NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 13 July, 2021 - Nanoparticles and Microscopic Animals Research


Astronaut Thomas Pesquet works on a space manufacturing study.

Nanoparticles and microscopic animals were the research highlights aboard the International Space Station today.

The Expedition 65 crew also focused on servicing life support components and Russian spacesuit maintenance.

NASA Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur continued ongoing operations for the InSPACE-4 physics study throughout Tuesday. Kimbrough started the first run in the morning then McArthur took over for the second run during the afternoon. The space manufacturing investigation takes place inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox and explores ways to harness nanoparticles to fabricate new and advanced materials.

Tiny organisms called water bears, or tardigrades, are being observed in the orbiting lab's Life Sciences Glovebox located in Japan's Kibo laboratory module. Commander Akihiko Hoshide placed the microbes, recently delivered aboard the SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle, into the Bioculture System for the Cell Science-04 biology experiment. The study seeks to identify genes that adapt best to the harsh environment of microgravity.

Some older components inside the station's Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly were replaced today to ensure a safe breathing environment in space. Astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Thomas Pesquet partnered together inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module servicing the critical life support gear all day on Tuesday.

In the orbiting lab's Russian segment, veteran cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy concentrated on checking electronics and communications hardware. First-time space flyer Pyotr Dubrov spent the day replacing components and checking cable connections on Russian Orlan spacesuits.

On-Orbit Status Report


Cold Atom Lab (CAL): The crew prepared the CAL facility in preparation for the Slice-7 Removal and Replacement (R&R) activity. 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.

Cell Science-04: The crew injected the thawed tardigrades into the Bioreactors of the BioCulture Cassettes. The tardigrade (water bear) is the model organism for studying biological survival under the most extreme environmental stress conditions on Earth and in space. The objective of the Using Water Bears to Identify Biological Countermeasures to Stress during Multigenerational (Cell Science-04) investigation is to characterize the molecular biology of short term and multigenerational survival in the space environment by identifying genes that are required for adaptation and survival in high stress environments. The findings from this study can be applied to understanding the stress factors of humans in the space environment and identification of countermeasures.

Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Ellipsoids (InSPACE-4): The crew distributed particles within the sample vial and initiated experiment runs using the new alternate method for particle distribution. 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.

JAXA Video Take 4 Education Payload Operations (EPO): The crew participated in a question and answer session for the "Everyone is different, but mostly the same" Program. The JAXA EPO includes conducting cultural activities such as writing reports about and filming video of activities aboard the ISS. These tools can help inform the public about the importance of the ISS, JAXA's Kibo module, and human spaceflight.

Sidekick (HoloLens): The crew performed a Sidekick hardware checkout in preparation of the CAL Slice-7 R&R. Crewmembers on the ISS have plenty of devices and reference guides to help them complete tasks, but none is as immersive and simple to use as the new Sidekick tool. Investigating Immersive Visualization Capabilities (Sidekick) is a hands-free, wearable remote assistance system that enables high-definition 3-D holograms mixed with real-time views, enabling new ways to communicate and work. Sidekick improves efficiency for crew tasks such as science experiments, maintenance and operations on the ISS.


LAB Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Maintenance: The crew performed several activities in support of LAB CDRA maintenance. The crew disconnected fluid utilities from the LAB1D6 rack, rotated the rack, disconnected power, data, and fluid connections from CDRA, and removed CDRA from the rack. Next, the crew transferred CDRA to JPM and removed additional components from CDRA which blocked access to the CDRA beds. Finally, the crew performed an R&R of the rear bed and then temporarily stowed the hardware in the JPM. CDRA maintains cabin carbon dioxide partial pressure levels within specified limits, while minimizing air and water losses to space. Over time, the adsorbent material inside the CDRA beds breaks down creating dust which eventually reduces the airflow to the point where CDRA is no longer operable and an R&R is desired. The removed bed will be disassembled and cleaned at a later date.

Crew Dragon Free-Flight Fire Response On-Board Training (OBT): The Endeavour crew completed a free-flight fire response OBT in order to maintain their emergency proficiency in the event of a Crew Dragon contingency.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

LAB Atmosphere Revitalization Rack Safing for CDRA Removal
SPDM Backup Drive Unit 60 Day Checkout
SPDM Direct Drive Testing (In Work)
EPS System Configurations for High Solar Beta (On-going)
Look Ahead Plan

Wednesday, July 14 (GMT 195)

Crew Off-Duty

Crew Off-Duty
Thursday, July 15 (GMT 196)

EKAM Node2 85 Lens Change (NASA)
HRFVEG Question (NASA)
InSPACE-4 Runs 22-24 (NASA)
Astrobee Perching Arm Remove (NASA)
Standard Measures Pre-sleep Question (NASA)

CDRA Components Replace
AAA Fan Checkout
Crew Dragon Suit Checkouts
Crew Dragon Relocation OBT
Friday, July 16 (GMT 197)

InSPACE-4 Ops 25-28 (NASA)
MAND print removal (NASA)
Food Acceptability (NASA)
Astrobatics Ops (NASA)
Standard Measures Post-Sleep Question (NASA)
SAMS Wireless Deploy (NASA)
MSL SCA Exchange 3B #2 (ESA)
Food Physiology Brief (NASA)
EKAM Node 2 Shutdown and stow (NASA)

CDRA Chassis Replace & Equipment Stow
EVA Glove Photos
Crew Dragon Port Relocation OBT (ISS Crew)
Today's Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

INSPACE-4 Experiment Run Operations
Cold Atom Lab HoloLens Checkout
LSG Cell Science-04 OBT
JAXA Video Taking Part 4
Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Manual Fill Initiation
Solid Combustion (SCEM) VGA-NTSC Converter Reconfiguration
Urine Transfer System Offload EDV Install (Deferred)
WHC Manual Fill Termination
Cell Science-04 Procedure Review
PMM Endcone Cleanup
Crew-2 Relocation Dragon review CBT
In-Flight Maintenance (IFM) LAB CDRA Chassis Removal
P/L MELFI Sample Retrieve
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis
IFM CDRA Component Removal
Cell Science-04 Tardigrade Injection Ops
IFM CDRA Bed Remove and Replace
EHS TOCA Sample Data Record
SpX-CREW DRAGON Free-Flight Fire Response Refresher

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