 2021 - Vascular Aging Experiment


Astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Kayla Barron set up a space physics study. (Dec. 9, 2021)

It was a busy Monday for the 10 individuals living aboard the International Space Station as they worked on human research and space physics.

The Expedition 66 crew is also gearing up for next week's departure of three lab visitors as well as a cargo delivery before Christmas.

NASA Flight Engineer Thomas Marshburn juggled a pair of life science studies throughout Monday. He first collected blood samples for the Vascular Aging experiment, then set up rodent research hardware for an upcoming visual function study. NASA astronaut Kayla Barron assisted Marshburn with the blood collection work. The duo also began packing station gear to be returned to Earth on the next SpaceX Cargo Dragon mission due to launch Dec. 21.

Barron also partnered with fellow NASA Flight Engineer Raja Chari continuing cleanup activities in the U.S. Quest airlock following Barron's spacewalk with Marshburn on Dec. 2. Chari also serviced radiation research hardware before auditing cargo packed in the Harmony module.

Working inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox, NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei studied ways to harness nanoparticles for a space manufacturing study. ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer conducted blood pressure checks for the Vascular Aging study then spent the afternoon on maintenance work in the Columbus laboratory module.

Station Commander Anton Shkaplerov from Roscosmos worked on cargo transfers from the docked ISS Progress resupply ship. Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov checked out Russian electronics and life support gear.

The orbiting lab's three recent station visitors, cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and Japanese spaceflight participants Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano, are due to return to Earth on Dec. 19. Three-time space visitor, Misurkin started gathering items to be packed inside the Soyuz MS-20 crew ship the trio will undock and land in. The other two space guests researched how microgravity affects the way blood flows from the limbs to the head.

On-Orbit Status Report


Behavioral Core Measures (BCM): The crew prepared for a BCM session but was unable to successfully bring up the BCM application on the computer. The BCM session will be rescheduled later. The Standardized Behavioral Measures for Detecting Behavioral Health Risks during Exploration Missions (Behavioral Core Measures) 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.

Combustion Integrated Rack/Advanced Combustion via Microgravity Experiments (CIR/ACME): The crew replaced a 100% ethylene (CH2=CH2) fuel bottle with a new bottle of the same composition. This was performed in support of the on-going Flame Design part 2 experiment. The Flame Design investigation studies the production and control of soot in order to optimize oxygen-enriched combustion and the design of robust, soot-free flames. Soot can adversely affect efficiency, emissions, and equipment lifetime, so this may lead to more efficient and cleaner burner designs.

Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Ellipsoids (InSPACE-4): The crew set the appropriate parameters and adjusted the camera field of view for experiment runs 84 and 85. InSPACE-4 studies the assembly of tiny structures from colloids using magnetic fields. These structures change the properties of the assembled material, such as its mechanical response to or interaction with light and heat. Microgravity allows observation of these assembly processes free of confining sample walls and sedimentation and during timescales not possible using simulated microgravity. Results could provide insight into how to harness nanoparticles to fabricate and manufacture new materials.

ISS HAM pass: The crew completed an ISS Ham pass with Wolfgang-Kubelka-Realschule (WKR), Schondorf am Ammersee, Germany. Some of the questions asked by the 9 to 15-year-old students included how noisy it is on the ISS, how the crew sleeps on the ISS, and which experiment is the most exciting for the crew. 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.

Phospho-aging: The crew inserted the blood and urine samples into their cold stowage location. These were collected in support of the Phospho-aging investigation. Phospho-aging Mechanism of Accelerated Aging Under Microgravity (Phospho-aging) examines the molecular mechanism behind aging-like symptoms, such as bone loss and muscle atrophy, that occur more rapidly in microgravity. Using analysis of human premature-aging syndromes (progeria) in mouse models, scientists identified Calciprotein Particles (CPPs) as a pro-aging factor in mammals. CPPs behave like a pathogen, inducing chronic inflammation and systemic tissue damage that could be the mechanism behind accelerated aging in space.

Protein Crystallization Research Facility (PCRF): In support of the PCRF cell maintenance activities, the crew relocated the maintenance units from locations 2, 3, 4 to locations 1, 5, 6. The PCRF is a JAXA subrack facility which investigates protein crystal growth in microgravity. PCRF is housed in the Ryutai (fluid) Experiment Rack, along with the Fluid Physics Experiment Facility (FPEF), Solution Crystallization Observation Facility (SCOF), and the Image Processing Unit (IPU).

Vascular Aging: The crew collected long-term blood pressure data and performed a glucose tolerance test in support of the Vascular Aging investigation. Emerging data point towards linkages among cardiovascular health risk, carotid artery aging, bone metabolism and blood biomarkers, insulin resistance, and radiation. Data indicate that aging-like changes are accelerated in many ISS crew members, particularly with respect to their arteries. As part of the Space Environment Causes Acceleration of Vascular Aging: Roles of Hypogravity, Nutrition, and Radiation (Vascular Aging) investigation, ultrasounds of the arteries, blood samples, oral glucose tolerance, and wearable sensors from ISS crew members are analyzed.


Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis & Data Record: The crew performed an analysis of the Water Processing Assembly (WPA) using the TOCA. The TOCA unit oxidizes organic carbon species present in the water to carbon dioxide gas and measures the concentration using nondispersive infrared spectroscopy. Analysis of the potable water using the TOCA occurs on a weekly basis.

Post-Extravehicular Activity (EVA) and EVA Mobility Unit (EMU) Prep Activities: The crew continued working on post-EVA and EMU prep activities today. The US Airlock is used for stowage of other ISS hardware when not being utilized for EVAs, and these stowage items were moved back into the Airlock following the SASA R&R EVA on December 2nd. The crew also performed an EVA Battery Installation of Lithium-Ion Batteries into the Battery Stowage Compartment followed by an auto-cycle of the EVA Batteries using the EVA Battery Operations Terminal.

In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Wet/Dry Vacuum Recovery: The Wet/Dry Vacuum was cleaned of Hazard Response Level 1 debris and the vacuum's HEPA filter was Removed and Replaced (R&Red), after which the vacuum cleaner was placed back in a nominal configuration. The Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner is used to collect and contain wet or moist debris, and is certified to vacuum only Hazard Response Level 0 items.

IFM Brine Processor Assembly (BPA) Troubleshooting Activities: BPA troubleshooting to contain excess odor began with the replacement of an O-ring at the Brine Processor Exhaust Adapter with Duxseal from the ISS Leak Kit. The O-ring replacement enabled crew to compare the currently installed ducting condition to spare ducting condition, and the configuration with the best condition was installed. In this case, the spare ducting was in the best condition. Next, the BPA Exhaust Filter was R&Red. The Exhaust Filter scrubs the odor from the air leaving the BPA.

Completed Task List Activities:

Record ESA PAO Messages with Matthias Maurer
Today's Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

VS Leak Limits Change Activate
HD Video Downlink Expansion Checkout
VS Limit Configuration
ATS PPL Loading
Columbus LTL IFHX bypass on Water side
EHDC Checkout
PTCS Node 2 Heater Configuration
Look Ahead Plan

Tuesday, December 14 (GMT 348)

BCM Robot test
CBEF-L Filter attach
DREAMS head band doff and Charge
GLACER Icebrick insert
InSPACE-4 runs 86-88
JWRS Cable Inspect
LIDAL procedure review
ManD print removal and stow
MELFI icebrick insert
MSG HD monitor T/S
Plant Habitat H/W gather and facility prep review
Repository Saliva collect
Standard Measures presleep question
Vascular Aging Blood Pressure 13hr conclude

Regenerative ECLSS Recycle Tank Drain/Fill
Cargo Transfer to Dragon
UTS Offload EDV Swap
Columbus ITCS WOOV8 Trouble Shooting
EMU Resize
EMU Cooling Loop Maintenance Scrub/Iodination
ISS Video Tour
JEM CGSE Upper CO2 Gas Supply Start
JEM CGSE Upper Ar Gas Supply Start
Wednesday, December 15 (GMT 349)

Bio-Monitor final stow
DREAMS doff and data transfer and stow
Food Acceptability
InSPACE-4 runs 89-90
LIDAL Relocate 2
Myotones Measurements
Plant Habitat Facility prep
Repository Urine and saliva collect
Standard Measures Postsleep and Presleep questions

COLUMBUS Bay 1, 2, 3 clean-up/restow
JEM Mesh Cover Return Grille Cleaning
Thursday, December 16 (GMT 350)

Cold Atom Lab CPU Card replace
Easymotion charge
Food Acceptability
FSL ESEM bridge install and removal
InSPACE-4 runs 91-93
JEM KIBO Studio setup and event
ManD print removal
MELFI icebrick insert
Payload NAS HD replacement
Plasma Kristall-4 HD exchange
Repository Urine and saliva collect
Standard Measures PostSleep and Presleep
Touching Surfaces ops
Vascular Aging Echo scans and BP measurements and glucose setup

ISS Photos of high Impact Areas for SpX-24
Swap SSC 10 and 20 Swap
IFM WHC Air Filter and Wring Collector R&R
EVA Battery Operations
THC IMV Flow Measurement Survey
JEM Space Fight Participants Event Attendance
ESA items pregather for SpX-24 return
OBT ROBoT T&C Self Study
New PWS1 Laptop installation
Payloads NAS HDD Replace
BIOS Setup on Portable Work Station 1
IMS Conference
Portable Workstation 1 Activation
Today's Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Vascular Aging FRIDGE Item Removal
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Setup and Frozen Blood Collection Subject
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Operator
Vascular Aging Glucometer First Reading and Drink Consumption
Vascular Aging Historical Documentation Photography
Vascular Aging 13-Hour Blood Pressure Monitoring Setup
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Configure and Run
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Spin Conclude
Vascular Aging Glucometer Second, Third, Fourth Reading
CSA Generic MELFI Sample Insertion
HRF Generic Urine Collection Male
Light Ions Detector Uninstall
Protein Crystallization Research Facility (PCRF) Maintenance Unit Relocation
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis
Phospho-Aging Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval And Insertion Operations
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval and Insertion Operations
LUMINA device Power ON
CSA Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Operator
Vascular Aging 13-Hour Blood Pressure Monitoring Crew Time Payback
Vascular Aging HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Subject
Vascular Aging Glucometer Fifth Reading and Data Transfer
CSA Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Configure and Run
[aborted] Behavioral Core Measures ROBoT-r Research Testing
ISS HAM Columbus Pass Kenwood
CSA Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Spin Conclude
CSA Generic MELFI Sample Re-Insertion
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Conclude and Stow
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Spaceflight Cognitive Assessment Tool for Windows (WinSCAT) Test
Dragon 24 Prepack
Combustion Integrated Rack Bottle Gather
Combustion Integrated Rack Upper Rack Doors Open
Combustion Integrated Rack Manifold #4 Bottle Replacement
Combustion Integrated Rack Upper Rack Doors Close
Bio-Monitor Wearables Change Out
Bio-Monitor Breathing Volume Calibration Second Performance
Water Recovery System Hardware Gather
XF705 Camcorder Setup
MELFI 1 Ice Brick Insert 2
Nozzle Gather
Columbus Video Camera Assembly 1 Adjustment
Emergency RS ISS VHF-1 Comm Checkout from USOS
Columbus Smoke Detectors 1 and 2 inspection and cleaning
Node Hatch Audit
INSPACE-4 (Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions 4) Experiment Run Ops
Nozzle Restow
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Airlock Restow
MELFI 2 Ice Brick Insert 3
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Wet/Dry Vacuum Recovery
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Brine Processor (BPA) Seal Troubleshooting
Bio-Monitor Wearables Stow
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in JEM
Dreams Dry-EEG Headband charge
EVA Battery Operations Terminal Autocycle Terminate
WOOV8 Procedure Review
[aborted] Downlink Expansion Audio and Video Checkout
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Brine Processor (BPA) Filter Remove and Replace (R&R)
Extravehicular Activity Battery Removal/Installation
Gather Items for WOOV8 R&R
EVA Battery Operations Terminal Autocycle Init
INSPACE-4 (Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions 4) Experiment Run Conclude
MedOps02 Power Cycle
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Sample Data Record
[deferred] Station Support Computer (SSC) Power On
Vascular Aging 13-Hour Blood Pressure Monitoring Mobil-O-Graph Unit Power Off
HRF Generic Saliva Collection 10 Minutes

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