Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 19 March 2020 – Cardiac Research

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
March 21, 2020
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 19 March 2020 – Cardiac Research
NASA astronaut and Expedition 62 Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan conducts cardiac research activities inside the portable glovebag. Morgan was servicing heart cell samples for the Multi-use Variable-g Platform-02 Cell-03 experiment. The investigation induces stem cells to generate heart precursor cells and cultures those cells on the space station to analyze and compare with cultures grown on Earth. Results may help treat spaceflight-induced cardiac abnormalities and accelerate development and reduce costs of drug therapies on Earth. Credit: NASA.

Cardiac research was a big part of the Expedition 62 crew’s schedule on Thursday. Meanwhile, the International Space Station is orbiting higher to get ready for April’s crew swap.
Two experiments taking place aboard the orbiting lab today are looking at cardiac function and the replenishment of heart cells in space. The NASA heart studies could lead to a better understanding of cardiac diseases and improved drug therapies on Earth. Astronauts living in space for months or years at a time could see strategies to maintain healthy cardiac function on long-term missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

NASA astronaut Jessica Meir nourished and preserved heart tissue samples for an experiment watching how heart cells adapt to microgravity. Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan got to work replacing hardware for an investigation producing heart cells that may treat cardiac abnormalities.

Veteran cosmonaut and station Commander Oleg Skripochka updated inventory after cargo activities inside the Progress 74 resupply ship. He also monitored radiation readings in the orbital lab and checked a variety of Russian video and computer gear.

The space station raised its orbit to the correct altitude this afternoon to receive three new Expedition 63 crewmembers aboard the Soyuz MS-16 crew ship next month. NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner will launch and dock to the Poisk module on April 9 beginning a 195-day station mission.

Eight days later, the Expedition 62 crew will return to Earth and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan inside the Soyuz MS-15 crew ship. Skripochka and Meir will have logged 205 days in space while Morgan is returning after 272 days on orbit.

On-Orbit Status Report

Engineered Heart Tissue: The crew performed sample fixations on selected tissue chambers and performed cell culture media exchanges on the remaining tissue chambers. The ground teams are still looking at the data from a recent troubleshooting session in order to attempt to remove noise from the EHT habitat data. A Human iPSC (induced Pluripotent Stem Cell)-based 3D Microphysiological System for Modeling Cardiac Dysfunction in Microgravity (Engineered Heart Tissues) assesses human cardiac function in microgravity. It uses 3D cultured cardiac muscle tissue that mimics the architecture and function of adult human cardiac muscle. A magnet-based sensor placed underneath the tissue culture chamber allows real-time, non-destructive analysis of the functional performance and maturation of the tissues in space, which is compared with those cultured on Earth.

ISS Experience: The ISS Experience camera and other associated hardware was setup up to capture the crew working on the Engineered Heart Tissue experiment. 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.

ISS HAM pass: The crew participated in an ISS HAM pass with Turkey Space Camp, Izmir, Turkey. As a space and science education center, Space Camp Turkey is primarily focused on motivating young people from around the world to pursue careers in science, math, and technology. Through interactive, space-related simulations, both youth and adults learn about communication, teamwork, and leadership in a dynamic, fun-filled environment. ISS Ham Radio provides opportunities to engage and educate students, teachers, parents and other members of the community in science, technology, engineering and math by providing a means to communicate between astronauts and the ground HAM radio units.

MVP2 (Multi-use Variable-g Platform) Cell-03: The crew removed the Emory Modules from the MVP2, replaced the Nutrient and Waste Tubeset, and reinstalled Emory Modules into the MVP2 facility. MVP2 Cell-03 studies the generation of cardiomyocytes, specialized heart muscle cells, for use in research and clinical applications. Specifically, the team is studying the differentiation of these heart cells from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), adult cells that have been altered to reinstate characteristics of natural stem cells. Simulated microgravity studies have allowed the team to increase the yield, purity, and survival of cardiomyocytes derived from iPSCs, and true spaceflight conditions are expected to further enhance these effects. Understanding how microgravity improves cardiomyocyte differentiation will enable the team to create clinically relevant heart tissue for use in regenerative medicine, disease modeling, and drug discovery.

TangoLab2: The crew removed/replaced the appropriate cubes on cards 5, 11, 12, 14 in the TangoLab-2 facility. Space Tango’s TangoLab-2 locker is a reconfigurable general research facility designed for microgravity research and development (R&D) and pilot manufacturing aboard the International Space Station (ISS). TangoLab-2 is similar to TangoLab-1 with the primary difference being an upgraded fan system which allows for a greater heat rejection capability.


SpaceX 20 (SpX-20) Dragon Cargo Operations: The crew continued to perform Dragon cargo operations today off of the task list. Dragon departure is currently planned for April 6, 2020.

ISS Reboost: This afternoon, at 12:14 PM CT, the ISS completed a 543s (8 min 43 sec) reboost using the using the nadir 74P Mid Ring thrusters. This is the first of two reboosts setting up conditions for 62S launch on GMT day 100 (April 9th) and 61S landing on GMT day 108 (April 17th). The ISS velocity was increased by ~0.6 meters per second (m/s) and the height of the ISS orbit was increased by ~1.09 kilometers (km).

Completed Task List Activities:
Nanoracks Particle Flow Operations
Dragon Cargo Operations (ongoing)

Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
Multi-use Variable-g Platform-02 Cell-03 Replace
PRO LSG Facility Activation Commanding
SPDM MISSE Sample Carrier Transfer
ISS Solar Alpha Rotary Joint/Array operations and EPS Power Down/Up
ISS Reboost with SDMS Active
EHT Tissue Chamber Media Change and Fix/Preservation
Russian Segment CKB2 Testing
Lookahead Plan

Friday, 3/20 (GMT 080)
Acoustic Diagnostics
CGBA4 maintenance
Food Acceptability
Food Physiology
ISS Experience
MELFI icebrick insertions
PL NAS vent clean
Radi-N2 deploy

EMU Hard Upper Torso ORU R&R
Node 3 MCA R&R
RGN ECLSS Recycle Tank Leak Check

Saturday, 3/21 (GMT 081)
No utilization activities

Crew Off-Duty

Sunday, 3/22 (GMT 082)
No utilization activities

Crew Off-Duty

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

Reminder Portable O2 Monitor (POM) Reading
Multi-Use Variable-G Platform-02 POLAR Sample Retrieve1
ISS Experience JEM Setup
Monitoring RSK1 Laptop Battery Charge
Health check of RS Urine Water Regeneration System [СРВ-У РС] in the “Mixing” mode.
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (RGN) Wastewater Storage Tank Assembly (WSTA) Fill
Reboot NOD1 16-Port Ethernet Switch
EHT MELFI Sample Retrieval Operations
Multi-use Variable-g Platform-02 MWA Preparation
ISS HAM Service Module Pass
LSG-Front Glove-Swap
TangoLab-2 Card Cube Replace
Progress 443 (DC1) Cargo Transfers and IMS Ops
Multi-use Variable-g Platform-02 Cell-03 Replace
Preventive Maintenance of FS1 Laptop
Routine Monthly Maintenance of BRI
JAXA Mouse Mission 5 Food Cartridge replacement for A20
Multiple User System for Earth Sensing Server Vent Cleaning [ABORTED]
Monitoring closure of shutters on SM windows 6, 8 ,9, 12, 13, 14. Note 13
ISS Experience Recording Preparation
ISS Experience Introduction Recording
EHT Tissue Chamber Media Change and Fix/Preservation
Deconfig to initial state after test activation of Air Conditioner System [СКВ2] Compressor Unit [КУ] from [СКВ1] power unit with jumper cable
MATRYOSHKA-R. Monitoring Tritel Readings
Monthly health check of RS video recording equipment.
EHT MELFI Sample Insertion Operations Sessions
ISS Experience Record Conclude
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Food Intake Tracker (ISS FIT)
MELFI Ice Brick Inserts
LSG Primary Crew Restraint Fold
LSG Work Volume Stow
ISS Experience Hardware Relocate

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