NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 8 December 2020 - Unpacking the Dragon

©NASA

The upgraded SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle approaches the International Space Station.

Six spaceships, three U.S. and three Russian, are parked at the International Space Station after Monday's arrival of the upgraded SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle.

The Expedition 64 crew will spend the rest of December focusing on science as 2021 shapes up to be a busy year on the orbital lab.

Two Dragon spaceships, one cargo craft and one crew ship, are docked to the station's Harmony module for the first time ever. The Cargo Dragon docked Monday afternoon to Harmony's space-facing port where it will stay for one month. The Crew Dragon has been docked to Harmony's forward port since Nov. 16 and will return four astronauts back to Earth in the spring.

Cargo Dragon's hatch was opened shortly after its automated docking and the crew soon began unpacking and activating the first of 2,100 pounds of new science investigations. The U.S. resupply ship's main payload, the NanoRacks Bishop science airlock, will be installed with the Canadarm2 robotic arm to the Tranquility module later this month.

NASA Flight Engineers Shannon Walker and Michael Hopkins began Tuesday offloading the Dragon-transported critical research samples and stowing them in science freezers to be examined later. Their crewmates Kate Rubins installed new science freezers in the station, while Victor Glover set up newly delivered habitats carrying rodents for analysis.

A new human stem cell experiment, Space Organogenesis, got underway today after JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi collected biological samples and research hardware from Dragon. Microgravity will give scientists insight into growing organs and observing genetic changes which could impact regenerative medicine.

In the Russian segment of the station, Commander Sergey Ryzhikov explored advanced space photography techniques before working on cargo operations with the docked Progress 76 resupply ship. His fellow cosmonaut, Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, worked on Earth observation hardware then serviced repair tools.

On-Orbit Status Report

Payloads

NanoRacks Module-9: The crew performed activation of eleven mixture tubes for the Module-09 experiment containing numerous experiment projects. NanoRacks Module-09 is a combination of 35 experiments provided by school students from 5 different countries. The experiments are housed within a NanoRacks Module container and is a combination of biological static experiments and some experiments that require crew interaction to mix materials to activate. The experiments within the module are returned to the ground for analysis.

Vascular Echo: The crew performed a 13 hour blood pressure monitoring session for the Vascular Echo study. Cardiac and Vessel Structure and Function with Long-Duration Space Flight and Recovery (Vascular Echo) examines changes in blood vessels, and the heart, while the crew members are in space, and then follow their recovery on return to Earth. The results could provide insight into potential countermeasures to help maintain crewmember health, and quality of life for everyone.

Rotifer-B2: The crew installed eight Rotifer B2 Experiment Containers in Kubik 5 and eight Rotifer B2 Experiment Containers in Kubik 6. The crew then removed each Experiment Container and gently shook each in order to displace bubbles from samples and then reinstalled them back into the Kubik facilities. Historical photos were taken of a crewmember shaking the containers.

Space Organogenesis: The crew prepared samples of the Space Organogenesis experiment and initiated rotation sessions as well as periodic observation checks. The Development of Advanced 3D Organ Culture System Utilizing the Microgravity Environment (Space Organogenesis) investigation demonstrates growth of organ buds from human stem cells in three-dimensional (3D) cultures in microgravity. Researchers plan to use these cultures to observe growth of the organ buds and analyze changes in gene expression. Cell culture on Earth needs supportive materials or forces to achieve 3D growth, but in microgravity cell cultures likely can expand into three dimensions without those devices.

MVP (Multi-use Variable-g Platform) Cell-06: The crew took historical documentation photos and installed eight Cell-06 Experiment Modules into the Multi-use Variable-g Platform. The Cartilage-Bone-Synovium Micro-Physiological System Investigation Using the Multi-purpose Variable-G Platform (MVP Cell-06) develops a biological model to study the effects of spaceflight on musculoskeletal disease. Traumatic joint injury may lead to arthritis after loss of cartilage and bone, a disease called post-traumatic osteoarthritis. This investigation could lead to drugs to prevent the progression of this disease.

PAUL (Powered Ascent Utility Lockers): The crew uninstalled PAUL units s/n 001 and 002 from the Dragon and installed them into the Columbus Express Rack. Crew took front photos of front of installed units. The PAUL is reconfigurable hardware that provides power to payloads during ascent to the space station. That makes it possible to control temperature and other conditions for investigations during their trip to the space station, expanding the possibilities for research aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Cardinal Heart: The crew installed the CO2 controller into SABL-1 (Space Automated Bioproduct Lab) and relocated Cardinal Heart Tissue Habitats (4) from SABL-2 to SABL-1. Media bags were also placed into cold stowage. 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.

Rodent Research-10 (RR-10): The crew installed four Rodent Habitats into Express Racks and powered up each unit in preparation for Rodent transfers. Tissue degeneration and failure of tissue to regenerate normally in microgravity are becoming increasing concerns for sustaining life in space. The CDKN1a/p21 pathway is known to be a key molecular mechanism involved in inhibiting tissue regenerative processes, and scientific evidence suggest it is required for the arrest of regenerative bone formation observed in microgravity.

STaARS BioScience-4 (Space Technology and Advanced Research Systems): The crew installed four STaARS Experiment Controllers and two Experiment Containers into STaARS-1 Experiment Facility. The STaARS BioScience-4 investigation examines how oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) react to microgravity, specifically the rate at which the cells proliferate and differentiate in the microgravity environment.

Ice Cubes Experiment Cube #6 - Kirara: The crew installed Cube #6 (Kirara 2) into the ICE Cubes Facility. In the Ice Cubes Experiment Cube #6 - Kirara mission, a 1-Unit (1U)-sized incubator, equipped with a temperature controller, is used to allow protein crystallization to happen in microgravity under a well-maintained temperature inside the cube. This first mission is aimed as an in-orbit validation test for a protein crystallization service as part of future commercial space activities. This first demonstration mission includes proteins for seven different companies and research institutes.

Systems

Dragon Cargo Transfer Ops: Following yesterday's successful SpX-21 docking and ingress, today FE-10 and FE-13 continued transferring cargo from Dragon to the ISS.

SpX-21 Dragon Emergency Response Review: With the arrival of SpX-21, the 63S crew reviewed emergency response training materials.

Completed Task List Activities:

None
Today's Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Dragon transfer ops support
Payloads support
Look Ahead Plan

Wednesday, 12/9 (GMT 344)
Payloads:

Space Organogenesis Medium changes and Microscope ops (JAXA)
Rodent Transfers (NASA)
BioMole ops Part 3 (NASA)
Cardinal Heart medium exchange and MELFI insert (NASA)
Vascular Echo Blood Pressure 13H conclusion (CSA)
ISS HAM Pass (NASA)
Systems:

Dragon transfer ops
Thursday, 12/10 (GMT 345)
Payloads:

Space Organogenesis Medium changes and Microscope ops (JAXA)
Moderate Temp PCG prep (JAXA)
Fiber Optics Sample exchange (NASA)
APM data transfer and Node 2 to Lab install (NASA)
NanoRacks Module 9 Ops 2 (NASA)
AstroRad Vest Fam (NASA)
ISS Experience Astronaut log (NASA)
Food Acceptability survey (NASA)
MonoClonal Antibodies PCG card fills (NASA)
ACME CIR Bottle exchange (Joint)
Systems:

Dragon transfer ops
Friday, 12/11 (GMT 346)
Payloads:

Toilet Crew Conf (NASA)
Space Organogenesis sample fixations and closeout (JAXA)
JAXA low temp PCG prep (JAXA)
Food Physiology Diet Brief (NASA)
ARS Thermal Amine Scrubber (TAS) Sampling System Install and troubleshoot (NASA)
Plant Habitat-02 Thinning (NASA)
Fiber Optics Sample exchange (NASA)
AstroRad vest don and Doff and Survey (NASA)
Rodent H2O check (NASA)
ISS Experience Hardware stow (NASA)
EHS BioMole BMS stow (NASA)
Systems:

Thermal Amine Scrubber bulk water save valve R&R
OCT2 exams
Today's Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Vascular Aging 13-Hour Blood Pressure Monitoring Initialization Alternate
ВКС Laptops Antivirus software checkout
Cold Stowage Double Coldbag Unpack 1
Cold Stowage Double Coldbag Unpack 2
СТТС reconfiguration in MRM1
Multi-use Variable-g Platform Video Camera Orientation
Fans screen cleaning in MRM1
Multi-use Variable-g Platform-02 Module Install
Cold Stowage Cold Stow Box Unpack
Installation of Rotifer B2 Experiment Containers in Kubik 5
Multi-use Variable-g Platform-02 Historical Documentation Photography
MERLIN Sample Transfer (while MERLIN is in EXPRESS Rack) 2
Installation of Rotifer B2 Experiment Containers in Kubik 6
Space Organogenesis Item Gathering
XF305 Camcorder Setup
Microscope Sample Installation 1
Multi-use Variable-g Platform Video Orientation Return
Cargo Transfer from Dragon
Space Organogenesis Preparation 1
Cardinal Heart MELFI Sample Insertion Operations Session
Space Automated Bioproduct Lab, CO2 Incubator Installation
Cardinal Heart SABL Relocate
Polar Dragon Uninstall, Handover, Transfer and EXPRESS Rack Install
Polar Handover, Transfer and EXPRESS Rack Install
Vascular Aging 13-Hour Blood Pressure Monitoring Crew Time Payback
Powered Ascent Utility Locker Hardware Transfer
Powered Ascent Utility Locker Hardware Installation
XF305 Camcorder Setup
Microscope Sample Retrieval 1
Space Organogenesis Preparation 2
NanoRacks Maintenance Work Area Preparation
Dragon Node2 Zenith Systems Operations Data File (SODF) Deploy
Nanoracks Module-9 Ops Session 1
Polar Samples to Cold Stowage
Countermeasures System (CMS) Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Exercise Session
Installation of Cubes #6 (Kirara 2) in the ICE Cubes Facility
Inspection and photo RS windows
XF305 Camcorder Setup
JAXA LT PCG Sample Preparation
Cargo Transfer to Dragon
Ultrasound 2 HRF Rack 1 Power On
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan Prep
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan performed by a Crew Medical Officer (CMO)
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan
XF305 Camcorder Setup
Space Organogenesis Rotation Start
STaARS BioScience Experiment Container Removal from MERLIN
STaARS BioScience Experiment Container Installation
Rodent Research Habitat Install
Astrobee Stowage Clear
Astrobee Off
Cardinal Heart Glacier Sample Insertion
Evening Preparation Work
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Post Exam
XF305 Camcorder Setup
Dragon Node2 Zenith Systems Operations Data File (SODF) Deploy
Rodent Research Habitat Install
Space Organogenesis Sample Observation
Rotifer B2 EC shaking in Kubik 5
Exercise data D/L
Rotifer B2 EC shaking in Kubik 6
PR photo shooting for Rotifer B2
SpX-21 DRAGON Emergency Response Review
Vascular Aging 13-Hour Blood Pressure Monitoring Off

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