Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 17 August, 2021 – Muscle Studies

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
August 18, 2021
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 17 August, 2021 – Muscle Studies
Astronaut Megan McArthur works on the Cardinal Muscle investigation.

The Expedition 65 crew spent Tuesday on a variety of biology experiments exploring how living in microgravity affects the human muscle system.
The residents aboard the International Space Station are also intensifying their preparations for three spacewalks over the coming weeks.

Astronauts Megan McArthur of NASA and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) split the day working on the Cardinal Muscle study in Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. McArthur started the morning setting up engineered muscle cell samples in the Life Sciences Glovebox for observation. Pesquet took over in the afternoon continuing the sample work to learn how to treat space-caused muscle loss and Earth-bound muscle conditions.

Pesquet and Commandeer Akihiko Hoshide from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) started their morning research duties on another pair of muscle investigations. For the Anti-Atrophy investigation, Pesquet installed cell samples into Kibo’s Cell Biology Experiment Facility to test biomaterials that may prevent muscle loss in space as well as on Earth. Hoshide, also working inside Kibo, inserted cell samples into a specialized microscope to observe how they adapt to weightlessness for the Cell Gravisensing muscle atrophy study.

Hoshide then spent the rest of Tuesday with NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei getting ready for their first spacewalk together set for next week. They started configuring the U.S. Quest airlock and checking components on their U.S. spacesuits. McArthur joined them afterward and helped the duo suit up for a fit verification. Hoshide and Vande Hei will exit Quest on Aug. 24 to prepare the Port-4 truss structure for future Roll-Out Solar Array installation work.

Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov are getting ready for two of their own spacewalks targeted for early September. They began collecting their spacewalk tools located in the station’s Russian segment and photographed them for inspection today. The cosmonaut duo from Roscosmos will exit the Poisk module for both excursions and outfit the Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module for science operations.

On-Orbit Status Report


Advanced Imaging, Folding, and Assembly of Colloidal Molecules (ACE-T-9): The crew removed the two desiccant bags and ACE-T-5 Module, then installed the new ACE-T-9 Module. The crew took photos of both Module’s capillaries including an overall view and a closer view of each individual capillary (three per module). The ACE-T-9 investigation involves the imaging, folding, and assembly of complex colloidal molecules within a fluid medium. This set of experiments not only prepares for future colloidal studies, but also provides insight into the relationship between particle shape, colloidal interaction, and structure. These so-called “colloidal molecules” are vital to the design of new and more stable product mixtures.

Anti-Atrophy: The crew installed the Anti-Atrophy sample into Measure Experiment Unit C and installed the unit into the Cell Biology Experiment Facility Incubator Unit (CBEF IU) Micro-G for starting experiment operations. Muscle atrophy that occurs in microgravity affects the quality of life of astronauts. Research on Inhibitory Effects of Novel Concept Biomaterials, an HSP Inducer and Ubiquitin Ligase Inhibitor, on Microgravity-induced Muscle Atrophy (Anti-Atrophy) tests the ability of these biomaterials to inhibit muscle atrophy in microgravity. The investigation examines cells cultured with and without biomaterials, including C14Cblin, a muscle atrophy inhibitor, and Celastrol, a muscle synthesis accelerator.

Cardinal Muscle: The crew performed sample collections and changed out the media for each BioCell specified and preserved the specified BioCell. Muscle mass diminishes with age on Earth via a condition called sarcopenia, and astronauts experience similar and accelerated loss of muscle mass during spaceflight. Tissue Engineered Muscle in Microgravity as a Novel Platform to Study Sarcopenia (Cardinal Muscle) evaluates whether engineered human muscle cells cultured in microgravity are a valid model for studying muscle loss. Because microgravity accelerates the process, a valid tissue model could enable rapid assessment of therapeutics to treat muscle loss.

Cell Gravisensing: The crew removed Cell Gravisensing samples from the Confocal Space Microscope and temporarily stowed them in Ziploc bags which were secured near the SABL rack. New samples were removed from the Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) and placed into the Microscope for observations. The Elucidation of the Gravisensing Mechanism in Single Cells (Cell Gravisensing) investigation studies how cells sense gravity. While recent research has revealed that individual animal cells can detect gravity, the mechanism for this sensing is largely unknown. This investigation analyzes changes in tension in cell stress fibers during spaceflight as a possible mechanism.

Payload On-orbit Still Shorts for Utilization and Maintenance (POSSUM): The crew photographed the current configuration of NASA Payload Rack Fronts. The POSSUM photo project is a training tool that has the ISS crew take onboard photographs of completed Express rack and experiment installations. These photos are that are sent back down to the ground and printed into actual life size marquees that are used for ISS astronaut ISS training and familiarization

Ring Sheared Drop: The crew removed existing syringe and test cell and installed a new syringe and new test cell into the Ring Sheared Drop hardware in MSG Work Volume. The Ring Sheared Drop investigation examines the formation and flow of amyloids without the complications associated with the solid walls of a container, because in microgravity, surface tension provides containment of the liquid. Fibrous, extracellular protein deposits found in organs and tissues, amyloids are associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Results could contribute to better understanding of these diseases as well as to development of advanced materials.


Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Preparation: In preparation for the IROSA 4A preparation EVA currently scheduled for August 24th, the crew completed part one of the equipment lock preparation and the EVA EMU On-orbit Fitcheck Verification (OFV). The OFV was scheduled for two suited crewmembers with one IV crewmember for the entire OFV and an additional crewmember to assist with SAFER donning.

Systems Operations Data File (SODF) Deploy: The Crew incorporated three updated hardcopy EMER books to the existing SODF on-orbit. New pages were incorporated into EMER-1a: Depress, Fire, Equipment Retrieval in preparation for the Soyuz to MLM relocation, a new generic revision of EMER-1b: Hazardous Release was deployed and a new MLM revision to EMER-1c: Ammonia Response was also deployed. The SODFs consists of the procedures and reference documents, fabricated items, and associated supplies and hardware required to operate and maintain the U.S. element of the ISS during both nominal and off-nominal conditions.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

MT Translation
EVA EMU On-orbit Fitcheck Verification (OFV)
Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) Unstow
Deactivation of Node 3 TCCS
T2 Rack and Smoke Detector (SD) deactivation
Look Ahead Plan

Wednesday, August 18 (GMT 230)

Astrobee Perching Arm Removal (NASA)
Behavioral Core Measures (NASA)
Cell Gravisensing Closeout (JAXA)
Food Acceptability (NASA)
Lumina Install (ESA)
Repository Urine and Blood Setup (NASA)

EVA Prep
Node 3 UOP 5 Power Cable Connector Troubleshooting
Hydrogen Sensor ORU Purge Adapter Operations
Thursday, August 19 (GMT 231)

Anti-Atrophy Medium Exchange (JAXA)
Astrobee Prep (NASA)
Behavioral Core Measures (NASA)
Eklosion Install (ESA)
Lumina Data Transfer (ESA)
Manufacturing Device print removal (NASA)
MSL SCA Exchange B3 #4 (ESA)
Repository Urine and Blood Collect (NASA)
RESWARM setup and Checkout (NASA)
Ring Shear Drop Syringe Removal and install (NASA)

EVA Prep
Cygnus Cargo Ops
Acoustic Monitoring
CASA Keep Out Zone (KOZ) Label Installation
Friday, August 20 (GMT 232)

Cardinal Muscle Microscopy (NASA)
Cool Flames ACME bottle change (NASA)
Food Acceptability (NASA)
Lumina Data Transfer (ESA)
Plant Habitat-04 Debris removal Procedure (NASA)
Repository Urine Collect (NASA)

EVA Prep
SpX-23 Dragon Rendezvous Prep
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

ACE-T9 Module Configuration #2
Anti-Atrophy Sample Installation
Cell Gravisensing-1 Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) Closeout
Cell Gravisensing-1 Observation Preparation 10th of 10th
ARED Powerdown
Cardinal Muscle Glacier Sample Removal
Cardinal Muscle Iceberg Sample Insert
Cardinal Muscle Sample and Media Change Ops
Cardinal Muscle MELFI Sample Insertion Operations Session
Systems Operations Data File (SODF) Deploy
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Buffer Container (BC) Changeout
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Sample Data Record
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Equipment Lock Preparation Part 1
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) On-orbit Fitcheck Verification (OFV) Extravehicular (EV)
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) On-orbit Fitcheck Verification (OFV) Intravehicular (IV)
Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER) Installation Practice
Fluids Integrated Rack Rack Doors Close
Fluids Integrated Rack Rack Doors Open
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Spaceflight Cognitive Assessment Tool for Windows (WinSCAT) Test
Checking SM Belair WAP power cable connection. Tagup with specialists
LSG Primary Crew Restraint Fold
LSG Primary Crew Restraint Unfold
LSG Work Volume Stow
MELFI 3 Ice Brick Insert 2
Power down NOD3 Plug-in Plan (PIP) hardware
Onboard Training (OBT) Robotics On-board Trainer (ROBoT) Setup
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Social Media Event
Payload On-Orbit Still Shots for Utilization and Maintenance (POSSUM) Payload Photo
RSD MELFI Sample Insertion
Ring-Sheared Drop Syringe and Test Cell Removal and Install
Udon Service Pack (SP) Big Picture Words Review
Udon Service Pack Plan Conference

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