NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 15 December, 2020 - Microgravity and the Heart


Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Victor Glover reviews research procedures on a computer.

The Expedition 64 crew continues exploring how microgravity affects the heart to improve health for humans on and off the Earth.

Northrop Grumman has booked its next Cygnus resupply mission to the International Space Station for early next year.

NASA Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Michael Hopkins partnered up today for the Cardinal Heart study to learn how to treat aging and weakening heart cells. Hopkins peered at heart tissue samples through a microscope while Rubins serviced those samples in the Kibo laboratory module's Life Sciences Glovebox.

Blood sample collections were on the morning schedule for Flight Engineer Victor Glover as he took glucose measurements for the Vascular Aging study. He then moved on to a space manufacturing study that seeks to vastly improve the production and quality of optic fibers.

On the maintenance front, JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi serviced U.S. spacesuits throughout Tuesday scrubbing cooling loops in the U.S. Quest airlock. NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker continued installing and outfitting the station's new bathroom, the Universal Waste Management System, in the Tranquility module.

Commander Sergey Ryzhikov worked during the morning replacing components inside the Zvezda service module's treadmill then moved on to cargo transfers inside the Progress 76 resupply ship. Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov swapped fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack research facility before configuring life support and communications hardware

Northrop Grumman has announced Feb. 20 for the launch of its Cygnus space freighter to the space station with several tons of cargo to resupply the crew. Cygnus will take a two-day trip to the orbiting lab before it is captured with the Canadarm2 robotic arm and installed to the Unity module where it will stay for two months.

On-Orbit Status Report


Cardinal Heart: Following the delay of the microscopy activities from Monday, today the crew performed both the microscopic observation of the cells as well as the cell culture media exchange. Effect of Microgravity on Drug Responses Using Engineered Heart Tissues (Cardinal Heart) studies the effects of change in gravitational force on cardiovascular cells at the cellular and tissue level using engineered heart tissues (EHTs). Microgravity significantly affects heart tissues that perform work and exert an opposite force to gravity and is known to cause molecular and structural abnormalities in cells and tissues that can lead to disease. The investigation could provide new understanding of similar heart issues on Earth and help identify new treatments.

CIR/ACME (Combustion Integrated Rack/Advanced Combustion via Microgravity Experiments)/BRE-2: The crew performed a manifold bottle exchange to allow the continuation of the BRE-part 2 series of experiment burns. The fuel currently installed in the rack is ethylene (CH2=CH2). This was performed in support of the continuing BRE part 2 (Burning Rate Emulator) investigation, which is one of the ACME suite of five gas combustion experiments. The BRE experiment runs are focused on spacecraft fire prevention. More specifically, BRE's objective is to improve our fundamental understanding of materials flammability and to assess the relevance of existing flammability test methods for low and partial-gravity environments.

Fiber Optic Production: The crew exchanged a processed sample cartridge with a new one. They noted some difficulty wrapping the processed fiber around the spool, but were able to complete the activity. The Fiber Optic Production investigation creates optical fibers with high commercial value aboard the ISS using a blend of zirconium, barium, lanthanum, sodium, and aluminum called ZBLAN. It operates in the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG). Extensive theoretical studies along with a limited number of experimental studies suggest that ZBLAN optical fibers produced in microgravity should exhibit far superior qualities to those produced on Earth. The resulting optical fiber from Fiber Optic Production is expected to help verify these studies and guide further engineering efforts to manufacture high value optical fiber in large volume aboard the ISS.

ISS HAM pass: The crew participated in an ISS HAM pass with Oregon Charter Academy, Mill City, OR. Oregon Charter Academy is a public virtual charter school that hosts over 4800 students in grades Kindergarten through 12th grade from all across the state of Oregon. Questions ranged from changes in Circadian Rhythm in space to the number and operation of satellites and many others. 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.

Vascular Aging: The crew participated in a continuing science session which included the use of the Bio-Monitor device to record several days of physiological data, and the collection of blood samples to assess glucose tolerance. 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 International Space Station (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.


Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Loop Scrub: The crew performed ionic and particulate filtration (scrubbing) and biocidal maintenance (iodination) for EMUs 3008 and 3015 and Airlock cooling water loops. Conductivity readings and a water sample were taken from the cooling loops following the 70 minute scrub. A post-launch checkout was also completed for EMU 3015 which arrived on SpX-21.

Completed Task List Activities:

T2AR troubleshooting
MVP2 Cell 06 replace
CHeart chamber microscopy
LSG hardware review
M14A BCell sample
CEVIS time sync
Medops 2 laptop label
Today's Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

EVA loop scrub support
Toilet ops support
Payloads support
Look Ahead Plan

Wednesday, 12/16 (GMT 351)

Bio-Monitor, Cardinal Heart, Food Acceptability, Fiber Optic Production sample exchange, Myotones, Rodent research, Space Organogenesis, Standard Measures, UWMS

EVA SCU pack
Dragon conference
Thursday, 12/17 (GMT 352)

Astrobee, Bio-Monitor remove, Cardinal Heart, Food Acceptability, ISS Experience, Monoclonal Antibodies, MSRR/MSL SCA exchange, Myotones, Nanoracks Platform 2, Repository, Rodent Research, Standard Measures, UWMS, Vascular Aging

OBT Sidekick
EVA SCU activation/checkout
Friday, 12/18 (GMT 353)

FIR/LMM/ACE module config, Bio Monitor stow, Fiber Optic Production, Food Acceptability, Food Physiology, ISS Experience hardware stow, J-HDTC remove and SOISS install, JEM Microbe, Micro-14A, Standard Measures

EVA Airlock restow
Today's Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Configuration
In Flight Maintenance Array Ultrasonic Leak Detector Battery Initiate
Vascular Aging Glucometer Reading And Drink Consumption
Vascular Aging Historical Documentation Photography
Combustion Integrated Rack Bottle Gather
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Spin Conclude
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Insertion
Combustion Integrated Rack Upper Rack Doors Open
Vascular Aging Glucometer Reading
Combustion Integrated Rack Manifold #2 Bottle Replacement
Standard Measures Cognition Testing
Vascular Aging Glucometer Reading
HRF Generic Urine Collection Stow
Combustion Integrated Rack Manifold #4 Bottle Replacement
Standard Measures Fecal Collection
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Insertion Operations
Vascular Aging Glucometer Reading
Standard Measures Fecal Collection Stow
Combustion Integrated Rack Upper Rack Doors Close
Standard Measures Body Sampling Stow
CSA Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Operator
Vascular Aging HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Subject
Life on the Station Photo/Video
Cardinal Heart Tissue Chamber Microscopy
Cardinal Heart Tissue Chamber Media Change
Vascular Aging Glucometer Reading And Data Transfer
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Cooling Loop Maintenance Scrub Initiation
CSA Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Configuration
CSA Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Spin Conclude
CSA Generic MELFI Sample Insertion
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Conclude And Stow
Medical Operations (MO) RODF replacement on file server FS1
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis
Fiber Optic Production Sample Exchange [Aborted]
Actiwatch Plus HRF Rack 1 Setup
Fiber Optic Production 1.5 Desiccant Installation
In Flight Maintenance Array Ultrasonic Leak Detector Restow
UTS Compressor Port 4 Air Cap Removal
Kazbek Fit Check
Toilet Fitting Troubleshooting
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Cooling Loop Maintenance Iodination
Toilet Water Hose Installation
EDV Fill Using Toilet Deiodinated Water
Photo/TV Toilet Install Timelapse [Deferred]
Cardinal Heart Tissue Chamber Media Change and Fixation
Toilet Air Filter Installation
[СТТС] Configuration for MRM1
Progress 444 (DC1) Cargo Transfers and IMS Ops
EDV Swap
Toilet Pre-Treat Tank Installation [Deferred]
Comm reconfig for nominal ops
Toilet System Outfitting
IMS Delta File Prep
Photo/TV Timelapse deactivation
Bio-Monitor Wearables Change Out
Private Medical Conference (PMC)
EDV Fill Activity Teardown
EVA Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Cooling Loop Scrub Deconfiguration
Bio-Monitor Data Unit Battery Replacement And Synchronization Using Bio-Monitor App
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Sample Data Record
HRF Generic Urine Collection Setup
Fiber Optic Production Sample Exchange [Aborted]
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Waste and Hygeine Compartment (WHC) Urine Receptacle (UR) and Insert Filter (IF) Remove and Replace
Cardinal Heart MELFI Sample Insertion Operations Session 2
LSG Primary Crew Restraint Fold
Fiber Optic Production 1.5 Desiccant Installation
Array Ultrasonic Leak Detector Crew Conference
Actiwatch Plus HRF Rack 1 Stow
ISS HAM Columbus Pass Kenwood
LSG Work Volume Stow
Bio-Monitor Wearables StowMaking a documentary about life onboard the ISS
Micro-14A BioCell Sample and Preservation
Toilet Connect to ISS with Waste & Hygiene Compartment Water to UMS Flush [Deferred]
Micro-14A MELFI Sample Insertion
Exercise Data Downlink via OCA
ISS Experience Z-Cam Setup on the MWA
Photo/TV Timelapse deactivation
Standard Measures Fecal Collection Setup
HRF Generic Saliva Collection Setup
Cardinal Heart Glacier Sample Removal
Hematocrit equipment preparation
Astrobee Stowage Clear
HRF Generic Urine Collection Male
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval And Insertion Operations

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