Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 13 May 2019 – Robotic Arms in Action

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
May 19, 2019
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 13 May 2019 – Robotic Arms in Action
The Canadarm2 robotic arm with its robotic hand, also known as Dextre, attached for fine-tuned robotics work extends across the frame as the International Space Station orbited 256 miles above the Atlantic Ocean. The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship is pictured at right berthed to the Harmony module. Credit: NASA.

A pair of robotic arms from Canada and Japan continued swapping experiment hardware on the International Space Station over the weekend. Meanwhile, the Expedition 59 crew started the week exploring robotics and biology today while a pair of cosmonauts look to the next spacewalk.
The 57.7-foot-long Canadarm2 robotic arm started removing a pair of external investigations last week from the SpaceX Dragon’s unpressurized trunk. The remotely controlled Canadarm2 first grabbed the new Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 (OCO-3) then handed it off to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) robotic arm for installation on the Kibo lab module’s external pallet.

The Canadarm2 next removed the Space Test Program-Houston 6 (STP-H6) experiment from Dragon and installed it on the station’s truss structure. STP-H6 provides a platform for studying space physics to improve spacecraft navigation and communication techniques. The Canadian robotic arm then removed the completed SCAN radio communications study from the truss and placed it inside Dragon’s trunk.

JAXA’s robotic arm also retrieved the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS) experiment from the station and handed it off to the Canadarm2 for installation inside Dragon’s trunk. CATS successfully began demonstrating atmospheric monitoring after its delivery aboard a SpaceX Dragon cargo craft in January 2015. CATS and SCAN will now burn up in the atmosphere when Dragon’s trunk separates from the resupply ship before it returns to Earth at the end of May.

Back inside the orbital lab today, NASA astronaut Anne McClain calibrated the Astrobee and mapped the Kibo lab module with the free-flying robotic assistant. Flight Engineers Nick Hague and Christina Koch continued exploring how space changes the immune system, pathogens and kidney cells.

Two cosmonauts, Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineer Alexey Ovchinin, are planning for the fourth spacewalk at the station this year on May 29. The duo is timelined for about six hours of experiment retrieval work, window cleaning and sample collecting on the station’s Russian segment.

On-Orbit Status Report

Kidney Cells: On Sunday, the crew performed the Kidney Cell fixation inside the Life Science Glovebox (LSG). Following this, the Kidney Cells hardware was removed from the LSG and prepared for return. Fixation is a group of techniques used in biological science to preserve samples and terminate ongoing biochemical reactions in preparation for later analysis. Effects of Microgravity on the Structure and Function of Proximal and Distal Tubule Microphysiological System (MPS), or Kidney Cells, examines how kidney health is affected by microgravity and other factors of space travel, including increased chemical exposure, water conservation and recycling, and altered dietary intake. Serious medical conditions caused by poor kidney health, including protein in the urine (proteinuria), osteoporosis, and kidney stones, occur more often and more quickly in space. Knowledge gained can help protect the health of astronauts as well as contribute to better treatments for kidney related conditions on Earth.

MVP Cell-01 nutrient replace: Over the weekend, the crew removed Experiment Modules from the Multi-use Variable-g Platform, exchanged the nutrients, and reinstalled the Experiment Modules back into the Multi-use Variable-g Platform. The investigation studies a disease called Post-traumatic Osteoarthritis, in which a traumatic joint injury may lead to arthritis after loss of cartilage and bone. The ability of potential drugs to prevent the progression of this disease is tested on Earth and in space. The MVP facility 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 internal carousels that simultaneously can produce up to 2 g of artificial gravity.

Astrobee mapping: The crew manually translated the Astrobee Free Flyer in various attitudes in the JEM and Node 2. The goal is to collect visual data to create a map of the JPM, and to calibrate Astrobee. The activities went very smoothly and the ground team was happy with the results. Astrobee is a series of three free-flying, cube-shaped robots which are designed to help scientists and engineers develop and test technologies for use in microgravity to assist astronauts with routine chores. The autonomous robots, powered by fans and vision-based navigation, perform crew-monitoring, sampling, logistics management, and accommodate up to three investigations.

ISS Experience: The crew set up the ISS Experience hardware to document the Veggie PONDS photo activities today. Talking points involved discussion of the importance of plant growth systems to Moon and Mars missions, discussion on the PONDS growth system itself, and the reason for the pink growth light in the Veggie system. The ISS Experience creates a virtual reality film documenting daily life aboard the ISS. The 8 to 10 minute videos created from footage taken during the six-month investigation cover different aspects of crew life, execution of science aboard the ISS, and the international partnerships involved. The ISS Experience uses a Z-CAM V1 Pro Cinematic Virtual Reality (VR) 360-degree camera with nine 190° fisheye lenses.

Micro-14: Using the MSG, the crew inoculated the culture bag with yeast. The Micro-14 (Characterizing the Effects of Spaceflight on theCandida albicans Adaptation Responses) life science research mission investigates and evaluates the responses of the C. albicans, a type of yeast, to microgravity conditions and, in particular, to assess changes at the physiological, cellular, and molecular level and to characterize virulence factors.

Nano Antioxidants: The crew removed the twelve experiment containers from Kubik after the completion of the automated run. The aim of the Nano Antioxidants investigation is to research innovative approaches for cellular stimulation to counteract the negative effects of long-term microgravity on the musculoskeletal system. There are numerous possible applications of this research project in other crucial social domains, such as healthcare of the elderly and of people with muscle atrophy disorders, through the implementation of new therapeutic strategies in the treatment of diseases involving oxidative stress as causing factor.

Photobioreactor (PBR): The crew removed the vent closeout panels from the Expedite the Processing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) Rack and installed PBR into the appropriate locker location. However, when the PBR was subsequently powered on, an off-nominal screen display was observed. A power-cycle was attempted and gave a nominal display momentarily, but it quickly transitioned to the off-nominal condition again. Ground teams are reviewing the log files to determine a forward plan and PBR was deactivated. The life support systems that sustain astronauts in space are based on physicochemical processes. The Photobioreactor investigation aims to demonstrate that microalgae (i.e. biological processes) can be used together with existing systems to improve recycling of resources, creating a hybrid life support system. This hybrid approach could be helpful in future long-duration exploration missions, as it could reduce the amount of consumables required from Earth, and will first be tested in space on the International Space Station (ISS).

Veggie PONDS (Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System): The crew took photos of the PONDS modules in both Veggie facilities from overhead and oblique angles. Today’s operations were to study the water distribution in the PONDS units in an attempt to better understand why the plants do not appear to be growing as expected. Organisms grow differently in space, from single-celled bacteria to plants and humans. Future long-duration space missions will require crew members to grow their own food. Therefore, understanding how plants respond to microgravity and demonstrating the reliable vegetable production on orbit are important steps toward that goal. Veggie PONDS uses a newly developed passive nutrient delivery system and the Veggie plant growth facility aboard the ISS to cultivate lettuce and mizuna greens which are to be harvested on-orbit, and consumed, with samples returned to Earth for analysis.

Airflow Measurement Survey: In support of monitoring the health of the ISS InterModule Ventilation (IMV) system, the crew used the Velocicalc device and set of measurement aids to measure the air flow exiting outlets and entering inlets throughout the USOS modules.

Mobile Servicing System (MSS) Operations: Friday night, Robotics Ground Controllers powered up the MSS and positioned it over the Dragon trunk. They then maneuvered the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) Arm 2 to stow the SCAN Testbed payload in the Dragon trunk for return.

Completed Task List Activities:

Ghost camera charge
Lab RFID photo audit
Node 1 RFID photo audit
EVA wobble socket locate
Mouse habitat water gel insertion/removal
Dragon cargo ops
Thermal Amine labeling
CEVIS belt inspection

ARED cylinder evac
HAM radio troubleshooting
JEM WIS environmental monitor RSU battery R&R
PBA stow
ARED load adjustment unit wanted poster
Mouse habitat water gel insertion/removal
Dragon cargo ops
Mouse habitat water gel insertion/removal
Dragon cargo ops
CEVIS belt inspection

Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
Kidney LSG teardown
PONDS module photos
MSS ops – CATS install in Dragon trunk

Look Ahead:
Tuesday, 05/14 (GMT 134):

Micro-14 FEP
Food Acceptability
Genes in Space-6
ISS Experience stow
JAXA Mouse Mission maintenance and gather
Kakuda imagery
Mass Measurement Device setup
Rodent Research-12 maintenance and gather
Nano antioxidants Kubik closeout

Acoustic Monitor removal
DCB icebrick stow

Wednesday, 05/15 (GMT 135):

Rodent Research-12 sample gathering
Food Acceptability
LMM/Biophysics-6 plate removal

RS EVA tether inspect

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

Acoustic Monitors Setup Reminder
Reminder Behavorial Core Measures ROBoT-r Testing
МО-8. Configuration Setup
Reminder Behavorial Core Measures Cognition Testing
МО-8. Body Mass Measurement
Photo T/V (P/TV) Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Exercise Video Setup
Body Mass Measurement – BMMD
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection 25 Minutes Subject
Body Mass Measurement – BMMD
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Operator
МО-8. Body Mass Measurement
Body Mass Measurement – BMMD
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Configuration
Acoustic Monitor Setup for Crew Worn Measurements
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Spin Conclude
Japan Aerospace eXploration Agency Sample MELFI Retrieval and Insertion
Astrobee Procedure Review
HRF Generic Sample MELFI Insertion
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Conclude And Stow
MICRO ALGAE Culture Bag Daily Deploy
Intermodule Ventilation (IMV) Flow Measurement Survey
МО-8. Closeout Ops
FEP MELFI Retrieve 1
EML Gas Valves Opening
Micro-14 Yeast Inoculation in MSG
JAXA Mouse Mission Item Gathering
Weekly monitoring of video recording equipment performance on the ISS RS
DAN. Experiment Session
DAN. Operator Assistance with Experiment Operations
XF305 Camcorder Setup
JAXA Mouse Mission Preparation for Watering
Water Refill Kit Battery Charge
JAXA Mouse Mission Cage Watering for 1G
JAXA Mouse Mission Watering Closeout.
Astrobee Crew Conference
Auxiliary Laptop Computer System Virus Definition File Update
Astrobee JEM Mapping Operations
Review preliminary EVA timeline and ODF, view EVA-46 video
Micro Algae Clump Check
Photo/TV Camcorder Setup Verification
Polar Hardware Install into Express Rack
Water Recovery and Management (WRM) Waste Water Bus (WWB) Combine
MRM1-FGB Screw Clamp Tightening
Physical fitness evaluation (on the treadmill)
Crew Prep for PAO
PAO hardware setup. Video/Audio check
Water Refill Kit Review
TV Conference with the participants of the project The ISS is on Line
Rodent Research 12 Dissection Review and Conference
Kakuda Space Rice Seed Stowage Location Confirmation
LSG Work Volume Deploy
Food Acceptability Questionnaire
ISS Experience Columbus Setup
PAO Preparation
Public Affairs Office (PAO) High Definition (HD) Config JEM Setup
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) – JEM
Kidney Cells LSG Ancillary Hardware Teardown
Nano Antioxidants Experiment Container Deinstallation
Actiwatch Plus HRF Rack 1 Setup
Insertion of Nano Antioxidants Experiment Containers into MELFI at -80°C
On MCC GO Purging Elektron-VM Liquid Unit (БЖ) after Shutdown
ISS Experience Recording Preparation
TangoLab-2 Card Cube Remove
PAO hardware setup. Video/Audio check
ISS Experience Introduction Recording
Crew Prep for PAO
Glovebox Freezer – Life Science Glovebox – Setup
Veggie Ponds Module Photos
TangoLab-2 Polar Sample Insertion
TV Conference with the participants of the project The ISS is on Line
Lighting Effects Light Meter Setup
ISS Experience Hardware Relocate
Photo/TV, Checking Camcorder Settings
Polar Desiccant Swap
Exercise Data Downlink via OCA
Actiwatch Plus HRF Rack 1 Stow
MICRO ALGAE Culture Bag Daily Stow
Lighting Effects Light Meter Ambient Readings
Glovebox Freezer Leak Check
Acoustic Monitor Battery Swap
LSG Work Volume Stow
Photo T/V (P/TV) Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Exercise Video Stow
Lighting Effects Light Meter Stow
Behavioral Core Measures ROBoT-r Testing

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