Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 26 March 2020 – Engineered Heart Tissues

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
March 28, 2020
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 26 March 2020 – Engineered Heart Tissues
NASA astronaut and Expedition 62 Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan retrieves gut microbe samples from a science freezer for the Rhodium Space Microbiome experiment to understand how microgravity enriches or depletes the microbes that affect astronaut health. Credit: NASA. (Mar. 23, 2020)

Cardiac research and 3D bioprinting aboard the International Space Station today are helping NASA improve health for humans in space and on Earth.
The three Expedition 62 crewmembers also participated in eye exams and radiation checks.

Three new Expedition 63 crewmembers are in Kazakhstan just two weeks away from beginning a 195-day mission on the station. NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy joined Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner for a traditional flag-raising ceremony today outside the Cosmonaut Hotel at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The trio is due to liftoff April 9 at 4:05 a.m. EDT and arrive at their new home in space about six-and-a-half hours later.

Back aboard the orbiting lab, the station crew spent the afternoon on eye checks. NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Meir started the optometry work and scanned her crewmates’ eyes using the Human Research Facility’s ultrasound device.

NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan then took over and imaged the eyes of Commander Oleg Skripochka using optical tomography (OCT) gear. The OCT uses lightwaves for non-invasive mapping and measurement of a subject’s retina.

Morgan started the day with ongoing tests of a 3D bioprinter without using human cells. The device, also known as the Bio-Fabrication Facility, seeks to manufacture human organs in space due to the detrimental effects of Earth’s gravity. Patients on the ground would benefits and future astronauts on planetary missions could print their own food or medicines.

Meir checked samples of cultured cardiac muscle tissue for the Engineered Heart Tissues experiment in the morning. The investigation is exploring cardiac function in weightlessness that may provide new drug developments for astronauts and Earthlings.

In the station’s Russian segment, Skripochka collected radiation measurements then serviced atmospheric purification gear. The commander also spent a few moments working on a specialized research furnace that levitates and observes metallic alloys at high temperatures.

On-Orbit Status Report

Engineered Heart Tissues: The crew performed sample fixations on selected tissue chambers and performed cell culture media exchanges on the remaining tissue chambers. A Human iPSC-based 3D Micro-physiological 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.

BioFabrication Facility (BFF): The crew placed a test cassettes (without cells) into the BFF for a test print. Cleaning Syringes were swapped out after the prints and photos were taken. The BFF is dedicated to manufacturing human organs and tissues in space, primarily for use by patients on Earth. Besides printing tissue, the BFF also can help maintain the health of deep space exploration crews by producing food and personalized pharmaceuticals on demand.

RADI-N2 (Radiation Dosimetry Inside ISS-Neutrons): The crew retrieved the 8 dosimeters from the Columbus module and handed over the units to CDR for data downlink. The objective of this Canadian Space Agency investigation is to better characterize the ISS neutron environment, define the risk posed to the crew members’ health, and provide the data necessary to develop advanced protective measures for future spaceflight. It’s been recognized that neutrons make up a significant fraction (10-30%) of the biologically effective radiation exposure in low-Earth orbit. The bubble detectors used in the investigation are designed detect neutrons and ignore all other radiation.

Completed Task List Activities:
Photo documentation Engineered Heart Tissue (EHT) operations within LSG.

Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
BioFabrication Facility Test Print
EHT Tissue Chamber Media Change and Fix/Preservation
SM 8.11 loads

Look Ahead Plan
Friday, 3/27 (GMT 087)
Vascular Echo Blood Collection (CSA)
BFF hardware uninstall (NASA)
MVP2 Cell-03 Nutrient tube and waste tube replacement (NASA)
Food Acceptability (NASA)
POLAR desiccant swap (NASA)
Everywear App configuration on Ipads (ESA)

SpX-20 EVA Pre-pack
Regen ECLSS Operations

Saturday, 3/28 (GMT 088)
SpX-20 Cargo Operations

Sunday, 3/29 (GMT 089)
Crew Off-Duty Day

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

ECON-M. Observation and Photography
IMS update
Preparation of reports for Roscosmos website and social media
Reminder Portable O2 Monitor (POM) Reading
SCENARIY. Observation and photography of catastrophic events and their aftermath
Standard Measures Post-sleep Questionnaire
Reminder Probiotics Fecal Operations
CSA Generic Frozen Blood Collection
LSG Work Volume Deploy
EHT MELFI Sample Retrieval Operation 1
EML Gas Valves Closing
BioFabrication Facility Test Print Without Cells Install 1
BioFabrication Facility MELFI Sample Retrieve
BioFabrication Facility Test Print Without Cells Install
Vozdukh Deactivation
Queso Service Pack Plan Review
Radi-N Detector Retrieval/Readout
MATRYOSHKA-R. Handover of BUBBLE-dosimeter detectors from USOS
Radiation Dosimetry Inside ISS-Neutrons Hardware Handover
MATRYOSHKA-R. BUBBLE-dosimeter gathering and measurements
Activation of Laptop RS2
LSG Primary Crew Restraint Unfold
EHT Tissue Chamber Media Change and Fix/Preservation
SSC2 Reload from Load Image Server
EHT MELFI Sample Insertion Operations Session 1
EHT MELFI Sample Insertion Operations Session 2
BioFabrication Facility Cleaning Syringe Install
Deactivation of RS3 Laptop
Vacuum Cleaning of Dust collectors ?C1, ??2 filter cartridges in FGB (panels 203, 403)
Ultrasound 2 HRF Rack 2 Power On
Cleaning FGB ??1 Circulation Fan Protective Screen
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan
Activation of Vozdukh Atmosphere Revitalization Subsystem [???]
RS2 Laptop-???2-???-??? Commanding & Data Transmission Test
BioFabrication Facility Test Cassette Removal
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Drain
BioFabrication Facility Historical Photo 2
CSA Generic Frozen Blood Collection Hardware Setup
Inventory Management System (IMS) Conference
LSG Primary Crew Restraint Fold
LSG Work Volume Stow
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (RGN) Wastewater Storage Tank Assembly (WSTA) Fill

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