Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 20 April 2018 – Final External Materials Experiment Activated

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
April 23, 2018
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 20 April 2018 – Final External Materials Experiment Activated
The United States island territory of Puerto Rico and the surrounding blue waters of the Caribbean Sea on its southern coast and the Atlantic Ocean on its northern coast were pictured by an Expedition 55 crew member aboard the International Space Station. Credit: NASA.

The outside of the International Space Station is a harsh environment but scientists are taking advantage of the extreme conditions to conduct advanced space research.
Astronauts are also researching what happens to a variety of organisms living for months at a time inside a spacecraft as NASA prepares for longer missions farther out into space.

The fifth and final external materials experiment (MISSE) delivered by the latest SpaceX Dragon resupply ship was activated outside the orbital lab today. Robotics engineers operating the Canadarm2 and Dextre extracted and installed the MISSE canisters one by one from Dragon’s trunk to areas on the station. The canisters were then remotely opened exposing a variety of materials to the vacuum of space to help engineers design safer and stronger spacecraft systems.

Back inside the orbital lab, Flight Engineer Scott Tingle of NASA harvested and photographed plants for the APEX-06 study today. The botanical samples collected from the VEGGIE facility were later processed and stowed in a science freezer for return to Earth inside the Dragon cargo craft. They will be analyzed after being quickly shipped to scientists at NASA and the University of Wisconsin.

NASA Flight Engineers Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel once again partnered up and collected their blood and urine samples today for more biomedical experiments. Researchers are analyzing the samples as they continuously study how the human body adapts to extended periods of weightlessness. Results will help doctors provide therapies to maintain the health of astronauts in space and humans on Earth.

Mice are also being observed on the space station so scientists can detect the chemical signals that lead to weakened bones and muscles. Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai drew more blood samples from the rodents today and wrapped up a week-long run of the Mouse Stress Defense experiment. The blood samples will be processed in a centrifuge, stowed in biological science freezer then returned to Earth inside Dragon for analysis on Earth.

On-Orbit Status Report

Mobile Servicing System (MSS) Operations / Material on ISS Experiment – Flight Facility (MISSE-FF): Last night the final MISSE Sample Container (MSC) was successfully installed on the MISSE FF. All five MISSE Sample Carriers (MSC) were activated and opened. The Mobile Transporter (MT) was then translated from Work Site (WS)2 to WS6. MISSE Transfer Tray return to JEM A/L is planned next Thursday. MISSE-FF will be a permanent external platform on the ISS that is modular and robotically serviceable. Remotely controllable sample carriers will provide sample protection and on-demand picture data previously unavailable on prior experiments. Sample plates containing a variety of surface materials will be exposed to the space environment outside the ISS for varying durations to inform satellite designers on how different materials degrade over time.

Using Brachypodium distachyon to Investigate Monocot Plant Adaptation to Spaceflight (APEX-06): The crew harvested the additional plants for the follow-on APEX-06 investigation run today. They took photographs of the science containers and then preserved samples and placed them into a Minus Eighty Degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI). The APEX-06 experiment investigates the growth of the common grass species Brachypodium distachyon in the microgravity environment of space. The grasses grow from seedlings aboard the ISS, and are returned as frozen samples to Earth-based labs for detailed analysis and comparison with Earth-based control groups. APEX-06 aims to compare the growth and gene-expression patterns of Brachypodium distachyon with those of the dicotyledonous model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, which has been extensively studied in space and whose behavior in microgravity is better understood.

Human Research Program (Biochemical Profile, Repository, Cell Free Epigenome and Medical Proteomics): 54S crewmembers collected blood and urine samples for their Flight Day 30 sessions of the Biochem Profile, Repository, Cell Free Epigenome and Medical Proteomics investigations today.

The Biochemical Profile investigation tests blood and urine samples obtained from astronauts before, during, and after spaceflight. Specific proteins and chemicals in the samples are used as biomarkers, or indicators of health. Post-flight analysis yields a database of samples and test results; which scientists can use to study the effects of spaceflight on the body.
Repository is a storage bank used to maintain biological specimens over extended periods of time and under well-controlled conditions. The repository supports scientific discovery that contributes to our fundamental knowledge in the area of human physiological changes and adaptation to a microgravity environment and provides unique opportunities to study longitudinal changes in human physiology spanning many missions.
The JAXA Cell Free Epigenome investigation tests blood samples collected from astronauts and cellular genes are analyzed. Blood carries molecular signals released from the cells inside the body. The analysis results provide insights to scientists on how human bodies function during space flight.
The Medical Proteomics investigation evaluates changes of proteins in blood serum, bone and skeletal muscles after space flight, and also supports identification of osteopenia-related proteins. By combining research results for space mice, astronauts and ground patients, proteins related to osteopenia can be identified using the latest proteome analysis technique. It is anticipated that the use of the marker proteins related to osteopenia will be of benefit in the future for assessing the health of astronauts as well as osteoporosis patients on ground.
Microgravity Science Laboratory (MSL) Calibration Cartridge Exchange: The crew removed the MSL Solidification Quenching Furnace (SQF) insert in the Material Science Research Rack (MSRR), and installed the MSL Low Gradient Furnace (LGF). The Materials Science Research Rack (MSRR) is used for basic materials research in the microgravity environment of the ISS. It can accommodate and support diverse Experiment Modules. Many material types, such as metals, alloys, polymers, semiconductors, ceramics, crystals, and glasses, can be studied to discover new applications for existing materials and new or improved materials.

Divert Unwanted Space Trash (DUST): Today the crew took samples and photographs of various vents in the US Laboratory and Nodes 1, 2 and 3. They inserted the samples into cold stowage and downlinked the photographs. The DUST investigation collects and analyzes particulates in airborne debris from the ISS cabin. Unique aspects of the spacecraft environment, such as lack of gravity and no fresh air, influence the size, quantity, and components of airborne particulate matter, which in turn affects air quality aboard the station. The data also provides baseline information for future spacecraft particle detector design, and the debris can be used for realistic testing of possible particulate monitors for future long-duration missions.

Space Headaches: Two 53S crewmembers completed the weekly questionnaire for the ESA Space Headaches investigation today. This investigation collects information that may help in the development of methods to alleviate associated symptoms and improve the well-being and performance of crewmembers in space. Headaches during space flight can negatively affect mental and physical capacities of crewmembers that can influence performance during a space mission.

Dragon Cargo Operations: After completing more than 42 hours of cargo operations, the third set of cargo packing and transfer instructions were uplinked to the crew yesterday evening. Today the crew continued loading Dragon with cargo manifested for return. Cargo specialists estimate the crew will need approximately 31 hours to complete Dragon vehicle packing prior to unberth currently planned on 02-May.

Portable Emergency Provisions (PEPS) Inspection: The crew completed this regularly scheduled inspection of Portable Fire Extinguishers (PFEs), Portable Breathing Apparatus (PBAs) and Extension Hose Tee Kits (EHTKs).

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

HRF Generic Urine Collection
Biochemical Urine Test
URISYS Hardware Stowage
HRF Generic Sample MELFI Insertion Operations
HRF Generic Frozen Blood Collection Double Spin Collection
HRF Generic Refrigerated Centrifuge Double Spin Configuration
Video Recording of Greetings
HRF Generic Sample MELFI Insertion
Mouse Stress Defense Item Gathering and Blood Drawing Preparation
APEX-06 MWA Preparation
APEX-06 Procedure Review#3
APEX-06 Hardware Gather #3
Activation of Laptop RS2
???2 and RS2 Laptop Upgrade to SW Version 08.10.
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Drain
XF305 Camcorder Setup
Mouse Stress Defense MELFI Retrieval
Material Science Laboratory Furnace Insert SQF to LGF Exchange
Mouse Stress Defense Blood Drawing on Day 3
Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Portable Emergency Provisions (PEPS) Inspection
Deactivation of RS2 Laptop
Mouse Blood Centrifuge Processing Start on Day 3
FGB Gas Analyzer Vacuum Cleaning
Replacement of ??251? (???4?2) device in SM ????2-12 System.
Mouse Stress Defense Blood Drawing Closeout on Day 3
??? maintenance
Mouse Stress Defense MELFI Insertion
CALCIUM. Experiment Session 7
Earth Imagery from ISS Nikon Target Operations
Divert Unwanted Space Trash Sample Collection
Material Science Laboratory Furnace Insert SQF to LGF Exchange
ISS HAM Video Power Cycle
Wastewater Storage Tank Assembly (WSTA) Fill
URAGAN. IKARUS PL OBC-I cable installation.
???? Reconfiguration in MRM1
Replacing ?1 ??1 pump with a new one from the spares in MRM1.
APEX-06 Spares Harvest
Divert Unwanted Space Trash Sample MELFI Insert
Glove Box Bench Closeout
Mouse Stress Defense A5 Cage Sensor Check Out
Space Headaches – Weekly Questionnaire
Remove MSG HD Video Drawer
Cargo Transfer to Dragon
Comm reconfig for nominal ops
URAGAN. Connecting cables 17??.42? 8242?-9360 and 17??.600? 8260?58-100.
Dragon Cargo Operations Conference
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Fill
Space Headaches – Weekly Questionnaire

Completed Task List Activities
KTO Replace

Ground Activities
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
Standard commanding

Three-Day Look Ahead:
Saturday, 04/21: Housekeeping, Crew Off-Duty, EIISS, JSL ER to BRI T/S, Mouse Stress Defense
Sunday, 04/22: Crew Off-Duty, MVP
Monday, 04/23: Camcorder Swap, RPCM N21B4B_B R&R, Dragon Cargo Ops, HRF, WPA Maintenance, Toolbox label, Mouse Stress Defense

QUICK ISS Status – Environmental Control Group:
Component – Status
Elektron – On
Vozdukh – Manual
[???] 1 – SM Air Conditioner System (“SKV1”) – Off
[???] 2 – SM Air Conditioner System (“SKV2”) – Off
Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Lab – Operate
Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Node 3 – Standby
Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Lab – Operate
Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Node 3 – Operate
Oxygen Generation Assembly (OGA) – Process
Urine Processing Assembly (UPA) – Standby
Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS) Lab – Full Up
Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS) Node 3 – Off

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