Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 11 April 2018

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
April 15, 2018
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 11 April 2018
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 11 April 2018.

The Expedition 55 crew explored a wide variety of life science today studying how different biological systems are affected by long-term exposure to microgravity.
The multi-faceted space residents observed human genetic and tissue samples, rodents and fruit flies aboard the orbital laboratory today.

Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold started his morning gearing up the student-designed Genes in Space-5 experiment. He processed hardware and genetic samples to help scientists understand the relationship between DNA alterations and weakened immune systems possibly caused by living in space.

Arnold later joined fellow NASA astronaut Drew Feustel for ultrasound eye exams with remote assistance from doctors on the ground. Feustel wrapped up his workday checking on fruit flies housed in the Multi-Use Variable-G Platform that enables research into smaller and microscopic organisms.

Norishige Kanai, from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, tended to mice recently launched to space aboard the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft. The rodents are part of the Mouse Stress Defense experiment that tests strategies to counteract microgravity stresses and cell signaling that lead to bone and muscle loss.

Doctors are learning how medicine works in space and what it does inside astronaut’s bodies. NASA Flight Engineer Scott Tingle looked at a particular type of medicine today and how it interacts with human tissue cultures. Results could improve therapies in space and lead to better, cheaper drugs on Earth.

On-Orbit Status Report

Metabolic Tracking (MT): The crew set up MT hardware and materials for thawing and inoculation. They then injected the thawed inoculum into multiwell BioCells, which were inserted into the NanoRacks Plate Reader-2. NanoRacks Plate Reader-2 is a laboratory instrument designed to detect biological, chemical or physical events of samples in microtiter plates. The Metabolic Tracking investigation evaluates a rapid, low-cost method for assessing the effects of therapeutic compounds in microgravity. The method contributes to development of custom plans for emergency medical treatment for crew members, using primary tissue samples. This investigation also determines the feasibility of developing improved pharmaceuticals in microgravity using a new method to test the metabolic impacts of drug compounds. This could lead to more effective, less expensive drugs.

Genes in Space-5: For the Genes in Space experiment the crew processed samples in the Miniature Polymerase Chain Reaction (miniPCR), and then transferred the data for downlink. The Genes in Space investigation is a winning student-designed experiment that tests whether the polymerase chain reaction can be used to study DNA alterations onboard the ISS. Spaceflight causes many changes to the human body, including alterations in DNA and a weakened immune system. Understanding whether these two processes are linked is important for safeguarding crew health, but DNA technology that can track these changes is relatively untested in space.

Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) Protein Crystal Growth (PCG)-9: The crew performed a final inspection of the eight CASIS PCG-9 sample bags for crystal growth and then inserted the sample bags into a Minus Eighty Degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI) for return on the SpaceX-14 vehicle. The Wisconsin Crystal Growing Contest-Wisconsin Space Crystal Mission (CASIS PCG 9) investigation provides student researchers the opportunity to explore crystal growth in the microgravity environment of the ISS. Crystals grown without the influence of gravity have shown to contain fewer imperfections and grow to larger sizes. Middle and high school students compete to grow the most perfect ground-based crystal, as judged by experts in the crystallography field. The students who present the crystals with the fewest imperfections have the opportunity to fly their experiments to the space station.

Mouse Stress Defense: The crew temporarily relocated the Mouse Habitat Cage Units from the Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) to the Glove Box to perform maintenance on the cage units. They replaced waste collecting equipment and odor filters. Microgravity provokes cellular mechanical stresses and perturbs cellular signaling, leading to reduction of muscle and bone density. To overcome these stresses, one of the promising strategies is to activate Nrf2, a master regulator of antioxidant pathway. Mouse Stress Defense investigates how Nrf2 contributes to effective prevention of space-originated stresses.

TangoLab-2: The crew removed cubes from a card taken out of the TangoLab-2 facility, placed them in ziploc bags and then put them in a General Laboratory Active Cryogenic ISS Experiment Refrigerator (GLACIER). TangoLab-2 is a reconfigurable general research facilities designed for microgravity research and development and pilot manufacturing aboard the ISS.

Multi-Use Variable-G Platform (MVP): The crew rotated the food chambers in each Drosophila module in the MVP today. MVP is used to conduct research in space with a wide variety of sample types, such as fruit flies, flatworms, plants, fish, cells, protein crystals and many others. It includes 2 internal carousels that simultaneously can produce up to 2 g of artificial gravity. Each carousel hosts 6 separate removable experiment modules on each carousel. Video and still imagery, including microscopy, can be included. The platform provides temperature and humidity controls and monitors and records oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.

Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) Video Upgrade Equipment (VUE): This morning the crew and ground teams were unsuccessful in an attempt to boot up the MSG VUE from a Universal Serial Bus (USB) Flash Drive. The software on the flash drive had been updated following an analysis of the results from troubleshooting performed two days ago. The MSG VUE unit failed on March 1st. A replacement VUE will be flown up on the Orbital ATK-9 (OA-9) vehicle.

Health Maintenance System (HMS) Eye Ultrasounds: Today the crew completed routine eye exams using an Ultrasound machine. Eye exams are performed regularly onboard in order to monitor crewmembers eye health. Eyesight is one of the many aspects of the human body that is affected by long-duration stays in a microgravity environment.

Solid State Lighting Assembly (SSLA) Installation: This morning the crew installed a SSLA at the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) 1 Deck Starboard location. Over the weekend, the crew reported the General Lighting Luminaire (GLA) at this location had failed providing the opportunity to upgrade the lighting assembly in this location. The SSLA was designed to replace the GLA in order to improve visual acuity and provide a crew health countermeasure for circadian rhythms. To accomplish these goals, SSLAs are designed to operate in three different modes and provide control over the amount of emitted blue light. Blue light impacts melatonin production in humans and controlling its presence can assist with sleep, alertness and performance.

Water Resource Management (WRM) Condensate Sample Collection: Today the crew collected a condensate sample from the Condensate Sample Port at the Water Recovery System (WSR) 2 Utility Interface Panel (UIP). This procedure captures condensate being collected into the Water Processor Assembly (WPA) Waste Tanks and contains the most recently collected condensate. A regularly scheduled activity, that collection is performed multiple times throughout the expedition to verify proper condensate quality and ensure optimum WRM performance.

Dragon Robotic Operations: Yesterday and overnight, ground controllers completed Monday’s deferred robotics tasks to remove the new Pump Flow Control Subsystem (PFCS), brought up on SpX-14, from the Flight Support Equipment (FSE) stowed on the Enhanced ORU Temporary Platform (EOTP). The failed PFCS (commonly referred to as ‘Trippy’ by flight controllers) was then removed from the P6 Long Spacer and the new PFCS was installed in its place. The new PFCS has been powered up and pressures and temperatures are within expected ranges. Tonight, ground operators will install ‘Trippy’ into the FSE, conduct a Mobile Transporter (MT) translation from Worksite (WS)8 to WS6, and Walkoff the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) from the MT to Node 2.

Today’s Planned Activities
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Plant Gravity Perception/European Modular Cultivation System On-Board Training
??? maintenance
Genes in Space MWA Preparation
VEG-03F Hardware Deactivation
Download Pille Dosimeter Readings
First Inspection of Sample Bags for Crystal Growth
Genes in Space MELFI Sample Retrieve
Genes in Space Sample Operations
Mouse Stress Defense Cage Maintenance Familiarization
Insertion of PCG-9 Hardware into MELFI
Remove tape from AstroPi Vis camera lens
MTT/MSC Installation Review
P/TV RED Dragon Battery Discharge
Metabolic Tracking Inoculation Preparation
Genes in Space Payload Message Record
Water Resource Management (WRM) Condensate Sample Init
PROFILAKTIKA-2. Operator Assistance in Preparation for the Experiment
PMM1SD1 General Lighting Luminaire R&R with a Light
XF305 Camcorder Setup
Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) Filter Case Attach
Metabolic Tracking MELFI Metabolic Tracking Group Retrieve
Metabolic Tracking Biocells Inoculation
Mouse Stress Defense Cage Maintenance for Micro-G 1
PROFILAKTIKA-2. Closeout Ops (Operator)
Water Resource Management (WRM) Condensate Sample Terminate
Rack Retention Net R&R
IMS Update
Plant Gravity Perception/European Modular Cultivation System Maintenance Work Area Configuration
ABOUT GAGARIN FROM SPACE. Hardware Setup and Activation.
Cold Stowage Double Coldbag Icebrick Stow
Metabolic Tracking Plate Reader Insertion/Removal
Metabolic Tracking Session Cleanup
Photo/TV RED Dragon Battery Discharge Swap 1
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Food Intake Tracker (ISS FIT)
TV Conference With the participants of the symposium “Biofabrication in Space: New Opportunities for Biological Experiments” (Ku + S-band)
Ultrasound 2 HRF Rack 1 Power On
APEX-06 On-Board Training
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan
Installation of additional fans to improve thermal conditions of SM Electric Power Supply units 800?.
Space Automated Bioproduct Lab, CO2 Meter Setup
APEX-06 Procedure Review#1
Mouse Stress Defense Cage Cleaning
Photo/TV RED Dragon Battery Discharge Swap 2
Food Acceptability Questionnaire – Subject
Formaldehyde Monitoring Kit (FMK) Deployment Operations
Genes in Space Sample End
Replacement of urine receptacle (??) and filter-insert (?-?) in ???. [???] Activation after Replacement
Early Mission Debrief Conference
Genes in Space Sample Remove
EarthKAM Node 1 85MM Lens Change- Russian
Genes in Space MELFI Sample Retrieve
Genes in Space Sample Operations
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) in Columbus
Plant Gravity Perception/European Modular Cultivation System Procedure Review
Control valve and the [???1] heating valve [??1] position adjustment.
Multi-use Variable-g Platform Chamber Rotate
Grab Sample Container (GSC) Sampling Operations
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Educational Imagery Recording
Soyuz 738 IRIDIUM phone charge, setup, start charge
Recharging Soyuz 738 IRIDIUM Phone – Battery Status Check
Soyuz 738 IRIDIUM Phone Charge, Terminate Charge
Recharging ??????? Satellite Phone
Acoustic Monitor Data Transfer and Stow
Genes in Space Sample End
TangoLab-2 Card Cube Remove
??????? Phone Charging – charging control
??????? Phone Charging – End and Disassembly
P/TV RED Dragon Battery
TangoLab-2 Glacier Sample Insertion
Genes in Space Hardware Stow
Genes in Space MELFI Insert

Completed Task List Activities

Ground Activities
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
LAB CDRA Activation & N3 CDRA Standby
SpaceX Robotics Cargo Operations
Metabolic Tracking Support

Three-Day Look Ahead:
Thursday, 04/12: Dragon Cargo Ops, EMCS PGP Ops, Metabolic Tracking Ops, APEX06 Petri Ops
Friday, 04/13: MISSE-FF Transfer Tray Install, GIS Ops, Eye Exams, Mouse Stress Defense Ops, Microbial Tracking 2 Ops, Metabolic Tracking Ops
Saturday, 04/14: Metabolic Tracking Ops, Crew Off-Duty

QUICK ISS Status – Environmental Control Group:
Component – Status
Elektron – On
Vozdukh = Manual
[???] 1 – SM Air Conditioner System (“SKV1”) – Off
[???] 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 – Operate
Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Node 3 – Standby
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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