Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 17 May 2019 – Bio-Analyzer Tested

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
May 25, 2019
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 17 May 2019 – Bio-Analyzer Tested
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 17 May 2019 - Bio-Analyzer Tested.

Four Expedition 59 astronauts spent Friday investigating a multitude of space biology phenomena while two cosmonauts continued preparing for an upcoming spacewalk.
International Space Station hardware is also ready for return to Earth inside the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship.

The crew is exploring how space impacts a variety of microscopic physiological processes today to get humans ready to go to the Moon in 2024. DNA, pathogens and microalgae as well as their benefits and risks to astronauts are just some of the microbiological systems scientists are studying in space.

The Bio-Analyzer is a new device from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) being tested aboard the space station for its ability to process and analyze biological samples quickly. CSA astronaut David Saint-Jacques added his blood samples to the biomedical device today so doctors could check his biomarkers from the ground.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch studied a pair of yeast strains today using the miniPCR hardware for the Genes In Space-6 study. The experiment is exploring how space radiation damages DNA and how the cell repair mechanism works in microgravity. Koch later tended to plants grown inside the Veggie PONDS botany facility.

More research into why pathogens become more virulent in space continued today as Flight Engineer Nick Hague processed culture samples for the microbiology study. Hague also checked on microalgae sample packs that may serve as a dietary supplement for future astronauts.

Hague also configured a variety of space biology hardware, both large and small, ensuring critical research operations continue successfully on the orbital lab. He first worked on a pair of refrigerator-sized Human Research Facility racks before checking out the shoebox-sized TangoLab-1 facility that enables a variety of tissue, cell and botany investigations.

Anne McClain of NASA turned her attention Friday to old hardware disconnected during a spacewalk earlier this year. She will retrieve a failed Battery Charge Discharge Unit (BCDU) resting outside the Kibo laboratory module’s airlock and bring it inside the station. The Canadarm2’s robotic hand, known as Dextre, removed the BCDU early Thursday from a truss structure logistics carrier and placed it outside Kibo. The BCDU will be packed aboard the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft for analysis after it returns to Earth June 3.

Two cosmonauts are getting ready for the fourth station spacewalk this year scheduled to take place May 29. Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineer Alexey Ovchinin tagged up with Russian spacewalk specialists on the ground today for assistance setting up their Orlan spacesuits. The duo will remove experiments, sample station surfaces and jettison obsolete hardware during their six-hour excursion.

On-Orbit Status Report

CSA/Bioanalyzer: The crew collected a finger blood sample, mixed the sample with reagents, and analyzed the processed sample using the Biomarker instrument of the Bio-Analyzer. They also processed a control sample in the Cellular Labeling instrument. Although the ISS is equipped with health and life sciences research tools, existing instrumentation for the analysis of biological samples is almost completely lacking as compared to capabilities found in laboratories on Earth. The Bio-Analyzer Commissioning tests the Bio-Analyzer facility, which was specifically developed to quantify molecules and cells in body fluids such as blood, urine or saliva. The analysis is conducted on blood samples collected through a finger prick and the instrument provides the data within 2 hours after blood collection.

EML (Electro-Magnetic Levitator) Gas Valve Close: In support of the current science campaign, the crew closed all EML gas valves. Ground teams report that they have successfully performed multiple melt cycles in a helium atmosphere for Al89Cu11 and Al65Ni35 samples (the numbers indicate percent composition). The EML is a multi-user facility designed for containerless materials processing in space. It supports research in the areas of meta-stable states and phases along with the measurement of high-accurate thermophysical properties of liquid metallic alloys at high temperatures. EML can accommodate up to 18 samples, each 5 to 8 mm in size. Heating rates of up to 100 Kelvin per second can be achieved with a maximum temperature of 2,100°C.

Fluids Integrated Rack (FIR)/Light Microscopy Module (LMM)/ACE-T-12 Module Config: The crew configured the LMM for the next ACE science runs, removed the LMM Petri Base from the LMM Auxiliary Fluids Container (AFC), configured the LMM objective lenses, and installed the LMM Control Base and ACE Module. ACE-T-12 will be the next experiment to run in the FIR/LMM. It involves design and assembly of complex three-dimensional (3D) structures from colloids, or particles of different sizes suspended in a fluid. It employs a recently discovered technique, Nanoparticle Haloing (NPH), which uses highly charged nanoparticles to stabilize much larger, non-charged particles.

Circadian Rhythms: The crew initiated a 36 hour experiment run by donning the armband monitor, Thermolab Double Sensors and other supporting hardware. Circadian Rhythms investigates the role of synchronized circadian rhythms, or the “biological clock,” and how it changes during long-duration spaceflight. Researchers hypothesize that a non-24-hour cycle of light and dark affects crewmembers’ circadian clocks.

Genes in Space-6: The crew performed Genes in Space 6 activities this week, and the ground team reported the science could not have gone better and historic science was performed on Friday. Genes in Space-6 determines the optimal DNA repair mechanisms that cells use in the spaceflight environment. The investigation evaluates the entire process in space for the first time by inducing DNA damage in cells and assessing mutation and repair at the molecular level using the miniPCR and the Biomolecule Sequencer tools aboard the space station.

ISS Experience: The crew set up the ISS Experience and captured a crew exercise session. 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 station, 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.

JAXA Mouse Mission: The crew performed routine cage watering maintenance activities in support of the ongoing JAXA Mouse Mission The purpose of this Mouse Mission is to analyze any alterations of the gene expression patterns in several organs and the effects on the germ-cell development of mice exposed to a long-term (e.g. more than 30 days) space environment. Data collected could suggest not only experimental information about mice in the space environment, but also fundamental information about humans exposed to a prolonged space environment.

CASIS PCG-14: As a continuation of the CASIS PCG-14, the crew inserted a PCG Kit into MELFI. The Wisconsin Crystal Growing Contest-Wisconsin Space Crystals (CASIS PCG 14) investigation has two goals: to explore closed-system crystallization of inorganic salts from aqueous solutions using evaporation facilitated by a desiccant, and to examine how well a previously optimized thermal-gradient inorganic salt crystallization procedure translates to other systems. Middle and high school students compete to grow the most perfect ground-based crystals, as judged by experts in crystallography, and those with the fewest imperfections then fly their experiments aboard the space station.

Veggie PONDS-2 (Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System-2) terminate: Today the crew took photos of the PONDS-2 modules, evacuated the fluid from the modules, and packed the six clear modules for return to the ground for further analysis. This closes out the PONDS-2 experiment which began on 25-April. 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.

Battery Charge/Discharge Unit (BCDU) Retrieval: Today the crew retrieved the failed channel 4A3 BCDU from the Japanese Experiment Module Airlock (JEMAL) and packaged it for return on SpaceX-17. This BCDU showed anomalous behavior during activation after US EVA 52 and, by bringing it home for Test, Teardown and Evaluation (TT&E), experts hope to understand why it failed.

Completed Task List Activities:
Micro-14 Melfi transfer [Completed GMT 136]
WHC KTO replace
Emergency SODF Print

Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
LSR file upload
JEMAL activities

Look Ahead:
Saturday, 05/18 (GMT 138):

Food Acceptability
MVP Cell-01

Crew off duty; housekeeping

Sunday, 05/19 (GMT 139):

Circadian Rhythms
Standard Measures questionnaire

Crew off duty

Monday, 05/20 (GMT 140):

CIR manifold bottle change
Circadian Rhythms
Fiber Optic preform repair
HRF Centrifuge
ISS HAM pass
ISS Experience
Lighting Effects numerical verification test
JAXA Mouse Mission
Newton’s Law, PCG-14
Veggie PONDS facility clean
Standard Measures

HRF centrifuge payload drawer checkout
COL portable power supply install/checkout

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

JPM Window Shutter Close
MICRO ALGAE Culture Bag Daily Deploy
JAXA Mouse Mission Item Gathering
Water Recovery and Management (WRM) Waste Water Bus (WWB) Split
Testing TV transmission from DC1
Bio-Analyzer Session Setup Partial
Insertion of PCG-14 Hardware into MELFI
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Food Intake Tracker (ISS FIT)
Packing equipment for disposal in Progress 440 [AO] and IMS Ops
Bio-Analyzer Blood Sampling And Biomarker Microchip Preparation
JEM Airlock Press
ISS HAM Service Module Pass
ПхО EVA Support Panel (ПОВ) Checkout
Bioanalyzer Control Sample Analysis
Genes in Space MWA Preparation
DC1 EVA Support Panel Test
Biomolecule Extraction and Sequencing Technology (BEST) On-Board Training
HRF GDS Tank Removal And Drawer Configuration For Return
JEM Airlock Leak Check
Genes in Space 6 MELFI Sample Retrieve
PEV Activation Test from DC1 EVA Support Panel
Genes in Space 6 CRISPR Run Part 1
PEV activation test from ПхО EVA Support Panel
ISS Experience Lab Setup
EML Gas Valves Closing
XF305 Camcorder Setup
Hand Ergometry Assessment
JAXA Mouse Mission Preparation for Watering
JAXA Mouse Mission Cage Watering for Micro-G
JAXA Mouse Mission Cage Watering for 1G and Troubleshooting A1 Cage
JAXA Mouse Mission Watering Closeout.
Genes in Space MELFI Insert
Genes in Space 6 CRISPR Run Part 2
ISS Experience Hardware Relocate
HRF Rack 1 And HRF Rack 2 Payload Drawer Reconfiguration And Installation
JEM ORU Xfer I/F (JOTI) and Battery Charge-Discharge Unit (BCDU) Gather
Activation and Inspection of Orlan-MKS suit No.4, No.5
Bio-Analyzer Biomarker Microchip Analysis
XF305 Camcorder Setup
JEM Airlock Slide Table (ST) Extension to JPM Side
Fluids Integrated Rack Rack Doors Open
Battery Charge-Discharge Unit (BCDU) Inspection
БСС checkout in ПхО. Tagup with specialists
Checkout of БСС (Spacesuit Interface Unit) in DC1
ACE-T12 Module Configuration
HRF Centrifuge Post-Installation Setup
Battery Charge-Discharge Unit (BCDU) Removal from JEM ORU Xfer I/F (JOTI)
Degassing Orlan-MKS suits No.4 and No.5 and БСС in DC1
Battery Charge-Discharge Unit (BCDU) Packaging
FEP MELFI Retrieve 2
Micro-14 Inoculation and Preservation-MSG
Battery Charge-Discharge Unit (BCDU) Stow
JEM ORU Xfer I/F Configure for Battery Charge/Discharge Unit Removal
Fluids Integrated Rack Rack Doors Close
ПхО БСС cooling loop separation using Degassing Pump Unit
Preparation of Liquid Cooling Garment [КВО] for Orlan-MKS No.4. [КВО]
Bio-Analyzer Session Conclude
Veggie Ponds MWA Preparation
Structures and Mechanisms JEM ORU Xfer I/F JEM Active Mechanism Tether Loop Install
MPEP and Passive Capture Mechanism Installation to JEM Airlock Slide Table
Veggie Ponds Growout 1 Termination
MPEP Installation to JEM Airlock Slide Table Support
TangoLab-2 Card Cube Remove
Handhold Exp Platform Adapter installation
Veggie Ponds Growout 2 Termination
ISS Experience Hardware Stow
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Drain
JEM Airlock Slide Table (ST) Retraction from JPM Side
Circadian Rhythms Instrumentation w. Armband
TangoLab-1 Card Cube Remove
Recycle Tank Drain Part 2
MICRO ALGAE Culture Bag Daily Stow
JAXA Medical Laptop Cable Connection

SpaceRef co-founder, entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, nature lover and deep thinker.