Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 11 March 2020 – Bone and Heart Cells Research

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
March 14, 2020
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 11 March 2020 – Bone and Heart Cells Research
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 11 March 2020 - Bone and Heart Cells Research.

Bone cells and now heart cells are on the space research agenda for the Expedition 62 crew. The International Space Station continues gearing up for more space investigations recently delivered aboard the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship.
NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Meir turned her attention today to a new experiment exploring cardiac activity in microgravity. She tended to heart cells swapping media that nourishes the samples being observed and manipulated with magnetic sensors. The results could inform measures to keep astronauts healthy on long-term missions and possibly treat heart conditions on Earth.

Bone health is also important for humans living and working on and off the Earth. Over in the Japanese Kibo laboratory module, NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan worked in the Life Science Glovebox servicing bone cell samples for an experiment that began in February. That research is comparing samples nurtured in weightlessness to a set of samples that are magnetically levitated in a lab on Earth. Insights could prove valuable when treating bone ailments such as osteoporosis.

The pair also split their time on several other investigations ranging from radiation detection to protein crystals. Radiation detectors were retrieved from Dragon and installed throughout the station to characterize the orbital lab’s radiation dosage and distribution. The crew also looked at protein crystals that grow better in space than on Earth, for a pair of studies, PCG-10 and JAXA Moderate Temp PCG, supporting the development of more effective medications.

Commander Oleg Skripochka focused on Russian communications gear throughout the day testing two-way audio and video satellite links. He also spent some time exploring advanced photography techniques to locate Earth targets.

On-Orbit Status Report

DOSIS-3D: The crew retrieved the DOSIS-3D Passive Detector Pouch (PDP) from the Dragon vehicle and installed the ten passive detector packs and one triple detector pack at appropriate locations. This experiment uses active and passive detectors to determine the radiation doses inside the ISS and provides documentation of the actual nature and distribution of the radiation fields. A concise three dimensional dose distribution map of all the segments of the ISS will be developed based on this data and data from JAXA and NASA monitoring devices.

Engineered Heart Tissue/FE8: Using the Life Science Glovebox, the crew performed the cell culture media change for the Engineered Heart Tissue chambers. A Human induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC)-based 3D Microphysiological System for Modeling Cardiac Dysfunction in Microgravity (Engineered Heart Tissues) assesses human cardiac function in microgravity. It uses 3D cultured cardiac muscle tissue that mimics the architecture and function of adult human cardiac muscle. A magnet-based sensor placed underneath the tissue culture chamber allows real-time, non-destructive analysis of the functional performance and maturation of the tissues in space, which is compared with those cultured on Earth.

Medium Temp PCG: The crew retrieved the JAXA Protein Crystal Growth (PCG) container, started the investigation, then stowed it in Freezer-Refrigerator Of STirling cycle (FROST2). The high quality protein crystal growth experiment at moderate temperature (JAXA MT PCG) is aimed at the growth of crystals of biological macromolecules by the counter-diffusion technique or permeation method. The main scientific objective of the JAXA Moderate Temp PCG experiment is to make high quality protein crystals in the microgravity environment at moderate temperature.

Nanoracks Mod-51: The crew initiated the sub investigations contained within the Mod-51. These sub experiments are the Vitamin-C Flask with syringe, Waxworm flask, Adipic acid and Venom flex plates, Yeast and amylase mixture tubes, and Flask with Flatworms. Inspection and/or activation of the experiments were nominal and the hardware was stowed. Nanoracks Mod-51 is an aluminum module with a Velcro lid that can accommodate various sub-experiments.

OsteoOmics-2: The crew completed media exchange for Biocell habitat 4. During the activity, they noted only 3 of the biocells were free of contamination. The media was exchanged on the 3 healthy Biocells and the 3 Biocells with contamination were bagged and frozen for later ground analysis. Cause of the contamination is under discussion. Millions of Americans experience bone loss which results from disease or the reduced effects of gravity that can occur in bed-ridden patients. OsteoOmics tests whether magnetic levitation accurately simulates the free-fall conditions of microgravity by comparing genetic expression osteoblastic cells, a type of bone cell, levitated in a high-field superconducting magnet with cells flown in low-Earth orbit. This information helps scientists determine the molecular and metabolic changes that take place in magnetic levitation and real microgravity.

PCG-10: The crew retrieved the PCG-10 hardware from its temporary ambient stow location and placed it in the permanent stow location. Microgravity Crystallization of Glycogen Synthase-Glycogenin Protein Complex (CASIS PCG 10) crystallizes human glycogen synthase proteins on the space station. These include enzymes critical for glycogen synthesis in the liver and those present in muscle. The lack of convection in microgravity can result in higher quality crystals that contribute to better understanding of a protein’s structure and support development of more effective medications with fewer side effects.


Latching End Effector (LEE) A Snare Survey: Following yesterday’s Space Station Remote Manipulator stem (SSRMS double walkoff, today the LEE A Snare survey was completed. The Robotics team will now unstow the Special Purpose Dexterous manipulator (SPDM) and Robot Micro Conical Tool (RMCT) in preparation for tomorrow’s Material International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) operations.

Completed Task List Activities:

Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
Payload operations support
SSC updates
SSRMS LEE A survey
Lookahead Plan

Thursday, 3/12 (GMT 072)
Food Acceptability
Locker reconfigurations
MELFI Icebrick insert
Nanoracks Mod-9 ops 2

JOTI config for MISSE transfer tray

Friday, 3/13 (GMT 073)
Food Acceptability
Standard Measures
Phage Evolution

WHC maintenance

Saturday, 3/14 (GMT 074)
CGBA stat check
ISS Experience SD c/o
MELFI icebrick insertions
Nanoracks Mod-51

Crew off duty; housekeeping

Sunday, 3/15 (GMT 075)

Crew off duty

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

HRF Generic MELFI Sample Retrieval And Insertion Operations
NanoRacks Module-51 Overview
Nanoracks Module-51 MELFI Retrieve
OsteoOmics-2 Media Relocate
MERLIN 4 EXPRESS Rack Installation
Polar and PAUL Transfer from Dragon Overview
Cold Stow Box Unpack
XF305 Camcorder Setup
Weekly check of video recording equipment performance on the ISS RS
JAXA MT PCG Sample Preparation
AED Inspection
RSK1 Laptop Replacement
OsteoOmics-2 Media Change
LSG-Front Glove-Swap
Fabrication and installation of improved ventilation aids for RSK1 ZBook laptop
EHT MELFI Sample Retrieval Operation 1
Nanoracks Module-51 Start
VIZIR. Conducting Smart Drawer Coordinate Referencing System (СКП-УП) PL Session
MELFI 3 Ice Brick Insert 2
JAXA Mouse Mission 5 Item Gathering and Preparation
TOCA Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis
XF305 Camcorder Setup
Transportation Cage Unit Cleaning
MERLIN Sample Transfer
Polar and PAUL Transfer from Dragon Overview
Setup and Activation of Crew Onboard Support Kit (КСПЭ) Equipment for mpeg2 TV coverage of Wide Band Communication System (ШСС) Test
Glove Box Cleaning
Gathering and connecting КСПЭ hardware to ШСС video server
Polar Dragon Uninstall, Transfer, and EXPRESS Rack Install
Test comm sessions via Luch-5В Relay Satellite (95°) and 2-way audio/video comm check with ШСС smart station [АРМ]
Powered Ascent Utility Locker Hardware Installation
Receiving files from ШСС MDM to RSS1
DOSIS Passive Detector Pouch retrieval
Installation of the DOSIS 3D passive detector packs in Columbus and photodocumentation.
EHT Tissue Chamber Media Change
Test comm sessions via Luch-5В Relay Satellite (95°) and 2-way audio/video comm check with ШСС smart station [АРМ]
Closeout ops after comm sessions via Luch-5V (95°) relay satellite
On MCC Go Turn off camcorder, TV system monitoring equipment, close applications
LSG-Front Glove-Swap
Restow Dragon Vestibule Outfitting Kit (VOK)
Polar Samples to Cold Stowage
PCG-10 Ambient Stow
PCG-10 Hardware Photography
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Sample Data Record
LSG Primary Crew Restraint Fold
LSG Work Volume Stow

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