NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 24 May, 2021 - Space Biology and Orbital Plumbing


The station's solar arrays drape across the Earth's horizon. (May 20, 2021)

The Expedition 65 crew started the workweek on space biology and orbital plumbing aboard the International Space Station.

Meanwhile, two cosmonauts are also gearing up for their first career spacewalks set to begin next week.

The immune system, protein crystals and cell biology dominated the science schedule aboard the orbital lab today. The space life science studies help scientists understand how microgravity affects a multitude of organisms while offering insights into treatments for humans on and off the Earth.

NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur once again treated donor samples inside the Life Science Glovebox for the Celestial Immunity study. Afterward, she inserted those samples into a science freezer for later analysis on the station and back on Earth. Observations may help doctors improve vaccines and treatments for diseases on Earth.

Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) serviced protein crystal samples then placed them into an incubator for the Real-Time Protein Crystal Growth experiment. Results have implications for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and may advance the commercialization of space.

Station Commander Akihiko Hoshide opened up the Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) this morning and temporarily removed a centrifuge to check the research device's connections. Located in the Kibo laboratory module, the CBEF is an incubator with an artificial gravity generator.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Mark Vande Hei partnered together on Monday to assemble and install a brand new space toilet in the Tranquility module. The station's newest bathroom was delivered in February aboard the Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman.

The next spacewalk for maintenance at the orbital lab is scheduled for June 2. Roscosmos Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov will open the hatch to the Poisk module at 1:20 a.m. EDT and exit into the vacuum of space wearing their Orlan spacesuits. The duo will then spend about six-and-a-half hours working on Russian hardware and installing science experiments.

On-Orbit Status Report


CBEF-L (Cell Biology Experiment Facility-L): Today, Crew verified the cable connections and sensors for the 1G Centrifuge in preparation of future operations. CBEF-L is a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) new subrack facility, which is an upgraded facility of the original Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) currently aboard the International Space Station (ISS). CBEF-L provides new capabilities with additional new resources such as Full High Definition video interface, Ethernet, 24 VDC power supply, and a larger diameter centrifugal test environment. By using the original CBEF and CBEF-L as one facility for the same experiment, the payload user is provided with an upgraded experimental environment that can handle the processing of more experimental samples for a wider array of experiments.

Celestial Immunity: The crew retrieved Vented Bags containing a 24-Well Plate, pulled samples from the 24-Well Plate, and trashed the 24-Well Plate. Dissecting the Influence of Gravity on Human Immune Function in Adults and the Elderly (Celestial Immunity) builds on earlier studies to evaluate how gravity affects functional immune response, from innate mechanisms of defense to adaptive responses. It uses peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from both elderly and younger adult donors to facilitate the study of possible age-associated effects. The investigation could uncover novel immune pathways useful for the development of new vaccines and drugs to prevent and treat existing and emerging human diseases.

DFM (Dendrite Fragmentation and Morphology during Melting and Solidification): Today, Crew removed SUBSA Ampoule from the SUBSA Thermal Chamber and installed a new SUBSA Science Ampoule. When a metal solidifies during casting or additive manufacturing, it forms a multitude of tiny crystals called dendrites. The dendrite shape, and whether the dendrites fragment, determines the strength of the resulting solid metal. However, since gravity affects the growth and fragmentation process, it is unclear how those dendrites grow during freezing. The Dendrite Fragmentation and Morphology During Melting and Solidification (DFM) investigation, conducted in the Solidification Using a Baffle in Sealed Ampoules (SUBSA) facility, uses microgravity to examine the effects of cooling and heating rate on the shape of these crystals.

Exploration ECLSS-TOILET: Crewmembers assembled the new Toilet ORUs onto the Mounting Adapter creating the Toilet assembly by connecting the power/data cables between Toilet components and installing the air filter and Pretreat Tank. The crew was unable to activate the toilet but will attempt to activate it on Tuesday morning. The Toilet System is an Exploration Tech Demo that has evolved into a permanent USOS system. The Toilet has the same basic design as the Orion Universal Waste Management System (UWMS). The Toilet System will be the primary WMS for USOS for up to 90-crew-days and interfaces with the Urine Transfer System (UTS) to allow concurrent WHC/Toilet operations.

ISS HAM: A crewmember initiated a contact with Ecole Elémentaire de Saint Leu Centre, Saint Leu, France, (Reunion Island). 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.

RTPCG-2 (Real-Time Protein Crystal Growth-2): The crew loaded protein crystallography plate S/N C1, Row A with protein solutions, mixed with custom salt solutions, sealed and transferred the sample to incubation. Phase II Real-time Protein Crystal Growth on Board the International Space Station (RTPCG-2) demonstrates new methods for producing high-quality protein crystals in microgravity. Previous work has shown that microgravity can sometimes produce high-quality protein crystals that can be analyzed to identify possible targets for drugs to treat disease. RTPCG-2 tests high-quality proteins crystals for detailed analysis back on Earth.


Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Crank Handle Replaced - Over the weekend, crew completed the ARED Crank Handle R&R. The old handle had been experiencing slipping due to a worn ratchet. Upon installation of the new handle, crew got 2 nominal uses in before the handle hit a hard stop and got stuck, allowing it to slip 1 ratchet. This is a different behavior from the old handle. Crew was able to free the handle and took imagery. ARED remains GO for use.

Russian and US Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Tool Gathers: Today, Crew gathered both Russian and US EVA Tools in preparation for the upcoming RS EVA #48 on June 2nd, as well as the upcoming USOS IROSA EVAs on June 16th and June 20th.

Extravehicular Activity (EVA) EMU Kit Audit: Crew performed an audit of the contents of the EMU Servicing Kit and the EMU ORU Tool Kit. Results of the audit will help ground to determine what replenishment is necessary for future EVAs.

Atmospheric Control System (ACS) Nitrogen Oxygen Recharge System (NORS) Nitrogen Transfer Initiation and termination: Today, Crew setup and initiated a N2 Gas Transfer from NORS tanks. The goal of this task is to transfer nitrogen from the Nitrogen/Oxygen Recharge System (NORS) N2 Recharge Tank to the ISS Airlock nitrogen tanks via equalization.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

Atmosphere Revitalization System Thermal Amine Scrubber Cycle Adjustment
PRO Glacier 2 Activation Commanding
Payload Rack Officer Fluids Integrated Rack Activation Commanding
Look Ahead Plan:

Tuesday, May 25 (GMT 145)

Vascular Aging scan and BP measurement (CSA)
Repository Urine collect (NASA)
TOILET install ops (NASA)
Standard Measures Saliva and Blood collect (NASA)
SUBSA Sample Exchange (NASA)
GLACIER Experiment removal (NASA)
CIR Manifest 2 and 4 Bottle change (NASA)
PWM 3&4 test assembly (NASA)
AWP HRF1 setup (NASA)
Celestial Immunity Plate Sample 3 (NASA)

Toilet Stall Deployment
CHeCS Emergency Health Maintenance System Contingency Drill Training
Toilet Stall Outfitting
Wednesday, May 26 (GMT 146)

PILOTE setup and ops (ESA)
ROBO PRO2 rehearsal (JAXA)
Standard Measures Urine and Blood collect (NASA)
SUBSA sample Exchange (NASA)
TOILET Daily questionnaire (NASA)
AC Touch (NASA)
PWM 3&4 Prime Ops (NASA)
Astrobee Prep (NASA)

Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Portable Emergency Provisions (PEPS) Inspection
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Brine Processor Assembly (BPA) Filter Build
Resupply Air Tank Setup & Initiation
Thursday, May 27 (GMT 147)

Myotones ops (ESA)
Space Suit Video (JAXA)
Kidney Cells CO2 Control Install (NASA)
SABL CO2 Control install (NASA)
SUBSA Sample change (NASA)
TOILET daily Question (NASA)
PWM 3&4 test Cell2 ops (NASA)
Standard Measures blood collect and Presleep Question (NASA)
Repository Urine setup (NASA)

Node 3 Toilet Leak Inspection
Transfer Cygnus Cargo Operations
Resupply Air Tank Setup and Initiation
Today's Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

HRF Generic MELFI Sample Insertion Operations
Toilet Hardware Gather
Cell Biology Experiment Facility Left (CBEF-L) Centrifuge Removal
Antimicrobial Coatings Documentation Photos
Antimicrobial Coatings Touch
Checking connectors and sensors and Cell Biology Experiment Facility Left (CBEF-L) Centrifuge Installation
Real-time Protein Crystal Growth Payload Review
Solid Combustion (SCEM) Item Gathering Part 1
Real-time Protein Crystal Growth Maintenance Work Area Preparation
Toilet Assembly
Real-time Protein Crystal Growth MELFI Vial Retrieve
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) EMU Kit Audit
Real-time Protein Crystal Growth Screening Plate Load S/N C1, Row A
Toilet Connect to ISS
HRF Generic Frozen Blood Collection Hardware Setup
Solidification Using Baffles in Sealed Ampoules Sample Exchange
System Laptop Terminal Photography
Solidification Using Baffles in Sealed Ampoules OBT
Review airlock ops procedures for EVA from MRM2
Atmospheric Control System (ACS) Nitrogen Oxygen Recharge System (NORS) Oxygen Transfer Termination
LSG Primary Crew Restraint Unfold
Toilet Conductivity Sensor Cover
Glacier Ice Brick/Cold Block Insert
Astrobee OBT Review
Russian Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Tool Gather
Toilet Air Filter Installation
Atmospheric Control System (ACS) Nitrogen Oxygen Recharge System (NORS) Nitrogen Transfer Initiation
Toilet Pre-Treat Tank Installation
Celestial Immunity MELFI Sample Insertion
US Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Tool Gather
LSG Primary Crew Restraint Fold
Systems Operations Data File (SODF) Update
Toilet System Activation and Checkout
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Node 3 Moderate Temperature Loop (MTL) Gas Trap Plug Replace
HRF Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval and Insertion Operations

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