Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 12 April 2018

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
April 15, 2018
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 12 April 2018
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 12 April 2018.

Today’s research aboard the International Space Station is primarily focusing on how plants react and how medicine works in space.
The Expedition 55 crew and robotics controllers are also continuing cargo operations inside and outside the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft.

Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold participated today in the Plant Gravity Perception experiment, one of several ongoing space botany studies. The station crew is helping scientists explore how plants determine which way to grow and perceive light in microgravity. Results may help future astronauts training for longer missions beyond low-Earth orbit learn how to grow crops in space to sustain themselves.

Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai continued research into how the human body in space metabolizes medicine. NASA astronaut Drew Feustel started operations with the Metabolic Tracking (MT) experiment this morning before handing it off to Kanai. MT is looking at a particular type of medicine and how it interacts with human tissue cultures. Results could improve therapies in space and lead to better, cheaper drugs on Earth.

Scott Tingle of NASA partnered with Arnold today unloading more cargo from Dragon. They continue to unpack several thousand pounds of new science experiments, station hardware and crew supplies.

Outside the Dragon in its trunk is the Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) experiment that will be robotically removed Friday. Engineers on the ground operating the Canadarm2 will maneuver ASIM, an Earth observation facility, and install it on Europe’s Columbus lab module.

On-Orbit Status Report

Plant Gravity Perception (PGP): The final Plant Gravity Perception experiment completed today with three of the Experiment Containers (ECs) maintaining power in the European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS). The crew removed seed cassettes from the ECs and placed them in a Minus Eighty Degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI). For this investigation, normal and mutated forms of thale cress, a model research plant, were germinated to support the study of the plants’ gravity and light perception. Results provide insight into the plants’ adaptation to a microgravity environment and supports efforts to grow plants for food on future space missions.

Metabolic Tracking (MT): The crew set up MT hardware and materials for thawing and inoculation. They injected the thawed inoculum into multiwell BioCells, which were then inserted into the NanoRacks Plate Reader-2. 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.

Using Brachypodium distachyon to Investigate Monocot Plant Adaptation to Spaceflight (APEX-06): The crew configured the Veggie facility today for the initial APEX-06 operations and installed twenty APEX-06 petri plates into the Veggie facility to begin the growth process of the plants. The APEX-06 experiment investigates the growth of the common grass species Brachypodium distachyon in the microgravity environment of space. The grasses grow from seedlings aboard the ISS, and are returned as frozen samples to Earth-based labs for detailed analysis and comparison with Earth-based control groups. APEX-06 aims to compare the growth and gene-expression patterns of Brachypodium distachyon with those of the dicotyledonous model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, which has been extensively studied in space and whose behavior in microgravity is better understood.

MetOx Regeneration Initiation: Today the crew initiated a MetOx regeneration cycle on two MetOx canisters. This process is expected to take 14 hours and the crew is scheduled to terminate the regeneration cycle and remove the canisters from the MetOx Regenerator on Friday. These two canisters will be used for an upcoming EVA.

Public Affairs Office (PAO) Events: Today Fuestel participated in a PAO event with actor Will Smith and sponsored by National Geographic.

Dragon Cargo Operations: Today the crew resumed Dragon cargo operations. Over the next several days, the crew will remove the final ascent items still stowed in the Dragon capsule and begin loading items identified for return on SpaceX-14.

Dragon Robotic Operations: Last night, the failed Pump Flow Control Subsystem (PFCS) (commonly referred to as ‘Trippy’ by the flight control team) was bolted in Flight Support Equipment (FSE) and the FSE lid was closed and locked. Tonight ground controllers will perform a Mobile Transporter (MT) translation from Worksite (WS)8 to WS6 and Walk Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) off the MT to Node 2 Power Data Grapple Fixture (PDGF).

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

APEX-06 Hardware Gather #1
APEX-06 MELFI Retrieval #1
Setup and Activation of Crew Onboard Support Kit (????) Equipment for MPEG2 TV coverage from SM
TV Conference Dedicated to the Cosmonautics Day (S + Ku-band)
TV Conference with Artek International Children Center (S + Ku-band)
TV Conference Dedicated to the Cosmonautics Day (S + Ku-band)
Metabolic Tracking Inoculation Preparation
Metabolic Tracking MELFI Metabolic Tracking Group Retrieve
Metabolic Tracking Biocells Inoculation
Metabolic Tracking MELFI Inoculation Bag Retrieve
Metabolic Tracking Plate Reader Insertion/Removal
Metabolic Tracking Session Cleanup
Live TV Conference with VKontakte Hostess (S + Ku-band)
Coliform Water Sample Analysis 44 +/- 4 hours post processing
Deactivation of camcorder, TV System monitoring equipment and closing applications on Central Post SSC
Plant Gravity Perception/European Modular Cultivation System Experiment Container Removal
Plant Gravity Perception/European Modular Cultivation System Sample Processing
Plant Gravity Perception/European Modular Cultivation System MELFI Sample Insertion
Plant Gravity Perception/European Modular Cultivation System Cleanup
??? maintenance
APEX-06 Science Insertion
Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Inspection
Station Support Computer (SSC) Network Attached Storage Hard Drive (HDD) Reseat
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) – JEM
Cargo Transfer to Dragon
Plant Gravity Perception/European Modular Cultivation System Maintenance Work Area Deconfigure
APEX-06 MELFI Insertion #1
European Modular Cultivation System Gas Valve Close
MERLIN 3 Desiccant Insert
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Food Intake Tracker (ISS FIT)
MERLIN3 Ice Brick Insert
Photo/TV, Checking Camcorder Settings
Microbial Tracking-2 Operations Review
Metal Oxide (METOX) Regeneration Initiation
Microbial Tracking-2 Crew Conference
Dragon Cargo Operations Conference
Photo T/V (P/TV) Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Exercise Video Stow

Completed Task List Activities

Ground Activities
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
GSFC Router Software Update
N3 MCA ORU-2 Troubleshooting
SpaceX Robotics Cargo Operations

Three-Day Look Ahead:
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: House Keeping, Crew Off-Duty
Sunday, 05/15: 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 – Operate
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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