NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 7 August 2017 - Stepping Up Life Science Research

Astronaut Paolo Nespoli is strapped into the Muscle Atrophy Resistive Exercise System for the Sarcolab muscle study. Credit: NASA.

The fully staffed International Space Station stepped up its life science research today studying a host of space phenomena. Two cosmonauts are also preparing for the 202nd spacewalk at the station late next week.

Astronauts Randy Bresnik and Paolo Nespoli continued observing how living in space affects their muscles. The duo used electrodes and an ultrasound device to measure leg muscle performance during an exercise session.

Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer checked out a variety of rodent research gear today. Whitson is getting a biology facility ready for a new experiment to be delivered next week on the SpaceX Dragon. Fischer looked at mice to help researchers determine the effectiveness of a new drug that may slow or reverse muscle and bone loss in space.

The next spacewalk is targeted for Aug. 17. Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy are reviewing their external tasks and work areas for a spacewalk expected to last a little over six hours. They'll perform science and maintenance tasks and deploy tiny satellites during their orbital excursion.

On-Orbit Status Report

Fine Motor Skills (FMS): On Sunday a crewmember completed a series of interactive tasks during a FMS session. The FMS investigation studies how the fine motor skills are effected by long-term microgravity exposure, different phases of microgravity adaptation, and sensorimotor recovery after returning to Earth gravity. The goal of the investigation is to determine how fine motor performance in microgravity varies over the duration of six-month and year-long space missions; how fine motor performance on orbit compares with that of a closely matched participant on Earth; and how performance varies before and after gravitational transitions, including periods of early flight adaptation and very early/near immediate post-flight periods.

Light Microscopy Module (LMM) Biophysics 3: A 26 day run for Biophysics 3 was initiated in the Fluids Integrated Rack (FIR). The crew removed a Plate contained in the LMM and placed it into a Microgravity Experiment Research Locker / INcubator (MERLIN). Using the three-dimensional structure of proteins, scientists can determine how they function and how they are involved in disease. Some proteins benefit from being crystallized in microgravity, where they can grow larger and with fewer imperfections. Access to crystals grown on the ISS supports research for a wide range of diseases, as well as microgravity-related problems such as radiation damage, bone loss and muscle atrophy. This investigation identifies which proteins would benefit from crystallization in space.

Sarcolab-3: With assistance from an operator, a crewmember ingressed the Muscle Atrophy Research & Exercise System (MARES) chair in the Columbus module and adjusted pads and constraints for the Sarcolab-3 knee protocol. After attaching electrodes and verifying signals the operator collected ultrasound images of the subject's right leg during exercise activities. The data collected for Sarcolab-3 will be compared to pre and post flight measurements to assess microgravity-induced muscle loss. Myotendinous and Neuromuscular Adaptation to Long-term Spaceflight (Sarcolab) investigates the adaptation and deterioration of the soleus (calf muscle) where it joins the Achilles tendon, which links it to the heel and carries loads from the entire body. Muscle fiber samples are taken from crew members before and after flight, and analyzed for changes in structural and chemical properties. MRI and ultrasound tests and electrode stimulation are conducted to help assess muscle and tendon changes caused by microgravity exposure.

Multi Omics-Mouse: The crew continued preparations for the Multi-Omics Mouse investigation subjects arriving on the SpX-12. They relocated the Experiment Laptop Terminal 2 (ELT2), reconfigured cables and set up and installed the Mouse Habitat Cage Unit in the Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF).

Human Research Program (HRP): A crewmember collected Flight Day 15 Biochemical Profile and Flight Day 8 Marrow urine samples.

The Biochem Profile experiment tests blood and urine samples obtained from astronauts before, during and after spaceflight. Specific proteins and chemicals in the samples are used as biomarkers, or indicators of health. Post-flight analysis yields a database of samples and test results which scientists can use to study the effects of spaceflight on the body.
The Marrow investigation looks at the effect of microgravity on bone marrow. It is believed that microgravity, like long-duration bed rest on Earth, has a negative effect on the bone marrow and the blood cells that are produced in the bone marrow.
Rodent Research-5 (RR-5) Systemic Therapy of NELL-1 for Osteoporosis: Over the weekend the crew removed and replaced fluid from sampling bags for RR-5. Because spaceflight has significant and rapid effects on the musculoskeletal system, it is important to investigate targeted therapies that could ameliorate some of the detrimental effects of spaceflight. The NELL-1 drug being studied in the RR-5 investigation has the potential to slow or reverse bone loss during spaceflight.

Intermittent Loss of Space to Ground (S/G) 1 and 2 Audio: Over the weekend, the ACS/UHF Audio Interface (AUAI)-1P associated with S-band String 2 started to show intermittent functionality and multiple error indications. As a result, Space To Ground (S/G) channels 1 and 2 audio became mostly unavailable. Ground teams performed troubleshooting on AUAI-1P with no success. A switchover to AUAI-2S restored full audio functionality through S-Band String 1. S/G channels 3 and 4 were unaffected by the problem. AUIA-1P has been on orbit since the US Lab was launched. There is one spare AUAI on orbit. Teams are discussing a forward plan.

Failed Main Bus Switching Unit (MBSU) Retrieval: Last Friday, Robotics Ground Controllers set up for retrieval of the failed MBSU from External Stowage Platform -2 (ESP-2). Activities included a triple Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) walk off and Mobile Transporter (MT) translation to Work Site 3. Today's activities include unstowing the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM), retrieval of the MBSU Flight Releasable Attachment Mechanism (FRAM) from ESP-2 followed by stowing it on the SPDM Enhanced ORU Temporary Platform (EOTP). This MBSU is one of two failed units externally stowed on orbit that will be brought inside via the JEM Airlock (JEMAL) to undergo maintenance and repair.

Cupola Window Scratch Pane Replacement and Pane Audit: The crew completed the replacement of the scratch pane on Cupola Window 6 with a new spare. They also performed an audit of the available uninstalled used panes to determine if any of them are in better condition than the currently installed scratch panes. Based on their report, crew was given to go to proceed with swapping the scratch pane on Window 1 with the best available spare.

Today's Planned Activities
All activities were completed unless otherwise noted.

Handover of Increment 52 Crew
AstroPi competition crew message
ESA PAO message recording
WinSCAT Test
Miniature Exercise Device Operations Session
Video recording for KOROLYOV TV channel
URAGAN. Observation and Photography
ECON-M. Observation and photography
HRF Generic Sample Collection and MELFI Operations
Integrated Emergency OBT
ECLSS Recycle Tank Drain
XF305 Camcorder Setup
SM-AGAT-U55 external battery charge (2 off) from Soyuz 736
Experiment Laptop Terminal 2 (ELT2) Relocation
Consolidate Tool Caddy, Photography, Photo Downlink.
CBEF Video Cable Reconfiguration to Video Compression and Recording Unit 2 (VRU2)
SARCOLAB MARES knee protocol execution
Combustion Integrated Rack Bottle Replacement
Multi-Omics-Mouse Pre-experiment Setup
MARES knee configuration partial deinstallation
Auxiliary Laptop Computer System Virus Definition File Update
EVA Support Panel Checkout in ПхО.
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Vision Questionnaire
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Vision Test
MARES pantograph adjustment for calibration configuration
EVA Support Panel Checkout in DC1.
MARES torque calibration check and calibration configuration deinstallation
DAN Experiment Ops
Wastewater Storage Tank Assembly (WSTA) Fill
SARCOLAB MARES files transfer verification and shutdown
Review EVA #43 Translation Paths and Work Zones through ISS Windows
Rodent Research Node 2 Camcorder Video Setup
Rodent Research 5 Fixative Swap
SARCOLAB. PEMS and EMG final stowage
SARCOLAB. EPM Laptop relocation for files downlink preparation
PEV Activation Test from DC1 EVA Support Panel.
PEV activation test from ПхО EVA Support Panel.
Rodent Research Microgravity Science Glovebox Stow
MARES disconnection and stowage
Marrow Breath And Ambient Air Sample Ops
MARES-EPM Hard Disk removal and stowage
Fluids Integrated Rack Door Ops
LMM Biophysics Plate Removal
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Fill
Preparation for Antivirus Scanning on [ВКС] Laptops

Completed Task List Items
Payloads Network Attached Storage (NAS) Vent Cleaning [Completed GMT 218]
Crew confirms location of Kate Rubin's Kit [Completed GMT 218]
Found missing 1.0 CTB S/N4307

Ground Activities
All activities were completed unless otherwise noted.
RR5 fixative swap
MSS MBSU setup

Three-Day Look Ahead:
Tuesday, 08/08: OBT emergency simulation/review with ground teams, Circadian Rhythms, MBSU repair
Wednesday, 08/09: Mouse habitat unit prep for stow, Ultrasound scans, Dragon RoBOT OBT, Dragon pre-pack
Thursday, 08/10: CMS MAX CEVIS, Mouse habitat unit stow, Rodent Research inventory, SABL relocation

QUICK ISS Status - Environmental Control Group:
Component - Status
Elektron - On
Vozdukh - Manual
[СКВ] 1 - SM Air Conditioner System ("SKV1") - Off
[СКВ] 2 - SM Air Conditioner System ("SKV2") - On
Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Lab - Standby
Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Node 3 - Operate
Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Lab - Idle
Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Node 3 - Operate
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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