Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 8 March 2018 – How Plants Adapt to Gravity

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
March 11, 2018
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 8 March 2018 – How Plants Adapt to Gravity
Baja California and the northwestern coast of Mexico are pictured with Russian spacecraft solar arrays in the foreground. The International Space Station was orbiting above the Mexican state of Sinaloa at the time this photograph was taken. Credit: NASA.

Aboard the International Space Station, the Expedition 55 crew continued exploring how plants adapt to gravity and began preparing for a suite of combustion experiments. The trio is also continuing the maintenance of the station’s life support systems and its microgravity science operations.
NASA astronaut Scott Tingle put his green thumb to work today supporting a pair of botany experiments. He set up gear for an upcoming run of the Plant Gravity Perception experiment that will monitor how plants perceive light and gravity. Tingle also watered and harvested red lettuce for consumption today for the ongoing Veggie-03 study.

After lunch, Tingle opened up the Combustion Integrated Rack and installed new gear to get ready for the Advanced Combustion Microgravity Experiment (ACME). ACME is a set of five independent studies researching gaseous flames in space that may enable more fuel efficient and less polluting technologies.

Flight Engineer Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency worked on networking gear in the Kibo lab module before inspecting smoke detectors in the Columbus lab module. Kanai then collected data on new adjustable lights installed inside Kibo before conducting plumbing work in the station’s Waste and Hygiene Compartment. Finally, he and Tingle wrapped up the work day with an Earth photography session of Baja California and China.

Commander Anton Shkaplerov continued his work on Russian life support systems through the day. He ended his work day with a photographic inspection of a pair Russian docking modules.

On-Orbit Status Report

Plant Gravity Perception (PGP): Today the crew replaced four of the European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS) Experiment Containers (ECs) for the next Plant Gravity Perception experiment run. Two of the ECs powered up and remained powered. For this investigation, normal and mutated forms of thale cress, a model research plant, are germinated to support the study of the plants’ gravity and light perception. Results provide insight into the plants’ adaptation to a microgravity environment and supports efforts to grow plants for food on future space missions.

Veg-03: The crew watered the Veg-03 lettuce plants and harvested select leaves for consumption. The plants were then left to grow and sprout new leaves. Veg-03 supports the proof-of concept for the Veggie plant growth chamber and the planting pillows. Future long duration space missions will require a fresh food supply grown in space to supplement crew diets.

Advanced Combustion via Microgravity Experiments (ACME) Electric-Field Effects on Laminar Diffusion (E-Field) Flames: In preparation for the upcoming ACME E-Field Flames investigation the crew installed the ACME Mesh and replace a ACME controller today. The ACME investigation is a set of five independent studies of gaseous flames to be conducted in the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR). ACME’s primary goal is to improve fuel efficiency and reduce pollutant production in practical combustion on Earth. For E-Field Flames an electric field with voltages as high as 10,000 volts is established between the burner and a mesh electrode. The motion of the charged ions, which are naturally produced within the flame, are strongly affected by a high-voltage electric field. The resulting ion-driven wind can dramatically influence the stability and sooting behavior of the flame. Conducting the tests in microgravity allows for great simplifications in the analysis, enabling new understanding and the development of less polluting and more efficient combustion technology for use on Earth.

Microgravity Measurement Apparatus (MMA) Network Control Unit (NCU): As part of troubleshooting for an issue that occurred on October 31, 2017 with the MMA that supports operations of the Ryutai rack in the JEM, the crew replaced the MMC NCU.

Earth Imagery from ISS Target (EIISS): The crew captured images today of the area from Southern California to the Baja Peninsula and China at night. EIISS captures a series of videos showcasing targets around the world as seen from the ISS. These videos will be integrated into a product for later release.

Lighting Effects: The crew obtained light meter readings in Node 2 and the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM). The Lighting Effects investigation studies the impact of the change from fluorescent light bulbs to solid-state light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with adjustable intensity and color and aims to determine if the new lights can improve crew circadian rhythms, sleep, and cognitive performance.

Columbus Smoke Detector Inspection and Cleaning: The crew cleaned the Columbus Cabin Smoke Detector using a Connector Cleaner Tool Kit and N2 Cartridge to supply bursts of N2 to remove particles. This maintenance is required to keep the Smoke Detectors working properly and preventing inadvertent alarms.

Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Urine Receptacle Remove and Replace (R&R): Today the crew removed and replaced the WHC Urine Receptacle and Insert Filter. After replacement, a functionality test of the WHC was performed and the WHC was declared operational.

Max Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization (CEVIS) Test: Max CEVIS is a new medical test which replaces a long standing Periodic Fitness Evaluation (PFE) and has been part of an ongoing research study (SPRINT). An interim Max CEVIS test w/out gas analysis was initiated with 47S with the goal of including gas analysis starting with 50S crewmembers. Each USOS crewmember will perform this test 3 times per increment (Flight Days 14, 75 and Return -14 days). The Max CEVIS test is the best method to evaluate the crewmembers aerobic fitness.

Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) Latching End Effector (LEE) snare cable survey: Last night, the Robotics Ground Controllers powered up the Mobile Servicing System (MSS) and maneuvered the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) as required to grapple and unstow the SPDM. They then maneuvered the SSRMS as required to position the SPDM to perform a video and imagery survey of the SPDM LEE snare cables using the P1 Lower Outboard (LOOB) External High Definition Camera (EHDC). Once the survey had been completed, the Robotics Ground Controllers maneuvered the SSRMS with the SPDM into position for the start of the P14B-G Remote Power Controller Module (RPCM) replacement operations on GMT 73 (14 March). MSS performance was nominal during last night’s operations.

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

Changeout of Replaceable Condensate Removal Lines [????]
Combustion Integrated Rack Hardware Gather
Atmosphere Control and Supply (ACS) Oxygen Manual Valve Close
Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Cylinder Flywheel Evacuation
Medical Laptop Relocation
Plant Gravity Perception 4 EC Removal
Microgravity Measurement Apparatus (MMA) Network Control Unit (NCU) Replace 1 and 2.
Plant Gravity Perception EC Install
Max Cycle Ergometer w/ Vibration Isolation & Stabilization (CEVIS) Portable PFS Partial Set Up
Columbus Video Camera Assembly 1 Adjustment
Columbus Smoke Detectors 1 and 2 inspection and cleaning
Lighting Effects Light Meter Setup
Max Cycle Ergometer w/Vibration Isolation & Stabilization (CEVIS) Portable PFS Power Up
Lighting Effects Light Meter Readings
VEG-03 Dual Facility Watering for each Plant Pillow
VEG-03E Consumption Harvest #1
Max Cycle Ergometer w/Vibration Isolation & Stabilization (CEVIS) Portable PFS Subject
Lighting Effects Light Meter Stow
Combustion Integrated Rack Rack Doors Open
Transfer of ??? brine to Progress 437 (DC1) Rodnik H2O Tank 2 and flushing connector
Combustion Integrated Rack Front End Cap Open
ACME Chamber Insert Configuration
Waste and Hygeine Compartment (WHC) Urine Receptacle (UR) and Insert Filter (IF) Remove and Replace
??? maintenance
Photography of DC1 and MRM2 interiors
Max Cycle Ergometer w/Vibration Isolation & Stabilization (CEVIS) Portable PFS Partial Stow
FGB Gas Analyzer Vacuum Cleaning
Combustion Integrated Rack Front End Cap Close
Combustion Integrated Rack Rack Doors Close
RED Camera Setup.
Earth Imagery from ISS RED Target Operations
RED Camera Deactivation.
iPad Air 2 Charge
Earth Imagery from ISS Nikon Target Operations
Combustion Integrated Rack Hardware Return
Countermeasures System (CMS) Max Cycle Ergometer w/Vibration Isolation & Stabilization (CEVIS) Portable PFS Conclude

Completed Task List Activities
Tropical Cyclone Procedure Review

Ground Activities
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
Solar Array Voltage Maximum Power
SPDM RMCT3 Checkout
Standard Commanding

Three-Day Look Ahead:
Friday, 03/09: ELF Ops, FIR ACE Module Changeout, C2V2 Cable Swap, Max CEVIS, Veg-03, LLB Charging
Saturday, 03/10: Housekeeping, Crew Off-Duty
Sunday, 03/11: Crew Off-Duty

QUICK ISS Status – Environmental Control Group:
Component – Status
Elektron – Off
Vozdukh – Manual
[???] 1 – SM Air Conditioner System (“SKV1”) – Off
[???] 2 – SM Air Conditioner System (“SKV2”) – Off
Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Lab – Standby
Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Node 3 – Operate
Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Lab – Idle
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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