NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 19 July 2018 - Astrophysics Investigation

Astronaut Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) works inside the Japanese Kibo laboratory module retrieving Protein Crystal Growth samples from a science freezer, also known as the Freezer-Refrigerator Of STirling cycle (FROST). Credit: NASA.

The six orbital residents living aboard the International Space Station worked on a broad array of advanced space experiments and research gear today.

Today's life science research included exploring fertility, extracting DNA from microbes and studying how the heart adapts to living in space. The crew also researched space physics observing magnetic fields, exploring the micro-properties of cement and detecting neutron radiation.

The Micro-11 experiment seeks to determine if human reproduction is possible in outer space. The study utilizes a microscope and the Microgravity Science Glovebox and observes sperm samples to determine the viability of fertility beyond Earth. DNA is being extracted from microbe samples swabbed off surfaces inside the space station. The DNA will be sequenced on Earth to help scientists understand how life adapts to microgravity. An ongoing Russian study is researching how a crew member's heart and circulatory system adjusts to a long-term space mission.

A European astrophysics investigation is looking at how Earth's magnetic field interacts with conductors. The study may provide insights for electrical engineers them design better space systems. Cement research is important in space and the crew has been exploring its microstructure possibly impacting the construction of future space habitats. Finally, radiation detectors have been deployed inside the orbital lab for a Canadian experiment to understand how neutrons affect astronauts.

On-Orbit Status Report

Aerosol Samplers: Today the crew retrieved and stowed the sample cartridges from each deployed Active Aerosol Sampler (AAS) and connected the AASs to the battery charger. After the battery charge, the crew installed a sample cartridge and re-deployed one of the AASs in the US Laboratory. The second AAS had not taken a full charge and was stowed. The battery-powered AASs actively pull in air and collect particles using the principal of thermophoresis. This is accomplished by flowing the sampled air through a large thermal gradient in a narrow channel. During this process, particles are driven to the cold side of the channel, where an electron microscope (EM) grid is held in place by a tiny magnet. When returned to Earth, these grids are easily removed and placed directly in an EM for analysis.

Micro-11: Today the crew performed two sessions for the Micro-11 investigation. They checked out, configured and calibrated the Micro-11 microscope, thawed samples removed from a General Laboratory Active Cryogenic ISS Experiment Refrigerator (GLACIER), fixed those samples and loaded them into the microscope for imaging. Afterwards, they inserted the samples into a Minus Eighty Degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI). There are a total of thirteen runs for the Micro-11 investigation. Micro-11 examines whether spaceflight alters human sperm, by tracking the swimming patterns of human and bull sperm during spaceflight. This investigation also assesses other aspects of sperm functionality related to male fertility. As a result, Micro-11 provides fundamental data indicating whether successful human reproduction beyond Earth is possible, and whether countermeasures are needed to protect sperm function in space.

Biomolecule Extraction and Sequencing Technology (BEST): Today the crew swabbed designated surfaces to collect samples and then used the Miniature Polymerase Chain Reaction (miniPCR) to extract DNA from the samples. The samples were placed into a MELFI for future return. The BEST investigation studies the use of sequencing for the identification of unknown microbial organisms living on the ISS, and how humans, plants and microbes adapt to living on the ISS.

MagVector 3D: The crew exchanged a MagVector 3D sample today. Twelve different samples will be processed on the ISS (1 per day). ESA's MagVector investigation supports a study of how Earth's magnetic field interacts with an electrical conductor. Using extremely sensitive magnetic sensors placed around and above a conductor, researchers can gain insight into ways that the magnetic field influences how conductors work. This research is expected to help improve future ISS experiments and electrical experiments, and could offer insights into how magnetic fields influence electrical conductors in general.

Fluid Science Laboratory (FSL) Rack: This morning the crew installed the Soft Matter Dynamics (SMD) Experiment Container in the FSL rack. They attached four anti-vibration mount brackets and released the FSL Facility Core Element to allow it to free-float within the FSL rack. This configuration is required for the micro-gravity sensitive experiments performed in FSL. The FSL is a multiuser facility designed by the European Space Agency for conducting fluid physics research in microgravity. It can be operated as a fully automatic or semiautomatic facility and can be controlled onboard by the ISS crew or from the ground in telescience mode. Because these operations took longer than expected, the planned Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) maintenance was deferred.

Radiation Dosimetry Inside ISS-Neutron (RaDI-N): After retrieving the RaDI-N hardware from a Russian crewmember, a USOS crewmember deployed eight Space Bubble Detectors in Node 3. This Canadian Space Agency investigation measures neutron radiation levels in the ISS. Bubble detectors are designed to only detect neutrons and ignore all other radiation.

Microgravity Investigation of Cement Solidification (MICS): The crew retrieved a MICS ampoule kit from the ISS Portable Glovebag, broke the seal between the center and lower ampoules and pushed the alcohol in the lower ampoule to cover the hardened cement sample. They then stowed the samples for return. The MICS investigation supports the evaluation of microstructure and material properties of benchmark cement samples. Different responses to thermal and mechanical loading are expected and will be characterized in detail. Positive attributes found in the hardening process due to the microgravity environment aboard the ISS will be reported with the intent of improving Earth-based cement and concrete processing.

Public Affairs Office (PAO) Live Events: There were two live PAO Events today.

Serena Auñón-Chancellor participated in an event with the Wall Street Journal Digital Network for a podcast they are working on related to space medicine and how ISS contributes to advanced knowledge about long duration spaceflight.
Ricky Arnold participated in an educational event with the NASA Stennis Space Center ASTRO CAMP® campers. The campers in attendance were 2nd -10th grade campers from Mississippi and Louisiana participating in the "ISS is for Everyone!" ASTRO CAMP®.
Today's Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

HRF Generic Urine Collection
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection
BEST On-Board Training
Aerosol Samplers Cartridge Removal
HRF Generic Sample MELFI JAXA Operations
HRF Generic Sample MELFI Insertion
Progress 439 (DC1) Cargo Transfers and IMS Ops
Aerosol Samplers Battery Charge
PROFILAKTIKA-2. Preparation for the Experiment.
Micro-11 Microscope Checkout
Micro-11 Microscope Operations
Node 1 Camcorder Check
Magvector 3D Sensor Array Sample Exchange
Micro-11 Glacier Sample Removal
MICRO-11 Thaw Operations
Micro-11 Microscope Operations
Wireless Compose Tagmotes Don
PROFILAKTIKA-2. Experiment Ops on БД-2 Treadmill (MO-3 test in a passive mode)
FSL Soft Matter Dynamics Experiment Container Installation
BEST MWA Preparation
PROFILAKTIKA-2. Closeout Ops.
BEST MELFI Sample Retrieve
BEST Experiment
Micro-11 MELFI Sample Return Bag Insertion
Recovery of Condensate Feed Unit (БПК).
PROFILAKTIKA-2. Hygiene Procedures
BEST Swabbing Operations
Replacement of SM Caution & Warning Panel (ПСС).
Team Task Switching Experiment Survey Subject
СОЖ Maintenance
FSL Facility Core Element release in preparation of SMD operations
Wireless Compose Tagmotes Doff
Aerosol Active Samplers Hardware Installation
COSMOCARD. Preparing for and Starting 24-hr ECG Recording
Wireless Compose SD Card Data Copy
Microbial Tracking-2 Operations Review
Mating telemetry connectors to SM Caution & Warning Panel (ПСС).
Aerosol Active Samplers Hardware Photography
Microbial Tracking-2 Crew Conference
Replacement of SM Caution & Warning Panel (ПСС).
Dragon Cargo Operations Conference
CONSTANTA-2. Cassette No.3-3 retrieval from ТБУ-В No.05 and setup on panel for a 1-hour warmup
MATRYOSHKA-R. Prep and Initialization of Bubble-Dosimeter Detectors
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Full Water Tank Dump and Fill [Deferred]
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) - Lab
MATRYOSHKA-R. Handover of BUBBLE-dosimeters to USOS
MATRYOSHKA-R. BUBBLE-dosimeter initialization and deployment for exposure
CONSTANTA-2. Preparation and Execution 3.
Manufacturing Device Print Removal, Clean and Stow
HRF Generic Urine Collection Stow
Polar Desiccant Swap
Radio Frequency Identification Logistics Reader Removal/Replacement [Deferred]
Polar Desiccant Swap
Active Tissue Equivalent Dosimeter Card Downlink
IMS Update
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) in Columbus
PILOT-T. Experiment Ops.
Verification of ИП-1 Flow Sensor Position
Node 1 HDSDI Cable Swap
BEST MiniPCR Sample Removal and Stow
Electrocardiogram (ECG) Device- Activation and Checkout (ACO)
Photo/TV RED Dragon Battery Charger Deploy
Photo T/V (P/TV) Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Exercise Video Setup
Microgravity Investigation of Cement Solidification (MICS) 3 Ampoule Mix Ops
Changeout of Dust Filter ПФ1-4 Cartridges in SM

Completed Task List Activities:
SM Printer Swap
SM Printer Connect

Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
JEMRMS commanding
BEST support
Micro-11 support

Three-Day Look Ahead:
Friday, 07/20: Micro11, AML Sample Detach, N1 Bac Fltr R&R, BEST, Dragon Cargo Transfer, Microbial Tracking, Aerosol Samplers, MSL Gas supply exchange, Plant Habitat
Saturday, 07/21: Dragon Cargo Ops, Weekly Housekeeping
Sunday, 07/22: Crew Off Duty

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

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