Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 17 September, 2020 – DNA and Physics Research

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
September 18, 2020
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 17 September, 2020 – DNA and Physics Research
Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy replaces bathroom components.

Thursday’s science schedule aboard the International Space Station focused primarily on DNA and physics research including ongoing Earth photography sessions.
The Expedition 63 trio also maintained life support gear and packed a Russian cargo ship.

The space environment affects a variety of biological and physical phenomena adapted and designed for Earth’s gravity and atmosphere. Organisms from microbes to humans experience a variety of critical changes in microgravity. Fuels, materials and a host of other physical conditions also go through a series of important modifications. NASA and its international partners study these effects to ensure the health of astronauts and safety of spacecraft planned for future missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

DNA studies have been ongoing for years on the station to understand the long-term impacts of radiation and weightlessness on biology. This morning, Commander Chris Cassidy set up and checked out a DNA-monitoring device for the Genes In Space-6 experiment. The portable, handheld miniPCR-16 device, also used in Earth laboratories, provides insight into the repair mechanisms of DNA-damaged cells caused by space radiation.

Cassidy then turned his attention to unique materials that self-assemble and self-replicate with powerful implications for future space voyages. He set up a specialized microscope during the afternoon to observe particles suspended in fluids that self-organize into crystalline structures. The experiment takes place inside the Fluids Integrated Rack and explores the possibilities of 3D printing and additive manufacturing in microgravity.

The two station cosmonauts from Russia, Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, swapped out and activated Earth observation hardware to continue monitoring and forecasting natural and man-made catastrophes. Ivanishin then serviced communications equipment before cleaning ventilation filters in the Zarya module. Vagner contributed to the ventilation system cleaning inside the Zvezda service module while also loading the Progress 75 resupply ship with trash and discarded gear.

On-Orbit Status Report


Genes in Space-6: The crew performed a checkout of the miniPCR16s S/N 001 and S/N 002 with updated software on SSC 6 and miniPCR16 S/N 002 on SSC13. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage caused by increased exposure to radiation can affect the long-term health of astronauts. 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.

European Physiology Module (EPM): The crew performed a power reconfiguration of the ESEM (Exchangeable Standard Electronic Module) in the EPM. European Physiology Module (EPM) is designed to investigate the effects of short- and long-duration space flight on the human body. It includes equipment for neuroscientific, cardiovascular, and physiological studies.

ACE-T-Ellipsoids (Nonequilibrium Processing of Particle Suspensions): The crew configured the FIR Facility in preparation of Ellipsoid experiment operations. The ACE-T-Ellipsoids investigation designs and assembles complex three-dimensional colloids – small particles suspended within a fluid medium – and controls density and behavior of the particles with temperature. These so-called ‘self-assembled colloidal structures’ are vital to the design of advanced optical materials and the control of particle density and behavior is important for their use in 3D printing and additive manufacturing. Microgravity provides insight into the relationships among particle shape, crystal symmetry, density, and other fundamental issues.


Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Drain/Fill: Today, the crew set up the recycle tank to drain to a ???-?. Following the setup the ground performed the tank drain using the Urine Transfer System (UTS). Once the ground specialists completed the transfer, the crew verified the recycle tank was empty, terminated the drain, and repositioned the fill/drain valve to fill. The crew also swapped the ??? in the offload ??? spot of the UTS.

Completed Task List Activities:

OSO Hardware Consolidate
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Fluid QD (FQD) Plug Verification

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

JEMAL Depress Ops

P4 PVCU MDM Swap to Nominal Config


Ground Supt for UPA Recycle Tank Drain/Fill

C&W Software State Change

Look Ahead Plan

Friday, 9/18 (GMT 262)

Astrobee Ops (NASA)
PBRE Hardware Stow (NASA)


EHS Acoustic Monitor Stow
UTS Offload EDV Swap

Saturday, 9/19 (GMT 263)

Astrobee Powerdown & Module Stowage (NASA)


Crew Off Duty

Sunday, 9/20 (GMT 264)



Crew Off Duty

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

Acoustic Monitor Setup for Static Measurements
JPM Cabin Smoke Detector b Cleaning
??? (Universal Bioengineering Thermostat). Checking ???-? No.07 thermostat temperature and unobstructed area near ???-? inlet/outlet vents
URAGAN. SOVA PL and photo equipment closeout ops and stowage
Preventive Maintenance of SM Ventilation Subsystem. Group ?2. Inspection of Air Conditioning System [???1, ???2]
Checkout of FGB ???? Program Logic Control Devices (????) – Switching comm channels ? and ?
EPM Power Distribution ESEM exchange
Genes in Space MWA Preparation
SD b Cleaning Closeout
Changeout of ??1-4 dust filter cartridges in SM. Discard removed filters.
Genes in Space 6 MiniPCR Checkout
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Drain/Fill
Progress 448 (SM Aft) stowage for disposal and IMS ops
Cleaning FGB Gas-Liquid Heat Exchanger (???) Detachable Screens 1, 2, 3
Urine Transfer System Offload EDV Swap
Vacuum Cleaning of Dust collectors ?C1, ??2 filter cartridges in FGB (panels 203, 403)
Vacuum clean FGB Pressurized Adapter
ACE-T-Ellipsoid Configuration
URAGAN. Installation and activation of Auto Orientation System for Video Spectral Equipment (SOVA) and of photo equipment
Crew Choice Event

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