Space Stations

Axiom Space – Ax-1 Mission Flight Day 6 Update

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
April 14, 2022
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Axiom Space – Ax-1 Mission Flight Day 6 Update
Axiom Space - Ax-1 Mission Flight Day 6 Update.
Axiom Space

The crew is officially halfway into the mission, but there is more to be done before returning to Earth.
Today was another busy day for the crew members as they continued conducting groundbreaking research and participating in outreach activities to inspire the global public.

The entire Ax-1 crew participated in an Earth-to-space call with local Houston students ages 8 to 18 attending a special event at Space Center Houston in Texas. The event served as a mid-way checkpoint for the crew and is one out of a series of in-flight events the Ax-1 astronauts are hosting with educational organizations to inspire and teach science, technology, engineering, art, and math to students around the globe. These STEAM-focused efforts are integral to each crew member’s desire to promote learning opportunities during the first private astronaut mission to the ISS.

Earlier today Larry Connor shared personal reflections and explained the effects of microgravity on the body with Dr. Steven Nissen and his Cleveland Clinic colleagues. Connor is carrying out several research projects aboard the ISS to better understand aging and heart health in collaboration with Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic. Connor also spoke with students to foster interest in STEAM and space careers from the Dayton Early College Academy, a public charter school in Ohio serving 1,300 students, K-12, who live in Dayton’s most underserved communities.

Mark Pathy spoke with students from the Wikwemikong Pontiac School, a first nation education school serving students for the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve. Pathy explained how drinking water is processed on the ISS and what happens to your organs and blood when moving in an environment without gravity. Recently, Pathy unveiled a winning piece of artwork from Indigenous schools. The artwork, inspired by Turtle Island, provides a message about the importance of Earth preservation for future generations. The effort is in collaboration with the Royal Canadian Geographical society.

Ax-1 Commander Michael López-Alegría is currently on his fifth space mission. As commander, he assists the new astronauts in experiments, serves as a guide to life in microgravity, and ensures mission success. He also participates in several outreach efforts talking to journalists and organizations around the globe.

Stibbe completed a space observation experiment (ILAN-ES) from the Cupola to study the electrical phenomena above thunderstorms, known as Transient Luminous Events. As part of the experiment, Stibbe photographed a lightning storm over Darwin, Australia, while the researcher leading the study, Prof. Yoav Yair, dean of the Reichman University School of Sustainability, accompanied him from the Rakia Mission Control Center in Tel Aviv. Daily predictions about the location of the storm are transmitted to Stibbe at the ISS by a team of scientists that guides him on where to point the camera. This protocol is similar to procedures of the MEIDEX experiment, which was conducted onboard the Columbia space shuttle in 2003, by the late Col. Ilan Ramon. Observations of these events from space will be compared with imagery taken of the same events from the ground to enhance understanding of the electrical processes in the atmosphere and to determine whether there’s a connection with climate change.

As part of the Rakia Mission, four scientific experiments that were developed by Israeli middle school students and as part of the SpaceLab project will be conducted at the ISS. SpaceLab, led by the Ramon Foundation, is the leading educational project in Israel in the field of space. The project gives students a unique opportunity to submit an experiment to the ISS after they have completed a project-based learning program. The experiments that are part of Stibbe’s Rakia Mission are examining the effect of microgravity on microbiota, microbiota reaction to antibiotics, and how microgravity affects the speed of biodegradation of PET plastic by Ideonella Sakaiensis bacteria. These experiments also examine the effect of adding Moringa seed powder and copper pieces on the growth of E. coli germs under microgravity conditions and how microgravity affects the transfection rate of nano-ghosts to lung cancer cells.

Pathy successfully completed the third and final session of holoportation by evaluating the use of augmented reality technology to create a holo-presence of the crew on Earth and its Earth-based counterpart back up to space. This behavioral support activity can immediately improve the ISS crew member’s feeling of connectedness to loved ones and confidants on Earth.

All of the astronauts are completing daily sessions to evaluate whether the development of emotional distress can be detected by continuous app-based monitoring of basic Central Nervous System (CNS) functions. A combination of wearable sensors along with a self-report questionnaire and functional testing mobile application will allow accurate monitoring of stress levels among crew members throughout their space journey.

As the crew inches closer to its final days on the ISS, each astronaut will continue working around the clock to ensure the appropriate measures and preparations are being made to finalize the more than 25 scientific experiments currently being conducted aboard the space station as part of the world’s first all-private astronaut mission on the ISS.

SpaceRef co-founder, entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, nature lover and deep thinker.