Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 25 March, 2021 – Vein and Eye Checks

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
March 26, 2021
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 25 March, 2021 – Vein and Eye Checks
Expedition 65 Crew Press Conference.

The Expedition 64 crew continued researching how microgravity affects biology aboard the International Space Station today.
The orbital residents also conducted vein and eye checks and prepared for three new crew members due in early April.

NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker joined Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov for vein and eye scans on Thursday. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi led the effort scanning veins in the trio’s neck, clavicle and shoulder areas using the Ultrasound 2 device in the morning. In the afternoon, Noguchi examined Walker’s eyes using the orbiting lab’s optical coherence tomography gear.

Walker also assisted fellow Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA setting up samples of tiny worms for viewing in a microscope. Rubins captured video of the microscopic worms wriggling around to learn how microgravity affects genetic expression and muscle function. Insights from the Micro-16 study may benefit human health on and off the Earth.

Astronauts Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover focused on station maintenance throughout Thursday. Hopkins set up alternate sleep accommodations ahead of the Expedition 65 crew launch and docking set for April 9 when 10 people will be on the station until April 17. Glover serviced Water Recycling System components checking for leaks and tightening fittings on the rack located inside the Tranquility module.

Ryzhikov continued observing plasma dust crystals for the ongoing space physics study taking place in the station’s Russian segment. Kud-Sverchkov wiped down equipment inside the Zarya module then explored how pilots may operate spacecraft on future planetary missions.

Back on Earth in Moscow, three Expedition 65 crew members are getting ready to head to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan where their Soyuz MS-18 rocket is being processed for its April 9 launch. Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei of NASA and Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos will flank Soyuz Commander Oleg Novitskiy during their three-and-a-half-hour ride to their new home in space.

Just over a week later, Rubins will return to Earth with her Expedition 64 crewmates Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov. They will parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan inside the Soyuz MS-17 crew ship after 185 days aboard the station.

On-Orbit Status Report


Airborne Particulate Monitor (APM): The crew installed the APM hardware in Node 2. Air quality in crewed spacecraft is important for keeping astronauts healthy and comfortable. Although requirements exist for maximum allowable concentrations of particulate matter, currently no measurement capability verifies whether these requirements are met. The Airborne Particulate Monitor (APM) demonstrates an instrument for measuring and quantifying the concentration of both small and large particles in spacecraft air. The data can be used to create a map of air quality in terms of particles and shed light on the sources of such particles.

Micro-16: The crew set up the appropriate hardware, loaded samples and performed microscopy observations on the sample modules. Loss of muscle mass and strength present a major challenge for astronauts on future long space voyages. Determining Muscle Strength in Space-flown Caenorhabditis elegans (Micro-16) uses this tiny worm to test whether decreased expression of muscle proteins is associated with decreased strength. The research team developed a new device to measure muscle strength in multiple generations of space-reared C. elegans worms and compare that strength to postflight muscle gene expression analyses.

PK-4: A crewmember performed Run#3 experiment runs for the PK-4 study. Plasma Krystall-4 (PK-4) is a scientific collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), performing research in the field of “Complex Plasmas”: low temperature gaseous mixtures composed of ionized gas, neutral gas, and micron-sized particles. The micro-particles become highly charged in the plasma and interact strongly with each other, which can lead to a self-organized structure of the micro-particles: so-called plasma crystals. Experiments in the facility aim to study Transport Properties, Thermodynamics, Kinetics and Statistical Physics, and Non-linear waves and Instabilities in the plasmas.

Ribosome Profiling: The crew detached Experiment Unit A from CBEF IU (Cell Biology Experiment Facility Incubator Unit) Micro-G and 1G units, removed Culture Chambers and performed fixations on the samples and then stowed them into the Ribosome Profiling Sample Return Bag. Since life on Earth emerged about 4 billion years ago, living species have evolutionally adjusted to Earth’s gravity. However, how cells utilize gravity for their gene expression has remained largely unknown. The Genome-wide Survey of Translational Control in Microgravity (Ribosome Profiling) investigation aims to provide insight into how gravity impacts gene expression, with a special focus on translation regulation utilizing a state-of-art technique called “ribosome profiling”.

Confocal Space Microscopy: The crew completed the Installation for the Thermal Container and VGA-NTSC Converter into the Confocal Space Microscopy hardware. The Confocal Space Microscope (Confocal Microscope) is a JAXA facility that provides fluorescence images of biological samples aboard the International Space Station. Confocal microscopy uses spatial filtering techniques to eliminate out-of-focus light or glare in specimens whose thickness exceeds the immediate plane of focus. With the Confocal Microscope data can be obtained on the fundamental nature of cellular and tissue structure and functions in real-time.

The ISS Experience: The ISS Experience IVA project concluded operations yesterday on GMT 083. The project has been running for over two years across seven increments and has performed over 100 shots in almost every module onboard the ISS, including the Russian Segment. Congratulations to NANORACKS and the ISS Experience team for a successful run! The International Space Station Experience (The ISS Experience) is a cinematic virtual reality (VR) series documenting life and research aboard the space station. Filmed over multiple months, the immersive VR series documents different crew activities – from science conducted aboard the station to preparation for a spacewalk.


Oxygen Generation System (OGS) Pump Remove & Replace (R&R) Status: Following the pump R&R Tuesday and subsequent unsuccessful restart attempts, ground teams developed a plan for crew to use a hammer as a tool to attempt to release possible stiction within the newly installed pump. Yesterday the crew was able to hammer the OGS mounting bracket location but the reactivation attempt was unsuccessful. Today the crew attempted again to hammer the OGS Mounting Bracket but was still unsuccessful at obtaining pump reactivation. One final attempt was made to hammer the OGS Mounting Bracket while reactivating the pump at the same time. Unfortunately, no attempts recovered the pump. Ground teams decided to proceed with replacing the newly installed pump with the spare pump. Unfortunately, after activation and checkout steps were complete the pump failed to start. Plans to attempt to hammer the bracket will resume tomorrow. If the spare pump cannot be activated, the original pump (SN001) will be installed.

Catalytic Reactor Remove & Replace (R&R) from the Water Processing Assembly (WPA): Today, the crew removed and inspected the Demo Catalytic Reactor from the Water Recovery System (WRS)1 Rack after the system started experiencing multiple represses on March 4. Both the bottom and top thermal covers were removed from the reactor and inspected for water. The bottom cover did not show signs of water, but the top cover removal did show the presence of water. The pressurized leak test did not identify a leak source. The crew was able to wipe up the water and place the cover back on the reactor. Resistance measurements were taken of the J3 connector and downlinked for ground review. No further troubleshooting will be performed. A new Catalytic Reactor will be installed tomorrow.

Emergency Air Supply (EAS) Tank Fit Check: The crew installed the Emergency Air Supply Tank into the US Crewed Vehicle (USCV) Nitrogen/Oxygen Recharge System (NORS) mount location and performed a fit check of the regulator covers without the regulator. This task was performed to check the fit between a pressurized tank and the Flight Support Equipment (FSE) on orbit to ensure any fit issues were addressed prior to Crew-2 when it is used for functional EAS.

Completed Task List Activities:

OGA troubleshooting
WHC KTO replace
Today’s Ground Activities:

All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Payloads ops support
JEM Small Fine Arms operations
Look Ahead Plan

Friday, March 26 (GMT 085)

Ribosome Profiling Sample fixation 2 (JAXA)
Time Perception run (ESA)
J-SSOD M2 removal (NASA)
HRF Veg Question (NASA)
RTPCG Micro (B1,B2) ops (NASA)
AC Touch (NASA)
Micro-16 Load and microscopy ops (NASA)
Food Acceptability (NASA)
Standard Measures Fecal collect and surveys (NASA)
MD Print removal and stow (NASA)
PK4 chamber storage and monitor deinstall (Joint)
BAC interview (NASA)

JSSOD Microsat removal
MPEP removal from JEMAL Slide Table
JEMAL ST retraction into JEMAL from JPM
Saturday, March 27 (GMT 086)

Off duty
Sunday, March 28 (GMT 087)

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

Micro-16 MELFI Media Retrieve
Acoustic Monitor Setup for Static Measurements
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Food Intake Tracker (ISS FIT)
Environmental Health System (EHS) – Coliform Water Sample Analysis 44 +/- 4 hours post processing
PK-4 data hard drives exchange
Ultrasound 2 HRF Rack 1 Power On
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan Prep
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan performed by a Crew Medical Officer (CMO)
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan performed by a Crew Medical Officer (CMO)
Standard Measures Cognition Testing
Micro-16 Checklist Print
Food consolidate [Deferred]
Ribosome Profiling Item Gathering
Micro-16 Maintenance Work Area Preparation
Micro-16 Experiment Setup
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Post Exam
HRF2 BRIC Retrieve
Micro-16 Initiation and Loading Operations
COL1A4 HRF2 Rack Rotate Down
ISS Experience Hardware Stow
PK-4 Experiment Run 3
Food Acceptability Survey
Food Physiology Crew Diet Briefing
Ribosome Profiling Preservation Cassette Retrieval from MELFI +2 degrees C Part1
Ribosome Profiling Sample Fixation Part1
Water Recovery Management (WRM) Water Balance Placeholder
Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Food Intake Tracker (ISS FIT)
Ribosome Profiling Sample Installation into MELFI -95 degrees C Part1
Ribosome Profiling Closeout Part2
COL1A4 HRF2 Rack Rotate Up
JSL Gigabit Ethernet Install Big Picture Words Review [Deferred]
Micro-16 Checklist Print
Health Maintenance System (HMS) OCT2 Setup
Health Maintenance System (HMS) OCT2 Prep
OGA Pump ORU R&R [Aborted]
HRF2 Troubleshoot Disconnect
Health Maintenance System (HMS) – OCT2 Exam – Operator
Health Maintenance System (HMS) OCT2 Exam – Subject
PK-4 Experiment Run 3
Health Maintenance System (HMS) OCT2 Stow
HRF2 Troubleshoot Disconnect

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