Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 31 July 2018 – Dragon Spacecraft Set to Bring Research Back to Earth

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
August 2, 2018
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 31 July 2018 – Dragon Spacecraft Set to Bring Research Back to Earth
Astronauts Drew Feustel and Serena Auñón-Chancellor are seen while Auñón-Chancellor works inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox on the Micro-11 investigation. The study is looking to provide fundamental data indicating whether successful human reproduction beyond Earth is possible. Credit: NASA.

Numerous microgravity investigations are wrapping up this week onboard the International Space Station. The Expedition 56 crew is carefully packing the research results and science gear inside the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft for return to Earth on Friday.
A host of life science studies being returned aboard Dragon looked at cancer therapies, gut microbes, and a variety of other biological phenomena. Samples collected from those studies, including the experiment hardware housing the research, are being transferred from the station and stowed inside the Dragon.

The AngieX Cancer Therapy investigation is completing its run today with NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor finalizing research operations inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox. The experiment tested a treatment that targets tumors and the resulting samples are being stowed inside Dragon science freezers.

Rodents studied for the Rodent Research-7 experiment to understand how microbes interact with the gut in space are being returned Friday. Biological samples observed in July for the Micro-11 human reproduction study are also being cold stowed aboard Dragon.

SpaceX technicians will retrieve Dragon loaded with the Earth-bound cargo when it splashes down in the Pacific Ocean Friday afternoon. Once the cargo craft reaches port, personnel from NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) will collect the research and hardware and distribute it to scientists and engineers for analysis.

On-Orbit Status Report

Aerosol Samplers: Today the crew deployed Active Aerosol Samplers (AASs) in Nodes 1 and 3. The battery-powered AASs actively pull in air and collect particles using the principal of thermophoresis. This is accomplished by flowing the sampled air through a large thermal gradient in a narrow channel. During this process, particles are driven to the cold side of the channel, where an electron microscope (EM) grid is held in place by a tiny magnet. When returned to Earth, these grids are placed directly into an EM for analysis.

Micro-12: Today the crew terminated specific Micro-12 Group Activation Packs (GAPs) by adding a microbial fixative to preserve the organism for subsequent ground-based characterization. Micro-12 examines the effects of spaceflight on the physiology of an exoelectrogenic microorganism, Shewanella oneidensis MR-1. Exoelectrogenic microbes can pass electrons through their cell membranes, and so can be used in microbial fuel cells to make electricity from waste organic material. This investigation is expected to provide insight into how microgravity affects biological electron transport systems, and microbial fuel cell use in future space missions.

Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) Zero Robotics: Today the crew will set up the SPHERES Zero Robotics hardware and will complete a test session. The SPHERES Zero Robotics investigation provides an opportunity for high school students to design research for the ISS. As part of a competition, students write algorithms for the SPHERES satellites to accomplish tasks relevant to future space missions. The algorithms are tested by the SPHERES team and the best designs are selected for the competition to operate the SPHERES satellites on board the ISS.

Rodent Research-7 (RR-7): Today the crew restocked and cleaned the rodent habitats. They will also stowed fecal pellets and food bar/Habitat swabs in a Minus Eighty Degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI). The RR-7 investigation examines how the space environment affects the community of microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract of mice (also known as the microbiota). It also looks at microgravity’s effects on multiple physiological systems known to be affected by the microbiota, including the gastrointestinal, immune, metabolic, circadian, and sleep systems. These studies should help explain mechanisms underlying interactions between these systems and the role of the microbiota in these interactions.

Story Time From Space: A crewmember participated in the Story Time from Space project by reading from “American Girl: Luciana – Braving the Deep” while being videotaped and photographed. The recording will be downlinked and used for educational purposes. Story Time From Space combines science literacy outreach with simple demonstrations recorded onboard the ISS. Crewmembers read science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related children’s books on orbit, and complete simple science concept experiments. Video and data collected during the demonstrations are downlinked to the ground and posted in a video library with accompanying educational materials.

AngieX Cancer Therapy: The crew performed therapy operations for the AngieX Cancer Therapy investigation today. The AngieX investigation examines whether endothelial cells cultured in microgravity represent a valid in vitro model to test effects of vascular-targeted agents on normal blood vessels. AngieX has developed a treatment that targets both tumor cells and vasculature, but needs a better model on which to test it. This study may facilitate development of a cost-effective method that does not require animal testing and which may help develop safer and more effective vascular-targeted drugs.

Chemical Gardens: Today the crew removed one Chemical Gardens 2 ampoule kit from a Cargo Transfer Bag, broke the seal between the two ampoules in each sample bag and mixed the contents of both. In the Chemical Gardens experiment, selected metal salts are added to an aqueous solution of sodium silicate (Na2SiO3), resulting in the formation of inorganic structures that resemble plant growth in a time span ranging from minutes to hours. On Earth, gravity-induced flow due to buoyancy differences between the reactants complicates our understanding of the physics behind these “chemical gardens”. Conducting this experiment in the microgravity environment onboard the ISS removes the gravity effects, ensures diffusion-controlled growth, and allows researchers a better assessment of initiation and evolution of chemical gardens.

Dragon Cargo Operations: Today the crew continued working on the fourth SpaceX-15 Cargo Message as they continued to pack and load items slated for return on SpX-15. The crew also started the installation of the fences and cribbing arms necessary to secure the degraded Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) Latching End Effector (LEE) hardware inside Dragon for return. Specialists estimate approximately 4.5 hours of cargo operations remain to finish loading the Dragon vehicle prior to the planned departure date of 3 August.

Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) UHF Communication Unit (CUCU) Crew Command Panel (CCP) Checkout: In preparation for SpX-15 Dragon vehicle departure, currently planned for August 3rd, the crew will check out the CUCU and Dragon Crew Command Panel (CCP). The CUCU system provides a command and telemetry communications link between the ISS and Dragon vehicle during free flight operations while in close proximity of the ISS.

Hardware Transfer Vehicle (HTV) On Board Training (OBT) ROBoT: Today the crew will perform self-study OBT using Robotics Onboard Trainer (ROBoT) in preparation for HTV approach and rendezvous. They will practice HTV approach and retreat monitoring as well as HTV capture using simulated Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) operations.

Mobile Servicing System (MSS) Operations: Yesterday, the Robotics Ground Controllers powered up the Mobile Servicing System (MSS) and translated the Mobile Transporter (MT) from Worksite 4 (WS4) to WS6. The Ground Control team is currently walking off the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) off the Node2 Power Data Grapple Fixture (PDGF) onto Mobile Base System (MBS) PDGF4. Finally, the Robotics Ground Controllers will maneuver the SSRMS as required to survey the Latching End Effector A (LEE-A) Snare Cables using the P1 Lower Outboard (LOOB) External High Definition Camera (EHDC) and then perform LEE-A diagnostics.

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

Aerosol Samplers Battery Charge 2
MELFI Media Kit Retrieve
mobiPV Software Installation Preparation
Tropical Cyclone Untended Operations
Story Time Book Luciana Read
Gather tools used during EVA.
DC1 ПСС unnominal work clearing up – preparation
Clears JPM Bay 5 for LEE
Micro-12 Sample Activation and Termination
Story Time Historical Photo Documentation
Microgravity Investigation of Cement Solidification (MICS) Procedure Review
Microgravity Investigation of Cement Solidification (MICS) 3 Ampoule Mix Ops
SPHERES Conference
AngieX Cancer Therapy Ops Session
SPHERES Test Setup
Polar Transfer To Dragon Overview Review
Cargo Transfer to Dragon
Preparation Orlan replaceable elements
Transfer LEE into Dragon
Glacier 1 & 2 Desiccant Swap
Aerosol Active Samplers Hardware Deployment 2
Rodent Research Node 2 Camcorder Video Setup
SPHERES Test Shutdown
Rodent Research 7 Habitat Restock
Aerosol Active Samplers Hardware Photography
INTER-MAI-75. HAM Radio Hardware Activation
On Board Training (OBT) ROBoT T&C Self Study
Tropical Cyclone Hardware Closeout
Public Affairs Office (PAO) High Definition (HD) Config COL Setup – Node 2 Camcorder towards COL
DOUG review
Chemical Gardens Procedure Review
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) – Node 2 Camcorder towards COL
Polar Sample Transfer 1 From Cold Stowage
EML High Speed Camera Lens Switch
ЦП Laptop monthly maintenance
Rodent Research MELFI Insert
Rodent Research 7 Habitat Restock
CONTENT. Experiment Ops
Radio Frequency Identification Logistics CTB Deploy [aborted]
Sample water collecting on JEM MTL line [aborted]
Chemical Gardens MWA Preparation
Chemical Gardens Mix Ops
LEE Return FSE Assembly Procedure Review
Rodent Research MELFI Insert
Transfer LEE into Dragon
Rodent Research Access Unit Clean
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Spaceflight Cognitive Assessment Tool for Windows (WinSCAT) Test [aborted]
Dragon Cargo Operations Conference
Photo T/V Dragon SD Video Setup
Dragon Latching End Effector (LEE) Fencing Installation
Chemical Gardens Mix Ops
At Home In Space Culture Photo
Fluid Shifts Dilution Measures Reference Material Review
СОЖ maintenance
Fluid Shifts Dilution Measures Setup
Photo/TV CUCU SD Video Setup
COTS UHF Communication Unit (CUCU) Crew Command Panel (CCP) Checkout
COTS UHF Communication Unit (CUCU) Crew Command Panel (CCP) Stow
MELFI Containment Bag Consolidation
INTER-MAI-75. Closeout
Photo/TV CUCU SD Video Deactivation

Completed Task List Activities:

Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
Lab MCA Zero Cal
MICS Flush Ops
CUCU Checkout
SSRMS Walkoff
Dragon TDRS Checkout

Three-Day Look Ahead:
Wednesday, 08/01: Dragon Cargo, Micro-12, Aerosol Sampler, Tangolab, Polar Transfer, PCG-11, STBD Solar Array imagery, Nanoracks Mod 9; EVA Tether Inspection, ACME Controller R&R, Fluid Shifts, Dragon Depart OBT, Lighting Effects, BEST
Thursday, 08/02: CIR Optics, BEAM ingress, LEE FSE Assy, Dragon LEE install, Chemical Garden, Dragon Polar Xfer and Coldbag Packing.
Friday, 08/03: CBM Vestible Ops, Dragon Unberth/Release, BCAT, ACE-M2 Sample, Habitat H2O Fill, EVA tool Gather, mobiPV, Chemical Garden

QUICK ISS Status – Environmental Control Group:
Component – Status
Elektron – On
Vozdukh – Manual
[СКВ] 1 – SM Air Conditioner System (“SKV1”) – Off
[СКВ] 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 – Idle
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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