Space Stations

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 20 April 2015

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
April 22, 2015
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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 20 April 2015
NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 20 April 2015.

NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Scott Kelly opened the hatches and floated into the new SpaceX Dragon space freighter Saturday morning, beginning five weeks of cargo transfers.
The sixth Dragon cargo mission for NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract delivered a wide variety of crew supplies and science gear to support dozens of new and ongoing microgravity experiments.

The crew unloaded new Rodent Research gear that will allow scientists to study the effects of microgravity on biological mechanisms in mice. Results may promote the development of new drugs tackling the effects of aging and disease on Earth.

A pair of new POLAR science freezers were unloaded from Dragon. The freezers store science samples at -80° C and allow the transport of those samples back to Earth.

Blood pressure checks and vision testing were on the schedule Monday as part of the Ocular Health study which observes the effects of long-term spaceflight on crew members. A trio of cosmonauts looked at cardiac activity in space and studied the radiation emitted from Russian spacecraft propulsion systems.

On-Orbit Status Report

Rodent Research-2 Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (RR-2 CASIS): Sunday, the crew successfully performed the RR-2 transfer activities, moving the animals from the transporters delivered on SpaceX-6 (SpX-6) to their Habitats. Today, Virts and Cristoforetti cleaned the Access Unit and stowed the transporters. Kelly and Virts completed a procedure review, video setup, and preparation for tomorrow’s processing activities. They also had a conference with ground support teams. The primary objective of this research is to monitor the effects of the space environment on the musculoskeletal and neurological systems of mice as model organisms of human health and disease. Living in microgravity results in significant and rapid effects on the physiology of mice that mimic the process of aging and some diseases in humans on Earth, including muscle atrophy and the loss of bone mineral density. This project will help scientists to discover new molecular targets that can facilitate the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of muscle and bone-related diseases. Long-duration exposure to microgravity will also induce changes in gene expression, protein synthesis, metabolism, and eye structure/morphology that will be identifiable as a series of assessable biomarkers for tracking the onset and progression of disease.

Osteocytes and Mechano-Transduction (Osteo-4): Sunday, Cristoforetti successfully performed Tray 2 operations, removing the three bioreactors from Osteo-4 Tray 2 and stowing them in MELFI. The final tray operations will be performed on Tuesday. Each of the trays’ bioreactors will be removed and placed into cold stowage at specified times. The three trays of Osteo-4 are an automated bone cell culture experiment that studies the effects of microgravity on the function of osteocytes, which are the most common cells in bone. These cells reside within the mineralized bone and can sense mechanical forces, or the lack of them, but researchers do not know how. Osteo-4 allows scientists to analyze changes in the physical appearance and genetic expression of mouse bone cells in microgravity.

Ocular Health: Sunday, Kornienko and Padalka performed their Ocular Health Vision tests and questionnaire as part of the Ocular Health medical exam. Kornienko also collected blood pressure readings and with the assistance of Cristoforetti as the Crew Medical Officer (CMO), performed tonometry for the Ocular Health payload experiment. Today, with Virts as the CMO and ground remote guidance, Padalka and Kornienko performed Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), to measure retinal thickness, volume, and retinal nerve fiber layer. The Ocular Health protocol calls for a systematic gathering of physiological data to characterize the risk of microgravity-induced visual impairment/intracranial pressure in ISS crewmembers. Researchers believe that the measurement of visual, vascular and central nervous system changes over the course of this experiment and during the subsequent post-flight recovery will assist in the development of countermeasures, clinical monitoring strategies, and clinical practice guidelines.

Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC)-21: Cristoforetti reviewed an On-Board Training (OBT) video and activated all four experiment canisters by injecting the growth medium to the samples. After a period of growth, BRIC-21 samples will be placed in MELFI and returned to the ground on SpX-6. BRIC hardware has supported a variety of plant growth investigations. The BRIC-21 investigation tests the hypothesis that microorganisms subjected to a space flight environment experience a spectrum of stress responses, with some leading to alterations in the antibiotic susceptibility. The goals of BRIC-21 are to analyze microbes to identify the suite of stress responses induced by exposure to spaceflight and simulated microgravity, and determine viability, resistance levels to a battery of antibiotics, and rates of spontaneous mutation to antibiotic resistance in microbes.

Resistance to Radiation; Ras Labs-CASIS-ISS Project for Synthetic Muscle: Resistance to Radiation (Synthetic Muscle): Cristoforetti deployed Synthetic Muscle, a CASIS sponsored experiment, in a US Lab Overhead rack location to subject the samples to on-orbit radiation environment. The purpose of this experiment is to perform radiation testing of synthetic muscle to determine how radiation-hardened the proprietary materials are, for dual use on earth and in space, in extremely challenging environments. Both the preliminary radiation testing at PPPL/Princeton and the exposure to solar and cosmic radiation on the ISS determine radiation resistance of synthetic muscle and provide projections for radiation resistance in high radiation environments. Robotics made of synthetic muscle will be able to help humans on earth, mitigating and correcting dire situations in extremely challenging environments. Robots made of these materials will be able to assist humans in space and be able to survive deep space travel. A follow up external platform experiment is being planned.

Fine Motor Skills: This week Kelly and Kornienko will be performing their Flight Day 25 (FD25) and FD30 Fine Motor Skills data collections. Kelly executed FD25 his session this morning, Kornienko will perform his FD25 tomorrow, and both crewmembers will perform FD30 on Friday. In the Fine Motor Skills experiment, crew members perform a series of interactive tasks on a touchscreen tablet. The investigation is the first fine motor skills study to measure long-term microgravity exposure, different phases of microgravity adaptation, and sensorimotor recovery after returning to Earth gravity. The Sleep ISS-12 experiment monitors ambient light exposure and crew member activity, and collects subjective evaluations of sleep and alertness, to examine the effects of space flight and ambient light exposure on sleep during a year-long mission on the ISS.

Temperature and Humidity Control (THC) InterModule Ventilation (IMV) Flow Measurement Survey: In support of monitoring the health of the ISS InterModule Ventilation (IMV) system, Kelly used the Velocicalc device and set of measurement aids to measure the air flow exiting outlets and entering inlets throughout the USOS modules. In addition to flow rate measurements, inspections were performed in selected locations.

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

OCT equipment setup
DPC (S-band)
ISS-Progress (DC1) TORU test. r/g 8565
Ocular health check, operator
Ocular health check, subject / Refer to OSTPV for guidance
FINEMOTR – science ops run.
WRS – EDV fill of the treatment tank
БМП Ф1 absorption cartridge cycling (start)
PLR – procedure review
EDV-U urine transfer into Progress [БВ2] (DC1) / r/g 8569
RS1, RS2 inspection & cleanup using the spare parts r/g 8566
Dragon – cargo transfer ops
RS3 inspection & cleanup Specialist conference / r/g 8566
POLAR1 – transfer from Dragon to ISS
POLAR2 – transfer and installation
Tightening of Progress’ (SM [АО]) quick-disconnect screw clamps
BIOKARD. Science ops assistance / r/g 7470
BIOKARD. Science Ops run r/g 7470
RR – sample gathering
BRIC21 – science ops training session
BRIC21 – equipment setup
RELAKSATSIYA. Parameter setting. r/g 8564
BRIC21 – documentary photography during the science ops run
BRIC21 – science ops run
JRNL – logging
RELAKSATSIYA. Observation r/g 8564
Removal equipment transfer to DC1 Progress r/g 8410
OCT equipment stow
PBA & PFE inspection
RR – equipment preparation and transfer
IMV valve flow gaging
RELAKSATSIYA. Closeout ops. r/g 8564
Disconnect [БКП] and [АИ СРК] from power cables / r/g 8555
SYN – equipment installation
Exercise data download / r/g 6797
KALTSIY. Science ops session 6. r/g 8567
Dragon – cargo transfer conference
CMS – ARED hardware maintenance – upper stop’s wire greasing
RR – equipment preparation and transfer
Removal equipment transfer to DC1 Progress r/g 8410
PLR/MELF – Polar samples’ transfer into MELFI
RR – science ops run
IMMUNO. Saliva Immuno bag preparation for the science ops setup / r/g 8563
Photography of БКДО position in MRM2 and pictures downlink r/g 8561
WRS – EDV fill of the treatment tank
IMS update
NANO/CSE – equipment retrieval from KUBIK
RR – camcorder install
HDPCG – documentary photography
HDPCG – equipment transfer from MELFI into MERLIN
NATO/CYTO – sample install into MERLIN
ARED – fly wheel cylinder removal
RR – science ops run
Address video shooting / r/g 8571
RR – science ops run
RR – crew conference
DPC (S-band)
Conference (at crew’s discretion)
БМП Ф1 absorption cartridge cycling (end)
Completed Task List Items

ARED Detent Adjust
Ground Activities
All activities were completed unless otherwise noted.

Ocular Health operations
Rodent Research operations
MCA Zero Calibration
Three-Day Look Ahead:

Tuesday, 04/21: OSTEO4 tray ops, RJR surface/air sampling analysis, RR setup/session, Fundoscope exam
Wednesday, 04/22: Dragon cargo ops, Nanoparticles/Osteoporosis removal from KUBIK, RR Fixative swap, Nematode Muscle fixation
Thursday, 04/23: Ocular Health, Dragon cargo ops, RR unit cleaning
QUICK ISS Status – Environmental Control Group:

Component – Status
Elektron – Off
Vozdukh – Manual
[СКВ] 1 – SM Air Conditioner System (“SKV1”) – On
[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 – Shutdown
Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Node 3 – Operate
Oxygen Generation Assembly (OGA) – Process
Urine Processing Assembly (UPA) – Standby
Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS) Lab – Off
Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS) Node 3 – Full Up

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